Radio Currents Online - Jul 31 - Aug 6, 2006


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FAA Issues NPRM That Affects Broadcasters
Washington - Aug 3, 2006 - In June, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that on the surface appears to have a legitimate goal at its core, but in reality could become a burden to most radio broadcasters if adopted. The FAA intends to modify a section of 14 CFR Part 77 in FAA Docket FAA-2006-25002. The NPRM is titled Safe, Efficient Use and Preservation of the Navigable Airspace.

In the notice, the FAA wants to add notification requirements and obstruction standards for electromagnetic interference. The section titled EMI Notice Requirements states that the FAA proposes to "require notice of new construction or alteration that may result in EMI to air navigation, radio communication, surveillance services and facilities." It goes on to specify that a notice must be filed for any" construction of a new, or modification of an existing facility, i.e. -- building, antenna structure, or any other man-made structure, which supports a radiating element(s) for the purpose off radio frequency transmission operating on the following frequencies."

The listed frequencies are:
54-108 MHz
150-216 MHz
406-420 MHz
932-935/941 MHz
952-960 MHz
1,390-1,400 MHz
2,500-2,700 MHz
3,700-4,200 MHz
5,000-5,650 MHz
5,925-6,525 MHz
7,450-8,550 MHz
14.2-14.4 GHz
21.2-23.6 GHz

FAA notice would cover modifications to a tower or antenna, an increase in radiated power greater than 3dB, a change in authorized frequency and other facility modifications.

Read the NPRM at the Dept. of Transportation Document Management System website at dmses.dot.gov/docimages/p86/406317.pdf.

Comments are due by Sept. 11 and can be submitted online at dms.dot.gov/submit.


AES Expands Electrical Engineering Programs
San Francisco - Aug 2, 2006 - A substantial increase in electrical engineering-focused programming for the upcoming Audio Engineering Society Convention (Oct. 5 to Oct. 8), signals an AES effort to reach out to electrical engineers. The 121st Committee Tutorial and Master Class co-chairmen Bob Moses and Valerie Tyler have coordinated a variety of presentations by preeminent members of the electrical engineering community, including Robert Pease, Henry Ott, Bill Whitlock, Marina Bosi and Karlheinz Brandenburg.

Master Classes
What’s All This Analog Stuff Anyhow? - One of the most intriguing titles will feature analog guru Robert Pease of National Semiconductor, presenting his unique perspective on analog design for audio equipment. A scientist and prolific author, Pease was recently inducted into the Electronic Engineering Hall of Fame in the company of such innovators as Guglielmo Marconi and Thomas Edison.

Partitioning and Layout of a Mixed Signal PCB - Henry W. Ott of Henry Ott Consultants will address the issue of inherent problems found in controlling noise on a mixed-signal printed-circuit board. The presentation will demonstrate that component placement, partitioning, proper board topology and routing discipline, are the keys to laying a quiet mixed-signal PCB.

Tutorials
Audio Data Compression - Presented by past AES president Marina Bosi, (MPEG LA - Denver) and Karlheinz Brandenburg, (Fraunhofer IIS/AEMT - Ilmenau, Germany). MP3 and other audio codecs have become an intrinsic part of our daily lives. Applications range from digital radio and TV to digital sound on film, DVD and multimedia/Internet audio. Demonstrations will allow participants to evaluate different aspects of the audio coding process, potential artifacts and state-of-the-art implementations.

Grounding and Shielding - Bill Whitlock-(Jensen Transformers-Chatsworth, CA) Many audio/video system designers and installers think of grounding and interfacing as a black art. Do signal cables really pick up noise from the air like a radio receiver? Equipment manufacturers, installers and users rarely understand the real sources of system noise and ground loop problems and they routinely overlook or ignore basic laws of physics. Cutting through myth and misinformation, this tutorial will bring insight and knowledge to the subject.

