Radio Currents Online - Jan 31 - Feb 6, 2005

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Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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Indecency Bill on the Move
Washington - Feb 3, 2005 - Reuters reports that the legislation to drastically increase fines for broadcast indecency will move quickly in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lawmakers have proposed a boost in fines on stations and entertainers to $500,000 per violation. The current maximum is $32,500. The bill also requires the FCC to consider revoking a station's license if it is cited three times.

It is expected that the House Energy and Commerce Committee will vote on the bill before the end of February. There is support to get the bill to the House floor quickly.

The Senate is discussing its own bill with a maximum fine of $325,000 per violation with a $3 million limit for a repeated violation.

The House and Senate were unable to reach a compromise last year to raise penalties.

The NAB's Joint Board Chairman Philip Lombardo of Citadel, commented on the pending actions. "The indecency crackdown is also causing confusion when broadcasters cover live, breaking news, even when it involves a war hero."

Lombardo cites the FCC's inconsistency in enforcing the current as the real problem.

Internet, Data Connections May be Taxable
Washington - Feb 3, 2005 - According to CNET, Congress is considering a tax on all Internet and data connections. Currently, there is a three percent excise tax, which was established to pay for the Spanish American War, that applies only to traditional telephone service. But because of technological convergence and the dropping popularity of landlines, the Joint Committee on Taxation concluded in its review of tax law reforms that it might make sense to extend the 100-year old levy to new technologies.

Congress is considering changing the wording of the tax to include "all data communications services to end users." This would include broadband, dial-up, fiber, cable modems, cellular and DSL links.

Connecticut Evacuation Message a Mistake
Hartford, CT - Feb 3, 2005 - According to the Associated Press, residents in Connecticut were ordered to evacuate the state on Tuesday, Feb. 1. State emergency management officials believe someone pressed the wrong button, and instead of running a test of the emergency alert system, midday TV viewers and radio listeners were told that the state was being evacuated.

Officials are looking into how the message was sent to keep this mistake from happening again.

Continued Doubt Over New York City Broadcast Tower
New York - Jan 30, 2005 - Will New York City broadcasters get a new antenna tower to replace facilities lost during the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11? Until recently, the offset spire planned at the top of Freedom Tower -- a 21st-century echo of the Statue of Liberty’s upraised arm -- was described by architect Daniel Libeskind as the most important remaining element from his largely unrealized design for the signature skyscraper of the new World Trade Center.

The spire, conceived as the world’s tallest building (1,776ft; 2,000ft with broadcast antenna attached), has survived in renderings and words. Now there are doubts. As construction nears and multimillion-dollar budgets are negotiated, the New York Times reports that the realities of engineering and financing may finally overtake the symbolic architectural gesture devised by Libeskind and embraced by New York Gov. George E. Pataki.

If the tower goes, so go the plans of New York City's broadcasters. It's the technical hurdles that the spire poses for broadcasters that are a big, costly part of the problem. The Times said the planners are now asking themselves these questions:

  • With the antennas off to one side, would the building itself create too large a shadow for the broadcast signal?
  • Would the signal be compromised because of the distance the transmission cables have to travel from the central building core to the antennas at the tower's edge?
  • How would an eccentrically located spire behave in high winds?
  • How safe would it be to build such a spire, itself several hundred feet tall, when it cannot easily be secured to all four corners of the building below?
  • How much extra structural reinforcement would be required in the main body of the tower to accommodate an outboard spire?
  • Assuming that the spire would be nonmetallic to avoid interfering with the broadcast signal, what sort of precedent is there for construction with composite materials on that scale and at that elevation?

    All the questions can be answered and all the engineering problems solved, the Times report said. But the cost to do it will be very high. According to the newspaper, no one at the negotiating table will publicly answer these questions, including Paul Bissonette, president of the Metropolitan Television Alliance. The group, which includes New York City channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13, signed a memorandum of understanding in 2003 with the developer, Larry A. Silverstein, to install antennas atop the Freedom Tower. Broadcasters have used the Empire State Building since 9/11.

    The alliance had considered building a 2,000ft freestanding broadcast mast in Bayonne, NJ, but Edward Grebow, who was then the alliance president, was persuaded that the construction of Freedom Tower would occur "in a plausible time frame" and accommodate the broadcasters' needs. Over the following months, the tower design changed considerably. So have the questions. Officials now want to know if the offset spire comes with an extra cost, should New Yorkers pick up the tab? Or should the broadcasters pay, recognizing that they have saved money by not having to build their own skyscraping mast in New Jersey?

