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Radio Currents Online - Jul 26 - Aug 1, 2004
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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The SBE Creates Curriculum Guide for Schools
Indianapolis - Jul 29, 2004 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) Certification Committee has developed a suggested curriculum for use by post-secondary schools that wish to offer a broadcast engineering curriculum. The curriculum is designed so that schools that follow its guidelines will provide a baseline education to students who wish to pursue a career in broadcast engineering.
One of the objectives of the SBE Certification Program is to encourage broadcast engineers to continue their professional development and remain current with the state-of-the-art. With dramatic changes that have taken place in the industry in recent years, it has become even more important to understand emerging technologies and how they can benefit broadcasters.
Several years ago, the SBE National Certification Committee, which at the time was chaired by Terry Baun, CPBE CBNT and today is chaired by Radio magazine editor Chriss Scherer, CSRE CBNT, appointed a subcommittee to develop the curriculum guide. Ralph Hogan, CPBE CBNT, led the effort and established a set of core competencies and reviewed many existing programs. The result is a sample curriculum that is now available to any institution of higher education that wishes to create its own program.
Schools interested in obtaining a copy of the sample curriculum may contact Linda Baun, certification director, at the SBE National Office in Indianapolis at firstname.lastname@example.org
The SBE is the professional organization for radio and television engineers and those in related fields. The SBE has more than 5,500 members in 108 chapters across the United States. There are also members in 30 other countries. The SBE’s Certification Program is certified by the National Skills Standards Board.
Clear Channel Keeps WWVA in Place
Wheeling, WV - Jul 20, 2004 - In March 2004, Clear Channel applied to the FCC to move the transmission facilities for WWVA from Wheeling, WV, to a site near Stow, OH. The cities are 130 miles apart. The radio owner has since withdrawn the application. WWVA is West Virginia's oldest radio station.
The move would have meant a reduction in power for the 50,000W radio station that originates the second-oldest country music radio program, Jamboree USA, which started in 1933.
Musicians Promised Cut of Digital Pie
Broadcast Engineering - Jul 28, 2004 - The profits from file-sharing programs that allow users to swap music files will be shared with artists once litigation settles down, according to an executive involved in digital download services.
Kevin Bermeister is the chief executive of Altnet, which distributes content via peer-to-peer (P2P) applications such as Kazaa. ABC News reported that Bermister told a Brisbane, Australia, music conference that file-sharing companies are exploring ways to return money to the artists whose songs drive the P2P market.
"As the progression of the litigation [against P2P companies] moves on ... there will in fact be a return of profits to artists," Bermeister told a session on digital rights at Q Music’s Big Sound conference.
"There are funds established, there are distribution methods being explored for moving profits back to artists. I’m witness to actions that will end up seeing distribution back to artists," he said.
However, Bermeister said the major players in the record industry have failed to embrace the demands of the new market.
"We’ve tried very hard to create relationships with the majors ... only to be attacked and targeted by litigation and attempts to control the activities of the file-sharing parties. I think that is a sad set of circumstances because in this environment, the market has already spoken. The users have already shaped what it is that they want, and we need to listen and embrace and modify and change and build on those strengths."
Senators Eager for Adelstein Re-appointment
Washington - Jul 23, 2004 - It appears that the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee may forward a bipartisan letter of support to President Bush endorsing the renomination of Jonathan Adelstein for a Democratic seat at the FCC.
Adelstein's term ended in June 2003, but he holds the seat because of some fine-line wording. However, if he is not officially renominated by the White House and reconfirmed by the Senate before Congress adjourns, he will have to vacate his position.
Senators Tom Daschle (D-SD), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Trent Lott (R-MS) and John McCain (R-AZ) all support Adelstein's renomination.
NRSC Completes Gen 3 Evaluation of IBOC
Washington - Jul 26, 2004 - The NAB Radio Techcheck reports that the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC, www.nrscstandards.org) earlier in July completed some of the uncompleted work of the Digital Audio Broadcasting Subcommittee's evaluation report on the Ibiquity IBOC AM and FM IBOC systems operating in hybrid mode using the HDC audio codec. The NRSC evaluation was conducted to:
1) to determine the unimpaired (i.e., no interfering signals and no multipath or other forms of signal impairment) audio quality of Ibiquity's AM and FM IBOC Gen 3 systems that use HDC audio coding, and
2) to confirm that the Gen 3 hardware performs similarly to the previous (Gen 1) version of the systems evaluated by the NRSC in 2001 and 2002.
The work was done by the DAB Subcommittee's Evaluation Working Group (EWG), which concluded that the Gen 3 test data shows that AM IBOC audio fidelity approaches FM analog audio quality while the FM IBOC audio fidelity is comparable to or better than the best FM analog audio quality. These findings are consistent with the conclusions and recommendations in the NRSC's Evaluation of the Ibiquity Digital IBOC system released Nov. 29, 2001 (FM IBOC), and April 6, 2002 (AM IBOC). The group's final conclusion is that the Gen 3 systems satisfy the original goals and objectives of the DAB Subcommittee by providing a digital signal with significantly improved audio quality over AM and FM analog systems that presently exist in the United States.
