Radio Currents Online - Jun 14 - Jun 20, 2004

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Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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Vermont Tower Felled by Vandals
Danville, VT - Jun 18, 2004 - The Caledonian-Record newspaper of St. Johnsbury, VT, reports that the 100-foot tower used by WDOT-FM, Danville, VT, was knocked over on June 16 after noon. The tower also hosted an antenna for Unicel. The self-supporting tower fell on the electrical services building next to it and damaged some of the equipment in and on the building as well.

The damage was apparently done deliberately because the bolts securing the tower to the concrete base had all been removed. By the morning of June 17, a boom truck was brought in to serve as a temporary tower. The tower site has been a radio and communications tower location since the 1960s.

WDOT is part of a five-station station network that carries the Point format. In addition to the Class A 95.7 WDOT-FM, 104.7 WNCS-FM, a C2 and 103.1 WRJT-FM, also a Class A, form the broad reach of the network. Two translator sites on 107.7 in Lebanon, NH, and 100.3 near Montpelier, VT, are also used.

Plans to build a new tower on the site have been in place for some time, but were on hold at the moment. The plans to erect a new monopole have now been set into motion. It is hoped that the new tower will be completed within the next three months.

The current boom truck temporary installation will probably be replaced by a pole or other semi-permanent fixture in by the end of June.

FCC Announces FM Auction Dates
Washington - Jun 15, 2004 - The FCC's Media Bureau will accept settlements and certain technical amendments until Aug. 13, 2004, for the closed groups of reserved channel, mutually exclusive noncommercial educational (NCE) FM station construction permit applications currently pending. A list is available at

The listed applications are ready for processing, but the FCC has concluded that it should provide this large group of long-pending applications one additional and final settlement opportunity to resolve application conflicts prior to applying the new NCE selection rules.

DA 04-1692

NAB Files IBOC Comments with FCC
Washington - Jun 16, 2004 - The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed a 39-page document of comments with the FCC in response to the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on final operational requirements, licensing and service rules changes for IBOC, and to the accompanying Notice of Inquiry on copy protection issues.

The NAB urges the FCC to "promptly endorse final authorization of IBOC digital radio service, including nighttime AM IBOC broadcasts." The NAB states that the FCC action will "provide the certainty and confidence for broadcasters and equipment manufacturers to continue to roll-out digital operations and products."

There are a few items of note in the NAB filing. Most of this information is from the NAB's filing summary.

  • AM nighttime authorization: The NAB believes that the benefits to be gained for AM broadcasters and AM listeners will far outweigh the limited additional interference predicted by Ibquity Digital's studies.
  • Permanent IBOC Authorization: The NAB believes that the FCC should move ahead with permanent authorization of IBOC service in advance of the final Commission standardization of Ibiquity's HD Radio systems and adoption of detailed technical rules. Final technical standards are due to be submitted by the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC) later in 2004.
  • Separate Antennas: The NAB requests that the Commission extend the Media Bureau’s approval of the use of separate antennas for FM IBOC signals to a Commission authorization, eliminating the need for stations to seek a Special Temporary Authorization (STA).

    The NAB has long supported the adoption of IBOC, as the filing shows.

    The filing also includes comments relating to the RIAA's concerns about copy protection from recording and Internet redistribution from unencrypted digital radio broadcasts. The NAB states that while this is a possible problem, there are no technical solutions that exist to prevent it from becoming a problem. The NAB asks the FCC to authorize IBOC without letting the RIAA concerns become a further obstacle.

    The closing line of the NAB summary states that the "NAB urges the Commission to act expeditiously to approve an open and flexible regulatory environment that will allow innovative digital services to be rolled-out and flourish."

    Read the NAB filing at

    Indecency Provision May Be Part of Defense Bill
    Washington - Jun 14, 2004 - Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) stated that he would try to add a broadcast indecency provision to a defense spending resolution that is currently under debate. The indecency provision would greatly increase fines for airing indecent material on broadcast television and radio. A stand-alone bill that would raise the fines to $275,000 per violation has stalled in the Senate, partially because it includes wording that reduces media ownership limits. The reduction in ownership limits is not widely supported.

    Brownback penned the original legislation as well. In a statement to Reuters, Brownback said, "My hope is that since there is such broad agreement on the indecency fines, that we'll be able to leave it at that."

    Brownback expects that the support of the defense item will pass, bringing the indecency fines wording along for the ride despite its irrelevance to the host bill.

    The current maximum fine is $27,500. The Senate bill proposes a maximum fine of $275,000 for an initial violation, $375,000 for a second infraction and $500,000 for subsequent violations. It would also require the FCC to consider revoking a broadcaster's licenses after three indecency offenses.

    Similar legislation has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives but instead proposed up to a $500,000 penalty per incident and does not include the provision tightening media ownership limits.

