Radio Currents Online - Jun 26 - Jul 2, 2006

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Senate Committee Adds Audio Flag Language to Telecom Bill
Washington - Jun 28, 2006 - During its frenzy of reviewing amendments to the telecommunications bill, the Senate Commerce Committee approved terms that authorize the FCC to establish a review board of representatives of various groups to develop audio flag technology regulations within a year. The representatives working on the regulations would be from parties interested in the outcome, including broadcasters and rights holders.

The House version of the bill does not include any language relating an audio flag.

NAB Education Foundation Announces Scholars Program
Washington - Jun 29, 2006 - The NAB Education Foundation has launched the NABEF Scholars Program. The program provides 10 scholarships to enable outstanding communications students from diverse backgrounds to complete their undergraduate degrees and begin careers in broadcasting.

The NABEF Scholars Program provides scholarships to college or university communications students with financial needs beginning in their junior year and continuing through their senior year. The amount of the scholarship is $10,000 per year, per student for both years.

Ten universities will provide one scholarship to a deserving student from their school.

  • Bowling Green State University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Murray State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of Alaska, Anchorage
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • University of Florida, Gainesville
  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas, Austin

    The schools were selected based on the quality of their communications programs and on regional distribution. Each communications school will select a student who is a woman or black to receive the scholarship, based not only on financial need, but also on the students' demonstrated ability and promise. The selected students must be broadcast majors who currently have and who maintain at least a 2.0 GPA during the scholarship period.

    The scholarship money will support the cost of attendance for the student selected, and may not be used for administrative purposes or any other purpose not related to the support of the student's school attendance. As part of the scholarship, the student will perform an internship at a licensed radio or TV station.

    FCC Proposes New Satellite Service
    Washington - Jun 21, 2006 - The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on licensing and service rules for satellites authorized to provide service to the United States in the 17/24GHz Broadcasting Satellite Service (BSS). The 17/24GHz BSS satellites will downlink domestically in the 17.3GHz to 17.7GHz frequency band and uplink in the 24.75GHz to 25.25GHz frequency band. The FCC expects the 17/24GHz BSS service to bring video, audio, data and multimedia services to subscribers.

    The NPRM seeks comment on proposals related to operations in the 17/24GHz BSS band, including the appropriate method for processing applications; license terms, replacement satellites, access to the U.S. market from non-U.S. satellites and milestone requirements; public service obligations, geographic service and emergency alert system (EAS) requirements; use of spectrum; orbital spacing and antenna performance standards; and other technical requirements.

    IB Docket 06-123

    Senate Says No to Net Neutrality
    Washington - Jun 28, 2006 - A telecommunications bill under review in a Senate committee failed to win the needed votes to prohibit Internet companies from favoring content and have them treat all content with the same neutral view, regardless of the source or destination. The committee voted in an 11-11 tie. A majority vote was needed for the amendment to be adopted.

    The House of Representatives already rejected similar language in its bill on June 8 by a vote of 269-152. The House bill has alternate protections to ensure neutrality, such as an Internet Bill of Rights that would permit the FCC to police Net neutrality.

    AT&T and Verizon oppose the Net neutrality language, while Ebay, Google and Amazon support the rules. The support and opposition also follows party lines: Republicans oppose it and Democrats support it.

    Republicans say that the language is not necessary, because it addresses a problem that does not yet exist. Further, the telecommunications bill under consideration involves many elements, and the Net neutrality language may kill the entire effort.

    Other amendments were also considered by the Senate committee. In a 12-10 vote the senators rejected a broader second amendment that included video franchising and universal service. In the end, the senators voted 15-7 vote send the telecommunications bill -- called the Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act -- to the full Senate for a vote. It is expected that some Net neutrality amendment will be offered in any floor vote.

    LPFM Gets Senate Support
    Washington - Jun 28, 2006 - The Senate Commerce Committee considered various amendments to the Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006, including the defeat of Net neutrality language, but an amendment from Sen. John McCain sought to change the adjacent-channel restrictions on FM stations that has been a boon to LPFM proponents. The amendment removes all third-adjacent channel separation requirements.

    The Prometheus Radio Project, a group of radio activists that have sought relaxed rules for LPFM stations, believes that the amendment will expand the availability of LPFM stations to hundreds if not thousands.

    A press release from Prometheus credits Sen. McCain as saying that the two-year, $2.2 million study reaffirms the FCC's original conclusion of the possibility of a full low-power FM radio service. "I think we ought to send the National Association of Broadcasters a bill for that study," said McCain.

    In addition, Sen. Frank Lautenberg introduced an amendment that would exclude New Jersey from the expanded low-power FM service, a service he supported in principle while expressing concern on the impact to New Jersey's relatively packed airwaves. The senator was able to append his amendment for his home state, which has relatively few stations due to its proximity to New York and Philadelphia.

    Bush Orders EAS Fixes
    Washington - Jun 26, 2006 - President George W. Bush issued an executive order to Michael Chertoff, homeland security secretary, to review and update the various public warning systems, mostly led by the broadcast Emergency Alert System. Bush cited weaknesses that were discovered after the 2005 hurricanes, as well as 9/11.

    Bush wants the EAS to include cell phones, PDAs and pagers targeted to geographic areas or specific groups. The directive came in a 30-paragraph executive order issued by the White House. One item to note is that Bush expects the policy "to ensure that under all conditions the President can communicate with the American people." The current EAS system can already do that via broadcast stations.

    While EAS is intended to work at all levels -- local, regional and national -- it is accepted that there are shortcomings in the current system. Chief among these is a lack of local funding, difficulties in local coordination and limited access to all forms of consumer electronic media, not just radio and TV.

