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Radio Currents Online - Jan 3 - Jan 9, 2005
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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Future of Radio Discussed at CES
Las Vegas - Jan 7, 2005 - The audio shootout conference session, moderated by Dave Graveline, delved into the vast array of radio options that are now available to consumers. The panel included Bob Struble, president and CEO of Ibiquity Digital; Gabe Hobbs, vice-president of programming of Clear Channel; Hugh Panero, CEO of XM Satellite Radio; Joseph Clayton, chairman of Sirius Satellite Radio and Mark Lam, CEO of Live365. While the panelists may not agree on the content format, the panelists did agree that content is king and consumers are driving the development.
When asked if all the diverse platforms would survive the panelists agreed that the debate is like local TV vs. HBO; consumers want both - not one or the other. The panel agreed that radio reinvents itself to stay current and continues to be the most ubiquitous consumer electronic product.
21 Radio Groups Commit to Convert to HD Radio
Las Vegas - Jan 5, 2005 - International Consumer Electronics Show - At a press conference at CES2005, Ibiquity announced that 21 of the United States' top radio broadcast groups have committed to convert 2,000 AM and FM stations to transmit IBOC signals. There are already about 500 stations licensed to use the Ibiquity technology.
The agreement includes station commitments from ABC Radio, Beasley Broadcast Group, Bonneville International, Clear Channel Communications, Cox Radio, Cumulus Media, Emmis Communications, Entercom Communications, Entravision Communications, Greater Media, Infinity Broadcasting, Jefferson-Pilot Communications, Journal Broadcast Group, Liberman Broadcasting, Nextmedia Group, Radio One, Regent Communications, Saga Communications, Sandusky Radio, Susquehanna Radio, and Univision Radio.
Separately, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced recently a matching grant program for an additional 159 public radio stations to speed HD Radio conversions. With matching funds of $21M to date, this brings the total public broadcast station commitment to 309. Another round of matching CPB funds is expected in 2005.
New York's Con Edison to End DC Power Distribution
New York - Jan 2, 2005 - The New York Times reports that Con Edison will cease providing direct current power feeds by the end of 2005. The event will have an effect on only a few customers, but traces its origins to the first electric power plant built by Thomas Edison.
Built at 255-57 Pearl Street, which today lies under a parking lot, Edison focused on providing electrical power to the light bulbs that he had developed. He picked a 50-block area in Lower Manhattan to lay 14 miles of underground copper wire.
The switch was thrown on Sept. 4, 1882, to illuminate 800 bulbs downtown. The New York Times was one of Edison's first customers.
DC power distribution was short-lived because dc power does not travel well over distances. Westinghouse promoted the use of ac for this reason.
About 1,600 customers still receive dc power in New York. All are in Manhattan, scattered among Upper West Side apartment houses, Garment District loft buildings, hotels and brownstones. The use of provided dc is typically limited for motors of century-old elevators or fire pumps. Con Ed has been trying to wean these final customers for the past five years.
Con Ed has not distributed dc power to consumers for 20 years. The remaining customers are receiving ac that is rectified through underground systems. DC power is not completely doomed; the subway system still operates on dc and will continue to do so.
Use of public television news, nightly network news, local television news and National Public Radio has decreased. The number of Americans who report using nightly network news programs, local TV news, local newspapers and network newsmagazine shows reached new lows in this year's poll.
The poll, conducted last month, asked Americans how often they get news from 10 daily news sources and three weekly news sources. Local television news ranked at the top of the list of daily news sources, with 51 percent of Americans saying they use this source every day (and another 19 percent saying they use it several times a week).
Local newspapers were next, with a 44 percent daily use rating; cable news networks at 39 percent; and nightly network news programs at 36 percent. Morning programs on the national television networks and public television news were in the middle with 27 percent.
FCC Extends Part 15 Reply Comment Date
Washington - Dec 21, 2004 - On May 25, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making seeking comments on proposed Part 15 rule changes to allow unlicensed devices to operate in the broadcast television spectrum at locations where that spectrum is not being used. While the deadline for comments has passed, the reply comment deadline has been extended 30 days beyond the initial Dec. 30 deadline. Reply comments are now due Jan. 31, 2005.
