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Friday — October 27, 2017 — Issue No. 778

Welcome Back To The Wireless Messaging News

Communications Interoperability Training with Amateur Radio Community Set

Elements of the US Department of Defense will conduct a "communications interoperability" training exercise November 4-6, once again simulating a "very bad day" scenario. Amateur Radio and MARS organizations will take part.

"This exercise will begin with a notional massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cellphone, satellite, and internet connectivity," Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, explained in an announcement.

During the exercise, a designated DOD Headquarters entity will request county-by-county status reports for the 3,143 US counties and county equivalents, in order to gain situational awareness and to determine the extent of impact of the scenario. Army and Air Force MARS organizations will work in conjunction with the Amateur Radio community, primarily on the 60-meter interoperability channels as well as on HF NVIS frequencies and local VHF and UHF, non-Internet linked Amateur Radio repeaters.

Again this year, a military station on the east coast and the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, HF station will conduct a high-power broadcast on 60-meter channel 1 (5,330.5 kHz) on Saturday from 0300 to 0315 UTC. New this year will be an informational broadcast on Sunday, on 13,483.5 kHz USB from 1600 to 1615 UTC. Amateur Radio operators should monitor these broadcasts for more information about the exercise and how they can participate in this communications exercise, English said. "We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with ARRL and the Amateur Radio community," English said.

"We want to expand the use of the 60-meter inter-op channels between the military and amateur community for emergency communications, and we hope the Amateur Radio community will give us some good feedback on the use of both the 5-MHz inter-op and the new 13-MHz broadcast channels as a means of information dissemination during a "very bad day" scenario. Contact English for more information or questions about this exercise.

[Source: The ARRL Letter for October 26, 2017]


Click on the image above for more info.

Now on to more news and views.

Wayne County, Illinois

Wireless Messaging News

  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Two-way Radio
  • Technology
  • Telemetry
  • Science
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
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This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.

About Us

A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.

There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.

I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.

Editorial Policy

Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do freely express my opinions.



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The Wireless Messaging News
Board of Advisors

Frank McNeill
Founder & CEO
Communications Specialists
Jim Nelson
President & CEO
Prism Systems International
Kevin D. McFarland, MSCIS
Sr. Application Systems Analyst
Medical Center
Paul Lauttamus, President
Lauttamus Communications & Security
R.H. (Ron) Mercer
Wireless Consultant
Barry Kanne
Paging Industry Veteran
Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.
Consulting Engineer
Allan Angus
Consulting Engineer

The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.

Advertiser Index

Easy Solutions
Hark Technologies
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates a/k/a IWA Technical Services
Leavitt Communications
Prism Paging
Product Support Services — (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
RF Demand Solutions

Investor Relations — News Release

Spok Reports 2017 Third Quarter Operating Results; Software Revenue Improves Both Sequentially and Year-Over-Year, Stable Wireless Trends

Board Declares Regular Quarterly Dividend

SPRINGFIELD, Va.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Oct. 24, 2017— Spok Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPOK), a global leader in critical communications, today announced operating results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017. In addition, the Company’s Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share, payable on December 8, 2017 to stockholders of record on November 17, 2017.

2017 Third-Quarter Results:

In the 2017 third quarter, consolidated revenue was $43.6 million, up from $42.3 million in the second quarter of 2017. Software revenue was $18.5 million in the third quarter of 2017, up from $16.7 million in the prior quarter. Wireless revenue totaled $25.1 million in the third quarter, compared to $25.6 million in the prior quarter.

Net income for the third quarter of 2017 was $3.7 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared to $1.5 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2017.

Third quarter EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and accretion) totaled $6.1 million, or 14.0 percent of revenue, compared to EBITDA of $5.3 million, or 12.4 percent of revenue, in the second quarter of 2017.

Other key results and highlights for the third quarter included:

  • Software bookings for the 2017 third quarter were $18.3 million, in line with $18.7 million in the prior year quarter. Third quarter bookings included $9.0 million of operations bookings and $9.3 million of maintenance renewals.
  • Software backlog totaled $46.9 million at September 30, 2017, up nearly 8 percent from $43.5 million in the prior quarter, and up nearly 21 percent from $38.8 million in the third quarter of 2016.
  • Of the $18.5 million in software revenue for the third quarter, $8.8 million was operations revenue and $9.7 million was maintenance revenue, compared to $7.0 million and $9.7 million, respectively, of the $16.7 million in software revenue in the prior quarter.
  • The renewal rate for software maintenance in the third quarter of 2017 continued at greater than 99 percent.
  • The quarterly rate of paging unit erosion was 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2017, compared to 1.7 percent in the year-earlier quarter. Net paging unit losses were 23,000 in the third quarter of 2017, up from 20,000 in the third quarter of 2016. Paging units in service at September 30, 2017 totaled 1,063,000, compared to 1,124,000 at the end of the prior year quarter.
  • The quarterly rate of wireless revenue erosion was just over 2 percent in the third quarter of 2017 down from nearly 3 percent in the year-earlier quarter.
  • Total paging ARPU (average revenue per unit) was $7.48 in the third quarter of 2017, compared to $7.52 in the prior quarter and $7.63 in the year-earlier quarter.
  • Consolidated operating expenses (excluding depreciation, amortization and accretion) totaled $37.5 million in the third quarter of 2017, compared to $36.1 million in the year-earlier quarter, and in-line with $37.1 million in the prior quarter.
  • Capital expenses were $1.8 million in the third quarter of 2017, compared to $1.4 million in the year-earlier quarter.
  • The number of full-time equivalent employees at September 30, 2017 totaled 599, compared to 587 at year-end 2016 and 598 at September 30, 2016.
  • Capital returned to stockholders in the third quarter of 2017 totaled $2.5 million, in the form of dividends.
  • The Company’s cash balance at September 30, 2017 was $110.1 million, compared to $122.5 million at September 30, 2016, and $125.8 million at December 31, 2016.

