Radio Currents Online - Jan 2 - Jan 8, 2006


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Radio technology news updated as it happens.


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News

HD Radio Shown at CES
Las Vegas - Jan 8, 2006 - Several exhibitors at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas were promoting HD Radio products. Ibiquity had an assortment of HD Radio receivers and technology displays in its booth, including units for OEM, automotive, tabletop and custom home use. Multicast demonstrations from Las Vegas stations KSTJ and KXTE were shown, and traffic information was displayed on a vehicle navigation system.

Exhibitors that had HD Radio products in their booths included Alpine Electronics, Audio Design Associates, Boston Acoustics, Day Sequerra, Delphi, Dension, Eclipse by Fujitsu Ten, Kenwood, Panasonic, Philips, Polk Audio, Radiosophy, Sangean, Visteon and Yamaha.

Unfortunately for HD Radio, the terrestrial radio technology was overshadowed by satellite radio, digital television technology, and many other portable media technologies.


Greater Media Celebrates 50 Years in Broadcasting
Boston - Jan 4, 2006 - Greater Media will celebrate its 50th anniversary in broadcasting throughout 2006. Owned by the Bordes family, the company was originally founded in 1956 by Yale classmates Peter A. Bordes and Joseph Rosenmiller.

From the ownership of a single radio station in Southbridge, MA, Greater Media steadily and quietly built a broad-based combination of successful communications companies, spanning America from coast to coast. By the 1980s, Greater Media’s business included radio, cable TV, printing, publishing and telecommunications operations. In 1999, the company sold its cable business to focus more exclusively on its radio and newspaper operations.

Today, Greater Media is the parent company of 19 AM and FM radio stations in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and New Jersey; a printing facility and a group of weekly newspapers in central New Jersey; and several telecommunications towers throughout the United States.


SBE Offers Tips for ULS Deadline
Indianapolis - Jan. 3, 2006 - On Dec. 20, 2005, the FCC issued a Public Notice that explained some of the elements of a declaratory ruling from January 2005. This ruling outlined the Commission's intent to clean up the Universal Licensing System (ULS) database. Unfortunately for broadcasters, the ruling (Docket 05-23) is not clear in the aspects that pertain to broadcast auxiliary licenses (BAS), and could easily have resulted in stations having some of their BAS licenses terminated.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers recognized the problem in early 2005 and had several meetings with the FCC during the year.

"While the FCC provided oral clarification to the SBE in those meetings, the SBE has repeatedly asked the FCC to publicly publish a clarification," said SBE President Chriss Scherer, CSRE CBNT. "The Dec. 20 Public Notice is the latest result in this effort."

This automated feature in the ULS for all wireless services will identify the licenses, locations or frequencies that have not filed a timely notice of completion of construction or a request for an extension of the construction or coverage period. The ULS will notify the licensee that its license, location or frequency has automatically terminated and will list the automatic termination of the license, location or frequency in a weekly public notice.

The SBE has created a primer that details the specific steps for a broadcaster to follow to ensure that its BAS licenses are not automatically terminated beginning on Feb. 1, 2006.

The SBE's general counsel, Chris Imlay said, "While this method sounds clear, in reality, there are several steps that a licensee must complete to protect its current and pending BAS licenses. Failure to do so may result in a broadcaster losing a license or construction permit--and also losing the protection of having an active license entered in the ULS."

SBE members can access the BAS License Protection Primer through the SBE website at www.sbe.org. The primer will also be published in the February 2006 issue of the SBE member newsletter, The SBE Signal.


NTSB Releases Report on KFI Tower Crash
La Mirada, CA - Jan 3, 2006 - On Dec. 19, 2004, a Cessna collided with the KFI radio tower at La Mirada, CA, while in the traffic pattern to the Fullerton, California Municipal Airport. Read the original news item in the Radio magazine Currents Online at this link. The pilot and passenger were killed in the accident, and the tower fell as a result of the crash.

The complete narrative of the NTSB report is available at this link. The report includes the account of two witnesses, which both state the plane's left wing struck the tower about 10 to 15 feet from the top. One witness noted that there was considerable glare on his car windshield when he turned in the same direction that the Cessna was traveling.

The KFI tower was built in January 1948. The tower was 759.84 feet tall. The tower was hit by another aircraft on Jan. 28, 1970, but sustained the impact. The cause of that accident was attributed to the pilot's failure to see and avoid the tower because of a congested traffic pattern and the pilot experiencing sun glare.

The report notes that the Fullerton Airport manager reported that he had called the KFI tower engineer on March 22, 2001, to suggest that strobe lights be installed on the tower. The station stated that it did not have the budget to install the strobes, but that would repaint the tower and replace the guy wires. KFI met all existing safety standards at that time. Strobe lights are not required by FAA regulations for obstacles less than 1,000 feet agl in day conditions.