ET Docket No. 04-186 and ET Docket No. 02-380
NIST Conducts Emergency Radio Tests
Washington - Dec 15, 2004 - Experiments aimed at improving emergency radio communications have begun by researchers from the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The first test was conducted at the Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington, D.C., before, during and after its demolition on Dec. 18, 2004.
The NIST work, which supports public safety programs of the U.S. departments of Homeland Security and Justice, is intended to help improve the communications capabilities of first responders. First responders who rely on radio communications often lose signals in shielded or complex environments such as the basements or elevator shafts of buildings. It also is difficult to detect radio signals through the dense rubble of a building that has collapsed as a result of natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
To simulate disaster environments, NIST is using real-world laboratories-buildings that are scheduled to be imploded as part of construction and recycling projects. The old Washington Convention Center is among a series of buildings around the country that NIST is using for radio propagation experiments. Among its tasks, NIST is investigating new tools to improve communications, such as methods for detecting weak radio signals and the use of improvised antennas made of metal found in debris to boost signals.
In the Dec. 18 test, the NIST team placed 25 battery-operated transmitters at various locations in the convention center prior to demolition. The transmitters send signals near the frequency bands used by emergency personnel and mobile telephones. Scientists monitored and mapped the strength of signals sent by the transmitters to receivers outside the building before, during and after the building was imploded. After the implosion, NIST researchers studied various schemes for detecting signals by searching with directional antennas and by connecting detectors to metal debris found within the rubble of the building.
Additional information on NIST Emergency Communication projects is
available at this link.
Ace Technology to Develop HD Radio Receiver Modules
Las Vegas - Jan 6, 2005 - Consumer Electronics Show - Ace Technology, a South Korean-based manufacturer of RF technology, has signed a license agreement with Ibiquity to develop RF modules for HD Radio receivers. Increased availability of these modules will help HD Radio receiver manufacturers speed their development and lower their product costs.
Ibiquity Approves Neural Audio Surround System for HD Radio Compatibility
Las Vegas - Jan 5, 2005 – Consumer Electronics Show - Ibiquity has approved the Neural Audio 5.1 surround sound digital audio system as compatible with HD Radio.
Neural Audio, teaming with Harris, has developed the 5225 Mix-Edit Transcoder 5.1 surround sound system, which is scaleable and ensures backward and forward compatibility allowing analog, digital, lossy, linear, stereo and 5.1 to co-exist in the broadcast environment. The Neural 5225 enables broadcasters to mix, edit and save 5.1 content via Neural's proprietary watermarking system on existing 2.0 stereo equipment. With Neural technology, reception or input at the receiver end of the content is selectively and automatically post-processed and up-mixed by the Neural Audio Spatial Environment Engine (SEE) to the available number of speakers (from two to 256 channels) in the automotive environment.
Ibiquity Digital, Toko Open International HD Radio Cert Center In Japan
Las Vegas - Jan 6, 2005 - International Consumer Electronics Show - Ibiquity Digital and Toko, a manufacturer of electronic components and modules, have opened an International HD Radio Certification Center at the Toko facility in Saitama, Japan. The center will provide technical support and product certification services for licensed HD Radio consumer electronics partners.
Under the arrangement, engineers from Toko will test and evaluate HD Radio products according to the same criteria used at Ibiquity’s certification facility in Maryland. The data will subsequently be aggregated and provided to Ibiquity for certification of the product or device.
Clear Channel to Provide Local Traffic Info via RBDS
Las Vegas - Jan 6, 2005 - 2005 International CES - Clear Channel Radio announced that it will deliver real-time local traffic data directly to vehicles. Beginning immediately, traffic data obtained by Clear Channel's network of reporters, traffic cameras, helicopters and airplanes will be offered via an annual subscription to owners of vehicles equipped with Audiovox Radio Data System Traffic Message Channel (RDS-TMC) equipment.
