Radio Currents Online - Apr 14 - Apr 20, 2003

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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News


DRM Inaugural Broadcasts Slated for June 16
Geneva - Apr 17, 2003 - The world’s first Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) broadcasts will be transmitted across the globe on June 16, 2003. The precise moment of DRM’s inaugural broadcasts will occur during the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) World Radio Communication Conference (WRC 2003) in Geneva, marked by a reception at the Château de Penthes.

Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) was the first broadcaster to announce its participation. The DRM consortium has been led by Peter Senger, DW’s executive director of marketing, distribution and technology, since its inception in 1998. Deutsche Welle will broadcast 12 program hours per day in German and English to target regions in Europe.

DRM is a non-proprietary, digital system for short-wave, medium-wave/AM and long-wave with the ability to use existing frequencies and bandwidth.
FCC Delays Coordination Deadline Thanks to the SBE
Washington - Apr 15, 2003 - The FCC released an order granting the request for a temporary stay to delay the effective date of prior coordination procedures adopted by the FCC's Report and Order in the proceeding for most fixed point-to-point aural and TV Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) stations. The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) requested the stay to allow BAS licensees time to provide and to correct BAS receive site information in the FCC licensing database, the Universal Licensing System (ULS), to ensure that the new procedures effectively avert interference to existing systems. The FCC has granted the request relief for six months, delaying the effective date to October 16, 2003. The original effective date was April 16, 2003.

The complete Order can be viewed online with one of the following links:
Word Document
PDF
Text file

The original Report and Order required that fixed aural BAS stations above 944MHz and fixed television BAS stations above 2.11GHz begin using the same methods that currently apply to Part 101 users.

The SBE requested a one-year stay. The commission noted that the database issues raised by the SBE are valid and have merit, which shows high praise for the SBE from the FCC.
XM and Weather Works to Launch Real-Time Weather
Washington DC - Apr 7, 2003 - XM Satellite Radio and Weather Works, an affiliate and licensee of Baron Services, have introduced a weather service to deliver real-time, detailed, graphical weather data to mobile users in the marine, aviation and emergency management markets. The new service will use Weather Works' patented Storm Cell Identification and Tracking technology, together with its real-time NEXRAD Radar, as currently provided to hundreds of TV stations with a viewing audience of more than 200 million across the United States.

XM has assembled what it calls a "dream team" for creating this service. The companies who have entered agreements to deliver the advanced weather service include Garmin International; Heads Up Technologies, an aviation digital audio and integrated systems specialist; LiveTV, a provider of real-time entertainment and information services to commercial aviation; and Weather Works.

Real-time, graphical weather information will be overlaid on map display devices in the cockpit of aircraft, at the helm of marine vessels and on board emergency response vehicles. The data-only weather service will be available on a subscription basis from XM later this summer.

The NAB has opposed XM's use of terrestrial repeaters and further opposes XM's continued development of a subsequent patent filing covering technology that would allow the satellite broadcaster to originate local programming from the repeaters. The NAB filed a letter with the FCC arguing that XM's intent to offer localized weather is another step toward the national service becoming a local service.

The terrestrial repeaters currently operate under Special Temporary Authorization from the FCC. The NAB wants XM to disclose its local terrestrial plans before issuing permanent licenses.
Poll Shows One-Third of Consumers Open to Paying for Content
Santa Monica, CA - Apr 10, 2003 - As consumers continue to fuel the market for paid online audio and video content, attitudes about paying for content appear to be warming, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Synovate of Chicago for Ramp Rate, a technology advisor and purchasing index for IT sourcing services.

Fielded in March, the Ramp Rate/Synovate Enation survey polled 1,383 online Americans to determine attitudes about paying for streaming Internet audio and video content. The new study reveals that roughly one-third (32 percent) of respondents no longer mind paying for streaming audio and video. Another 47.5 percent hold to the principle that the Internet should be free, and 20 percent agree with the statement that paying is "cumbersome and a turn-off." Among paying customers, 11 percent prefer pay-per-view to a monthly subscription.

At the same time, Ramp Rate announced that the company will begin to survey consumer attitudes regarding paid streaming media on a quarterly basis, as part of a broader educational effort to raise awareness of the variety and value of premium content online. Ramp Rate delivers customer-focused solutions from one or more technology concerns (vendors, solution providers and integrators) to create new and improve existing, streaming media and content delivery applications, paid and free, for content owners, while pursuing maximum ROI for all parties.

