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  #21  
Old 04-20-2009, 11:32 AM
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Jimmy-

Do you have much familiarity with civil lawsuits?

I'll give an example. Let's say that SoMissTV is a one-year veteran of a local news station. He is asked to run a sat live shot that evening at the courthouse for a bond issue election. SoMissTV finds that the only place to park the truck is 100' away from the shoot location. During the broadcast, the transmitter in the truck goes amuck, blasting the sat with a much higher wattage than is permitted, before finally blowing out completely. We now have a dead transponder on the bird and a dead TWTA. Now, the station has to eat the cost on the TWTA; that's the cost of doing business. However, there's still the matter of the transponder on a very expensive satellite....

The satellite operator files a lawsuit against the following: the truck op, the chief engineer, the general manager, the station, and the parent company of the station. The data shows that an operator in the truck could have potentially killed the TWTA moments earlier, possibly saving the transponder from permanent damage. There is now fault to be assigned. When the jury returns from deliberations, they find the following:

The operator is 10% responsible for being away from the truck in violation of FCC rules.
The general manager is 30% responsible for overseeing an operation with lax safety controls.
The station is found to be 50% responsible for creating an environment where FCC rules were violated in the name of cost savings.
The parent company picks up the remaining 10%.
The chief engineer picks up 0% because of the previously clean record of the TWTA.

Now, explain to me how safety training could have avoided this litigation and multi-million dollar award to the satellite operator?

The truth is, safety training is great, but is not a panacea. Accidents happen. Equipment breakdowns happen. Unintended results happen. This is why we are supposed to have redundant safepoints that prevent catastrophic consequences, like the additional operator in the truck who could have killed the power at the first alarm.

To say that accidents won't happen because the staff is trained is an ostrich approach to safety management. Sticking your head in the sand to hide from the potential liability doesn't eliminate the liability; it just makes you oblivious to the reality of the situation.
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  #22  
Old 04-20-2009, 01:17 PM
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Equipment replacement is usually cheap (except for satellites). Replacing the 30yr earning potential of an employee who got fried while working by himself is real expensive. Then throw in punitive damages, its a nightmare scenario.

In 27 years, at three networks, I have never used or hired a omb for a live shot. With
digital compression and shared transponders you can't have the truck op to be anywhere but in the truck. If someone is melting the transponder and bleeding into everybody else, that feed has to go down now not when the photog has a chance to do it.

There's also the security issue of your $100K+ investment going up in smoke
or the day to day problems with IFB's and audio levels. Is the photog using HMI's and scrims along with a silk for the sun? That needs two people.

Just because some people use a omb sat truck dosen't mean its safe or a sound idea.
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  #23  
Old 04-20-2009, 10:18 PM
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SoMissTV-Yes... I do have experience in civil lawsuits and spent many days in meetings with lawyers and such. I know what I speak of.
Your scenerio is full of holes that any good lawyer would poke right through. For example... "The operator is 10% responsible for being away from the truck in violation of FCC rules." Where in the FCC Code is this found? In my years of searching; I haven't seen this. I tried desperately to find this rule so that our operators wouldn't be by themselves... No go.
"The general manager is 30% responsible for overseeing an operation with lax safety controls." Can this be proven? Like I stated above, we had everyone sign a statement saying they were properly trained. If it can be proven that the operator was properly trained, this doesn't hold water.
"The station is found to be 50% responsible for creating an environment where FCC rules were violated in the name of cost savings." Tell me where in the FCC codes the station violated any rule 'in the name of cost savings'. Again... And this is your statement: "Equipment breakdowns happen. Unintended results happen." There was no ill will by the operator or the station, nor safety violations because the operator has been trained, it was a malfunction of the system. Yes, the station may have to pick up the tab for some of the damage, but that is it.
"The parent company picks up the remaining 10%." Ten% of what? If the parent company owns the station, the parent company picks up everything in the end.
Is there an audible alarm on the HPA? Never heard one. Even if there were an operator on the truck, bad things can happen.

