Radio Currents Online - Jan 30 - Feb 5, 2006


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Radio technology news updated as it happens.


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News

Bush Nominates Fifth FCC Commissioner
Washington - Feb 3, 2006 - President Bush has announced his intent to nominate Robert M. McDowell to be a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. If confirmed by the Senate, McDowell will fill the third Republican seat at the commission. He fills the spot previously occupied by commissioner Kathleen Abernathy.

McDowell is senior VP and assistant general counsel for Comptel, the Washington-based association for competitors to the large Bell legacy, telephone companies such as Bell South and AT&T.

McDowell has the support of Senate Commerce Committee chairman Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). The Commerce Committee votes on any FCC appointee.

McDowell’s term will run through 2009. Abernathy’s term ended in 2004, but she remained at the FCC through most of 2005. McDowell will serve the remaining four years in the five-year term.


Beasley Signs Agreement for PPM Service
New York and Naples, FL - Jan 31, 2006 - Beasley Broadcast Group, owner and operator of 26 FM and 15 AM stations, has entered into a multi-year agreement for Arbitron's radio ratings services that include Portable People Meter (PPM) audience measurement services when deployed in Philadelphia. The agreement with Beasley does not commit Arbitron to a specific timetable for deployment of the PPM system. Arbitron has not yet determined when and in which markets it will deploy the PPM.

Arbitron is evaluating two approaches for the commercialization of the Portable People Meter system. Arbitron granted Nielsen Media Research an option to join in the potential commercial deployment of the PPM for audience measurement in the United States. In the event that Nielsen Media Research exercises the option, Arbitron and Nielsen would form a joint venture to commercially deploy and operate the PPM system for the collection and measurement of listening and viewing audience data in local markets for broadcast and cable TV as well as for radio. If Nielsen does not form a joint venture with Arbitron to use the PPM technology, Arbitron has stated that it intends to offer a PPM service for audience measurement to the radio industry.


Business

Mayville Products Purchases APW
Mayville, WI - Feb 2, 2006 - Mayville Products has purchased the North American enclosure solutions product line and related contract manufacturing business of APW. Officially purchased on Oct. 28, 2005, the brand will continue as APW Mayville.

APW Mayville will retain the recognized brand names for its products, including Stantron and PFT-Datacom. The company has unveiled plans for its first new product release of the Stantron Broadcast Rack at NAB2006. The new rack is customizable, featuring a flexible design.


SCMS Plans Conference
Charlotte, NC - Feb 2, 2006 – SCMS has announced plans to hold a communications conference on June 1, 2006, in Charlotte, NC. The focus of the conference will be on digital radio. Current plans include an engineering track and a management/PD track.

The agenda of presentations is being finalized. Registration for broadcast company staff will be free. An exhibit area will be part of the conference and feature AEQ Broadcast, Audemat-Aztec, Audio Processing Technology (APT), Broadcast Electronics, Davicom, Dielectric, OMT, Radio Systems, TWR Lighting, Wheatstone and others.

For information on the SCMS conference e-mail SCMSConference@laurenoriginals.com


Mediaspan Partners with Eonstreams for Streaming
New York - Feb 2, 2006 – Mediaspan's Online Services unit has partnered with Eonstreams to provide streaming services for its online network of more than 1,500 local radio stations. Eonstreams' ad insertion technology, Fast Aim (marketed by Mediaspan as the Ad Smart System) allows advertisers to target online audio, video and rich media ads by demographic, geographic, psychographic and format-specific profiles.

The Ad Smart System becomes an integral part of Mediaspan's audio streaming suite for local broadcasters.


