Radio Currents Online - Jun 18 - Jun 24, 2007


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Radio magazine featured in NAB Radio Techcheck
Washington - Jun 18, 2007 - In its June 18 Radio Techcheck newsletter, the National Association of Broadcasters featured the Radio magazine Engineer's Notebook section of the Radio magazine website. Access the feature at RadioMagOnline.com/notebook.

The Engineer’s Notebook is a compilation of resources and tips submitted by Radio magazine readers, contributors and staff. The topics covered include audio, RF, software, electronics and more.

One of the most popular items available is a True Type font set of electronic symbols. Another popular item is the instructions on building a shielded-loop AM antenna.

Submit your ideas for the Engineer's Notebook to radio@RadioMagOnline.com.


FCC Adopts Order Implementing Katrina Panel Recommendations
Washington - Jun 8, 2007 - On May 31, the Federal Communications Commission implemented various recommendations of the FCC's Independent panel reviewing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on communications networks. The FCC intends for the programs and policies stemming from the panel's work to improve emergency response capabilities and assist first responders, the communications industry and all levels of government to communicate effectively with one another during emergencies.

The order mandates certain proactive steps for telephone service providers and commercial mobile service radio providers to ensure preparedness for future events. The requirements include installation of emergency power generators and for them to establish basic interoperability methods.

The FCC order also directs FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to develop and implement an awareness program to educate public safety agencies about alternative communications technologies, establish a method to ascertain communication systems status during an emergency, and to ensure that first responders have the proper credentials to accomplish their jobs during an emergency.

One item in the order relates to broadcast efforts. The FCC wants to take steps to revitalize and publicize the current Emergency Alert System. The Katrina Panel recommends that the Commission should take several actions:

  • Educate state and local officials about EAS, its benefits, and how it can be best utilized.
  • Develop a program for educating the public about the EAS and promote community awareness of potential mechanisms for accessing those alerts sent during power outages or broadcast transmission failures.
  • Move expeditiously to complete its proceeding to explore the technical and financial viability of expanding the EAS to other technologies, such as wireless services and the Internet, recognizing that changes to communications networks and equipment take time to implement.
  • Consistent with proposed legislation, work with Congress and other appropriate federal departments and agencies to explore the technical and financial viability of establishing a comprehensive national warning system that complements existing systems and allows local officials to increase the penetration of warnings to the public as well as target, when necessary, alerts to a particular area.
  • Work with the DHS and other appropriate federal agencies on pilot programs that would allow more immediate evaluation and testing of new notification technologies.
  • Work with the Department of Commerce to expand the distribution of certain critical non-weather emergency warnings over National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios to supplement the EAS.

The report notes that a current proceeding is underway to implement new technologies into EAS. The entire order can be accessed at this link.

EB Docket 06-119 and WC Docket 06-63


FCC Issues Details of June 28 Localism Hearing
Washington - Jun 12, 2007 - The Federal Communications Commission announced that its Portland, ME, localism hearing scheduled for June 28, 2007, will be held at the Portland High School (284 Cumberland Avenue; Portland, ME 04101) from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The purpose of the hearing is to gather information from consumers, industry, civic organizations, and others on broadcasters' service to their local communities.


Congressmen Write to Oppose Sat Radio Merger
Washington - Jun 18, 2007 - A group of 72 congressmen signed a letter that was sent to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majors. The focus of the letter states that the proposed XM/Sirius transaction would harm consumers. The prime authors of the letter are Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

The letter begins by repeating the existing FCC Rules that stipulate that one entity could not own both satellite radio licenses. From there, the letter states many of the already publicized arguments relating to antitrust issues, robust competition of two providers and faults of both providers relating to FCC rules.

Read the letter that is posted on Sensenbrenner's website.


LRV Study: Sirius/XM Merger Unlike Echostar/Directv
Washington - Jun 21, 2007 - The League of Rural Voters (LRV) released an analysis to show differences between the direct broadcast satellite (DBS) market in the 2002 Echostar/Directv attempt to merge and the audio entertainment market in the proposed Sirius/XM merger. LRV supports the proposed merger between the satcasters.

