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Radio Currents Online - Mar 5 - Mar 11, 2007
SBE to Hold Reception During NAB2007
Indianapolis, IN - Mar 9, 2007 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) is hosting a SBE Member Reception on Tuesday, April 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Ballroom D of the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Hors d'oeurves and beverages will be provided, and there will be a drawing for a special prize. SBE members, their spouses and engineers and technicians who are interested in becoming members of SBE are invited to attend.
The SBE Member Reception follows the spring SBE Membership Meeting, which will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in room S228 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. NAB Conference registration is not required for entry.
SBE EAS Meeting Scheduled for NAB2007
Indianapolis, IN - Mar 9, 2007 - The annual SBE-sponsored meeting covering the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and related emergency communications issues will be held in Ballroom G of the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel on Monday, April 16 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Anyone interested in EAS is encouraged to attend the meeting. NAB2007 badges are not required for admittance. Two presentations during the meeting will provide a look into the future of EAS and the public warning system.
David Webb, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will deliver a presentation on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. Also, Jason Shattuck from Warning Systems (WSI) will speak about the CAP-driven EAS system that is being used in Washington.
Another AM Gets an FM Translator
Murfreesboro, TN - Mar 8, 2007 - The FCC has granted another STA to allow an AM station to use an FM translator; in this case, it's actually two translators. WGNS-AM owner, Bart Walked, in an article in the The Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, TN, said that he had been working on obtaining the translator clearance for 15 years. On March 1, WGNS began transmitting from 100.5 FM and 101.9 in addition to its regular frequency of 1450.
The Journal article quotes Walker as saying that one of the main reasons WGNS requested approval to retransmit on two new frequencies was to provide reliable emergency communications to residents in the county that the station serves. It notes that during the 1997 tornados in the area, WGNS was the only form of communication for many residents trapped in their homes.
Walker credits the permission to Deborah Taylor-Tate being appointed to the FCC. Taylor-Tate hails from Murfreesboro.
Radio magazine observation: If Taylor-Tate indeed pushed the STA through for her hometown, it's yet another example of politics and personal interests usurping established FCC rules. While the concept of AM stations using FM translators has merit, it is not in the rules. An STA is a practical way to show proof of concept, but this STA, like the one issued for WRHI in Rock Hill, SC, was issued at the whim of a politician. The reasons cited for their issuance were for coverage of a community, which is already known and understood.
If the FCC wants to allow AM stations to use FM translators, it needs to change the rules and not continue to issue STAs.
Executive Producer to Receive NAB Distinguished Service Award
Washington, DC - Mar 8, 2007 - David Wolper will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award during NAB2007 in Las Vegas. Each year the NAB Distinguished Service Award recognizes broadcasters who have made significant and lasting contributions to the broadcasting industry.
Wolper has made over 700 films that have won more than 150 awards, including two Oscars, 50 Emmys, seven Golden Globes and five Peabody Awards. He was the executive producer of Roots, the 12-hour mini-series that followed several generations in the lives of a slave family, as well as The Thorn Birds, North & South, L.A. Confidential, and the 1971 version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Wolper's career includes production of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles; chairman of the 100th Anniversary celebration of the Statue of Liberty; and documentaries on Jacques Cousteau and for National Geographic.
Wolper attended Drake University in Des Moines, IA, and the University of Southern California. He did not graduate from either, though. He left school early in 1949 to enter the TV business. Since then, both universities have awarded him honorary doctorate degrees.
Clear Channel Seeks Support of Proposed Merger
San Antonio - Mar 2, 2007 - Clear Channel Communications has mailed a letter to its shareholders regarding the proposed merger with a group led by T.H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners for $37.60 per share in cash. The letter relates to a March 21 special meeting of Clear Channel shareholders. The all-cash consideration of $37.60 per share represents a premium that is greater than 25 percent higher than average share prices before the announcement of the merger.
