Broadcast Engineering Consulting Services RFP: Coverage Area Population and Contour Overlap Analyses

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June 24, 2021

Request for Proposals

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) regularly uses public television and radio station coverage area population data, density, demographics, and maps to inform grant-making decisions and public media policy decisions. Accordingly, CPB is seeking proposals from broadcast engineering consulting firms with public television and radio expertise (Consultant) to provide coverage area analyses, contour overlap data, and demographic population analyses for public broadcasting stations receiving or applying for Community Service Grant (CSG) funding from CPB. Consultant must provide most of the required analyses within ten business days of CPB’s request.

There are 397 public radio CSG recipients representing 1,172 radio stations, and 158 public television CSG recipients representing 356 public television stations. Consequently, CSG recipients may have more than one transmitter and translator, and the numbers of each may vary from year to year.

CPB will compensate Consultant on a fixed fee basis for the coverage area population studies described in more detail below and on an hourly basis for custom studies, over a two-year contract term. All payments will be disbursed to Consultant upon receipt and approval of deliverables (“studies”). The contract will be renewable at CPB’s sole discretion for up to two additional two-year terms to provide the same or similar services.

Please download the Request for Proposals below for detailed information, including application requirements.
PDF icon Request for Proposals277.35 KB

Questions from Potential Respondents, with CPB Answers:

FAQ Topic: 

The radio study Longley-Rice study needs to identify the radius for the area of evaluation (AOE). Please provide the AOE desired or indicate whether a particular contour value should be used and please specify it.

All Longley-Rice radio studies would be ad hoc and the specifics for the studies would be discussed upon request.

Does CPB only require that we include unique population based upon contour analysis for DTV stations?

Use the Longley-Rice Method as indicated in Section III of the RFP.

Will CPB provide a list of preliminary CSG recipients from the previous year or report so that significant work can be executed before the official request is made?

Yes, we will send the consultant the list of grantees and associated transmitters and translators.

Should the NL service contour be used or the protected contour?

Please use the contour methods specified in the RFP’s workscope.

Is a single number for population density what is sought for the Population Analyses in the Annual CAP Analyses?

No, we are looking for the data points listed in Section III (1)(B) as shown below.
“The population analysis is a tabulation of the unique, unduplicated coverage, water excluded coverage area, population, population density, demographic data, unique population1 number, unique population percentage, and the unique population category per the table below. For public television stations, Consultant must also include columns showing urban, urban cluster, and rural population counts.”

Please clarify better what CPB expects here. Perhaps an example would be beneficial. The previous answer to the question on the website does not contain enough information to determine what is required.

Within the excel report provided to CPB, please link a change to one grantee’s coverage area population to all other impacted grantees. Example: if a station’s transmitter is moved and that move impacts the unique coverage area population of five other stations, the report should highlight that impact .

What would the new data be compared to or is CPB providing data which the variances can be determined from?

The data that you generate next year will be compared to the data that we generated this year using the 2010 United States decennial census and FCC data.

Can you please clarify what you mean by “variances of 4% impacting TV stations in the study” and “variances of any size impacting radio stations”?

We are looking for year over year variances in population, land area and unique population.

Are population details required for each translator, whether they are a “fill-in” translator or Digital Replacement Translator (DRT) for TV stations as well as the main stations and translators outside the primary station contour?

We need enough population detail to give us the aggregate picture for each CSG recipient ; however, we will need to resolve issues by looking at populations for each translator.

Are both the Annual Coverage Analyses and the National Coverage Maps due at the same time or are they expected to be produced over separate 10-day timelines?

We do not expect to request the Annual Coverage Analyses and the National Coverage Maps within the same time frame.

Our interpretation of the Workscope defined in this RFP is that the fixed price portion of the bid should only cover the requirements described in the RFP Workscope under Section (1.) Annual CAP Analysis and Section (2.) National Coverage Maps. Sections (3.) Coverage Area Studies and Section (4.) Custom Studies are excluded from the fixed price portion of the bid. Is this correct? If not please explain?

Correct, the ad hoc coverage area and custom studies are excluded from the fixed price services. The coverage area population studies are those provided at a fixed price.

Are contours and pop counts/demographics for any translator linked to a PARENT AM required?


Are contours and pop counts/demographics for any translator contained within the 60DBU of their PARENT FM required? For translators linked to an HD-2/3/4 channel?

The unduplicated population within the contours of both transmitters and translators are required.

Can you clarify the approximate translator count for the following breakdown: FM Translators for FM stations, FM Translators for AM stations and TV Translators/LPTVs?

There are approximately 1,494 translators in use. We do not have numbers for the requested breakdown.

Can you share an example of a previous year’s spreadsheet deliverable for the Annual CAP Analysis?

No, due to the type of information included in the report, we will not share it except with the retained consultant.