The main point of the analysis is that satellite radio is only one small piece in a broad market of audio media choices. LRV Executive Director Niel Ritchie said, "Rural consumers have an array of audio entertainment choices today and will continue to do so after the SIRIUS-XM merger."

The analysis states that during the DBS merger proposal, the FCC determined that there were at most two DBS providers. Parallels between the DBS merger and the sat radio merger have been drawn, but according to the LRV report, "the Commission's review of the proposed merger of Directv and Echostar in 2002 provides no guidance to the analysis applicable here." It further adds, "...this is because the product markets at issue in the two transactions are fundamentally different."

The analysis, Sirius/XM vs. Echostar/Directv: A Fundamentally Different Merger for Rural Consumers, was filed in support of the satcaster's application with the FCC on June 21.

The main points of the analysis:
Distinct Market Definitions

  • In 2002, the FCC defined each local market as the two DBS providers and the local cable monopoly. The analysis compares this to the "broad and competitive audio entertainment market in which satellite radio competes."
  • LRV consider the market to include terrestrial radio, Internet radio, MP3 players, CD players and mobile phones.
  • In 2002, the FCC found there were significant barriers to entry in the DBS merger, but that "this concern is moot in the satellite radio market, given the multitude of other competitors that have already entered the field and the anticipated release of future competitors such as HD Radio and the Apple Iphone.

Different Impacts on Rural Consumers

  • A DBS merger would have forced a monopoly in areas where there was no cable. The audio entertainment market does not present the same concern, since it includes many different providers/editors.
  • LRV's analysis concludes that the FCC's concerns in the Echostar/Directv case do not apply to satellite radio because of its small saturation in a rapidly growing market.

The complete report can be accessed at siriusmerger.com and xmmerger.com.


Public Broadcasters Receive Support from Senate
Washington - Jun 20, 2007 - A Senate subcommittee has recommended continued support for public broadcasting in the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill. The Senate appropriations subcommittee provided $420 million in advance funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for FY 2010. Mirroring its House counterpart, this represents the first increase to this line item in four years.

The subcommittee also provided level funding of $29.7 million for the CPB Digital program to assist stations in making the transition to digital.


RTNDA Announces Murrow Award Winners
Washington - Jun 21, 2007 - The Radio-Television News Directors Association has honored outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. The association announced the national winners for 2007.

The complete list of award winners is available on the RTNDA website. Here are the winners in the radio categories.

Radio Network/Syndication Service
Overall Excellence: CBS Radio News
Continuing Coverage: CBS Radio News, Middle East War
Feature - Hard News: CBC National Radio News, A North Korea Border Tragic Comedy in One Act
Feature Reporting: ABC News Radio, 9/11 Remembered: A Firefighter's Story
Investigative Reporting: ABC News Radio, Brian Ross Investigates: The Mark Foley Scandal
News Documentary: National Public Radio, Thembi's AIDS Diary
News Series: Associated Press, Olympic Reports
Newscast: ABC News Radio, ABC Information Network Newscast
Sports Reporting: ABC News Radio, Game of Shadows
Spot News Coverage: ABC News Radio, The Cory Lidle Crash
Use of Sound: ABC News Radio, A Reporter's Notebook: Fort Hood
Writing: CBS Radio News, Just a Minute

Radio Large Market
Overall Excellence: WBAL-AM, Baltimore
Continuing Coverage: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee, Milwaukee's Missing Boys
Feature - Hard News: WBUR-FM, Boston, Skin Shock
Feature Reporting: KGO-AM, San Francisco, Derrill's Legacy
Investigative Reporting: WBAL-AM, Baltimore, Going Around in 9-1-1 Circles
News Documentary: WBUR-FM, Boston, Boston Medical Center
News Series: WSB-AM, Atlanta, Atlanta's Top 5 Consumer Scams
Newscast: KCBS-AM, San Francisco, KCBS 9AM News
Sports Reporting: WBUR-FM, Boston, Kenya's Fastest Town
Spot News Coverage: KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Hit and Run
Use of Sound: KIRO-AM, Seattle, Sound of Movie Music
Website: KCBS-AM, San Francisco, www.kcbs.com
Writing: WBZ-AM, Boston, Who's on First