    NAB Calls for Authors for NAB Engineering Handbook
    Washington - Jan 28, 2005 - The NAB has begun work on the 10th edition of the NAB Engineering Handbook. Ed Williams is the editor-in-chief of the effort.

    Williams has 45 years of experience in broadcast engineering having worked at local stations, PBS, the NAB and the Advanced Television Test Center. His major contributions to the industry include working on the development of the first satellite TV network distribution system, captions for the deaf, stereo audio for TV, formal advanced television laboratory and field tests, the nationwide 40-city Harris/PBS DTV Express demonstration and seminar tour, implementation of DTV for public TV stations and standards development. His professional affiliations include membership of the AFCCE, ATSC committees, IEEE, SBE, SCTE and he is a fellow of SMPTE.

    Recently retired from PBS, Williams continues to be involved in many aspects of digital broadcast engineering, standards development and technical seminars. Working closely with Williams on the handbook are section editors Graham Jones, director, communications engineering, NAB; David Layer, director, advanced engineering, NAB; and Tom Osenkowsky, radio engineering consultant.

    The NAB seeks qualified authors for the book. Contact Ed Williams at by Feb. 15, 2005. Include the topic or subject area of your interest. Review the Table of Contents of the ninth edition for information. Many changes and additions are planned for the 10th edition and proposals for all relevant contributions are welcome.

    FCC to Automate License Cancellation for Unbuilt Stations
    Washington - Jan 21, 2005 - In a public notice, The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) of the FCC announced that it is developing an automated feature in its Universal Licensing System (ULS) to automatically terminate licenses that fail to meet construction or coverage requirements. The WTB believes that this "enhanced capability" will increase the accuracy of the Commission’s licensing records and expedite the reassignment of unused spectrum. The WTB plans to implement this feature in June 2005.

    As preliminary step, the WTB urges licensees to review their licensing records to ensure that construction notifications where required have been properly filed. Once implemented, the ULS will identify licenses or frequencies that are not listed as completed or do not have an extension on file. The identified licenses or frequencies will generate a notice to the licensee announcing the termination of its authorization. The terminated license or frequency will be listed in a weekly Public Notice 30 days after the deadline for construction or coverage.

    Once listed, the licensee will have 30 days to file a petition for reconsideration. Once the time period for filing a petition for reconsideration has lapsed, the ULS will automatically change the status of the license or frequency to terminated.

    Currently, the WTB sends construction and coverage reminder notices 90 days prior to the expiration of the relevant construction or coverage period, to certain wireless service licensees that have construction or coverage performance requirements.

    The WTB created a Web page with information on construction and coverage requirements, including how to check a license in ULS for the relevant construction or coverage period: .

    It is well known to broadcasters that the FCC's ULS database for broadcast auxiliary services (BAS) is not completely accurate, despite the FCC's efforts to improve it. It is likely that the automatic process of canceling BAS licenses will result in stations losing the protection of the existing and proposed license during the construction period.

    WT 05-23


    Smart AV Appoints Klotz Digital as the Asia/Pacific Distributor
    Sydney, Australia - Feb 4, 2005 - Smart AV has appointed Klotz Digital as the distributor for Smart AV's Elite Series Smart Consoles in the Asia/Pacific region, which includes Australia. Klotz Digital will sell Smart AV products through its network of sales and service centers across the region.

    Sales and support for the Asian region including China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand will be coordinated from Klotz Digital's regional headquarters in Malaysia. The Australian market will be managed from Klotz Digital Australia in Lane Cove, NSW.

    The distribution agreement builds on the technology collaboration that the two companies entered into in Oct. 2004, which provided the basis for the integration of the Smart AV's console control surfaces with Klotz Digital's Vadis audio/media platform.

    Nassau Broadcasting Standardizes on Dmarc/Scott Studios
    Newport Beach, CA - Feb 1, 2005 - Nassau Broadcasting Partners has committed to standardize all of its radio stations on Dmarc's SS32 digital automation system. Nassau owns more than 50 stations in Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Vermont.

    "We saw the need to standardize our automation systems, not only to provide continuity within the technical operations of our radio properties, but to add ease of use within the programming department. We chose Scott Studios and the Windows-based SS32 system," said Anthony Gervasi, serior vice president, engineering and technology at Nassau. "As we continue to grow and acquire stations with unique business challenges we have depended on Scott Studios to provide us with the solutions to not only meet, but surpass these new challenges."

    Dmarc Broadcasting is the parent company of Scott Studios and Computer Concepts.

