Radio Currents Online - Dec 7 - Dec 21, 2003


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Russia Chooses DRM for DAB PilotProject


Moscow – Dec 19, 2003 - Russia’s federal state unitary enterprise Russian TV and Radio Network (RTRN) and state radio company, Voice of Russia, have chosen the on-air system DRM for their newly announced, digital short-wave transmission pilot project. The project, which extends through December 2005, was authorized by Russia’s State Commission on Radio Frequencies on Dec. 1. The test results will be presented to the commission in early 2006, with authorization for the implementation of Russia’s DRM network expected.

The Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) consortium’s Commercial Committee has worked closely with Voice of Russia toward this goal. Committee Chairman Michel Penneroux of TDF joined RTRN and Russian broadcasters plus transmitter and receiver manufacturers, in outlining DRM’s advantages in Moscow in late October.


FCC Relocates GettysburgMailroom


Gettysburg, PA - Dec 10, 2003 - Effective Dec. 18, 2003, the new address for the FCC's Gettysburg office off-site mailroom will be 1280 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

The required ship-to address for all overnight couriers, such as Federal Express, UPS and Airborne, must be sent to the new address. Items with the incorrect address will be re-routed by the courier, resulting in a probable delay of several days.

No address change is required for United States Postal Service deliveries. The USPS will accept and divert all mail addressed to 1270 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325, to the new off-site mailroom.

The new address for the Gettysburg, PA, off-site mailroom facility does not affect applications or any other filings requiring a fee. Fee-required filings should be sent to the address as noted in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Fee Filing Guide at
wireless.fcc.gov/csinfo/feeinfo.html.


Homeland Security: How toSecure Your Facility During an Emergency


Washington - Dec 9, 2003 - Leaders from the broadcast, cable and satellite industries have adopted 49 best practices recommendations to ensure the continued operation and security of media facilities in times of a national emergency. The recommendations were recently adopted by the FCC’s Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC).

Key recommendations include:


No Media Ownership Resolution Until2004


Washington - Dec 15, 2003 - The U.S. Senate refused to act this year on an omnibus spending bill that contains new media ownership rules that allow a permanent TV station national ownership of 39 percent of the nation’s homes. Senators blocked the comprehensive bill after a favorable 242-176 vote in the House. No vote is expected before the Senate returns on Jan. 20, 2004.

Senate Democrats, outraged that the ownership cap was changed by the White House and Republican senators without Democratic consultation, refused to vote on the legislation. To allow a quick vote on the bill “would be a shocking abrogation of our responsibilities to the people of this country,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, (D-S.D.).

In the meantime, the FCC’s Republican majority has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which has issued a stay halting the new media ownership rules—to dismiss challenges to the rules by a group of consumer activists. The Republicans called the new rules a “measured response” to substantial changes in the media marketplace.

“The rules both advance the Commission’s traditional goals of promoting competition, diversity and localism and they fulfill the commission’s obligation to periodically review its rules to ensure that they continue to remain necessary in the public interest,” the Republican commissioners said in a statement.

Responses from plaintiffs are due by Dec. 22, with oral arguments scheduled for Feb. 11, 2004.


FCC Seeks Comment on SeparateAntennas for IBOC


Washington - Dec 8, 2003 - On July 24, 2003, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) submitted a report to the FCC regarding the use of separate antennas for the analog and digital components of a hybrid FM IBOC signal. The report includes field tests prepared by an ad hoc technical group, and recommends that the Commission permit certain FM stations implementing IBOC transmissions to use separate antennas for analog and digital signals. The NAB report is available electronically at www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecf under MM Docket No. 99-325. The FCC seeks comments on the conclusions and recommendations made by the NAB report.

Stations may voluntarily initiate hybrid IBOC transmissions on notification to the FCC. The initial grant of interim IBOC authority restricted stations to use of facilities similar to those evaluated by the National Radio Systems Committee. As a result, stations are currently restricted to transmission systems that combine the digital and analog signals into one antenna. Many broadcasters, however, have expressed interest in using separate antennas for the analog and digital signals. Separate antenna configurations can be more efficient and less expensive than single-antenna designs. Consequently, the NAB convened the ad hoc technical group to determine whether broadcasters could use this approach without causing interference to the host station’s analog signal or to other FM stations.

Based on the completed field tests, the NAB report proposes that the FCC permit FM stations implementing IBOC operations to use separate antennas for digital transmissions provided the following criteria are met:

  • The digital transmission must use a licensed auxiliary antenna;

  • The auxiliary antenna must be within three seconds of latitude and longitude of the main antenna;

  • The height above average terrain of the auxiliary antennas must be between 70 and 100 percent of the height above average terrain of the main antenna.

    The report also recommends that the Commission authorize use of antennas specially designed with interleaved or stacked elements for analog and digital signals.

    Comments are due on or before Jan. 8, 2004, and reply comments on or before Jan. 23, 2004.

