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Radio Currents Online - Sep 19 - Sep 25, 2005
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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SBE Extends Katrina Help to Rita Victims
Indianapolis - Sep 22, 2005 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) President Ray Benedict has announced that the SBE's effort to assist those members who have suffered severe loss due to Hurricane Katrina will be extended to those in the path of Hurricane Rita. The SBE will continue to act as a clearing house, putting those who can offer help in touch with those who have requested it. A special e-mail address has been established, firstname.lastname@example.org, so members in need, or others on their behalf, can contact the SBE National Office and relate their need.
Those who can offer assistance are also asked to contact the national office using the same e-mail address, to let the organization know what assistance they are able to offer. The national office staff will contact members across the country that have offered their help, and put them in touch with those seeking assistance.
Assistance may be needed to provide temporary housing, clothing and personal items or possibly equipment or parts for station facilities that have sustained damage. People may also call the national office at a special number, 317-846-9092, or visit the SBE website at www.sbe.org to offer help or report a need.
2006 NAB Radio Show, R&R Show Co-located
Washington, DC - Sep 19, 2005 - The National Association of Broadcasters will be co-locating its 2006 Radio Show in Dallas with the annual R&R Convention. Both of the Dallas conventions will be held at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel on Sept. 20-22, 2006. Attendees registering for either convention in Dallas will be given access to sessions at both of the events.
"We plan on combining the energies of two great radio events to give programmers and management even more opportunity to interact," said John David, executive vice president, NAB Radio.
EAS in Transition
Broadcast Engineering - Sep 19, 2005 - In the post Sept. 11 world the Emergency Alert System (EAS), as well as all emergency related communication systems, have come under scrutiny and criticism. The national emergency alert communications system was born during the Cold War as CONELRAD. It evolved to the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1963 and was upgraded to the EAS in 1997. FEMA, as part of the Department of Homeland Security, has jurisdiction over the EAS. The FCC defines technical standards, operational rules and enforces broadcaster compliance with EAS requirements.
The technical structure of the EAS consists of three parts: transmission pathways, a mandatory message protocol and equipment requirements. It is compatible with analog and digital transmission systems. The EAS transmission pathways consist of a network of radio relay stations, the "EAS Web." Thirty-four radio stations are designated as national Primary Entry Points (PEP). PEP facilities are radiation hardened and intended to continue operating in the event of a nuclear blast. They have a National Primary (NP) designation and are monitored by Local Primary 1 stations.
At the request of the president, FEMA distributes Presidential Level messages to the PEP stations. At the state level, a governor may initiate an emergency message. Similarly, a request for activation on the local level is directed to the local primary station.
Studies of the EAS system have found that the relay system does not function in a reliable manner. With daisy chain transmission paths, a failure at one station will cause a failure in the relay chain. Operator error can produce erroneous alerts. A radiological warning and an Emergency Alert Notification (EAN)--reserved for presidential communications at a time of extreme national emergency--were erroneously activated. Low-quality technical implementations that result in unintelligible communications from limited bandwidth audio systems render the alert useless. Failure to identify an alert or dead air during insertion will encourage channel changes and the message will be missed. Other concerns and criticisms:
To address these issues, the FCC issued a NPRM Aug. 4, 2004, concerning EAS improvements and implementation in evolving digital technologies. The SBE has filed comments in response to the FCC's EAS NPRM specifically addressing each issue.
The ultimate goal is to establish an All-Hazard warning system. Hazards include weather, technological accidents, AMBER Alerts and terrorist attacks. The EAS is now used for natural and AMBER Alerts.
The National Weather Service (NWS) may initiate messages at the state or local entry point. Child abduction AMBER Alerts and other public safety messages may be initiated by other government officials who are designated in FCC-approved state and local EAS plans. Many state highway systems have AMBER Alert signs along the roadway.
The FCC requires that event codes for NWS and AMBER Alerts must be enabled in equipment manufactured after Aug. 1, 2003. Any replacement of EAS equipment at a facility after Feb. 1, 2004, must accept the new codes. The creation of interoperability standards ensures that emergency warning systems can communicate with each other. This will allow first responders, emergency and event managers, public health agency officials and executive management in the public and private sectors to share critical information during an emergency or major event. Messages can be communicated in a timely manner and in way that is understood by all.
