Radio Currents Online - Nov 14 - Nov 20, 2005

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Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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NAB Announces Crystal Radio Awards Entry Deadline
Washington - Nov 15, 2005 - The NAB has announced that the 2006 Crystal Radio Awards competition entry deadline is Feb. 1, 2006. The NAB Crystal Radio Awards recognize radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Finalists will be honored and winners announced at the Radio Luncheon on April 25 during NAB2006 in Las Vegas. Winners will also be honored at the Service to America Gala in Washington on June 12.

To enter, a station must submit a 12-page document, summarizing their community service efforts for the year. Crystal finalists and winners will be chosen by judges from the radio and community service fields. For an entry form or more information, see the NAB's radio Web page at or call Chris Suever at 202-775-3511.

Sony CD Rootkit Recalled
New York - Nov 16, 2005 - As a result of significant difficulties with a copy-protection feature of CDs released on the Sony BMG label, Sony released this statement.

We are aware that a computer virus is circulating that may affect computers with XCP content protection software. The XCP software is included on a limited number of Sony BMG content protected titles. This potential problem has no effect on the use of these discs in conventional, non-computer-based, CD and DVD players.

In response to these events, Sony BMG has swiftly provided a patch to all major anti-virus companies and to the general public that guards against precisely the type of virus now said to exist. The patch fixes the possible software problem, and still allows CDs to be played on personal computers. It can be downloaded at Starting today, we will also be adding this link to the Sony BMG label and corporate sites. We deeply regret any possible inconvenience this may cause.

We stand by content protection technology as an important tool to protect our intellectual property rights and those of our artists. Nonetheless, as a precautionary measure, Sony BMG is temporarily suspending the manufacture of CDs containing XCP technology. We also intend to re-examine all aspects of our content protection initiative to be sure that it continues to meet our goals of security and ease of consumer use.

CDs that include XCP copy rotection include those from Van Zant, Neil Diamond and at least 18 others. According to Cnet, Sony reports that over the past eight months it shipped more than 4.7 million CDs with the XCP copy protection. More than 2.1 million of those discs have been sold.

The content protection feature was created by British company First 4 Internet. When a listener puts the disc into a computer's CD drive, it displays a license agreement. If the listener accepts, it installs the copy protection rootkit onto the hard drive. A rootkit is a piece of software that takes control of a computer at a basic level. It establishes root access instead of traditional access that a regular user sees. The rootkit can prevent the user from being able to use certain functions of the CD. As a side effect, the rootkit allows certain computer viruses to take advantage of the access to infect a computer.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a list of CDs that it knows are affected by the XCP function. View that list at this link.

Weekly podcast usage projections. Click here to enlarge this image.

Podcasting to Hit Critical Mass in 2010
Glendale, CA - Nov 12, 2005 - Based on interviews with radio listeners in ten markets, Bridge Ratings released its projections for user growth in the podcast universe. The study estimates that 4.8 million people have at some time during 2005 downloaded a podcast from a radio station or other source. Itunes was referenced as the most often accessed portal for podcast downloads. This 4.8 million estimate is up from 820,000 podcast users in 2004.

Bridge Ratings believes that growth in podcast use will accelerate quickly because of the rapid acceptance of the technology by the radio broadcast industry in 2005 and Apple's Itunes distribution. By 2010 podcast audience growth is expected to reach a conservative 45 million users who will have ever listened to a podcast. Aggressive estimates place this number closer to 75 million by this date.

The study also shows that currently approximately 20 percent of users who have ever downloaded and listened to a podcast do so on a weekly basis. This group downloads an average of six podcasts per week and spends approximately four hours a month listening to the podcasts they download. The study also notes that fewer than 20 percent listen to their podcast downloads on an MP3 player or other digital device.

Newest SBE Chapter: Ithaca, NY
Indianapolis - Oct 19, 2005 - The charter application for Chapter 140 of Ithaca, NY, was approved by the board of directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers on Oct. 19. The chapter is based at Ithaca College and its members so far consist of employees at the college's broadcast stations. Ithaca is in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. The new chapter chairman is David Allen, an SBE charter member of the SBE.

The chapter organized with eight regular members and one student member. All the members are employees of the Technical Operations Department of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. While the school does not have an engineering curriculum, there are usually one or two students each year who are interested in engineering as a career.