Business

Yamaha Commercial Audio System Incorporates
Buena Park, CA - Jan 6, 2006 - Yamaha Corporation Japan has formed a new company based in the United States that will devote its business solely to commercial audio and systems integration. The new company will be referred to as Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems (YCAS) with Yoshi Doi as its president. Doi will continue as president of Yamaha Corporation of America. Larry Italia has been appointed vice president and general manager of the new company. Official operations begin with the start of Yamaha fiscal year April 1, 2006. As part of this new venture, the company will be responsible for commercial audio sales in Canada. Yamaha commercial audio staff in Canada will remain in place and report to YCAS, headquartered in Buena Park, CA.


Pioneer Introduces Neural Surround Receiver
Las Vegas - Jan 5, 2006 - Pioneer Electronics is debuting the VSX-816, a Neural Surround enabled home receiver, which supports XM HD Surround broadcast at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Pioneer plans to expand the implementation of Neural Surround to a full line of home A/V receivers.

"True 5.1 encoded surround sound for music is a natural progression for multi-channel home audio entertainment. Thanks to XM Satellite Radio’s partnership with Neural Audio, we now have high performance and easy access to a whole new world of music," said Dave Bales, marketing and planning manager of audio products for the home entertainment division of Pioneer Electronics.


Neural Teams with 5.1 Entertainment Group
Kirkland, WA - Dec 30, 2005 - Neural Audio and Silverline Records, part of the 5.1 Entertainment Group, have launched a collaborative effort to convert the label's 5.1 library of more than 250 albums into the Neural surround format to provide playback in mono, stereo or 5.1.

The 5.1 Entertainment Group houses several record labels, a multimedia production facility and a music publishing division. The company has released a large catalog of Dual Disc music titles.


Linear Acoustic Appoints Sonotechnique for Distribution in Canada
Lancaster, PA - Jan 3, 2006 - Linear Acoustic has named Sonotechnique as its exclusive Canadian dealer to handle sales of the company's range of digital audio processors throughout the region. Co-owned by Gerry Eschweiler and Jean-Louis Ostrowski, Sonotechnique is based in Montreal, with satellite sales offices in Vancouver and Toronto.

Sonotechnique's services include project planning, systems integration, turnkey projects, custom-designed equipment and after-sales service.


Sales Call
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EMF Broadcasting of Billings, MT, has installed a Jampro JMVP 2R for the 7.5kW station. The station, KLRV, chose Jampro to help it meet a short installation timeline before its contruction permit expired.
WODJ-FM, which serves the central West Michigan community of Newaygo and is licensed to Citadel Broadcasting, selected Dielectric Communications to provide a 12kW DCR-H5 half-wave spaced FM antenna and FLF-39 Flexline coaxial cables.
Crawford Broadcasting's KLZ in Denver, CO, has installed an Omnia-5EX HD+AM audio processor.
Podsquod.com, operated by Mark Jensen Titterington, has selected Symetrix 528E mic processors and Heil Sound microphones to outfit its podcasting studios. The facility also uses Aphex, Air Tools and Pre Sonus audio processors.
A 52-fader Studer Vista 8 digital audio console has been installed in BBC Radio and Music's new flagship remote broadcast vehicle, Sound 4.
Border Media Partners has placed an order to equip 29 studios in three markets: Austin, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley. The Southwest office of SCMS worked the group to outfit the project, which will include Audioarts R-55e and D-75 consoles, Air Tools 6200 microphone processors, Studio Technology custom furniture and Moseley Starlink STLs.

People

Bustos Appointed To NAB Radio Board
Washington - Jan 3, 2006 - NAB Radio Board Chairman David Field has appointed Bustos Media Chairman Amador S. Bustos to the NAB Radio Board.

Bustos Media currently owns and operates 25 radio stations in high-growth, mid-size markets throughout the United States. The company also produces four nationally syndicated network formats, which are carried by 48 affiliated radio stations.

In addition to his duties on the NAB Radio Board, Bustos also holds a seat on the Board of Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI). Bustos fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Miguel Villarreal.


Miller to Head Public Radio International
Minneapolis - Jan 3, 2006 - Alisa Miller has been named president of Public Radio International (PRI). Miller was selected because she has an "entrepreneurial approach, technological savvy, and partnership skills with a strong commitment to public broadcasting," according to a PRI press release.

Miller became senior vice president and head of PRI Content in 2004, overseeing the development, acquisition and production of PRI content and creating new partnerships for PRI. She helped create American Public Radio, a partnership of PRI, Chicago Public Radio, WGBH Radio Boston and New York Public Radio, that manages the operation of three 24/7 streams of content for satellite broadcast. She has also served on several public radio boards and has represented PRI on key industry panels. She joined PRI in 2001 as senior vice president and director of PRI Channels, developing new distribution and business opportunities and working closely with PRI's subsidiary, Public Interactive, public broadcasting's leading Web services provider.

Prior to joining PRI, Miller developed and managed strategic relationships at Sesame Workshop (formerly Children's Television Workshop). She served as assistant vice president of strategic alliances and as director of business development and strategy for Sesamestreet.com.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor's degree in journalism, Miller worked as a White House intern and then joined the Washington-based consulting firm DFI International, where she helped develop a satellite industry forecasting practice. She earned an MBA and MPP from the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business and the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy.