Management Commentary:

“We are pleased with our performance in the third quarter of 2017. We generated strong levels of software revenue, maintained our industry-high renewal rates on maintenance contracts and saw stable performance in wireless revenue. We achieved this while making tremendous progress executing on our long-term strategy to move from offering our customers ‘point solutions’, or single-product solutions, for call center software, alarm management and secure messaging to offering them a single integrated platform called Spok Care Connect®,” said Vincent D. Kelly, chief executive officer. “Third quarter performance benefited from the investments we made to enhance and upgrade our product development team and tools, as well as our sales infrastructure and management. Throughout the remainder of 2017, and over the next several years, Spok will continue to make the necessary investments in the people, technology and marketing programs that positions the company for sustainable growth to generate long-term shareholder value.

“During the quarter, we saw strong performance in a number of key operating measures, sequential and year-over-year improvements in software revenue levels, and historical high revenue backlog levels. Noteworthy in the third quarter, was a more than 3 percent increase in total revenue from the prior quarter, as software revenue growth outpaced the anticipated decline in wireless revenue. This represents our second consecutive quarter of total revenue growth. Overall, we continued to operate profitably, enhance our product offerings, and further strengthen our balance sheet. In the third quarter, strong cash flow generation allowed us to execute against our capital allocation strategy while adding to our cash balances. We are excited by the momentum that our team generated in the period and remain confident as we head into the fourth quarter.”

Commenting on software results, Kelly said: “We were very pleased to see year-over-year and sequential improvements in software revenue levels in the third quarter. We believe that results such as these validate our transition strategy as we pivot to a company that offers industry-leading software solutions.” Kelly attributed the ability to improve from prior quarter and year software revenue levels to improvements in sales, product and software initiatives as well as a more than 99 percent renewal rate on software maintenance contracts. Similar to Spok’s wireless revenue stream, software maintenance revenue is a largely recurring revenue stream that provides the Company with a more stable revenue and margin base. Combining software maintenance and wireless revenue, nearly 80 percent of Spok’s revenue is recurring in nature.

Kelly said third quarter bookings of $18.3 million were in-line with bookings of $18.7 million in the prior year quarter, and included $9.0 million of operations bookings, up from $8.5 million in the year-earlier period. Additionally, software backlog of $46.9 million at September 30th was up on both a sequential and year-over-year basis and represents an historical high. “We are encouraged as bookings included sales to both new and current customers, with existing customers adding products and applications to expand their portfolio of communications solutions. Customer demand remained strongest for upgrades to call center solutions, healthcare applications to increase patient safety, and improved nursing workflows.” Kelly added: “We continue to see growing demand for our software solutions for critical smartphone communications, secure texting, and emergency management, as well as clinical alerting, and we are proud to be working with more than 1,900 hospitals.”

“During the quarter, we also initiated several new client relationships and were pleased to welcome nearly 20 new customers to the Spok family. Our success in generating new customer relationships is due in large part to our marketing efforts. In late September we participated in the Becker’s Hospital Review 3rd Annual Health IT & Revenue Cycle Conference, in Chicago. With more than 3,000 participants, Spok senior management, participated on speaking panels and continued to enhance our reputation with hospital C-Suites. We generated more than 160 new leads from the conference, a sharp increase from last year. Also, last week, Spok welcomed leaders from more than 100 hospitals to Connect 17, our annual conference for healthcare professionals. The event took place in New Orleans, providing a setting for healthcare clinicians, IT experts, and C-suite executives to explore the challenges and opportunities of using communication technology to improve patient outcomes. These conferences and the tradeshows we attend continue to be valuable opportunities for us to grow our brand, demonstrate thought-leadership and showcase the benefits of our integrated platform, Spok Care Connect.”

The Company posted solid results for its wireless products and services in the third quarter. Gross pager disconnects of 53,000 were down from the year-earlier quarter, while gross placements of 30,000 were down from 34,000 in the third quarter of 2016. “As a result of this performance and stable ARPU levels over the past few quarters, wireless revenue, on a trailing twelve-month basis, is down only 8 percent from last year. This compares favorably to the guidance range we had provided at the beginning of the year,” continued Kelly. “Overall, wireless sales efforts continued to focus primarily on our core market segments of Healthcare, Government and Large Enterprise, which represented 92.6 percent of our subscriber base and 91.2 percent of our wireless revenue in the third quarter. Healthcare comprised just over 80 percent of our subscriber base, and continued to be our best performing market segment with the highest rate of gross placements and lowest rate of unit disconnects.”

Spok returned capital to stockholders, totaling $2.5 million, in the third quarter of 2017, in the form of its regular quarterly dividend. Kelly added, “We are proud to continue our tradition of returning cash to our shareholders. Thus far, in 2017, we have returned nearly $23 million, in the form of dividends and share repurchases. We remain committed to our multi-faceted capital allocation strategy, which includes returning cash to shareholders and strategic investments in our business to generate long-term growth.”