The proposed action is the next step in Clear Channel's process to take the company private. According to the letter, Clear Channel contacted "virtually every leading private equity sponsor" but "no strategic buyers emerged." It was also noted that Clear Channel chairman and founder L. Lowry Mays has informed the company that he will sell a substantial majority of his holdings in the transaction.
The letter to stockholders urges them to vote for the merger. It also notes that not voting is the same as voting no. Approval of the merger agreement requires the affirmative vote of 2/3 of Clear Channel's outstanding shares.
Thomas H. Lee Partners is a private equity investment firm that was founded in 1974. Bain Capital Partners was created in 1984.
Copyright Royalty Board Sets New Streaming Rates
Information supplied by Kevin M. Goldberg of Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth
Washington - Mar 2, 2007 - Radio stations that simulcast an over-the-air signal on the Internet need to take note of a decision passed by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that sets new royalty rates retroactive to 2006 for radio station non-subscription Internet transmissions. The CRB's action applies only to the payment of monthly royalties. The decision does not affect the recordkeeping or playlist aspects of streaming. The final decision has not been publicly released and likely will be appealed, but if finalized in its current form, the changes are unfavorable. Here are several comments as to the March 2 decision and its potential impact to consider.
1. This proceeding has been ongoing since 2005, as the previous royalty rates that applied to those streaming on the Internet were effective only through Dec. 31, 2005. Internet radio stations have been paying royalties through 2006 and into 2007 at the 2005 rates, with the understanding that these rates would be adjusted retroactively when the Copyright Royalty Board reached its final decision in this proceeding.
2. For the time being, those who are streaming and paying monthly royalties to Sound Exchange should continue filing the same statement of account forms until further notice. This is because the rates that were announced on March 2 may not be final. Though the new rates are expected to become effective even if an appeal is filed, they must first be published in the Federal Register, which could take as long as 60 days; in addition, there are several procedural hurdles that could result in changes to the announced rates.
a. The decision still has not been publicly released; the Copyright Royalty Board will do that after reviewing motions by the participants to redact confidential information from the final opinion.
b. Any party to the proceeding (in addition to Sound Exchange, seven groups representing webcasters participated on behalf of various sectors of the Internet radio industry), can request rehearing within 15 days. Given the sharp increase in royalty rates that is projected over the next four years, it is likely that someone will request rehearing.
c. Any party may appeal this decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register.
3. The effect of these new rates will be felt by all radio stations that simulcast on the Internet. The Copyright Royalty Board has sharply increased the rates for commercial radio stations and noncommercial radio stations that exceed the monthly maximum of aggregate tuning hours, while also rescinding the reduced rates for smaller commercial webcasters. The penalty fee charged for late payment of royalty fees, and now applied to late filing of a statement of account form even if the fee is paid on time, rises to 1.5 percent per month.
Specifically, the new rate structure would affect the various classes of radio stations as follows:
a. Commercial radio stations streaming on the Internet will have to pay royalties at an increased rate for the years 2006 to 2010. Payments will be calculated on a "per performance" basis, with a "performance" defined as "the streaming of one song to one listener." A station with 100 listeners during a given song will have 100 performances to be charged at the rate below for that song. While the per-performance rate appears to be rather low, extrapolate those hypothetical 100 performances over an estimated 16 songs per hour, 24 hours per day, over an entire month and the breadth of these new rates are better understood. These new per performance rates are:i. Payment of $ 0.0008 per performance for 2006
ii. Payment of $ 0.0011 per performance for 2007
iii. Payment of $ 0.0014 per performance for 2008
iv. Payment of $ 0.0018 per performance for 2009
v. Payment of $ 0.0019 per performance for 2010
b. Small Commercial Webcasters, defined in the Small Commercial Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002 as those with gross revenues of under $1.25 million per year, will no longer be able to take advantage of the reduced rates offered by that act. Even the smallest commercial stations will have to pay the same as larger ones.
c. Noncommercial Webcasters still pay an annual minimum of $500. This will continue to be all the station pays unless it exceeds the aggregate tuning hour maximum for a given month. That aggregate tuning hour maximum (calculated by multiplying the number of listeners by the hours of copyrighted material streamed in the month) has increased from 146,000 to 159,140 per month, but even noncommercial webcasters will pay at the commercial rates listed above if the aggregate tuning hour limit is exceeded.
