Radio Currents Online - Jun 19 - Jun 25, 2006


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News

NAB Radio Show Changes Show Hours Again
Washington - Jun 23, 2006 - The NAB has adjusted the show floor hours of the NAB Radio Show again. The convention will be held in Dallas from Sept. 20 to Sept. 22. Because of Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 23, the NAB eliminated the convention floor hours on Friday. There will still be some sessions on Sept. 22.

Now the NAB has increased the hours on the opening day of the convention. The new exhibit floor times are Sept. 20 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


NAB Studies Part 15 Devices
Washington - Jun 22, 2006 - With the proliferation of Part 15 devices for use with portable media players, satellite radio and other devices, the NAB hired the consulting firm MSW to evaluate some of these wireless devices to verify their compliance with the power and modulation restrictions established in the FCC Rules. The NAB is concerned that many of these devices are causing interference to established broadcast stations.

The study reviewed the field strengths of 17 wireless devices. The review measured field strength, verified the required FCC ID numbers and verified antenna rule compliance. Devices tested were manufactured by companies including Akron, Belkin, Hobbytron, RCA, Sirius and Delphi.

The tests showed that more then 75 percent of the tested devices exceeded the FCC 48dBµV/m limit. On average, the devices exceed the FCC limit by 14dB.

In addition, four wired devices were tested for Part 15 compliance. They all met the tolerance of field strength compliance.

Modulation tests showed that several devices easily exceed the 200kHz deviation limit of standard broadcast channel.

The complete report is available online at www.nab.org/xert/corpcomm/NAB_Part15_Study.pdf.


XM Files Patent for HD Radio Converter
Washington - Jun 15, 2006 - The idea of modulating an audio signal to a radio frequency so that it can be heard via a traditional radio receiver is not a new idea. When FM was young, there were plenty of converters to receive the FM and remodulate it to an AM frequency. Today, every media player offers an option to listen to the device via an FM radio.

In an ironic twist of the idea, XM Satellite Radio has filed a patent application that describes a system to receive an XM broadcast and then remodulate it on an FM HD Radio signal. The process would keep the audio signal in a digital form through the entire chain instead of converting it to analog at the input to the add-on transmitter.

The patent application can be viewed online at this link. The patent application number is 20060126716.


FCC Opens Media Ownership Proceeding for Public Comment
Washington, DC - Jun 21, 2006 - The FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on how to address the issues raised by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Prometheus v. FCC, which two years ago stayed and remanded several media ownership rules that the Commission had adopted in its 2002 Biennial Review Order. The Further Notice also opens a quadrennial review of all of the media ownership rules, as required by statute.

A section of the 1996 Telecommunications Act mandates the FCC to periodically review its broadcast ownership rules to determine "whether any of such rules are necessary in the public interest as a result of competition." As directed by Congress, the FCC opened a review proceeding in 2002 to analyze its broadcast ownership rules. The Commission's decision, set forth in the 2002 Biennial Review Order, was adopted in June 2003. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision affirming some Commission decisions and remanding others for further justification or modification.

The Further Notice details the issues raised in Prometheus regarding the Commission's earlier decisions and rationale. It discusses, and invites comment on, the rules that the court remanded:

  • Should the Commission revise the limits adopted in the 2002 Biennial Review Order on the number of stations that can be commonly owned in one market, or is there additional evidence or analysis available now on which the Commission can rely to further justify the limits adopted then?
  • Similarly, to address the court's concerns, should the Commission revise these numerical limits or is additional evidence available to further justify them?
  • How should the Commission address radio/TV and newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership issues?

    The item also seeks comment on the court's remand of certain proposals relating to minority ownership. In addition, responsive to the quadrennial review required by statute, the Further Notice seeks comment on whether these rules sent back to the Commission by the court, as well as the dual network rule, which was not at issue in Prometheus, are necessary in the public interest as a result of competition.

    Finally, the notice lists pending petitions for reconsideration of the 2002 Biennial Review Order and states that parties may refresh the record concerning these petitions.

    An overview of the Further Notice and the information sought is available at this link.

    Commissioners Martin, Tate and McDowell all issued statements encouraging comments on the issue. Commissioners Copps and Adelstein also released statements, although they raised concerns over the process that the other three endorse. Copps calls the action "the single most important public policy debate that the FCC will tackle this year." Copps and Adelstein are concerned that the proceeding will lead to an even greater concentration of media ownership, which they believe is not in the public interest.


    Orlando Station Fined for Contest Stunt
    Washington - Jun 16, 2006 - The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, the licensee of station WRUM-FM, Orlando, FL. The station is charged with conducting a contest without fully and accurately disclosing all material terms and failing to conduct the contest as announced. The fine was issued for the amount of $6,000.

    In February 2005, the FCC received a complaint from Mega Communications of Daytona Beach Licensee, the licensee of station WNUE-FM in Orlando, FL, that alleged that the morning talk show hosts on WRUM had conducted a contest on Feb. 24, 2005, that for several hours encouraged listeners to call a phone number and state the name of the morning show. The 100th caller would receive $1,000. The problem is that WRUM gave the phone number for rival station WNUE.

