NAB Insider - March 02, 2004

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News from the Convention

Oprah Winfrey to Receive NAB Distinguished Service Award

NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts will give the annual state-of-the-industry address and Oprah Winfrey will receive the 2004 Distinguished Service Award from the NAB during the All-Industry Opening on Monday, April 19. Each year the award recognizes broadcasters who have made significant and lasting contributions to the broadcasting industry.

Sam Donaldson and Michael Powell Face-off at NAB2004

ABC News anchor and radio host Sam Donaldson will interview FCC chairman Michael Powell in a one-on-one setting for the FCC Chairman's Breakfast on Tuesday April 20.

The Donaldson/Powell match-up has been a highlight of the convention in previous years.

The FCC Chairman's Breakfast is part of the 12th annual NAB Business, Law and Regulation Conference.

New Products from the Floor

Wheatstone Generation 8

Booth N2802

This control surface offers four faders dedicated specifically to call-in segments to provide error-free interface to four callers or remotes, each with independent caller feed, independent fader feed,user-selectable talkback communication and adjacent channel linking. A dedicated LCD display screen keeps the operator informed and in control. One CAT-5 wire conveys all the control from this surface to Wheatstone's Bridge System. Users can bring any system audio source (inputs or mixes) to any console fader or monitor pot (source visibility software controlled). Set destinations for mixes, aux sends and MXMs to anywhere in the facility.

DK-Audio PT0600M

Booth C3843

Sharing the same motherboard as the MSD600M++ surround sound meter, this unit combines the jellyfish surround display with a rotary control knob on the front panel, enabling it to act as the master volume control for speakers in stereo configurations. This product is built into a half-rack width package.

Active Power Clean Source DC

Booth C1217

This line of battery-free energy storage systems has been enhanced to include expanded power levels and incorporate several changes in the evolving product line. The new models provide tightly regulated, adjustable dc voltage to replace or augment batteries configured with uninterruptible power supply systems backing up critical applications in the 100kW to 2000kW power ranges. These systems are available with unit power ratings of 100, 140, 200, 250, 425 and 500kW, and can be paralleled in combinations up to 2000kW.

Broadcast Electronics Audiovault RBDS

Booth N1902

A software-based management solution for advanced data services, this system includes data content management and encoding, and it can be adopted for IBOC applications. A traffic announcement function of the system that allows a station to cause RBDS radios to pause a listener’s CD or cassette in favor of radio programming so that the listener will tune into a station’s traffic announcements. The system will also show the alternative frequency function of RBDS that allows a listener driving out of a particular FM station’s geographic reach to be automatically tuned to the station’s secondary frequency in a nearby geographic region. The RBDS system comprises of content management, at the individual station via a local server on the station LAN, or for multiple stations/clusters via a central server.

Heil Sound PL-2T

Booth N2718

Using a system of balanced internal springs rather than outboard springs, the PL-2 handles microphones up to 1.5 lbs. in weight. Threading the mic cable inside the boom is done by removing the top and back plates. The mic boom also features a hollow channel that the microphone cable can be fed through so wire ties are not needed. The equipment is shipped with the standard ‘C’ clamp mount that will accept an 1.5” thick table. An optional flush mount is available which screws to the top of a surface. The unit accepts 5/8” - 27 threaded mic clips or shock mounts. The chrome threaded stem can be locked into its position depending on the type of microphone or shock mount.

Marti Electronics Cellcast

Booth N1902

This is a GSM compatible Digital Cellcast digital mixer and cellular remote unit. The GSM upgrade completes the remote unit’s local compatibility with major cellular providers such as AT&T, T-Mobile and Cingular.

Omnia Audio Omnia-5EX HD

Booth N1416

Paired parallel processing paths,one optimized for conventional broadcasting, the other for DAB and HD Radio, webcasting and satellite systems, route processed audio from the multiband mixer section to discrete output stages. The FM section receives distortion-controlled final limiting with pre-emphasis, and an upper-frequency response of 15kHz. The DAB/HD Radio section features Omnia's program-adaptive Look-Ahead limiter and user-selectable frequency response up to 20kHz. New processing algorithms provide clear processing for solo voices and instruments. Bass Management controls, with two new Bass Limiter functions, Tight and Girth, allow users fine control over low frequency processing. Dynamic Bass Limiter algorithms that change waveform characteristics based on frequency, resulting in deeper bass on smaller speakers.

Tascam 2488 Portastudio

Booth N2418

This four-track, 24-bit, 36-channel workstation offers a capacious hard drive, powerful signal processing and built-in CD-RW drive. The recording and mixing workstation runs 24 tracks at 24-bits/44.1kHz. Eight inputs can be simultaneously recorded into the XLR and W "inputs.Twenty physical faders control the mixdown channels; each channel has three-band EQ and access to three built-in effects processors. A 40GB internal hard disk gives the user ample space for 20 to 30 two 24-track songs and virtual tracks for comping. Plus the 2488 has a USB 2.0 port for back-up via computer. Loop effect provides reverb, delay, chorus and more on an aux send and return.