HMIguy... You keep bringing up people dying or being injured because of thier job. It happens all the time. I've heard of many tragic incidents and felt for the families of those folks because of thier own mistakes. Masts into power lines, driving recklessly, not paying attention to thier surroundings... Hell, I got struck by freaking lightning. Think I blamed the station? Hell no! It goes on and on. Why blame the station for this? You are a properly trained photojournalist... Take responsibility to the highest level and just do your job; and do it as safely as you were told 27 years ago.

Man... People like you really piss me off sometimes because every statement you make is a complaint and not real rational thinking. Do me a favor, get out of the news business for a little bit. See how it is to run your own business or become a manager of something and hopefully you'll understand what I'm talking about. Some of you make things harder on the rest of the folks that just want to work hard and do a good job. No matter what it takes... Barring injury to self or others. If I owned my own business, I would try to hire every single one of the photographers that worked for me because they were workhorses and rarely complained. They were awesome to be around and I truly had a great respect for each and everyone of them. If we asked them to do a SNG shot, they may not have liked the situation... But, you know what? Those guys got the job done and I could not have been prouder, each and every day. They don't know this... But I went to bat for them a 100 times and maybe sometimes we lost. But, they had a Chief that truly cared for all of them. That is the staff that does SAT shots by themselves on a daily basis without complaint, and if I were to run a TV station... I would want each and every one of them.


Time for bed. Have a good night everyone.

Oh... I didn't have respect for Josh. He sucked.




(Just kidding, kid... Love ya man!)
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  #24  
Old 04-21-2009, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyS. View Post
"The general manager is 30% responsible for overseeing an operation with lax safety controls." Can this be proven? Like I stated above, we had everyone sign a statement saying they were properly trained. If it can be proven that the operator was properly trained, this doesn't hold water.

"The parent company picks up the remaining 10%." Ten% of what? If the parent company owns the station, the parent company picks up everything in the end.
Juries assign guilt or innocence. A good lawyer only has to prove it to a jury that the station failed to have someone close to the controls when the system went haywire, and that the failure of the station was a direct contributor to the damage done to the sat.

10% of the judgment. In civil lawsuits, juries can assign the damages (and awards) in percentages based on the perceived percentage of negligence by each party found guilty. The parent company would be responsible for 10% of the judgment, and the other parties would be responsible for their respective levels.

Signed statements are nice, but they are not ironclad. They also do not cover teaching incorrect safety procedures.

The head in the sand mentality has got to stop. Everyone should be aware of the liability that exists today in any situation, especially when millions of dollars of equipment and services are in play.
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  #25  
Old 04-22-2009, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoMissTV View Post
Juries assign guilt or innocence. A good lawyer only has to prove it to a jury that the station failed to have someone close to the controls when the system went haywire, and that the failure of the station was a direct contributor to the damage done to the sat.

10% of the judgment. In civil lawsuits, juries can assign the damages (and awards) in percentages based on the perceived percentage of negligence by each party found guilty. The parent company would be responsible for 10% of the judgment, and the other parties would be responsible for their respective levels.

Signed statements are nice, but they are not ironclad. They also do not cover teaching incorrect safety procedures.

The head in the sand mentality has got to stop. Everyone should be aware of the liability that exists today in any situation, especially when millions of dollars of equipment and services are in play.

