Radio Currents Online - Oct 11 - Oct 17, 2004


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News

FCC Adopts Rules for BPL
Washington - Oct 14, 2004 - As part of its own stated goal to "promote access to broadband services for all Americans and to encourage new facilities-based broadband platforms," the Federal Communications Commission made changes to Part 15 of the Rules to allow the development of access broadband over power line (Access BPL) systems while safeguarding existing licensed services against harmful interference. Access BPL is a new technology that provides access to high-speed broadband services using the largely untapped communications capabilities of the nation's power grid.

The FCC views its move as "an important step toward increasing the availability of broadband to wider areas of the country because power lines reach virtually every home and community." The FCC also looks to BPL as a way to promote competition in the broadband marketplace.

In the Report and Order adopting these changes, the Commission recognized the significant concerns of some licensed radio service users regarding the potential of Access BPL systems to cause interference to their operations. The Commission stated that its intention in adopting the Part 15 rule changes was to ensure that Access BPL operations do not become a source of harmful interference to licensed radio services. Based on extensive research and analyses, as well as experience, it concluded that the interference concerns of licensed radio users can be adequately addressed and that Access BPL systems will be able to operate successfully on an unlicensed, non?interference basis under the Part 15 model. The rule changes in the Order establish specific technical and administrative requirements for Access BPL equipment and operators to ensure that interference does not occur and, should it occur, to provide for a timely resolution of that harmful interference without disruption of service to Access BPL subscribers. The Order also sets forth procedures to measure the radio frequency (RF) energy emitted by Access BPL equipment.

The Commission's Orders outlines the following:

  • It sets forth rules imposing new technical requirements on BPL devices, such as the capability to avoid using any specific frequency and to remotely adjust or shut down any unit;
  • It establishes excluded frequency bands within which BPL must avoid operating entirely to protect aeronautical and aircraft receivers communications; and establishes exclusion zones in locations close to sensitive operations, such as coast guard or radio astronomy stations, within which BPL must avoid operating on certain frequencies;
  • It establishes consultation requirements with public safety agencies, federal government sensitive stations, and aeronautical stations;
  • It establishes a publicly available Access BPL notification database to facilitate an organized approach to identification and resolution of harmful interference;
  • It changes the equipment authorization for Access BPL systems from verification to certification; and
  • It improves measurement procedures for all equipment that use RF energy to communicate over power lines.

    Commissioner Copps dissented in part and approved in part. A joint statement was issued by Chairman Powell and Commissioner Abernathy. Separate statements were issued by Commissioners Copps, Martin and Adelstein.

    Copps noted that the United States ranks 11th in broadband penetration in the World, which is why he supports elements of the BPL Order. However, he is cognizant of the potential for interference to existing radio services. If interference complaints arise, he notes that they must be resolved by the FCC immediately and not allowed to take years.

    Finally, Copps noted that there are several key items that are not addressed in the Order, specifically, he noted that there will be costs involved in creating the service that should not be distributed to electricity users across the board. Likewise, there will be situations of subsidy between regulated and non-regulated entities, which could be problematic.

    ET Docket No. 04-37


    FCC Lifts 301, 314 and 315 Filing Freeze
    Washington - Oct 8, 2004 - The following revised forms have been approved for use by the FCC's Office of Management and Budget (OMB):

  • FCC 301, Application for Construction Permit for Commercial Broadcast Station (September 2004 Edition)
  • FCC 314, Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License (September 2004 Edition)
  • FCC 315, Application for Consent to Transfer Control of Entity Holding Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License (September 2004 Edition)

    All pending commercial radio station applications filed on the June 2002 versions of these forms must be amended to demonstrate compliance with the new local radio ownership rules or to request a waiver of these rules. Pending commercial television station applications also must be amended to demonstrate compliance with the joint radio-television ownership rule if the applicant also holds an attributable interest in any radio stations in the same market.

    Joint sales agreements now count toward ownership caps within a market.

    DA 04-3204


    FBI Investigates Houston Transmitter Break-ins
    Houston - Oct 14, 2004 – Transmitter sites in Houston have been the target of several break-ins. The sites include 13 radio stations, two TV stations, cell and pager sites. The situation was discussed a recent SBE meeting that was attended by local police and the FBI.

    In most cases, the trespassers did nothing more than throw circuit breakers and steal the log book. Some believe that these acts are part of a larger scheme that could involve Homeland Security.

    Any information on the crimes should be reported to the Houston FBI through www.ctighouston.org.


    Radio at AES
    San Francisco - The AES Convention covers audio in all its forms. There are four events this year that target radio directly. The coordinator of the convention broadcasting events is David Bialik, a systems engineering consultant, who has arranged broadcast-related sessions for the AES for several years.