The NRSC has evaluated IBOC digital radio technology for more than a decade. Its first evaluation effort concluded in 1995 and involved evaluation of four technologies - two from USA Digital Radio (USADR) and two from AT&T. The conclusion of that evaluation effort was that IBOC was not yet ready, and the DAB Subcommittee suspended its activities until such time as the technology had improved.
In 1998, Digital Radio Express requested that the NRSC re-activate the DAB Subcommittee and resume its IBOC evaluation activities. The NRSC did so, and in April of 2000 the NRSC released its Phase 1 evaluation reports on two IBOC technologies - from USADR and Lucent Digital Radio (LDR) - based on technical information submitted by these organizations. Later that year, USADR and LDR merged to form Ibiquity Digital.
Following that merger, one AM and one FM system were left for evaluation, which became Phase 2. During Phase 2, Ibiquity prototype hardware was used. This hardware was complete except for the audio coding portion, which used MPEG 2 AAC. This was called the Gen 1 test, and it was agreed that follow-up testing of audio quality would be done once the final audio codec had been integrated into the system hardware.
The Ibiquity's Gen 3 systems are functionally equivalent to the Gen 1 systems in most respects except for the audio codec used. With the release of the Gen 3 report, the NRSC considers its evaluation of Ibiquity's hybrid IBOC systems complete.
On July 23, the NAB and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), as co-sponsors of the NRSC, jointly filed this report with the FCC in the terrestrial radio docket (MM 99-325). Full text of the Gen 3 report is available on at www.nrscstandards.org/DAB/misciboc.asp. Click on NRSC 'Gen 3' Evaluation Report.
Denon and Marantz Licensed to Produce HD Radio Products
Ibiquity D&M Holdings, parent company of Denon, Marantz Japan, McIntosh Laboratory and Digital Networks North America, has entered into a licensing agreement to allow AM and FM HD Radio technology integration into Denon and Marantz premium home audio product lines.
Both Denon and Marantz are major labels in the at-home consumer and semi-pro audio markets. The move signals a shift to diversify HD Radio consumer offerings, as opposed to the marketplace's early focus on compatibly equipped car audio products.
The announcement brings the number of consumer electronics manufacturers licensed by Ibiquity to 15, as the new entries join Alpine, Clarion, Delphi, Fujitsu Ten, Harman Kardon, JVC, Hyundai Autonet, Kenwood, Mitsubishi, Onkyo, Oritron (Orient Power), Panasonic, Sanyo, Visteon and Yamaha in competing for a piece of the accelerating HD Radio consumer market.
Stardraw Adds SRS to Dealer Network
London - Jul 28, 2004 - Stardraw has expanded its reseller network in North America with the appointment of Massachusetts-based Simply Reliable Software. SRS is known within the residential installation market for its SRS Smart Office application.
SRS offers systems integrators a database-driven software tool to manage the business process of custom installations, from contact management, prospect tracking, proposal generation to scheduling, billing and project management.
Seven Detroit Stations Convert to IBOC
Quincy, IL Jul 28, 2004 - Broadcast Electronics packaged and sent IBOC transmitter systems to seven Detroit stations for installation during the month of July, bringing the number of stations using Broadcast Electronics HD Radio systems there to 10. Ibiquity reports that there are 21 stations in Michigan that have licensed the HD Radio technology.
Clear Channel (WJLB-FM, WKQI-FM, WMXD-FM), Crawford Broadcasting (WMUZ-FM) and Infinity Broadcasting (WOMC-FM, WVMV-FM ) bought BE FXI digital FM exciters, FSI10 HD Radio signal generators and HD Radio FMi transmitters for their respective Detroit stations. Infinity also purchased BE's ASI10 HD Radio signal generator for WXYT-AM, to be used in front of an existing 50kW AM transmitter. The FMI transmitters range in power from 280W to 7kW.
Five of the seven conversion packages were shipped by Broadcast Electronics within 10 days after order. Detroit stations previously equipped with BE HD Radio systems include Clear Channel's WDTW-FM, Eastern Michigan University's WEMU-FM and Greater Media's WMGC-FM. Two other Greater Media stations in greater Detroit, WRIF-FM and WCSX-FM, have BE HD Radio systems on order pending changes to a transmission site.
Audioscience audio adapters are designed with specialized features for broadcast and entertainment applications. Software support for all versions of Windows and the latest Linux distributions allow them to be used in a wide variety of computer platforms.
XM to Launch Five More Traffic and Weather Channels
Washington - Jul 26, 2004 - XM Satellite Radio is launching five more channels dedicated to traffic and weather in major metropolitan areas on Aug. 2. The channels will supply information for Atlanta, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego and Seattle. This will bring the total number of traffic and weather channels on XM to 21.
The traffic and weather services provide travel times for major roadways, average speeds for major roadways, and AMBER Alerts and other public safety notifications.
The NAB has strongly opposed the market-specific programming, stating that it defies the satellite provider's license prohibiting it from supplying local content. XM challenges the claim stating that the programming is available nationwide and it is not targeted to a portion of the terrestrial repeater network.