Balanced Interfaces - Bill Whitlock-(Jensen Transformers-Chatsworth, CA) One goal in the design of audio equipment is to maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio. Balanced interfaces are capable of conveying wide dynamic range analog audio signals while providing them with immunity to interference. Realizing this full capability in real world, mass-produced equipment need not be costly. Whitlock will address several common mistakes made by equipment designers and discuss methods of effectively compensating for them.


Communications Expert Ken Schmidt to Keynote NAB Radio Show
Washington - Aug 2, 2006 - Communications expert and former Harley-Davidson spokesman Ken Schmidt will provide the keynote address during The NAB Radio Show in Dallas. Schmidt, who helped rejuvenate Harley-Davidson's reputation as an American corporate icon, will tell radio executives how to build a culture that rekindles relationships with listeners while reaching out to new ones in completely untraditional ways.

Schmidt, a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations, began his career with Harley-Davidson when he was asked to restore the then-struggling Harley-Davidson's image and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few years, Harley-Davidson became one America's most recognized brands, while sales of its motorcycles soared. Schmidt became director of corporate and financial communications, serving as primary spokesman to the media and the financial communities.

Schmidt left Harley-Davidson to take an ownership position with Chicago-based marketing firm VSA Partners. In addition to Harley-Davidson, VSA serves General Motors, Coca-Cola, IBM and Campbell's Soup. He later sold his portion of VSA to start his own business, Ken Schmidt Company.

The keynote address follows the opening remarks by NAB President David K. Rehr and is slated for 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 21.


New HD Radio Ad Campaign Begins
Orlando - Jul 31, 2006 - The HD Digital Radio Alliance has unveiled a new effort to promote HD Radio that includes a series of radio ads. Leading the effort is a new tagline: Discover it! The effort is part of the alliance's partner-station advertising campaign that was announced in December.

The campaign promotes HD Radio as being "free, digital-quality radio programming" that offers "stations between the stations." The campaign has been launched in nearly all the top 50 radio markets.

The alliance's press release references the $200 million ad campaign that was announced in December and states that the effort makes the HD Digital Radio Alliance the number one or two largest radio advertiser in each market with more than 90 spots running in each of those markets. This is somewhat misleading since the alliance is not actually buying the time, but rather stations are running the ads on their own inventory.

The focus of the campaign is targeted at piquing the interest of radio listeners with the vague references to station between the stations. The escalated effort may work as long as consumers can ask for HD Radio in stores and actually find HD Radio receivers.


Business

Fiberplex Appoints Canadian Distributor
Annapolis Junction, MD - Aug 3, 2006 - Fiberplex, the manufacturer of Lightviper, has appointed SF Marketing to be the exclusive Canadian distributor for its professional audio product line. SF Marketing is based in Dorval, Quebec and can be contacted at 800-363-8855.


Sales Call
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Jampro Antenna ships its RCHA-323-10HD FM High Power Combiner to the Mass Communications Organization of Thailand (MCOT) to support the country's inaugural HD radio transmission. MCOT will use Jampro's combiner to transmit HD programming to the greater Bangkok public transportation systems.
Radio Oklahoma Networks  license The Radio Spider Audio Downloader for its  affiliates.
The Alan Freed radio studio at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland recently upgraded its facilities, which now includes six PR40 dynamic microphones with Heil PL-2T topless booms.
Oklahoma City's KEBC-FM is using Jampro's expert pattern measurement service to field tune its JMPC antenna. The station wanted penetration for its signal among a cluster of other stations without interfering with the competition.

People

Buffaloe Lends Experience to Bext
Memphis - Jul 31, 2006 - John Buffaloe has begun working with Bext as a sales engineer on June 1. He works out of his office in Memphis.

Buffaloe previously worked for Clear Channel and Citadel in New Orleans, and before that he worked for the Jefferson Pilot stations in San Diego for 20 years. He also spent 10 years as the operations manager for Noble Communications in San Diego.