    On Oct. 28 from 1:30 to 3 p.m., the session Opportunities for the Engineer in the Digital Broadcast World will address shifting job prospects and the training necessary for a successful career in broadcasting today. The panel will include Andy Butler of PBS, Tony Masiello of XM Radio, Glynn Walden of Viacom/Infinity, David Wilson of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and David Layer of the NAB and NRSC.

    On Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bialik will moderate the 14th AES Digital Broadcast Radio Forum. On hand to discuss the ongoing evolution and the future potential of digital radio will be a panel including David Layer of the NAB and NRSC, Mike Starling of NPR, Scott Stull of Ibiquity; Tony Masiello of XM and David Wilson of the CEA.

    On Saturday, Oct. 30, the session Surround Sound for Digital Radio will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. Emil Torick will be the moderator. The panelists will include Robert Orban of Orban, Rocky Graham of Dolby Labs, Frank Foti of Omnia Audio, Robert Reams of Neural Audio, Alan Kraemer of SRS Labs and Tony Masiello of XM Radio. They will discuss the introduction of surround sound to broadcasting, and its implications on the future of stereo. The panel will also explore various 5.1 systems currently in the market and their ability to interface with existing broadcast and bandwidth restraints.

    There is one final event likely to appeal to anyone with an interest in radio history. On Oct. 28 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Mike Adams will present an abstract called The Birth of Radio Broadcasting: Charles Herrold and the First Radio Station. In 1909 -- 10 years before licensed broadcasting and the first use of the word 'radio' -- an obscure inventor living in the Santa Clara Valley created a broadcast station. His design was based on a radio-telephone and used a water-cooled microphone comprised of six carbon buttons in a telephone-like handset.


    Supreme Court Denies RIAA Appeal
    Washington - Oct 12, 2004 - The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider whether RIAA investigators may use 1998 copyright law to force Internet providers to reveal the names of customers that the RIAA suspects of sharing copyrighted songs. One of the ISPs, Verizon, argued that the RIAA must file a formal lawsuit to get customer names, a step Verizon states would discourage frivolous requests.

    A U.S. appeals court in December 2003 agreed with Verizon and ruled that the RIAA must file anonymous "John Doe" lawsuits to get customer names. The high court's action is not likely to seriously affect the recording-industry's legal campaign against Internet song swappers, as investigators have sued more than 5,000 unnamed individuals since the appeals court ruling.

    The Supreme Court rejected the appeal by the recording industry without any comment.


    Indecency Proposals Die in Pre-election Scramble
    Washington - Oct 11, 2004 - New broadcast indecency legislation died in the Congressional pre-election rush almost as quickly as Janet Jackson's costume malfunction flashed by viewers during the last Super Bowl. The legislation, which would have exponentially increased the fines on broadcasters and performers for vaguely defined indecent acts, was stripped from a bill authorizing Defense Department operations in the final hours before the Congressional recess. In its final version, broadcasters and on-air performers could have been fined a maximum of $3 million a day.

    The end for the controversial Broadcast Decency Act came after some senators raised First Amendment concerns and insisted that any legislation also include media ownership restrictions. With time running out for more pressing legislation, the complexities swamped the broadcast issues. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, opposed fining television performers up to $500,000 for a single indecency action. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) wanted current media ownership rules - not the new ones passed a year ago by the FCC - attached to any new law. That was too much for many lawmakers.


    The 5kHz Debate Continues
    The move for all Clear Channel AM stations to reduce their audio bandwidth to 6kHz for music stations and 5kHz for talk stations continues to draw responses to Radio magazine. Shortly after the Clear Channel announcement, Crawford Broadcasting announced that it would follow the move.

    Radio magazine received this letter:

    Without regard to AM IBOC operation (which may or may not be on the horizon for some or all of our numerous AM stations), we at Crawford Broadcasting Company have been experimenting with reduced audio bandwidth for some time now. Our experience mirrors that reported by Mr. Littlejohn. Except for what the very few listeners who use "wideband" receivers may observe, there is no observable penalty for reducing bandwidth to 5 or 6kHz. The gains are reduced interference, improved spectrum efficiency, loudness and clarity. As such, we have elected to join Clear Channel in reducing audio bandwidth on our talk format stations.
    Cris Alexander
    director of engineering
    Crawford Broadcasting Company

    The claim that modern AM radio receivers are severely limited in audio response is supported by a USA Digital report that was submitted to the NRSC in 1999. The analog audio response of several radio receivers was compared and charted. View the report at this link.

    Radio magazine continues to receive letters that state opposition to the Clear Channel and Crawford move. Some excerpts of these letters follow.