For more information click here.
FCC Rescinds PSRA/PSSA Changes for DST Order
Washington - Mar 7, 2007 - On March 1, 2007, the Media Bureau for the FCC released a public notice that revised AM station Pre-sunrise Service Authorizations (PSRA) and Post-sunset Service Authorizations (PSSA) because of the change to the start of Daylight Saving Time. As a result of an unanticipated computer problem that produced erroneous power levels on certain recalculated authorizations, the FCC has suspended the use of its recalculated PSRAs and PSSAs until the agency corrects the computer errors and calculates the correct power levels.
To permit AM stations currently operating with PSRAs and PSSAs to continue to do so in communities with DST, for the period March 11 (the date on which DST will commence) through March 31, 2007, licensees should use the April DST advanced powers and time periods shown on their current PSRAs and PSSAs for their pre-sunrise and post-sunset operations.
The FCC is in the process of correcting the computer problem that resulted in the erroneous PSRAs and PSSAs. After the problem has been corrected, the FCC will recalculate and publish permissible PSRA and PSSA operating parameters for all eligible AM stations and will issue a public notice advising when this process has been completed.
For additional information, or for any AM station experiencing interference it believes to be the result of PSRA or PSSA operation by another station during the month of March 2007, contact Charles Miller, Susan Crawford or Son Nguyen of the FCC Media Bureau Audio Division at 202-418-2700.
Promo Only MPE Becomes Play MPE
Vancouver, BC - Mar 8, 2007 - Destiny Media Technologies has ended its agreement with marketing arm Promo Only, and Destiny will rebrand the MPE system as Play MPE. This decision comes in conjunction with Universal Music Group signing a new contract with Destiny Media Technologies to use Play MPE as the primary distribution system across all of its labels.
The same executive staff heads the Play MPE project. Dean Ernst has left Promo Only to join Destiny as VP of MPE operations. Ernst will be responsible for building the Play MPE team, closing commercial agreements and expanding the Play MPE system outside of the United States.
The MPE system is fully automated so the transition to the new branding and team is expected to be seamless to users. Labels will continue using their existing encoders to manage recipient lists and create content; users will be able to use their existing player software and passwords.
"We came to a crossroads with our former marketing partner, Promo Only, and decided not to renew the contract," said Steve Vestergaard, CEO, Destiny Media Technologies.
Destiny Media Technologies recently expanded an agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG) to be UMG's primary method for online distribution of promotional music, video and other content and to be the only company-wide method for such distribution in the United States.
The MPE system is in use by 773 labels including UMG, EMI, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group. More than 34,000 songs have been sent to radio stations and other recipients since launch, representing 36,500,000 transactions.
Wal-Mart Adds HD Radio Receivers to Shelves
Bentonville, AR, and Orlando - Mar 5, 2007 - Wal-Mart stores in 85 markets, which encompasses 1,989 stores, have added HD Radio receivers to their shelves. The receiver availability will be added to the HD Digital Radio Alliance's ad campaign on alliance-member stations. Wal-Mart stores will initially stock the JVC HD-W10 Mobile HD Radio receiver, which retail for less than $190.
This effort from the discount retailer helps bring HD Radio receivers to a wider audience that supplements the existing mid- and high-level retail outlets that already exist.
Clear Channel Joins PPM Philly
Philadelphia - Mar 5, 2007 - Clear Channel has agreed to join the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) rating service in Philadelphia. Clear Channel has been investigating several electronics listener ratings systems, and had resisted using the Arbitron service. An Associated Press (AP) article quotes an e-mail from John Hogan, president of the Clear Channel Radio division, that tells advertisers that the company had reached a three-year deal with Arbitron to use the PPM system in Philadelphia, where the broadcaster owns six stations.