    Callers were understandably angered when they were informed that there was no such contest.

    Clear Channel has disputed the notice.


    New Voice Against Centralized Media Ownership Emerges
    Jun 19, 2006 - Recently formed, the StopBigMedia.com Coalition is an alliance of several groups that have joined to pursue a goal to "fight runaway media consolidation and urge the FCC to put the public interest before the self-interest of large media corporations." The endeavor is a theme that has been follwed before. Charter members of the organization include Consumers Union, National Council of Churches, AFTRA, the Prometheus Radio Project, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and the AFL-CIO.

    From the group's website at StopBigMedia.com

    As the Federal Communications Commission takes the first steps toward enacting sweeping changes to the nation’s media ownership rules, a diverse alliance of consumer, civil rights, labor and media reform groups is speaking out against greater media consolidation.

    The FCC is expected to start a new rulemaking process this week that could allow a handful of media corporations to swallow up more local TV channels, radio stations and newspapers. A draft proposal identifying which rules are up for revision is expected to be considered at the FCC's June 21 meeting.

    The StopBigMedia.com campaign is mobilizing broad public opposition to any FCC ruling that would hand over more control of local media to the nation’s largest media corporations. Working together with millions of Americans, we will make the public voice heard before the FCC allows big media to become even bigger.

    The group's site includes a chart that shows the influence that several companies hold over various media outlets.


    Business

    Sales Call
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    Klotz Digital Asia has received an order from HT Music in Kuala Lumpur for its new FM stations. The order includes Vadis routers in the main control rooms for each station and Aeon Digital on-air consoles for the on-air studios.
    Entravision Communication has chosen Nielsen BDSRadio.com to be its music monitoring service for its KXSE-FM, and KRCX-FM Sacramento, KZMP-FM Dallas, KVVA-FM Phoenix and KLOK-FM Monterey-Salinas stations.
    WKQS-FM, a 50kW commercial station serving the Marquette, MI, area, has acquired Jampro's JHPC antenna to replace the existing one.
    Jampro shipped a two-bay JMVP vertical dipole antenna to KAIC 88.9-FM in Tucson, AZ, and a three-bay JMVP antenna to KQLU 90.9-FM transmitting from Mount Belgrade, MT. A JHPC six-bay circularly polarized antenna, optimized by Jampro for a FCC directional construction permit, is scheduled to be delivered to KYLV 88.9-FM in Norman, OK, to meet the permit expiration date.
    AOL's Radio KOL has installed a Dalet system for its radio program. XM Satellite Radio is expanding its Dalet system to launch a new program called Oprah and Friends. WBLS FM and WLIB AM in New York City are updating their music programming operation with a Dalet system.

    People

    Parker Joins Network Minded as Sr. Systems Engineer
    Alpharetta, GA - Jun 20, 2006 - Network Minded has added Kelly Parker, formerly the chief engineer/senior systems engineer for Susquehanna Radio/Cumulus Media Partners San Francisco, as a senior systems engineer. Network Minded is primarily composed of people from the former Susquehanna engineering/IT departments. Other members of the company include Chris Lawton, Joe Ainsworth, Robert Ferguson and Consulting Engineer Norm Philips.

    Parker started his career in radio in the late 1980s working at a college radio station. He entered the engineering field in 1992, and began working for various stations around the country. In 1995, he worked for Bonneville International as assistant chief engineer and IT manager in San Francisco. In 1998, Parker joined Susquehanna Radio and held the titles of chief engineer and senior systems engineer. During his tenure with Susquehanna Radio and with Cumulus Media Partners, Parker worked on designing studios, installing digital automation systems and digital consoles, and worked on special projects related to the Internet and streaming audio.

    Network Minded specializes in engineering and IT services for broadcast stations and medium-sized businesses.


    Eye on IBOC

    Nassau Signs on its First HD Radio Station
    Boyertown, PA - Jun 22, 2006 - Nassau Broadcasting Partners, operator of 49 radio stations in New England, commenced HD Radio operation on its first station: WFKB-FM, Boyertown, PA. The station serves the area around Reading, PA.

    The station is transmitting a single digital signal right now, but with the next month it plans to broadcast the programming of sister station WBYN-AM on its HD2 multicast.


    Products

    Backbone Updates Internet Software
    Worcester, MA - Jun 12, 2006 - Backbone Networks has released version 4.1 of Backbone Radio Pro, its turnkey Internet radio station software suite. This latest version includes native compatibility with Intel-based Macs and new features specifically aimed at increasing the revenue opportunities of online radio stations. Among these features are clickable images and text that allow listeners to conduct e-commerce while continuing to listen to the radio program, as well as demographic feedback, which facilitates targeted radio advertising.

    The clickable URL feature permits links to change for every song, commercial or program segment. Integrated real-time reporting tells the operator how many people listen to what programs or songs, at what time, for how long and from where, based on potential geographical mapping of IP listener connections.


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