Radio Currents Online - Oct 31 - Nov 6, 2005


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News

National Radio Hall of Fame Inducts Honorees
Chicago - Nov 4, 2005 - As we reported in Currents Online on Aug. 8, the National Radio Hall of Fame has selected it inductees for 2005. Comedy legends Abbott and Costello, Sportscaster Marty Brennaman, ABC White House Correspondent Ann Compton, Football Commentator Myron Cope and Humorist Jean Shepherd will be inducted on Nov. 5.

Regis Philbin will host the National Radio Hall of Fame's 2005 induction ceremony. The induction ceremony will be nationally broadcast at 9 p.m. CT from the Renaissance Chicago Hotel. Westwood One will produce and distribute the one-hour broadcast. The program will also be streamed via the Hall of Fames website at www.radiohof.org.


FCC Amends EAS Rules, Seeks Further Comments
Washington - Nov 3, 2005 - The FCC issued a First Report and Order to help ensure that consumers using digital broadcast and subscription TV and radio services have access to emergency alert and warning information. Noting the ever-increasing use of digital technologies, the First Report and Order expands the Commission's current EAS rules to include providers of digital broadcast and cable TV, digital audio broadcasting, satellite radio and direct broadcast satellite services. With the exception of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) service, all affected entities must comply with these new requirements by Dec. 31, 2006. DBS services must comply no later than May 31, 2007.

The Commission also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on how the Commission can best help develop a next-generation alert and warning system that takes full advantage of digital media's potential. The Commission seeks comment on the type of system architecture and common protocols that would be required in such a system. In addition, the Further Notice seeks comment on issues relating to the participation of state and local authorities in the EAS system, and also asks how a next-generation EAS can more effectively reach individuals with hearing and vision disabilities. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on how the EAS rules should be revised to more effectively reach non-English speaking individuals.

Each FCC commissioner issued separate statements following the action. Not surprisingly and an obvious result of the recent hurricanes, each statement mentions the importance of providing timely information during an emergency.


The markets covered by Cumulus and Susquehanna. Courtesy BIAfn. Click here to enlarge this image.

Cumulus to Acquire Susquehanna Radio
Atlanta - Oct 31, 2005 - Cumulus Media has formed Cumulus Media Partners, a private partnership of Cumulus Media, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, to acquire the radio broadcasting business of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. Cumulus Media Partners has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Susquehanna Radio for about $1.2 billion. Cumulus Media will provide management services to the partnership. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2006.

Susquehanna Radio is the largest privately owned radio broadcasting company in the United States and the 11th largest radio station operator in terms of revenue. The group consists of 33 radio stations in eight markets including San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Indianapolis and York, PA.

Cumulus Media will contribute its two FM stations in Houston and two FM stations in Kansas City in return for its membership interest in the partnership. Cumulus Media will initially own about 25 percent of Cumulus Media Partners, with performance incentives that can increase that stake to about 40 percent. Pursuant to a management agreement, Cumulus Media will be paid a quarterly management fee.

Following the announcement, the BIA Financial Network revised its expected sales value of radio stations in 2005 from the previously projected $2.0 billion range to a projected $3.2 billion.

Separately, it was also announced that Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff has agreed to sell Susquehanna Communications, the cable TV and broadband services division of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff, to Comcast.


FCC Updates FRN Features
Washington - Oct 27, 2005 - The FCC implemented two online enhancements at the end of September.

  • Online FRN Password Reset allows users to reset their FCC Registration Number (FRN) password online via the Commission Registration System (CORES)
  • Call Sign/FRN Association provides users with self-service tools within the Universal Licensing System (ULS) to help manage the association of call signs, antenna registration numbers and FRNs.

    To reset an FCC Registration Number (FRN) password, users previously had to contact the FCC support staff. A forgotten password can be reset by establishing and then using a personal security question (PSQ) and answer. To register for an FRN or to update a current FRN with a new PSQ and answer visit www.fcc.gov/frnreg.

    There are ULS call signs and antenna structure registration (ASR) numbers that are not currently associated with an FRN. Licensees who wish to update or renew licenses and ASR numbers must associate their call signs and registration numbers with their FRN.

    To ensure that call signs or ASR numbers are accurately associated with the FRN, visit wireless.fcc.gov/uls. Click the License Search button for ULS call signs and the ASR button, then Search Registrations button for ASR numbers.


    Business

    Digidesign Launched Pro Tools 7 Tour
    Daly City, CA - Nov 2, 2005 - Digidesign has launched the Pro Tools 7 Software Tour. This tour will visit select worldwide Digidesign reseller locations to show the collection of new and enhanced features in Pro Tools 7 software.

    The tour began in late October and will run through December. There are more than 60 stops planned in the United States, as well as several international locations.

    To see a list of cities and to register visit www.digidesign.com/tour.


    Jones Radio Networks Places Large Order with Wegener
    Duluth, GA - Oct 31, 2005 - Wegener received a multimillion-dollar order from Jones Radio Networks (JRN) for Wegener's Audio Ipump system to replace its radio distribution equipment. The order includes Wegener's Ipump 6420 media server, a supporting Mediaplan content management system, Wegener's Compel Network Control System and Unity 4600 Satellite Media Receivers.

