Radio Currents Online - May 21- May 27, 2007


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SBE States Opposition to Live Code EAS Testing
Indianapolis - May 25, 2007 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) announced its opposition to the use of real or live NWRSAME codes for system tests of the public warning system by National Weather Service (NWS)/NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) and some local authorities.

Alerts from the NWS, some local authorities and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) using real emergency event codes, when no actual emergency exists, have recently been used in some communities to test consumer receivers. The NWS is recommending the practice be expanded nationwide. While stated NWS policy establishes that approval for NWS live code testing is up to the state and local EAS committees, some committees are not being consulted or do not understand that they may decline the request. Local emergency officials also may not fully understand the implications of the request and may participate without realizing the serious negative results. The SBE asserts that these cry-wolf alerts will potentially cause public alarm, weaken confidence in the EAS for real alerts and discourage broadcaster’s involvement with volunteer EAS programs.

Broadcasters and cable systems decode the EAS data and send the information directly to scrolling messages on TV screens and radios. One result of live-code tests would be that TV’s viewed by the deaf and hard of hearing, and TVs in public places would not show any indication that the message is not a real alert. In addition, those receiving emergency messages through the Internet, PDAs, cell phones, programmable road signs, highway advisory radio, lottery terminals and shopping center marquee signs will not know the message was simply a test. The SBE says the negative effect of live-code testing outweighs the benefits of testing the public’s weather alert radios.

The SBE notes that there is a national effort to update EAS and NWR data standards with a technology called Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). CAP will allow a visual scroll of the same information as in the audio message, and the SBE suggests that such a technology--when in common use--will be better suited to live-code tests.


NAB Requests Inquiry into Satellite Radio FCC Violations
Washington - May 24, 2007 - In the latest chapter of the National Association of Broadcasters witch hunt against satellite radio, the NAB sent a letter to the FCC responding to XM and Sirius's objection to the NAB's Freedom of Information Act request for information related to the satellite radio companies' violations of FCC rules governing FM modulators and terrestrial repeaters.

The NAB states that there is a "compelling public interest" in having access to information with a direct bearing on the pending XM/Sirius merger application. The NAB wants to see the FCC records that will detail the scope, nature and degree of the sat radio violations.

One familiar example of a violation was brought to light recently when Sirius admitted requesting manufacturers produce Sirius radios that operated beyond the interference regulations set by the FCC. This followed a study that showed that several wireless devices commonly used to transmit audio signals from satellite radio devices and MP3 players to in-dash car radio exceeded FCC field strength limits.

Another satellite radio violation deals with the operation of the terrestrial repeater stations operated by both services.

Most people will agree that if FCC rules are not being adhered to that the violator must account for his actions. In the case of satellite radio, the NAB has taken a particularly aggressive stance. One might wonder if the NAB would take the same position against an NAB member.


Sound Exchange Extends Offer to Small Webcasters
Washington - May 22, 2007 - Sound Exchange has offered to extend the terms of prior legislation known as the Small Webcaster Settlement Act (SWSA), with some minor modifications, to small webcasters through 2010. The 2002 act that ended in 2005 had set temporary, below-market royalty rates for small Internet radio stations to provide them with additional time to build their businesses. According to a Sound Exchange press release, the "offer to extend the core SWSA terms represents a continued subsidy for these small webcasters in the form of lower payments to artists and content owners."

Sound Exchange notes that the offer comes as a direct response to a request from the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property to "initiate good faith private negotiations with small commercial and noncommercial webcasters with the shared goal of ensuring their continued operations and viability." The subcommittee's request was sent to Sound Exchange last week in a letter co-signed by Representatives Howard L. Berman of California and Howard Coble of North Carolina.

Webcasters have opposed the revised rates because of the steep increase from the previous rates. In its press release, Sound Exchange states that the current rates as revised by the CRB are "fair and based on the value of music in the marketplace." While it's not unreasonable to expect compensation for work -- in this case, the musicians receiving a royalty for their songs being played online -- the exposure that these artists receive provides an intangible benefit of exposing the music to an audience, which can result in music sales.

This offer is only for small webcasters and defers the new rates set by the CRB on May 1, 2007, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006, and effective through 2010.

Sound Exchange is proposing to base the subsidy on a percentage of revenue model and is proposing the same rates that prevailed under the SWSA: small webcasters would pay royalty fees of 10 percent of all gross revenue up to $250,000, and 12 percent for all gross revenue above that amount. The proposal includes a revenue cap and a usage cap to ensure that this subsidy is used only by webcasters of a certain size who are forming or strengthening their business.

In separate statements, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) expressed support for the Sound Exchange proposal.


Business

Clear Channel Launches Cell Phone Interactive Application
San Antonio - May 21, 2007 - Clear Channel Radio has begun the national roll-out of customized mobile phone applications to extend its local station brands. The effort begins in New York City for stations WHTZ-FM Z100, WAXQ-FM Q104.3, WKTU-FM 103.5, WWPR-FM Power 105.1 and WLTW-FM 106.7. Clear Channel expects to launch similar programs on as many as 100 more of its radio stations by the end of 2008, beginning with stations in Salt Lake City and St. Louis in the next 60 days.

With the application, users will be able to send text messages into the studio, participate in contests, receive alerts before songs play, make requests and dedications, and view the last 10 songs played. The feature is available on most cellular phones via carriers that offer SMS text features. Phones with WAP capability can access an enhanced user interface.

Listeners send the message "join" to a station's short code to subscribe to the service.


Sales Call
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Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française, the public broadcaster serving the French-speaking area of southern Belgium, has built its radio production and broadcast operations around the Netia Radio-Assist suite of digital audio software products.