TM Century Short Bus Radio is a sweeper/imaging service. It is available in five flavors, each market-exclusive: active alternative rock, classic rock, CHR, country and news/talk. More formats will be available in the future.

Marantz PMD670

Booth N3026

This solid-state recorder offers a one-touch digital audio recording capability of more than 70 hours on 1GB compact Flash cards. The unit can record in linear PCM and compressed MP3, MP2 and BWF audio formats using 40 assignable audio quality settings. The recorder features a non-stop record function with four hours of battery life, and includes an EDL marking system for creating new files on the fly during recording, providing easy file selection during playback. The system offers variable bit-rate recording with user-adjustable sampling rates from 16kHz to 48kHz.

Session Highlights

Broadcast Engineering Conference

Each year, the NAB and SBE team up to offer the most concentrated broadcast engineering education opportunity available. Each spring, the NAB convention hosts the Broadcast Engineering Conference (BEC), which has been the launching point for countless broadcast technologies and new ideas. This year, the BEC offers a rich landscape of engineering issues to explore.

While the convention floor doesn't open until Monday, the technical sessions begin Saturday. When planning your trip, be sure to arrive early to participate in all the sessions.

SBE Ennes Workshop

This day-long session investigates the changing importance of digital technology and IT infrastructure in the broadcast environment. Topics will include an overview of IT systems and storage and management of digital media, as well as offer details of recent projects at ESPN, Turner and Clear Channel.

The SBE Ennes Workshop will be held on Saturday, April 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Radio RF and Transmission Developments

On April 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Marty Hadfield, VP of engineering for Entercom, will lead this session that will investigate the latest activity in RF for radio. The session's agenda follows.

  • 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Linearity Performance Measurements in Modern AM Transmitters and the Relationship to HD-Radio and DRM Performance
    Phil Schmitt of Harris will discuss how modern digital transmission waveforms demand a linear and consistent transmission path for both the envelope and RF paths in envelope elimination and restoration modulation techniques.

  • 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.: IBOC RF Measurements
    David Maxson of will discuss the future of RF measurements for radio broadcasting.

  • 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Evaluation and Improvement of AM Antenna Characteristics for Optimal Digital
    Ronald Rackley of du Treil, Lundin and Rackley will discuss the high demands on AM antenna system bandwidth. Actual test results of IBOC stations will be compared with their observed on-the-air signal quality.

  • 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Design and Field Results for the Utilization of Circulators in High-Power Broadcast Transmission Systems
    Jim Stenberg from Dielectric Communications will detail the use of circulators in analog and digital FM signal combining.

  • 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: HD Radio FM Broadcast Coverage-What to Expect
    Mike Bergman from Kenwood will discuss the results from extensive field testing of FM IBOC and Tomorrow Radio during 2003.

  • 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon: The EH Antenna
    Ted Hart of EH Antenna Systems will explain the inner workings of the EH antenna.

Convention Events

Amateur Radio Operators' Reception

One of the most popular events at the convention will be held on Wednesday, April 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The reception draws broadcasters from all geographic areas and interests. Where else can CEO a comfortably mingle with a shop technician? The event will feature DJ All Night Mike and door prizes. The event is sponsored by Heil Sound.

Out and About in Las Vegas

What to do After the Convention

While Las Vegas is known for the casinos, lavish hotels and stage shows, there are other activities if you have some time.

Located in the Toiyabe National Forest, Mt. Charleston is nearly 12,000 feet tall. A distinct departure from the arid landscape of Las Vegas, the area has an average temperature that is about 20 degrees cooler. Northwest of Las Veags by about 25 miles, Mt. Charleston has ski runs during snow season, campgrounds and hiking trails. Activities include hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding. Entry to the park is free.

Located 15 minutes off the strip, the Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix has the longest go-kart track in the state. An electronic, 10-position timing board compares lap times to establish bragging rights. The track is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The track is located at 1401 N. Rainbow Blvd.

Located 17 miles west of the Strip on Mount Charleston Blvd., Red Rock Canyon receives nearly 1.2 million visitors every year. An ever-changing panorama of multi-colored hills marks this natural wonder. As the sun moves across the sky, the light changes, and so too do the colors of Red Rock Canyon. View petrified sand dunes, waterfalls and red-tailed hawks circling above. The 197,000 acre area provides a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and a visitors center with exhibit rooms and a book store.

Getting Around in Las Vegas

You may have noticed that construction of a monorail system had begun at NAB2003. The Las Vegas Monorail is due to begin service this month, which means it will be fully ready for the NAB convention crowd.

The Monorail runs from the MGM to the Hilton along a route that follows the Strip and then cuts over to Paradise Road. There are Monorail stops at many of the main hotels and the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This should provide a faster route than the convention shuttle buses and taxis. A single trip costs $3 with discounts for multiple-ride tickets.

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