Radio Currents Online - May 05 - May 18, 2003

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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NRSC Suspends IBOC Standard-Setting
Washington - May 15, 2003 - The National Radio Systems Committee, a co-sponsored effort of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association, created a DAB subcommittee that has been responsible for evaluating systems for use in the United States. The subcommittee has been focused on Ibiquity Digital's IBOC for some time.

The NRSC DAB subcommittee released a letter to its members stating that the groups efforts in setting a standard have been temporarily suspended. The following is excerpted from the memo:
As a result of growing concerns over the audio quality of iBiquity’s low bit-rate codec, the NRSC DAB Subcommittee is temporarily suspending its IBOC DAB standards-setting process. This action is being taken, by unanimous approval of the DAB Subcommittee's Steering Committee, in accordance with the Subcommittee's long-standing goal of supporting the development of a digital radio system offering significant improvements over existing AM and FM analog services.

These concerns have arisen recently, as a result of both information submitted to the NRSC by iBiquity as well as by demonstrations of the Ibiquity AM IBOC system at the 2003 CES, at NAB2003, and at the studios of National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, D.C. The NPR event was a private audio demonstration organized by Ibiquity; at that time Ibiquity stated the audio being demonstrated was based on the latest version of Ibiquity's proprietary audio coding algorithm, PAC, and was the version to be implemented in first generation IBOC receivers.

DAB Subcommittee members who attended the NPR demonstration do not consider the audio quality demonstrated by the Ibiquity 36kb/s PAC technology to be suitable for broadcast. This demonstration confirms subjective test data produced by iBiquity and reviewed by the NRSC early in 2003 (Ibiquity ultimately withdrew this subjective test data submission from consideration by the NRSC, indicating that improvements to PAC were currently being made).

In order to allow time for Ibiquity to resolve any matters relating to its audio coding technology prior to continuation of NRSC standardization, the DAB Subcommittee is temporarily suspending its IBOC DAB standard-setting process. The NRSC will consider resuming standard-setting immediately when Ibiquity has demonstrated to the NRSC that the audio coding problems of concern have been resolved.

Ibiquity released the following statement:
Due to some specific concerns about the current state of the AM audio quality, the NRSC has temporarily suspended standard setting efforts for IBOC digital broadcasting. At this time, we concur with their decision to temporarily delay these efforts until the issue is resolved.

The NRSC has not expressed any concerns about the core system architecture or implementation of IBOC. There are no issues with coverage, reception or functionality. The issue is in the audio coder and has to do specifically with AM audio quality. The resolution will be a software upgrade, and no other changes to the system will be necessary. As such, we have an on-going improvement plan and anticipate resolution of the AM audio quality issue as soon as possible.

Ibiquity and its partners continue to support radio's transition to digital broadcasting and look forward to capitalizing on the potential for HD Radio.

At issue is the quality of the encoding algorithm currently being used by Ibiquity. The PAC algorithm, while designed for low bit-rate transmission, has apparently been judged to provide insufficient quality by the NRSC subcommittee. At the NAB2003 convention, similar comments were the topic of discussion among convention attendees, particularly for the AM service.

Ibiquity previously had used AAC coding in many tests. The PAC algorithm, developed by Lucent, was implemented more recently. Ibiquity is the result of USA Digital Radio and Lucent Digital Radio merging.

Several receiver manufacturers had planned to introduce commercially available IBOC receivers this summer. There is no word yet on whether this announcement will affect that rollout.
Ownership Debate Rolls On
Washington - May 15, 2003 - Following the news of the of some of the proposed changes in the FCC's ownership rules (Radio Currents, May 13, additional discussion has led to more potential details in the pending rulemaking.

Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy (R) explained that although the new rules would allow generally greater consolidation for newspapers and TV companies, rules for radio might not favor further consolidation. She cited that Clear Channel already controls much of the total radio ad market in some smaller markets. Abernathy went on to say that it is unclear whether the FCC will require some companies - and Clear Channel Communications specifically - to divest stations in some areas. Current FCC rules base the number of stations any one company can own in a market on the total number of stations in a market. There has been confusion, however, about how to define a market.