Radio Small Market
Overall Excellence: KFDI-FM, Wichita, KS
Continuing Coverage: WCHS-AM, Charleston, WV, The Sago Mine Disaster
Feature - Hard News: WITF-FM, Harrisburg, PA, Remembering Flight 93 Five Years Later
Feature Reporting: WVPS-FM, Colchester, VT, Peace Songs
Investigative Reporting: KBIA-FM, Columbia, MO, Dead Voters
News Documentary: KHUM-TV, Ferndale, CA, Picking Up: Meth on the North Coast
News Series: WDEL-AM, Wilmington, DE, From Fat to Fit: Childhood Obesity in The First State
Newscast: CKGL-AM, Kitchner, ON
Sports Reporting: WSLU-FM, Canton, NY, Rugby Brings Elegance and Violence to Adirondacks
Spot News Coverage: KFDI-FM, Wichita, KS, Sedgwick County Hailstorm
Use of Sound: WMSI/WQJQ-FM, Jackson, MS, Theater of War
Website: WDEL-AM, Wilmington, DE, www.wdel.com
Writing: WVPS-FM, Burlington, VT, Coffin

National Murrow winners will be honored at the RTNDA Awards Dinner on Oct. 15, 2007, at the Grand Hyatt New York.


123rd AES Adds Broadcast Audio Conference
New York - Jun 18, 2007 - The Audio Engineering Society will introduce a dedicated, four-day Broadcast Audio Conference to its 123rd AES Convention, to be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York on Oct. 5 to 8, 2007.

Among the sessions included in the conference are a loudness workshop with Emil Torick, a two-part considerations for facility design panel including a stand-alone facility wiring and distribution systems for TV and radio session, an innovations in digital radio panel, and an audio processing for HD (TV and radio) panel.

The AES reports that more than 2,000 broadcast audio professionals attended the 2005 and 2006 AES Conventions in New York and San Francisco. The organization expects the broadcast audience to grow this year.


Business

Sennheiser to Expand German Headquarters
Old Lyme, CT - Jun 20, 2007 - Sennheiser Electronic plans to reorganize and expand its headquarters and main production facility in Wennebostel, near Wedemark, Germany. The first project of the expansion program is a new factory building that will take over production from the Burgdorf plant 30km away. The Burgdorf site will be closed and the employees will move to the new facility.

Sennheiser's headquarters in Wennebostel, where the company was founded in 1945, has grown continuously. The new modern production facility will be constructed adjacent to the company's clean room. Planning for the new building and reorganization has already begun, and the relocation of the Burgdorf site is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2009.


Sales Call
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Entercom Communications has announced an agreement to use Targetspot's technology for Entercom's 90 radio stations that stream online. The service allows advertisers to create, buy and place their own advertising messages within streaming media.

People

Minto Joins NHT Pro Audio
Benicia, CA - Jun 19, 2007 - NHT Pro Audio has hired Chris Minto to be the company's director of the NHT Pro Division. Minto, who reports to Andy Regan, senior vice president, sales and marketing, will oversee all activities pertaining the company's pro audio speakers and electronics, including product development, sales, marketing and industry outreach.

Prior to joining NHT, Minto served as the director of the Miller and Kreisel professional division. Earlier positions included prominent roles with Otari and Westlake Audio.

Minto migrated to the sales and manufacturing side after a career as an engineer and producer. He is credited on some of the best-known albums of the '80s, and '90s, having worked with artists such as Santana, Pat Benatar, Kiss, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Whitesnake and others.


Jerry Lee to Receive National Radio Award
Washington - Jun 19, 2007 - Jerry Lee, the independent owner of WBEB-FM (B101) Philadelphia, will receive the NAB National Radio Award on Sept. 28 during the Radio Luncheon at The NAB Radio Show in Charlotte, NC.

