Jeff Brown, Gospel Music Channel's director of affiliate sales in the Central Division (based in Denver), and three others, including Mike Sheehey of Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia, will leave their respective homes on Dec. 27 to embark on a mountain-climbing expedition. Their goal: to scale Argentina's Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas at 22,841 feet. Others on the team are Ricardo Peña of Alpine Expeditions (the expedition leader) and Stephan Lanchec of Petro Canada, based in the Netherlands.
Brown is an experienced climber, but this will be the highest peak he has climbed to date. Sheehey, who was Brown's roommate at St. Bonaventure University, has climbed two other of the Seven Summits: Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa) and Mount Elbrus in Russia (Europe).
“We will most likely bump into anyone who's going to do Mt. Everest next year,” Brown said.
GMC chairman Charley Humbard green-lighted the network to set up a special section on GospelMusicChannel.com for Brown to post updates on the expedition. The updates will include photos and transcribed satellite-phone call-ins from him, along with a tracker (via a GPS unit Brown will have with him).
When Brown arrives at the mountain's summit, he will plant the GMC flag (going to great heights to promote the network, one might say). He's pictured here, from February, with a network logo atop Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico. He's also bringing a GMC “mascot”: a lamb with choir robes. He might also bring a banner representing Sportsman Channel, another Intermedia Outdoors Holdings network.
So is this proper fare for GMC's viewers? Brown thinks so. He talks about mountain climbing in spiritual terms, something the Web site will point out. “There's nothing, to me, better to really connect with my inner self,” he said. No BlackBerry messages — although Brown said he emailed final details about a Comcast launch in Independence, Mo., while on the climbing trip in Mexico.
“Out of all the things God created, I think mountains are the greatest,” Brown said.
The group's first climbing day will be Dec. 30, when they will overnight at Confluencia Camp, 10,892 feet. The following day they will arrive at base camp, 14,300 feet. They will stay there for several days to acclimatize, including several “carry” days as they move gear to camps at 16,108 feet and their high camp at 19,600 feet. They hope to reach the summit sometime around days 12-14, depending on weather and how well they acclimatize.
Look for references to Brown's adventure to appear soon on the Web site, possibly this week.
Clearwire Users: Best Keep Those Tinted Windows Open
“Honey, be a dear, would you, and open the window? I need to send a big file.” That could be the case for some users of the Clear mobile wideband service — and specifically those who live in houses with energy-efficient windows.
According to a forum exchange on DSLReports.com, the worry is that the UV blockers in the glass are also blocking the Clearwire signal, which runs in the 2.5-GHz range.
Take “mobbo,” for instance, who ordered the service and hooked it up at his home in Dallas/Fort Worth. “With my modem perched on my window sill, I got one bar, occasionally two bars. With the window open and the modem untouched, I got five bars.”
A technician came over to check things out. Same problem: Closed window, one bar; open window, seven bars.
From there, the suggested solutions began, ranging from placing the modem in a plastic bag between the screen and the window to mounting the modem outside, on a mast. “He used a small white garbage can, added u-bolts for mast attachment, turned the garbage can upside down, and bought a Power Over Ethernet kit so he would only have to run one cable,” noted “radiorange.”
Clearwire officials acknowledged in an e-mail that certain types of windows with metallic reflective coats (called “low E,” where the “E” stands for “emissivity”) can “attenuate RF signals from wireless systems.” However, they cautioned, “this challenge is not unique to only the Clear 4G service or WiMAX but rather to any cellular service.” Which makes it a question of spectrum, and how high is high: Mobile wideband services from Verizon Communications and AT&T are slotted for the 700-MHz band.
Charter Marks Ch. 11 Emergence With Little Internal Fanfare
Charter Communications, the fifth-biggest U.S. cable operator, came out Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week (see Finance, page 20), having weathered complaints from creditors and verbal slings and arrows from competitors, such as DirecTV, which ran ads featuring a life preserver in Charter markets that said “Get help while you can. Get DirecTV.” (Charted sued; they settled.)
The Wire wondered if corks were popped and Champagne poured, but it seems the occasion passed quietly. CEO Neil Smit did send a note to Charter employees Monday, saying the company looked forward to “building on the positive momentum we've created over the last few months.”
Smit also thanked Charter's employees. “Your commitment has enabled us to complete one of the most complex financial reorganizations ever attempted, while sustaining our strong business operations and producing solid results. I encourage all of you to remain focused on doing what we do best — serving our customers.”