Buffaloe's career in radio began as a part-time announcer at WGCM-AM in Gulfport, MS, which led him to jobs at WZZQ in Jackson, MS, and KPRI in San Diego.


Sound Devices Adds to Engineering Staff
Reedsburg, WI - Jul 18, 2006 - Sound Devices has added electrical engineer Dave Cerra to its staff. Cerra comes to Sound Devices from Shure where he was most recently the manager of audio engineering.

Cerra was instrumental in the design and development of a range of products at Shure and is author of the company's patent on Audio Reference Companding. He holds a Bachelors degree in recording technology from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelors degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois (Chicago). Additionally, Cerra has a Masters degree in digital signal processing from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).


Ibiquity Expands Automotive Team
Pontiac, MI - Aug 1, 2006 - Ibiquity Digital has expanded its automotive team to support HD Radio implementation in new vehicles. These U.S. and German hires follow Ibiquity's initiatives in Japan, where it hired Sanyo Trading to provide additional assistance to Japanese automotive OEMs launching HD Radio technology.

Headquartered in Pontiac, MI, Ibiquity's automotive group has hired Gereon Joachim, senior manager OEM business development based in Cologne, Germany, to head Ibiquity's efforts with European automakers. Joachim has day-to-day responsibility for support of Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo and European-based suppliers such as Bosch and Siemens.

Ibiquity also added Richard Zeichner as manager for dealer programs and Erin Burns as a sales engineer to its Pontiac staff. Zeichner, former national sales manager for Visteon, will help dealers find ways to supply customers with HD Radio options, even if there are limited factory options. He will work directly with the dealers, expediters and jobbers. One of Zeichner's first responsibilities is to develop a dealer-education program.

Burns, a veteran of Siemens VDO and Sentek (both in Michigan), provides technical support to the U.S.-based sales/marketing staff working with Chrysler, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Nissan.


Products

Digidesign Ships Pro Tools HD 7.2 Software
Daly City, CA - Aug 2, 2006 - Digidesign is now shipping the Pro Tools HD 7.2 software. The new version includes an enhanced feature set including automation, extended video capabilities, new workflows with multi-channel field recorders and the new Signal Tools Digi Rack metering plug-ins.

The Pro Tools HD 7.2 software upgrade is available through authorized Digidesign dealers and the online Digistore at www.digidesign.com.


Polk Audio Offers Pre-order Window for I-Sonic Radios
Baltimore, MD - Aug 1, 2006 - Polk Audio will begin shipping its I-Sonic radio with HD Radio on Aug. 15, 2006. Polk has offered members of the company's mailing list an opportunity to pre-order a unit before they ship.

The receiver includes a DVD/CD player, HD Radio receiver, XM Radio receiver, a line-level input, computer input, analog AM/FM radio and two alarms.


Eye on IBOC

Multicast Provides More Spanish Channels
Aug 1, 2006 - The increasing availability of HD Radio throughout the United States has directly resulted in an explosion of new Hispanic-oriented channels. Many stations whose primary format is in English have now launched HD2 multicast channels that broadcast virtually exclusively in Spanish. Markets that contain large Hispanic populations have particularly benefited from the new HD Radio multicast stations. For example, in the Los Angeles market alone, there are now 12 frequencies broadcasting Hispanic formats, where prior to the introduction of HD Radio there were only three.


Vermont Public Radio Launches State's First HD Radio Signal
Colchester, VT - Jul 19, 2006 - Vermont Public Radio's WVPR 89.5 became the first radio station in Vermont to begin broadcasting in HD Radio. VPR launched the digital signal at 6:06 p.m. on July 19, 2006. Later this fall, VPR will multicast two programming services. The main channel will be VPR's mix of NPR and regional news and music, and the HD-2 signal will feature VPR Classical, Vermont Public Radio's 24-hour classical music service.

VPR operates a series of repeaters around the state, and will convert these stations throughout the year.




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