Lee has served several terms on the NAB Radio Board during his four decades in radio broadcasting. Following his tenure as president of Broadcast Pioneers, Lee became an active member of several organizations, including the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters (PAB) and Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), and was head of the Research Committee for the Radio Advertising Effectiveness Lab (RAEL). Lee is also the founder of the Broadcast Industry Council to Improve American Productivity and received two Private Sector Initiative Awards from former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Lee has also demonstrated a commitment to education and community service. He founded the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the 15-member national board for Education Sciences in 2004. His philanthropic efforts include the establishment of the Jerry Lee Foundation, dedicated to solving problems in the inner city, and his service as a member of the advisory board of the Greater Philadelphia Salvation Army. In 2003, Lee's efforts were recognized by the Caring Institute of Washington, DC, where Lee was named one of the 10 most caring people in America.

Previous National Radio Award recipients include David Kennedy, last year's honoree, along with John Dille, Lowry Mays, Jeff Smulyan, Bill Stakelin, Erica Farber and Nancy Widmann, among others.


ERI Appoints Nahil as Central Region Account Manager
Chandler, IN - Jun 20, 2007 - Ted Nahil has assumed the responsibility for sales of ERI's RF and structural products to individual radio stations and radio group owners in the central region of the United States. Nahil's geographic area of responsibility will include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, the Virgin Islands and Wisconsin.

Nahil was previously the national accounts manager for Audio Processing Technology and has held sales management and applications engineering positions with Harris. He is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, an SBE Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer, and holds an FCC General Class License. Nahil also has experience in radio station engineering and engineering management, that includes the planning and construction of new radio broadcast facilities.

Nahil's office will be located in Port St. Lucie, FL. He can be contacted at 772-340-0850 or tnahil@eriinc.com.


President Bush to Renominate Taylor-Tate for FCC Post
Washington – Jun 20, 2007 - President George Bush intends to nominate Deborah Taylor Tate of Tennessee to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission for a five-year term that will expire on June 30, 2012. Tate currently serves as an FCC commissioner.

Prior to the FCC, she served as director and chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Earlier in her career, she served as an attorney and senior policy advisor to former Governor Lamar Alexander and former Governor Don Sundquist. Tate received her bachelor's degree and her JD from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

FCC Commissioners Martin and Adelstein issued congratulatory statements on the announcement.


Glenn Beck to Host NAB Marconi Radio Awards
Washington - Jun 21, 2007 - Talk radio personality Glenn Beck will host the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner and Show on Sept. 27 during The NAB Radio Show in Charlotte, NC.

Heard on more than 270 radio stations, The Glenn Beck Program is currently the third highest-rated national talk show among adults ages 25 to 54. Beck's radio career began at 13, when he won a local radio contest that eventually led to a part-time job. In 2001, he made his talk radio debut on WFLA-AM Tampa. Shortly thereafter, The Glenn Beck Program went national, debuting on 47 stations in January 2002.

Beck's career expanded to television in 2006 when he joined CNN Headline News. His hour-long program, Glenn Beck, offers an unconventional perspective on the news of the day and has enjoyed substantial ratings growth in several different audience demographics.

Established in 1989 and named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, The NAB Marconi Radio Awards are given to radio stations and outstanding on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio. Winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner and Show at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC.


Lion-Poulain Adds International Press Responsibilities to Audemat-Aztec Duties
Miami, FL - Jun 19, 2007 - Sophie Lion-Poulain will add worldwide press relations for Audemat-Aztec to her existing responsibilities for the company's US operations. She has been responsible for press relations for the Americas for the past four years. She will now be in charge of press releases, public relations and all media exposure for the entire company worldwide.

Laetitia Galand will remain the company's communication manager and oversee the website, tradeshow coordination, advertising and non-press relations for the corporate office. Galand is also in charge of quality control for the corporate office.

Lion-Poulain has a law and business degree acquired in Bordeaux, France. She received the Cambridge Advanced Certificate from Cambridge University and a Spanish degree from the Chamber of Commerce of Madrid. From 1997 to 1999 she studied at the College of Marin in San Francisco where she acquired an associate degree in art. From 2001 to 2002, she handled press relations for Audemat-Aztec in Bordeaux. From 2002 to 2003 she became communications manager for Ecreso in Bordeaux, the transmitter manufacturer purchased in 2005 by Audemat-Aztec SA. In 2003 she moved to the US and became communications manager for the subsidiary Company Audemat-Aztec Inc. in Miami.


