Radio Currents Online - Mar 24 - Mar 30, 2003


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FCC Ownership Decision Slated for June


Washington - March 27, 2003 - According to Dow Jones Business News, the FCC has tentatively set June 2 as the date to issue a decision in its review of media ownership. In a speech before a nonprofit communications policy group, FCC Chairman Michael Powell offered that date and provided a rationale for relaxing some rules meant to prevent concentration of ownership.


TV tower planned for Times Square




Rendering of broadcast tower to be built on Conde Nast Building roof at 4 Times Square.

New York - Mar 28, 2003 - The New York Daily News reports that plans to erect a new TV tower in Manhattan have been put in place. Univision is close to signing a deal to transmit from a new, 358-foot tower on top of the Conde Nast Building, also known as 4 Times Square. The building is owned by the Durst Organization.

Following Sept. 11, several stations made quick moves to the antenna on the Empire State Building. The Conde Nast site was originally built as a backup for the Empire State building radio transmission facilities, but the Univision agreement could make this site a primary location for some TV stations.

The tower will stand 358 feet above the roof, for a total height of 1,142 feet above street level. The cost is estimated at $25 million with a projected completion date in October. The Durst Organization has already obtained the necessary approvals for zoning and FAA.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Television Alliance (MTVA), a group that represents WNBC, WNET, WABC and other TV stations, is planning to build a 2,000-foot tower in Bayonne, NJ.


Ibiquity Releases Field-Upgradeable Software Release


Columbia, MD and Warren, NJ - Mar 27, 2003 - Ibiquity Digital, has released the first field-upgradeable commercial IBOC (HD Radio) software release for broadcasters. HD Radio software version 1.3 offers field upgradeable capabilities for commercial HD Radio broadcast exciters. This new software release will simplify a broadcasters’ ability to add enhancements to the system, including advancements in audio compression technology and wireless data applications, while not affecting consumer receivers. HD Radio software version 1.3 includes all of the latest features available to licensed broadcasters and exciter manufacturers and is covered under existing licenses.

Details on the upgrade are available through the exciter manufacturers.


Partnership For Public Warning Issues Mission Draft


Mclean, VA - Mar 24, 2003 - The Partnership for Public Warning's (PPW) draft national warning strategy document is now available from the PPW website at www.ppw.us.

This document represents the first proposal for an overall warning strategy for the United States. To access the PPW draft directly, go to www.ppw.us/ppw/docs/nationalstrategy.pdf


FCC Issues New Form 303-S


Washington, DC - Mar 21, 2003 - The FCC's Office of Management and Budget has approved the new Form 303-S, Application for Renewal of Broadcast Station License. The new version is dated as the March 2003 edition.

Effective immediately, this revised form must be used by all broadcast station licensees. All previous editions of the FCC 303-S are obsolete and may not be used. The FCC 303-S form may be accessed using the Media Bureau’s Consolidated Database System (CDBS). This system enables the public to complete and file these forms via the Internet from the Media Bureau’s website at
www.fcc.gov/mb/elecfile.html.


FCC Media Ownership Meeting Set for April 7


Washington, DC - Mar 23, 2003 - The FCC will again hear public testimony on media ownership issues April 7 at KAET-TV, a non-commercial station in Phoenix, owned by Arizona State University. So far, only FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who called for more public testimony on the proposed media ownership changes, is scheduled to attend.


Americans Seek Alternative Outlets for War Information


Mar 24, 2003 - Americans are using the Internet as a way to get alternative news reports on the war in Iraq. Websites covering war activity in Britain and Australia report spikes in visitors from the United States as war activity increases.

Wired reported that the Guardian Unlimited news site, an umbrella site for Britain's Guardian and Observer newspapers, saw a recent 10 percent increase of visitors from the Americas. Nielsen/NetRatings reported that during the build-up to war earlier this year a quarter of the visitors to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Web site (
www.abc.net.au were from the Americas.


SBE Chapter 9 and Arizona Broadcasters Announce Convention Plans


Phoenix - Mar 24, 2003 - The 2003 Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 9 Regional Convention and the 51st annual Arizona Broadcasters Convention will be held jointly on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003, at the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency Hotel, located directly across from Civic Plaza.

The event begins with the annual SBE regional breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at the Phoenix Civic Plaza followed by morning and afternoon educational seminars. The seminars will feature technical and other broadcast-related topics including EAS and the national AMBER program.