Abernathy said the FCC is looking at the possibility of using Arbitron or other market definitions, rather than looking strictly at signal contours. Abernathy also said the FCC will base what kind of consolidation it will allow in all media markets on a "diversity index," with newspapers and cable and broadcast stations all included in the index, though media that could provide local information will get heavier weight.

Commissioners Adelstein and Copps - both Democrats - have asked for the Commission's vote to be delayed a month. Abernathy and Commissioner Martin oppose the delay. Chairman Michael Powell hasn't yet said if he will agree to the delay. A number of congressmen have written to Powell urging a delay.
One Month to go, DRM is on track
Geneva - May 15, 2003 - Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) will launch its digital radio service on June 16. With about one month to go before the launch date, the plans in place are still being updated as additional broadcasters join the inaugural event.

Just added to the program schedule, German network operator T-Systems will participate in the world’s first live, daily Digital Radio Mondiale broadcasts. The Media & Broadcast department will relay Deutsche Welle programming, as well as multimedia content from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, from its station in Juelich, Germany. The DRM Inaugural Broadcasts event in Geneva takes place on June 16 during the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC 2003).

Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands and Swedish Radio International will participate in DRM’s Inaugural Broadcasts event. In the coming weeks, more of the world’s best-known broadcasters and network operators are expected to confirm their participation in DRM’s historic moment.

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 across the globe. The DRM consortium’s membership is higher than ever - 81 members from 30 countries.
PAMA Charter Member Drive Draws 17
New York - May 13, 2003 - Seventeen leading professional audio manufacturers have signed on to become charter members of the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA). These companies will form the nucleus of the organization. PAMA's charter members include AKG Acoustics, Altec-Lansing, Audio-Technica, Calpine, DigiCo, Dolby Labs, Group One, Harman Pro Group, Klotz Digital, Meyer Sound, Neutrik, Sennheiser, Shure, Sony, Tascam, Telex and Yamaha.

PAMA will host its first business meeting on Thursday, June 6, 2003, in Orlando, FL. The location was selected to accommodate many of the members who will be in Orlando for the 2003 Infocomm Show. The agenda for the meeting addresses a number of business and organizational issues and will include presentations by industry trade associations, the alliance¹s Washington, DC-based legal counsel, and an outside consultant who specializes in developing marketing intelligence for business communities.

The group expects to define long- and short-term goals for the organization at this meeting. In addition, the group's initial Board of Directors will be nominated and approved at the meeting.

The Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance was created by Paul Gallo to serve as the voice of the professional audio manufacturing community. The alliance's mission includes the sponsoring of an executive-level annual retreat and summit, as well as alliance business meetings tied to existing events; monitoring what's going on internally in the industry and reporting on external developments via a Web-based executive-level digest of news/trends; building connections on common issues, interfacing as a group with other associations and trade show organizations that already serve niche market segments; lobbying to enhance relations with the financial and legal communities and the public sector; serving as a conduit to other associations to provide input and support on standards, education, market intelligence and other industry initiatives.

PAMA is a non-profit trade alliance that represents pro audio companies of all sizes. Membership is available to senior executives of professional audio manufacturers. Companies affiliated with the pro audio industry can join PAMA as an associate member. The alliance's by-laws and financial records are available for review. Contact PAMA at 212-696-1799 or
FCC Backs Media Ownership Changes
Washington - May 12, 2003 - The FCC has proposed the most significant update to the media ownership rules, including the possibility for TV networks to own enough local stations to reach 90 percent of the nation's viewers. Increasing the ownership cap while preserving a method that calculates reduced reach of UHF stations are two of the leading aspects supported by the Republican majority of the FCC.