Products

Marti Increases Digital Cellcast Footprint
Quincy, IL - Jun 19, 2007 - Marti Electronics has released a CDMA version of its Digital Cellcast remote unit for wireless use in service areas covered by Verizon, Alltel, US Cellular, Sprint and other regional carriers. With this capability, the mixer and cellphone unit for remote broadcasts increases its cellular operating footprint to the majority of the United States. The Digital Cellcast already has GSM capability, and the unit can be used to transport audio via a POTS line.

The audio mixer section includes a four-channel mixer with separate pots for each channel. The unit can operate on a battery pack or ac/dc converter.


V-Soft Updates FM Commander
Cedar Falls, IA - Jun 20, 2007 - V-Soft has released a major version update to its FM Commander allocation software. Version 6.3.0.4 adds several new features to the frequency searching program. Some of the new features to this version include:

  • Automatic updates to the database and executable program.
  • Integrates hypertext Hallikainen Web-based FCC rules
  • Automatically calculates missing CORs (based on CDBS HAAT) after a spacing study is complete
  • Automatically calculates 60dBu translator contour for US/Mexican border and US/Canada border.

The update is available through the V-Soft website.


TFT Distributes CAP-to-EAS Converter
San Jose, CA - Jun 15, 2007 - TFT has made available a CAP-to-EAS converter called the Model 2008. The unit was designed by Hormann-America of Martinez, CA. Hormann-America is a designer and manufacturer of community warning systems.

The FCC recently adopted an order that may require EAS participants to accept messages using the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) once FEMA adopts standards. CAP is a protocol that uses XML (Extensible Markup Language) for origination and dissemination of emergency messages.

The Model 2008 connects to a CAP feed via the Internet and optionally by other means, processes incoming messages and sends them as audio to an FCC type-approved EAS encoder/decoder. Broadcasters can use their existing EAS equipment with the addition of the Model 2008, in the same manner as they would connect a radio receiver.


Axia Ships Pathfinder PC Version 4.0
Cleveland - Jun 21, 2007 - Axia Audio is now shipping Pathfinder PC Version 4.0, an upgrade of Axia's routing control software for IP audio networks. Pathfinder PC is used to construct custom audio routing applications that can be used to switch routes automatically at specified times, in response to pre-programmed events or by manual command.

New features included in PathfinderPC Version 4.0 include:

  • An enhanced, graphical stacking events editor that eliminates script writing.
  • Full control of Axia Element VMIX (Virtual Mixer) functionality.
  • Prophet Systems delivery system integration with ACU Translator.
  • New, informative routing pop-up displays that include complete host and Axia channel number information.
  • Expanded support for constructing Pathfinder PC clusters for automatic backup.
  • Detailed, fully customizable system event logging.

Pathfinder PC can also combine audio and machine logic into a single virtual router to route bi-directional audio and GPIO together. Audio metering, combined with silence sense, can be set to create watchdogs for audio sources, automatically switching to a backup source and sending an alert e-mail if audio is not present.

Pathfinder PC v4.0 is available for purchase. A free update for existing users is available from www.AxiaAudio.com/downloads/.


Internet Watch


Webcasting Day of Silence: June 26
Jun 19, 2007 - While the protests against the webcasting royalties continues, webcasters are calling for a webcasting day of silence to demonstrate the potential effect of a royalty rate increase. The event is a repeat of a May 1, 2002 day of silence that was a response to a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) ruling. After the 2002 day of silence, the royalty rates were reduced for the period between 1998 and 2005.

On July 15, the Internet royalty rates for the previous 17 months are due to be paid to Sound Exchange. If left unchanged, the royalty rates will likely force many webcasters to cease operation because of the exorbitant costs.

The specific day of silence date was selected by members of savenetradio.org.




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