An 80-booth exhibition will also be held in Exhibit Hall A at the Convention Center. Exhibit hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Arizona Broadcasters Association will hold a Broadcast Job Fair open to the public in the SBE exhibit hall. Free of charge to the general public, the Broadcast Job Fair will provide information to people pursuing career opportunities in the broadcast industry. A number of broadcast companies will present career information at display tables in the exhibit hall from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Door prizes will be awarded during the exhibit hours.

The ABA will hold its annual membership luncheon at the Civic Plaza. The group’s 14th annual ABA Hall of Fame reception and dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The annual ABA Hall of Fame event honors Pioneers of Broadcasting in the state of Arizona.

Except for meal events, convention attendance is free of charge. Further information on exhibiting or attending is available from Bonnie Leigh Crystall, exhibit management, C/S Communications, 480-839-8988; cscomm@earthlink.net; or Gerry Grunig, convention chairman, 602-262-5106.


NAB2003: Digital Radio Session Highlight


Washington, DC - Mar 24, 2003 - With IBOC transmitters introduced at NAB2002 and receivers introduced this year, IBOC, or as Ibiquity has branded it, HD Radio, is still in its infancy. Opening remarks at the session titled Digital AM & FM Radio: The Future Begins Now will be provided by Jeff Jury, senior vice president, Ibiquity Digital. Scott Stull, director of Broadcast Business Development and Joe D'Angelo, director, PAC and Wireless Data Business Development, both of Ibiquity, will speak about rollout and benefits of IBOC. Following their presentations will be a panel from related industries.

Panelists are Bob Law, senior vice president, Kenwood USA; Jury from Ibiquity; Tom Ray, corporate director of engineering, Buckley Broadcasting/WOR; and Gregg Thomas, merchandise manager for Moblie Electronics and Wireless, Ultimate Electronics.

Exhibitors participating in the reception following the sessions are Broadcast Electronics, Harris, Ibiquity and Orban/CRL.



Business



Clear Channel Selects Harris for 10 Stations


Cincinnati - Mar 28, 2003 - The Harris Broadcast Communications Division will supply 10 Clear Channel Communications radio stations with Harris FM analog transmitters including the Harris HT-20 transmitter and the Harris Z-CD transmitters. Clear Channel has purchased FM analog transmitters for the following stations:

  • WSIX-FM 97.9, Nashville, TN

  • WMGR-FM 104.9, Roanoke, VA

  • WAMX-FM 106.3, Huntington, WV

  • WKKJ-FM 94.3, Columbus, OH

  • WSCQ-FM 100.1, Columbia, SC

  • WCKT-FM 107.1, Ft. Myers, FL

  • WSMJ-FM 93.9, Lima, OH

  • WCOL-FM 92.3, Columbus, OH

  • WBUB-FM 104.9, Mobile, AL


AKG Donates Headphones to Rock Hall


Cleveland - Mar 24, 2003 - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Alan Freed Radio Studio has recently acquired six K 240 M headphones from AKG Acoustics. The newly renovated studio enables visiting broadcasters from around the world to originate programs live from the museum’s fifth floor.


Harris Expands International Service Network


Cincinnati - Mar 27, 2003 - Harris has added dedicated, in-country service professionals for Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, Thailand, Australia and the Philippines to its Broadcast Communications Division's service staff. Current service representatives in Mexico and China have also been upgraded to full-time Harris status. The new Harris service personnel will cover their respective countries as well as neighboring countries.

In the past, these countries were supported on a project-by-project basis, but now will have a designated service professional to contact for any service need. The Chinese representatives are Li Jianhe and Li Jianchao. Marcelo Cacheiro is the Brazilian representative.


IDT Media Forms O&O Group


Newark, NJ - Mar 27, 2003 - IDT Media, owner of the Talk America Radio Network, has formed an owned-and-operated radio station group. Jim Weiskopf has been named president of the newly-formed division. IDT Media is a division of IDT Corporation a multinational carrier, technology and telephone company.

IDT Media recently acquired WMET 1150AM in Washington, DC. IDT Media's long-term strategy is to acquire radio stations in major U.S. markets to establish a significant and influential broadcast organization with a national reach.