    BMI Wins in Music Fee Case
    New York - Jun 15, 2004 - Federal District Judge Louis L. Stanton, who presides over the BMI Rate Court in New York, has ruled in the performing rights organization's favor regarding the establishment of final fees for the use of the BMI catalog by Music Choice, a subscription digital audio music service to cable systems and satellite carriers. The fees will increase from 1.75 percent of gross revenues to 3.75 percent of gross revenues and is applicable to the period from Oct. 1, 1994 to Sept. 30, 2004.

    Judge Stanton had ruled in July 2001 that fees should be set at 1.75 percent of Music Choice's gross revenue, ignoring the full retail price paid by the consumer for music services. BMI appealed that decision, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with BMI. The appellate court sent the case back to Judge Stanton for further proceedings. The new license fee of 3.75 percent of Music Choice's gross revenues set by Judge Stanton takes retail value into account.

    In July 2003, the BMI announced an agreement with the radio industry for both blanket and per-program licenses that is the largest license deal in performing rights history to date.

    BMI represents about 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. The BMI Rate Court was established in 1994 in New York City to provide a means by which BMI and its licensing customers can seek a judicial determination of reasonable license fees in the absence of a negotiated resolution.


    New Office for LPB
    Camden, NJ - Jun 16, 2004 - LPB Communications has moved to a new headquarters. The new address is:

    311 Spruce Street
    Camden, NJ 08103-1929
    The U.S. toll-free phone number remains the same, 877-LPB-COMM. The local number, 610-825-4100 has been forwarded to the new location.

    More information: .

    XM Tops Two Million Subscribers
    Washington - Jun 14, 2004 - XM Satellite Radio has surpassed two million subscribers. Launched nationwide in November 2001, the company reached one million customers in October 2003, and eight months later has topped two million.

    NBC chooses Scheduall Software for Olympics
    Hollywood, FL - Jun 11 2004 - NBC has selected Scheduall as the supplier of broadcast resource management software for NBC's coverage of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. The software will be used to oversee broadcast event ingest and final product distribution of NBC's Olympic coverage from the International Broadcast Center in Athens. NBC will implement the company's Schedulink software for management and organization of inbound feeds from more than 30 Olympic venues and mobile units. The software will provide logistical tracking of content and oversee satellite and fiber feeds to the United States for broadcast on the Networks of NBC, including NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo and Telemundo.

    Sales Call


    Fairlight Appoints DeMarais as Head of Sales
    Sydney, Australia - May 10, 2004 - Fairlight has appointed Stuart DeMarais as its worldwide sales and marketing director. In his new role, DeMarais will coordinate between Fairlight and its worldwide business and delivery partners.

    Prior to joining Fairlight, DeMarais was the sales director for Solid State Logic, where he built a successful sales team that delivered sustained sales performance for more than a decade. As lead manager of the international sales teams, he was responsible for building a network of distributors and dealers.


    Mackie Ships Big Knob and Onyx Mixers
    Woodinville, WA - Jun 18, 2004 - Mackie has begun dealer shipments of the Big Knob Studio Command System and the Onyx 1220 and 1620 analog mixers. These products will be available for purchase at Mackie dealers by mid June. Dealer shipments of the larger Onyx 1640 are scheduled to begin in July 2004.

    From Blue Comes Red
    Westlake Village, CA - Jun 17, 2004 - Blue Microphones, a manufacturer of microphones, preamps and accessories, has launched a new venture called Restoration Electronic Design (Red).

    Red offers parts and accessories designed to keep vintage microphones alive and well. Hard-to-find replacement capsules, shockmounts, power supply cables and other items are part of the new company's offerings. Visit Red at

    Mackie Control Universal Extenders now Supported by Steinberg Nuendo and Cubase SX/SL
    Woodinville, WA - Jun 17, 2004 - Mackie Control Universal Extender support has now been made available in the newly released version 2.2 of both Cubase SX/SL and Nuendo. The Mackie Control Universal is a nine-fader master control surface with nine touch-sensitive Penny and Giles motorized faders. It provides software integration for DAWs, including Emagic Logic Audio, Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg Nuendo and CubaseSX/SL, MOTU Digital Performer, RML Labs SAW Studio and Adobe Audition. The Mackie Control Universal Extender is a channel extension for Mackie Control Universal that offers all the channel strip features of the Mackie Control Universal without the master section.

    Studer Delivers Modular Version of On-Air 500
    Northridge, CA - Jun 14, 2004 - In response to the requests to integrate the On-Air 500 into studio furniture, Studer has launched the On-Air 500 Modulo. Compact in size, the digital broadcast console is targeted at smaller stations and mobile use.

    The On-Air 500 Modulo is based on the same platform as the On-Air 500 in its fixed-frame version, but offers the freedom to place individual modules wherever they are most convenient. The On-Air 500 Modulo consists of one or two fader modules, one master module, the meterbridge and a 19-inch electronics rack, resulting in either a 6- or 12-fader mixing desk. Technical specifications and configurations are identical to the standard Studer On-Air 500.

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