Radio Currents Online - Oct 13 - Oct 26, 2003

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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News


FCC Makes Additional Unlicensed Spectrum Available
Washington, DC - Nov 13, 2003 - The FCC has made available an additional 255MHz of spectrum in the 5.470 to 5.725GHz band for unlicensed devices.

In the Report and Order approved on Nov. 12, the Commission made the spectrum available for use by unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices, including radio local area networks (RLANs), operating under Part 15 of the FCC’s rules. This increases the spectrum available for use by unlicensed devices in the 5GHz region of the spectrum by nearly 80 percent and is a significant increase in the spectrum available for unlicensed devices across the overall radio spectrum. The FCC expects that this action will also harmonize the spectrum available for these U-NII devices throughout the world, enabling manufacturers to reduce product development costs by allowing the same products to be used in many parts of the world.

The new spectrum is part of an effort to enable continued growth and innovation in wireless broadband services, including services offered by wireless Internet service providers (WISPs). WISPs use unlicensed devices to provide a broadband alternative for rural and underserved areas. Although they are a relatively nascent industry, their deployment rates have been increasing rapidly.

In addition to making additional spectrum available for U-NII devices, the Commission also adopted several allocation changes consistent with the results of the 2003 World Radio Conference and an agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). These changes will ensure that critical Federal Government operations are protected from harmful interference. In addition to the allocation changes, to provide federal users with additional protection from harmful interference, the order requires that U?NII devices operating in the 5.250 to 5.350GHz and the 5.470 to 5.725GHz bands use dynamic frequency selection (DFS), a listen-before-talk mechanism, and transmit power control (TPC).

Report and Order FCC 03-287, ET Docket No. 03–122.
Radio Stations Must Pay Royalties
Washington – Oct 20, 2003 – The ruling of the U.S. Copyright Office that radio stations must pay such royalties was upheld by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Last year, stations complained that they should not have to pay royalties to performers for their Internet broadcasts because they do not pay them for regular, over-the-air broadcasts.

Historically, radio stations have been required to pay per-song royalties to songwriters but not to performers, recording companies or anyone else who owns the rights to the sound recording of a song.

The NAB’s issued this statement in response to the U.S. Copyright Office’s decision: “"NAB disagrees with the court opinion, which we believe serves to stifle efforts by hometown radio stations to better serve listeners. We will be exploring all of our legal and legislative options to overturn this decision, which we believe misinterprets the intent of Congress."
PPM Response Rates Increasing
New York - Oct 21, 2003 - Arbitron and Nielsen Media Research's tests of methods to improve consumer response rates in the Portable People Meter system produced positive results. In a research test of two sampling and recruitment techniques, response rates among panelists increased significantly over those for prior sampling and recruitment methodologies used for the PPM. Now, additional tests are underway to ensure that these initial success levels can be maintained.
NAB Comments on Mitre Report
Washington - Oct 15, 2003 - The Mitre Corporation was chosen by the FCC to conduct field tests to determine whether LPFM stations would interfere with existing FM stations if LPFM stations were not subject to third adjacent channel spacing requirements.

The NAB states that Mitre’s field test report fails to address two key Congressional mandates: that independent audience listening tests be conducted to establish what is objectionable interference; and that an economic analysis be performed to determine the impact on full power FM stations if third adjacent channel protections were eliminated. The NAB believes that it fails to adhere to clear statutory conditions for any recommendation that third adjacent channel protections be altered.

In a report to the FCC, the NAB states that Mitre's report is "fraught with major technical flaws, including site selection, frequency selection, receiver selection, receiver characterization and testing methodology, so that the resultant test data could in no way support any recommendation regarding the feasibility of relaxing third adjacent channel spacing requirements for LPFM stations.

"Consequently, Mitre’s distance separation formulas will not eliminate third adjacent channel interference and must be rejected out-of-hand. Moreover, MITRE’s spacing formulas are premised on a static population assumption. But population shifts will inevitably occur."

