Radio Currents Online - Jan 24 - Jan 30, 2005

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Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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NRSC Forms Two Task Forces
Washington - Jan 17, 2005 - The work of the National Radio Systems Committee DAB Subcommittee has focused on evaluating IBOC to develop a voluntary industry standard. With the IBOC rollout gaining momentum, the NRSC is looking in new directions to deal with implementation issues and best usage of the technology. At the Jan. 7 NRSC meetings held during the 2005 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the NRSC formed two new task groups that report to the DAB Subcommittee. The Surround Sound Audio Task Group and the Supplemental Audio Service ID Task Group will study some of the ramifications that these new technologies bring to broadcasters and listeners.

The Surround Sound Audio Task Group (SSATG) was formed to look into the burgeoning surround sound audio industry spawned by the introduction of IBOC digital radio. Currently there are four groups pursuing surround sound technology for use with FM IBOC. These efforts were discussed in the first installment of the Radio magazine Answer Series Insight to IBOC. Read that issue online at this link.

The four groups are:

  • Neural Audio with Harris (
  • SRS Circle Surround (
  • Omnia Audio with Fraunhofer and Agere (
  • Orban with Coding Technologies (

    The Ibiquity HD Radio system is capable of supporting a variety of surround sound techniques, and the new NRSC surround sound task group plans to study these techniques to see if an NRSC recommendation on surround sound would be beneficial.

    The second new task group, the Supplemental Audio Service ID Task Group (SIDTG), was formed to look into the issue of how broadcasters and receiver manufacturers might label multiple audio services. The HD Radio system supports multiple audio channels for a single broadcast signal, but no common approach for a system identification has been made. Jeff Littlejohn, senior vice president of engineering for Clear Channel, and Jeffrey Marrah, technical fellow and RF design manager for receiver manufacturer Delphi, were selected as co-chairmen of this group.

    FCC to Hold Low-power FM Forum
    Washington - Jan 24, 2005 - The FCC will host a low-power FM forum to focus on the experiences of low-power FM licensees getting on the air, staying on the air and meeting local needs and on issues affecting the future of low power FM. The event is open to the public, and no advance reservation or registration is required.

    The forum will be held on Feb. 8, 2005, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at FCC Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554.

    Speakers will be LPFM operators. At the conclusion of the forum, representatives from LPFM stations in the audience will be invited to comment briefly about their stations or issues they see affecting the future of LPFM.

    Additional info:


    Nautel Users' Group to Meet at NAB2005
    Bangor, ME - Jan 28, 2005 - Nautel will host its annual Nautel Users' Group (NUG) event on April 17 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. NUG@NAB2005 will combine theory and practical application in an informal setting intended to encourage discussion.

    Topics covered during the half-day event will include:

  • An introduction to Nautel's new 12kW, 25kW, and 50kW AM transmitter series, the Virtuoso FMIBOC transmitter series, and the Maestro M50 digital FM exciter.
  • A video demonstration and overview of Nautel's FM HD Radio adaptive pre-correction technology.
  • A case study on implementing HD Radio as experienced by Mike Pappas, chief engineer of KUVO, Colorado's first HD Radio station.
  • AM & FM transmitter maintenance tips and tricks from Nautel's customer service department.        
  • Roundtable discussions on transmitter issues and solutions led by Nautel's design engineers and other key personnel.

    NUG@NAB2005 is free to interested Nautel users and will be held April 17 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. At the Riviera Hotel and Casino.

    Karmazin on Sirius and XM: No Merger
    New York - Jan 26, 2005 - In a follow-up to the New York Post story about a potential merger between Sirius and XM, the Associated Press reports that Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin has not met with XM Satellite Radio to discuss a merger. Karmazin noted this on a conference call on Jan. 26. The conference call was to report on Sirius' financial report for the previous quarter.

    "I have not met with the chairman or CEO, so I have no idea where any of this came from," said Karmazin on the conference call.

    NY Post: Sirius and XM Talk Merger
    New York - Jan 26, 2005 - The Jan. 26 issue of the New York Post reports that satellite radio providers Sirius and XM have been discussing the possibility of a merger. The Post reports that a price has not yet been disclosed and that there are many details to be handled, but the primary concern is addressing potential antitrust concerns that could arise from the deal. A merger of the two would result in a monopoly for satellite radio.