People

TFT Names International Sales Manager
San Jose, CA - May 17, 2007 - Steve Parker has joined TFT as international sales manager. Parker comes to TFT with sales, marketing and business development experience. He speaks Spanish fluently and is conversational in Portuguese and German. In addition to living and working in Latin America, he has supported sales organizations in Australia, New Zealand and throughout the Caribbean.

Parker received a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in biological sciences and geological sciences. He is currently working toward a Masters in Business Administration at Santa Clara University.


Fritz Sennheiser Celebrates 95th Birthday
Wedemark, Germany - May 9, 2007 - Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser celebrated his 95th birthday on May 9. In June 1945 Sennheiser founded his Laboratorium Wennebostel with a staff of seven employees in an abandoned laboratory of Hanover's Technical University. Today, more than 1,650 people work for Sennheiser throughout the world, and the company has production sites in Germany, Ireland and the United States.

Born in Berlin, Sennheiser grew up to experience and to influence many developments in electroacoustics and transmission technology. Even as a young boy, he had a keen interest in all things technical. "I built my own radio receiver in 1924 from a slide coil and a crystal," the 95-year-old said. His passion for making new discoveries has accompanied Sennheiser throughout his life. He describes it as his creative restlessness.

The family company's innovations include the shotgun microphone in the 1950s, open-back headphones in the 1960s, infrared transmission technology in the 1970s and developments in multi-channel wireless technology in the early 1980s.

In 1982, Fritz Sennheiser handed the management of the company over to his son, Joerg Sennheiser, who is today chairman of the Supervisory Board.


Symetrix Expands Facility, Adds Staff
Mountlake Terrace, WA - May 24, 2007 - Symetrix has expanded its facilities and hired staff members. Symetrix now occupies the entire building it used to share in Seattle's nearby suburb of Mountlake Terrace.

Trent Wagner has become head of the marketing department for Symetrix and its Lucid, Air Tools and Symnet brands. Under Wagner, Bruce Yunker is now working as art director, Francesca Grove moves from sales administration to logistics coordinator and Mike Wall handles the duties of product manager.

Within engineering, Frank Heller is the new senior graphic designer. Symetrix hired Wil Bailey to the position of technical resource manager. Quy Tang and David Joiner take on the responsibilities of manufacturing technician and manufacturing manager respectively.


George Named VP of Domestic Sales at LBA
Greenville, NC - May 23, 2007 - John George has been named the vice president of domestic sales at LBA Technology, and as such will be responsible for all sales in the United States. LBA Technology's clients include major U.S. radio broadcasting groups, the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Army and Marine Corps, the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense and other NATO nations.

George has worked in radio broadcasting for more than 35 years, first as a disk jockey moving later into programming, sales, engineering and station ownership. For more than 25 years he has provided technical services to many South Carolina radio stations. For the past three years, he served as the regional sales manager-radio for Dielectric Communications in the Southeast. Previously he worked for Harris for six years as a district sales manager for radio RF and studio equipment.

He is co-chairman of the South Carolina Broadcasters Association Engineering Committee and serves as chairman of the South Carolina Emergency Communications Committee that oversees the Emergency Alert System. George spearheaded the development of the SCBA's Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program and serves as a technical consultant for the SC AMBER Alert Program. He is an associate member of AFCCE and a member of IEEE and the SBE.

LBA Technology is a part of the LBA Group based in Greenville, NC.


D.A.S. Appoints Velez and Teran
Miami - May 21, 2007 - D.A.S. Audio has added Carolain Velez and Edward Teran to the company's U.S. headquarters. Velez is now the new administrative assistant in charge of all import and logistical operations. Her experience includes corporate administrative responsibilities and a background in marketing and promotion.

Teran is the new sales associate for the Miami office. Teran previously worked as a mortgage broker in the real estate financial services industry. He will manage all commercial activity generated through the U.S. headquarters. In addition to U.S.-based sales activity, Teran also assists with the company's sales initiatives for the Caribbean and throughout Latin America.


Products

RCS Releases Updated HD Radio Importer
White Plains, NY - May 21, 2007 - RCS has released its newest version of the RCS HD Importer. It is based on the Ibiquity version 2 platform. RCS states that the release is already being used on the air in New York, Denver and Cincinnati, OH.

The software importer receives its time information via the TCP/IP connection, so a GPS feed is not needed. It adjusts its time relative to the exporter.

The Importer 2 uses the same WAV driver model that the company's Nexgen Digital uses. The update also allows users to create multicast channels through the software interface. The user defines the bandwidth and audio source for the stream. The software also supports PSD information, so title and artist information is also transmitted to the HD Radio receiver's display.


Dialight LED Beacon Receives FAA Certification
Farmingdale, NJ - May 24, 2007 - The new Dialight LED medium-intensity, red-white flashing beacon for marking towers and other aircraft navigation obstacles is now ETL certified to FAA Advisory Circular 150/5345-43F. Dialight offers the beacon as an alternative to Xenon-strobe and incandescent light installations.

The dual-mode beacon offers the equivalent of more than 10 years of lamp life compared with two to three years for Xenon technology and one year for incandescent units.


DAB Comes to Ipods
London - May 25, 2007 - Frontier Silicon has teamed with Roberts Radio to develop a DAB/FM plug-in accessory that allows listeners to listen to radio stations with an Ipod. The plug-in measures 52.4mm x 32mm x 8.1mm and is based on Frontier Silicon's Kino 2 DAB IC. It connects to an Ipod, enabling users to listen to Eureka DAB or analog FM radio. Roberts will launch the product in the UK in October 2007 with a suggested retail price of about US$100.




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