Radio Currents Online - Dec 11 - Dec 17, 2006


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FCC Eliminates Morse Code Requirements for Hams
Washington - Dec 15, 2006 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration that modifies the rules for the Amateur Radio Service by revising the examination requirements for obtaining a General Class or Amateur Extra Class amateur radio operator license and revising the operating privileges for Technician Class licensees.

The current amateur service operator license structure contains three classes of amateur radio operator licenses: Technician Class, General Class, and Amateur Extra Class. General Class and Amateur Extra Class licensees are permitted to operate in Amateur bands below 30MHz, while the introductory Technician Class licensees are only permitted to operate in bands above 30MHz. Prior to the adopted action, the FCC required applicants for General Class and Amateur Extra Class operator licenses to pass a 5 words-per-minute Morse code examination. This Order eliminates that requirement for General and Amateur Extra licensees. This change reflects revisions to international radio regulations made at the International Telecommunication Union's 2003 World Radio Conference (WRC-03), which authorized each country to determine whether to require that individuals demonstrate Morse code proficiency in order to qualify for an amateur radio license with transmitting privileges on frequencies below 30MHz.

The FCC public notice states that the change "eliminates an unnecessary regulatory burden that may discourage current amateur radio operators from advancing their skills and participating more fully in the benefits of amateur radio."

WT Docket Nos. 04-140 and 05-235.


SBE Announces Leader Skills Seminar Dates
Indianapolis - Dec 8, 2006 - The SBE Leader-Skills Seminars, in its 11th consecutive year with the society, is specifically designed for broadcast engineers who have or aspire to have management responsibilities. The SBE offers the two-part series in cooperation with instructor Richard Cupka. Both courses are being offered in Indianapolis in 2007.

Course I, Leadership--The Framework of People Skills, will be held June 5 to June 7, 2007. It covers the function and nature of the leadership role; how to build stronger teams and effective internal cooperativeness; the complex differences of people; and discovery of a natural style of leading and how to nurture a developed style to help managers adjust to different people in differing situations.

Course II, Leadership--Expanding Your People Skills, will be held Aug. 7 to Aug. 9, 2007, and picks up where Course I leaves off. Course I, sponsored by the SBE or previously by the NAB (dating back to 1965) is a prerequisite for Course II. Course II explores individual behavior in groups and dynamics of interaction between groups; the complex motivations of different people and how to deal with them; how best to handle disciplinary processes; and where emphasis should be in a leader's ultimate responsibility over people and activities.

Cupka, who has more than 40 years of experience in adult training, has directed and taught the leader-skills seminars to broadcast engineering managers, supervisors and technicians for 40 years. Many of the most respected broadcast engineering managers in the country today are graduates of the program and continue to send members of their staffs so that they, too, can learn from Cupka.

Each course is limited to a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 18 participants. Deadlines to register are May 2 for Course I and July 5 for Course II. The cost of registrations is $545 for each course, which includes three days of instruction, all course materials, a certificate of completion and classroom refreshments.


FCC Appoints Members for WARN Committee
Washington - Dec 5, 2006 - The Warning Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act directed the FCC to appoint members to serve on the Commission's Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin will chair the Committee. The purpose of the committee is to develop and recommend technical standards and protocols to facilitate the voluntary transmission of emergency alerts by Commercial Mobile Service (CMS) providers. The committee's recommendations must be submitted to the Commission within one year from the date of enactment of the WARN Act: Oct. 12, 2007.


The members of the committee follow.


State and Local Government Representatives
Art Botterell Contra Costa County, CA
Thomas Lyon International Association of Fire Chiefs
Kevin McGinnis National Association of State EMS Officials
Richard Mirgon Association of Public Safety Communications Officials
Jonathan Werbell City of New York, NY
Tribal Government Representatives
R. Dale Gehman Poarch Band of Creek Indians
Representatives of Communications Service Providers
Brian Daly Cingular Wireless
Gary K. Jones T-Mobile USA
Jay Pabley Sprint Nextel
Doug Rutledge Alltel
Edward A. Salas Verizon Wireless
Representatives of Vendors, Developers and Manufacturers
Stephen Carter Qualcomm
Amar Deol Nortel
Stephen Hayes Ericsson
Rob Kubik Motorola
Gadi Mazor Onset Technology
Ilkka Juhani Niva Nokia
Billy Pitts NTI Group
Representatives of Third-Party Service Bureaus
Robin Erkkila Intrado
Anthony M. Rutkowski Verisign
Paul Wilcock Syniverse Technologies
Broadcaster Representatives with Technical Expertise
Ann Arnold Texas Association of Broadcasters
Patrick Roberts Florida Association of Broadcasters
William Wertz Michigan Association of Broadcasters
Kelly Williams National Association of Broadcasters
Representative of National Organization Representing Noncommercial Broadcast TV
John Lawson Association of Public Television Stations
Representatives of National Organizations Representing Individuals with Special Needs
Hilary C. Styron National Organization on Disability
Marcia Brooks WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
Other Technical Representatives
Edward Czarnecki Spectrarep
Stephen Oshinsky American Association of Paging Carriers
Art Prest Rural Cellular Association
Maria Estefania Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions
Marion Dunn Tutor Mississippi Council on Aging
Cheryl Blum Telecommunications Industry Association
Leslie Chapman-Henderson Flash
Representatives of Other Qualified Stakeholders and Interested Parties
Kevin Briggs Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Dale Barr National Communications System, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Edward Fritts Global Security Systems
Christopher Guttman-McCabe CTIA
Raymond Ban The Weather Channel

The first meeting of the group will be held Dec. 12, 2006 in the Commission Meeting Room (TW-C305) in Washington. The meeting is open to members of the general public. The agenda will cover the advisory committee structure and mission statements, an alerting tutorial, an introduction of the advisory committee members, and a review schedule.