Whatever their attitudes about paying for online streaming content, consumers haven’t been shy about opening their wallets, according to recent reports. In the Online Publishers Association’s latest U.S. Market Spending Report, consumer spending for online content in the United States totaled $1.3 billion in 2002, an increase of 95 percent over 2001. Affirming that trend, Jupiter Research reported that the paid online market is expected to grow 20 percent annually until 2007, when it will reach about $5.4 billion.

In recent weeks, the momentum toward premium streaming content appears to have accelerated with Yahoo’s new Platinum subscription-based audio and video service leading the charge. Priced at $9.95 per month, the service includes clips of news, entertainment and sports content. Paid or free, more than 3.9 billion video streams were served during 2002, a 52 percent increase over the number recorded the previous year, according to Accustream Imedia Research.
Kahn Proposes Alternate Digital AM Scheme
New York - Apr 11, 2003 - After a press release issued by Kahn Communications on April 5, 2003, discussions followed on the show floor at NAB2003 about the proposed AM system. Called Compatible AM Digital (Cam-D), Kahn Communications makes several claims about the system being developed.

In a follow-up call from Radio magazine, Leonard Kahn stated that he intends to make his point with the FCC and not through the trade press. Specific details of the system have not been released, but some information from the press release has been offered.

Kahn Communications claims that Cam-D will restore a 15kHz audio bandwidth and not increase co-channel or adjacent-channel interference, allowing it to function at night and during the day.

The system is touted as being fully compatible with existing AM radios, and even promises to improve the performance of the existing radio base. The 15kHz audio improvement can only be realized with new receiver hardware.

Kahn Communications is currently negotiating with stations in Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin to serve as test stations for the system. These stations range in power from 500W to 50kW. The stations are being told that their existing transmitters and antennas will work with the system without any modifications.

In addition to the enhanced audio bandwidth, Cam-D will also supply a low-rate data path. The Cam-D system is based on a number of patents held by Leonard Kahn.

While specific details are not yet available, Kahn expects to release more information once field test commence.

Business


BBC Radio Scotland Upgrades Sadie System
Las Vegas - April 7, 2003 - BBC Radio Scotland is upgrading its existing Sadie Classic systems to the new Sadie Series 5 systems.

BBC Glasgow will receive 25 of the new PCM4 and PCM8 systems, while BBC Aberdeen and Inverness will be incorporating an additional 11 PCM4 systems, including a fully configured portable unit for use on location with a laptop computer. The new portable configuration incorporates a Magma PCI expansion chassis, which houses the PCM4/8 processor board for simple attachment to the host laptop computer.

Other BBC Radio regional centers are following suit, such as BBC Wales in Cardiff, which recently acquired two PCM8s, equipped with the Cedar Retouch, which is a noise removal tool specifically for use on orchestral recordings. It has also purchased a PCM4 for all general-purpose editing and production work.
ADR-32 Provides Flexibility to Alaskan Radio Stations
Las Vegas - April 7, 2003 - The ADR-32 digital audio router from Audioarts Engineering was installed in two Alaskan public radio stations in early March. A large factor in the decision-making process was that KBBI, an AM station located in Homer, and KDLL, its FM counterpart located in Kenai, have distinct programming feeds. KBBI sends a customized program stream to KDLL via a T1 fiber optic circuit.

The ADR-32 features front-panel X-Y control and a built-in monitor speaker. The router can be populated with modular I/O cards for up to a 32 x 32 matrix. Protocol software allows the router to be controlled by an automation system, which will automatically record programs from the public radio satellite and play it back at specific times.
Wheatstone's D-8000 Finds a Home in LA Station
Las Vegas - April 7, 2003 - KJLH FM, Los Angeles, is receiving a new control room, complete with a Wheatstone D-8000 digital audio console and a Wheatstone Bridge audio router. Wheatstone custom configured the console and router to meet the station's specific needs.

The Bridge audio network router KJLH currently uses shares 24 digital inputs, 24 analog inputs, 16 digital and eight analog outputs, has four rack mount control heads and is equipped with software GUI control. KJLH was looking to expand, and the router capacity can grow to as many as 2,048 x 2,048 signals by the addition of cards and card cages.

KJLH was also looking for quality digital equalization and dynamics, both extremely important for a studio that does live in-studio music and traditional on-air production. The D-8000 console from Wheatstone offers multiple mix-minus outputs, stereo AUX sends and storage and recall of custom console configurations.
Pristine and Cartworks Merge
Las Vegas - April 7, 2003 - Kevin Loper, president of Pristine Systems, and George Thomas, president of Cartworks, have confirmed that the merger of the two companies is complete. Since 1993, DBM Systems, the parent company of Cartworks, has been developing digital audio products for the radio industry. Pristine Systems has been providing digital storage and delivery systems such as on-air systems, music scheduling and production software for 20 years.
Nebraska Controls Networks with ILC's Maxview
Washington, DC - Feb 26, 2003 - Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) develops and delivers state educational radio, television and multimedia programming. NET has selected ILC's Maxview network control software to expand the monitoring, management and control of its network.