IDT feels that the station group will complement Talk America, IDT Media's syndicated radio network, providing a natural operational synergy. The original programming created by stations of the O&O group can be syndicated on the Talk America network while some programming from Talk America could be cleared on O&O stations on a program-by-program and market-by-market basis.

Jim Weiskopf's career in radio spans 19 years and includes positions in sales and management. Most recently, Weiskopf was the general manager of Clear Channel's three Washington AM station; Sports Talk 980/WTEM, talker WTNT AM570 and Money Talk WRC AM 1260. Weiskopf's appointment is effective as of April 7, 2003.


New Look for Broadcast Richardson


LaFox, IL - Mar 26, 2003 - Richardson Electronics has unveiled a new logo for its Broadcast Richardson division. The new logo identifies the group as a division of Richardson Electronics. The new logo will see its debut at NAB2003.

Along with the new logo, Broadcast Richardson has a new toll-free number dedicated to its business (800-882-3872), which is available for customers in the United States and Canada.


Tieline Provides Codecs for SBE Use


Indianapolis - Mar 24, 2003 - Tieline Technology and Bnet Radio have partnered to webcast the Society of Broadcast Engineers' EAS meeting live during the NAB convention. The meeting will take place at 2 p.m. PT. The meeting will be webcast over Bnet Radio using Tieline codecs.

The webcast will be broadcast live and then archived by Bnet Radio for later listening. This event was webcast live during NAB2002 and archived. Last year's archived broadcast has been listened to several thousand times.



Products



Linux Driver for Digigram Sound Cards Available


Amsterdam - Mar 25, 2003 - At the 114th AES Convention in Amsterdam, Digigram showcased a Linux driver under open source licensing for its VX222, VXpocket v2, and VXpocket 440 sound cards. The driver follows the most advanced audio standard for Linux called ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture).

In November 2002, Digigram made available the source code of its Mac OS X drivers and driver interface documentation on the ALSA Project website (www.alsa-project.org). Since then, the Linux community, managed by the ALSA driver developers of SuSE Linux AG, Germany, has developed a driver that takes advantage of the newest ALSA version 0.9.1.


Entercom Boston Goes Wireless with Intraplex


Boston - Mar 26, 2003 - Entercom Boston has upgraded the Harris Intraplex STL Plus system at WQSX-FM 93.7 to handle the IBOC needs for a all five of the group's Boston stations. The STL Plus upgrade using the PT/PR-353 modules, which support a linear audio stream at a 44.kHz sampling rate, has already been completed. This summer, the station will install a wireless network that will allow the Boston group to feed programming created at a single studio site over one Intraplex microwave connection to a midpoint. From this midpoint, the signal will be transmitted to various transmitters located throughout suburban Boston. The microwave transmission will be used as a backup to the telephone company-provided T1. WAAF-FM, WEEI-AM, WQSX-FM, WRKO-AM and WVEI-AM will use the wireless STL system.

The STL HD, based on Harris Broadcast Communications Division's STL Plus, provides a link system that can transport audio, LAN/WAN data, telephone, intercom voice and remote control signals over high-speed digital lines, such as E1 and T1.


Tieline Updates Voice Algorithm


Indianapolis - Mar 24, 2003 - Tieline has added a new voice algorithm to all models in the company's codec range. The new algorithm reduces audio artifacts at bit-rates between 9.6kb/s and 16.8kb/s. The algorithm, called the Voice algorithm, provides 5kHz of bandwidth on lines running as low as 9.6kb/s.

The new algorithm is also available for purchase and retrofit by existing Tieline users. See
www.tieline.com/vox for more information.


Harris to Unveil Neustar Codec Preconditioner


Cincinnati - Mar 25, 2003 - Harris will introduce Neustar, a codec preconditioner that offers digital signal processing for use with the bit-rate constraints of most audio encoding schemes. One of the main challenges in the new digital broadcast environment is delivering superior sound quality within the economic constraints for digital bit-rate storage, transmission and broadcast. With today's most advanced codecs, transparent digital audio is typically encoded at a bit rate of 256kb/s, while transmission of digital audio is bandwidth-limited at 96kb/s for FM IBOC and 36kb/s for AM IBOC.

The Neustar is powered by Neural Audio, a privately owned company headquartered in Seattle that develops and licenses advanced neural algorithms for digital signal processing applications.




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