    Yamaha to Acquire Steinberg
    Buena Park, CA - Jan 21, 2005 - Yamaha has reached a basic agreement to acquire all of the common stock of Steinberg Media Technologies, a division of Pinnacle Systems. The acquisition, which includes Steinberg's U.S. sales operations, took place through closed competitive bidding on Dec. 20, 2004. The acquisition was approved by the German government on Jan. 21.

    Steinberg Media Technologies was founded in 1984. Steinberg became part of the Pinnacle Systems Group in January 2003. In the mid-1990s, Yamaha forged a relationship with Steinberg by using its computer music products and bundled software. In April 2004, Yamaha and Steinberg deepened their cooperative relationship with the Studio Connections initiative, a joint-development project to integrate Yamaha's hardware products with Steinberg's software.

    Sales Call


    NAB Announces 2005 Engineering Achievement Awards
    Washington - Feb 7, 2005 - Each year, the NAB presents its Radio and Television Engineering Achievement Awards. The awards, first established in 1959, are presented to individuals for their significant contributions that have advanced the state of the art of broadcast engineering. This year’s winners, Oded Bendov and Milford Smith, will be honored at the NAB2005 Technology Luncheon on April 20 in Las Vegas where Dr. Robert W. Lucky, engineer, author and commentator on the state and future of data communications technology, will provide the keynote address.

    Radio Engineering Achievement Award Winner: Milford K. Smith
    Milford K. Smith is vice president of radio engineering for Greater Media, one of the nation’s largest privately owned radio companies. He has held this position for the past 19 years. For the 11 years preceeding this position, he held a similar position with First Media Corporation, another large private radio group owner. Prior to that he spent several years with Tribune Broadcasting in New York. He has also been a major contributor to industry advisory and standardization activities. He is the senior co-chairman of the National Radio Systems Committee DAB Subcommittee, a position he has held for nearly a decade, and is a past chairman of the NAB Digital Radio Committee, an advisory committee to the NAB's Radio Board of Directors.

    Smith is known for his engineering talents and people skills. Long before the industry consolidation of the '90s He was taking disparate and sometimes dilapidated radio properties and transforming them into engineering showpieces. From the initial pre-purchase evaluation to the purchase itself, to establishing temporary studio facilities to keep the station on the air, to location of new studio/office space, to design and build out of the new space, to upgrade of the transmission system, he would (and still does) embark upon ambitious consolidation projects, doing a great majority of the work himself.

    Some of the more exciting and innovative engineering projects tackled by Smith include the Peachtree Plaza hotel FM transmission system, considered by many for over 20 years to be the finest RF facility in the Atlanta market; the Prudential Center FM transmission system, where he led the effort to design and replace an existing transmission facility for four FM stations while all remained on the air, then some years later adding three more stations without causing disruption to the other facilities; and, the relocation of KLSX Los Angeles to Mt. Wilson, where he came up with a unique strategy to relocate this station from an inferior site, in the process creating a full-market signal. More recently Smith and his staff at Greater Media have been involved in an ambitious IBOC digital radio build out. In 2005, Greater Media expects to be the first radio group to have fully converted all their stations to IBOC.

    Television Engineering Achievement Award Winner: Oded Bendov
    Dr. Oded Bendov is president of TV Transmission Antenna Group, a company established in 2003 and dedicated to the development of new technologies, design, and consulting services to broadcasters and television set manufacturers. In 2004, the Metropolitan TV Alliance (MTVA), the umbrella group of New York City broadcasters, awarded Bendov a contract to design the master antenna tower atop the Freedom Tower, the new building to be built on the site of the World Trade Center. Planned to be completed in 2009, the main digital TV transmission facilities will serve the New York metropolitan area from the top of the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan, with an overall height height, including antenna, exceeding 2,000 feet.

    Bendov received his Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1967, the year he joined RCA. For most of his career, Bendov worked for RCA and then Dielectric. He worked at the RCA Antenna Engineering Center, which in 1986 was acquired by Dielectric Communications where he was senior vice president and chief scientist. Bendov has been a major contributor to the analysis and design of a large number of analog and digital antenna installations, the most complex being at the World Trade Center in New York City and Mt. Sutro in San Francisco. Bendov was also the principal architect of the industry’s transition to circularly polarized TV antennas. Circular polarization for television transmission was recognized with an Emmy Technical Achievement Award in 1984.

    Bendov holds several patents and has published many technical papers on television antennas, propagation, and interference. He is the author of chapters on transmitting antennas in the TV Engineering Handbook and the Encyclopedia for Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

    McHatton Appointed BE RF Customer Service Engineer
    Quincy, IL - Feb 1, 2005 - Broadcast Electronics has hired Derald McHatton as an RF customer service engineer. He is the second customer service engineer hired by the company in as many months. McHatton was most recently employed by Harris as a field engineer for HDTV. Prior to that, he was with Eastman Kodak/Danka for 11 years.