The May 12 plan was sent to the full commission for review in preparation of the final vote, which is scheduled to take place in three weeks. Complete details of the plan have not been publicly released.
Radio Pirate Gets Jail Time
Washington - May 12, 2003 - The FCC announced that in the United States Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, United States Magistrate David A. Baker sentenced Rayon Sherwin Payne to nine months imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, during which time he must perform 50 hours of community service. Payne was charged with multiple counts of operating an unlicensed FM radio facility. He pleaded guilty to two of the counts.

The conditions of supervised release stipulate that Payne must not violate any federal, state or local laws, including Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

The conviction and subsequent sentencing is the result of an investigation that began in February of 1999. The Commission’s Tampa office received complaints from residents and broadcasters in the Orlando, FL, area of interference to the reception of licensed broadcast stations in the area. Payne pled guilty to two counts of unlicensed radio operation and agreed to forfeit all equipment used in connection with the unlicensed operation in February of 2003.

Operators of unlicensed stations may be subject to civil monetary penalties of up to $11,000 per violation or per day of a continuing violation not to exceed $87,500 for continuing violations. In addition, unlicensed operators may be subject to criminal sanctions, including a maximum $100,000 fine and as long as one-year imprisonment for a first offense.
Senate Panel Plans May 13 Media Ownership Hearing
Washington - May 8, 2003 - Reuters reports that the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on May 13 to discuss upcoming changes to U.S. media ownership regulations, and will feature Viacom President Mel Karmazin and Capitol Broadcasting President Jim Goodmon. This comes as a result of the anticipated FCC vote to revise rules on June 2. It is expected that the FCC will relax the rules.

Also slated to testify are Frank Blethen, publisher of the Seattle Times; William Dean Singleton, chief executive of Media News Group and publisher of the Denver Post and Salt Lake Tribune; Bear Stearns analyst Victor Miller; and Gene Kimmelman, director of Consumers Union's Washington office.
DRM Receives Upgraded Standardization
Geneva - May 7, 2003 - As the June 16 date of Digital Radio Mondiale?s (DRM) first broadcasts draws near, the on-air system has received another universal standardization plaudit. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has elevated its September 2001 Technical Specification (TS) of the DRM system to a higher level, ETSI Standard (ES). The new document is published as ETSI ES 201 980 V1.2.2 (2003-4), Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM); System Specification.

Simultaneously, ETSI has published the datacasting standard for DRM as ETSI TS 101 968 V1.1.1 (2003-04), Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM); Data applications directory.
PPW Plans EAS Workshop
McLean, VA - May 5, 2003 - The Partnership For Public Warning (PPW) is sponsoring a discussion on the Emergency Alert System (EAS) at its upcoming first annual convention, symposium and exposition, May 15, 2003, to May 17, 2003. The group invites members of the broadcast EAS LECC and SECC communities to participate in the meeting that will be held on Thursday afternoon, May 15, at the Hilton Hotel in McLean, VA.

The fee for the entire event is $375 for non-members. The PPW is offering a special $10 rate for the EAS meeting. The assumption is that the people who would be most beneficial to have at the meeting are least likely to afford the full convention fee. The $10 fee includes attendance at the reception at 5 p.m. that afternoon and allows admission to the warning technology exposition area.

Agenda topics for the meeting are intended to encourage more people to attend and contribute. The purposed discussion will cover:
  • Ideas for EAS enhancements.
  • Working with EAS newcomers such as Law Enforcement (AMBER-related topic)
  • Language issues.
  • Training and education issues.
  • Exchange of ideas by state and local chairmen about their EAS operations.
  • State and local progress on upgrades to EAS equipment and procedures based on the FCC Report and Order including implementation of the new codes.
  • EAS interface with NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Funding issues.
  • Other issues from the floor as time permits.

    If you are interested in attending or would like to offer ideas, contact Richard Rudman at


    Sirius Doubles Subscribers In First Quarter 2003
    New York - May 14, 2003 - Sirius has more than doubled its subscribers in the first quarter of this year to about 68,000. The growth in subscribers represents a 127 percent increase over its end-of-year 2002 figure.