The school has a remote truck that handles a variety of remotes (mostly sports) in different venues in and around Ithaca, so students interested in the technical side of broadcasting have a chance to learn.

Allen is an engineer, technical operations specializing in transmission systems at Ithaca College. He is also the chief engineer of WICB-FM. In addition, he helps with audio engineering projects

The new chapter is planning some recruitment night to encourage student membership. For more information about the chapter contact David Allen at or the SBE National Office at


Burk's model train was used to demonstrate the remote control functions to the training attendees.

Burk Technology Training Certification for Broadcast Engineers
Littleton, MA - Nov 18, 2005 - Ten broadcast engineers from five states completed Burk Technology factory certification training at the company's headquarters. Training focused on expanding product knowledge and how to make full use of Burk Technology’s broadcast facility control systems, software and accessories for managing remote sites.

Nathan Cherveck of New Hampshire Public Radio said, "I enjoyed hearing how other engineers are using their Burk products. I even got a couple ideas for things to try at NHPR."

Participants earned a factory training certificate at completion. The following engineers attended the training, as shown in the picture (left to right): Brian Marshall, Vermont Public Radio; Robert Shotwell, Spectrum Investigative Services; Jeff Gerry, Clear Channel Radio; Nathan Cherveck, New Hampshire Public Radio; Ron Baker, contract engineer; Brad Parsons, WWZN-AM; Art Pepin, Clear Channel Radio; Brian Edgerton, WHDH-TV; Grady Moates, Loud and Clean Broadcast Science; Dennis Sloatman, Cox Radio Orlando.

Contact Burk for information on future sessions.

Overhead view of the HAARP planar antenna array.

Continental Delivers Transmitters to Alaskan Planar Array
Dallas - Nov 14, 2005 - Continental Electronics delivered 132 ultra-low-noise transmitters to U.S. government contractor BAE Systems for use in the High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) near Gakona, AK. When the massive planar array for ionospheric research is completed in 2007, it will include a total of 180 Continental Electronics D616G 10kW combined transmitters, which the company is upgrading specifically for HAARP. HAARP first installed Continental Electronics transmitters in 1993 when the project began.

The U.S. government is constructing the HAARP facility to conduct upper-atmospheric and solar-terrestrial research via a phased array transmitter, with an aim of learning more about the ionosphere -- the upper section of the Earth's atmosphere ionized by solar radiation with natural electrical currents that can be modulated with powerful radio signals. Much of the ionosphere's scientific potential lies in satellite communications, which depends on signals passing through it.

BAE Systems today leads the installation at HAARP, which began in 1993 with 18 transmitters, grew to 48 in 1998, and is currently being expanded to a total of 180 transmitters -- all built by Continental Electronics with some components from BAE and other suppliers. The final expansion will bring the HAARP array to full power, with its effective radiated power increasing from 84dBW to about 96dBW. It will have greater transmitter modulation capability, variable frequency range and beam steering than any other high-frequency transmitting system in the world. Continental Electronics is under contract to supply six transmitters per month.

The transmitters for HAARP needed to have extremely low noise characteristics to maximize the ability to manipulate the ionosphere. They also must be tough enough to perform reliably in the challenging Alaskan environment.

Audioarts Engineering Sells First Networked Audio System
New Bern, NC - Nov 14, 2005 - NL Broadcasting Group‘s three-station facility in Kamloops, BC, Canada will be the premier installation site of the newly launched networked audio system based on the AE-Net router. The group's equipment list includes one D-75N-2012 audio console, five D-75N-12 audio consoles, six Net-75 Panels, four IOC-10 network I/O frames, two AE-Net eight-port switches, one XYE-R rackmount XY controller and one PC-XY software XY controller.

Three D-75 audio consoles will be used for broadcasting local news and information. The remaining three consoles will be designated for post-production. The AE-Net architecture allows for no-latency transmission of hundreds of channels of audio without the need of any third-party equipment. This system connects and routes multiple formats of analog and digital audio and GPI and GPO control within a secure network connected by CAT-5 or CAT-6 cable.

Equipment delivery to the stations is scheduled for December 2005 and the facility will be on air by the New Year.