Working with Audiovox Electronics and Siemens, Clear Channel is the first broadcaster to deliver the RDS-TMC real-time broadcast technology in the United States. In-car Navigation systems, available from Audiovox Electronics, are available as an after-market installation to U.S. vehicles. These receivers deliver traffic information via RBDS and will be fully integrated into the vehicle's navigation system. Subscribers will be able to view a real time traffic information overlay on a moving map display.
The data network will provide live, local traffic in 48 of the top 50 U.S. markets, and will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Clear Channel Radio currently provides local traffic reports to radio stations in 105 U.S. markets.
RDS-TMC traffic data is already broadcast in 10 European countries. More information on RDS-TMC is available at www.tmcforum.com.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers express significant interest in receiving real-time traffic information within their vehicles, according to the 2004 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study from J.D. Power and Associates. The study also found that consumer interest in a navigation system increases by about 75 percent if traffic messaging is bundled. The number of new vehicles sold with navigation systems has increased by some 55 percent in the past 12 months, according to a separate study from J.D. Power and Associates on navigation usage and satisfaction.
Sonic Solutions Purchases Consumer Software Division of Roxio
Jan 4, 2005 - Sonic Solutions has completed its purchase of Roxio's consumer software division. Under the terms of the transaction, Sonic acquires all the business and assets of the division, including all products, intellectual property and trademarks, and the Roxio name. More than 200 Roxio employees, based at several U.S. and international locations, will join Sonic. Roxio, which will retain the Napster division, has officially changed its name to Napster. The combined entity will be one of the largest digital media software companies in the world.
Ibiquity Partners with Ilab America for HD Radio Products
Las Vegas - Jan 5, 2005 - International Consumer Electronics Show - Ibiquity Digital and Ilab America, a digital audio product designer, have partnered to create reference designs for automotive, tabletop and home HD Radio products. With an expected availability date of spring 2005, these reference designs will serve as the technical foundation for consumer HD Radio products and be accessible to all HD Radio licensees. The new HD Radio reference designs are designed to provide a fast-track method for OEM consumer electronics manufacturers to add HD Radio products to their lines.
"The creation of these reference designs will lower overall engineering expenses for companies as much of the difficult technical work will be done in advance. For HD Radio licensees, these designs can be used to help quickly enter market segments that might have otherwise been considered outside their niche. For others, it will help them gain entry to the HD Radio market where previously it was viewed as cost-prohibitive," said Jeffrey Jury, chief operating officer of Ibiquity. "We expect to see HD Radio products using these reference designs reaching consumers before the end of 2005."
Founded in 1998, Ilab America, short for Integration Laboratories, develops multiroom , home theater, and pro audio integration products for many A/V manufacturers.
Riveradio to Develop Low-priced HD Radio Receiver
Las Vegas - Jan 5, 2005 - International Consumer Electronics Show - Ibiquity and Riveradio have struck a licensing agreement to develop and market a tabletop HD Radio receiver. The product, which is currently under development, is expected to reach consumers before summer 2005.
CKOI Returns to Superpower with Dielectric
Raymond, ME - Jan 4, 2005 - Dielectric Communications has supplied engineering and custom manufacturing services to Montreal's CKOI-FM 96.9, owned by Corus Entertainment, as the station took steps to resume broadcasts at the full 307kW for which it is licensed.
One of only five superpower stations in Canada, CKOI maintains a downtown Montreal transmitting site. Without the modifications provided by Dielectric, CKOI FM would have been forced to reduce power to 122.8kW permanently or move the antenna from the top of the CIBC building to the outskirts of town, thereby losing both its tremendous range and market.
Gord Henke, president of D.E.M. Allen and Associates, consulted on the project. He helped Corus to determine that a custom redesign of the antenna was needed because of its unique upper and lower vertical and horizontal design and the site restrictions. The antenna had to be brought up to current antenna and feedline standards.
P.O. Box 1530
Voorhees, NJ 08043
Shipping Address, effective Feb. 1, 2005
154 Cooper Road
West Berlin, NJ 08091-9112
Quantegy Closes Alabama Facility
Opelika, AL - Jan 2, 2005 - The Opelika-Auburn News reports that Quantegy closed it manufacturing facility in Opelika, AL, over the Christmas holiday. The facility employed about 250 people. A call to the facility reaches a security desk with no further information.