    "These excellent subscriber results indicate that we are beginning to see some traction in the marketplace," said Joseph P. Clayton, president of Sirius Satellite Radio. "We fully expect to exceed 100,000 subscribers this quarter, and reach our goal of over 300,000 subscribers by the end of the year."
    Dmarc Networks Partners with Clear Channel LA
    Los Angeles - May 16, 2003 - Dmarc Networks, a data services management and wireless data distribution firm, will exhibit and showcase its radio data service (DRDS) technology that provides real-time targeted text message broadcasts to screens on RBDS-enabled car radio receivers at Clear Channel Radio's Wango Tango Concert being held on May 17, 2003, in Pasadena, CA.

    Building on last year's successful deployment in the greater Los Angeles area, Dmarc will introduce its new service expansions and demonstrate the DRDS technology. Live demos at Dmarc's Networks exhibit include:
  • - Service technology that allows consumers to send personalized text messages and dedications to be broadcast and appear on RBDS radio screens.
  • 877-SONG-NOW - A dynamic technology that enabling radio listeners in their cars to instantly retrieve song and artist information and purchase music via the phone when they hear it.
  • DRDS Concert and Album Promotion - Media broadcast technology that allows artists and their respective concert promoters and managers to promote their latest albums and concerts through DRDS Radio Text. Matchbox Twenty is promoting its upcoming concert information.

    The event is being held on Saturday, May 17, 2003, from noon to 10:00 p.m. at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
    SRS Labs and Samsung Sign Technology Licensing Agreement
    Santa Ana, CA - May 15, 2003 - SRS Labs has signed a technology licensing agreement with Samsung, the Korean electronics manufacturer. The new collaboration includes the license of SRS Labs' patented Wow audio technology across multiple Samsung product lines and divisions. The first product line to feature Wow is Yepp, Samsung's flagship, flash-based, digital audio players. Wow enhances the stereo image of source material when it is played over smaller speakers or headphones, such as those found in portable digital audio players.

    The small cylindrical design of the Yepp portable player looks like a tube of lipstick. In addition to the featured Wow audio technology, the player includes an FM radio, USB socket to connect to a personal computer and a real-time encoding function that enables users to record radio and audio from an external device connected via a mini jack. A single AAA battery provides about 15 hours of playback. The YP-55 began shipping in South Korea on April 20 and is available in two versions: the 128MB model (YP-55H) and the 256MB version (YP-55V). Shipments to the United States and other overseas markets will begin in the next few months.
    ACN Selects Harris for Washington Transmitters
    Cincinnati - May 13, 2003 - The American Christian Network (ACN) is purchasing radio transmitters for five of its affiliates from Harris. The five affiliates are located across the state of Washington. Other stations that serve the Spokane, WA; Yakima, WA; Moses Lake, WA; Northern Idaho and Northeastern Oregon have purchased new transmitters within the last 12 months.

    The stations and transmitters include:
  • KTBI-AM 810 Wenatchee/Moses Lake, WA - 3DX-50 transmitter
  • KTAC-FM 93.9 Moses Lake, WA - HT-20FM transmitter
  • KTRW-AM 970 Spokane, WA - Gates 5 transmitter
  • KYAK-AM 930 Yakima, WA - DX-10 transmitter
  • KSPO-FM 106.5 Spokane, WA - Z2-FM transmitter

    The ACN is a group of six Christian-format radio stations covering Eastern Washington State, Northern Idaho and Northeastern Oregon.
    Cumulus Taps Omnia as Exclusive Audio Processing Supplier
    Cleveland - May 9, 2003 - Cumulus Broadcasting, based in Atlanta, owns more than 260 FM and AM radio stations across the United States. The group owner has selected Telos/Omnia Audio as the exclusive supplier audio processing equipment for all of its AM and FM radio operations.

