Radio Currents Online - Feb 16 - Feb 22, 2004

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| Business | People | Internet Watch


Morse Code Knows Where It's @

Feb 19, 2004 – International Morse Code, the nearly forgotten shorthand of early electronic communications, is being updated to 1990s technology. Morse Code was first introduced in 1844 and has seen little change since that time. As the electronic age continues to advance, Morse Code users were finding the need to transmit the "@" symbol. In December, the International Telecommunications Union voted to add the new character.

The new sign, which will be known as a commat, consists of the signals for "A" (dot-dash) and "C" (dash-dot-dash-dot), with no space between them.

The symbol was selected for use in e-mail addresses in 1972 because it was rarely used but widely available. It's history is not clearly known, but some credit it as being an adaptation of the Latin word ad meaning at, to or toward. The symbol encircles the letter a with the letter d. The symbol was adapted for commerce as a shorthand to mean at the price of.

Another possible origin is the flourished style of the letter a to mean amphora, a standard-sized terra cotta jar used in the 14th century.

In English, it is commonly referred to as the at sign. In other languages, it carries names related to names of animals, tails and ears. Some examples appear below.

  • Czech: In the Czech Republic, it is called zavinac, meaning "rollmop," or "pickled herring"
  • French: In France it is called arobase the name of the symbol. It is also referred to as un a commercial, meaning "business a", a enroule, meaning "coiled a", and sometimes escargot, meaning "snail" or petit escargot, meaning "little snail"
  • German: In Germany it is called Affenschwanz, meaning "monkey's tail" or Klammeraffe, meaning "hanging monkey"
  • Greek: In Greece it is called papaki, meaning "little duck"
  • Norwegian - In Norway it is called either grisehale, meaning "pig's tail" or krollalfa, meaning "curly alpha."
  • Polish: In Poland it is called malpa, meaning "monkey." It is also called kotek, meaning "little cat" and ucho s'wini, meaning "pig's ear"
  • Swedish: The official term in Sweden is snabel-a, meaning "trunk-a," or "a with an elephant's trunk"

Webcasting Royalties Set by Copyright Office

Washington - Feb 18, 2004 - Info from Reuters reports that the U.S. Copyright Office has published the long-awaited royalty rates for Web music broadcasts, bringing to the year-long process to an end.

Regulations published on Feb. 6 accepted a resolution reached last April between online music broadcasters and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In addition to setting rates for the 2003-2004 license period, the Copyright Office also named Sound Exchange, formerly an arm of the RIAA that was spun off as a separate nonprofit group in Sept. 2003, as the only designated agent to collect and distribute royalties from webcasters and new online subscription services.

The recording industry and webcasters finally agreed on a proposed 0.076 cents per performance or 1.17 cents per aggregate hour tuned in for free, advertising-supported services. Webcasters had opposed other rates the RIAA suggested, saying they would put them out of business.

The negotiated rates were submitted to the Copyright Office for adoption on April 14, but a legal objection by one company, dropped last month, led to the delay. Under the new regulations, all covered services are required to submit a lump sum payment to Sound Exchange covering the period from Jan. 1, 2003, through Feb. 29, 2004, on or before April 14, 2004.

Starting in March, services are required to make royalty payments within 45 days after the end of each month. Additionally, commercial webcasters, broadcast simulcasters and new subscription services must choose their preferred rate structure by March 8, 2004.

SBE Celebrates 40 Years

Indianapolis - Feb 18, 2004 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) will celebrate its 40th anniversary during the 2004 convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Las Vegas. What started as a gathering of about 100 broadcast engineers at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago during the 1964 NAB Convention, has grown to more than 5,500 members in 107 chapters today.

SBE members attending the NAB convention in Las Vegas this spring are invited to celebrate the SBE's 40th anniversary during the SBE Membership Meeting on Tuesday, April 20 at 5 p.m. in room N110 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The first 100 members in attendance will receive a commemorative SBE 40th anniversary memento. There will be door prizes including a digital camera to a lucky winner. The meeting will be sponsored by Microwave Radio Communications.

The first official meeting, April 5, 1964, came after several years of discontent over a merger between the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (now the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE). Some felt the merged organizations would not serve the needs of the broadcast engineer well.

John Battison, then editor of Broadcast Engineering, wrote an editorial suggesting the time had come to organize a new organization for broadcast engineers. The editorial received a favorable response but no one came forward offering to organize the new group. Finally, Battison decided to do it himself, running an application form in his magazine and, with help from his family, writing letters to more than 5,000 TV and radio engineers in the United States and Canada. Battison's efforts led to an informal meeting in Binghamton, NY, in the latter part of 1963, which led to the first official meeting of the Institute of Broadcast Engineers (IBE) at the NAB convention the following April.

The first official business of the organization was to change its name. Those in attendance felt there would be confusion between the new IBE and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and they didn't want their new professional organization to be confused with a labor union. They voted at that first meeting to change the name to the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Battison became the organization's first president. He is still active as a broadcast engineering consultant and writes a regular column that appears in Radio magazine, sister publication to Broadcast Engineering. On the occasion of the SBE's 40th anniversary, Battison reminisced, "The Society of Broadcast Engineers was conceived in my office in Washington, DC, in 1961. It was born in 1964 in The Willard Room C in the Chicago Hilton, courtesy of NAB, and today, on its 40th birthday, it is a strong and hearty force in broadcast engineering thanks to the members who followed after me."

