Radio Currents Online - Jul 12 - Jul 18, 2004

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Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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Nextel, Comlabs Develop Wireless AMBER Service
Washington, DC, and Reston, VA - Jul 12, 2004 - The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Nextel Communications and Communications Laboratories have created a wireless AMBER Alert system that extends AMBER Alerts to mobile phone users through the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Nextel has built a platform to provide primary distribution of AMBER Alerts in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police and Comlabs. The wireless AMBER Alerts will be free to customers and will maintain the integrity of the original alert messages, as created and distributed by a state AMBER Alert coordinator.

Following the initial pilot of the service for public safety customers in Pennsylvania, Nextel hopes to expand the availability of wireless AMBER Alerts to additional customers. Wireless alerts will be distributed to customers in targeted geographic areas, based on area code, and will be sent to Nextel phones via text message.

Washington - Jul 16, 2004 - The National Association of Short-wave Broadcasters (NASB), a DRM member since 1999, will send DRM transmissions into North America starting on July 24. The NASB programming will be sent from the Sackville, New Brunswick, transmitter site of DRM member Radio Canada International/CBC, and will reach the Eastern U.S. and Canada. The NASB’s members are 19 privately owned, U.S. licensed, short-wave radio stations. Its associate members include non-U.S. licensed broadcasters, manufacturers and others.

Other DRM broadcasts are also available in North America from the BBC World Service; Deutsche Welle; RCI; Radio Netherlands; Swedish Radio International; and Radio Vaticana.

NASB will transmit the program Voice of the NASB via short-wave to North America on Saturdays, starting at 17:00 UTC, at 11900kHz. Voice of the NASB is a half-hour variety series jointly produced by various NASB members and associate members. It comprises documentaries, travel reports, mailbag programs, religious dramas, music and station profiles.

The NASB has been sending DRM transmissions to Europe since 2003 via the Rampisham, England, transmitter site of DRM member and NASB associate member VT Communications. These transmissions will end on July 18.

SBE Designates New Chapter in Oregon
Indianapolis and Eugene, OR - Jul 8, 2004 - Eugene, OR, has its own chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. It has been designated as chapter 76. Previously, engineers in Eugene were part of the Portland, OR, chapter.

Dennis Hunt, director of engineering for Chambers Communications and KEZI-TV in Eugene, is the chapter chairman. Chris Heck is the vice chairman.

SBE National Award Winners Announced For 2003
Indianapolis - Jul 9, 2004 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has announced the winners of its 2003 SBE National Awards. The SBE Awards Program recognizes the outstanding efforts of SBE chapters and members.

The winner of the SBE Broadcast Engineer of the Year Award for 2003 is James Bernier, Jr., CPBE CBNT of Alpharetta, GA. Bernier is director, maintenance, design and engineering for Turner Entertainment Networks. While with Turner, he has overseen the design and build-out of new network facilities, which include TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, Turner South and nine international feeds of TNT, Cartoon and Boomerang networks to South America. Bernier has been the chairman of the SBE Electronics Communications Committee since 1995 and a member of the national SBE Certification Committee since 1998.

The SBE Educator of the Year Award goes to Donald C. Borchert of Sun Prairie, WI. Borchert retired in 1993 from his position as director of engineering for WHA radio and television at the University of Wisconsin - Extension. He has chaired the Broadcasters Clinic in Madison since 1975.

Winner of the SBE Technology Award for 2003 is Dielectric Communications of Raymond, ME, for its Dualband Series Antenna. The Dualband Series Antenna provides TV broadcasters a single antenna from which to broadcast both NTSC and DTV signals at the same time when one signal is UHF and the other is VHF.

The Award for Best Technical Article, Book or Program by an SBE Member goes to Thomas Ray III, CPBE, for his article Running Interference, which appeared in the April 2003 issue of Radio magazine. The article describes the testing of an IBOC signal from WOR Radio in New York City.

Local chapters have also earned awards based on their own achievements. Some categories recognize two chapters, based on their size. Class A represents those chapters whose membership is less than the median while Class B are those chapters that have membership greater than the median.

  • Best Regional Convention or Conference: Chapter 24, Madison, Wis. - Chapter Chairman: Victoria Way Kipp, CSTE CBNT; Conference Coordinator: Donald Borchert
  • Best Chapter Newsletter (Class A): Chapter 118, Montgomery, AL - Chapter Chairman and Newsletter Editor: Larry J. Wilkins, CPBE CBNT
  • Best Chapter Newsletter (Class B): Chapter 24, Madison, WI - Chapter Chairman: Victoria Way Kipp, CSTE CBNT; Newsletter Editor: Michael Norton, CSTE CBNT
  • Best Chapter Frequency Coordination Effort (Class B): Chapter 54, Tidewater, VA - Chapter Chairman: Charles E. Stutsman, CBTE; Frequency Coordinator: Ted Hand, CPBE
  • Best Chapter Website: Chapter 53, South Florida - Chapter Chairman: John Theimer; Webmaster: Douglas Barkley, CBTE CBNT
  • Most Certified Chapter: Class A: Chapter 118, Montgomery, AL - Chapter Chairman: Larry Wilkins, CPBE CBNT; Certification Chairman: Charles Grider, CBRE CBNT
    Class B: Chapter 131, Inland Empire, CA - Chapter and Certification Chairman: Paul Claxton, CPBE CBNT
  • Highest Member Attendance at Chapter Meetings: Class A: Chapter 136, Rio Grande Valley, TX - Chapter Chairman: Frank Daniels, CBT; 2003 Chairmen: Jaime Rodriguez, CBT, then Frank Daniels
    Class B: Chapter 113, Knoxville, TN - Chapter Chairman: Gary Davis, CBT
  • Greatest Growth in New Members: Class A: Chapter 104, Toledo, OH - Chapter Chairman: Barry Gries, CPBE
    Class B: Chapter 59, Kansas City, KS/MO - Chapter Chairman: Michael Douthat; 2003 Chairman: Kirk Chestnut, CSRE