The DHS has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Emergency Interoperability Consortium (EIC) www.eic.org, to promote the development of data sharing standards using of XML for emergency response.
Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) is an open standard for the exchange of emergency alerts and public warning over data networks, computer-controlled public warning systems and emergency management software applications. CAP allows a consistent warning message to be disseminated simultaneously over many warning systems, thus increasing warning effectiveness while simplifying the alerting task. Using CAP, emergency responders can:
In August 2003, the EIC released a draft of the CAP by the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee. In April 2004, CAP version 1.0 was adopted as a full OASIS standard.
The Partnership for Public Warning (www.partnershipforpublicwarning.org) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership with the goal of improving the nation's alert and warning capabilities. Its members include the SBE, DHS, the FCC and other public safety oriented groups.
Recommendations for upgrading the EAS system include the following features and requirements:
The tsunami that hit South Asia in December 2004 painfully pointed out that even with existent sophisticated communication networks, a timely warning was not issued. Something as trivial as knowing whom to call could possibly have saved many lives. The United Nations is attempting to establish a global system to predict disasters. The International Early Warning Program (IEWP) www.unisdr.org/ppew is an effort to establish a global emergency alert system.
Congressional legislative efforts have included The Emergency Warning Act of 2003, S. 118, H.R. 2573, H.R. 10, H.R. 5238 and H.R. 2250. These bills implement the 9-11 Commission recommendations and require a study of the feasibility of implementing an emergency telephonic alert notifications system and creation of a READICALL emergency alert system. A pilot study using network technology now being used for AMBER Alerts to improve public warning systems is also proposed.
Transition to digital technologies and an All-Hazard system is the future. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) using digital EAS technology is now incorporated into the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards Network. EAS equipment used by the media can receive and decode NWR messages automatically. Special weather radios are tuned directly to NWR channels and can be programmed to receive only specific types of messages and for specific locations, using Special Area Message Encoding (SAME).
NPRM Review of the Emergency Alert System, EB Docket No. 04-296, Aug.4, 2004, www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2004/FCC-04-189A1.html
Comments of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunications Access Submitted to the FCC on Oct.29, 2004, In the Matter of Review of the Emergency Alert System, WC Docket No. 04-296, http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/2004-FCC-04-296
Emergency Communications: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All Hazard Warnings, CRS Report for Congress, Moore, 2004 www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL32527.pdf
An Advanced EAS Relay Network Using Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), Botterell, 2003, www.incident.com/cap/docs/aps/Advanced_EAS_Concept.pdf
Developing a Unified All-Hazards Public Warning System www.partnershipforpublicwarning.org/ppw/docs/11_25_2002report.pdf
EAS organizations and information
911 Broadcast Library www.911broadcast.com/tech-emergency_alert_systems_71.htm
National Weather Service www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/allhazard.htm#non-weather www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/resources/nwr_allhazards.pdf
Library of American Broadcasting Honors 15
New York - Sep 19, 2005 - The Library of American Broadcasting's (LAB) third annual Celebration of Giants luncheon, held Sept. 15 at the Grand Hyatt in New York, honored broadcast pioneers Bob Bennett; Marcy Carsey; Ron Davenport Sr.; Dan Rather; Lucie Salhany; The Tichenor family of Mac Tichenor Sr., Mac Tishenor Jr. and Warren Tichenor; and Tom Werner. Mel Allen, Red Barber, Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding, Johnny Carson, Gabriel Heatter, Fred Rogers and Lester Smith (who acknowledged the honor on video), were also honored.
FCC Adds to Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Efforts
Washington - Sep 15, 2005 - FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has announced steps to provide immediate relief to consumers and businesses harmed by Hurricane Katrina and to enhance the FCC's planning and response efforts when disaster does strike. The chairman proposes to provide about $211 million in Universal Service Fund support to consumers, schools, libraries, healthcare providers and telecommunications carriers affected by Hurricane Katrina through four programs.
Through the FCC's Low Income program, the FCC will provide support for wireless handsets and a package of 300 free minutes for evacuees and people still in the affected area without telephone service. This initiative will help people in the affected area who are eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance reconnect with family and make living, housing and work arrangements in the wake of the hurricane. Also through the Low Income program, the FCC will provide support to help pay the costs of reconnecting consumers to the telecommunications network as the disaster-struck area is rebuilt. The Commission estimates that these programs will provide about $51 million in assistance to evacuees throughout the country.