Finally, the NAB states that report actually demonstrates the contrary of its purported conclusion, showing that listeners within a full power FM station’s protected contour will experience harmful interference from LPFM stations located on third adjacent channels. Because of these findings, the NAB is urging the Commission to report to Congress that it cannot recommend the elimination of third adjacent channel protections for LPFM radio service.
To read the complete report, go to http://www.nab.org/newsroom/pressrel/Filings/LPFMMITRE101403.pdf

Single-Chip Baseband Integrates all Digital Functions
Dallas and Columbia, MD - Oct 8, 2003 - Texas Instruments and Ibiquity have developed a single-chip circuit design to integrate all of the digital functions required to build a combined analog AM/FM and HD Radio receiver. For use in automotive applications, TI's second-generation HD Radio digital baseband, based on TI's programmable digital signal processor (DSP) technology, and a new, complementary intermediate frequency (IF) analog front end (AFE) provide integration including audio processing and MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) CD support.

The DRI250 baseband includes audio processing for sound and WMA and MP3 decoders for automotive CD radio. The integration of digital processing features in a single chip, coupled with TI's analog front end chip, the DRI8201, results in a lower cost of implementation of HD Radio systems. In addition, as a software radio baseband, the DRI250 allows new differentiated features to be added in the future, such as surround sound FM for an enhanced listening experience and time buffering for the ability to rewind live radio. As a software radio, the DRI250 provides manufacturers the flexibility and processing headroom to add support for new standards, features or modifications, as experienced recently with Ibiquity's conversion to its proprietary HDC codec.
FCC Localism Task Force Hearings Begin
Washington - Oct 3, 2003 - The FCC's Localism Task Force will hold six public hearings to solicit input from consumers, industry, civic organizations and others regarding broadcast localism. The main focus of the hearings will be to gather information and to conduct outreach for the nationwide round of broadcast station license renewals that is just beginning.

The locations and dates for the public hearings are as follows:
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, October 2003
  • San Antonio, Texas, December 2003
  • Santa Cruz/Salinas, California, March 2004
  • Rapid City, South Dakota, April 2004
  • Portland, Maine, May 2004
  • Washington, D.C., June 2004
    Forty-Two Stations Receive $3 Million in CPB Grants
    Washington - Oct 9, 2003 - The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has awarded more than $3 million in grants to 42 public radio stations in 13 seed markets. The grants are CPB’s first investments in digital radio. It will help stations purchase the equipment needed to transmit a digital signal.
    The seed markets identified by Ibiquity, are: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Washington, DC.
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    Business


    Soundcraft and BSS Audio Celebrate Anniversaries
    New York – Oct. 22, 2003 - Soundcraft reached its 30-year mark for console production in September, and BSS Audio hit 25 years in signal processing. Both are part of the Soundcraft Group, based in Hertfordshire in the UK, and distributed by Harman Pro North America in the United States.

    Phil Dudderidge and Graham Blyth formed Soundcraft in 1973. The company’s first console release was the Series 1. Since then, Soundcraft has produced designs for professional audio and large-format recording and live desks.

    BSS Audio, formed in 1978, designs innovative products in the field of signal processing, including the Varicurve programmable equalizer and Omnidrive digital loudspeaker management system.
    Marti Moves to Quincy, IL
    Quincy, IL – Oct 22, 2003 – As of Nov. 1, 2003, Marti Electronics’ sales, customer support and engineering will be centralized in Broadcast Electronics’ Quincy, IL, headquarters. Sales Manager John Lackness will lead the sales and support efforts.

    Customers can reach Marti at:
    Marti Electronics
    4100 North 24th Street
    Quincy, IL 62305
    217-224-9600
    fax 217-224-9607
    NTI Creates New Organization for Distribution
    New York - Oct 10, 2003 - NTI AG, a manufacturer of audio measurement equipment, has created NTI Americas, a new organization for the distribution of its products in North, Central and South America.

    The new NTI Americas organization will incorporate the existing NTI-North America operation in Montreal and add a new U.S. office in Portland, OR, for management, sales and support.

    Distribution support for the Minstruments line will be transitioned from Neutrik USA to the new organization, while retaining the current distributors. Representation and administration for the larger A1/A2 and Rapid-test instruments will remain the same.