Can you share any examples of poster-size nationwide maps that can also be reviewed satisfactorily at the “micro” level?

No, we do not have an example that we can share. We can state that the ideal map would show grantees at the macro level and on the micro level it would show transmitters, translators as well as any contour area overlap.

Can you clarify, approximately when during a given year do you expect the Annual CAP Analysis to be requested?

We typically request the Annual Cap Analysis in April or May.

How much lead time would be given before trigger of the 10-day period?

The Annual CAP Analysis would be due 10 business days after receiving a written request from CPB.

Would AM stations be considered a unique category from FM stations or would service duplication (and unique population served) need to be evaluated between AM and FM stations together?

AM stations are not considered a unique category from FM stations, service duplication and unique population served must be evaluated jointly between AM and FM stations.

TVStudy does not have any demographic data associated with its population data – only households – is this acceptable?

We require demographic data for TV in the Annual CAP Analysis. Demographic data can be accessed by using the latest United Sates decennial census data. Please refer to Section III of the RFP for the required categories.

Are the demographics for each station required to be grouped together so that the aggregate cover of the licensee’s system be shown or should it be shown by each individual station.

Please group demographics by the grantee , by station and in aggregate by grantee.

Can google earth be used as a base map? Can the mapping product be a KML file?

CPB uses primarily Microsoft Suite and has limited ability to open graphic-intensive files from other software companies. Therefore, all electronic files must be compatible with this Suite.

Are FM translators for AM stations included in this study? Would they be grouped with other FM translators – or would CPB like the FM translators linked to an AM to be shown separately along with their AM parent?

Consultant must show FM translators by CSG recipient. Whether those translators are linked to an AM station will be identified in the recipient’s profile, which will be made available to Consultant.

We had a question on the Annual CAP Analysis: Item III of the Annual CAP Analysis Work Scope notes that for each CGS recipient the Consultant will “provide the ZIP Code Tabulation Areas". Can you please elaborate on what data CPB expects to see in the spreadsheet for this item? Is it a tabulation of ZCTA’s that are completely or partially within the coverage area/contour with covered population data broken down by ZCTA?

Yes, the tabulation of ZCTAs should cover those completely and partially within the coverage area/contour with covered population data broken down by ZCTA.

The RFP requires using TVStudy for the TV calculations, it does not mention "interference free" coverage as being a requirement, are you only looking for the "terrain limited" coverage?

At a minimum, we are looking for the “terrain limited” coverage and we may later require interference-free information on select stations.

Does this opportunity exist for stations that are not currently CSG Recipients?

CPB encourages firms with the requisite experience to submit their proposals which CPB will evaluate based on the criteria set forth in Section V.

At any given time, radio and TV stations have “modifications” and/or “CP’s” (Construction Permits) on file. Does CPB want us to run maps and coverage studies not only for the LICENSED sites but proposed modifications or movements on file with the FCC?

Typically the study would not include proposed modifications. It should include all implemented modifications up to the date on which the study is conducted.

Can you elaborate on the statement below? “Provide a mechanism that links changes in one station that affects multiple other stations in the spreadsheet to explain the impact of these changes throughout the public broadcasting system.”

If for example, a station adds or removes a transmitter, you would show the impact or cascading effects on other stations.

Is there any additional detail as to how they would like this packaged?

You can email files to us or place them in a shared drive, similar to DropBox.

Exactly how many AM, FM, FM Translator stations are to be included in the map runs?

Approximately 1,543 radio and TV stations are operating transmitters and there are approximately 1,494 translators in use.

For the Coverage area studies noted in section 3 of the RFP, are these on-demand studies or are they to be delivered with the National Coverage Map?

Yes, these are on-demand studies.

For the AM stations, does CPB expect an NIF map depicting nighttime coverage in addition to day coverage?


For the National Coverage Map: Is it expected that the AM, FM, FM translators, and TV stations will be displayed on their own respective maps?


Please identify the exact FCC methodology to be used for AM, FM, and TV (70dbu/60dbu/2mv/5mv/etc.)

Radio: The population within a station’s coverage area based on contours specified by CPB (consistent with the rules and policies of the Federal Communications Commission) and the most recent population data published by the U.S. Census Bureau. A station’s coverage area is defined by the primary signal coverage standard of 1mV/m (60 dBu) for FM and 5mV/m (73.979 dBu) daytime, ground wave for AM.
TV: Please use the Longley-Rice method using FCC’s TV Study software for digital television.

Does the data need to be transmitted in any format other than printed materials? If so, which formats?

All information should be transmitted electronicallay with data presented in Excel spreadsheets and narrative reports presented as Word documents.

The RFP appears to indicate CPB expects the Annual CAP Analyses study completed for 1500 stations over a period of 10 business days from start to finish. Is this correct?

Yes- we anticipate the final result would be presented in an Excel spreadsheet representing all 1,500 stations.