    It is also worth noting that the President is asking the Dept. of Homeland Security for most of the items that the Society of Broadcast Engineers and the now defunct Partnership for Public Warning have suggested already.

    Read the entire order at the White House site.

    Radio magazine detailed some systems that are available to consumer from third-party providers in the June issue in an article called Emergency Radio.

    Study: Radio Chops a Minute of Ads off Each Hour
    New York, NY - Jun 28, 2006 - Radio stations in America have shaved a full minute off commercial loads, according to results of a study from Media Monitors announced at the annual Interep Radio Symposium held at Bear Stearns headquarters in New York City. The study used data collected over a two-year period.

    The study compared spot loads on more than 1,000 radio stations in the top 50 markets between 2004 and 2006. Media Monitors noted three major findings in the study.

  • Spot breaks are one minute shorter. In 2004, radio spot breaks on average ran eight minutes 30 seconds per hour. The 2006 study shows the average at those stations dropped to seven minutes 30 seconds, which is a decrease of 60 seconds per hour.
  • 30-second spots increase to 21 percent: In 2004, 13 percent of the spots on major market stations tracked by Media Monitors were 30s. As of June 2006, the proportion of 30-second spots increased to 21 percent.
  • Units per hour decrease to 8.4. Compared to 2004 when stations ran an hourly average of 9.0 units, 2006 shows a decreased average of 8.4 units per hour.


    Attendees from the first day of training, from left to right: Jody O’Leary (Astral Media Atlantic, New Brunswick), Art Neveu (WTEN-TV, Albany), Vic Deveau, (Astral Media Atlantic, Nova Scotia) John Lee (WGN-TV, Chicago), Eric Fitch (WAAF-FM, Boston), Joe Soucise (WZLX-FM, Boston), Don Albanese (WODS-FM, Boston).

    Burk Completes Another Factory Training
    Littleton, MA - Jun 23, 2006 - Burk Technology has completed another factory training seminar, this time with 16 participants completing the course. The training was held at the company's headquarters in Littleton, MA. The class covered the company's entire line of broadcast facility control systems.

    Attendees from six states and two Canadian provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, attended the training sessions, which were held over three days. Training on facility management software was one emphasis during the sessions.

    The next training sessions are scheduled for October. Contact to reserve a spot.

    Enco Expands in South Pacific, Adds Auricon Support
    Southfield, MI - Jun 26, 2006 - Enco Systems has appointed Innes to be a distributor for Enco radio and TV audio automation systems throughout the South Pacific. Innes will provide a regional sales and support facility for Enco products in the region. Enco will also add support of the Innes Auricon line of broadcast sound cards within Enco's DAD system.

    Bosch to Acquire Telex Communications
    Stuttgart and Minneapolis - Jun 28, 2006 - The Bosch Group has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Telex Communications Holding through the merger of a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch into Telex. The merger agreement provides for an aggregate purchase price of $420 million. The merger agreement has been approved by the Board of Directors of Telex and the Board of Management of Bosch, and has also been approved by the requisite percentage of Telex's voting stockholders.

    Telex Communications is the parent company of Electro-Voice, Dynacord, Midas, Klark Teknik, Telex and RTS.

    Sales Call
    XM Satellite Radio is expanding its operation to support the launch of Oprah and Friends. The channel will be broadcast from a new XM studio equipped with Dalet at Harpo Studios in Chicago.
    WBLS FM and WLIB AM in New York are updating their studios using Dalet's scheduling, production, playout and backup capabilities.
    Enco Systems has loaned Express FM its latest broadcast playout system, the DAD5.1b, to use at the Young Carers Festival in Nutbourne Chichester, UK. The YCF is the largest gathering of young carers in the world.
    The Dave Ramsey Show has added an Axia Element console to power its studios.
    Several radio stations have purchased Telos' Zephyr Xport: Sirius Satellite Radio, New York; KUPD, Phoenix, AZ; Korean Christian Broadcasting, New York; and Major League Baseball Radio, New York.
    Swiss station 88 Radio Sunshine has purchased a Broadcast Electronics HD Radio system in April, and was presented at HD Radio Days in Lucerne, Switzerland, on June 28 and 29 as the first public demonstration of HD Radio in Europe.
    Radio Television Malaysia, the government-owned broadcaster of Malaysia, has commissioned Netia to refurbish its 11 regional stations with Radio-Assist 7.5.


    Woods to Lead Dmarc Automation
    Newport Beach, CA - Jun 28, 2006 - Google has appointed Jim Woods as director of automation at its Dmarc radio automation division. Woods will help drive the upcoming release of the next generation of Scott SS32 and Maestro automation systems.

    Woods joins Google from Harris where he was most recently vice president and general manager of automation solutions for the broadcast communications division. He has more than 20 years of experience in domestic and international broadcast operations.

    Wheatstone Hires Burns as Sales Engineer
    New Bern, NC - Jun 23, 2006 - Wheatstone has hired Martin Burns as a sales engineer. He will specialize in the company's expanding TV console division. Burns' career spans more than 23 years of combined broadcast technology and business-to-business sales and service.

    He began his career in broadcast audio as a radio trainee at Harrison Systems, where he eventually rose to the position of vice president of broadcast products. He later joined GLW as general sales manager after the GLW acquisition of the Harrison product line.

    Prior to joining Wheatstone, Burns served in various sales capacities for Siemens Audio (AMS-Neve), as well as Redwood Marketing, Fostex, 360 Systems and Enco Systems.

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