    The new organization is to be headed by Thomas E. Mintner. Although Mintner was recently involved in test instrument design for large scale System-On-Chip semiconductor IC testers, he has previously held senior level management and sales positions at Neve and Studer, and was a long-time employee and part owner of audio test and measurement company Audio Precision.
    SRS Celebrates 10th Anniversary
    New York – Oct 10, 2003 – Throughout the past 10 years, SRS has created more than a dozen audio, voice and surround sound technologies that are licensed to consumer electronics manufacturers. More than 300 million products feature one or more of the company’s patented audio techniques. SRS Labs is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
    Wavelab, Nuendo Help Preserve Audio’s Heritage
    Mountain View, CA – Oct 17, 2003 – The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution are collaborating to preserve America’s audio heritage by archiving irreplaceable recordings. By using Steinberg’s Wavelab and Nuendo software, the organizations can archive recordings of the country’s indigenous music and voices.

    Some of the DAT material that needs to be archived is 48kHz. To do this, a sample rate conversion algorithm provided by Wavelab is used. The data is also normalized internally, then Wavelab’s cue and clip sheets are used for identification purposes.
    2003 Marks 25 Years for Genelec
    New York – Oct 10, 2003 – Based in Iisalmi, Finland, Genelec was founded in 1978 by Iipo Martikainen, Topi Partanen and Ritva Leinonen. The company began when the founders were awarded a contract to design and manufacture monitoring loudspeakers for a broadcast complex being built by Finnish Broadcasting in Kelsinki, Finland.

    Genelec has always concentrated its efforts into the design and manufacturing of active monitoring loudspeakers for true and accurate sound reproduction. In the 1980s, emphasis was placed on the design of a new large monitor for the main control rooms of recording studios. Today, the company continues to work on active transducer technology with products designed for professional recording, postproduction and broadcast.
    Clear Channel to Install RDS Generators in Stations
    San Antonio, TX and Miami - Oct 21, 2003 - Clear Channel Radio is working with Audemat-Aztec to install RDS generators in some of its radio stations. The technology will enable Clear Channel to enhance its current radio broadcasts by scrolling the artist name and title playing on the air, station call letters, traffic information and other locally focused messages for immediate display on listeners’ radios. Clear Channel is launching the technology on 192 of its FM stations in the top 50 U.S. markets by the end of November.

    Audemat-Aztec’s FMB80: Dynamic RDS generator with TCP/IP connectivity communicates with the automation software through its serial or Ethernet-TCP/IP ports to send song and artist information and station messages. The IP addressable feature allows radio operators to make changes from anywhere, keeping information displayed relevant and local.
    KKDA Taps Logitek
    Grand Prairie, TX - Oct 10, 2003 - KKDA-FM, serving the Dallas metro, has purchased a Logitek Audio Engine for use as a router in its facility. The purchase included the Audio Engine frame, five IO24A analog I/O cards, one IO8D digital I/O card and four of Logitek's Route-3 input selector panels.

    The station's engineer, Gary Wachter, notes that the router is a replacement for an ITC system that had failed after a lightning strike.
    SBE42 Hosts Next Klotz Road Showcase
    Orlando - Oct 17, 2003 - The Central Florida Chapter 42 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers is working with Klotz Digital to present the next Road Showcase, a free day of equipment exhibits and demonstrations on Nov. 7, 2003 at the Altamonte Springs Holiday Inn, Altamonte Springs, FL.

    SBE42, Klotz Digital America and all participating vendors are inviting radio and TV broadcast engineers and programming personnel from the Florida region to experience an interactive, hands-on showcase featuring the latest equipment from a host of broadcast manufacturers including: Klotz Digital, Moseley, ERI, Telos/Omnia, Henry Engineering, Graham Patten Systems, rfSoftware, Burk Technology, Gepco, Broadcasters General Store, Broadcast Electronics, Netia, Aphex and others. New equipment debuts by several manufacturers expected.

    Doors open at 9 a.m. on Nov. 7. Exhibits and demonstrations run through 5 p.m. with an active IBOC discussion at noon. Lunch will be provided free of charge. More information is available from Klotz at 678-966-9900, ussales@klotzdigital.com or www.klotzdigital.com.
    Mexico's Radio Integral Selects Harris Transmitters
    Cincinnati - Oct 10, 2003 - Harris has won a $1.3 million transmitter contract from Radio Integral S.A. de C.V. (Grupo ACIR), a leading Mexican broadcaster. Harris' Broadcast Communications Division will install Z-CD FM series, HT FM series, DX AM medium wave digital series and DAX AM Digital series transmitters in several AM and FM stations throughout Mexico. Grupo ACIR has more than 160 radio stations on the air throughout Mexico.