Currently, NET uses the Maxview to automate the control of its satellite system. Now it will use it to monitor and control nine terrestrial broadcast transmitter sites located throughout the state of Nebraska.
Rates Meet Ratings with Arbitron, RCS' Help
White Plains, NY - April 7, 2003 - Arbitron's Tapscan software can now use RCS' Prorate yield management software. With Prorate yield management, a station can integrate its rates and cost per point data automatically into the Tapscan software suite's Reachmaster proposal system.

"By adding Prorate's pricing to our schedule builder module inside the Tapscan software suite, the sales staff can create a schedule without having to manually enter rates or calculate cost per point," said Scott Musgrave, senior vice president, Arbitron Radio.
Azcar Acquires Shares of Megahertz Broadcast Systems
Cambridge, United Kingdom - April 9, 2003 - The Canadian technology integration company, Azcar, has acquired an 80 percent shareholding of UK-based systems integrator Megahertz Broadcast Systems.

The deal will provide Megahertz Broadcast Systems with a stronger financial base. This will allow the company to attract larger projects. The deal provides opportunities for Azcar to increase its reach into Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Klotz Digital Restructure Sharholdings, Realigns Regional Focus
Munich - Apr 11, 2003 - Klotz Digital AG has restructured its international organization to act as a holding company that will oversee three independent subsidiaries. Two of these subsidiary companies, Klotz Digital America and Klotz Digital Asia-Pacific have been incorporated for several years. As of this month, Klotz Digital AG adds Klotz Digital Europe.

The new subsidiary, located in Munich, is responsible for sales, marketing, project design/installation, service and support for customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The holding company maintains control over R&D and production of Klotz Digital’s product range.

"The objective of this restructuring is to separate international strategic management from regional operational management in our worldwide operations," said Thomas Klotz, CEO of Klotz Digital AG. The company anticipates this structuring to provide increases in operational efficiency, support a more transparent cost structure and establish financial independence for the subsidiary companies.

In parallel to these organizational changes, Klotz Digital AG also announced a restructuring of its shareholdings. After a long-standing relationship, Klotz Digital AG and its institutional investors are going separate ways.

"The principle reason for [the separation] is the closure of the funds their investments were held in." The financial institutions have "decided not to stand in the way of the company’s further growth," Klotz said.

Klotz Digital AG has orders in hand in excess of nine million Euro and says that it plans for an annual revenue of more than 20 million Euro in its current financial year ending March 2004. The company's revenue for the previous year was 17 million Euro.

"To finance our continued growth rate, we required additional investment that could not be provided by our current shareholders," said Klotz. According to the company, intensive negotiations with potential investors have been underway for some time and are expected to be concluded shortly. An additional round of investment is scheduled for later in the year, according to Klotz.
Dielectric Tapped for Colorado Tower Project
Raymond, ME - Apr 8, 2003 - Dielectric Communications has been chosen by The Hunt Media Group to design and construct a 2,000-foot radio broadcast tower and FM antenna systems in Sterling, CO. The system will draw on Dielectric’s services including its Central Tower and Flash Technology products and services.

The tower will accommodate KLES-FM and KBRU-FM as well as local 911 and cellular antennas that will service the Denver area. Dielectric’s Central Tower unit will be responsible for the site layout; project management; tower design, fabrication and construction; and installation of the antennas and transmission lines. The tower was designed with Dielectric's Frequency Matched tower sections for the two Dielectric 10-bay DCR-M antenna arrays. In addition, the stations will use 2000 feet of the company’s 4-1/16 inch EIA transmission line and two bandpass filters.

Topping off the system will be a Flash Technology lighting system. The system provides 24-hour monitoring of the tower lighting system using Flash's patented ARC technology.
Satellite Radio Report Card
Washington, DC and New York - Apr 15, 2003 - The two satellite radio providers have been working hard to make their services succeed. While Sirius trails XM in the number of subscribers, Sirius has been actively marketing its service. At the end of March, Sirius expanded its agreement with Hertz to offer Sirius-capable radios in 33 airport rental locations.

Meanwhile, XM has celebrated its own milestone by reaching the one-half million subscriber mark at the beginning of April. XM traditionally releases its subscriber numbers each quarter but issued this announcement in advance of the scheduled date.
Dielectric Awarded $9M Contract by BBC
Raymond, ME - Apr 8, 2003 - The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has awarded Dielectric a $9 million contract for a turnkey installation, including more than 24 high-power short wave transmitting antenna systems for one of the BBC World Service’s major transmitting stations.

