Radio Currents Online - Feb 7 - Feb 13, 2005


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News

Senators Introduce Local Community Radio Act of 2005
Washington - Feb 8, 2005 - U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Local Community Radio Act of 2005, a bill that would restore the LPFM specs to the original wording introduced in 2000. The senators see the legislation as a way to create a potentially huge number of low-power FM radio stations and, as a McCain press release states, "eliminate costly and redundant studies on possible interference from low power FM radio stations to other FM stations, and ensure the availability of radio spectrum for low power FM radio stations."

McCain's reference to the costly studies refers to the mishandled Mitre report that did not completely meet the specification of the study as directed by the FCC.

"While Low Power FM radio stations were authorized five years ago, implementation has been severely hampered by commercial broadcasters' flagrantly exaggerated claims of interference," McCain said. "The most recent obstruction, a two year study conducted at the behest of broadcasters, cost taxpayers over two million dollars and proved what the FCC and community groups have known for years: Low Power FM stations will not cause significant interference to other broadcasters' signals. It is time for broadcasters to stop hiding behind false claims of interference when they are really afraid of the competition from truly local broadcasters."

It is the incomplete Mitre data that McCain and his colleagues cite as the grounds for opening the floodgates on LPFM again.

Senator Cantwell added, "For five years, large broadcasters have tried to block access for low power FM stations using tired arguments that don't hold up to reality. This is an important fight to ensure that these affordable, community-oriented radio stations are allowed access to our nation's airwaves."

The senators will likely continue their push on this effort, using the broad claim that licensing countless LPFM stations will increase the community service to local areas.

Senator Leahy says, "As radio consolidation increases in Vermont, there are fewer and fewer positions on the dial where you can find a local traffic report, a truly local weather report or a local radio personality. We need to make more frequencies available to low power FM radio broadcasters and the FCC needs to more quickly issue licenses to these broadcasters."


FCC Task Force Recommends Actions to Speed Wireless Broadband Rollout
Washington - Feb 10, 2005 - The FCC's Wireless Broadband Access Task Force has made recommendations for various FCC actions that it believes will help speed the deployment of wireless broadband services to consumers. The task force recommendations are based on its inquiry into the state of wireless broadband in the United States as well as the FCC's policies affecting these services.

Chairman Powell created the task force in May 2004. Comprised of a team of multidisciplinary staff from across several FCC bureaus and offices, the task force examined technological developments in wireless broadband, surveyed existing and anticipated applications, and conducted a comprehensive review of the Commission's wireless broadband policies. In fulfilling its mission, the group actively sought the experience, expertise and advice of consumers, state and local governments, industry (such as equipment manufacturers and service providers), and other stakeholders across the nation.

Based on its research, outreach efforts, and public input, the task force made this conclusion:

"To ensure that our nation's regulatory policies concerning wireless broadband do not impede innovation or delay service availability across America, the FCC should be vigilant and proactive in identifying and understanding emerging technologies and in ensuring that existing regulatory policies do not get in the way of these advances. Innovative technologies call for innovative regulatory policies. And the American public benefits most when regulatory policies enable consumers and businesses to fully tap the benefits of emerging wireless technologies."