    The winners will be recognized during the SBE National Awards Dinner, held during the SBE National Meeting being held Oct. 26-27 in Marlborough, MA. This year's national meeting is held in conjunction with Bos-Con, the SBE Chapter 11 regional convention.

    CRTC Plans Canadian Satellite Radio Hearing
    Ottawa - Jul 8, 2004 - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), essentially the FCC of Canada, will hold a public hearing on Nov. 1, 2004, to examine three applications for licenses to create multi-channel, satellite-delivered subscription radio services. Two of the applicants are in partnership with existing U.S. satellite-delivered subscription radio services.

    The applicants are Canadian Satellite Radio Incorporated (partnering with XM Satellite Radio), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (partnering with Sirius Satellite Radio) and CHUM Limited.

    The hearing will consider issues including the appropriate amount of English- and French-language Canadian content that the new service should provide, the appropriate level of contribution to support the development of Canadian talent, the provisions that should be provided to ensure that licensees are accountable for the programming provided on any non-Canadian channels, and how many subscription radio services the Canadian market could support.

    FCC Extends IBOC Reply Comments Date
    Washington - Jul 9, 2004 - In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry released April 20, 2004, the Commission requested comment on several issues relevant to the development of digital audio broadcasting (DAB). The FNPRM/NOI called for reply comments on July 16, 2004. Following requests from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the Future of Music Coalition, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Recording Artists Coalition, collectively known as the Recording Artist Interest Commenters (RAIC), the deadline for reply comments to MM Docket No. 99-325 has been extended by 16 days, from July 16, 2004, to Aug. 2, 2004.

    The RAIC requested a 61-day extension of the reply comment date, stating that because of its limited resources it needed the additional time to complete its review of the complex technical arguments raised commenters who filed pleadings in the instant proceeding. The RAIC also stated that it needs more time to analyze how the issues raised in the DAB proceeding are affected by, among other things, the recently released Notice of Inquiry on broadcast localism.
    MM Docket No. 99-325


    Ibiquity Certifies IBOC Receiver Modules
    Columbia, MD - Jul 16, 2004 - Ibiquity Digital has certified several IBOC radio receiver components that can be used in the production of consumer receivers.

    Ibiquity Digital has certified Alps' TDGA2 D-DICE front-end RF tuner. This tuner is designed for automotive HD Radio receivers using second-generation platforms. Alps' TDGA1 Series front-end RF tuner for first-generation platforms was certified by Ibiquity in November 2003.

    In late May, both the TDGA2 D-DICE and TDGA1 Series products were displayed at the semi-annual Alps Show in Tokyo, which drew 8,000 people from electronics companies around the world.

    Alps Electric is a Japanese corporation of 80 companies, which include mobile electronics manufacturer Alpine.

    TBK Electronics has received Ibiquity certification of its TDI 2001-A0 decoding module for use in automotive and home HD Radio receivers. The TDI 2001-A0 uses Texas Instruments' DRI250 chip set that integrates the RF tuner, analog baseband demodulator and the HD Radio decoding function. It is the first DRI250-based module to integrate all HD Radio functionalities in a single platform.

    Toko has received Ibiquity's certification of Toko's TME-1225 and TME-1235 decoding modules for use with automotive HD Radio receivers. These customer specific modules, both of which use the Texas Instruments DRI200 chip set, were designed for HD Radio products scheduled to launch later this year.

    Sirius Hits 500,000 Subscribers
    New York - Jul 14, 2004 - Sirius has passed the 500,000 subscriber mark with 500,749. The company expects to have 1 million subscribers by the end of the year.

    Nuface Entertainment Signs Clear Channel For Music Download Program
    Chicago - Jul 7, 2004 - Nuface Entertainment and Clear Channel Chicago have signed a deal to launch Nuface’s online download platform on Clear Channel’s WGCI-FM streaming audio format at The program allows online listeners to download unreleased singles to personal digital devices before they are released to the market.

    The program will be launched on WGCI’s website on July 26.