Michael W. Wallace, chief financial officer, said: “Continued expense management and strong financial discipline have allowed us to invest in our business for long-term growth. Our ability to align our expense base with the market demand we are seeing and drive high renewal rates in our recurring revenue categories has helped Spok to mostly offset the more than 40 percent increase in research and development expenses over the past year to support the investments we are making in our sales and product platforms. Spok’s balance sheet remains strong, with a cash balance of $110.1 million at September 30, 2017, a nearly $3 million increase from the prior quarter. Also, we continue to operate as a debt-free company.”

Business Outlook:

Commenting on the Company’s previously provided financial guidance for 2017, Wallace noted: “As a result of the solid performance we saw in the third quarter, we are maintaining the 2017 guidance range that we provided at the beginning of the year. However, based on our year-to-date performance, we believe that we will come in at, or above, the midpoint of the revenue range and at the low-end of the expense range. We look forward to presenting our expectations for 2018 when we release our 2017 fourth quarter results.” Regarding financial guidance for 2017, Wallace reiterated that the Company expects total revenue to range from $161 million to $177 million, operating expenses (excluding depreciation, amortization and accretion) to range from $153 million to $159 million, and capital expenditures to range from $8 million to $12 million.

2017 Third-Quarter Call and Replay:

Spok plans to host a conference call for investors to discuss its 2017 third quarter results at 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, October 26, 2017. Dial-in numbers for the call are 888-349-9618 or 323-794-2093. The pass code for the call is 5731175. A replay of the call will be available from 1:00 p.m. ET on October 26, 2017 until 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2017. To listen to the replay, please register at Please enter the registration information, and you will be given access to the replay.

About Spok

Spok Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPOK), headquartered in Springfield, Va., is proud to be the global leader in healthcare communications. We deliver clinical information to care teams when and where it matters most to improve patient outcomes. Top hospitals rely on the Spok Care Connect® platform to enhance workflows for clinicians, support administrative compliance, and provide a better experience for patients. Our customers send over 100 million messages each month through their Spok® solutions. When seconds count, count on Spok. For more information, visit or follow @spoktweets on Twitter.

Spok is a trademark of Spok Holdings, Inc. Spok Care Connect and Spok Mobile are trademarks of Spok, Inc.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act: Statements contained herein or in prior press releases which are not historical fact, such as statements regarding Spok’s future operating and financial performance, are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause Spok’s actual results to be materially different from the future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expectations include, but are not limited to, declining demand for paging products and services, continued demand for our software products and services, our ability to develop additional software solutions for our customers and manage our development as a global organization, the ability to manage operating expenses, future capital needs, competitive pricing pressures, competition from both traditional paging services and other wireless communications services, competition from other software providers, government regulation, reliance upon third-party providers for certain equipment and services, unauthorized breaches or failures in cybersecurity measures adopted by us and/or included in our products and services, as well as other risks described from time to time in our periodic reports and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although Spok believes the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be attained. Spok disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

[Financial tables follow at the source.]

Source: Spok Holdings, Inc.  

Hark Technologies

hark logo

Wireless Communication Solutions

USB Paging Encoder

paging encoder

  • Single channel up to eight zones
  • Connects to Linux computer via USB
  • Programmable timeouts and batch sizes
  • Supports 2-tone, 5/6-tone, POCSAG 512/1200/2400, GOLAY
  • Supports Tone Only, Voice, Numeric, and Alphanumeric
  • PURC or direct connect
  • Pictured version mounts in 5.25" drive bay
  • Other mounting options available
  • Available as a daughter board for our embedded Internet Paging Terminal (IPT)

Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
  • Two contact closures
  • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

Other products

Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Hark Technologies
717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
Summerville, SC 29485
Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Web: left arrow CLICK

Hark Technologies


“Is Paging Going Away?” by Jim Nelson

  • Click here for English.
  • Click here for German. (Berlin Revision: November 8, 2016)
  • Click here for French.

Volunteers needed for translations into other languages.


Easy Solutions

easy solutions

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost-effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Contracts for Glenayre and other Systems starting at $100
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or e-mail us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119

Easy Solutions

Answers to Emergency Radio Failure and Allegations in St. Mary’s County, Still Unclear

October 26, 2017

On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, at 4:15 a.m., dispatchers at the St. Mary’s County Emergency Communications Center were made aware that Sheriff’s Office Deputies were unable to hear them. The computer system alerted dispatchers to several minor system alarms. Following protocol they then transitioned to their portable backup radios and said they were able to communicate with all field units. Additionally in accordance with protocol, dispatchers contacted a Radio Tech and Deputy Director of Emergency Services and Technology, Steve Walker to resolve the issues.

At approximately 6:30 a.m., the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Deputies and fire and EMS personnel were alert for a reported baby not breathing.

Field personnel at fire and EMS departments in the county were not notified of a problem with the system prior to the call at 6:30 a.m.

According to Shawn Davidson, Chief of the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad, at the time of the 911 call for service for the reported baby not breathing on Liberty Street in Lexington Park the radio system was still not operating properly. The alert tones that signal EMS volunteers to respond to a call failed to activate for providers in Lexington Park and the staffed ambulance crew was unaware of the call. Fire personnel were alerted by a third-party phone application. An ambulance was eventually made aware of the call and responded arriving 14 minutes after the initial units were dispatched.