    Note: MM Docket No. 99-325


FCC Demos New ULS Online FilingInterface


Washington - Dec 1, 2003 - The FCC has completed phase one of its redesign of the Universal Licensing System (ULS) online filing software. The new filing environment, called the ULS License Manager, uses a question-and-answer format to guide applicants through completing the main part of Form 601 (renewal, cancel, withdrawal, duplicate and administrative update purposes only) and Form 605 (all application purposes). It allows customers to submit filings without the need to remember application "purposes" and allows different types of filings to be made simultaneously.

There has been no change, however, to the data required on Forms 601 and 605. Once the FCC has determined the final deployment date for the new software, they will issue a public notice with technical information about the system and the change over to the new interface.


NAB Small/Medium Market Radio Committeeto Meet


Washington - Dec 5, 2003 - On Dec. 16, the NAB Small/Medium Market Radio Committee will meet at NAB's headquarters in Washington, DC. The purpose of this committee is to keep the NAB in tune with the current issues affecting small- and medium-market broadcasters. NAB looks to this committee for input on topics and panelists for NAB conventions.

The 2003 committee members are:


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Business



Susquehanna OrdersSixth BE IBOC Transmitter


Quincy, IL - Dec 18, 2003 - Susquehanna Radio has added a sixth Broadcast Electronics transmitter to its IBOC equipment acquisition list. Susquehanna ordered the Broadcast Electronics FMI-703 HD Radio transmitter on Dec. 17 for WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, along with BE’s FXI 60 exciter and HD Radio signal generator. The transmitter package will ship from BE’s Quincy factory less than a week following the order, in time to make the 2003 year-end budget.

Two Susquehanna stations in Indianapolis, WFMS-FM and WGLD-FM, installed BE FMI-1405 transmitter systems in November and December. Another Susquehanna station in Indianapolis, WGRL-FM, will receive the Broadcast Electronics FMI-703 transmitter package—including HDR amplification, signal generator and digital exciter—in late December. Susquehanna stations WARM-FM in York, PA, and WRRM-FM in Cincinnati will each take delivery of a BE FMI-1405 transmitter in early 2004.

The six BE transmitters are being configured for common amplification of both the analog and digital FM signals in combined low-level operation. Susquehanna is completing all the low-level combined operation stations as phase one of its IBOC implementation.


Corus Radio Taps Wicks


Reedsport, OR, and Toronto, ON - Dec 15, 2003 - Wicks Broadcast Solutions has entered into an agreement with Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment, one of Canada’s leading TV and radio operators, to integrate Wicks’ business system software and Control Tower Reporting and Data Consolidation systems, into radio stations located throughout Canada. Salesminder, sales intelligence software, and Rateminder, revenue maximization software systems are also included in the agreement.

Corus is Canada’s largest radio operator in terms of revenue and audience, with 50 stations throughout Canada, primarily clustered in major markets.


IQStat Preps In-car Monitoring System


Atlanta, GA - Dec 16, 2003 – By the end of December about 100 cars in the Atlanta area will be a part of the new monitoring system that monitors a driver's radio listening and traveling habits. IQStat expects to have 500 carrying the system by the end of the first quarter.

After two years of development, IQStat began installing the equipment this month. The system monitors radio station listening and the position of the vehicle via GPS. IQStat plans to tie radio listening and outdoor advertising into a useful combination for marketing efforts.

The company has signed one client and is negotiating with two others. The names of the clients are currently being withheld. The participants in the IQStat program are paid $50. Pending the success of the Atlanta trial, additional cities are planned for roll-out.

IQStat hardware is connected to the car radio and operates continuously without interruption for its installed life. About the size of a VHS tape, it fits under the dash or in the trunk of the selected vehicle. IQStat does not rely on any interaction from the survey participant or radio broadcasters to function. All tasks related to data management, including monitoring, collecting and transmitting data are controlled by onboard microprocessors. Each change in the radio’s state is time-stamped and stored for transmission back to a central processing center. The data is processed through an analysis interface and is available online via pre-formatted reports generated based on client queries.


HD Radio Software Receives CESAward


Columbia, MD - Dec 16, 2003 - HD Radio, the IBOC technology under development by Ibiquity Digital, has been recognized as an honoree in the Innovations 2004 Design and Engineering Showcase to be held in conjunction with the International Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 8-11, 2004). The annual Innovations Awards are selected by a panel of independent industry designers, engineers and journalists to evaluate the year’s most technologically advanced consumer electronics products based on the several criteria: user value, aesthetics, contributions to the quality of life, and innovative design and qualities. HD Radio was honored in the Software/Embedded Technologies category.

Ibiquity has announced that HD Radio-enabled receivers will be commercially available following the International CES. Ibiquity Digital and its partners will officially announce the launch of commercial IBOC products during a press conference at the International CES. IBOC products and demonstrations will be available at the booth through the remainder of the show.


