CofE falls foul of digital switchover
You know how you sometimes bookmark news stories and websites that you think ‘I must blog about that’ and then never get round to it? No, may just be me then.
Anyway, here is my oldest ‘must blog about this’ story that I never got around to that stems from 2007. The BBC ran a story in February that year about the Government’s plans to auction off the spectrum of frequencies controlled by Ofcom. They noted that the auction could threaten the use of radio mics in theatres, festivals, concerts and other special events because they were not being ring-fenced in the proposals. Use of such frequencies could either get more expensive (much more expensive), they might cease to function entirely, or, at the very least, if they did work, interference could be a real issue.
I took note of the story because the obvious thing to say from a church perspective is that a lot of churches would be affected as well. I can’t remember a time when I visited a church (even fairly high, traditional churches) where the leader of the service and/or the preacher was not mic’d up. Indeed, more often than not the microphones were radio mics. Churches, in that sense, are obvious users of such technology since as a president of a Holy Communion service or a preacher, you’re going to need a fair bit of freedom of movement that a static microphone is going to find much harder to accomodate.
So what do I read this morning that has prompted me to finally blog about this? Well, the Church of England has got on the case. The Church of England has “joined an industry-led campaign to press Government to provide adequate compensation for affected groups, and parishes are being encouraged to write to their MP to maintain pressure on the subject”… so says the press release.
If it’s not sorted out, then hundreds of churches would face bills to replace or retune equipment rendered useless by the changes. The CofE’s communications department has estimated the total bill at well over a million quid. I checked out the way in which they worked out this figure and I personally reckon it could be much higher since I’d quibble with their estimate that only 1 in 8 churches make use of this kind of technology, but anyway… it will be a big sum of money.
I wish I could say ‘you heard it here first’ but, on this occasion, I never got around to it. More fool me. Nevertheless, churches – pay attention or you could find yourself with a bill and a technology headache that you really don’t want. PCCs – get mobilized and write to your local MP before it is too late.