Radio Currents Online - Mar 1 - Mar 7, 2004


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Senator Gregg Finds Flaws in MITRE Study


March 3, 2004 - New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, wrote a letter on March 2 to FCC Chairman Michael Powell outlining his concerns with the recent MITRE report that was release by the FCC regarding adjacent-channel interference to radio receivers.

The letter states, "The conclusions in the report are based almost entirely upon one study conducted by the MITRE corporation on behalf of the FCC. The MITRE study contained several technical and methodological errors that adversely and prejudicially affected its results. Moreover, assuming findings from this flawed study led MITRE to disregard Congress’ specific request for an economic impact assessment."

Senator Gregg went on to outline the problems he sees, which include the following:

  • The MITRE study disregarded accepted scientific methods. MITRE used just six radio receivers in its tests when the FCC had earlier indicated that 21 receivers was a statistically insignificant amount

  • MITRE offered no public disclosure of the technical characteristics of the receivers, making it impossible to evaluate how the performance of these receivers relates to the measured interference.

  • MITRE failed to use a common antenna in the test vehicle to ensure consistent reception.

  • MITRE did not test any lower-adjacent channels for interference. Only the upper-third adjacent interferes were used in its study (in every instance, the frequency of the LPFM interfere was 600kHz greater than the full power FM signal). Previous research by the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA) shows that different receivers reject interference to varying degrees, and that many receivers reject upper and lower adjacent channel interferes by vastly different amounts.

    Gregg also pointed out that the MITRE test used only six test markets, rather than the nine authorized by Congress. Within these markets, MITRE analyzed only a handful of locations. Properly conducted field tests typically select numerous sites throughout a service area to characterize interference on a radio station because of the tremendous variability of reception based on terrain, environmental interference and other factors.

    Finally, the MITRE report did not include an economic analysis. Gregg stated that he assumes that there would be no measurable economic impact on broadcasters because of the faulty technical evaluation, which he states is in contrast to Congress' express direction.

    From the letter:

"In fact, even with this litany of technical flaws that prejudiced MITRE's findings, the study still found significant interference. MITRE tested six sites [that] the FCC would have licensed to LPFM applicants were it not for Congressional intervention. For each of these sites, by MITRE's own admission, 'significant interference' to full-power FM stations from LPFM stations operating on third-adjacent channels was observed. MITRE, in its study, apparently declined to conduct an economic analysis because it assumed that the purported lack of interference demonstrated that there would be no measurable economic impact. That assumption is false and irrelevant. Congress did not link the requirement of an economic impact study to any finding of interference. Congress simply wanted to know what the effect on small market and minority broadcasters would be, should third adjacent channel protections be altered and hundreds or thousands of new LPFM stations authorized."


Senator Gregg has requested that Chairman Powell provide the reasons for the mandated provisions, along with the scientifically accepted testing methodologies were eliminated from consideration of this study.


Worldspace Launches Global Subscription Campaign


Washington, DC - Mar 4, 2004 - Worldspace has made its multinational satellite radio subscription plan available across the Worldspace Satellite Radio global footprint, which covers Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The initial target market for phase one of the global subscription roll out will be American and British expatriates living and working abroad, including the U.S. military.

The subscription offering will be available for US$9.99 with special additional receiver subscription and multi-year incentives.

Worldspace Satellite Radio began broadcasting in 1999 with all channels free to listeners with the purchase of portable digital satellite radio receivers. Worldspace says that the programming it will offer with this package is largely unavailable from the terrestrial radio present in the countries it will serve.


New EAS Event Codes Take Effect in June


Mar 4, 2004 - On Feb. 26, 2002, the FCC issued a Report and Order amending the Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules. The R&O became effective May 16, 2002. As part of the R&O, the FCC adopted numerous new civil emergency, weather and natural disaster event codes and National Weather Service's (NWS) marine area location codes. The complete list of EAS event codes (also known as NWR-SAME Codes) is shown below. The codes are distinguished between those in use today and those the NWS will implement on NOAA Weather Radio on June 30, 2004. NWR and the EAS use identical digital protocols, and NWR is the primary means for NWS alerts to activate the Emergency Alert System.

The reason for the delay between the effective date of the R&O and the NWS implementation of the new codes is that broadcasters needed time to upgrade their EAS encoder/decoder equipment to implement many of the changes in this R&O. If EAS equipment is not upgraded, the new event codes being implemented by NWS on June 30 will cause unknown event code operator alarms. Most broadcasters have upgraded their equipment, so NWS is making final preparations to proceed.

