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Radio Currents Online - Feb 26 - Mar 4, 2007
DTV Hits Next Sunset in Transition
Feb 27, 2007 - March 1 marks an important date in the DTV transition. As of this date, all products shipped with analog TV tuners will also include a DTV tuner. The Consumer Electronics Association has noted that the requirement marks the final phase-in of DTV tuners. TV broadcasters are currently under mandate to commence all-digital broadcast transmissions in February 2009.
FCC Modifies AM PSSA, PSRA Details
Washington - Mar 1, 2007 - As a result of the change in Daylight Saving Time with the enactment of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, the FCC has issued a notice for AM stations that operate under pre-sunrise and post-sunset service authorizations (PSRA and PSSA). The changes in the DST hours require modification of all outstanding PSRA and PSSA authorizations, which are premised on assumptions regarding local time based on the previous DST schedule. Continued operation pursuant to these legacy authorizations could result in impermissible interference.
The FCC's Media Bureau, pursuant to Section 73.99(i) of the FCC rules, has withdrawn all PSRAs and PSSAs issued before to Feb. 1, 2007. This action is effective March 11, 2007.
The Audio Division staff has recalculated the permissible pre-sunrise and post-sunset operating powers for all eligible AM stations, pursuant to Sections 73.99(e) and (j) of the rules. Copies of the new PSRA and PSSA documents have been placed in each affected station's electronic correspondence folder. These documents can be accessed through the commission's Consolidated Database System (CDBS).
Licensees that operate with a PSSA or PSRA should download their new authorizations from CDBS at svartifoss2.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/sta_sear.htm. Stations can enter their call signs to view their details and then access their correspondence folder. The PSRA and/or PSSA are contained in the Imported Letters section of the station's correspondence folder. Licensees can print copies of the authorizations from this window. A copy of the PSRA and/or PSSA should be posted with the station's main license.
Many stations are concerned that the power levels according to the site update are substantially less than what they were running before the DST change. From reports posted online and gathered by Radio magazine, the FCC has admitted that some of the power levels noted are incorrect because of a bug in the calculation program. One post noted that PSRA stations with two times listed are known to be in error, and the FCC will recalculate the proper power levels. The updated information will be posted in each station's correspondence folder. The FCC will attempt to have all the correct information posted by March 9, 2007.
NAB Moves Against Sat Radio Merger
Washington - Feb 28, 2007 - The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has already announced that it opposes the proposed merger of Sirius and XM, including a claim that the merger is a satcaster attempt to be bailed out by the government. The next step in its fight to oppose the merger is for NAB President David Rehr to testify before the House Antitrust Task Force.
According to Rep. Lamar Smith, the top-ranking Republican member of the committee, the hearing will help the task force decide if the merger will result in higher or lower prices and greater or fewer program offerings. The committee will also decide if satellite radio competes against terrestrial radio, the Internet or other emerging technologies.
It's abundantly clear that satellite radio competes with terrestrial radio, otherwise the NAB would not oppose the merger. In a press conference call held on Feb. 20, Mel Karmazin, currently CEO of Sirius, stated that satellite radio competes with terrestrial radio.
Rehr and Karmazin will both appear before the task force to share their views of the merger. The NAB is also taking a public stab against the merger by running an ad in the Feb. 28, 2007, issue of Communications Daily. The ad, which depicts a house of cards, includes quotes that appeared in the Washington Post and a statement that Congress should oppose a government-sanctioned monopoly. View the ad at this link.
Radio magazine observation: The NAB touts that terrestrial, free, over-the-air broadcasters are the leaders in electronic media and constantly downplays the significance of satellite radio. Now that satellite radio is making an effort to make its business profitable, the NAB takes notice.
Satellite radio is a different business model than terrestrial radio, although the two models are converging. More satellite radio channels now carry commercials, and terrestrial radio stations are looking at conditional access methods of content delivery.
FCC Issues Another Rule-defying STA
Washington - Feb 28, 2007 - On Jan. 31, 2007, the FCC issued special temporary authority to Our Three Sons Broadcasting, the licensee of WRHI-AM, licensed to Rock Hill, SC. The STA permits the AM station to rebroadcast it signal on FM translator W232AX.
The STA notes that it was granted as a result of the applicant's statement that WRHI is "no longer able to serve its community of license due to rapid expansion of the community and the technical restraints imposed on its AM operation.
According to the FCC's database, WRHI is a Class C station licensed for 1kW at 1340kHz. W232AX is licensed for 180W at 74m HAAT at 94.3MHz.