    The Post states that many people in the media industry say that a merger is inevitable, but at least one year away. Radio magazine has also speculated that there may not be enough market to support two providers.

    There are only two satellite radio providers in the United States. If XM and Sirius want to merge, they will likely need to redefine their services as one form of a wide range of broadband wireless content delivery.

    Neither company has posted a bottom-line profit to date, despite heavy marketing plans and signing exclusive, recognized national talent.

    Read the Post article at this link.

    Harris Completes Phase One of Romanian Broadcast System
    Cincinnati - Jan 27, 2005 - Harris has completed the first phase of an $85 million comprehensive program to upgrade and expand the nationwide broadcast infrastructure of S.N. Radiocomunicatii S.A., Romania's state-owned broadcast organization. The project was completed nearly two years ahead of schedule.

    Phase 1 of the three-phase project, which is providing 100 percent radio coverage throughout Romania, was completed in just 20 months instead of the anticipated 4.5 years. The project was accelerated to establish nationwide radio coverage before Romania's election in November 2004. Harris supplied 28 low-power (10kW to 50kW) medium-wave transmitters, eight high-power (200kW and 400kW) medium-wave transmitters and 106 FM radio transmitters. The system provides coverage for Romania's regional network and two national networks.

    The project included antenna systems, microware links for resource sharing, engineering, installation, training and commissioning services. In addition, the first of many high- and low-power TV transmitters and transposers were installed. The TV installations begin upgrades to Romania's television transmission infrastructure, which will be expanded and completed during the remainder of the modernization program. Furthermore, three control and monitoring networks will reduce operational costs at each station facility by enabling the remote monitoring of all radio and TV transmission equipment from four regional headquarters.

    It is estimated that the country's aging broadcast technology reached less than 40 percent of Romania's 22.3 million citizens.

    V-Soft Communications to Host FCC Broadcast Engineering Training Seminar in Vegas
    Cedar Falls, IA - Jan 25, 2005 - V-Soft Communications will hold its third annual engineering training seminar on April 16 and April 17, at the Circus Circus Hotel. This seminar is scheduled immediately prior to NAB2005.

    The seminar will focus on specific broadcast engineering projects such as station upgrading, translators, single frequency networks and boosters, interference analysis and move-ins. The seminar will introduce V-Soft’s new frequency search tool FM Commander and will spotlight numerous features in the Probe 3 propagation prediction program. The training seminar will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 16 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 17. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for attendees on both days.

    For additional information contact or call 800-743-3684.

    Broadcast Electronics Acquires The Radio Experience
    Quincy, IL - January 25, 2005 - Broadcast Electronics has acquired the assets of The Radio Experience, a radio datacasting company operated by Allen Hartle. Hartle will join Broadcast Electronics as director of development, broadcast data services.

    Major broadcasters such as Infinity, Susquehanna, Entercom and ABC have been using The Radio Experience since 2002. Broadcasters are currently running applications developed by the firm to send "now playing" information to text-enabled RBDS radios, HD Radio receivers and station websites.

    "Our next step is to broaden the radio data applications for broadcasters who want to create brand loyalty and revenue in their local markets," said Hartle.

    BE will leverage assets from the acquisition to enhance its data offering over RBDS as well as HD Radio. Product-line integration is in process, with new product offerings resulting from the acquisition scheduled for announcement and availability at NAB2005.

    The Radio Experience will maintain its current business offices and research and development facility near Seattle.

    Ibiquity, Philips Extend Development Agreement
    Columbia, MD - Jan 24, 2005 - Ibiquity Digital has signed a new agreement with Royal Philips Electronics' semiconductors division. As part of the agreement, the companies will pursue development of next-generation Philips HD Radio baseband chips to succeed the Philips SAF3550 IC that is currently in the market.

    Audemat-Aztec Moves to New Facility
    Miami - Jan 24, 2005 - The U.S. office for Audemat-Aztec moved to its new facility last week. The new contact information for Audemat-Aztec is:

    1021 Ives Dairy Road, Suite 216
    Miami, FL 33179
    phone 305-249-3110
    fax 305-249-3113
    The company's website and e-mail contacts remain the same.

    The GWR Chelmsford studio.