Current SBE president, Raymond Benedict remarked, "Since those small beginnings, the SBE has grown in size and stature. In response to industry needs, it has developed the most recognized and accepted certification program for broadcast engineers in the industry, quietly carried on an important volunteer frequency coordination service for the industry and has represented the interests of broadcast engineers with the FCC and other federal agencies. Most SBE chapters offer local members monthly meetings that feature educational presentations on the latest technology and broadcast equipment while providing an opportunity to network with fellow engineers. SBE will continue to provide the professional development services and network of colleagues that broadcast engineers will need in the years to come."

For more information about SBE membership, the certification program, chapters and other member services, contact the SBE National Office at 317-846-9000 or visit the website at

SBE Begins Annual Member Recruitment Effort

Indianapolis - Feb 17, 2004 -The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) will conduct its annual membership drive from March 1 through May 31, 2004. Members are urged to invite friends to the party, which is in recognition of the SBE’s 40th anniversary, and bring new members into the society. Though SBE accepts new members all year long, the membership drive is an annual special effort to recruit radio and TV engineers and those in related fields to the organization.

Current SBE members can win prizes and discounts on future membership dues by participating. New members will also be entered into a drawing for a valuable prize.

Details on the membership drive are available through the SBE National Office. Contact Angel Bates at 317-846-9000 or visit the SBE website at

SBE has more than 5,500 members in 107 chapters across the United States. There are also members in 30 other countries. Most chapters meet monthly and offer educational programs and an opportunity to network with their peers. SBE also offers the largest and most accepted certification program for broadcast engineers, operators and technicians.

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Digigram Sells Remaining Shares in Audemat-Aztec

Montbonnot, France - Feb 17, 2004 - Digigram has sold its 40 percent share in Audemat-Aztec, manufacturer of measurement and monitoring equipment for broadcast applications, to the remaining shareholders of Audemat-Aztec. Digigram made the decision so that it could concentrate on its core interest of providing digital audio solutions for the broadcast and public address markets. Although Audemat-Aztec will continue to develop products using Digigram technology, the commercial and technological overlap with the Audemat-Aztec's product portfolio was not big enough for Digigram to justify its continued minority involvement.

Audemat-Aztec was formed Jan. 1, 2003, in a merger between Audemat and Digigram subsidiary Aztec Radiomedia. At the time, Audemat shareholders received 60 percent of the new company with the remaining 40 percent held by Digigram.

Digigram will continue to manufacture, support and sell the Hitplayer, a stand-alone appliance for audio IP networks formerly developed by Aztec Radiomedia.

Blue Order Opens New York Corporate Office

Kaiserslautern, Germany - Feb 17, 2004 - Blue Order, a provider of media asset management systems for the broadcast and entertainment industry, has relocated its U.S. office to New York. With the move comes personnel appointments, including Paul Gudelis, director strategic accounts, and Peter Humphrey, director solutions. With more than 10 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry the new team will run the company’s North American business from the New York location.

The company can be contacted at 1001 Avenue of the Americas, 11th Floor; NY, NY 10018; phone 212-719-7560; fax 212-719-7561.

Blue Order is headquartered in Germany with subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and United States. The company has been deploying its products since 1995 for a broad range of customer applications, with a special emphasis on broadcast, library and media production applications.

Two More Transition to IBOC

Cincinnati - Feb 17, 2004 - Harris announced that KRGN-FM, Amarillo, TX, and WNRK-FM, Norwalk, OH, have selected Harris HD Radio transmission systems and other broadcast equipment for their implementation of IBOC digital broadcasting.

KRGN has purchased Harris' Z4HDS FM digital and HT 25CD FM analog transmitters for its separate amplification installation, as well as an FM antenna, transmission line, studio-to-transmitter link (STL) system and studio equipment. WNRK, a repeater station for Kent State University's radio station WKSU-FM, has purchased a Harris Z8HDC FM digital transmitter, a Dexstar FM digital exciter and a Neustar codec processor. WNRK is one of four repeater stations for WKSU and will be the first digital build-out in the network.

Patriot Antenna Awarded Manufacturing Patent

Alexandria, VA - Feb 16, 2004 - Patriot Antenna Systems has been awarded a United States Patent for its method of manufacturing antenna systems. The vacuum-forming, dual-skin process allows Patriot to hold tolerances to better than to 0.007". In addition, the finished reflector is lighter and more durable.

The process can be applied to virtually any reflector size, and has already made its way into the satellite market via Patriot's SNG and fly-away antenna systems.

CBC Selects Radioscape for DAB

London - Feb 17, 2004 - CBC has chosen Radioscape's Professional DAB Broadcast System for the first multiplex in its upgrade rollout, which will be located in Vancouver. The DAB Broadcast System from Radioscape consists of a series of software modules, connected by an IP-based architecture that controls and delivers audio and data from the studio together with any external service providers, taking care of encoding and multiplexing to provide a complete baseband DAB broadcasting signal.