Sales Call
  • Radio and Television of Slovenia (RTV Slovenia) has selected the Dalet Plus Radio Suite for news production and music programming. The installation connects four RTV sites to a central asset management server with integrated newsroom computer system, ingest, editing, playout and archive capabilities. The installation will populate 50 news production workstations and 46 audio production workstations, manage three agency wires, five broadcast channels and connect seven studios to orchestrate programming, production and on-air playout.
  • People

    Abernathy to Resign from FCC
    Washington - Nov 17, 2005 - On Nov. 16, FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy sent a letter of resignation to President Bush. Her last day at the Commission will be Dec. 9, 2005. In a statement, Abernathy reflected on her 4.5 years at the FCC and touched on the actions that FCC had taken in telecommunications, describing the work as being competition-driven instead of being based solely on regulation.

    She noted that regulation was applied to "those comparatively few situations in which marketplace competition and informed consumer choice do not increase consumer welfare." She noted that emergency communications reliability and children's multichannel TV viewing choices are two of these situations.

    President Bush has not yet hinted at any possible candidates for Abernathy's seat.

    AKG Hires New President
    Vienna - On Oct. 1, 2005, Stefan Gubi assumed responsibility as president of AKG. Gubi succeeds Hugo Lenhard Backhaus, who left AKG at the end of June 2005.

    Gubi has a 20-year-plus track record of achievement in sales, marketing and general management. His resume includes positions on the executive committee of Austrian IT firm Kapsch Business Com, as managing director of the Upper Austrian National Publishing House and in senior management positions with Ericcson Austria.

    SSL Adds to Sales, Marketing Team
    Oxford, UK - Nov 14, 2005 - Solid State Logic (SSL) has made three new appointments at its UK headquarters in Oxford. Joining the sales team, Jim Motley has been appointed as partnership manager for the Xlogic range of products. He will work with SSL's distribution partners to further develop the retail channel. Motley previously worked as European sales manager for SE Electronics and as national sales manager for TC Electronic.

    Expanding the product marketing department, Filip Saelen has been appointed software product manager. He joins from his previous role as product manager for TC Electronic. Saelen will work to develop new products for digital audio workstations.

    Joining as marketing manager, Jon Jannaway is tasked with developing marketing programs to support new and existing products. He was previously director of marketing at Line 6 Europe.

    Eye on IBOC

    Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (seated) listens to an in-vehicle demonstration of HD Radio presented by Broadcast Electronics.

    Broadcast Electronics Introduces HD Radio to Philippines
    Baguio City, Philippines - Nov 16, 2005 - Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo officiated the HD Radio broadcasts in Baguio City on Nov. 9, after Broadcast Electronics turned on the country’s first HD Radio station during a conference held in the city. Operating under a special license by the Philippines' National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), Broadcast Electronics installed an HD Radio hybrid system using a BE FXI 60 digital FM exciter.

    The HD Radio sign-on coincided with the opening of the Kapisanan Ng Brodkasters Pilipinas (KBP) Top Level Management Conference held in Baguio City, during which President Arroyo gave the keynote speech and listened to HD Radio broadcasts at a Broadcast Electronics in-vehicle demonstration.


    Sound Devices Offers Soundfield Monitoring on 744T
    Reedsburg, WI, and West Yorkshire, England - Nov 15, 2005 - Sound Devices and Soundfield have partnered to provide the Soundfield B-format surround decoding on Sound Devices' 744T four-track production audio recorder. The 744T firmware revision 1.57 and greater now offers B-format-to-stereo decoding without additional hardware.

    Soundfield microphone users can now monitor and output stereo from a Sound Devices recorder while recording multi-channel B-format surround (W, X, Y and Z) for later post-processing. Soundfield manufactures a range of microphones capable of generating mono, stereo and full surround.

    Waves Ships Vocal Bundle
    Knoxville, TN - Waves has begun shipping its new Vocal Bundle featuring recently released Tune and Debreath plug-ins. This new toolset includes the established products Renaissance Channel, Renaissance De-esser and Doubler plug-ins.

    Tune provides pitch correction and melody transformation tools. Debreath offers users a process to separate and remove unwanted breath sounds from voice tracks.

    Transaudio Group Ships Drawmer Three-sum
    Las Vegas - Nov 17, 2005 - Transaudio Group, Drawmer's U.S. distributor, is shipping the new Three-sum multiband split and sum device. The Three-sum is a 1RU device that splits a mono or stereo signal into two or three bands and then resumes them. This allows the user to apply processing and effects to individual frequency bands.

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