Bay District Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Robert Wahrenbrock also expressed his concern over the lack of notification of the communications system failure. “It would have been the easiest thing to let us know we needed to monitor for calls,” he said. Wahrenbrock confirmed that the fire department’s official alert system connected to the county’s dispatch system did not work either. He continued, “If we didn’t have Active 911 plugged into our station systems my guys would have never known.”

Shawn Davidson, chief of the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad also expressed frustration. “It’s not like they don’t know how to contact every EMS and fire chief in the county to let us know there’s a problem,” Davidson said. “The only reason our crew knew about the call was that the driver happened to pass through the radio room and hear a request for response from the ambulance. He advised the dispatch center that he would respond as soon as his crew was ready and sent a crew member to alert the provider in charge to the call so they could go.”

The Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad is involved in 49% of dispatches in St. Mary’s County. They staff two crews 24/7/365 and were dispatched nearly 7,500 times in fiscal 2017. There was a staffed unit available and reported to the dispatch center at the time of the call Tuesday morning.

“We can’t go to calls we don’t know about,” Davidson said. “But,” he continued “the problem is bigger than a single incident. I have been saying privately for years and publicly since July that leadership change was necessary at ES&T. I’ve had private conversations with commissioners and the county administrator expressing my concerns and frustration with obstruction and lack of communication from the director.”

Davidson says that the most unfortunate thing about the call Tuesday morning that has garnered so much attention is that it isn’t the real problem but rather a symptom of systemic problems that volunteers in St. Mary’s County have been raising issues about for a very long time. He says that when volunteers instigated a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis the director of Emergency Services & Technology refused to participate. He went on, “We have identified weakness in our system and devised solutions only to have the solutions delayed or scuttled outright by the director. We have watched the director sideline and marginalize competent career public servants through a combination of micromanagement and threats. All these concerns have been expressed to various government officials to no avail.”

Davidson went on to say, the original combination of Emergency Services with Information Technologies was undertaken by the St Mary’s County Commissioners as a cost cutting measure that eliminated a director-level salary from the budget. Since then the addition of a deputy director’s position has limited the cost effectiveness of that step. “There is a widely held belief that Mr. Kelly was installed in his current position and has been protected in it due to his friendship with Commissioner Morgan,”. He says that Morgan (R – Lexington Park/California) is one of the commissioners he’s expressed concerns to over the length of his tenure who appears to ignore any concerns expressed to him about Mr. Kelly’s performance.

“Commissioner O’Connor seems to be the only one willing to actually look at the problems we’re facing and take steps to correct the issues that led to the kind of system failure we saw this week,” Davidson said.

Reached for comment, Commissioner John O’Connor (R-Avenue/Mechanicsville/Charlotte Hall) said, “My thoughts and prayers are with the family during their time of loss. Not a soul on earth should have to suffer such a tragedy.” When asked about the concerns expressed by fire and EMS leaders he said “The situation being brought to light by the fire and rescue community are staggering, and are being taken very seriously.”

Davidson expressed support for the idea of outside investigators looking into the failure Tuesday morning. “Fundamentally the county government is trying to protect itself,” he said. “If they don’t want the impression of clouding facts, searching for excuses and attempting to scapegoat whomever they need someone outside looking in to be transparent. Maybe then they’ll see the need to fix fundamental flaws. This shouldn’t be a question.”

Wahrenbrock agrees. “This situation should have never happened,” he said. “Responders should have been told the radio system was not working properly so we could adapt. That was a management decision from the director. So someone he can’t influence needs to look at it.”

When asked for the best solution both chiefs agreed: replace the Director of the Department of Emergency Services and Technology. “Mr. Kelly is a good man,” Davidson said, “but he isn’t the right man to be the ultimate word on public safety in St. Mary’s County.”

The St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services and Technology Offered the following response regarding the October 24 Radio System Operations.

The St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services and Technology has received a number of inquiries regarding the emergency communications radio system on the morning of October 24. The department has completed an initial investigation.

At approximately 0415 hours on October 24, 2017 Emergency Communications Dispatchers received a radio communication from a deputy. Staff responded to the unit however no response confirming the transmission was received. Police dispatchers noticed when attempting to key up on the console there was a delay that is not usually there. Other sheriff’s units attempted to radio in and were unable to hear us answering them back. Sheriff’s Office Headquarters was able to acknowledge their messages.

The computer system alerted dispatchers to several minor system alarms. Immediately we transitioned to our portable backup radios and were able to communicate with all field units. Contact was made with the Radio Tech and the Deputy Director Steve Walker. Tests pages were performed which confirmed an issue with paging. At 0434, the 9-1-1 center received a call for a Residential Fire Alarm — this call was dispatched with paging tones broadcasted successfully via the back-up paging system.

A staff member was sent to the back-up 9-1-1 center and confirmed that the consoles at this site were also impacted.

At approximately 0550 the Radio Technician arrived at the 9-1-1 Center and began troubleshooting. Several tests with audio and page tones were performed with successful tones transmitted to Forestry and Fire Company 9’s page tones from the console. The Technician advised to restart our console radios. At this time dispatching from the consoles was resumed.