    In a three-way agreement inked between Telos Systems, Cumulus and Florida-based Broadcaster's General Store, Cumulus will standardize on Omnia FM and AM audio processors. In addition, Telos is has been named a preferred supplier of ISDN codecs and broadcast phone equipment. Cumulus purchases of Telos and Omnia products will be handled exclusively by Broadcaster's General Store.

    Cumulus is the second largest radio broadcasting company in the United States based on number of stations owned or operated.
    Harris Cuts Staff, Moves Intraplex
    Melbourne, FL and Cincinnati - May 6, 2003 - Harris has begun implementing cost-reduction actions aimed at reducing corporate overhead expenses and increasing operating income in its commercial businesses. Actions in the fourth quarter will include reductions in labor and facility costs, discontinuation of several low-margin telecom products and disposal of assets remaining from the previously exited telecom switch business.

    About 230 positions are being eliminated at its corporate headquarters, which accounts for 125 of the staff cuts, and the Broadcast Communications Division, which accounts for the remaining 105. Some product lines are being eliminated in the wireless markets, including wireless local loop Winroll and Rapidnet products, and the digital subscriber line test product.

    The Littleton, MA, facility, which has been the home to the Intraplex division, is being closed. Many of the employees housed in Littleton have been offered positions within Intraplex at the Mason, OH, facility, just north of Cincinnati.

    Intraplex had already outsourced some component manufacturing to Cirtronics in Manchest, NH, completing the assembly at the Intraplex facility. Cirtronics will now handle more of the assembly work, and the Intraplex assembly employees have the opportunity to transfer to Critronics.

    Nineteen manufacturing employees in the Quincy, IL, facility were let go. Most of these emplyees were temporary positions created for the DTV rollout. A similar number of layoffs were made at the Mason facility with part-time positions. A few layoffs were made in the Sunnyvale, CA, facility. These employees were part of the Louth automation group.
    BBDO Detriot Selects Fastchannel Network for Ad Distribution
    Boston, MA - May 8, 2003 - BBDO Detroit has selected the Fastchannel Network to deliver all television, radio and newspaper advertising to the media for the agency. BBDO Detroit's clients include Daimler Chrysler.

    The selection of Fastchannel was made on May 2 and over the next 30 days will commence full distribution services.
    Andrew Opens Manufacturing Facility in Mexico
    Orland Park, IL - May 8, 2003 - Andrew has opened a manufacturing facility in Reynosa, Mexico, by signing a lease agreement for a 100,000 square-foot facility. The Andrew Reynosa facility will make microwave and satellite earth station equipment for the North American and export markets. The facility is already in partial operation and will be in full-scale production during May 2003. The Andrew Reynosa facility will initially employ about 200 people.

    Andrew anticipates that the Reynosa facility will become a key manufacturing site for the company, and opening the facility is a major step in the company's ongoing operations restructuring program. The corporation's overall restructuring plan, announced in September 2002, is ahead of schedule and is expected to achieve in excess of $40 million in annual savings.

    Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, is a principal city along the United States-Mexico border and has a population of about 750,000. It is located across the Rio Grande River nine miles south of McAllen, TX.
    Burk Technology Completes ISO 9001:2000 Certification
    Littleton, MA - May 2, 2003 - Burk Technology has successfully completed the transition of its ISO 9001:1994 Quality System to the new ISO 9001:2000 standard. The new standard places central emphasis on meeting customer needs and developing processes to ensure customer satisfaction.

    Peter Burk, president of Burk Technology, said, "We?ve built our company based on broadcasters' needs, and the new ISO standard recognizes the importance of a customer-driven business attitude."

