UK: After 21 years with HW International and, latterly, Shure Distribution UK, Alan March has taken up the newly-created role of business development specialist at Sennheiser UK. A driving force behind the campaign to secure programme-making and special events (PMSE) access to the interleaved spectrum, March is also currently working on a response to Ofcom's significant statement of mid-December which revealed that PMSE users will be awarded spectrum by means of a 'beauty contest', writes David Davies.
Speaking to PSN-e, March says that he leaves Shure with fond memories and no trace of animosity. "Shure is a great company and will remain a great company, but for me personally I felt it was time to move on and do something a bit different," he explains.
His new role - which commenced on January 2nd - finds him focusing on the professional and installation sides of the business. "It is a new position so it is a bit of a blank page, but that's a good thing," says March. "The idea is to develop and grow business, both new and existing - we want to see if there are any improvements that can be made there. I will also be supporting as much as possible the sales guys out there on the road."
The Sennheiser UK distribution portfolio has been subject to some significant changes over the last 12 months, including the departure of Lab.gruppen and the arrival of Powersoft, so PSN-e wonders if we can expect to see further additions in the near-future? "That has traditionally been Paul Nunnington's gig here and I will certainly work with Paul to look at potentially expanding the portfolio - not with anything and everything, but with products that are relevant and can fit nicely within the existing portfolio and help to grow the business."
Meanwhile, March will continue to help secure long-term PMSE access to the interleaved spectrum as part of the BEIRG (British Entertainment Industry Radio Group) steering committee on the subject. Despite the issuing of an encouraging Ofcom statement on December 13th (full text here) revealing that the authority will now build in safeguards to protect the PMSE sector, March says that the matter is far from reaching a conclusion.
"I think we are at the half-way stage," he suggests. "Ofcom has recognised that PMSE exists and the important, unseen contribution that PMSE equipment makes to everybody in the country_ Ofcom's general view [remains] that all spectrum should be determined by a market-led approach, but as far as PMSE is concerned it has made an exception and that is quite a significant victory. However, we want to avoid it becoming a Pyrrhic victory in the sense that Ofcom has also come out in the statement that it is going to allow cognitive radio [a wireless technology that shares with other services by detecting when the spectrum is not being used] into the digital interleaved and on a licence-exempt basis."
The BEIRG steering committee is now in the process of formulating a response to this and other aspects of the December statement, and is hoping to make suggestions regarding the format and structure of the proposed band manager required to administer the aforementioned 'beauty contest' and oversee interleaved spectrum use. In the meantime, March calls on PSN-e readers to contribute financially to a campaign that owes much of its progress to political lobbyists and has, to this point, been funded in significant part by PLASA: "I urge anybody and everybody that is involved to contribute to the campaign fund, which is held at PLASA."
Read more about the role of BEIRG and PLASA in the PMSE spectrum campaign in the forthcoming January print issue of Pro Sound News Europe.