At 0635 a CPR in Progress call was received at our 9-1-1 Center. Communications received a call regarding a 2 week old male unresponsive and not breathing. Dispatchers initiated EMD and began assisting the caller and immediately began alerting the FIRE/EMS response assignment. St. Mary’s County utilizes multiple systems to alert our First Responders of a Call for Service — Page Tones, Text Messages, and Active 9-1-1 notices. The Alerts were broadcasted at 0636 to Fire Company 3, EMS Station 39, and Advance Life Support. At 0637 St. Mary’s County Sheriff and Maryland State Police are simulcast dispatched. Brush3 reports enroute at 0639. Safe3 reports enroute at 0640. Medic3 and Sheriff’s Deputy report enroute at 0641. In accordance with dispatching protocol at 0642 the Duty Ambulance (Station 39) is challenged (second attempt). At 0642 Station 39 responds that they are waiting for Primary Care (PC) — dispatchers contact Pax River requesting Paramedic Ambulance from the base. Sheriff Unit reports on location at 0643 and alerts are broadcasted to Station 38, Company 6 Ambulance, Ambulance 139 and tones resounded for EMS Station 39 Duty Crew. Safety 3 arrives on scene and begins CPR at 0643. A139(BLS) and A399 report enroute at 0645. A399 arrived on-scene at 0649. * time stamps below

While on the phone, dispatch confirmed that the child was not breathing and began giving the caller CPR instructions for an infant. The caller advised another occupant of the residence was performing CPR. Using EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch), the dispatcher went over the instructions with the caller to make sure they were performing CPR correctly. While being assisted with Pre Arrival Instructions, the caller terminated the phone call. Immediate attempts to regain communication with the residence where unsuccessful.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this infant. Our community works very hard to provide the best response possible to every call for help received at the 9-1-1 center. Dispatchers, Police, Fire, and EMS constantly train and are always seeking ways to improve our response. We continually conduct comprehensive reviews of policies and system performance.

* (Time Stamps)

  • 0635 – 911 call from 21627 Liberty Street. Call lasted 2:39 sec
  • 0636 – Dispatched Co3, Duty Ambulance St39, ALS
  • 0637 – Simulcast Sheriff units on Sheriff Main
  • 0637 – Simulcast MSP units on MSP Channel
  • 0638 – Co3 awaiting a driver on E32 Portable
  • 0638 – Safety 3B to the station
  • 0639 – Brush 3 responding
  • 0640 – Safety 3B to the scene
  • 0641 – Medic 3 to the scene
  • 0641 – Sheriff unit P270 in area attempting to locate
  • 0642 – Challenge Duty Ambulance to respond
  • 0642 – St 39 awaiting PC
  • 0642 – CS Martin call NDW Dispatch to request Paramedic Ambulance off of Pax River
  • 0643 – Sheriff units on location
  • 0643 – Station 38, Co6 Ambulance, Ambulance 139 alerted to call. Resound tones for 39 Duty Crew
  • 0643 – Safety 3 on scene
  • 0643 – Safety 3 with CPR
  • 0645 – A139 responding BLS only
  • 0645 – A399 responding
  • 0646 – Station 39 and Ambulance Co6 Cancelled
  • 0648 – A139 placed in service due to their location
  • 0649 – A399 on scene 0651 – Co3 units ready
  • 0651 – A399 Priority 1 to MSMH
  • 0651 – CS Martin notified MSMH ER of incoming patient
  • 0656 – Medic 3 on A399 in route to MSMH Priority 1 CPR
  • 0710 – Patent arrived at MSMH
Source: Southern Maryland News Net  

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Extreme Networks CEO Ed Meyercord On The Difference Between Extreme And Cisco

by Kyle Alspach on October 25, 2017, 11:40 am EDT

Networking vendor Extreme Networks is taking aim at the No. 1 player in the market, Cisco, with some sharp criticisms of Cisco's acquisition and product strategies. In an interview with CRN during Extreme's 2017 Global Partner Summit, Extreme Networks CEO Ed Meyercord said that Cisco has paid "crazy" prices for certain acquisitions and that some of the company's products are "science fair stuff."

Extreme has made a recent string of asset acquisitions from companies including Avaya and Brocade for $210 million in total, but the vendor remains focused on its core business of enterprise networking, Meyercord told CRN during the conference in Orlando, Fla.

"We're not going to chase shiny objects. That's what Cisco does. We're going to let Cisco do that," Meyercord said. "They pay crazy prices for technology that they feel they need, and then the bet is that they have this massive distribution, and then they're going to go sell it. It might work for them—I think most times it doesn't. But in our case, we're not going to go chasing shiny objects, silver bullets."

In recent years, he said, Extreme has re-organized itself to focus on what it believes customers and partners are most interested in.

Ed Meyercord

"It's different from our competitors, that I would say are more engineering-focused perhaps, in terms of creating products—some of them science fair stuff—pushing them out to customers. And it's not always in the customer's best interest," Meyercord said. "But if you're a big company like Cisco, you can do that."

While competitors such as Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are certainly pursuing the enterprise networking market, "they're focused everywhere else," he added.

At Extreme Networks, "we have a [market] share opportunity, where a small share point has a big impact on our business. It's a big opportunity for us," Meyercord said.

If all goes well in terms of working with partners, he said, "we can pick off some share points and take share and create some nice growth at Extreme."

Source: CRN TV  


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Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Volume 5 | Issue 211

Governor Blames Traveler’s Death on Poor Cell Coverage

Earlier this year, northern Maine resident Arthur Brissette died on the side of the road after his car became stuck in a snowbank. Now, Maine Gov. Paul LePage is speaking out against the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regarding their response to Brissette’s death, blaming the quality of cell phone coverage and wireless 911 availability in northern Maine.