EAS Event (NWR-SAME) Codes
Weather-Related Events
NWR-SAME Code
Status
Blizzard Warning BZW Operational
Coastal Flood Watch CFA NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Coastal Flood Warning CFW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Dust Storm Warning DSW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Flash Flood Watch FFA Operational
Flash Flood Warning FFW Operational
Flash Flood Statement FFS Operational
Flood Watch FLA Operational
Flood Warning FLW Operational
Flood Statement FLS Operational
High Wind Watch HWA Operational
High Wind Warning HWW Operational
Hurricane Watch HUA Operational
Hurricane Warning HUW Operational
Hurricane Statement HLS Operational
Severe Thunderstorm Watch SVA Operational
Severe Thunderstorm Warning SVR Operational
Severe Weather Statement SVS Operational
Special Marine Warning SMW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Special Weather Statement SPS Operational
Tornado Watch TOA Operational
Tornado Warning TOR Operational
Tropical Storm Watch TRA NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Tropical Storm Warning TRW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Tsunami Watch TSA Operational
Tsunami Warning TSW Operational
Winter Storm Watch WSA Operational
Winter Storm Warning WSW Operational

Non-Weather-Related Events
NWR-SAME Code
Status
National Codes-Required
Emergency Action Notification EAN Operational
Emergency Action Termination EAT Operational
National Information Center NIC Operational
State and Local Codes-optional
Avalanche Watch AVA NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Avalanche Warning AVW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Child Abduction Emergency CAE NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Civil Danger Warning CDW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Civil Emergency Message CEM Operational
Earthquake Warning EQW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Evacuation Immediate EVI Operational
Fire Warning FRW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Hazardous Materials Warning HMW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Law Enforcement Warning LEW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Local Area Emergency LAE NWS implementation June 30, 2004
911 Telephone Outage Emergency TOE NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Nuclear Power Plant Warning NUW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Radiological Hazard Warning RHW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Shelter in Place Warning SPW NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Volcano Warning VOW NWS implementation June 30, 2004

Administrative Events
NWR-SAME Code
Status
Administrative Message ADR Operational
National Periodic Test NPT Operational
Network Message Notification NMN NWS implementation June 30, 2004
Practice/Demo Warning DMO Operational
Required Monthly Test RMT Operational
Required Weekly Test RWT Operational



The FCC Report and Order that became effective May 16, 2002, establishes naming conventions for the new and future EAS event codes. In most cases, and for all future codes to be approved, the third letter of all hazardous state and local event codes is will be limited to one of four letters:

  • "W" for warnings

  • "A" for watches

  • "E" for emergencies

  • "S" for statements

    The existing event codes for Tornado Warning (TOR), Severe Thunderstorm Warning (SVR) and Evacuation Immediate (EVI) will not be changed to conform to this naming convention.


CBI Announces Student Production Award Competition


Mar 1, 2004 - Collegiate Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) has announced that entries are now being accepted through May 21, 2004, for the third annual national Student Production Awards in radio and television for 25 different categories.

CBI has added four new award categories this year (Best Station Promotion and Best Regularly Scheduled Program for radio and television) to its lineup, which features entries for Best Newscast, Best Promo, Best Sports Reporting, Best DJ/VJ and Best Public Service Announcement. A list of all category descriptions, details a list of the 2003 finalists and winners can be found at collegebroadcasters.org/awards.shtml.

As many as four finalists in each category are named by judging panels made up of professionals and advisors. CBI recognized more than 65 student TV and radio stations in 2003.

For further information, call Awards Coordinator Warren Kozireski at (585) 395-5626 or e-mail
wkozires@brockport.edu.


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Business



Orban Announces Spring MBL Tour Dates


Tempe, AZ - Mar 4, 2004 - Orban/CRL has announced the dates and cities for the Orban/CRL Mobile Broadcast Laboratory (MBL) USA Tour 2004 second quarter visits. Radio stations, TV stations, SBE meetings and state broadcast conventions will host the traveling exhibition. Broadcasters will have the opportunity to see demonstrations of Orban and CRL broadcast equipment in their home town as the Orban/CRL Mobile Broadcast Laboratory goes from city to city throughout 2004.

The MBL unit is a fully-equipped 33-foot mobile vehicle that has been converted to permit testing and demonstrations of Orban and CRL products and provide comparisons with other products. The MBL also carries kiosks with rack-mounted displays of Orban/CRL's entire product line.