Okay... Still playing devils's advocate. A good lawyer would say someone needs to be close to the controls, or Earth Station, right? How close is 'close'? In the truck? 10 feet away? 50, or 100 feet away? Where does it say in the FCC code that the operator has to be 'close'? Another good lawyer would tear this argument to pieces.
See... In order for a judgement against the station to occur, you have to prove that the station or managers were irresponsible. No one has proven that.
I've made many statements saying that stations do what they can to protect themselves. As I used to be a part of that. You have to understand that you can come up with all these scenerios and probabilities but if you don't have actual proof that these things happen on a regular basis, you have no case. Give me documentation on how many times a satalite has been damaged which led to a court case. Show documentation on how many times 'millions' of dollars in equipment have been lost. You have to have actual documentation to prove to managers that having only one operator is a safety concern. Once you do that... You are a two person crew. You don't do that... Sorry. And yes, once we got the hybrid, I spent hours looking for situations in which things like that happened. Guess what I found? Nothing.
Made up scenerios and "it's a safety issue because it is" mean nothing with out historical proof in the news business.
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  #26  
Old 04-22-2009, 08:16 PM
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I live in a state where, just today, the Court of Appeals upheld a 2.4 million dollar judgment against a tire manufacturer where the tire separated while the vehicle was being driven at 95mph by an individual with a blood-alcohol level of .25.

I'm not making that up.

In today's society, your lawyer is only as good as the stupidest juror in the room. Just because an event has not occurred previously does not mean that it will never occur. Risk management focuses on this vary thing.

You may believe whatever you'd like if it makes you feel better, though.
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  #27  
Old 04-23-2009, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoMissTV View Post
I live in a state where, just today, the Court of Appeals upheld a 2.4 million dollar judgment against a tire manufacturer where the tire separated while the vehicle was being driven at 95mph by an individual with a blood-alcohol level of .25.

I'm not making that up.

In today's society, your lawyer is only as good as the stupidest juror in the room. Just because an event has not occurred previously does not mean that it will never occur. Risk management focuses on this vary thing.

You may believe whatever you'd like if it makes you feel better, though.
I believe in reality, not made up scenerios to get out of doing my job.
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  #28  
Old 04-23-2009, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyS. View Post
I believe in reality, not made up scenerios to get out of doing my job.
And the truth is stranger than fiction, Jimmy.
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  #29  
Old 04-23-2009, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoMissTV View Post
And the truth is stranger than fiction, Jimmy.
And journalism isn't about fiction, is it? The truth is what I speak, get used to it or your going to find yourself frustrated beyond belief.

Look... I tried to use all the same scenerios as you all talk about. But, without proof no sane manager is going to accept it. That's the reality. I am honestly trying to help you 'Chiefs'. I've seen it all and am just trying to warn you to cross all your "T's" and dot your "i's" before you go to your ND with a 'scenerio'. Bring reality, not your feelings. I guaranty you that if one person does a solo SAT shot that went well and your ND knows about it... It will happen more and more. It happened at my old shop, even though I protested. There was nothing I could do other than pray that nothing would go wrong. And, things did go wrong which gave me fire to take to the ND. Did nothing because the ND knew it could work with one one operator and there was no changing his mind. I used to go to work on Saturdays to do research on problems with solo operators, FCC regs... Talked to several Chiefs around the country trying to find some relief... All was for nothing because we had a couple of solo SAT shots that went off without a hitch. The way things are going in this economy, I wouldn't be surprised at all if all hybrids were run by solo operators no matter how much you think it's a 'safety hazard' or whatever. Get out of your "fiction" world and accept how things are going to be... Unless, all of you get together and try to change the FCC regs to reflect your 'feelings'. The regs are so generalized that you can interpret them in any way you want. And, your boss will interpret them to his/her desire and budget. It happened at my old shop and sooner or later it will at yours. That's the 'truth' and the reality, Miss.
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  #30  
Old 04-24-2009, 12:45 AM
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Well, the reality is that I don't work in news, Jimmy. My point is that your claims of being completely protected in the event of lawsuits are misguided.
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  #31  
Old 04-24-2009, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoMissTV View Post
Well, the reality is that I don't work in news, Jimmy. My point is that your claims of being completely protected in the event of lawsuits are misguided.
I didn't say that. What I was saying is that stations will go to the limits to protect themselves. That's why I've been playing devil's advocate; to get some people to understand. However, I should know better. Some people won't accept the truth if it slapped them in the face. And unfortunately, those same folks are going to get slapped hard and it's going to be a very rude awakening.
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  #32  
Old 04-28-2009, 11:23 AM
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Unfortunately I can't remember when I did NOT OMB a Sat live shot. OMB = truck op and photographer. We have not had a problem yet but I know it will happen sometime. It's real fun to access the satelite while editing your pkg.
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  #33  
Old 04-30-2009, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imachief View Post
This has been posted here previously, but here it is again:

TITLE 47--TELECOMMUNICATION

CHAPTER I--FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

PART 25--SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS

Subpart D--Technical Operations

Sec. 25.271 Control of transmitting stations.