Radioscape's Eureka-147 DAB Broadcast Suite includes the main ensemble multiplexer, broadcast manager, software Musicam encoder, data multiplexer, PAD multiplexer, IP gateway, MOT carousel for broadcast websites and slide shows, ETI monitor, DAB test and field-monitoring receivers and the new DMB Gateway. These are supplied as a system that runs on standard industrial PCs with Windows XP.

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Fraser Joins BSS Audio

Northridge, CA - Feb 17, 2004 - BSS Audio USA has hired Will Fraser as an applications engineer and product specialist. Working from the Harman International campus in Northridge, Fraser provides support for the entire BSS product line, including handling customer relations and satisfaction issues, product training and other related activities.

He comes to BSS Audio from the contracting industry, where he most recently served as a systems engineer and project manager for Edwards Technologies (ETI) of El Segundo. Prior to that, he was the vice president of engineering for Associates in Media Engineering of Glendale.

Fraser also spent a number of years in the entertainment industry as a FOH and monitor mixer for LA Sound, audio editor at Voice Tracks West and lighting and systems tech for Ocean Rose Lighting. Other stints as a production manager for Princess Cruise Lines and sound designer and systems engineer for Thomas Gregor Associates further round out his résumé.

NAB Announces Engineering Achievement Winners

Washington, DC - Feb 13, 2004 - The National Association of Broadcasters has announced the winners of its Engineering Achievement Awards. The awards, first established in 1959, are given to industry leaders for significant contributions that have advanced broadcast engineering. The award winners will be honored at the Technology Luncheon, Wednesday, April 21 at NAB2004 in Las Vegas.

Radio Engineering Achievement Award Winner - Glynn Walden
Glynn Walden is the senior vice president of engineering for Infinity Broadcasting. Walden is the visionary of the concept, technical design and economics of AM and FM in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital radio broadcasting system. In his capacity as vice president of broadcast engineering for Ibiquity Digital Corporation he wrote the IBOC technical and regulatory specifications for a design team of 50 engineers, scientists and technicians who went on to develop the IBOC system.

Walden developed the transition plan that allowed broadcasters to move from analog to digital broadcasting with minimal technical and economic disruptions to broadcasters and listeners. To aid in the adoption and implementation of the IBOC system he developed and completed the most comprehensive study ever on the existing levels of interference in the AM and FM bands and predictions of how the interference would increase following the adoption of IBOC. In addition he developed a comprehensive test program for evaluation of IBOC digital performance and compatibility with the existing broadcast infrastructure.

In 1991 he helped found USA Digital Radio, a consortium of broadcasters developing IBOC technology. USA Digital Radio merged with Lucent Digital Radio in 2000 to form Ibiquity Digital Corporation.

Previously Walden was the vice president of engineering for CBS and Westinghouse Broadcasting where he worked on capital projects including station power increases, facility consolidations and relocations and served as the engineering manager for KYW-AM, Philadelphia.

Television Engineering Achievement Award Winner - Ira Goldstone
Ira Goldstone is the technology coordinator for the Tribune Company as well as vice president/chief technology officer for Tribune Broadcasting Company. He oversees engineering and technology for the broadcasting group while coordinating projects involving common technologies across all of Tribune.

Goldstone is recognized as one of the most innovative technology managers in the broadcast industry. He pioneered implementation of electronic newsroom technology including digital editing, content storage and retrieval. He instituted the early adoption of digital electronic newsgathering (ENG) including one of the first COFDM-equipped helicopters in the country which allowed a number of Tribune stations to provide breaking news coverage from locations previously unreachable with analog ENG equipment.

He is the chairman of the Media Security and Reliability Council Task Force on Future Technologies/Digital Solutions. He is a fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. In addition, he is a member of the board of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and was the original chair of the ATSC Applications Sub-Committee.

Previously, Goldstone was the vice president/engineering and technology for Tribune Broadcasting. From 1983 to 1994, he was the director/broadcast operations and engineering at KTLA-TV, Los Angeles. Before joining KTLA, he was vice president/corporate engineering for Standard Communications, Salt Lake City, and director/technical services at WCVB-TV, Boston, from 1972 to 1981.

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Internet Watch

NPR Shop Picks ATG for Online Use

Cambridge, MA - Feb 17, 2004 -The NPR Shop (, the online commerce boutique of National Public Radio has selected the E-Business Suite from ATG (Art Technology Group) to power its online efforts. The move is part of NPR’s ongoing commitment to deliver a satisfying user experience to its online audience, building on the non-profit media company’s national acclaim for news, information, music and entertainment programming.

Prior to deploying the ATG system, NPR had no scalable means to sell NPR-branded products directly to its audience. ATG has provided NPR with capabilities to create extensible applications on the NPR Shop site, offering customers a convenient online experience. ATG also provides back-end applications that support the NPR Shop from a transactional standpoint. Proceeds from the NPR Shop help support NPR's programming.

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