Date Location
March 4-5 Tallahassee
March 8-10 Tampa
March 12-16 Miami
March 17-19 Orlando
April 1-3 Oklahoma City
April 5-6 Albuquerque
April 17-22 Las Vegas/NAB
May 17-18 Amarillo
May 20-24 Dallas
May 26-28 Houston
June 7-8 Memphis
June 10-14 Nashville
June 16-18 Birmingham


Air Tools Dealers Announced


Mountlake Terrace, WA - Feb 24, 2004 - Symetrix has appointed broadcast dealers who will represent the Air Tools line of audio-for-broadcast products. Symetrix added these dealers to address the rapidly growing needs of broadcasters coping with streaming Web media, direct satellite broadcasting and increased complexity in traditional radio and TV broadcasting.

The dealers are:

  • Bradley Broadcast - Frederick, MD

  • Broadcast Supply Worldwide - Tacoma, WA

  • Broadcasters General Store - Ocala, FL

  • Crouse-Kimzey Company - Dallas, TX

  • Dale Pro Audio - New York, NY

  • Giesler Broadcast Supply - Houston, TX

  • Harris - Mason, OH

  • RF Specialties of Missouri - Kearney, MO

  • SCMS - Pineville, NC


Cincinnati Gets BPL Service


Cincinnati - Mar 2, 2004 - Cinergy Broadband and Current Communications Group are beginning to offer broadband over power line (BPL) services in the greater Cincinnati area. A subsequent expansion is planned for Northern Kentucky and Indiana.

Cinergy Broadband and Current have formed a joint venture that will roll out broadband services under the brand Current Communications. Initially, these services will consist of high-speed Internet and will eventually be bundled with voice over IP (VoIP).

The companies have also created a second joint venture to pursue the deployment of BPL to targeted municipal-owned power companies and rural electric cooperatives across the United States.


Independent Audio Appointed North American Distributor For Pyramid Speakers


Portland, ME - Feb 23, 2004 - Independent Audio, a distributor of European professional audio products, has added a Made-in-America product to its line-up for the first time. Triple P Designs has selected Independent Audio as the exclusive North American distributor for the Pyramid Reference Monitors manufactured in Washington, DC.

The Pyramids are studio reference speakers that emulate the effects of consumer playback systems with limited frequency response such as TVs, boom boxes, computer speakers and car stereos. They allow mixing engineers to compensate for the difference in sound between high fidelity studio speakers and the end user's playback system.


Texas Instruments and Radioscape Hot in Eureka Chip Sales


Dallas - Mar 1, 2004 - According to the latest figures from GfK, independent auditors of the home electronics market, Texas Instruments technology is showing consistent acceptance of its DAB radio designs by major companies, such as Hitachi, Roberts Radio, Acoustic Solutions and Intempo Digital. Spurred by the availability of receivers based on the TI-based Radioscape modules in September, the UK DAB radio market saw tremendous growth leading up to the Christmas 2003 holiday season.

In December, there was a major peak in demand with 133,000 UK DAB radio sales, accounting for more than 44 percent of the total year's sales of 300,000.


Clear Channel Installs More IBOC


Cincinnati - Mar 2, 2004 - Clear Channel has tapped Harris to supply digital-ready DAX AM low-power transmitters to five stations: WDOV-AM, Wilmington, DE; WCHV-AM, Charlottesville, VA; WMXF-AM, Asheville, NC; and Montana stations, KBUL-AM, Billings and KGVO-AM, Missoula.

WDOV and KGVO will install DAX 6kW transmitters, while WCHV and KBUL have chosen DAX 5kW transmitters. WMXF will install a DAX 1kW. With the DAX AM transmitters, the stations can broadcast an analog signal now and upgrade to IBOC by adding the Harris Dexstar HD Radio AM exciter at a later date.


Studer Sells Largest On Air 5000 System


Lugano, Switzerland - Mar 1, 2004 - The Studer On Air 5000 is the largest in the company's range of radio consoles, and Radio Svizzera Italiana, part of Swiss Public Broadcaster SRG, has recently installed one of the largest On Air 5000 systems to date in its Lugano studios.

The system comprises a master control room with a Studer Route 5000 switcher and five on-air/production studios with On Air 5000 consoles, as well as a single Studer Vista 7 digital production console for post-production. The broadcaster operates three networks using Studer Digimedia playout systems, while a remote news studio for parliamentary reports uses a Studer 928 analog console.