    Companies registered to the previous standard have until the end of this year to upgrade their systems. Burk Technology transmitter remote control systems are registered by Underwriters Laboratories to the ISO9001 series for quality.
    Shure Moves to New Headquarters
    Niles, IL - May 5, 2003 - Shure has moved into its new headquarters. The company's toll-free telephone number and website are unchanged. The new address and telephone information is:
    5800 West Touhy Avenue
    Niles, IL 60714-4608
    Telephone: 847-600-2000, or 800-25-SHURE in the U.S.
    Fax: 847-600-1212


    V-Soft's Vernier To Consult for CPB
    Washington - May 13, 2003 - Doug Vernier, president of V-Soft Communications, has been selected by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to provide technical consultation and management for the CPB IBOC Seed Market Program. This program is designed to provide qualifying public radio stations in 13 of the nation’s top radio markets with matching funds to convert to IBOC. CPB is closely working with Ibiquity and National Public Radio on this project, which has been initially funded at 3.5 million dollars. A total of 42 FM stations and three AM stations have been identified by CPB as potential applicants for the funds.

    The guidelines for the process are being defined. The CPB expects the criteria to be released around the end of June. Following that, an application form will be available for stations to apply for the available funds. As the IBOC roll-out continues and spreads into smaller markets, the CPB efforts to assist these stations will follow.
    Patriot Antenna Systems Appoints Bartlett as VP
    Albion, MI - May 13, 2002 - Jeff Mathie, president of Patriot Antenna Systems, has appointed Jaime Bartlett as vice president Canadian operations. Based in British Columbia, Bartlett has more than 24 years of satellite and retail electronics experience, specializing in marketing and service.

    Bartlett was formerly the international director of sales for Norsat International, a supplier of commercial LNBs. He was responsible for various strategic management positions within the different divisions of Norsat. Prior to Norsat, he was national sales manager for Aurora Distributing, the Canadian distribution arm of Norsat. He was responsible for the sales and marketing of the Norsat LNBs and transmitters.

    Patriot Antenna Systems is a manufacturer and distributor of satellite equipment worldwide. The company is based in Albion, MI, which is located 75 miles west of Detroit and 150 miles east of Chicago.
    Sennheiser Appoints Reichert to VP of Marketing
    Old Lyme, CT - May 3, 2003 - Sennheiser Electronic has appointed Stefanie Reichert as its first vice president of marketing effective March 3, 2003. In this pivotal position within the company's busy marketing division, Reichert will spearhead product management for the Sennheiser line, as well as oversee channel management and marketing communications for company brands including Neumann, Innova SON, Turbosound and Chevin. In addition to driving Sennheiser's marketing plan, Reichert will play a key role in helping shape the company's overall strategic vision.

    A German citizen, Reichert's experience includes 10 years with Rodenstock, of ever-increasing responsibility including product management, brand management, marketing and sales. Most recently, Reichert served as director of marketing and sales for the market research division of Jobson Publishing, a trade publisher serving clients in both the United States and Europe.

    Reichert will be based at the company's Old Lyme, CT, headquarters where she will report directly to Sennheiser president John Falcone.
    Nautel Appoints New President
    Hackett's Cove, Nova Scotia - May 6, 2003 - After 33 years, David Grace has retired from his position as president of Nautel. Present and past employees gathered on Feb. 27 to honor Grace at Nautel?s Halifax, Nova Scotia, facility. Grace will remain active at Nautel, serving as chairman of the Board of Directors.

    Scott Campbell, who joined Nautel in 2001 as vice president, has been appointed to the position of president as of March 1, 2003. He has more than 16 years experience in communications technology in engineering and marketing functions.
    BSI Adds to Tech Team
    Eugene, OR - May 05, 2003 - Broadcast Software International (BSI) has added Tim Rohrer to its tech support team. Rohrer has a background in systems installation and tech support. He is also an accomplished band member with significant industry familiarity.

    Rohrer's immediate responsibility will be to greet support callers and route their calls to the appropriate personnel for professional assistance.


    EAS Logging Software Gaining Ground in Broadcasting
    Parker, CO - June 16, 2003 - TDM Data Solutions has released version 2.0 of the EAScriber Pro application, following a three-month beta cycle intended to test recent improvements and verify new discrepancy reporting functionality. The 60-day demo of the application is not yet available for this version, but TDM plans to provide a downloadable demo in July. Since May of 2001, radio and TV stations in more than 16 states supporting more than 100 stations have selected EAScriber Pro to automate the EAS logging and reporting process. The software supports Sage, TFT and Burk hardware.