Future of Music Coalition: Radio Consolidation Hurts
Washington - Dec 13, 2006 - The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) released a report called False Premises, False Promises: A Quantitative History of Ownership Consolidation in the Radio Industry that documents the effects of radio station ownership consolidation on musicians and the public. The FMC's data in the report shows that station ownership consolidation at the national and local levels has led to fewer choices in radio programming and harmed the listening public and those working in the music and media industries, including DJs, programmers and musicians.

A teleconference to discuss the report was held on Dec. 13 and featured Jenny Toomey, executive director, Future of Music Coalition; Tom Morello of Audioslave, The Nightwatchman, and formerly of Rage Against the Machine; Gene Kimmelman, vice president for federal and international affairs, Consumers Union; Michael Bracy, policy director, Future of Music Coalition; and Peter DiCola, research director, Future of Music Coalition and the report's author.

Some of the statistics presented in the report:

  • The top four radio station owners have almost half of the listeners and the top 10 owners have almost two-thirds of listeners.
  • The localness of radio ownership -- ownership by individuals living in the community -- has declined between 1975 and 2005 by almost one-third.
  • 15 formats make up three-quarters of all commercial programming. Moreover, radio formats with different names can overlap up to 80 percent in terms of the songs played on them.
  • Niche musical formats like classical, jazz, americana, bluegrass, new rock and folk, where they exist, are provided almost exclusively by smaller station groups.
  • Across 155 markets, radio listenership has declined over the past 14 years, a 22 percent drop since its peak in 1989.

The 116-page report presents a history of radio broadcasting and consolidation that most broadcasters already know. The report presents its information with an intended audience of non-broadcast readers. The recurring theme of the report echoes the stance that only a handful of owners control the vast majority of stations and that the Telecom Act of 1996 has had a detrimental effect. The net effect is a reduction in format choices.

The NAB immediately issued its own rebuttal to the report and cite a report from the BIA Financial Network. A recent BIA report shows that the number of general programming formats provided by local radio stations increased by 7.5 percent since 2001. In addition, BIA notes that markets of all sizes saw substantial increases in the average number of specific programming formats provided, with an average 22.2 percent increase since 2001, and that across all markets since 1996 the number of general and specific programming formats has increased by 16 percent and 36.4 percent, respectively.

The NAB also counters the FMC claims that the 1996 Telecommunications Act has stifled diversity and led to homogenized programming.

  • In just the last six years the number of U.S. Spanish-language radio stations increased by 45.5 percent. In 2000, there were 547 Hispanic radio stations; today, there are nearly 800, providing diverse types of music that include Mexican, Tejano and Ranchera.
  • Asian-language radio stations have also increased. BIA reports that nine of the top 10 Asian markets have at least one Asian-programmed station in their market.
  • 72.1 percent of African-Americans in Arbitron-rated markets can receive three or more Urban programmed stations compared to only 61.9 percent six years ago. More than 52 percent of all African-Americans living in Arbitron metro areas have four or more Urban programmed stations in their markets.

Read the FMC report at this link. Read the BIA report at this link.


Business

Sales Call
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Bid4Spots has signed 200 Internet radio stations to its reverse auction to facilitate buying and selling advertising for independent online radio. Bid4Spots also operates a reverse auction marketplace for terrestrial radio.

People

BE Appoints Asia Pacific Sales Manager, Opens Office in Bangkok
Quincy, IL - Dec 14, 2006 - Broadcast Electronics (BE) has appointed Frank Massa as Asia Pacific sales manager and opened a new office in Bangkok, Thailand. Massa will oversee BE's sales and customer relations in the digital and analog radio broadcast markets of the region, including Southeast Asia, China, Russia, India and Australia.

Massa was previously the sales director for Microwave Networks and executive director for Aeras Networks in the Asia Pacific region, where he has established a rapport with telecom and other communications agencies.

Massa also brings an engineering background to his new role. He has several radio and digital product and network architecture patents on file and is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology.


Products

Logitek Ships Artisan Digital Console
Houston, TX - Dec 11, 2006 - Logitek Electronic Systems has shipped the first Artisan line of router-based digital audio consoles. Artisan consoles are control surfaces for the Logitek Audio Engine.

The first Artisan went to WAFF-TV in Huntsville, AL. Additional Artisan systems have been sold to WOIO/WUAB-TV in Cleveland and Youth Radio in Berkeley, CA.


Klotz Digital Redesigns Vadis Line, Ships New 888 Router
Munich and Atlanta - Dec 14, 2006 - Klotz Digital's Vadis router family has undergone a complete redesign. Recently, the Vadis 212 router was unveiled and now the new design of the bigger Vadis 888 has been released. The new Vadis 888 comes with an enhanced front panel display to provide more information in a clearly arranged manner and a fanless power supply unit. An optional hot-swappable redundant PSU is available.

The new Vadis frame is also available as Vadis 884 version, additionally equipped with a video sync module. The Vadis 888 can manage up to 256x256 I/O real time channels.




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