The recommended actions are

  • Promote voluntary frequency coordination efforts by private industry for license-exempt spectrum -- such as those already successfully underway in some of the more congested parts of the country -- to mitigate potential interference among users.
  • Promote voluntary industry best practices among unlicensed users to maximize the potential opportunities for spectrum use.
  • Facilitate reporting of violations of technical rules for license-exempt spectrum (e.g., improper power boosting and jamming) to ensure level playing field and minimize impermissible interference.
  • Expedite the transition of the digital television (DTV) spectrum for advanced wireless services and public safety, given that the spectrum in the 700MHz band is ideal for mobile broadband applications. In the meantime, the task force also recommends that the Commission consider additional mechanisms for allowing 700MHz channels to be used for wireless broadband services before the completion of the DTV transition.
  • Ensure that FCC rules are flexible enough to allow providers to pair spectrum asymmetrically to account for the unbalanced nature of broadband services, which typically requires a large amount of bandwidth for downstream communications, and less bandwidth for upload links. For mobile services, the Commission has traditionally paired two licenses of equal size, one for upstream and one for downstream communications.
  • Apply a pro-competitive, innovative national framework for wireless broadband services -- one that imposes the fewest regulatory barriers at the federal and state level -- to wireless broadband services. Such an approach would enable the greatest innovations, in terms of technologies and types of services, and would maximize consumer benefits. The task force recommended that the Commission consider several options for achieving this goal, including classifying wireless broadband as an information service or an interstate service, or clarifying the scope of the deregulatory principles applied to Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS), which enabled the rapid success of mobile voice and data services over the last decade.
  • Continue to take a pro-active, forward looking approach to regulation as wireless broadband networks begin to be used in combination with other broadband service networks and services (e.g., regularly evaluate whether it is time to remove outdated rules, and accord an increasingly flexible regulatory environment for service providers to facilitate convergence).
  • Build on and improve specific existing FCC outreach efforts (e.g., relationships with federal agencies and state and local governmental organizations).

    Read the report at this link: hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-256693A1.pdf.


    Missouri Bill Seeks to Restrict Use of "Engineer"
    Jefferson City, MO - Feb 2, 2005 - Two bills have been introduced into the Missouri General Assembly that would restrict the use of the job title "engineer" to only those who are registered as Professional Engineers. SB278 sponsored by Gary Nodler and HB482 sponsored by Bob Dixon contain identical language. Read the bill here:
    www.senate.mo.gov/05info/billtext/intro/SB278.htm.

    The Missouri definition of a professional engineer is available at this link.

    Missouri congress had an item to require low-voltage wiring licenses in the state last year, but the idea died. The SBE and MO Broadcasters had gotten language introduced that would have accepted SBE certification in lieu of the state low-voltage license. That is all moot now.

    The engineer title issue comes up from time to time, and the Society of Broadcast Engineers and other groups have been successful in clarifying a difference between the use of the term "engineer" and an individual representing himself as a professional engineer.


    FCC Asks for $300 Million Budget for 2006
    Washington - Feb 7, 2005 - President Bush has submitted a budget to Congress that proposes fiscal year 2006 funding for the FCC of $304,057,000. The requested FY 2006 funding level will cover mandatory increases for salaries and benefits and inflationary increases for office space rental and typical office costs. The budget also includes funds to allow the FCC to consolidate and upgrade commission-owned facilities in Columbia, MD, to provide for critical enhancements to the FCC's major electronic filing systems; to implement a government-wide automated human resources system; and to fund additional staff to assist with program oversight associated with USF audit activities.

    The Commission's budget submission is available on the FCC website at www.fcc.gov/Reports/fcc2006budget.html.


    NAB Distributes LPFM Cautionary Letter to Congress
    Washington - Feb 7, 2005 - In an open letter to members of Congress, the NAB remarked on the fifth anniversary of the FCC's creation of LPFM and noted some of the potential pitfalls of the service if further reduction of technical performance are enacted. The letter, signed by John S. Orlando, executive vice president of government relations for the NAB, coincided with the FCC forum on LPFM held that same day.

    The letter explains the idea of adjacent-channel interference, and highlights the importance of maintaining the third-adjacent channel protection that is now under congressional consideration to be removed. The letter cites that some full power FM stations are short spaced and operate on third-adjacent channels, and references an audio clip to demonstrate the condition.

    Read the NAB letter at this link


    HP Unveils Possible Successor to Transistor
    Feb 6, 2005 - Hewlett-Packard's researchers have demonstrated a technology that could eventually replace the transistor. In a paper published in the Feb. 1 Journal of Applied Physics, HP said three members of its Quantum Science Research group have devised a "crossbar latch," which provides the signal restoration and inversion required for general computing without the need for transistors.