...

(b) The licensee of a transmitting earth station licensed under this part shall ensure that a trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted. No operator's license is required for a person to operate or perform maintenance on facilities authorized under this part.

...

(1) The parameters of the transmissions of the remote station monitored at the control point, and the operational functions of the remote earth stations that can be controlled by the operator at the control point, are sufficient to insure that the operations of the remote station(s) are at times in full compliance with the remote station authorization(s);

...

(3) Upon detection by the license, or upon notification from the Commission of a deviation or upon notification by another licensee of harmful interference, the operation of the remote station shall be immediately suspended by the operator at the control point until the deviation or interference is corrected, except that transmissions concerning the immediate safety of life or property may be conducted for the duration of the emergency; and
(4) The licensee shall have available at all times the technical personnel necessary to perform expeditiously the technical servicing and maintenance of the remote stations.

...
I've cut through some of the legal-ese to highlight what, I thought, were the important points to this discussion.

My intrepretation of this is that immediacy is paramount if something goes wrong with the shot. Access calls you and is screaming to power down immediately, for whatever reason, you can't possibly do that if you're at the end of a 100' cable or what have you. If you're set up right outside the truck then I'd venture to say you're fine. But if you're polarity goes way off, or your HPA decides to pump out a few more watts, or your dish starts doing "The Twist" wouldn't you rather have a seperate DSNG operator to handle that while you're shooting or editing?

What I've been taught / told regarding DSNG ops: come TX time, be in the truck at the controls. Period.
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Last edited by csusandman; 06-17-2009 at 05:57 PM.
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  #34  
Old 04-30-2009, 06:18 PM
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"trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted"

Yep. But, still being devil's advocate... This can be interpretted two ways. What is the "station site" The truck? Or the site that the truck is parked? And if and if the operator is 100' away, he/she is still present right? "Designated control point": Could that be the truck itself or the place where the operator is standing?
See what I'm saying? There are two ways to look at the text. Believe me, I tried to get around it many times... But, when you realize that an attourny is looking at the same words for the station, they will interpret it to benefit the company.

Oh... Here is something you may be able to work with: The licensee shall have available at all times the technical personnel necessary to perform expeditiously the technical servicing and maintenance of the remote stations.
How many of you operators can perform "servicing or maintenance" on your truck? You don't even need a license to operate. But, the station carries an 'overall' license for everyone. Don't you think an engineer with 'maintenace' experience needs to be at the remote site?

Think about that and see if works for your cause. Because nothing else in the code will.
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  #35  
Old 05-03-2009, 06:03 PM
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We use 1 person for ENG And SNG live shots. Only time i would ask for 2 is if i am very far away from the truck and cant control audio ect.
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  #36  
Old 05-04-2009, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csusandman View Post
I've cut through some of the legal-ese to highlight what, I thought, were the important points to this discussion.

My intrepretation of this is that immediacy is paramount if something goes wrong with the shot.
What's the definition of "immediate"? 1 second, 5 seconds, 10? How long does it take to walk/run 100' if your phone rings and the caller ID identifies the satellite center? How long does it take the satellite center to tell you about the problem and what they want you to do about it (adjust power, adjust cross pol, shutdown)? What if you're only 50' away?

Quote:
But if you're polarity goes way off, or your HPA decides to pump out a few more watts, or your dish starts doing "The Twist" wouldn't you rather have a seperate DSNG operator to handle that while you're shooting or editing?
Nobody is saying they don't WANT a two person crew. But it's not easy to point to the FCC regs and say it's REQUIRED.