The Fiddlehead Focus reported during the incident this January, Brissette tried over a dozen times to reach emergency services, but his cell phone never picked up a signal. After walking a half mile to find help and attempting to dig out his vehicle, he collapsed. According to his widow, Lisa Brissette, unreliable cell service added nearly a half hour to the response time of emergency medical services, who were unable to revive her husband.

Mrs. Brissette wrote a letter to Gov. LePage and U.S. Senators in the state, noting, “Even if there is no service in certain areas, 911 should always be available.”

In fact, all wireless carriers in Maine are required to connect to the state’s 911 system. However, calls need to first reach the 911 system, which is an issue in areas where “dead zones” … an unfortunate but standard industry term … exist.

In response to Mrs. Brissette’s letter, LePage questioned which agency could best evaluate the quality of 911 and cell phone service and was not pleased with the response by PUC General Counsel Michael Tannenbaum. “For a mobile phone user, the ability to connect to the wireless network depends on signal strength and line of sight range to the nearest cell provider tower. Signal strength of a user’s handset can also be affected by battery strength and handset type or conditions of use, such as dense forest, inside buildings or beside buildings, and even weather,” noted Tannenbaum.

To blame Brissette’s death on such factors is “unconscionable,” wrote LePage. “It happened because cellular coverage in that area is spotty, unreliable and often nonexistent.”

While Maine does have a statewide Next Generation 911 system that interfaces with all telephone service providers, areas with less than ideal coverage do exist, Tannenbaum conceded in his response to Morris. The challenge is that PUC has little control over the matter. “In low-density population areas, it is a business decision of the wireless company on how many towers to place for coverage, and where to point their directional antenna, and the company’s choices may leave weakly covered areas or even gaps,” he wrote.

Tannenbaum said the PUC was developing mapping that depicts cell towers and approximate coverage areas. But the Maine PUC, “does not have the regulatory authority to order wireless providers to expand coverage with investments in a given area,” as wireless providers are regulated by the FCC rather than any state agency.

As a next step, Tannenbaum noted that FirstNet is being deployed over the next few years.

Telecom-Laid Fiber Network Doubles as Seismic Monitor

Scientists are hoping the fibers millions of people use to communicate can also be used to monitor incoming earthquakes. Although less sensitive than the seismometers currently used by scientists, Biondo Biondi, a professor of geophysics at Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, says the fibers are an inexpensive method to monitor vast areas. “We can continuously listen to–and hear well–the Earth using pre-existing optical fibers that have been deployed for telecom purposes,” Biondi said. According to Laser Focus World, Biondi plans to turn San Francisco’s fiber network into an earthquake observatory.

For the past year, Biondi has studied how the stresses of seismic events affect fiber strands, and how these movements can be used to gather information on the size and direction of these events. So far, researchers are using a three mile optical fiber loop on the Stanford, CA campus for studies.

Laser interrogators monitor the cables, and gather the information the cable ‘sensors’ provide. Biondi claims, “Every meter of optical fiber in our network acts like a sensor and costs less than a dollar to install. You will never be able to create a network using conventional seismometers with that kind of coverage, density and price.”

Optical fibers are also used to monitor pipelines and wells in the oil and gas industry. As light travels down these fibers, impurities create a backscatter signal that can be interpreted into quality information. An entire Bay Area-wide seismic network is the dream for Biondi and other scientists. The next step in the study is proving the technology can be used efficiently on an urban scale.

Source: Inside Towers newsletter Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers.

BloostonLaw Newsletter

Selected portions [sometimes more — sometimes less] of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section of The Wireless Messaging News with kind permission from the firm. The firm's contact information is included at the end of this section of the newsletter.

 BloostonLaw Telecom Update Vol. 20, No. 44 October 25, 2017 

REMINDER: LNP NPAC Users Must Register by October 31

On October 24, the FCC released a Public Notice reminding all entities that use the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) that the process to transition operation of the NPAC from Neustar to Telcordia Technologies, Inc. d/b/a iconectiv (iconectiv) is underway, and that all entities that use the NPAC, including providers of telecommunications and telecommunications-related services, Service Bureaus, law enforcement/public safety agencies, and users of Wireless Do-Not-Call services, must register with iconectiv. In addition, end users that access the NPAC through a Service Bureau should contact their Service Bureaus to ensure that their providers are registered and ready for the transition.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.


FCC Proposes Significant Changes to Priority Access Licenses in the 3.5 GHz Band

At its October Open Meeting, the FCC yesterday adopted a NPRM proposing significant changes to an innovative licensing framework it adopted in 2015 for the 150 megahertz of spectrum between 3550-3700 MHz (the 3.5 GHz Band) otherwise known as the Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service (or “CBRS”). If adopted, the proposed changes would make it easier for nationwide incumbents to dominate 3.5 GHz PAL licensing and take away business opportunities – including opportunities to offer 5G services in niche markets — that might otherwise be available for rural carriers and other competitive service providers.