Through the FCC's Rural Health Care program, the FCC will allow public and non-profit health care providers, including American Red Cross shelters providing health care services to disaster victims, to apply for support for advanced services used for telemedicine applications to treat disaster victims. This program will provide increased discounts of 50 percent for qualified providers in the affected area and for those helping disaster victims nationwide. To speed the delivery of support, the FCC will allow health care providers to file new or revised applications for services this year. The FCC estimates that this program will provide about $28 million in assistance to emergency health care providers in the region.
Through the FCC's E-rate program, the FCC will open a new application window to allow schools and libraries in the affected area to re-submit their requests for E-rate funds for this year. In addition, the FCC will assign the E-rate program's highest level of priority to schools and libraries affected by Hurricane Katrina to ensure that these schools are eligible for the steepest discounts available. To help these schools and libraries rebuild from the devastation caused by the hurricane and flooding in the area, the FCC will continue to assign the highest level of priority to these schools and libraries for the 2006 funding year.
Through the FCC's High Cost program, the FCC will waive or modify its rules to permit Bell South to prioritize universal service funds to help the company rebuild wire centers and facilities damaged by the hurricane.
The FCC will also establish a Blue Ribbon panel composed of experts from the public safety and communications industry to perform an independent a review of the impact of Hurricane Katrina. After completing its study, the panel will make recommendations to the FCC regarding ways to improve disaster preparedness, network robustness and reliability, and public safety operations.
Finally, Chairman Martin announced his intention to create a new Public Safety/Homeland Security Bureau. This new bureau will coordinate public safety, national security and disaster management activities within the FCC. When the restructuring is complete, the Public Safety/Homeland Security Bureau will develop policies and rules to promote effective and reliable communications for public safety, national security and disaster management.
Five to be Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame
Chicago - Sep 19, 2005 - The Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony is Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Renaissance Chicago Hotel. This year's inductees include Abbott and Costello, Marty Brennaman, Ann Compton, Myron Cope and Jean Shepherd. A reception begins at 6:00 p.m. with dinner at 7:00 p.m. The ceremony will be hosted by Regis Philbin.
Number of HD Radio Users Surpasses 500
Philadelphia - Sep 23, 2005 - There are now more than 500 AM and FM stations across the United States broadcasting with Ibiquity's HD Radio technology. Stations serving each of the top 50 U.S. markets are offering digital HD Radio coverage, including: Detroit (21 stations on the air), Los Angeles (19), Chicago (19), Atlanta (18), Miami (16), Boston (15), San Francisco (15) and New York City (14). Some significant events have contributed to this momentum:
Buckley Now Supports HD Radio
Philadelphia - Sep 23, 2005 - Buckley Radio has joined the coalition of radio broadcast groups supporting Ibiquity's HD Radio technology with a plan to convert the majority of its stations to digital during the next three years. Today, four Buckley stations are licensed to broadcast with HD Radio technology: KWAV-FM 96.9 in Monterey, CA; WDRC-FM 102.9 in Hartford, CT; WOR-AM 710 in New York; and WSEN-FM 92.1 in Syracuse, NY. Of this group, WOR is already broadcasting in digital, with the other stations expected to begin HD Radio broadcasts shortly.
HD Radio to be Tested in Switzerland
Quincy, IL and Columbia, MD - Sep 23, 2005 - Broadcast Electronics (BE) and Ibiquity Digital will participate in HD Radio testing in Switzerland. The first HD Radio broadcasts there could be heard as early as next spring on 88 Radio Sunshine, located near Lucerne. BE has agreed to supply the HD Radio transmission equipment and technical expertise to begin comprehensive testing, which may occur over a period as long as two years, starting with field-strength measurements of HD Radio broadcasts on Radio Sunshine's main channel.
Based on initial results, subsequent testing could include multicasting supplemental audio channels and synchronous digital broadcasts on some of the station's 12 other boosters and translators. Pending the results of the tests, Radio Sunshine will seek approval from the Office Fédéral de la Communication (OFCOM) for the operational use of HD Radio in Switzerland before year 2010. No new tuners are required; HD Radio tuners currently marketed in the United States will receive HD Radio broadcasts by stations in Switzerland.