Stardraw Partners with Digigram for Ethersound Control
Montbonnot, France, and London - Jul 23, 2004 -Software provider Stardraw and Digigram have formed a strategic partnership around Ethersound, Digigram's technology for audio distribution over standard Ethernet. Up to 64 channels of 24-bit digital audio at 48kHz, plus bi-directional status and control data, may be transported among more than 60,000 connected devices.
The Digigram technology has already been licensed to a number of different manufacturers across the globe, all of whom are developing Ethersound products for their markets. Stardraw is working with Digigram to develop Stardraw Control, a control system that will be compatible with all Ethersound products, regardless of the manufacturer. The new software tool is to be unveiled at the PLASA trade show in London.
AOL Licenses ACCPlus Audio Codec from Coding Technologies
New York City - Jul 26, 2004 - America Online has licensed Coding Technologies' AACPlus v2 audio codec for use with AOL's media delivery platform and the NSV file format. AACPlus v2 will enable AOL to efficiently deliver high-quality audio and audio-visual services at low bit rates to AOL members.
AACPlus is AAC coupled with Coding Technologies' Spectral Band Replication (SBR) and Parametric Stereo technologies. SBR is a unique bandwidth extension technique that enables audio codecs to deliver the same quality at half the bit-rate. Parametric Stereo enhances the codec efficiency a second time for low-bit-rate stereo signals. Both SBR and Parametric Stereo are backward and forward compatible methods to enhance the efficiency of any audio codec.
Digigram Receives ISO 9001:2000 Quality Standard
Montbonnot, France - Jul 23, 2004 - Digigram has been awarded ISO 9001:2000 certification by BVQI, France. The certification, for Digigram's headquarters in Montbonnot, France, recognizes that the definition, design, production and distribution of Digigram's products, as well as after sales service, technical support and customer training conform to the requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 standard. This standard specifies the necessary components of a quality management system. The audit process ensures that organizations have the necessary systems in place to continuously improve the level of quality offered by the organization. A growing number of business and government organizations conduct business only with companies that attain this certification.
Digigram has optimized its organization by defining all relevant management processes and establishing control mechanisms to rapidly identify non-conformities, which then can be corrected and, in the next process cycle, prevented. Gilbert Durand, Digigram quality and production manager, explains: "It's inevitable to make mistakes from time to time. But our quality management will make sure that we don't make the same mistake twice."
BDI manufactures a line of digital and analog transmitter audio routing and distribution products, and other audio interface and distribution products.
Wisconsin Broadcasters Honor Five
Madison, WI - Jul 29, 2004 - Five Wisconsin broadcasters were recognized for their career contributions to excellence in radio and television with induction into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame on June 17, 2004. The inductees are: Jack Baker, Terry Baun, Phil Fisher, Susan Knaack and Dave Raven. They were presented award plaques and inducted into the Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony during the WBA’s annual summer conference.
The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to honor broadcasters who have made contributions to broadcasting, their communities and the state of Wisconsin over at least a 15-year career, at least 10 of which were served in Wisconsin. The five 2004 inductees bring membership in the Hall of Fame to 83.
Terry Baun is a familiar name in radio engineering circles. His 35-plus year broadcast engineering career began in 1967 at Milwaukee’s classical music station, WFMR-FM. After 10 years, he began a series of moves into corporate engineering, while also forming his own consulting firm, Criterion Broadcast Services, in Milwaukee. Through the years he worked for Sudbrink Broadcasting, Multimedia Broadcasting and Cumulus Broadcasting. He is active in the National Society of Broadcast Engineers, serving on its Board of Directors from 1987-89, later on its Executive Committee, and then as the SBE National President from 1995-97. Baun was one of the original members of the WBA Summer Engineering Steering Committee and has served as WBA’s chief inspector for the Alternative Broadcast Station Inspection Program since 1995.
Broadcast Electronics to Unveil 50kW AM Transmitter
Quincy, IL - Jul 29, 2004 - Broadcast Electronics will debut a high-powered AM transmitter at the October NAB Radio Show in San Diego. The transmitter promises to be an ultra-efficient 50kW design with a small footprint.
The 50kW is based on a patent-pending modulation design developed by Broadcast Electronics engineers. According to BE, the new transmitter is about half the size of comparable models and offers full transmitter control and diagnostic capability locally via a 15-inch, XGA front-panel display, as well as remotely from virtually any location via IP. It will have a nighttime power capability as low as 250W.
Dan Dugan Updates Auto Mic Mixers
San Francisco - Jul 27, 2004 - Dan Dugan has released an upgrade to the Model D and Model D-1 automatic mixing controllers. Some of these units have been shipped to jobs weekly for 11 years. One type of connector, used for internal audio connections between the back panel and the circuit boards, has begun to be unreliable due to vibration and insufficient contact pressure.
Dugan recommends replacing all these connectors with a higher-contact-pressure type as soon as possible. Dugan can provide this service and give a unit a complete factory check up for a fee. The upgrade can be done in the field, and a prewired parts kit is available from Dugan. The model number and serial number should be specified with orders.
Contact Dugan at 415-821-9776 or www.dandugan.com.
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