    EAScriber Pro installs on a PC and monitors EAS activity through the serial ports included with most EAS receivers. Data is captured and logged in a database. The software will also print hard copy reports.

    New functionality in version 2.0 includes more baud rate configurations, discrepancy reporting for seven-day and 30-day test delays, MSRP support for Sage ENDEC users, and TCP/IP support for monitoring EAS activity over an existing LAN or WAN. More information is available at
    Lynx Studio Technology Releases OSX Drivers
    Costa Mesa, CA - May 15, 2003 - Following months of development, the OSX driver for the LynxTWO and L22 192kHz PCI interface reference audio cards is now available in a beta version from Lynx Studio Technology. The driver can be downloaded from the Lynx website at The OSX driver offers extended functionality, such as the ability to install multiple Lynx cards in a Macintosh and to use more than one application simultaneously. The final OSX driver will be released summer 2003.
    Broadcast Electronics Debuts Synchronous FM Feature
    Quincy, IL - May 15, 2003 - Broadcast Electronics has introduced a synchronous FM method for broadcasters seeking continuous program coverage along highways or within a region under-served by a single FM signal. Using the company's digital exciter technology, Broadcast Electronics has implemented a completely digital approach to synchronous FM that provides significantly reduced distortion artifacts in overlap zones. The FXI exciter can be used to synchronize the pilot and the carrier, as well as the audio amplitude and frequency of two or more overlapped transmissions.

    The company notes that other analog approaches do not completely synchronize the FM signals, resulting in degraded audio performance in the areas where the transmitted signals overlap and are of equal signal level. The Broadcast Electronics FXI digital exciter synchronizes the carrier frequency, pilot frequency, audio amplitude and frequency precisely. Initial testing and subsequent ongoing use of the FXI for several stations in Greece, indicate that program continuity and quality is vastly improved compared to traditional synchronization approaches.

    Broadcast Electronics’ FXI, available in 60W and 250W versions, uses direct-to-channel modulation, which offers an additional 2dB signal-to-noise compared to other digital designs that use analog up-conversion. The synchronization feature was recently added through a software update. The FXI exciter takes direct digital inputs, enabling two FXI exciters to be synchronized according to a shared carrier frequency as referenced by GPS.

    The Broadcast Electronics FXI 60/250 digital exciter can be used for FM analog, hybrid IBOC and full IBOC installations. It is available in power levels of 60W and 250W.

    For more information on the Broadcast Electronics FXI60, read the Radio magazine Field Report in the May 2003 issue online at this link.
    Creative Studio Solutions Intros Online Project Updates
    Denver - May 12, 2003 - Creative Studio Solutions (CSS) unveiled its Online Project Update service on the company's website at . Unique to the studio engineering and manufacturing industry, this new service will allow CSS’ clients to view the progress of their projects via the Web.

    Each client will receive a password that will grant exclusive access to his online project site. The client site will be updated weekly and will include photographs, text, project timeline updates and other information pertinent to the project. The client alone will have access to his Online Project Update. CSS pre-assembles and tests its clients’ studios at the company's facility before shipping it for installation. This service allows CSS clients to see their project in progress.
    Softwright Releases TAP 4.5
    Aurora, CA - May 8, 2003 - A new version of the Terrain Analysis Package (TAP) RF system design software is available from Softwright. Some of the new features in version 4.5 include:
  • Basic Mapping Module
    An image file (.bmp, .jpg, .tif) of a map as a background can be included for coverage maps.
  • Toposcript Technology
    An elevation data retrieval engine that enables TAP to use a variety of data sources in addition to the 30-second, 3-second and 30-meter TAP data. The data sources currently include USGS National
  • Free Space Calculations
    A new utility that enables quick free-space calculations.
  • Antenna Editor
    A completely re-written editor for TAP antenna libraries, featuring a simplified user-interface, plus the ability to import antenna patterns from ASCII files and to export to an ASCII file.