    Jones Radio Networks will use the Wegener equipment to implement a store-forward system. JRN supplies radio broadcasts to more than 5,000 stations.


    Sales Call
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  • The Clear Channel Baltimore stations (WPOC, WCOA and WOCT) have included a Wheatstone D-8000 digital audio mixer and Preference studio furniture in plans to upgrade a production studio. The D-8000 will be the fifth D Series console in the facility. Clear Channel is also expanding its existing Bridge router system to add new features and I/O to handle the new studio.
  • People

    Promo Only MPE Hits Subscriber Milestone, Adds Staff
    Orlando, FL - Oct 31, 2005 - Registered subscribers to the Promo Only MPE digital distribution system have surpassed 4,300. Because of the growth in users, the company has added three radio and label executives.

    Vel Omazic joins Promo Only MPE from a 15-year stint at Sony Music Canada, where he was vice president of promotion and media relations. His career in working with record labels spans 20 years. His title at Promo Only is label and radio relations director. He will oversee radio and label relations for Promo Only MPE in North America.

    Phil Michaels-Trueba has been appointed the director of programming to coordinate label and radio relations for Promo Only MPE. In addition Trueba will also oversee all content and be responsible for programming on all U.S. Promo Only issues. Trueba spent 13 years at Cox Radio. Most recently, he was the program director for Power 93.1 in Miami.

    Laurie Gail will serve as label relations manager and manage the delivery of content from labels to the Promo Only MPE System. Her radio experience includes programming stints at WFNX in Boston and Instant Live, a Clear Channel subsidiary.


    Internet Watch

    AOL Acquires Musicnow
    Dulles, VA - Nov 3, 2005 - America Online has acquired the business of digital music subscription company Musicnow. The agreement was signed Sept. 27 and closed Nov. 1. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Musicnow was previously held by Circuit City Stores of Richmond, VA.

    AOL will gradually upgrade current Musicnet@AOL subscribers to the new service, called AOL Music Now. Founded as Full Audio in 1999 and purchased by Circuit City in 2004, Musicnow will continue to be based in Chicago.


    SBE Relaunches Website
    Indianapolis - Oct 31, 2005 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) launched a newly designed and improved website beginning on Oct. 31. The new site, which retains the www.sbe.org address, features improved navigation, more functionality and modern Web design.

    Among the new functions available will be an online application for new members and online ordering capability of SBE books and logo items. The SBE website will continue to feature the popular SBE Jobs Online, SBE Resume Bank and SBE Contract Engineer Directory as well as information about all of SBE's services and programs. The website will include a number of items for members only, including a member search feature.

    Remarking on the new website during the Society's recently completed national meeting, SBE President Chriss Scherer, CSRE CBNT said, "The relaunch of the SBE website provides a better organization of the information already available, and it allows us to enhance the services to our members and the industry. It's not simply a cosmetic update; it creates a new foundation for us to build upon."


    Products

    OMT Imedialogger Available in Online Trial Version
    Winnipeg, MB - Nov 2, 2005 – OMT's digital logger, Imedialogger, is now available in a demo trial version on the company's website at www.imediatouch.com.

    Imedialogger was introduced at NAB1999. It can manage up to 12 recordings on one workstation and provides Internet access to all recordings via its own built-in Web browser.

    The company unveiled the trial version because of the high demand to demo the product.


    Middle Atlantic Products Intros 48-hour Turnaround
    Riverdale, NJ - Oct 31, 2005 - Middle Atlantic Products has retooled to provide a 48-hour manufacturing turnaround on all standard raised-floor system products including Rib Series riser bases, standard Vfeet and support angles. The manufacturing option allows installers to install the floor around the riser base system early in the project while the racks can be integrated offsite and then brought in.

    The turnaround program is for products that work in conjunction with support raised floor installations and includes Rib Series riser bases, Vfeet raised floor support feet and raised floor support angles. The Rib Series riser bases are designed to elevate equipment racks 2.5" to provide a lower cable chase between rack enclosure systems in multi-bay applications. For applications with higher raised floor, Middle Atlantic's Vfeet support feet can be used to raise an entire Rib riser base up to 12".


    Eye on IBOC

    Energy-Onix Demos DRE to International Idea Bank
    Nashville - Oct 31, 2005 - Energy-Onix installed a Digital Radio Express (DRE) digital subcarrier system at WBUZ Nashville. The station is part of the Cromwell Group of stations. Bernie Wise, president of Energy-Onix, worked with David Wilson, chief engineer, and Bud Walters, president of the Cromwell Radio Group, on the installation. The installation was used to demonstrate the multicasting capability of the DRE FM system to the International Idea Bank members that were attending a fall meeting.

    The transmitter site is about 40 miles from the downtown hotel where the Idea Bank meeting was held. Two digital stereo channels and one RBDS signal in addition to the analog stereo program were simultaneously received in an area noted for its high multipath condition. The system used an existing Moseley analog STL, an Energy-Onix 25kW transmitter and analog studio equipment.

    Following the demonstration, some of the 100-member International Idea Bank expressed an interest in installing the DRE system in their FM facilities.

    The DRE production receivers will be available in the first quarter of 2006.


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