Esoteric Audio Research Taps Independent Audio as Distributor


Portland, ME - Feb 17, 2004 - British professional audio product manufacturer Esoteric Audio Research (EAR) has appointed Independent Audio as its exclusive distributor for the United States. EAR has made tube-based professional audio products in Cambridge, UK, for more than 25 years.

The products are designed by Tim de Paravicini. One unique element to the products are the custom-designed audio transformers.

The company's present line-up includes a stereo mic preamplifier, three Pultec-type equalizers, a Fairchild-type compressor/limiter and some custom-built analog tape machines.


Sonotechnique to Distribute Airr Support


Toronto - Mar 1, 2004 - Airr Support, a manufacturer of large studio boom microphone stands for the recording and broadcast industries, has appointed Sonotechnique as its exclusive distributor in Canada. Sonotechnique will handle distribution of the complete line of Airr microphone stands. The stands are available in three different model sizes. All Airr Support stands come with removable wheel tri-pod, two sandbags for extra counterweight and a gig bag for location projects.


XM Launches Traffic And Weather Service


Washington D.C. - Mar 1, 2004 - XM Satellite Radio has introduced an instant traffic and weather service for major markets nationwide. The XM Instant Traffic and Weather service provides 21 channels of traffic and weather information for the nation's most traffic-congested metropolitan areas. The information is updated continuously for each market.

Each major metro market has its own dedicated channel that will provide travel times and average speeds for major roadways provided by Traffic Pulse technology. In addition, the system will display AMBER Alerts and other public safety notifications on air and printed on the radio display.

The service will employ a dedicated staff of more than 40 traffic and weather personnel supported by a nationwide network of traffic data collectors.

In the first phase of a national rollout of 21 Instant Traffic and Weather channels, XM launched its Washington, DC, channel on Feb. 28 and will launch 14 additional channels with dedicated traffic and weather information for the following metro areas: New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, Orlando, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Channels for the six remaining markets -- Boston, Atlanta, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle and San Diego -- will be introduced later in 2004. XM's Instant Traffic and Weather channels are broadcast nationally and available to all XM subscribers at no additional cost.


Dielectric Acquires Kline Towers


Charlotte, NC - Mar 2, 2004 - SPX has announced that its Dielectric division has acquired the assets of Kline Towers, a division of Kline Iron and Steel. Based in Columbia, SC, Kline Towers had annual revenues in 2003 of more than $10 million.

Kline Towers engineers, designs, assembles, fabricates and installs towers for the global broadcast markets. With 40 years of experience, Kline has recognized expertise in engineering tall and multi-array towers and platform structures.


Quantec Appoints Independent Audio as North American Distributor


Portland, ME - Feb 27, 2004 - German pro audio manufacturer Quantec has selected Independent Audio as its exclusive North American distributor for its entire product range of effects processors. Independent Audio will also provide support and service for the North American customers.

Quantec manufactures the Yardstick room simulator, and will soon debut the Yardstick 2496 six-channel audio effects processor in March 2004.


Arbitron to Revamp Internet Broadcast Services


New York - Feb 27, 2004 - Arbitron has announced plans to revamp the offerings of its Internet Broadcast Services division. The company will cease monthly and weekly Measurecast ratings, which measure the audiences of audio content on the Internet, on Sunday, March 28, 2004. Arbitron plans to offer a revised service for Internet broadcasters that will be better aligned with the needs of the market.

Arbitron will continue to document the size and growth of the Internet broadcasting audience through its Internet studies. It will also offer consumer lifestyle and shopping data from Scarborough Research. Additional plans are to offer custom research options to help bring Internet broadcasting into advertisers' media plans.


Sirius to Provide Traffic and Weather to Top 20 Markets


New York - Feb 27, 2004 - Sirius Satellite Radio will provide around-the-clock traffic and weather reports for the top 20 traffic markets, beginning with New York and Los Angeles on Feb. 29 on Sirius stream 150. Sirius First Traffic will broadcast traffic conditions from monitoring centers located around the country.

The Sirius resources include a fleet of helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, ground monitors and traffic cameras. Sirius First Traffic will be presented in conjunction with Smart Route Systems, a Westwood One company. Weather information will come from The Weather Channel.