    "Jeff Littlejohn's contention that AM receivers have less than 5kHz frequency response ignores the multitude of people listening on AM stereo radios, AM wideband radios, and older AM radios that had great frequency response."

    "Clear Channel can do what it wants, but where does the company get off proposing that all should be made to do the same?"

    "To those who say there are no decent bandwidth AM radios, look no farther than your local Wal-Mart and Dollar General stores. They both have a portable $5 AM/FM radio with wide AM bandwidth beyond 5kHz. There is also a 'one-chip' AM tuner that typically uses a 'barn door' ceramic filter and even Ford has an AMAX (7.5kHz) bandwidth radio in its 2005 models."

    Radio magazine welcomes all points of view at radio@primediabusiness.com.


    Marconi Radio Award Winners Announced
    San Diego - Oct 8, 2004 - The winners of the 2004 National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Radio Awards were announced at the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner and Show. The event was held in conjunction with The NAB Radio Show.

    The awards recognized radio's outstanding personalities and stations in 22 categories. An independent task force selected the finalists and ballots were sent to members of the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy in August. The ballots were tabulated by RSM McGladrey.


    Legendary Station: WOR New York, NY
    Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year: Tom Joyner, Reach Media
    Major Market Station of the Year: WBEB-FM Philadelphia, PA
    Large Market Station of the Year: KYGO-FM Denver, CO
    Medium Market Station of the Year : WTMJ-AM Milwaukee, WI
    Small Market Station of the Year : KIHR-AM Hood River, OR
    Major Market Personality of the Year:Big Boy KPWR-FM, Los Angeles, CA
    Large Market Personality of the Year: Scott Slade WSB-AM, Atlanta, GA
    Medium Market Personality of the Year: Jim Turner WDBO-AM, Orlando, FL
    Small Market Personality of the Year: Terry Cavanaugh WGIL-AM, Galesburg, IL
    AC Station of the Year: WLEN-FM Adrian, MI
    Adults Standards Station of the Year: KABL-AM San Francisco, CA
    CHR Station of the Year: KPWR-FM Los Angeles, CA
    Classical Station of the Year: WGMS-FM Washington, DC
    Country Station of the Year: KYGO-FM Denver, CO
    NAC/Jazz Station of the Year: WNUA-FM Chicago, IL
    News/Talk/Sports Station of the Year: WGN-AM Chicago, IL
    Oldies Station of the Year: WMJI-FM Cleveland, OH
    Religious Station of the Year: WNNL-FM Raleigh, NC
    Rock Station of the Year: KFOG-FM San Francisco, CA
    Spanish Station of the Year: KLQV-FM San Diego, CA
    Urban Station of the Year: KPRS-FM Kansas City, MO

    Bob and Tom, hosts of Premier Radio Networks' syndicated morning show, The Bob and Tom Show, emceed the event. The show featured a performance by BMI singer/songwriters Larry Hoppen from Orleans, Jimmy Jamison from Survivor and solo recording artist Robbie Dupree, who teamed up to entertain radio broadcasters with some of their chart-topping songs at the annual radio awards ceremony. BMI sponsored the entertainment.


    Mired in Controversy, Induce Act is Delayed
    Washington - Oct 12, 2004 - An attempt to win approval of copyright legislation that would target peer-to-peer file services for enticing people to illegally share copies of movies, songs and other works is temporarily dead in Congress. The Inducing Infringements of Copyrights Act (S.2560) failed after negotiations between the principal parties broke down last week just before a scheduled vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

    News reports said the legislation, rushed for completion before the Congressional election recess, fell victim to the clock, its complexity and the opposition that organized to defeat it. In its original form, the proposed law would hold technology companies liable for manufacturing products that encourage people to infringe upon copyrights. The language of the bill caused an uproar among technology and consumer advocates who contend it would kill technological innovation.

    Sen. Hatch invited interested parties to submit substitute language for the bill, then asked the two sides to work together to develop a compromise bill by last week. That failed to happen, with controversy over the proposed legislation wider than ever.


    Business

    Liquid Acoustics Appoints Internet Distributor
    Buena Park, CA - Sep 29, 2004 - Wild West Electronics, located in Goodyear, AZ, has been appointed the sole Internet distributor for Liquid Acoustics sound products. Liquid Acoustics has also appointed the Wild West Electronics store in Goodyear, AZ, as its factory authorized retail dealer.


    Coles Ribbon Microphones Celebrates 40th Anniversary
    Portland, ME - Oct 7, 2004 - Coles Electroacoustics Ribbon Microphones is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the company in Hoddesdon, England, this year. Independent Audio is the U.S. distributor for Coles mics.