Sales Call
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Star FM 106.9 has recently upgraded its station with a Jampro JCPD antenna to increase power and change its frequency. This installation allows Star to broaden its coverage of the Brisbane area as well as reach additional listeners along the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia.
The University of Missouri-St. Louis has taken delivery of four studios' worth of new Axia IP-Audio networking equipment to be installed at the university's NPR affiliate, KWMU-FM. Axia equipment supplied to KWMU includes 24-, 20- and 12-position Element modular control surfaces, 25 Axia Audio Nodes and Pathfinder PC Routing Control Software for Windows.
Clear Channel's Washington, D.C. sports/talk outlet WTEM-AM had purchased an Omnia-5EX HD+AM processor.
KRAZ 105.9 in Santa Barbara/Santa Maria, CA, recently purchased and installed an Aeon audio networking console from Klotz Digital. The system is replacing an older analog mixer in the facility's on-air studio.
Korea Telecom has purchased 50 APT Worldnet Oslo audio codecs, supplied by APT's exclusive South Korean distributor, Indigon. The Korean state broadcaster KBS will be the primary user of the codecs.

People

APT Appoints Foerster As Worldnet Oslo Product Manager
Belfast - Feb 2, 2006 - Codec manufacturer APT has appointed Hartmut Foerster to the newly created position of product manager for the Worldnet Oslo audio codec. Foerster worked with APT during his time with Pro Audio Systems, APT's German distributor since 1993. Foerster has an extensive background in post-production.


Cumulus Adds HD Radio Project Manager
Atlanta - Feb 1, 2006 - Last summer, Cumulus Broadcasting hired Michael Gay to be the company's national HD Radio project manager. He is based in Atlanta and previously worked in the IT department at Purdue University. He has also been a consultant to Ibiquity on the development of HD Radio.

Working with regional and local engineers, market managers, and Gary Kline, Cumulus corporate director of engineering, Gay's responsibility is to coordinate the conversion of Cumulus' stations to HD Radio technology. Cumulus has actively converted its stations to HD Radio, and six stations in Toledo are expected to be online by the end of February. He is currently working on configurations for Youngstown, OH; Nashville; Melbourne, FL; and Lexington, KY. The current plan is to have nearly 35 stations in 20 markets converted to digital by the end of 2006.


APT Adds to Team
Belfast - Feb 2, 2006 - Audio codec manufacturer APT has added to its team by hiring four people to its staff. The appointments include a new licensing business manager, two new DSP engineers and a new CTO.

To pursue potential applications in all areas of consumer and professional audio, APT has increased its efforts to license its Apt-x codec to third-party manufacturers. APT’s new licensing business manager is Stephen Wray, who joins from Amphion Semiconductor where he was the global IP business manager. An honors graduate from the University of Edinburgh, Wray’s responsibilities at Amphion Semiconductor included sales, marketing, business development and channel management activities for the company’s portfolio of intellectual property cores. Wray has also served as a design engineer with Nortel Networks and more recently as an investment manager for Invest NI, the local economic development agency.

After a seven-year spell with CEVA, Gregory Massey has returned to APT where he is now the chief technical officer. Massey has an honors degree in electronic systems and an MBA. He began his career developing embedded systems for a variety of products including biomedical appliances, single-board computers and direct-to-disk audio. During the last 15 years he has concentrated on design, product development and intellectual property development, working on SOC design implementation for some of the largest semiconductor companies in the world.

APT has also appointed Chris Clotworthy and David Trainor to the positions of senior DSP engineer. Clotworthy, who joined APT as a DSP programmer in October 2005, previously worked for Nortel, SLDI and Arca Technologies. Trainor joins APT from Latens Systems where he produced software security systems for the digital TV market. Prior to that he spent seven years at Amphion Semiconductor designing digital signal processing and communications modules for system-on-chip implementation. At APT, he will be responsible for the research and development of novel audio processing algorithms, and the translation of Apt-x and other existing audio algorithms to new technologies.


Products

The morning crew from KISS 95.7 WKSS Hartford relied on the Access for its remote from Jamaica.

Comrex Ships Access
Devens, MA - Feb 2, 2006 - Comrex is now shipping the Access codec, which is built around the the company's Broadcast Reliable Internet Codec (BRIC) technology to deliver wideband audio over IP networks in real time. The Access won a Radio magazine Pick Hit Award at NAB2005.

