Radio Currents Online - Mar 3 - Mar 9, 2008


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Georgia Tech Tests Wireless Emergency Alert System for Visually Impaired
Atlanta -Mar 4, 2008 - The Georgia Tech Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center has successfully tested its Wireless Emergency Communications (WEC) project. Results indicate that 94 percent of blind and visually impaired test subjects found WEC to be a significant improvement over their current methods of receiving emergency alerts.

Given that 18 percent of Americans are thought to have some type of disability, and that an estimated 60 percent of Americans use wireless services, it was not surprising that the Center's survey of user needs revealed that people with disabilities are significant users of wireless products and services. Further, 65 percent of those respondents said that their wireless devices were important because of the role they play in summoning help in an emergency.

This first field test involved participants from the Georgia Radio Reading Service in a full-day study to engage the effectiveness and accessibility of this prototype emergency alerting system. Subjects ranged from sight-enhanced individuals to those who are fully blind. Additionally, the test subjects' level of familiarity and use of wireless technologies ranged from technically savvy to infrequent users.

Mobile phones with WEC custom software featured an audio-oriented interface and text-to-speech reading of emergency alerts for the visually impaired; the capability to recognize an incoming alert of critical importance and override any muted sound or vibration settings to ensure that the critical alarm was delivered; and an alert attention signal that is identical to the national EAS tone familiar to the hearing population.

WEC sent a series of SMS text messages to Cingular 3125 Smartphones provided to each test subject. WEC tested custom software that runs on a Windows Mobile OS, designed to send accessible emergency alerts to short message service-capable handsets. The custom software then presented the content of the text alert in an audio format. WEC engineers simulated the emergency alerts, employing the Common Alerting Protocol, as if they originated from the National Weather Service.

Three separate weather alerts of increasing intensity were issued to participants over a period of time. Many of the test subjects liked the idea that with each test message the alert signal got louder, indicating the severity of the event. In all three test groups, affordability was raised as an important issue. Some noted they liked the repeat option in case they did not hear it clearly the first time, and that it was superior to just receiving alerts from TV, radio or friends, in which cases the alerts might not be targeted or immediate. Others felt that the specialized software would not only benefit them, but also their family and friends who might be on public transportation, biking, hiking or anyone away from home carrying a mobile device.

Additional field tests are slated for upcoming months in 2008, including at Public Broadcasting Atlanta and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York in June. In the NTID field test the WEC software will have the additional feature of vibration alarms that will notify the deaf and hard-of-hearing population of incoming alerts. A full report on the field tests is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2008, when all the test results and user feedback is complete. Primary funding was made possible by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.


Orban and Wowza Offering In-browser Radio Streaming
Tempe, AZ, and San Jose, CA - March 06, 2008 - Circuit Research Labs, parent company of CRL Systems, and Wowza Media Systems, a streaming media server software developer, have introduced new capabilities that empower Web broadcasters to take advantage of the new MP4 and HE-AAC (High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding) capabilities introduced in Adobe Flash Player 9.

By deploying Orban's Opticodec 1010 Series of Enterprise MP4 and HE-AAC encoders in conjunction with Wowza Media Server Pro, netcasters will now be able to stream live audio to a Flash player using HE-AAC and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), at bitrates and costs as much as 66 percent lower than MP3 or Windows Media Audio (WMA).


Arbitron Debuts Personal Home Page for PPM Respondents
Columbia, MD - Mar5, 2008 - Arbitron has introduced a personal home page system for Portable People Meter survey participants designed to track reward points and encourage panelists to carry the meter every waking hour. The site is called My Meter and Me, and the personal panelist website is one of several initiatives that Arbitron has undertaken to improve PPM sample performance and increase industry confidence in the PPM measurement system.

Available in English and Spanish, the My Meter and Me website offers panelists a secure and personalized way to check their earned reward points and see how they're doing toward earning bonuses and sweepstakes entries. PPM respondents can also use the site to graphically review their hour-by-hour carry time over the last seven days, compare personal performance to others in the same household, share compliance tips with any PPM respondent in any city through an anonymous, moderated Web forum, inform Arbitron when they are traveling away from home or change their contact information, ask questions or submit comments, and participate in instant polls.