    Colin Beanland, who started the company, said, "It's been a great run for 40 years. Manufacturing the BBC-designed Coles 4038 studio ribbon microphones and Coles 4104b commentator's lip mics has been a very important and satisfying component of our business. Particularly fulfilling to me, however, has been designing our new Coles 4040 Ribbon Mic, which has received critical acclaim from the both the reviewers and our customers. Our hope is that it will become as popular as the 4038 studio ribbon mic. I am semi-retired now, and my son, Steven, is running the factory, and doing a fine job of it."

    Steve Beanland, the son of Coles founder Colin Beanland, runs the factory today. The company was established in 1964 as a tool making and general engineering company. Events led the company into the manufacturing of high quality microphones.


    Neural Audio Moves to New Location
    Kirkland, WA – Oct 6, 2004 - To meet an expanding customer base, Neural Audio has moved to larger offices in the Seattle area. The offices are located at 11410 NE 122nd Way, Suite 100, Kirkland, WA.

    The Neural Audio facility includes an additional 3,000 square feet dedicated to test rooms designed for specific market applications. The rooms include: three ITU-R compatible sound rooms designed and manufactured by Acoustics Systems; an automotive Spatial Environment Engine Development System (SEEDS) listening room designed for multiple speaker configurations including rear-seat entertainment; a consumer 5.1 surround sound radio/TV living room; and a custom-designed headphone/earbud auditioning room. In addition, the space accommodates custom DTV, SDARS and HD Radio broadcast simulation environments for on-site, real-world transmission testing, codec evaluation and bench testing for real-time optimization.

    Neural Audio technology is marketed exclusively by Harris under the Neustar name.


    Ibiquity Digital Named 17th Fastest-Growing Technology Company in Maryland
    Columbia, MD - Oct 12, 2004 - Ibiquity Digital has been named the 17th fastest growing technology company in Maryland in Deloitte's annual Technology Fast 50 Program. Technology Fast 50 rankings are based on the percentage of growth in fiscal year revenues over five years, from 1999 to 2003.

    According to Deloitte, the Technology Fast 50 is a testament to a company's vision that allows growth over five years. To qualify for the Technology Fast 50, companies must have had operating revenues of at least $50,000 in 1999 and $1,000,000 in 2003, must be public or private companies headquartered in North America, and be a "technology company" defined as owning proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company's operating revenues (using other companies' technology in a unique way does not qualify); and/or devoting a significant proportion of revenues to research and development of technology.


    Sales Call
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  • Dielectric Communications provided a turnkey tower and antenna system to the Portland Radio Group earlier this year to replace WGAN 560 AM's existing tower and to provide additional capacity for WYNZ 100.9, one of two FM stations briefly knocked out with the December 2003 collapse of their tower. For WMGX 93.1, the second station that had been supported by the old tower, Dielectric has also supplied an antenna and run of Flexline cable to bring broadcasts at a low-power site up to the station's licensed ERP of 50,000W.
  • Susquehanna Radio has ordered a Wheatstone Generation control system for its San Francisco facility located on Hawthorne Street. Susquehanna opted for the Generation 9 control surface and four Wheatstone Bridge digital audio routers. A common pool of audio signals and data will be available for each studio. Current stations on-air include KFOG-FM, KNBR-AM, KSAN-FM and KTCT-AM.
  • Products

    Orban Opticodec-PC Now Supports Shoutcast and Icecast2 Servers
    Tempe, AZ - Oct 15, 2004 - Orban has enhanced the Opticodec-PC streaming audio encoder. In addition to its existing support for Apple's free Darwin Streaming Server, Opticodec-PC now adds full support for the HTTP/ICY Shoutcast and HTTP/ICY Icecast2 streaming servers and includes AAC Plus v2 audio.

    The addition of the formats adds to its flexibility for netcasters to deliver to a wider audience.


    Media Monitors Adds Newspaper Monitoring Web Service
    San Diego, CA - Oct 7, 2004 - Media Monitors is expanding services to New York City's local advertising community of radio stations, newspapers, broadcast advertisers and ad agencies. The new offering, a newspaper monitoring service, will provide additional competitive analysis capabilities from the online radio monitoring company.

    The introduction of newspaper monitoring allows users to see newspaper ads as well as the ad's page number and relative position on the page. This information can then be directly viewed against radio spot placement and frequency for the same advertiser. The newspaper monitoring service will begin in New York, and be rolled out progressively in markets across the nation during 2005.

    Media Monitors already provides online radio airplay data to radio stations, radio group owners and newspapers including Greater Media, Emmis, Radio One and Clear Channel in New York City.


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