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Radio Currents Online - Aug 9 - Aug 15, 2004
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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FCC Releases Details of EAS NPRM
Washington - Aug 12, 2004 - On Aug. 4, the FCC adopted EB Docket No. 04-296, which is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for changes to the Emergency Alert System. The text of the NPRM was released on Aug. 12. Once posted in the Federal Register, reply comments will be due in 60 days and reply to comments will be due in 90 days.
The NPRM reviews the Emergency Alert System (EAS), and seeks comment on whether EAS in its present form is the most effective mechanism for warning the public of an emergency. If the EAS is not effective, the FCC wants to know how it can be improved. The text of the NPRM is available online at
The NPRM notes that EAS use as part of such a public warning system at the state and local levels is voluntary, and while federal, state and local governments, and the consumer electronics industry have taken steps to ensure that alert and warning messages are delivered by a responsive, robust and redundant system, the permissive nature of EAS at the state and local level has resulted in an inconsistent application of EAS as an effective component of the overall public alert and warning system. The FCC is evaluating if permissive state and local EAS participation is appropriate today.
The FCC states that the EAS relies on terrestrial analog broadcast stations to relay information. While this is one way to distribute EAS information, this statement shows that the EAS is not as completely defined as it should have been from the start. Some areas have made EAS an effective system through the use of background communications for information distribution. In the successful applications, the broadcast element is a last link to the public and not a primary information channel for distribution. The NPRM seeks ideas on EAS distribution through more modern communications means, such as cell phones.
One important inquiry relates to establishing uniform national guidelines are preferred over the "disparate manner in which states and localities implement EAS." This item alone will likely generate the most input from broadcasters.
EB Docket No. 04-296
FCC Reinstates EEO Form 395-B
Washington - Aug 10, 2004 - The FCC has reinstated the Annual Employment Reports (FCC Form 395-B), on which broadcasters must report data on the race, ethnicity and gender of their workforce. The FCC suspended the use of Form 395-B in January 2001 when the EEO rules in effect at the time were rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In reinstating the reports, the FCC rejected the arguments of certain broadcasters that collection of the Form 395-B data will unlawfully pressure broadcasters to adopt race or gender-based hiring practices. However, the FCC states that it will not use the reported data to access individual stations' EEO compliance, but instead only use the data to monitor industry aggregate hiring trends.
The FCC requires the reports to be filed by all stations with at least five full-time employees by Sept. 30 of each year, but for 2004, a grace period will be provided until a deadline is announced in a later FCC order.
MM Docket No. 98-204
FCC Requests Leeway on Radio Ownership Limits
Washington - Aug 9, 2004 - The FCC has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to put a hold on tighter radio ownership limits. The FCC petition was filed on Aug 6, 2004. The FCC tightened the limits on radio ownership more than a year ago by redefining the market areas and including non-commercial radio stations when considering acquisitions in a market. The new rules would use Arbitron market definitions instead of coverage contour overlaps.
The court ruling requires the FCC to either change or further justify its radio ownership limits, which allow for one company to own up to eight stations in a market. The FCC says in its petition that this is illogical because the limits wouldn't change if the new rules went into effect. The FCC's system would count stations in a market based on Arbitron data, and the market count would include non-commercial stations. It would also consider local marketing agreements between stations in the ownership count.
CPB Seeks Ideas for IBOC PAD
Washington - Aug 9, 2004 - The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is accepting Requests for Proposal (RFP) for a project in support of public radio's implementation of the program-associated data (PAD) capabilities of the Ibiquity HD Radio system. As implemented in the first generation of IBOC, the PAD capability is intended to describe attributes of the station and its programming for use by listeners.
The PAD initiative’s primary goal is to define and develop consensus for a vision for basic, first-generation PAD services, their content and complexity for the public radio system. CPB is prepared to invest up to $250,000 in the initiative, but encourages applicants to apply additional resources to the initiative, directly or through partnerships.
Proposals are due to the CPB by Sept. 10, 2004. More info www.cpb.org/digital/funding/pad/pad_rfp.pdf
Second Annual Microphone Invitational
Broadcast Engineering - Aug 9, 2004 - Microphone manufacturers ADK, AKG, CAD and Shure sponsored presentations and a panel discussion on microphone choices and techniques for studio and live sound applications at Ocean Way Studios on July 22 in Nashville.
Following last year's format, studio vocalists performed using various microphones for comparison purposes. Clair Brothers Nashville and the AES Nashville section provided technical assistance for the event.
A panel discussion about microphones featured Ben Fowler, Gary Paczosa, Elmo Ramos, Johnny O. Garcia and Hugh Johnson, moderated by Lynn Fuston of 3D Audio.