FCC Issues Update on DST and PSRA/PSSA Operation
Washington - Feb 29, 2008 - Daylight-saving time commences at 2 a.m. on March 9, 2008. Certain AM stations currently operate with Presunrise Service Authorizations (PSRA) and Postsunset Service Authorizations (PSSA). Licensees with PSRAs and PSSAs located in communities that observe daylight-saving time should use the April advanced-time powers and time periods for the period between March 9, 2008, and March 31, 2008. This adjustment is necessitated by the enactment of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005 that extended the effective period for daylight-saving time into March for the first time.

Questions about and reports of potential interference from PSRA and PSSA operation during March 2008 can be addressed to Charles Miller, Susan Crawford or Son Nguyen of the FCC's Audio Division at 202-418-2700.


Business

MRC Rejects PPM in Philly and NYC
New York - Mar 3, 2008 - In January, the Media Ratings Council (MRC) denied accreditation of the Aribitron Portable People Meter (PPM) system in Philadelphia and New York. The notice was revealed in Arbitron's annual filing with the SEC.

Arbitron attributes the decision to old field tests, and the ratings company is hopeful that data gathered from he field trials currently underway will convince the MRC to change its mind. Arbitron's current test has increased the sample size, which was one of the MRC's concerns. The MRC was created following a Congressional call in 1964 to establish standards for media ratings.

Arbitron has already delayed the PPM rollout in the planned markets.


APT Prepares to Launch New Brand Identity
Belfast - Mar 5, 2008 - APT will unveil a new logo and corporate identity at the NAB Show this year. CEO Noel McKenna explained the rationale behind the re-branding, "In recent years we have grown significantly both in size and maturity and we felt a strong need to update our logo and corporate identity to reflect this. Today's APT is a professional, reliable and customer-centric company and a key player in the broadcast and intellectual property licensing markets. We have recently moved to new corporate headquarters and plan to double our engineering capability in the next 12 months."

In recent years, APT has expanded into new markets, acquired new capabilities and developed new technologies.


IP Codec Interoperability via SIP Demonstrated
Munich, Germany - Feb 29, 2008 - Audio-via-IP Experts Group members Tieline Technology, Orban/CRL, Mayah Communications, AETA, Prodys, Telos, AEQ, AVT and Digigram recently met in Munich to test IP Interoperability using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to connect according to EBU-approved standards.

PJ Fall, Tieline business development manager in Europe, explained that SIP-compatible codecs that are registered to SIP servers can dial and connect to other codecs and VoIP devices without knowing the IP address of the receiving unit. This simplifies remote broadcasting over IP because there is no need for codecs to acquire static IP addresses in order to connect - even if they move between different locations.

Lars Jonsson of Swedish Radio acting on behalf of the EBU thanked manufacturers their work to prepare the successful meeting, despite the different commercial interests. "On behalf of all the EBU-team, I would like to thank you very much for the hard job you all did in Munich. I was so impressed to see you all work together over company and country borders so patiently to solve all small details in good spirit."

When IP codecs connect via SIP, they exchange information about coding algorithms, sample rates and connection bit-rates.


Arbitron, Nielsen Terminate Project Apollo
New York - Feb 25, 2008 - Arbitron and The Nielsen Company have terminated the development of Project Apollo, the proposed single-source, national research service. The two companies had been working on the pilot project since early in 2005. "Despite a promising level of interest, we did not secure sufficient client commitments to make Project Apollo a sustainable venture for our two companies," Arbitron and Nielsen said in a joint statement.


Sales Call
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WJXA-FM and WCJK-FM, owned by South Central Communications, have ordered two 28-position Axia Element consoles and a complement of Microphone Nodes, Analog Line Nodes, AES/EBU Line Nodes, a Router Selector Node and Axia Pathfinder PC Router Control Software to be used in their main on-air studios. The order was placed through Broadcasters General Store.

People

Arbitron Appoints New CTO
New York - Feb 19, 2008 - Arbitron has appointed Taymoor Arshi as its new senior vice president and chief technology officer. Dr. Arshi replaces Ron Kolessar who will retire this summer after 42 years with Arbitron and its predecessor companies. Arshi will report to Owen Charlebois, president, technology, research and development and will be based out of the Arbitron Research and Technology Center in Columbia, MD.