The waiver was assisted by actions of House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt of South Carolina.
Radio magazine observation: Once again, the FCC is sidestepping its own processes. Congressman Spratt's involvement in securing the authorization is another case of a politician using his authority to bypass the established FCC rules. The topic of FM translator use for AM stations is currently under review without a definite resolution in sight. Now that this STA has been issued, the push to allow FM translators for use by AM stations will undoubtedly gain momentum.
It's interesting to note that while WRHI states that it cannot serve its community of license, the station has still been chosen Radio Station of the Year by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. Not bad for a station that no one can apparently hear.
The STA is posted at this link.
Xact Seeks $48M from Sirius
Washington - Mar 1, 2007 - The Associated Press reports that U.S. Electronics, manufacturer of several Sirius receivers, is suing Sirius for $48 million in damages. U.S. Electronics alleges that Sirius breached its contract and failed to pay money owed to the manufacturer. The manufacturer also alleges that Sirius interfered with Sirius' relationships with other manufacturers and retailers, and that Sirius withheld information about the FCC's inquiry into the FM band retransmission feature of Sirius radios.
Sirius, which is based in New York, said that its contract with U.S. Electronics bars $41 million of the claimed damages under limitation of liability provisions. Sirius said it will vigorously defend itself against the action.
FM SCA Technology to be Deployed in Mexico, Haiti
Sarasota, FL - Feb 26, 2007 - Compress Technologies' North American FM SCA licensee, Ludwig Enterprises, has entered a joint venture partnership with New Century Services to deploy Compress Technologies' FM SCA technology into major markets in Mexico. Separately, Compress has also entered a joint venture partnership with Haitian American Broadcasting Corporation (HABC) to deploy the FM SCA technology in Haiti.
The Compress technology is touted to supply 50 broadcast channels. The Mexican program offerings will initially focus on talk radio including a Mexico-originated channel devoted to U.S. Immigration polices and activities, political talk radio, a religious channel, a Ranchera channel, educational channels, English-language channel, channels in Haitian, Jamaican, Cuban and Caribbean languages, as well as native Indian languages of Mayan and Nahuatl.
The Haitian program offerings for Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien will include French, English, Jamaican, Cuban and Spanish content, rebroadcasts of Haitian news, talk radio and other programming from Miami and New York.
Under terms of the agreement Compress Technologies will receive royalty payments from Mexican operations.
The Mexican service will initially deploy in Mexico City, Acapulco, Puebla, Veracruz, Cancun, Merida, Monterrey, Toluca and Salina Cruz.
The Compress Technologies technology is currently in development and testing. Prototype units have transmitted 15 digital channels adjacent to analog FM signals. The company expects that it will be able to transmit as many as 50 channels. It expects to see product distribution in 12 to 14 months.
Radio magazine observation: The Compress Technologies press release compares its technology to HD Radio, and then goes on to call itself HDE (high-definition expanded) radio. Specifically, the release says:
"High Definition Expanded radio offers more than just one or two new programs next to an existing FM radio station. Currently engineers have developed FM SCA HDE to 15 channels and expect to soon move the capacity to 50 MPEG 3 quality digital channels."
Little additional information is posted on the company's website, although it mentions that its systems uses VMSK technology.
While HD Radio is the current leader in the digital radio transition, it is not alone. Digital Radio Express has received recent attention with FM Extra, Kahn's Cam-D appears to still be in the background and DRM has seen some success outside the U.S. The announced 24-month deployment window for Compress Technologies appears to be optimistic compared to the time already invested by the existing players.
Arbitron Releases PPM Ratings for Philadelphia
New York - Mar 1, 2007- Arbitron has released the first pre-currency monthly audience estimates for Philadelphia produced by the Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service. The PPM ratings released this week are for the monthly survey of Jan. 11 through Feb. 7. This survey is based on an installed panel of 2,139 persons aged six and above against a target panel of 2,040.
PPM clients have been accessing the data electronically by PPM Ebook or receiving summary-level data from more than a dozen licensed third-party software providers. This is the first release of two monthly pre-currency estimates that Arbitron is providing to allow subscribing stations and agencies the time to understand the differences between PPM-based and diary-based ratings, and to provide ample time for radio stations and agencies to train their sales and buying staffs on how to do business in an electronically measured marketplace.
NAB Announces Engineering Achievement Award Winners
Washington - Feb 26, 2007 - Victor Tawil, senior vice president for Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) and Louis A. King, chairman of the board for Kintronic Laboratories, will be presented with the 2007 NAB Engineering Achievement Award during the NAB Technology Luncheon on April 18 at NAB2007. The awards recognize outstanding achievements and contributions in the broadcast engineering profession.