The Opelika newspaper states that no trespassing signs were erected on Dec. 24 and security passwords were changed. The paper also quoted a Quantegy press release:
Quantegy, Inc. has ceased operations pending restructuring. This is due to financial issues that have plagued the industry and Quantegy for some time. All employees are on lay off pending further notice.
The Opelika plant once employed about 1,800 workers.
The company's roots date to 1945, when Maj. John Herbert Orr was directed to develop an American magnetic tape manufacturing facility. Orr returned to his home in Opelika, AL, and established a magnetic tape manufacturing facility. The facility began marketing tape under the Irish brand name. In 1959 Orradio Industries became part of Ampex. In 1995, Ampex became Quantegy.
Digidesign Changes Distribution, Marketing of Focusrite Products
Daly City, CA - Dec 31, 2004 - As of Jan. 1, 2005, Digidesign's distribution and marketing of Focusrite products in North America will be limited to only co-branded products. These include Mbox, Control|24 and Command|8, as well as the Focusrite plug-ins developed exclusively for the Pro Tools platform, including the D2 and D3 and Forte Suite. Distribution for all other Focusrite products will be assumed by American Music and Sound in the United States and by Erikson Audio in Canada.
Digital Juke Box Adds Green for Canadian Sales
Steubenville, OH - Jan 4, 2005 - Rick Green joins Digital Jukebox as the Canadian sales rep. A broadcaster in Atlantic Canada for more then 35 years, he served on-air in programming and management at CFNB, CIHI, CHNS, CHTN, CFCY, Q-93 and JOY FM 96.5.
Green is also a broadcast educator. He works out of his office in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Ibiquity Digital Adds to IBOC Marketing Team
Las Vegas - Jan 6, 2005 - Consumer Electronics Show - Ibiquity Digital has hired Bernie Sapienza to lead a nationwide retail program supporting the rollout of HD Radio technology. As vice president of retail business development, Sapienza will coordinate efforts with manufacturing sales/training teams, distribution channels and retailers to promote the sale of HD Radio receivers, with an initial focus on those markets with a high concentration of HD Radio stations.
Sapienza has more than 20 years of retail experience, including 14 years with Tweeter Home Entertainment Group where he held the position of vice president of merchandising. In this role, he oversaw all merchandising decisions and was part of the management team that created an expansion model that helped the retailer increase annual sales from $25 million with 13 New England stores to almost $800 million. For the past two years, Sapienza has served as president of ANA Consulting, a firm he founded in 2003.
With this staff addition, Ibiquity states that it is making the transition from an engineering-based company to a one that is marketing-based.
Moore Retires from IREC
Elkhart, IN - Dec 27, 2004 - Leonard Isaacs, chairman of International Radio and Electronics Corporation, announced that Clyde W. Moore retired as president of IREC. Moore has held various positions within IREC and Crown International since 1951.
Moore's father Clarence Moore founded International Radio and Electronics on the family's 11 acres In Elkhart, IN. In 1979, the company was renamed Crown International.
Clyde Moore's interest in electronics started at an early age. At 14, he designed a 320W power amplifier. In 1963, he started working for IREC by doing technical and production work. He later moved into sales and marketing for the company. In 1987, he was named CEO/president.
Moore holds a BS In math and physics from Goshen College, Goshen, IN.
Moore continues to hold majority ownership of Crown Broadcast and will continue to reside In Elkhart.
Leadership of Crown Broadcast will fall to Crown Broadcast's operations team made up of CFO Steve Burns, Engineering Manager Cleo Betts, Director of Human Resources Sheila Cook, Manufacturing Manager Ralph Tubbs and Manager of Sales/Marketing and Service Kent Koselke.
The Voice of WWV Goes Silent
Dec 10, 2004 - The familiar voice that delivered the time announcements on WWV passed away. Different sources cite that the date of his passing was Dec. 10 or Nov. 30, 2004. Radio magazine is searching sources for the correct date. Marty Edwards, a Washington, DC, newscaster and former Mutual announcer, recorded the elements for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Standards time broadcast.