Over the past 20 years, Arshi has held various roles in the engineering and operations departments at Intel, most recently as general manager, Manageability and Platform Software Division. During his tenure, he secured several patents for computer-based video conferencing and led many of the company's product development labs worldwide.

Arshi received a master's degree in computer science from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a doctorate in computer science from Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR.


Silliman Receives NAB's Engineering Honor

Thomas B. Silliman
Tony Uyttendale
Ira Flatow
Washington, DC - Mar 6, 2008 - Thomas B. Silliman, president of Electronics Research Incorporated (ERI), and retired ABC senior advisor of science and technology Antoon (Tony) Uyttendaele will be presented with the 2008 NAB Engineering Achievement Awards on April 16 during the Technology Luncheon at the NAB Show. National Public Radio's science correspondent and award-winning TV journalist Ira Flatow will keynote the luncheon.

Known for his accomplishments in the field of antenna engineering, Silliman began his career as a consultant in the engineering firm Silliman and Silliman before developing a design for the patented Rototiller antenna in the 1970s. This circularly polarized FM broadcast antenna became a popular choice for FM stations in the United States. Since then, Silliman has been a consistent innovator in antenna engineering in the broadcast industry, eventually leading ERI in the development of an antenna system that accommodates analog and digital transmissions.

During his tenure at ABC, Uyttendaele played a pivotal role in the evolution of high-definition television by working with major broadcast and consumer equipment manufacturers to create 720p hardware, a video format used in the production and transmission process of HDTV. Uyttendaele's efforts contributed to the final adoption of 720p by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). He also developed and managed the completion of ABC's C-Band satellite network distribution system and for a number of years served as international chairman of the ITU-Radiocommunication Sector Working Party on Satellite News Gathering, which developed numerous recommendations on uniform standards and operating procedures to make SNG practical worldwide.

NPR's Ira Flatow will serve as the luncheon keynote speaker. In his address titled Funny, You Don't Look Like Your Avatar: New Media Conquers Old Problems, Flatow will present a discussion on broadcasters' opportunities to participate in the new media revolution. Starting as a reporter at WBFO-FM in Buffalo, Flatow began covering science stories in 1970 during the first Earth Day. He eventually moved up to news director before joining NPR as a science correspondent in 1971. On television, Flatow spent six years as host and writer for the Emmy-Award winning show Newton's Apple on PBS and has worked as a science reporter for CBS This Morning. Flatow has also appeared on a variety of programs and TV talk shows, including Merv Griffin, The Today Show and Oprah. Currently, Flatow serves as president of Talking Science, a non-profit company he founded that is dedicated to creating radio, TV and Internet projects that make science user-friendly.

Since 1959, the NAB Engineering Achievement Awards have honored individuals who have made outstanding achievements and contributions in the broadcast engineering profession.


Littleton, MA - Mar 5, 2008 - Burk Names Allen in New Launch
To kick off Burk Technology's endeavor into offering installation and integration services, the company has added Ben Allen as applications engineer. At Equity Broadcast Corporation, Allen helped launch a nationwide central monitoring and control operation using Burk Technology systems. In his role at Burk, he will work directly with broadcast engineers, corporate engineering and managers to assure smooth system integration from initial specification to operator training.

Allen is an SBE Certified Broadcast Technologist.


Steve Burgess

Broadcast Electronics Add Burgess in Sales
Quincy, IL - Mar 4, 2008 - Broadcast Electronics has appointed Steve Burgess as studio/datacast systems sales manager. Burgess will oversee sales for BE Audiovault and The Radio Experience products for the southern U.S. and Alaska and several key broadcast accounts.

Burgess previously led the development, support and marketing of Arbitron's advertising agency software suite. He has 20-plus years in radio, including on-air, sales and management positions at stations in Tampa-St. Petersburg and Boston. He was the general manager, northeast region, at Tapscan in 1992.

Burgess will assist with studio and messagecasting needs for broadcasters in Alaska, Hawaii, California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC. He can be reached at the BE regional office in Kent Island, MD, at 443-289-2309 or by e-mail at sburgess@bdcast.com.