As senior vice president of MSTV, Tawil provides technology and telecommunication policy guidance to MSTV's 400-plus member TV stations. Prior to joining MSTV, Tawil worked at the FCC, where he held positions in the Office of Science and Technology specializing in the field of spectrum management, tropospheric propagation and system engineering. During his 14-year tenure at the FCC, Tawil worked extensively in the areas of broadcasting, satellite, wireless communications and new communication technologies. He also served as a U.S. delegate on International and ITU Plenipotentiary Conferences and bilateral negotiations.
King has made contributions to the radio broadcast industry as an inventor, educator, consulting engineer and manufacturer. After receiving his first patent for a pulse transformer design, King served as an educator at Clemson College. He spent four years at the Radio Corporation of America, (RCA) where he was instrumental in the design of its first air-cooled 50kW AM transmitter and received the patent for the bistable multi-vibrator, which was better known as the flip-flop circuit commonly used as the basic switching device in early computers. King later began a consulting business that eventually led to the development of Kintronic Laboratories, an RF equipment manufacturer with customers in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.
Past recipients of the Radio Engineering Award include Radio magazine Technical Editor and SBE Founder John Battison, Glynn Walden, Geoff Mendenhall and Bob Orban.
Continental Names Philips as Broadcast Product Line Manager
Dallas - Feb 27, 2007 - Continental Electronics has tapped Norman Philips to be its broadcast product line manager. Philips has been involved in broadcast engineering for more than 35 years.
Philips served as vice president and director of engineering for Susquehanna Radio until the company was purchased by Cumulus Media Partners in 2006. More recently, he served as vice president of engineering for Network Minded, a Dallas-based consulting firm. In his new position at Continental, Philips will be working with customers, internal company engineers and marketing.
Philips began his broadcast career as music director for a Kentucky radio station. Through a series of quick promotions, he moved up the engineering side. During his tenure as Susquehanna's director of technical operations, he directed the build of seven studio complexes in major markets including Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Houston and Phoenix. He also directed the planning and installation of five new AM and FM radio transmitter sites to increase signal strength in densely populated areas.
AWRT Taps Cavell as Female Engineer of the Year
Washington - Feb 26, 2007 - The American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) and the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) have named Lucinda Hutter Cavell as the recipient of the annual Outstanding Female Engineer of the Year award. The award will be presented during the 2007 AWRT Annual Leadership Summit and Business Conference, on March 10, 2007, at the Renaissance M Street Hotel during the AWRT Power Breakfast.
AWRT has long recognized women making inroads in all areas of electronic media; this includes the field of broadcast engineering. Through this innovative partnership, AWRT and the SBE selected a woman who has made significant contributions to the broadcast industry, whose professional track has been technical in nature, and who has advanced the goals and objectives of the SBE and AWRT, while promoting the field as a career path for women in electronic media. To be eligible for the award, nominees must be a member of AWRT or the SBE.
Hutter Cavell's broadcasting career spans 28 years and includes work at three Olympic games and covering Presidential travels. She currently works for Sprint Nextel as a director overseeing the equipment replacement project for the TV 2GHz ENG band. Her previous work includes system integrator Digital System Technology, Fox Entertainment, WTTG-TV, WLWT-TV Cincinnati, and ABC News Washington.
MXL Ships 190 Mic
El Segundo, CA - Mar 1, 2007 - MXL Microphones is now shipping the MXL 190 cardioid condenser microphone exclusively through Musician's Friend. The mic features a low-noise FET design, balanced transformer coupled output and Mogami wiring.
The MXL 190 uses a six micron condenser pressure gradient capsule and includes 0/-10dB attenuation switch. The mic has a champagne-colored finish, includes a high-isolation shockmout and ships in a protective metal case.
Radiosophy HD Radio Shipments Begin
Sioux City, IA - Feb 27, 2007 - Radiosophy is now shipping the long-awaited Multistream HD receiver. The radio retails for $269 and includes multicast reception. The receiver can be removed from its speaker base dock and taken from room to room, to the car or to a boat (adapter kit required). External connections for existing audio systems include optical out, stereo RCA out or stereo mini-jack. The unit also includes a clock radio. External AM/FM antennas are included.
Scrolling text information, such as song titles, artist name, traffic updates, news alerts and weather forecasts, is displayed on a large LCD display. A USB port has been added to the receiver to allow updates of the software via the Internet.
Radios can be ordered online at www.radiosophy.com or by calling 1-877-443-7234.
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