Westwood One Appoints Kosann as President
New York - Jan 3, 2006 - CBS Radio and the Board of Directors of Westwood One have appointed Peter Kosann as president. Kosann has also been elected to the Westwood One board of directors. Kosann had been serving as co-chief operating officer of Westwood One since April 2005 and president of sales since May 2003. Kosann succeeds Joel Hollander, chairman, CBS Radio and a member of the board of directors of Westwood One, who had been serving as interim president of Westwood One.

Since joining Westwood One in May 1999, Kosann has run a number of major operating divisions of the company. Initially, he was hired by Westwood One as vice president, affiliate sales. In December 1999, he was promoted to senior vice president, affiliate sales and new media, a position he held until January 2001. At that time, Kosann was appointed as the company's executive vice president, network advertising sales. In May 2003, Kosann was elevated to president of sales.

Prior to joining Westwood One, from November 1992 to May 1999, Kosann was employed by Bloomberg Financial Markets in several media sales and business development capacities.


Products

Dannager Adds Network Local Insertion to Plan B
Vancouver, BC - Jan 6, 2006 - Danagger Audio Works has released a new midrange model of the Plan B dead-air-prevention device with features for network repeater applications. The Plan B Classic accepts an external closure to inject local audio from the system's internal DVD drive or Compact Flash card and automatically rejoins the network after a break. Like all Plan B models, the Classic will also detect digital or analog program feed failures and provide continuous replacement audio while notifying station personnel via voice remote control. External closures can also trigger automatic notification. Each unit can have a separate ID number to identify which network site is reporting a problem. Users can also call the Plan B Classic to monitor program and backup audio, manipulate relays, monitor status inputs or make emergency phone-to-air announcements. Danagger has included a monitor amplifier with stereo speakers and a headphone jack in the Plan B Classic's 2RU frame.

A Plus option allows backup audio to be injected from an alternate external digital or analog program source, such as a secondary STL or off-air receiver. This option can be ordered separately and installed in the field. All Plan B models now use interchangeable modules, allowing a Classic to be upgraded to the IP-equipped Plan B Deluxe at a later time.

The Plan B Classic is scheduled to begin shipping on Feb. 15.


Motorola Announces Radio-like Service
Las Vegas - Jan 3, 2006 - Motorola will introduce its Iradio service at the CES convention. The subscription music service is distributed through a mobile phone.

Motorola Iradio will initially launch with 435 commercial-free radio channels. The company states that the service will offer more choices and a higher audio quality than satellite radio. The service will also allow listeners to identify and purchase music. Motorola describes the service as a "single service that incorporates incredible choice, the discovery of new music, impulse acquisition, and seamless portability."

Clear Channel and Music Choice are two of the content providers for the service.

Motorola also recently announced that Warner Music Group will provide music to expand the music selection available on the Iradio service. Warner joins Universal Music Group as the second major label to provide content from their catalogs to the Iradio service.

Motorola will demonstrate Iradio at CES in booth 8545 in the Central Hall.


Eye on IBOC

Ibiquity Introduces HD Radio Tuner Box
Las Vegas - Jan 6, 2006 - At the Consumer Electronics Show Ibiquity Digital unveiled a blueprint for an HD Radio tuner box that could turn a satellite-ready receiver into an HD Radio enabled unit. The tuner box would be installed in the dash and be compatible with more than 200 existing receivers from OEMs as well as aftermarket manufacturers such as Pioneer and Sony. The box would allow drivers to receive HD Radio signals without having to remove their car's existing receivers and sound systems.

Similar products have also been developed by Dice Electronics and Kenwood, who is expected to introduce its KOS-A200 at CES.


HD Radio Rollout Surpasses 600 Stations On-Air
Columbia, MD - Jan 4, 2006 - On the first day of the CES convention, Ibiquity announced that HD Radio technology has hit several milestones as 2005 came to a close.

  • The number of digital AM and FM stations on the air more than tripled from 200 to 624
  • New HD Radio receivers launched in the marketplace across a range of product categories
  • The Boston Acoustics Recepter Radio HD was released, making it the first available HD Radio table-top product
  • 2005 ended with 70 stations offering new multicast channels

    Ibiquity's goal was to end the 2005 with 600 stations transmitting IBOC signals.


    HD Radio University Launched to Educate Retailers
    Columbia, MD - Jan 4, 2006 - Ibiquity Digital has partnered with Creative Channel Services cyberscholar.com to launch a training program designed to educate retailers on HD Radio technology. The program, called HD Radio University, is free and requires only a one-time registration at www.hdradiouniversity.com, starting at the end of January.

    Developed by Creative Channel Services (CCS), the HD Radio e-learning site is hosted on CCS' cyberscholar.com, which reaches 90,000 retail professionals in more than 7,000 stores nationwide. HD Radio University will offer retailers two levels of achievement: an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree. Each degree will require sales professionals to participate in 20 minutes of training (broken into two 10-minute sessions) and pass quizzes at the end of each session. Later in 2006, a third 20-minute unit may be added to create a master's degree level that incorporates the more technical aspects of the HD Radio digital broadcasting system.

    Many broadcasters have felt that retailers have not been supportive in the HD Radio rollout. This effort will at least help to educate the retailers on HD Radio.


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