For more information visit www.oceanwaystudios.com/nashville.htm and www.aes.org.
IEEE Announces 54th Annual Broadcast Symposium
Washington - Aug 6, 2004 - Registration is now open for the 54th annual IEEE Broadcast Symposium being held at the Hotel Washington in Washington, DC, from Oct. 13-15, 2004. Presented by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Broadcast Technology Society (BTS), this year's symposium includes new topics on video and audio distribution via wireless broadband and the repacking of the TV band in the United States as part of the ongoing DTV transition. The symposium program contains a line-up of broadcast engineering papers covering the latest developments in radio and TV broadcasting. Full details on this year's event are available at www.ieee.org/btsymposium. Early registration discounts are available through Sept. 12, 2004.
In addition to the engineering sessions, two luncheons are planned. On Oct. 14 the annual IEEE/AFCCE (Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers) joint luncheon will be held, and the society's annual awards luncheon will take place on Oct. 15.
Engineering sessions will include presentation of more than 30 papers addressing a broad range of topics related to digital and analog radio and TV transmission; AM, FM and TV antenna systems; measurements; RF radiation; testing and other new developments in broadcast transmission engineering.
Phoenix Audio Appoints Independent Audio as Exclusive North American Distributor
Portland, ME - Aug 11, 2004 - Independent Audio of Portland, ME, has been selected to exclusively distribute the Phoenix Audio pro audio product line in North America.
The present Phoenix product line-up includes the Phoenix Audio DRS-1 and DRS-2 mono and stereo mic preamps, and the Nicerizer class A buffer amp.
Professional Audio Design Opens New Subsidiary
Broadcast Engineering - Aug 9, 2004 - Rockland, MA-based Professional Audio Design (PAD) has opened a new subsidiary, Audio Exchange International (AXI), to distribute high-end U.S. and European-based audio products in the United States.
Initial products include the WK Audio ID Controller for the Nuendo system. Other brands carried by AXI include Audient, Aurora Audio, Desk Doctor, Advanced Tech Services Group.
For more information visit www.proaudiodesign.com.
KCSN Begins Testing IBOC Booster
Los Angeles - Aug 11, 2004 - KCSN-FM began testing an IBOC booster this week to fill in its 1mV/m contour in West Los Angeles. The California State University station, located in Northridge, CA, received experimental authorization from the FCC to conduct testing of a main and booster IBOC system operating in hybrid mode. Broadcast Electronics’ FMI 73 HD Radio transmitters, FXI 60 exciters and FSI 10 signal generators are being used for the test.
FCC authorization followed KCSN’s eligibility for a Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) grant as part of a seed market campaign establishing HD Radio transmissions in 13 major markets. The station agreed to convert to IBOC only if it could convert the main and a proposed booster site that would fill in part of its licensed coverage area heretofore unreachable because of the Santa Monica mountain range blocking its main signal.
The station was reluctant to commence HD Radio transmissions because it anticipates that one-third of its listenership was from this new booster site. The stations felt that converting only the main signal to IBOC may have reduced the aural experience for the classical/eclectic station.
Broadcast Electronics supplied an FMI 73 HD Radio transmitter with an FXI 60 digital FM exciter and an FSI 10 HD Radio signal generator for each site. Both transmission systems are set up in a low-level combine configuration, with 480W analog output power for the main and 320W analog output power for the booster. Both transmission systems are synchronizing analog and digital broadcasts on 88.5MHz.
The BE FXI exciters at each site are phase-locked to the GPS reference of 10MHz. Pilot frequencies from each are locked to one pulse-per-second for continuity of stereo service. In addition, a new FXI exciter software module has made it possible to calibrate the audio amplitude at the AES input to synchronize both audio waveforms in lockstep and reduce interference in the overlap zone.
Uncompressed digital STLs are used to feed audio to both transmission systems. Field testing of KCSN-FM’s analog and digital, as well as booster and main, signal areas will be conducted throughout August.
The move consolidates a constricted music industry even further, putting an estimated 80 percent of the world music market into the hands of four major label groups: Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music Group and the newly formed Sony-BMG.
The new entity is estimated to control about 30 percent of the global music market. Immediate fallout from the pact is the cutting of about 2,000 jobs — a quarter of the combined workforce — to save an estimated $300 million.
Sony and BMG both own recording studio facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. No final decisions have been announced regarding their status, but at least one facility in the United States is rumored to be on the chopping block.
For more information visit www.sonymusic.com and www.rcarecords.com.
