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Radio Currents Online - Jun 21 - Jun 27, 2004
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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FCC Commissioners Reactions to Senate Decision Vary
Washington - June 25, 2004 – Reactions to the U.S. Senate’s decision to raise fines for airing indecent material and invalidating media ownership rules that were eased last year have been varied. In a statement released on June 24, Commissioner Michael Powell said, “may make it dramatically more difficult for the Commission to protect against greater media consolidation. It sets near impossible standards for justifying bright-line ownership limits.” Powell went on to say that the FCC will study the 100-page report by Chief Judge Scirica’s and will consider its next steps.
FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps and Commission Jonathan Adelstein believe differently. The same day that Powell’s statement was released Copps also issued a statement saying, “We have now heard from the American people, Congress, and the courts. The rush to media consolidation approved by the FCC last June was wrong as a matter of law and policy. The Commission has a second chance to do the right thing. We must immediately move forward and redesign our media policy.” Similarly, Adelstein’s statement read, “This time the Commission should truly act in the interest of the American public rather than the corporate interests of media giants who want to get even bigger.”
Comdex 2004 Postponed
San Francisco - June 23, 2004 - Medialive International, owners of the Comdex brand, have announced that Comdex 2004 has been postponed "in order to reshape the event with the cooperation of information technology (IT) industry leaders." Comdex 2004 had been scheduled to open November 14, 2004, in Las Vegas.
After taking ownership of Comdex a year ago, Medialive began repositioning Comdex as a focused, business-to-business IT event. The company has established a Comdex Advisory Board representing the IT industry's foremost companies to determine how Comdex can best meet the future needs of the industry.
Comdex 2003 attracted more than 40,000 technology buyers, 550 exhibiting companies and more than 900 journalists.
Defense Bill Passes with Indecency Language in Place
Washington - Jun 22, 2004 - In a 99-1 vote, the U.S. Senate substantially raised fines for airing indecent material on broadcast television and radio, and invalidated media ownership rules that were eased last year. The measures were attached to the $447 billion bill authorizing defense programs that is expected to pass this year.
Indecency fines would be raised to $275,000 per incident up to a maximum of $3 million per day. The U.S. House of Representatives already passed a bill with different language so some reworking will be required before the legislation is presented to President Bush. The bill now moves to conference committee with the House DOD bill.
The only senator to vote against the bill was Sen. John Breaux (D-LA).
The indecency wording was added to the defense processding by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS). He stated that if the legislation isn't approved as part of the defense authorization bill that he would try to find another way to get it through the Senate.
AFTRA has applauded the wording that does not specifically include performers from financial responsibility for paying a fine. The NAB also issued a statement dissenting the Senate action, stating that broadcasters already police themselves and do not need higher fines levied.
Radio magazine notes that in the end, if a broadcaster is truly responsible for its on-air content, the amount of a fine should be unimportant because it will never be levied.
Seattle Statement on Radio Looks to Reform
Seattle - Jun 21, 2004 - A Seattle-based coalition is calling for a host of changes to the U.S. commercial and public radio landscape, including support for ownership limits, artists' rights, community media access, content diversity and local accountability.
Voicing its concern about the radio industry, a coalition of music industry professionals, radio broadcasters and consumer advocates is releasing the Seattle Statement on Radio, a wide-ranging list of policy recommendations aimed at improving what the statement calls "the most local and ephemeral of our media, with a special ability to engage both our imagination and our sense of community." The statement, available online at www.reclaimthemedia.org/seattlestatement, will be presented to the FCC in Portland on June 24, when Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein convene a public town meeting to solicit testimony on issues related to media ownership consolidation and local accountability.
Industry employees, musicians, community media makers and democratic communications advocates took part in a two-day Fixing Radio forum in Seattle earlier this year, developing critiques of contemporary radio into suggestions for improvement.
Specific proposals call for new ownership limits, expansion of noncommercial community radio (LPFM) and the prohibition of payola and monopolistic alliances between broadcasters and concert promoters. Some recommendations would require the FCC to change regulations or enforcement mechanisms, while others would require legislative change from Congress.
FCC Adjusts Maximum Fine Limits
Washington, DC - Jun 18, 2004 - The FCC has amended Section 1.80(b) of the rules to increase the maximum fines limit. This action implements the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, which requires federal agencies to adjust maximum statutory civil monetary penalties at least once every four years to reflect inflation.
The amendment will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and will apply to violations that occur after the effective date. The new maximum amounts for broadcasters and cable operators will be $32,500 per violation or per day of a continuing violation with the amount for a continuing violation not to exceed $325,000. The limit for common carriers will be $130,000 per violation or per day of a continuing violation with the amount for a continuing violation not to exceed $1.325 million. All other groups will see a limit of $11,000 per violation or per day of a continuing violation with the amount for a continuing violation not to exceed $97,500.
This action does not affect the base forfeiture amounts specified in Section 1.80(b)(4) of the rules.
Order FCC 04-139
Radio Automation Pioneer Dies
Emmetsburg, IA - Jun 20, 2004 - A technician who pioneered digital automation in the radio industry died June 20 in Emmetsburg, IA. Dane Roach (1959-2004) began his career in radio in New Mexico before joining The Management to help develop the Digital DJ System. Roach later joined the staff of Smarts Broadcast Systems as its chief technician on the Smartcaster System, a post he held until his death from a malignant brain tumor. In addition to New Mexico, Roach worked at stations in Texas and Michigan, and briefly for TM Century in Dallas. Funeral services for Roach will be held June 26 at the Martin-Mattice funeral home in Emmetsburg. Donations to the American Cancer Society are requested in lieu of flowers.
Stardraw Adds Support of AutoCAD 2004/2005
Jun 24, 2004 - Since its introduction, Stardraw has focused on support for all versions of AutoCAD from version 2.5 up. Autodesk launched AutoCAD 2005 a few weeks ago and Stardraw has updated all of its subscription-based applications to support it.
Stardraw can read and edit any .DWG version and save to any .DWG version. The company states that this function is the result of a total rewrite of Stardraw’s DWG engine. An additional enhancement is that Stardraw can now use True Type fonts.
Current subscribers can upgrade for free as part of Stardraw’s regular feature update program.
Disc Makers Adds USB
Pennsauken, NJ – Jun 21, 2004 – Disc Makers has introduced a USB 2.0 connect for its line of Reflex duplication towers. With this new option, users will be able to connect directly to Macs or PCs via USB 2.0 to burn a master right from the computer's hard drive to the Reflex duplication tower. The included disc creation software turns the USB connect and the Reflex duplicator package into an authoring and duplication system.
The Reflex USB 2.0 connect package is included on the Reflex1 duplicator and can be added as an option to the Reflex Pro4 and Reflex Pro7.
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