    Founded 50 years ago by Francisco Ibarra Lopez (president of the Mexican TV and Radio Chamber), Grupo ACIR has become the domestic leader in radio for Mexico in terms of bigger coverage and highest technology in its network. Grupo ACIR has more than 160 radio stations on the air throughout Mexico.
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    People


    Otari Appoints New President
    New York – Oct 10, 2003 - Nick Higashino has been appointed President of Otari USA Sales, handling sales and service of Otari products throughout all of North and South America. Higashino plans to relocate to the United States from Japan, where he has worked with Otari Japan since the early days of analog tape recording products.

    Higashino's first order of business will be to review current product sales channels to expand the market for Otari professional audio and industrial duplication products through Otari USA Sales.
    TC Group Promotes Speckeen
    Strathclyde, Scotland - Oct 10, 2003 - TC Group has appointed Fred Speckeen to director of business development. In this new position based at Tannoy Limited (Scotland), he will be responsible for enhancing overall group business practice, acceleration of technology transfer between companies within the group, and the coordination and growth of future business direction.

    Speckeen leaves his position as CEO of the TC joint-venture company TC-Helicon Vocal Technologies (Victoria, BC) after establishing that company in 2000.

    The TC Group consists of Tannoy, LabGruppen, Goodmans Loudspeakers, TC Electronic, TC Works, TC Applied Technologies and TC Helicon.
    Loud Technologies Adds to Sales Staff
    Woodinville, WA - Oct 10, 2003 - Loud Technologies has two additions to its worldwide sales organization: David Christensen and Kurt Metzler.

    As director of international sales, Christenson, involved with pro audio most of his life, will be responsible for directing all international sales efforts for the entire portfolio of Loud Technologies brands including Mackie, EAW, Tapco and RCF. Christiansen brings industry experience in building successful international sales organizations within the professional audio industry including Solid State Logic, Sony and Euphonix.

    Metzler, an industry veteran with 24 years of professional audio sales experience, will be responsible for the installed sound market in the United States-including Mackie, EAW and the newly refocused RCF brand. Before joining Loud, Metzler worked as director of sales and marketing at Radian Audio Engineering. Prior to that, he was the western market development manager with Sennheiser Electronic. Metzler also served as a sales rep with Star Enterprises and Derek Allen Associates in the Southwest. In 1988, Metzler founded Santa Barbara dealer Sound Advice, the first Mackie dealer in the country.
    Marquis Returns to Prophet Systems
    Ogallala, NE - Oct 15, 2003 - Prophet Systems Innovations (PSI) has appointed John Marquis as manager of online training, with responsibilities for WebEx demonstrations and the development of advance training courses for all Prophet products.

    Marquis returned to Prophet Systems after a three-year stint as general manager of KOGA in Ogallala, NE. During his first tenure at Prophet, from 1998 to 2000, Marquis was director of training at the PSi Academy in Ogallala and also directed the opening of the PSI Academy in Denver.

    A highly-respected and experienced broadcast industry veteran, Marquis has spent 32 years in a variety of positions, from disk jockey to news director and from program director to operations manager and general manager at KSOK, KINA and KGGF, all in Kansas; KLMO in Colorado; and KOGA in Nebraska.
    Patterson Joins ERI
    Chandler, IN - Oct 13, 2003 - Charles Patterson has joined Electronics Research as the manager, television and international sales. Patterson will be responsible for the sales of ERI’s television antenna systems and structural products and services in the United States and will also manage sales of all ERI products outside the United States.

    Patterson brings 30 years of sales and sales management experience in domestic and international markets. Most recently, he was a regional sales manager for Thales Broadcast and Multimedia.
    Prophet Systems Appoints Product Developer
    Oggallala, NE - Oct 15, 2003 - Kevin Sikes has been appointed senior product developer of Prophet Systems Innovations (PSI). Before joining Prophet Systems, Sikes spent more than eight years in broadcast automation as a software engineer, technical support engineer and director of operations.