Avid to Acquire M-Audio
Tewksbury, MA - Aug 13, 2004 - Avid Technology has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Midiman, doing business as M-Audio. At closing, Avid will pay about $80 million in cash, issue about 2 million shares of Avid common stock and assume all outstanding M-Audio stock options. The deal also includes earn-out provisions, which would be payable to M-Audio's equity holders based on the successful achievement of certain financial milestones. Under the terms of the agreement, M-Audio will become a business unit of Avid’s Digidesign audio division and market its line of computer audio peripherals, PCI sound cards, keyboard controllers and control surfaces, microphones, speakers, and distributed software and proprietary sound libraries alongside Digidesign’s digital audio workstations for the professional and home/hobbyist markets.
M-Audio was founded in 1988.
Coaxial Dynamics Gets a New Home
Cleveland - Aug 9, 2004 - The RF meter and dummy load manufacturer Coaxial Dynamics has moved into a larger facility. Still in the Cleveland area, Coaxial Dynamics moved into a 20,000 square foot space that is nearly twice the size of its previous facility. The office and sales operation has already moved. The factory, assembly and product stock elements will move in the coming weeks.
The new contact info for Coaxial Dynamics is:
6800 Lake Abram Drive
Middleburg Heights, OH 44130
The toll-free number and website information is unchanged:
Cox Radio to Expand IBOC Rollout
Atlanta - Aug 9, 2004 - Cox Radio announced plans to aggressively expand the roll-out of digital radio to its stations. Cox will upgrade 80 percent of its stations over the next four years. The company currently provides IBOC transmissions in Atlanta and Miami.
Cox Radio is the third largest radio company in the United States based on revenue. Cox Radio owns, operates or provides sales and marketing services for 78 stations (67 FM and 11 AM) clustered in 18 markets, including Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Orlando, San Antonio and Tampa.
Broadcasters General Store Represents Axia
Ocala, FL, and Cleveland - Aug 9, 2004 - Broadcasters General Store has entered into a distribution agreement to represent Axia IP-audio equipment in the United States.
Clear Channel Names Gable as VP of Technology
San Antonio, TX - Aug 11, 2004 - Steve Gable has been appointed as the as the vice president of technology for Clear Channel Radio. In his new position, Gable will assume a leading role in strategically maximizing efficiencies provided by Clear Channel Radio's information technology infrastructure. Gable will report directly to John Hogan, Clear Channel Radio president.
Gable has more than eight years of information technology experience handling the systems and IT infrastructure for Clear Channel. In his most recent experience as a solutions architect, Gable brought together Clear Channel's international IT infrastructure and HR deployment for all of Clear Channel.
Radio Hall of Fame Names Class of 2004
Chicago - Aug 6, 2004 - Ex-public radio anchorman Bob Edwards, Chicago disc jockey Larry Lujack, broadcasting executive L. Lowry Mays, Dick Purtan of WOMC/Detroit and the late Walter Winchell make up the Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2004. The induction ceremony will be nationally broadcast at 9 p.m. CT on Nov. 6 from the Renaissance Chicago Hotel. Glenn Beck of Premiere Radio Networks, which will produce and distribute the broadcast, will host the one-hour special.
During 25 years as the anchor of National Public Radio's Morning Edition, Bob Edwards has conducted nearly 20,000 interviews with statesmen, celebrities and sports legends. Prior to becoming host of Morning Edition, the Louisville native was co-host of NPR's All Things Considered. Edwards returns to radio in October with a new program on XM Satellite Radio.
Larry Lujack shook up WLS-AM Chicago and rival WCFL-AM Chicago during much of his 30-year career. Lujack is best known for his sarcastic wit including the humorous Animal Stories. In 2003, he came out of retirement and returned to Chicago's WRLL.
Lowry Mays is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Clear Channel Worldwide. Mays formed Clear Channel Communications in 1972. He transformed what appeared to be simply a radio business into an advertising company that continues to serve local communities and advertising customers. Clear Channel currently owns more than 1,200 radio stations, 36 TV stations, 776,000 outdoor advertising displays and the leading live entertainment company.
Dick Purtan, the morning voice on Oldies 104.3 WOMC-FM Detroit, is a broadcaster known for his on-air commitment to professionalism and his off-air commitment to his community. He has been a mainstay of Motor City radio for 38 years.
One of radio's most influential commentators in the 30s and 40s, Walter Winchell pioneered modern celebrity journalism first with CBS and later ABC. His hard-hitting commentaries, delivered in rapid-fire staccato fashion, resulted in one of the highest rated programs in radio history.
Radio executives, broadcast historians and members of The Radio Hall of Fame selected inductees through a national balloting process.
The Radio Hall of Fame recognizes and showcases contemporary talent from today's diverse programming formats, as well as the pioneers who shaped the medium during its infancy. The Radio Hall of Fame website is radiohof.org.
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