By the end of March 2004, traffic and weather for Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco-San Jose, Boston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Phoenix, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Baltimore and San Diego will be added to the Sirius lineup. Reports for all markets will be available to all Sirius subscribers via the Sirius national satellite broadcasting system at no additional cost over the basic monthly subscription.


Sales Call
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  • The Cedar Cambridge system, which was launched less than a year ago, has recently been installed at Sony Studios in Burbank, CA, Golden Era Productions in Palm Desert, CA, and Audio Rents in Los Angeles, CA.


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People



Avcom Names Director of Sales


Richmond, VA - Feb 20, 2004 - Avcom of Virginia has appointed Pat Piper as director of worldwide sales. Piper brings more than 20 years experience in the satellite industry to Avcom, including 16 years with Midwest Communications/Harris Broadcast, designing, building and selling SNG trucks and satellite earth stations. In addition, he was sales manager for MCL and ETM selling satellite transmitters, and most recently served as satellite product manager for Richardson Electronics.


Nevens Joins Digidesign


Daly City, CA - Mar 2, 2003 - Digidesign has hired Rich Nevens as director of worldwide console sales. Nevens is based in Los Angeles and will oversee the sales for Digidesign's mixing systems. In addition, he will contribute to marketing and development for the product line.

Previously, Nevens worked at Euphonix for 12 years and ended his tenure as executive vice president of sales for the Americas.


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Internet Watch



Sennheiser Launches Redesigned Website


Old Lyme, CT - Mar 5, 2004 - A new online experience now greets the visitors who log on to the Sennheiser Electronic website each month, including enhanced functionality, improved navigation and a colorful, eye-catching design. The new site (www.sennheiserusa.com) features information downloads, an online store and a more robust search engine.

Other key updates:

  • Application-orientated navigation that allows visitors to gather key information based on their unique audio application needs.

  • Power Search that enables site searches by partial words, product models, press releases, PDFs and high-resolution images.

  • Instant Zoom function that provides a pre-loaded, two-level, close-up view of many parts and products.

  • Improved media collection that addresses the increased need for product media and documents.

  • New database-driven information structure that provides quicker product access and modifications, and advanced applications such as product comparison and customization.


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Products



RF Software Offers Free Software


Gainesville, FL - Mar 1, 2004 - FM engineers and station owners can now download a professional quality frequency search tool, called RF Detective-FM, for free from the RF Software website. RF Detective is suited for studies to move or modify existing stations or petition the FCC to add new stations. This program graphically displays the results of each channel searched and includes sophisticated features such as an automatic open-channel finder.

RF Detective-FM features an intuitive, user-friendly interface. The company is offering the software to increase awareness of the company's product line.

All RF Software programs are written specifically for Windows. Up-to-date FCC databases for RF Detective can be purchased from RF Software. Details on the offer are available at
www.rfsoftware.com.


Mackie Tracktion Now Available Online


Woodinville, WA - Mar 1, 2004 - Mackie's music production software, Tracktion, is now available for purchase from the Mackie website at http://www.mackie.com/products/tracktion. Tracktion is an audio/MIDI workstation that uses a single-screen interface to provide instant access to functions.

Tracktion, which was originally developed by UK-based Raw Materials Software, is now part of a collaborative effort in which Mackie is handling all marketing and distribution activities as well as consulting on features and future releases. Mackie is also bundling Tracktion with select hardware products beginning with the Spike Powered Recording system, a 24-bit/96kHz music production system that includes all of the hardware and software necessary to track, mix and record music on a Mac or PC.

Also newly available at the Mackie website is a Tracktion registration and updates page, as well as a demo version of Tracktion that interested users can download for free and audition the software on their own system. Tracktion is compatible with Windows 98 and above and Mac OSX 10.2 and above.


Burk Technology Extends Trade-In Offer


Littleton, MA - Feb 27, 2004 - Broadcasters using VRC1000 and VRC2000 transmitter remote control systems now have more time to trade them in for $400 cash back. Because of the offer’s popularity, Burk Technology is extending the trade-in deal available with new GSC3000 and VRC2500 transmitter remote control purchases. Customers replacing VRC1000 and VRC2000 systems now have until June 1, 2004, to purchase a new Burk Technology transmitter remote control system and trade in their old unit for $400 cash back from the factory.

The VRC1000 and VRC2000 were discontinued by the original manufacturer. Many replacement parts are no longer available.

The trade-in offer is available through any Burk Technology distributor. Full details are available at
www.burk.com/trade-in.


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