Proposed changes in the NPRM (FCC 17-134), which were prompted by Petitions for Rulemaking that were filed back in June by T-Mobile and CTIA, include longer PAL license terms with the possibility of renewal (10- year licenses with renewal expectancy as opposed to 3-year non-renewable); much larger geographic areas (e.g., “Partial Economic Areas” (PEA) licenses instead of census tract licenses); as well as modifications to the rules governing license auctions, secondary market transactions and certain technical rules. The Commission cites to the likelihood that the 3.5 GHz band will be used as a core component of next generation (i.e., 5G) network deployments, and the need to create incentives for investment, as its justification for considering these changes.

“I am personally supportive of increasing the market sizes from census tracts, which will reduce auction complexity, administrative burdens, and interference concerns,” said FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who has taken the lead on the 3.5 GHz item. “But, I recognize that there are many different views, so I look forward to hearing from all interested parties on this issue.”

While some of these changes — such as extending the PAL license term and providing a renewal expectancy — would seem to make sense as a way to promote long-term investment by traditional commercial wireless carriers (e.g., companies that have deployed wide-area mobile networks), we believe that 3.5 GHz PALs should remain available and accessible to the widest possible range of potential applicants, and the licensing framework should continue to promote a wide variety of different use cases.

An early draft of the 3.5 GHz item suggested that the Commission was initially planning to propose that all PALs be licensed on a PEA basis. However, thanks largely to efforts by Commissioner Clyburn’s office, the Commission has tempered its proposal and is seeking comment on a blended approach that could retain census blocks or use counties (which also nest into PEAs) as the basis for licensing some of the PALs.

“I would have preferred that the majority not launch this NPRM because it sets the Commission down a path to undo rule provisions for the band that already are fueling investment in innovative wireless services that promise to bring broadband to unserved areas and more competition to the commercial wireless market,” said Commissioner Clyburn in a written statement. “Recognizing that Internet-of-things and 5G services would require the use of small cells that serve more targeted areas, the Commission properly determined that a census tract was the more appropriate license size for PALs, with a shorter license term, and no expectation of renewability.”

Comments on the 3.5 GHz NPRM will be due 30 days after Federal Register publication, with reply comments due 60 days after Federal Register publication. We are currently reviewing the fine print of the Commission’s 3.5 GHz proposals, and plan to circulate draft comments for our clients review and input in the coming weeks.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell, John Prendergast

FCC Encourages Voluntary Adoption of Network Reliability Best Practices

On October 19, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice encouraging small and rural communications service providers to review and consider implementing, where appropriate, best practices recommended by the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), a federal advisory committee to the FCC, to improve network reliability. Please note that participation is recommended by the FCC, but remains voluntary.

CSRIC has identified 23 of the most recurring best practices (click here for the full list) reported in NORS outage reports during the last five years as filed by small and rural communications providers. Providers cited these best practices in their final reports as ones which may have helped to prevent such outages had they been implemented. However, the FCC recognizes that these 23 best practices do not reflect an exhaustive list of applicable best practices as small and rural communications providers may implement other best practices not reflected in this list.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.

FCC Announces Webinar on Mobility Fund Phase II Challenge Process

On October 18, the FCC’s Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force announced that it will host a webinar about the proposed Mobility Fund Phase II challenge process on November 1, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. Topics covered in the webinar will include:

  • proposed procedures for generating the initial map of areas eligible for MF-II support;
  • requirements for provider-approved handsets;
  • requirements for speed tests and response evidence;
  • how submitted challenge and response evidence is evaluated by the automated system validations; and
  • information about accessing the challenge process portal.

The webinar will be streamed live with open captioning over the Internet. The web address, login, and dial-in information can be found on the “MF-II Challenge Process Webinar” event page: events/2017/11/mf-ii-challenge-process-webinar. Before and during the event, questions can be emailed to After the event, a recording of the workshop will be available for streaming from the event page. The e-mail address will remain available for questions. Participation in the webinar is not a per-requisite for participating in the proceeding or for applying to bid in the auction, but we strongly encourage potential applicants to view the event. Comments on the proposed challenge process are due on November 8, and reply comments are due on November 29.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.

Law & Regulation

House to Hold Hearing on FCC Oversight

On October 18, the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on Wednesday, October 25, entitled “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission.” Witnesses for the hearing will include the five sitting FCC Commissioners: Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner Michael O’Reilly, Commissioner Brendan Carr, and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

The main issues to be discussed at the hearing include Net Neutrality, progress on the broadcaster repacking process under the Spectrum Act of 2012, administration of the Lifeline program; reducing media ownership regulation; FirstNet implementation; general FCC process reform; FCC emergency response performance; and the FCC reauthorization since its last authorization in 1990.

The hearing webcast will be available at

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.

Order Eliminating Certain Rules and Telegraph References Effective November 20

On October 20, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Report and Order of September 8, in which it officially removed regulations from which it had previously granted unconditional forbearance for all carriers, as well as references to telegraph service from certain sections of the FCC’s rules.

Specifically, the FCC eliminated the following rules, from which it has unconditionally forborn as a result of the 2013 USTelecom Forbearance Order: (1) sections 42.4, 42.5, and 42.7, which required carriers to preserve certain records; (2) section 64.1, which governed traffic damage claims for carriers engaged in radio-telegraph, wire-telegraph, or ocean-cable service; (3) section 64.301, which required carriers to provide communications services to foreign governments for international communications; (4) section 64.501, which governed telephone companies’ obligations when recording telephone conversations; (5) section 64.804(c)-(g), which governed a carrier’s recordkeeping and other obligations when it extended unsecured credit for communications services to candidates for federal office; and (6) section 64.5001(a)-(c)(2), and (c)(4), which imposed certain reporting and certification requirements on prepaid calling card providers.