    GWR Updgrades with Lawo
    Rastatt, Germany, and Chelmsford, England - Jan 24, 2005 - UK commercial radio network GWR has equipped its Wrexham, North Wales and Chelmsford, Essex stations each with three Zirkon consoles and one Nova 17 router. Both stations have been on-air for several months, and GWR has placed orders for similar equipment for its studios in Swindon, Wiltshire.

    The studios in Wrexham deliver five programs, and those in Chelmsford two programs. Further DAB feeds are generated at each station.

    The Zirkon consoles are fitted with 12 faders, one central module and one touch screen for metering, control switching and parameter visualization. The three studios of each location are networked via a Nova 17 router, with the audio signals being exchanged via MADI and the control signals via Ethernet. Studios can be freely interchanged such that any studio can generate any program.

    The Nova 17 router handles outside-source selection, codec arbitration, RDS routing as well as local commercials and station IDs via program-related playback servers. The extended Vistool visualization software offers peak meters, timers, snapshot administration and several remotes as well as control of the individual sub-matrices.

    The three new Zirkon consoles and the Nova 17 for Swindon will be delivered in April 2005.

    KROQ, WVMV and KBKS Recognized for HD Radio
    Columbia, MD - Jan 20, 2005 - Ibiquity Digital honored three Infinity Broadcasting radio stations at Infinity's Broadcasting Management Conference in Miami. The HD Radio Innovator Awards were issued to WVMV Detroit for "Best HD Radio Promos," KROQ Los Angeles for "Best HD Radio Imaging" and KBKS Seattle for the "First HD Radio Promotion with a Retailer" within the Infinity Broadcasting family.

    The awards were created to recognize the enthusiasm and creativity in promoting AM and FM IBOC.

    To hear an MP3 of the KROQ promo, click here

    Sales Call
  • Entercom Kansas City has ordered an extensive Wheatstone Bridge networked audio system for its facility. The integrated system includes Bridge digital audio routers and counterpart satellite router cages, and several Generation series control surfaces including the Gen 3, 4, 5 and 8. In all there are 20 control surfaces, 15 Bridge routers and 10 satellite router cages. Entercom owns eight station in Kansas City. Delivery will also include a Wheatstone Wiremax studio pre-wiring.
  • CBC/Radio-Canada has just installed a new Studer On Air 3000 Modulo at CBC Saint John (CBD 91.3 FM) in New Brunswick. This sale is represents the first On Air 3000 sold in North America. The 18-fader Studer desk is located in CBC Saint John's primary on-air room, and provides as many as seven hours of original programming a day.
  • People

    Bisset Joins Broadcast Electronics
    Quincy, IL - Jan 24, 2005 - John Bisset will join the Broadcast Electronics marketing and sales team as the company's northeast regional RF sales manager. Bisset has a rich radio background as a contract and chief engineer of 30 years and as a sales manager for several major manufacturers, including Dielectric Communications.

    Bisset is known for his work with the National Association of Broadcasters Transmitter Workshop held during the NAB Radio and NAB conventions. He’s also a frequent speaker at SBE and state conventions.

    Bisset will begin his new duties at BE on Feb. 15. He will maintain an office in Manchester, NH, to service BE customers in Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. In addition to his sales role with BE, Bisset will build on his long-standing relationship with the consulting engineering community as BE’s technical liaison to professional engineers.

    Technet Systems Group, formerly representing Broadcast Electronics RF products in the northeastern United States, will continue to work closely with Broadcast Electronics as an independent installation and engineering contractor.

    Staco Promotes McElvein to Eastern Regional Manager
    Dayton, OH - Jan 24, 2005 - Staco Energy Products has promoted Dave McElvein to the position of eastern regional sales manager. In his new role, McElvein is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with business partners who promote the company's power quality products in the eastern region of the United States.

    Internet Watch

    Greater Media Opens Digital Music Stores
    Boston - Jan 27, 2005 - Greater Media has unveiled its online digital music stores on several of its stations' websites in the Boston and Philadelphia markets. WBOS Boston and WMMR Philadelphia have opened their sites, while WMGK Philadelphia and WKLB Boston will open later this week. WROR Boston and WMWX Philadelphia are scheduled to open next month.

    Listeners visiting the station's website will be able to directly purchase songs through the station's website for 99 cents. Listeners can buy music from a broadcast, search for music from the station's song database or get specific lists of specially recommended music from the animated Tune Genie.


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