Boeing Celebrates 40th Anniversaryof Syncom Satellite


Los Angeles - Dec 8, 2003 - Walter Cronkite, David Hartman, Jim McKay and other broadcast luminaries joined Boeing on Dec. 12 to highlight four decades of achievement in satellite technology. The event marked the anniversary of Boeing's deployment of a small, spinning satellite that created a global revolution.

To mark the 40th anniversary of Syncom, the world’s first geosynchronous communications satellite, Cronkite, Hartman and McKay discussed the dramatic effect that advances in satellite technology have made in the fields of journalism, sports, telecommunications, military operations and spaceflight at Boeing Satellite Systems.

The Boeing-built Syncom, launched by NASA in 1963, enabled Kennedy to place the first live two-way satellite telephone call between heads of state to Nigerian Prime Minister Abubaker Balewa while the prime minister was aboard a U.S. Navy vessel, the USNS Kingsport, docked in Lagos harbor.

In 1964, Syncom was used to provide the first continuous trans-Pacific television broadcast of the Olympic games from Tokyo.

Additional information about the history of the Syncom satellites is available at the Boeing website at
www.boeing.com/satellite/syncom.


Sirius Looks to Canada for NewServices


Ottawa and New York - Dec 10, 2003 - CBC/Radio-Canada, Canada’s national public broadcaster, and Sirius Satellite Radio will form a joint venture to bring satellite radio to Canada. At the same time, CBC/Radio-Canada and Sirius will file an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a license to provide satellite radio in Canada.

This new, subscription-based, national service will give Canadians access to a wide range of programming and Canadian content. CBC/Radio-Canada was able to secure the distribution of two of its main channels, namely Radio One and La Première Chaîne. As a result of CBC/Radio-Canada’s involvement the new venture will also provide opportunities for existing and emerging Canadian artists to showcase their talent.

Sirius and CBC/Radio-Canada are holding talks with and may add other Canadian financial or broadcasting investors to the venture.


Sony Reorganizes Pro Audio SoftwareDistribution


Park Ridge, NJ - Dec 10, 2003 - Sony Electronics' Broadcast and Production Systems division will now manage the U.S. sales and distribution of Sony Media Software's professional video and audio production tools in the pro A/V, music industry and government channels. These products encompass all of the former desktop software assets of Sonic Foundry, which were acquired by Sony Pictures Digital in July 2003, and include such tools as Vegas, Vegas + DVD, Sound Forge and Acid.

The integration of the media software line into Sony Electronics' sales and distribution channels also underscores the importance of two key customer segments: the rapidly growing prosumer field and the established professional audio and video market. According to Sony, the growth of the pro-sumer market has been enabled by a wider range of access for users to performance levels traditionally associated with high-end, and higher-priced, technologies.


Tannoy Restructures North AmericanOperation


Kitchener, ON - Dec 5, 2003 – Tannoy North America will undergo a company restructure to position Tannoy’s North American operations to be more customer-focused and take advantage of synergies within Tannoy’s operations worldwide. The company has stated that "the primary objective of this change is to re-establish direct communication and coordination between Tannoy North America and Tannoy's headquarters in Scotland. By solidifying the companies' efforts, we are better able to take advantage of shared expertise and resources."

As part of this change, long-time Tannoy North America COO Bill Calma has agreed to step down.


Sirius Reaches 200,000Subscribers


New York - Dec 8, 2003 - Sirius Satellite Radio has reached a major subscriber milestone by passing the 200,000-subscriber mark on its nationwide service.

Sirius currently has four plug-and-play products available at retail outlets with more receivers scheduled for release.


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People



Marsha MacBride to Head NAB Legaland Regulatory Affairs


Washington - Dec 8, 2003 - Marsha J. MacBride has been named the executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters' Legal and Regulatory Affairs Department. MacBride will oversee the NAB legal team, which provides representation for local broadcasters before the FCC and the courts, and which provides counsel to radio and TV stations on myriad legal issues. She will replace Jeff Baumann, who is retiring from NAB in February following 20 years or service.

MacBride served as chief of staff to FCC Chairman Michael Powell from 2001 to September 2003, during which time she also chaired the FCC Homeland Security Policy Council. Except for a two-year period as vice president in the Walt Disney Company's Washington office from 2000-2001, MacBride has served in numerous high-level jobs at the FCC since 1991. Among her positions: legal advisor to Commissioner Michael Powell (1999-2000); executive director, Task Force on Y2K Conversion (1998-2000); acting deputy, Cable Services Bureau (1997-1998); legal advisor to Commissioner James Quello (1995-1997); and staff attorney, Political Programming Branch (1991-1994). From 1985 to 1991, MacBride was a communications attorney in private practice in Washington.

MacBride is a 1985 graduate of the George Washington University Law School, and a 1981 graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University. She officially joins the NAB on Dec. 15.


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