HD Radio as a standard in Switzerland is being sought in addition to other standards such as Eureka 147 DAB and Digital Radio Mondiale.
Clear Channel Taps Msnap for Promotions
San Diego - Sep 22, 2005 - In an ongoing partnership with Clear Channel Radio San Diego, Msnap Interactive (formerly Boost Communications) will begin daily SMS radio promotions to Clear Channel's San Diego radio stations. The daily promotions debuted on Monday, Sept. 19. Msnap's product portfolio includes Mvote, which allows audiences to enter contests, polls and quizzes via SMS; Mtalk, which opens direct channels of communication between listeners and radio DJs, celebrity guests and announcers; and Mclub, a leading radio community tool that allows stations to interact with and reward their primary audience directly via SMS.
Msnap and Clear Channel San Diego first partnered in early 2005 to pilot SMS radio promotions in the San Diego area.
Ibiquity Announces Winners of HD Radio Contest
Philadelphia - Sep 22, 2005 - The top winner of the nationwide HD Radio promotion contest, sponsored by Ibiquity, is Mark Tammany of WKQX-FM in Chicago for the HD Radio promo entitled, "Stay Tuned," which won the Best in Show category. Tammany won the top prize of $10,000. Five other people won $1,000 for various types of radio talent involved in developing promos. The winners of these are:
The HD Radio nationwide promotion contest was launched in conjunction with the HD Radio Playbook, an online HD Radio promotion guide for AM and FM stations.
Media Monitors to Track for Emmis
Philadelphia - Sep 22, 2005 - Media Monitors will provide Emmis Radio's New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Austin radio station clusters with advertisement tracking services of major newspapers in addition to its radio monitoring service. The Papervue software can view newspaper ads, the ad's page number and a visual of the ad itself. This information can then be directly viewed against radio spot placement and frequency for the same advertiser, or compared with similar advertisers.
SRS Demonstrates Circle Surround at CEDIA
Santa Ana, CA - Sep 20, 2005 - During the CEDIA Expo HD Radio held an invitation-only event at Emmis Communications' headquarters in downtown Indianapolis, where the featured demonstration was a live broadcast of SRS Circle Surround encoded material that was decoded through the Yamaha RX-V4600 to the CEDIA crowd, press, OEMs and other attendees.
Circle Surround is a multichannel encode and decode system capable of supporting a wide range of surround sound creation and playback applications. It can encode up to 6.1 channels of audio for transmission or storage over two output channels or standard two-channel carriers.
CEDIA is the Custom Electronic and Design Installation Association and the CEDIA Expo is a convention for the residential electronic systems industry.
Arbitron Acquires Integrated Radio Systems
New York - Sep 20, 2005 - Arbitron has acquired the assets of New Orleans-based Integrated Radio Systems. Integrated Radio Systems is a provider of software systems that help radio stations manage their advertising sales process and automate the daily tasks in a sales department. The Integrated Radio Systems' applications combine a customer relationship management system with scheduling and research applications and with inventory and pricing management tools.
Burk to Host Certification Training
Littleton, MA - Sep 19, 2005 - Burk Technology will provide certification training on its line of broadcast facility remote control systems on Monday, Oct. 24, prior to the Ennes Workshop and SBE Bos-Con conference sponsored by SBE Chapter 11 in Boston. The half-day training is targeted at broadcast engineers, contractors and managers responsible for coordinating operations at transmitter sites, as well as to dealer representatives. This is a free event and Burk Technology will provide one night hotel accommodations as well as breakfast and lunch on the day of training. Contact Bonnie Christiansen at 800-255-8090 for more information or to reserve space. Broadcasters who attend the session earn factory certification credentials.
Training attendees will be provided knowledge on each of Burk Technology's transmitter remote control systems, software and accessories. There will also be a section on integrating transmitter remote control with various types of communication links and using built-in tools to complement the station's existing control, monitoring and logging procedures. Current and prospective users will also gain insight into new system capabilities and helpful tips to save time and increase operating efficiency.