    A latch uses a single wire that is crossed by two control lines with a switchable junction where they intersect. HP claims that thousands of the latches could fit across the diameter of a human hair. The crossbar latches can perform the three basic operations of a primary logic of a circuit.


    Business

    Oregon Public Broadcasting Chooses BE for IBOC
    Quincy, IL - Feb 11, 2005 - Broadcast Electronics has delivered HD Radio equipment to Oregon Public Broadcasting in preparation for the station's move to broadcast Tomorrow Radio. Oregon Public Broadcasting's KOPB-FM acquired a BE FMI 201 low-powered transmitter and BE FXI 60 digital FM exciter with Exgine card for separate HD Radio transmission into a master antenna system shared by five other stations in Portland.

    The station will create the digital signal at the studio using BE's XPI 10 exporter to prepare for the secondary audio channel for Tomorrow Radio. At the transmitter site, the station will back-feed the digital signal into the antenna through an isolator/splitter to broadcast analog and digital from the existing antenna, but at opposite polarities.

    At the same time, the public radio station will replace its analog transmitter with a new BE FM 35T single-tube transmitter.

    KOPB is expected to go on the air with IBOC at the end of February 2005.


    Harris to Hold DRM Symposium in Romania
    Cincinnati - Feb 10, 2005 - Harris has announced the agenda for a two-day DRM Symposium to be held March 1 and 2 at the Marriott Hotel in Bucharest, Romania. The event is designed to inform and educate radio broadcasters from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East on how they can prepare for a digital future with DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) technology, and will focus on Romania's countrywide upgrade and expansion of its national broadcast infrastructure.

    Representatives from Harris and S.N. Radiocomunicatii S.A., Romania's state-owned broadcast organization, will provide insight into the strategies behind the modernization program that is establishing 100 percent radio and television coverage throughout the country.

    In addition to presentations about the Romanian project, several presentations on DRM will be provided, culminating with a DRM demonstration at a nearby 400kW high-power AM transmitter site, the Tancabesti high-power radio station. Once at the site, Harris engineers will install a DRM exciter package inside the transmitter. The DRM exciter package will feature a content server for transmission of a multiplexed, bandwidth-efficient audio/data stream and a modulator to drive the digitally prepared signal to a DRM-ready receiver. Attendees will be able to listen to the results.


    BE to Host HD Radio Seminar in Salt Lake City
    Quincy, IL - Feb 10, 2005 - Broadcast Electronics will hold an HD Radio seminar in Salt Lake City on March 15, 2005. The seminar is being held at the request of local broadcasters there.

    This is Broadcast Electronics' third seminar in Salt Lake City and the latest in a series of more than 35 BE-sponsored HD Radio seminars held in major markets across the nation.

    The seminar will be held at The "E" Center of West Valley City, UT, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15. BE RF systems engineers and a representative from Dielectric will cover a range of HD Radio topics, including:

  • Cost-effective solutions for converting station clusters
  • Benefits of generating HD Radio coding from the studio
  • Preparing for HD Radio text services and secondary audio, including wideband STL options
  • The latest in surround sound
  • Installation tips

    Register for the Salt Lake City seminar by e-mail to Jan Stratton at janstrat@bdcast.com.


    Ibiquity Digital Extends Early-Adopter Discount Through June 2005
    Columbia, MD – Feb 10, 2005 – Ibiquity Digital has extended its $5,000 introductory licensing discount for radio broadcasters until the end of June 2005. On July 1, a new discounted fee schedule (see chart below) will take effect. Radio broadcasters planning to convert to digital during the next four years will continue to receive discounts on the $25,000 licensing fee.