Setup ability, connection management and status information for the Access are provided by the internal Web server and accessed via any Web browser. The browser interface displays audio levels, network impairment information and connection status. User control, algorithmic parameters and reliability options are also provided over this network connection.

The Access recently was used by WKSS Hartford when it broadcast from the Sandals Resort in Jamaica. Silver Lake Audio provided the equipment and services for the station. The four-hour remote used ISDN as the primary connection with an Access and a DSL line as the backup. At one point during the show, the all the ISDN lines dropped service for several minutes, but the station kept going with the Access.


Audemat-Aztec Goldeneagle Receives Ibiquity Certification
Miami - Feb 1, 2006 - Ibiquity Digital has certified the Ademat-Aztec Goldeneagle HD AM monitoring unit with spectrum analyzer option. Audemat-Aztec received certification of its Goldeneagle HD FM in October 2005. The company notes that it has already sold 250 units.

The Goldeneagle HD AM monitors the quality and continuity of analog and digital AM programs. Analog RF level and parameters such as QI, SNR, DAAI and SIS are some of its measurement capabilities. It also decodes multicast channels. It also measures the time and level alignment to optimize blending between digital and analog audio. The unit includes an embedded Web server for remote measurements and audio streaming. A spectrum analyzer is offered as a factory option.


Promo Only MPE Releases Version 2.0
Orlando - Feb 1, 2006 - Promo Only MPE launched version 2.0 of its digital distribution system. The system upgrades include Ipod support, music video delivery capabilities and linear audio support.

Music video delivery allows users to watch previews of music videos through the Promo Only MPE System. Promo Only MPE 2.0 supports Windows Media, Quick Time and Real Video files.

Ipod support lets users export AAC files directly from the Promo Only MPE player into Itunes. Files can be encoded at bit-rates from 128 to 320kb/s. This version also auto-imports supporting graphics and complete song information to Itunes. Users can also export WMA files. Version 2.0 now supports linear audio transfer of every track distributed through the system.


Vorsis Updates User Interface
New Bern, NC - Jan 25, 2006 - Vorsis has added software enhancements to its GUI interface of the AP3. Users of the remote monitoring software now have the choice between two processing modes: production and air chain. The air chain option prompts a multband limiter screen that displays revised functions with expanded clipping capabilities on the low, middle and high bands. Vorsis has also increased functions on the input menu screen, including a pre-emphasis filter submenu, M/S and symmetry controls. The output screen menu features emphasis and filter submenus, and the options of M/S, clip enable and stereo link, along with positive modulation and clip backoff tuners. All Vorsis AP3 units are currently shipping with the recent upgrades.


Eye on IBOC

HD Radio Now Available on 700 Stations
Columbia, MD - Feb 1, 2006 - When WXKB-FM, which serves the Naples/Ft. Meyers, FL area, signed on its HD Radio transmitter, it became the 700th radio to do so. The station, owned by Beasley Broadcasting Group, commenced IBOC operations on Jan. 26.

The station uses the low-level combining method with a Broadcast Electronics transmitter and HD Radio signal generator. WXKB is one of five stations that Beasley owns in southwest Florida. It also has one AM and one FM station transmitting an HD Radio signal.

Ibiquity notes that stations are adding HD Radio at a rate of more than one per day. In addition, Ibiquity expects that the number of stations multicasting will more than double, surpassing the 250 mark.


HD Radio University Launches
Columbia, MD - Feb 1, 2006 - Ibiquity Digital has launched an online training program in conjunction with Creative Channel Services' cyberscholar.com. The program educates retail sales professionals about HD Radio technology. The program, called HD Radio University, is free and requires a one-time registration at www.cyberscholar.com or at www.hdradiouniversity.com.

HD Radio University offers retailers two levels of achievement: an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree. Each "degree" requires participation in 20 minutes of training and passing 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 HD Radio.


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