Bouvard to Lead PPM Effort in United States
New York - Jan 4, 2005 - Arbitron has named Pierre Bouvard as the president, Portable People Meters and International. In his new role, Bouvard will lead Arbitron’s efforts in the United States to help the radio, broadcast television and cable television industries as well as advertising agencies and advertisers to understand the unique value of PPM as a new electronic ratings system. These new duties are in addition to his current responsibilities for PPM marketing in international markets.
Reporting to Bouvard will be Jay Guyther, senior vice president, domestic PPM Marketing. Bouvard will continue to oversee Arbitron’s international marketing efforts with Brad Bedford, vice president, International PPM Marketing, and Clara Carneiro, vice president, Latin America Marketing, continuing to report to him.
Prior to this appointment, Bouvard headed Arbitron New Ventures, creating the Outdoor division that currently provides the outdoor advertising industry with survey-based information on local market consumers in 265 markets.
Newsweb Hires McCarthy as DOE
Chicago - Dec 21, 2004 - Newsweb has hired Michael G. McCarthy to the newly created corporate position of director of engineering, radio group. He will report to Radio Group vice president and general manager Harvey Wells.
McCarthy, an 18-year veteran of Chicago radio, will oversee technical operations of all Newsweb radio stations in the Chicago market and stations elsewhere. McCarthy has operated McCarthy Radio Enterprises (MRE) for 16 years, providing contract engineering and consulting services to a variety of broadcast clients. He is a Society of Broadcast Engineers Certified Senior Radio Engineer and Certified Audio Engineer.
McCarthy's relationship with Newsweb started in 1998 when the company bought the first two stations of the group's cluster, WSBC and WCFJ. McCarthy rebuilt WCFJ's transmitter site in 1999.
McCarthy previously worked for WLIT and WCKG as a staff engineer prior to contracting. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University/Carbondale and Harper College in Palatine.
McCarthy Radio will continue as a consultancy for select non-broadcast clients.
Newsweb owns nine radio stations in the Chicago area.
Live365, D-Link Deliver Internet Radio
Foster City, CA - Jan 5, 2005 - Live365 and D-Link have partnered to offer Live365's Internet radio stations on the D-Link Medialounge Wireless Media Player (DSM-320). Using the D-Link Wireless Media Player, consumers can browse and listen to music and talk stations programmed by Live365. D-Link users can also establish preset stations as favorites on Live365 and receive personalized station recommendations on the user interface.
The D-Link Medialounge DSM-320 unites a wired or wireless network with a home entertainment center, allowing consumers to access digital media. Live365 will be available to Medialounge Player customers for a 30-day trial period.
The D-Link Medialounge Wireless Media Player (DSM-320) connects to the audio system using standard A/V or S-video cables. The D-Link DSM-320 supports component video, optical digital audio and coaxial digital audio connections. The player is accessed via 802.11g or Ethernet.
Pioneer Offers Add-on Sirius Tuner
Las Vegas - Jan 5, 2005 - Pioneer Electronics has introduced the SIR-PNR1 add-on Sirius Satellite Radio tuner. Compatible with SAT Ready and most IP-Bus Pioneer head units, the SIR-PNR1 tuner comes equipped with all the installation hardware including the Sirius antenna. The add-on tuner will be available in January 2005 with a suggested retail price of $120.
Stardraw Control Beta 1 Available for Download
New York - Jan 4, 2005 - Software provider Stardraw.com has released the beta 1 version of Stardraw Control. Stardraw invites users to become test partners in this new project. In return, test partners are asked to provide as much detailed feedback as possible via the dedicated Stardraw Control forum that has been set up especially for this purpose.
Stardraw Control generates standalone, customized control programs to provide a software-based control framework that can manage any type of addressable equipment from any manufacturer over any communications infrastructure. The drag-and-drop interface allows users to configure and control systems without writing any code. The software is Microsoft.net compliant, so programs can run on any Windows platform, as well as Mac and Linux.
To become a test partner, visit www.stardraw.com/products/stardrawcontrol.
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