Sprint, Real Networks Launch Rhapsody Radio
Overland Park, KS and Seattle - Sep 19, 2005 - Sprint and Real Networks have launched Rhapsody Radio on the Sprint PCS Vision Multimedia Service. Available nationwide, Rhapsody Radio provides Sprint customers streaming radio stations from Real's Rhapsody online music service, streaming podcasts, Beats N Breaks (a new freestyle rap service), and music news and videos.
Rhapsody Radio includes Urban Hitz Radio, Alternative Radio, Country, 70s Station and Pop Hits. Customers can also hear streaming podcasts from KCRW-FM Santa Monica (KCRW.com), National Public Radio's Southern California flagship station.
Priestly Joins Ibiquity
Columbia, MD - Sep 23, 2005 - Perry Priestley has joined Ibiquity as director of international broadcast business development. In this role, Priestley will broaden the corporation's efforts to roll out HD Radio digital AM and FM technology in markets around the world.
Priestley has worked in technical and commercial positions within the broadcast industry throughout his career. Most recently, he served as director of sales for Thales Broadcast and Multimedia, overseeing the Canadian, Caribbean and Latin American markets. At Thales, Priestley's responsibilities included marketing, sales and standards promotion in the digital radio and TV markets. He has also held positions with Comark Communications, Philips North America and Pye TVT.
DK Appoints New VP
Felton, CA - Sep 20, 2005 - DK-Technologies has appointed William Boxill as vice president of its U.S. subsidiary DK-Technologies America. Boxill, who is based in California, has previous experience in the broadcast industry. He began his career at Videotek in 1985, spending eight years in the company's test equipment division. He was then employed by Tektronix and Leitch, before returning to Tektronix where he worked across a number of product divisions including test, measurement, routers and converters.
Furman Promotes Desalernos to Domestic Sales Manager
Petaluma, CA - Sep 19, 2005 - Furman Sound has named Christos Desalernos as its new domestic sales manager in the company's pro division. Desalernos, who has been with Furman Sound since 1999, will be responsible for developing sales strategies and interfacing with the company's network of 14 sales representative firms.
Desalernos will be the key contact for Furman's 14 sales representative firms, supporting their sales efforts and keeping them up to date on the company's latest technology, integration and the state of the industry in general. He will also lead the development of sales stimulation programs and create strategic sales plans.
Desalernos moves to the position of domestic sales manager from the account executive position that he has held at Furman since 2002. He joined the company in 1999 in a manufacturing role while completing his degree in electrical engineering. His work experience also includes a broadcast engineering position at the International Motor Sports Association.
Harris Expands Radio Sales Force
Cincinnati - Sep 19, 2005 - Harris has added three district sales managers to its domestic radio field sales team. The new sales team members will focus on HD Radio. The new district sales managers will report to Roland Eid, director, North American Sales. Lynn Turner will manage sales within the Mid-Atlantic region, Lyle Garrison will serve customers in Texas and Oklahoma, and Andy Cole will manage sales within five states in the southern United States.
Turner has been assigned as district sales manager for the Mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina and Washington, DC. Her background includes 23 years in small- and major-market broadcasting, seven years in independent audio and video production, and one year spent in the Harris Broadcast Division's Customer Service Center.
With 22 years experience in electronics, RF and telecommunications technologies, Garrison now represents Harris' Radio Broadcast Systems business unit as district sales manager for Oklahoma and Texas, formerly states combined into a larger sales district.
Cole's experience includes two years as a broadcast specialist in the Harris Broadcast Center, with a focus on inside sales. Cole moves to outside sales in his new position as district sales manager for Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. In his new position, Cole plans to service existing customers and meet with prospective buyers as he builds business throughout all five states. This region previously included Texas and Oklahoma.
Call for Entries for Best Radio Website
New York - Sep 19, 2005 - The 10th Annual Webby Awards is asking for entries for the Best Radio Site. The Best Radio category honors sites with ties to a radio network, station or program, either on the air or on the Web. This category includes sites that relate to a specific musical or talk-radio show, segment or station. Radio websites must enter online at www.webbyawards.com. The early entry deadline is Oct. 28. Besides accepting entries in more than 65 categories, the 10th Annual Webby Awards will mark the debut of three new blog categories - Business Blog, Political Blog and Personal/Cultural Blog - and the first-ever category honoring podcast sites.
The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a global organization with more than 500 members. The 9th Annual Webby Award winner for Best Radio Site was Virgin Radio www.virginradio.com.uk.
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