    His radio experience includes on air and producer positions at WWOJ, WSIR, WTHZ and WCIE, all in Florida; and program director of the radio station at Webber College in Babson Park, FL.
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    Internet Watch


    Orban Teams with Vital Stream Internet Audio Broadcasting
    Santa Clara, CA - Oct 15, 2003 - Orban and Vital Stream have announced an alliance to provide Internet broadcasters with tools to create high quality audio. With the alliance, Internet broadcasters will receive a month of free Vital Stream streaming media services for live and on-demand digital broadcasting with the purchase of an Orban Optimod-PC 1100.

    Vital Stream is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vital Stream Holdings, a company that provides products and services that enable the digital broadcast of audio and video content and other communications via the Internet.
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    Products


    Omnia Audio Introduces a New Digital Processor
    Cleveland – Oct 23, 2003 – The Omnia-6EX features parallel processing paths individually optimized for conventional FM audio and digital transmission chains, especially bit-reduced codecs used with HD Radio/DAB service and satellite systems.

    Omnia-6EX has a unique parallel processing structure that routes audio from the mixer section to output stages for conventional FM and DAB. The FM section receives distortion-controlled final limiting with pre-emphasis, and an upper-frequency response of 15kHz. The DAB section has a multiband look-ahead final limiter with user-selectable frequency response all the way up to the full audio bandwidth of 20kHz.
    Moseley Maxlink Gains Acceptance
    Santa Barbara, CA - Oct 20, 2003 – Broadcast engineers are finding that the Maxlink, Moseley’s plug-and-play 5.8GHz bidirectional data link, is making their lives just a little easier. Ralph Brancato, chief engineer at KCLC in St. Louis, uses a Maxlink with a Moseley SL9003T1, T1 STL system to transport two AES digital stereo program channels to his transmitter site, to backhaul a stereo pair to the studio, and provide a interconnection for the facility's transmitter remote control.

    Dave Abdoo, director of engineering at WKBE in Glens Falls, NY, uses a Maxlink with a T1 STL system to transport multiple news channels to the main studio from a remote site elsewhere in the city.

    The Moseley Maxlink is suited for short haul data applications or for STL/TSL when used with the Moseley Starlink T1 system. The Maxlink conveys two T1 or E1 channels in the 5GHz band. Maxlink is easy to deploy, requiring no license and has a range of up to eight miles.
    Digigram Hitplayer Now Available Through North American Network
    New York - Oct 10, 2003 - Digigram has made the Hitplayer available through its North American Distribution Network for systems contractor, installation and pro audio markets.

    Hitplayer combines two stand-alone audio players with IP network services into a superior solution for automated and interactive audio applications. An internal hard disk stores weeks of audio content. Industry standard digital audio file formats, such as mp3 and MPEG Layer II, are used to maximize quality and the number of files that can be stored. Audio selections are played based on programmed playlists, a playback scheduler or network commands. Playlists can be updated by automatic or on-demand synchronization with remote FTP servers.
    Zephyr Xport Software Upgrade Adds G.722
    Cleveland - Oct 14, 2003 - Zephyr Xport, the POTS and ISDN codec with MPEG AAC-LD and aacPlus coding, has added G.722 coding. New version 2.0 software for Zephyr Xport is a free download for Xport users, and includes several enhancements and new features.

    Zephyr Xport units equipped with the ISDN option can now use G.722 coding for connectivity to the widest variety of third-party ISDN codecs. ISDN calls can now be made from one Zephyr Xport to a second Xport, using low delay MPEG AAC-LD coding. The latest optimized MPEG AAC-LD code from Fraunhofer IIS delivers dramatically improved fidelity for low delay IFB returns on POTS connections.
    AKG Extends its Three-year Warranty
    Nashville, TN - Oct 10, 2003 - AKG has now extended this three-year warranty to some of its small-diaphragm condenser microphones, including: C 391B, C 451B, C 451B/ST, the C 480B and all Ultra-Linear series capsules (CK 61, CK 62, CK 63, CK 69), SE 300B and Blue Line capsules (CK 91, CK 92, CK 93, CK 94, CK 98), C 2000 B and the new C 1000 S.
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