    Additional new functionality is provided through the TAP Maintenance Subscription.
    TC Works Ships Spark XL 2.8
    Hamburg, Germany - May 7, 2003 - TC Works' flagship audio processing application Spark XL has been expanded once again. In February 2003, Spark XL 2.7 added direct CD-burning features from inside Spark XL's play list. In November 2002 a new high-end dithering and noise shaping technology called Megabitmax, AAC/MP4 support and W64 file format made their way into Spark XL.

    The new version 2.8 delivers Apple Audio Units support, a new plug-in format exclusive to Mac OS X.

    Aside from providing Audio Units compatibility for all the included VST FX plug-ins, such as Spark's FXmachine processing matrix, Spark will also host Audio Units plug-ins. Also, a new loop window provides crossfade looping, loop edit tools, a set-tempo feature and key mapping information for samplers. User-assignable key commands and support for long file names is also included. Spark XL 2.8 exclusively supports OS X. Mac OS 9 is no longer supported.
    Low-Powered FM Transmitters Attract Broadcasters for IBOC
    Quincy, IL - May 2, 2003 - As stations consider implementing IBOC systems, low-powered transmitters are proving to have an appeal to radio stations, according to Broadcast Electronics.

    "FM transmitters in the 60W to 800W power range are becoming an affordable option for more broadcasters because of efficient HD Radio configuration schemes," said Tim Bealor, vice president of RF systems for Broadcast Electronics. "People originally thought the majority of FM stations would have to go with common amplifier combining or high-level combining techniques that called for a higher priced, full-powered transmitter. But that?s not turning out to be the case at all. We?re finding that a lot of those stations can actually combine at the antenna or set up a separate antenna using a lower-powered transmitter, which can be a much more economical way for these stations to implement HD Radio."

    Entercom, Greater Media and Clear Channel are among a growing number of station owners taking advantage of the manufacturer's low-powered FM transmitters to implement more cost-effective configuration schemes. Entercom, for example, will be using a new high-level approach that combines analog FM and digital through a shared master antenna. By introducing a separate IBOC path into one polarity of its existing circularly polarized master antenna, Entercom can broadcast IBOC at the same time as analog FM, which is radiating from the opposite polarity of the antenna. The approach reduces the injector loss typical of high-level combining (10dB loss in IBOC and a 0.45dB loss in analog). The difference in power loss makes a difference when choosing a 5kW transmitter or a 500W transmitter.
    Eventide Ships Clockworks Legacy Plug-Ins For Pro Tools
    Little Ferry, NJ - May 2, 2003 - Eventide is now shipping the Clockworks Legacy plug-ins, including the H910, Omnipressor, Instant Phaser, Instant Flanger and H949 plug-ins for Digidesign Pro Tools TDM systems.

    The Omnipressor, modeled after the analog hardware processor, which was introduced by Eventide in 1971 and was available through 1984, is an analog compressor. Brian May of Queen made it part of his signature sound. The Instant Phaser, modeled after the world's first analog phaser, was also introduced by Eventide in 1971 and was sold through 1977. The original was a single-function analog processor with a sweeping filter bank with two outputs that are 180 degrees out of phase from each other. Led Zeppelin endorsed it at the time and used it to record Kashmir.

    The H910, Eventide's first Harmonizer-brand effects processor and pitch changer, was introduced in 1975 and sold through 1984. It was used extensively on David Bowie's Young Americans, Low and Lodger. The Instant Flanger, an analog flanger, was first released in 1976 and sold though 1984. The H949 was the first deglitched pitch changer. Introduced in 1977 and sold through 1984, the H949 was the only piece of digital equipment that Jimmy Page allowed in his guitar rig, and was also used by Frank Zappa in his guitar rig.

    The Eventide Clockworks Legacy series of plug-ins offer full parameter automation, MIDI control and control surface integration to take advantage of the complete Pro Tools feature set.
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