Quote:
As we all know, ENG isn't as big as DSNG 'cause it's local and only affects those in your immediate market whereas DSNG can be nationwide, if not worldwide.
Aside from affecting satellites (and you can cancel out the "twist" by turning your dish controller off), there is really no safety difference between DSNG & ENG... in fact, I'd think ENG is different because of the 50' stick up in the air.

Quote:
That's what I've been taught / told regarding DSNG ops: come TX time, be in the truck at the controls. Period.
That's great. No one hear is faulting you. All Jimmy is saying is the regs don't require someone to be in the truck.
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  #37  
Old 05-05-2009, 06:17 AM
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Good dialog guys, thanks. It really confirms my suspicions that this is not a black/white issue, and there is a lot of room for interpretation. Time to have a meeting between my truck ops, ND, and Assign desk!
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  #38  
Old 05-25-2009, 11:56 AM
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Who deleted my response?
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  #39  
Old 05-26-2009, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by JimmyS. View Post
In the 17 years of working in the news business, I've never had a FCC rep show up at a live shot. At the station, yes. But, not a live shot.
Please tell everyone how and where this happened and how you handled it so that all photographers that run trucks can be aware of this potential disaster.

You might not have been at the right stories, or just got lucky. I have run into FCC Freq Cordinators twice in my 8 years of doing satellite operations. One was at the NFL hall of fame in Canton, OH....the other, was at a local story at a school, one of the FCC cord. happened to live across the street and came over to chat and see what was going on. We were the only station there. I know this guy from being around the market, but that wouldn't have stopped him from from shutting it down if something was not right.

A few things to consider. Your stations chief engineer or chief operators FCC license is on the license for the sat truck. If the FCC does catch you, not only would the station get fined, they could loose their license.

The rules are pretty clear.

(b) The licensee of a transmitting earth station licensed under this part shall ensure that a trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted. No operator's license is required for a person to operate or perform maintenance on facilities authorized under this part.

The Earth station site...the site is the truck. But, for the sake of argument, if you want to include the live shot area as the site Section 2 says:

(2) The earth station facilities are protected by appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized entry or operations

Are you doing that? Is there security to prevent unauthorized entry or operations? If I happen to show up at your truck and open the door, is there someone or something there to stop me? If not you are not in complaince.

Ask a laywer and they will agree.
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  #40  
Old 05-27-2009, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satop View Post
You might not have been at the right stories, or just got lucky. I have run into FCC Freq Cordinators twice in my 8 years of doing satellite operations. One was at the NFL hall of fame in Canton, OH....the other, was at a local story at a school, one of the FCC cord. happened to live across the street and came over to chat and see what was going on. We were the only station there. I know this guy from being around the market, but that wouldn't have stopped him from from shutting it down if something was not right.

A few things to consider. Your stations chief engineer or chief operators FCC license is on the license for the sat truck. If the FCC does catch you, not only would the station get fined, they could loose their license.

The rules are pretty clear.

(b) The licensee of a transmitting earth station licensed under this part shall ensure that a trained operator is present on the earth station site, or at a designated remote control point for the earth station, at all times that transmissions are being conducted. No operator's license is required for a person to operate or perform maintenance on facilities authorized under this part.

The Earth station site...the site is the truck. But, for the sake of argument, if you want to include the live shot area as the site Section 2 says:

(2) The earth station facilities are protected by appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized entry or operations

Are you doing that? Is there security to prevent unauthorized entry or operations? If I happen to show up at your truck and open the door, is there someone or something there to stop me? If not you are not in complaince.

Ask a laywer and they will agree.
Sorry... But, the rules are not clear. That's why this discussion is so long.

Ah yes... The security section. Shouldn't you lock the doors to the truck if you are going to be away from it, anyway? If you don't, that's your mistake if someone enters the vehicle, right? The phrase "appropriate security measures" is the tell all. Just lock the doors. Ask a lawyer.
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