Additionally, the FCC removed references to “telegraph service” from the following sections: Section 36.126 of the Separations Rules; Section 54.706(a)(13) of the Universal Service Rules; and all of the Part 63 Discontinuance, Reduction, Outage and Impairment Rules.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy.

VRS Improvements Order Effective October 17

On October 17, the FCC published in the Federal Register the approval of the Office of Management and Budget of its information collection found in the Report and Order, Notice of Inquiry, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order in which it amends the Commission’s rules to implement an at-home call handling pilot program and to permit VRS providers to assign telephone numbers to hearing individuals for point-to-point video communications. The amendments are effective immediately.

As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the Report and Order authorized a voluntary trial of skills-based routing by any of the currently certified VRS providers, for calls pertaining to legal, medical, and technical computer support, to be conducted for a period of eight months under certain conditions. In the same eight-month trial period, the FCC will also conduct a voluntary trial of the provision of deaf interpreters for VRS calls. The FCC also amended its rules to authorize a voluntary pilot program of at-home VRS call handling, subject to specified safeguards, for a twelve-month period, beginning November 1, 2017, and ending November 1, 2018. During this period, in any month of the program, a participating VRS provider may be compensated for minutes served by at-home communications assistant workstations.

In the Notice of Inquiry, the FCC sought comment on establishing performance goals and service quality metrics to evaluate the efficacy of the VRS program, so that the FCC might make objective determinations about the extent to which the VRS program is providing functionally equivalent communication services and in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

In the FNPRM, the FCC proposed a four-year plan for VRS compensation, an amendment to permit server-based routing of VRS and point-to-point video calls, safeguards around who may use enterprise and public VRS videophones, and an amendment to allow customer service support centers to access the TRS Numbering Directory for direct video calling. The FCC also seeks comment on whether to direct the TRS Fund administrator to continue to request funding for research and development, whether to prohibit non-service related inducements to register for or use VRS, and whether to prohibit the use of non-compete provisions in VRS CA employment contracts.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.


West Virginia Deputy Solicitor General Named FCC General Counsel

On October 19, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the appointment of Thomas M. Johnson, Jr. as FCC General Counsel. When Mr. Johnson joins the FCC next week, Acting General Counsel Nick Degani will transition back to his role as senior counsel in the Office of Chairman Pai.

Mr. Johnson will join the Commission from his position as deputy solicitor general for West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Mr. Johnson has also worked at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and as a law clerk for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

The Office of General Counsel serves as the chief legal advisor to the Commission and its various bureaus and offices. The Office of General Counsel also represents the Commission in litigation, recommends decisions in adjudicatory matters before the Commission, assists the Commission in its decision-making capacity, and performs a variety of legal functions regarding internal and other administrative matters.


NOVEMBER 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.

Calendar At-A-Glance

Oct. 26 – Comments are due on Intercarrier Compensation Reform Public Notice. Oct. 26 – Comments are due on Streamlining Complaint Processes NPRM. Oct. 30 – Comments are due on UI accessibility compliance deadline. Oct. 31 – Deadline for NPAC transition registration.

Nov. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Nov. 1 – Reply comments are due on Mid-Band Spectrum NOI.
Nov. 9 – Reply comments are due on the Competition in Video Programming Report.
Nov. 13 – Extended deadline for EAS test participants in Hurricane areas to file ETRS Form Two.
Nov. 13 – Deadline for EAS test participants to file ETRS Form Three.
Nov. 13 – Reply comments are due on Intercarrier Compensation Reform Public Notice.
Nov. 13 – Reply comments are due on Streamlining Complaint Processes NPRM.
Nov. 13 – Reply comments are due on UI accessibility compliance deadline.
Nov. 13 – Comments are due on the Maintenance of Copies of FCC Rules proceeding.
Nov. 13 – Comments are due on Revisions to Reporting Requirements for HAC Mobile Handsets.
Nov. 13 – Comments are due on Toll Free Assignment Modernization proceeding.
Nov. 24 – Deadline for petitions to suspend or reject 15-day price cap access charge tariff revisions.
Nov. 27 – Reply comments are due on the Maintenance of Copies of FCC Rules proceeding.
Nov. 27 – Reply comments are due on Revisions to Reporting Requirements for HAC Mobile Handsets.
Nov. 29 – Deadline for petitions to suspend or reject 7-day price cap access charge tariff revisions.

Dec. 1 – Biennial Ownership Report filing window opens (Form 323 and 323-E).
Dec. 12 – Comments are due on Toll Free Assignment Modernization proceeding.
Dec. 31 – Carriers receiving CAF Phase II funding must complete deployment to at least 40 percent of supported locations in each state (the interim build-out milestone).

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm.


Harold Mordkofsky, 202-828-5520,
Benjamin H. Dickens, Jr., 202-828-5510,
Gerard J. Duffy, 202-828-5528,
John A. Prendergast, 202-828-5540,
Richard D. Rubino, 202-828-5519,
Mary J. Sisak, 202-828-5554,
D. Cary Mitchell, 202-828-5538,
Salvatore Taillefer, Jr., 202-828-5562,

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Anna Clendening, a 20-year-old singer overcomes her anxiety disorder to connect with the judges and audience in a moving performance.

Source: YouTube  

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