Daniel Loeffler

Loeffler Joins Mayah to Open North American Office
Munich - Mar 6, 2008 - Mayah Communications is opening a North American office to provide direct support and products throughout the United States. Daniel Loeffler will represent the German company.

Loeffler has more than 12 years of sales and marketing experience in professional digital video, compression technologies and broadcast video-over-IP networks in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.


Shane Morris

Morris Returns to Soundcraft, Joins Studer
Northridge, CA - Mar 6, 2008 - Harman Pro North America (HPNA) has expanded its support personnel by appointing Shane Morris as principal engineer for Soundcraft and Studer's digital console offerings. Although Morris is primarily tasked with providing technical sales, engineering and support for sound reinforcement customers using Soundcraft Vi Series and Studer Vista Series consoles, he also serves as a resource for both brands' broadcast client base.

Morris started his career in his native Australia designing and building mixing consoles and power amplifiers. Upon moving to the UK in 1978, he accepted a position with Soundcraft, then in London, as international service manager, eventually relocating to Los Angeles to accept the role of technical manager for Soundcraft USA during the early Eighties in Santa Monica. Following his tenure there, Morris spent a short time with Apogee Digital Electronics in L.A. before returning to Australia where he supported the newly formed Fairlight ESP digital audio workstation. Having also designed products for Audio Analysts and ATI over the years, Morris most recently was employed as a U.S. technical sales and support engineer for Digico.


Products

Pittsburgh Clear Channel Stations Rollout Active Access
Chantilly, VA - Feb 27, 2008 - Clear Channel's Pittsburgh radio stations have begun to rollout BIA Financial Network's Active Access desktop application for listeners. WXDX-FM and WKST-FM are the first of the stations to offer their listeners the Active Access program. By visiting the station's websites WXDX and WKST and downloading a widget, the stations' audiences can participate in the daily broadcasts through interactive contests, promotions, printable coupons and music requests.

In the case of WKST, the Bob Cam continuously streams live video of their popular DJ directly on the desktop of any computer that has downloaded the application. Other station information and sponsor advertising is prominently available for the listener to personalize their experience at any time. WXDX is using their application to connect with their audience off-air and is using the channel to promote the Pittsburgh Penguins, providing podcasts, player and team headlines, videos and a direct link to the Pens page that offers news, information, pictures, site archive and the team's schedule.


NTI Adds Functions to Minirator MR-Pro
Liechtenstein - Feb 28, 2008 - NTI has extended the functions of the analog signal generator the MR-Pro by introducing the new firmware V2.01. Now Minirator MR-Pro measures the impedance and phase of the connected load and calculates the related power for 70V or 100V distributed loudspeaker systems. An enhanced cable test function and new test signals for amplifier and noise measurements are also added.

XLR-audio cables may be miswired in the soldering process or break during usage. The extended MR-Pro cable test function detects all common XLR wiring faults with a description to the user, such as "2-3 Crossed" or "Pin 2 open." This result gives accurate instructions for the repair of the cable.

Individual user test signals may be stored as uncompressed WAV files in the MR-Pro memory. NTI also offers WAV signals for this purpose. In addition, a set of 1/3 octave, narrow-band pink noise signals is available to measure the airborne noise isolation index. A set of square wave signals is also available for a quick diagnosis of amplifier behavior.

The new firmware is free of charge and available for download at the Minirator support website at support.nti-audio.com/mr2.


Zaxcom Ships Deva 16
Pompton Plains, NJ - Mar 4, 2008 - Zaxcom is now shipping the Deva 16, a 16-track hard disk audio recorder for field recording. The unit features eight hardware faders plus an integrated hard drive, DVD-RAM and Compact Flash memory card slot.

The Deva 16 provides fault-tolerant, multi-disk recording with automatic file recovery to safeguard audio even in the event of an unexpected power failure. The system provides eight analog mic/line inputs with 48V phantom power, four additional analog line inputs, eight analog inputs and eight digital direct outputs. A 16-channel, 24-bus digital mixer is built into the unit, providing EQ, notch filter, compressor, and delay functions on each channel.




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