    Broadcast Electronics plans to add several more customer service engineers in 2005 for its anticipated growth of HD Radio products and studio products.

    Steinberg Appoints New Managing Director
    Hamburg - Feb 1, 2005 - Steinberg Media Technologies has appointed Kazunori Kobayashi as its managing director. Kobayashi will be responsible for all areas of Steinberg’s business worldwide.

    Joining Steinberg from Yamaha, Kobayashi has many years of experience in the digital audio industry. He was previously general manager of Yamaha’s Product Strategy Planning Office for the Pro Audio and Digital Musical Instruments Division, where he oversaw Yamaha’s strategic unit responsible for long-term planning in the company’s activities in the pro audio field.

    Yamaha announced a basic agreement to acquire all common stock of Steinberg Media Technologies from Pinnacle Systems on Dec. 21, 2004. The transaction was closed on Jan. 21, 2005.

    Dmarc Broadcasting Names Meisinger to EVP
    Newport Beach, CA - Feb 1, 2005 - Dmarc Broadcasting, the parent company of Scott Studios and Computer Concepts, has appointed Chad Meisinger to executive vice president, affiliate sales and marketing. Meisinger's initial focus will be concentrated on the official launch of Dmarc's media systems, including Revenue Suite, which accesses and converts radio stations' unsold, last-minute inventory into revenue without manual intervention. Revenue Suite has been in use for more than nine months at more than 50 stations.

    Meisinger has more than 10 years of industry experience designing, building and implementing revenue and ratings building programs for broadcasters. Most recently, he served as president of First Mediaworks, which he founded in 1998.

    OMT Promotes Kowal to Integration/Project Manager
    Winnipeg, MB - Jan 31, 2005 - OMT has promoted Kevin Kowal to integration/project manager. In this role, Kowal will be directly responsible for working with Imediatouch customers to help them implement their new systems.

    Kowal has extensive Imediatouch knowledge with more than seven years of experience in providing OMT’s customers with a variety of technical support, integration and training services. During the last several years, he has integrated Imediatouch systems and trained customers all over the world including traditional radio stations and many large cable music system roll-outs.

    Internet Watch

    Transaudio Launches New Division
    Las Vegas - Feb 3, 2005 - Transaudio Group has launched, which will offer select imported lines available exclusively in the United States through distributor Transaudio Group. These products include ATC loudspeakers, Brauner microphones, Sound Field microphones and Daking pro audio.

    The site will offer professional user pricing on high-end equipment direct from the manufacturer.

    Live365 and Team for Online Radio
    Foster City, CA - Jan 31, 2005 - Live365 and, the Spanish-language broadband network, will team to develop and deliver as many as 150 Spanish-speaking Internet radio stations and will make them available for free to listeners on Planeta TV's network of broadband portals.


    Fluke Networks DTX Series Receives UL Accuracy Confirmation
    Everett, WA - Jan 28, 2005 - The accuracy specifications for the Fluke Networks DTX Series have been confirmed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to meet IEC- 61935-1 specifications for Accuracy Level IV. This is also in accordance with the specifications proposed in TIA-TSB-155 for Accuracy Level IIIe. Accuracy Level IIIe will be required to test CAT-6 cabling for 10Gb Ethernet deployments. For baseline and permanent link specifications, a level IV tester must exhibit a worst-case value for residual NEXT at 100MHz that is 18 times smaller than the value allowed to meet Accuracy Level III. The DTX Series Cable Analyzer passed all requirements for the baseline tester, as well as for the permanent link and channel measurement configurations.

    Imediatouch Adds Imediaimport Module
    Winnipeg - Feb 1, 2005 - OMT has introduced the Imediaimport module for its Imediatouch digital audio and broadcast system. The Imediaimport module automatically imports station content from a variety of sources, including third-party multi-track editing tools, newsroom applications, FTP sites, network folders and the NPR Content Depot. Using the popular Cart Chunk and ID3 tagging systems, users of Imediaimport can have any content automatically placed and titled into an Imediatouch system.

    In 1998, OMT introduced the ability to transcode digital audio as a standard feature in its software. Ron Paley, founder and senior business developer, notes that Imediaimport is the next step in the automated transcoding of content for radio broadcasters.

    Imediatouch software is installed and operating in more than 1,000 radio stations in North America, Asia and Europe.

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