    Ibiquity cites broadcaster interest and support from the past two years as being the driving force behind the decision. Ibiquity Digital COO Jeffrey Jury said, "In recognition of the increasing enthusiasm for digital conversions, we have decided to extend our early adopter license fee through June 30 and continue to provide licensing incentives through 2008."

    The license fee is a one-time payment that grants a station the right to use Ibiquity Digital's HD Radio patents, software and trademarks for its main-channel audio. Licenses must be in place before a station receives broadcast equipment that contains Ibiquity Digital's intellectual property from manufacturers or resellers. The license fee structure detailed below is the same for all stations.

    Licensing DeadlineMain Channel Licensing FeeDigital Conversion Deadline
    June 30, 2005$5,000December 31, 2005
    June 30, 2006$7,500December 31, 2006
    June 30, 2007$10,000December 31, 2007
    June 30, 2008$15,000December 31, 2008

    Additional details on the terms and structure of Ibiquity's licensing fee agreements are available at www.ibiquity.com/licensing/lic_broadcasters.htm.


    Navigauge Expands to Houston Market
    Atlanta - Feb 10, 2005 - Navigauge, a media and market intelligence company, announced at the Radio Advertising Bureau 2005 annual conference that it plans to expand its passive, in-car monitoring technology and media measurement system to Houston, the country’s seventh largest radio market.

    Navigauge delivers a data analysis system that assesses consumer behavior where drivers are, what they are listening to and for how long. Navigauge’s technology is currently in place in Atlanta where it is delivering timely, relevant new data, such as information on music and advertiser product preferences and retailer travel patterns, enabling stations and advertisers to predict audience preferences with greater accuracy and to take advantage of changing dynamics in the marketplace.

    Houston is the first of five top 10 markets where Navigauge will be in place this year.

    Beginning in April, Navigauge will map the demographic make-up of the market population to determine the composition of its panel via a proprietary enumeration process. An equal-probability recruitment process, beginning in May, will put in place a statistically valid panel of about 1,100 participants. The first data set from the Houston market will be made available beginning in the third quarter of 2005. For the Houston market, Navigauge plans to introduce a new version of its monitoring product that will feature improved performance and capabilities. The new product will use General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) technology, a mobile telephony technology for sending and receiving data, housed in the Navigauge hardware device. The Navigauge hardware is placed in panelists’ cars. It will also include added ports for future data streams and improved detection.


    Harris Upgrades National Network for Chrysalis Radio
    Huntingdon, UK - Feb 8, 2005 - Chrysalis Radio, one of the UK’s largest commercial radio networks, has migrated its all-E1 star network to a hybrid E1/IP-based MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) platform via an upgrade to a Harris Intraplex Cross Connect Server. The Cross Connect Server, which combines E1 multiplexing and cross connect capabilities in a single unit, improves Chrysalis’ ability to manage critical network traffic between its network hub in London and additional broadcast sites in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham. Hybrid switching reduces transmission costs with the bonus of being able to prioritize radio programming over other IP data.

    To achieve this functionality, Cross Connect was upgraded with the Harris Intraplex Intralink-IP streaming multiplexer, which manages the encoding and transport of program audio, voice and data channels over Ethernet networks while ensuring efficient use of available transmission capacity.


    Spanish Broadcasting System Standardizes on Dmarc/Scott Studios
    Newport Beach, CA, and Miami - Feb 9, 2005 - Spanish Broadcasting System will standardize its 20 broadcast stations on Scott Studios' SS32 digital automation platform.

    Spanish Broadcasting System owns or operates 20 stations in the top Hispanic markets of New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Puerto Rico.

    Scott Studios and its sister company Computer Concepts are owned by Dmarc Broadcasting.


    Millimeter Wave Registration Site Launches
    Demorest, GA - Feb 8, 2005 - A website to provide registration and database management for frequencies on the high-capacity wireless spectrum millimeter wave is now available at www.mmradioforms.com. Frequency Finder, a Radiosoft company, was recently chosen along with two other vendors by a joint commission of the FCC and the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to provide a database and registration management solution for millimeter wave. Radiosoft provides radio communications and spectrum mapping software for broadcast and land-mobile users.