In addition, the AP article notes that in its interview with Hogan, Hogan said that Clear Channel is still skeptical about the results of the PPM service and the higher cost, but that Clear Channel was moving ahead in Philadelphia because many other stations had already signed on.
ERI Adds Groome to Sales
Chandler, IN - Mar 1, 2007 - ERI has appointed Bob Groome to the newly created position of radio account manager, western region, for the company. Groome's responsibilities include sales of ERI's RF and structural products to individual radio stations and radio group owners in the Western United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Groome joins ERI after several years with Jampro. His sales experience includes working for Harris and Arrakis.
Groome's office will be located in Sacramento, CA, and he can be contacted directly at 916-681-4969 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ibiquity Hires Latin America Development Manager
Columbia, MD - Mar 8, 2007 - Ibiquity Digital has hired Fernando Monetti as manager, broadcast business development for Latin America. The hire was made to meet the developing interest in HD Radio broadcasting in Latin America. HD Radio is currently on the air on 16 stations in Brazil.
Monetti joins Ibiquity after serving as a sales manager at Thales (now Thomson Broadcast and Multimedia), where he was responsible for the promotion and sales of the Thales broadcast portfolio. Previously, he was with FDM in Buenos Aires, Argentina, managing broadcast product sales in Argentina and Uruguay. He also worked for Consolidated Media Systems helping create a network of dealer systems in Latin America. Monetti studied Electronic Engineering at the Universidad Tecnologica de Avellaneda and Business Administration at the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
Mina Celebrates 40 Years with Continental
Dallas - Mar 5, 2007 - Adil Mina, the vice president of business development for Continental Electronics, is celebrating his 40th year with the company. Mina originally joined Continental Electronics as an engineering co-op student from Southern Methodist University.
After graduation from SMU, Mina began his career in earnest as an installation supervisor for HF transmitters. He moved up to become project engineer and product line manager on numerous Continental transmitter products up to 2MW, many of which are operating in countries all over the world. He served as project engineer and product manager for the design and development of the Continental Electronics 500kW high-frequency transmitter and the high-efficiency solid-state modulator.
Mina also has served on numerous industry association boards and standards groups. Most recently, Mina was named chairman of the USA Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) Group. The USA DRM Group is an organization of broadcasters and manufacturers who joined forces to promote the introduction of DRM in the United States.
Continental Electronics was founded in 1946.
MXL Ships Cube Mic
El Segundo, CA - Mar 7, 2007 - MXL Microphones is now shipping the MXL Cube microphone. It is available exclusively through Musician's Friend. The mic features a gold-sputtered diaphragm, FET balanced output and internal Mogami wiring.
The Cube is a cardioid condenser with a frequency response ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz. The mic has a champagne finish and ships in a protective case with a microphone clip. A shockmount is optionally available.
DK-Technologies Enhances MSD 600M
Copenhagen, Denmark - Mar 6, 2007 - DK-Technologies has added new features to the MSD 600M series audio meter. The updates will be on display in the company's booth at NAB2007. The new features include the latest LEQ Loudness measurement protocol, an upgraded Jellyfish surround sound display, improvements in session logging and LEQ logging and graphing with SMPTE time code. DK-Technologies has also updated the PC-based long format logging and documentation software, DK-Level Read.
Dice Releases HD Dice for Select Cars
Lake Tahoe, NV - Mar 7, 2007 - Dice Electronics has released the HD Dice for selected Toyota, Lexus, Scion, BMW, Mini Cooper, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Honda and Acura models. The unit provides HD Radio reception and an interface for an Ipod and an auxiliary line input to existing car stereo systems. The unit displays text for song title, artist information and album name.
The unit is controlled from the car stereo's controls and does not require a separate display or controller.
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Also in the April Issue
- Update on Transmitters
- On-air Missteps to Avoid
- Tower Lease Renegotiation
- New Products
- Applied Technology: Streaming with the MPEG HE-AAC Audio Codec
- Side by Side: Studio Furniture
- Practical Use: Circulators and Isolators