Radio Currents Online - May 9 - May 15, 2005


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Radio technology news updated as it happens.


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News

Arbitron Considers Cell Phones in Surveys
Columbia, MD - May 6, 2005 - For many years, Arbitron has used the telephone as a means to gather survey data in compiling its radio ratings. With the increased use of cell phones in homes instead of landlines, Arbitron has begun efforts to ensure that its collected data reaches an accurate sample, including those households that rely on cell service as their primary phone line.

Arbitron has tracked the increase in cell phone use over the past three years. Arbitron admits that sufficient data to determine the exact effect of this change does not exist, but it has identified a study conducted in February 2004 by the U.S. Census Bureau as part of the current population survey. This shows that 7 percent of all American households only have cell phones and not landlines. The estimate rises to 20 percent for people between the ages of 15 and 24.

It is recognized that young males are more likely to be in cell phone-only households, which Arbitron supports with its findings of a decrease in male radio listeners in its surveys. Arbitron has considered weighting the data to account for this, but such a move can affect other portions of the sample data.

The forced weighting also ignores that possibility that cell phone-only households may have different listening habits than landline households. To add cell phone-only households into its surveys, Arbitron will need to assure the radio industry and the Media Rating Council that the change will improve the collected data.

Arbitron has complete three studies since 2002 on cell phone homes. A fourth is planned for Summer 2005. These studies are helping the ratings company better evaluate cell phone data farming.

Some of the obstacles with gathering cell phone data include restrictions on automated calling to cell phones, an unknown total of cell phone-only homes with which to establish a defined universe for the sample, the inability to accurately define ZIP code placement for a cell phone, and that cell phones follow individuals not households.

Arbitron will use the Summer 2005 data to establish its method for dealing with the potential change to its ratings collection methods.

More information: www.arbitron.com/downloads/cellphoneprogressreport1.pdf.


FCC to Launch Redesigned ULS
Washington - May 4, 2005 - The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) has completed an extensive redesign of the Universal Licensing System (ULS) Application Search interface. In addition to the redesigned Application Search, a new search capability in ULS License Search will be available. Users can search for site-based licenses using specialized search criteria such as frequency, Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) number and station class. The new ULS is accessible at wireless.fcc.gov/uls. The new design of Application Search will resemble the ULS License Search.

The new function will be available May 9, 2005. The previous Application Search function will no longer be available.


Business

WUSN Chicago Begins Continuous HD Radio Multicast
Chicago - May 12, 2005 - WUSN-FM has launched HD-2 "Chicago's Future Country." Infinity claims this to be the nation's first continuously programmed HD Radio multicast channel by a commercial broadcaster. The broadcast began on May 12. WUSN-FM 99.5 HD-2 will be programmed independently of radio station WUSN-FM, and will feature a playlist of new music from country artists.

Infinity has implemented HD Radio technology at several of its radio stations across the country, including stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Detroit, Seattle, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Fresno.


APT Management Buys Out from SSL
Belfast - May 11, 2005 - Audio Processing Technology (APT) has secured significant equity and debt funding to enable the company to complete a management buyout from its former owner, Solid State Logic. Equity for the buyout was provided by venture capital companies Crescent Capital and Trinity Venture Capital and APT’s senior management of Managing Director Noel McKenna and Commercial Director Jon McClintock. The Bank of Ireland provided the debt funding.

APT believes the deal will enable the company to boost its sales and marketing activities and to continue to fund research into new technologies that will benefit its customer base. APT has two business units: manufacturing audio codecs and licensing its Apt-x algorithm.

APT’s senior management began management buyout negotiations with Solid State Logic in January 2005.


American Tower and Spectrasite to Merge
Boston and Cary, NC - May 4, 2005 - American Tower will merge with Spectrasite in a transaction that would create a combined portfolio of more than 22,600 communications sites. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

The merger will be made through a stock-for-stock exchange. Shareholders of Spectrasite will receive 3.575 shares of American Tower Class A common stock for each common share of Spectrasite. American Tower expects to issue about 181 million shares in the transaction. Following the closing, American Tower shareholders would own about 59 percent and Spectrasite shareholders would own about 41 percent of the combined company.

The transaction is subject to approval by shareholders of both companies. It must also go through regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2005.

American Tower has a portfolio of more than 14,800 communication sites, including about 12,400 sites in the United States. Spectrasite has about 7,800 communication sites.

Jim Taiclet, CEO of American Tower, will serve as CEO of the combined company and chairman of the board of directors. Steve Clark, president of Spectrasite, will join the board of directors of American Tower.


Sales Call
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  • Creative Network Design has installed its NetMix Pro 3.2 into the sound effects department of Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), the state-owned public radio network of Germany. The installation of six software systems will enable audio professionals to conduct searches for sound effects at NDR’s Hamburg, Germany headquarters.
  • Prism Sounds has sold its Dscope III to M-Audio. Dscope III is a test and measurement system.
  • Jodesha Broadcasting, which operates KSWW-FM, KJET-FM and an KBKW-AM, based in Aberdeen, WA, has purchased its second Marantz Professional PMD660 compact digital recorder. The station also uses a Marantz PMD670 solid-state recorder.
  • KIIS-FM, Los Angeles, has purchased three Marantz Professional PMD660 compact digital recorders for use in newsgathering and celebrity field reporting. All three PMD660 units have been in use for more than three months. BBSW handled the sale of the units to KIIS.
  • Emmis Communications has purchased a Wheatstone Generation/Bridge system for its Phoenix broadcasting facility. The system will include three newly released Generation 6 Control Surfaces, three Satellite Cage Routers and one master Bridge Router. Delivery is slated for June 2005.
  • Products

    AKG Develops Products for Harman's IQ Network
    Nashville, TN - May 9, 2005 - AKG engineers have begun development on products that are compatible with HIQ Net, Harman Professional Group’s proprietary audio system control and configuration software. The component that will connect WMS 4000 systems to HIQ Net will be a networked version of the current HUB 4000 Q network concentrator. A single HUB 4000 permits eight WMS 4000 systems to be controlled and monitored simultaneous: HUB 4000s can themselves be linked to expand the wireless system to any desired number of channels.


    MXL Ships V6 Microphone
    El Segundo, CA - May 11, 2005 - MXL Microphones, the professional audio division of Marshall Electronics, is now shipping its V6 silicon valve solid-state microphone. The V6 is a large diaphragm, pressure-gradient condenser microphone. The mic uses FETs to emulate the sound of tube-based microphones.


    HD Radio Arrives in Puerto Rico
    San Juan, PR - May 10, 2005 – In April, WPRM-FM became the first station in Puerto Rico to transmit an HD Radio signal. The station is using equipment from Broadcast Electronics. The station is owned by Uno Radio Group.

    WPRM, known locally as the Salsoul Network, is a 25kW tropical format station. It is the first of 12 sister stations to implement the U.S. digital technology. The station uses a Broadcast Electronics FMI 31 HD Radio transmitter with HD Radio signal generator and an FXI 60 digital FM exciter into a separate antenna.


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