    The new communications band provides high-speed, point-to-point wireless data links that can handle heavy loads, but because users will share the spectrum with government facilities such as military bases, frequencies must be accurately registered and carefully checked to eliminate any possibility of interference.

    "The government understands the potential for private use of the new spectrum," said Peter Moncure, Radiosoft chief technology officer. "For short-haul data links such as connections between buildings on a campus, registering a frequency in this spectrum could result in substantial savings in communications costs and provide significant increases in the availability of gigabit wireless connections."


    Continental Electronics Licenses HD Radio Technology
    Columbia, MD, and Dallas - Feb 7, 2005 - Ibiquity Digital has licensed Continental Electronics to develop, manufacture and market HD Radio exciters.

    "The time is right for HD Radio broadcasting, and we have been waiting but certainly not idle. This will be evident at this year's NAB Convention," said John Uvodich, general manager of Continental Electronics. "We have followed the development of HD Radio from the beginning with great interest and are enthusiastic about being an integral part of advancing the AM and FM digital revolution."


    Sales Call
    blank
  • OMT has sold its radio broadcast automation product suite, Imediatouch, to the Blackburn Radio Group. Blackburn Radio Group of London, Ontario has chosen this product suite as the digital delivery and wide area software system for its expanding radio group.
  • Swiss radio broadcaster RSI has placed an order for a Studer Vista 8 digital audio production console for its UM-2 OB vehicle. The arrival of the Vista 8 will complete RSI's station-wide showcase of Studer technology.
  • Clear Channel Philadelphia will equip its new six-station facility with a Wheatstone bridge/Generation system. The facility, located in Bala Cynwyd, is a consolidation project that includes a build-out of 22 Generation 4 control surfaces, one central Bridge system with 17 satellite frames along with four main bridge frames.
  • People

    Altinex Appoints New CEO
    Brea, CA - Feb 4, 2005 - Altinex has appointed Steve Meyers to be its new CEO. Meyers will take over for Jack Gershfeld, who will remain chairman of the Board of Directors.

    Meyers most recently worked as director of sales for Quantegy. His prior experience includes VP of sales and founding partner of American Data, a distributor of magnetic media products, and national accounts manager with BASF Data Division.

    Meyers has relocated from Illinois to Brea, CA.


    Internet Watch

    Music 1 Partners with Live365.com
    San Marcos, TX - Feb 10, 2005 - Music 1, a music scheduling software company, has partnered with Live365.com, the webcast hosting company. Music 1 has produced a specially adapted version of its Windows-native music scheduler, which has an integrated interface with the Live365.com servers.

    When webcasters install Music 1, it will connect automatically with the Live365.com server and log onto the user's Live365.com locker and then download song data. From there, users can create rotation categories for music and non-music items such as promos, jingles and voice tracks. Next, the webcaster creates formatting clocks and begins scheduling music logs. As soon as each playlist is completed, Music 1 will automatically upload it to the Live365.com server.

    The installers for both the Live365.com and the regular versions of Music 1 are available for download at the Music 1 website: www.GoMusic1.com.


    Products

    DK Technologies' MSD660R is Now Available
    Copenhagen - Feb 10, 2005 - At last year’s NAB convention, DK-Technologies introduced the prototype of the MSD660R, a remote controllable multichannel and multiformat audio monitor. This unit is now available as a full production model and will be on show at this year’s NAB convention.

    The MSD660R incorporates a base unit, which is usually housed in a machine room, and a remote panel with a VGA display and control buttons, which is housed in the control room. The unit features point-to-point connection via Ethernet Cat-5 cable/connectors; logging software; Surround Sound compatibility at 4.0, 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1; and facilities to monitor 32 channels of audio.


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