    SES Americom Completes AMC-11 Satellite Testing
    Princeton, NJ - Jul 13, 2004 - With in-orbit testing recently completed aboard the AMC-11 satellite, the SES Americom A2100 model spacecraft is preparing to join its identical twin AMC-10. The satellites' primary function is to deliver HDTV signals to cable headends and consumers. AMC-11 was launched in May. It will begin service in November.

    AMC-10 and AMC-11 are C-band satellites at 135 degrees west longitude and 131 degrees west longitude respectively. They replaced Satcom C-3 and Satcom C-4.

    Arbitron and Nielsen Work to Improve PPM Response Rates
    New York - Jul 12, 2004 - Arbitron and Nielsen Media Research have devised and tested new approaches that yield sample performance indicators (SPI) that are in line with what Nielsen expects with results from a set-top meter panel. These measures are higher than those achieved by Arbitron in the first U.S. market trial of the PPM in Philadelphia in 2002.

    The new methods were different from the 2002 methodology in that they: used membership representatives for at least some of the recruitment and on-going maintenance of the panel; increased the financial incentives given to panelists; and included a number of other methodological improvements. The new methods increased the 8 to 10 percent response rate seen in the 2002 market trial, to the 33 to 34 percent sample performance indicators seen in recent test results in Philadelphia. In the upcoming Houston demonstration market, Arbitron is using one of the methods just developed and tested but using the Arbitron name, Arbitron field representatives and reducing some of the incentives.

    The two companies' collaborative Philadelphia tests involved testing two similar methodologies, each in a panel of 100 households. The first panel tested the use of membership representatives to recruit all panelists. The second panel tested a hybrid methodology that uses representative and phone-based recruiting. Interim results from the first 12 months of the test, which will conclude in a few weeks, indicated sample performance indicators of 33.3 and 33.8 for the first and second panels respectively.

    Arbitron and Nielsen Media Research will conclude the testing of the two new methods by the end of July. Results of the tests will be shared by the end of the summer when the analyses are complete. At that time the two companies will also share results from the two engineering tests that they have been jointly conducting over the past year: a meter-sensitivity test and a dual-meter test.

    NAB to Offer Satellite Uplink Training Seminar
    Washington - Jul 12, 2004 - The NAB's 16th Satellite Uplink Operators Training Seminar will be held Sept. 27 through 30 at the NAB Headquarters in Washington, DC. The four-day seminar covers uplink operational practices, which minimize the risk of satellite transmission interference. FCC rules require a trained operator to be present at all times during transmissions, at either an earth station site or designated remote control point.

    Norman Weinhouse of Norman Weinhouse Associates telecommunications consulting firm will conduct the seminar. Weinhouse has more than 30 years of experience in the design, construction and management of satellite communications systems. Attendees will receive a 200-page Satellite Uplink Handbook, authored by Weinhouse.

    Joining Weinhouse as an instructor is Sidney Skjei, P.E. of Skjei Telecom. Skjei has over 20 years experience in engineering and developing a wide range of hardware and software telecommunications products, systems and services.

    The seminar is designed for satellite uplink operators, engineers, technicians and those who wish to become more familiar with satellite communications. A portion of the seminar will be used for hands-on training with earth station equipment. Last year's class included 40 students from radio and television stations, universities and satellite services across the United States.


    Sales Call
  • Jones Radio Networks has installed Harris Airwave on-air radio consoles for Marie and Friends, a new nationally syndicated radio show hosted by singer and TV personality Marie Osmond.
  • Sonifex received an order from its Indian distributor, Comcon Industries, for 300 Courier portable recorders to be delivered to All India Radio (A.I.R.). The recorders are to be used throughout India and are for local broadcasting. They are to be used together with the Dalet Radio Automation System. A.I.R. has chosen the ISDN version of the machine.
  • Media Monitors has signed an agreement with Bonneville International stations in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, DC, to provide online broadcast monitoring services. The service provides radio spot play information to the radio and advertising communities with online, same-day data via the Media Monitors website,
  • Platinum Audio Rentals, a supplier of high-end pro audio gear to Southern California producers, engineers and recording studios, has acquired two Brauner VM1 Klaus Heyne Edition microphones to supplement its rental pool.
  • People

    Crown Promotes Within Sales Team
    Elkhart, IN - Jul 15, 2004 - Crown International has made some personnel changes within its sales department. Sue Livings has been promoted to the newly created position of director of customer service, where she will lead the efforts of all functional units within Crown sales that provide customer service, including technical support, parts and sales administration. Amanda Divine has been promoted to the position of manager of sales administration, the position previously held by Livings. Divine previously served as international sales agent for Crown.

    Comquest Names New Sales and Marketing Manager
    San Diego, CA - Jul 15, 2004 - Comquest has named Gary L. Gorton as head of sales and marketing. Most recently the founder, senior vice president and general manager of TUDLA, a firm specializing in business research in Latin America, Gorton has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Previously, he was the regional sales director for the analyst firm, Current Analysis and the sales manager in charge of major accounts in the market intelligence division of publishing company Ziff-Davis.

    At Comquest, he will be responsible for strategic development of marketing and go-to-market programs, including forming partnerships with group owners and instituting other corporate wide initiatives.

    Comquest provides music testing services.

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