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Broadway Bands with Odd Bedfellows for Broadcast Spectrum Battle

Stage industry teams with NFL, mega-churches to protect wireless device transmissions

Not many things can unite Broadway and non-profit theaters with major league sports and mega-churches.

But they’re all part of the posse that has banded together for “Pardon the Interruption,” a Capitol Hill forum centered on preserving the wireless microphone spectrums that are crucial to live performance events such as Broadway shows, sporting events and large-scale religious ceremonies.

Harvey Fierstein, the legit fave who penned the book to Tony winner “Kinky Boots,” will be among the legit reps on hand to testify to the importance of those wireless devices, as part of an ongoing effort to protect the transmission spectrums thought to be at risk of interference from the tech sector and the ballooning wireless demands of their gadgets.

It’s a digital-era real estate battle not unlike the conflicts that have erupted between Big TV and Big Telecom as the country grapples with the infrastructure strain of proliferating mobile devices. For the theater industry, the goal is to protect the unused transmission frequencies — a.k.a. white spaces — for which companies like Google, Microsoft and Dell hunger.

Those frequencies are the ones used by the wireless devices that are so crucial in amplifying Broadway voices, not to mention in the backstage communications between stage managers, stagehands and other behind-the-scenes workers.

The “Pardon the Interruption” push links the Broadway League, the trade association of commercial stage producers and presenters, with non-profit coalitions Theater Communications Group and Alliance of Resident Theaters/New York. Also on the legit industry’s side of the fight are the National Football League, the International Association of Venue Managers and the Recording Academy, among several others. They all endorse the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013, a bill introduced by the congressman hosting the “Pardon the Interruption” event, Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.).

The act urges the FCC to cordon off two safe-haven channels for wireless mics. It also aims to ensure access to a database that provides interference protection, plus eligibility for an important license.

Event is set for July 29 in D.C.

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