The contract calls for the removal of the existing antennas at the BBC station and replacement with Dielectric’s TCI high-power short wave antennas. Dielectric also has responsibility for project management, design, provision of civil works, installation, commissioning and testing of the antennas.
Entercom Begins RBDS Project
Seattle - Apr 11, 2003 - The Seattle-based company, The Radio Experience (TRE) is working with Entercom to equip 54 FM stations with TRE's Dynamic Data Initiative technology by mid-summer. According to TRE, the DDI system traces its beginnings back to the 1990s the company first used wireless messaging to activate electronic billboard displays via a Radio Broadcast Data System subcarrier.

Entercom has tested DDI in two markets. While RBDS is not a new technology, there is a base of receivers available. TRE has also planned to make its system available for use with IBOC.
WRHI Upgrades With Radio Systems Turnkey
Rock Hill, SC - Apr 14 , 2003 - WRHI celebrates its 60th anniversary next year, and in preparation of the big event, the station recently completed a facility rebuild.

Station co-owners Manning Kimmel and Al Miller have replaced everything from the floor carpet to the broadcast consoles in this complete facility upgrade. Among the equipment used in the rebuild is the Radio Systems Studiohub+ wiring system and Millenium studio consoles. The studio furniture was built and installed by Studio Technology and acoustical treatments were provided by Accoustical Tackable Surfaces.

People


Hansen Named DK-Audio Sales, Marketing Manager
Copenhagen - April 9, 2003 - As the new sales and marketing manager for DK-Audio, Anca Hansen will be based at the company's main office in Denmark. Hansen previously held the job title of area sales manager at Barco and UBS. At these companies she was responsible for handling sales in geographic regions including Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, India, Turkey and Israel.

Products


Burk Intros Drill-Down Capability in Lynx 4.1
Littleton, MA - Apr 15, 2003 - Now available from Burk Technology is the Custom Views feature in the Lynx 4 transmitter remote control software. Custom Views allows operators to design a personalized software interface to broadcast sites monitored by the Burk GSC3000 and VRC2500 transmitter remote control systems. By designing screens with increasing levels of detail, operators are able to build a drill-down site-management approach to quickly zero in on any trouble areas.

With the ability to customize how the software displays site data and control functions, broadcasters can use an interface tailored to their operation. Because users can control the amount of viewable data, Custom Views reduces the time spent tracing the cause of out-of-tolerance conditions. Custom Views are included in the latest release of Lynx 4.1, which is a free download for current GSC3000 and VRC2500 users from the Burk website at www.burk.com.
Dielectric Expands its Service
Raymond, ME - April 7, 2003 - Traditionally known for its line of broadcast antennas and systems, Dielectric Communications is expanding its offerings with the Single Source Solution. Single Source Solution is an integrated service program offering custom designed packages to meet broadcaster's needs through a coast-to-coast network of Dielectric locations and trained technicians.

Dielectric's Alarm Response Center (ARC), which is headquartered in Franklin, TN, will be in charge of this service network. ARC provides coverage 24 hours a day and currently supports more than 17,000 sites nationwide. The network service will now provide testing, inspection, preventative maintenance, remote monitoring around the clock and diagnostic service through its Web-enabled portal.
The Dscope Test System is Now Shipping
Cambridge, UK - April 7, 2003 - The Dscope Series III from Prism Sound is now shipping. This audio test system provides the standard audio test facilities, but also incorporates many new features needed to work with new audio techology. The system offers carrier waveform and eye-pattern display, hitter measurement and AES3/IEC958 channel status generation. FFT analysis can be performed up to 256,000 points, allowing for quick and accurate assessment of a range of commonly tested results.
Sennheiser Adds Online Repair Tracking
Old Lyme, CT - Apr 14, 2003 - Sennheiser has launched a new online repair service registration and tracking website. Accessible at www.sennheiserusa.com/service, the Sennheiser Service System allows customers to enter information into the company's Eclipse service database to return faulty equipment and track repair status.

The site allows Sennheiser end-users to register, enter pertinent information and receive shipping instructions using a three-stage process. The final step generates a service return authorization (RA) number and a printable shipping label for affixing to the shipping carton containing the item for repair. The RA number can then be used to log on and track the progress of an item through Sennheiser's service department. On the tracking page, information on the status of the repair and "progress" meter shows the approximate degree of repair completion. When the progress meter reaches 100 percent the item is fully repaired and shipped back to the customer.

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