Radio Currents Online - Sep 16 - Sep 29, 2002

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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News


Local-tax exemption for Satellite Radio?
Washington - Sep 23, 2002 - Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) introduced a bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Energy and Commerce, to provide an exemption from local taxation for direct-to-subscriber satellite service providers, and for other purposes. The act, called the Satellite Services Act of 2002 and labeled H. R. 5429, calls for a preemption of local taxation with respect to direct-to-subscriber satellite services. Satellite TV services already enjoy a tax preemption. This bill extends that coverage to satellite radio.

This legislation calls for a direct-to-subscriber satellite service provider to be exempt from collecting or paying any tax or fee imposed by any local taxing jurisdiction on direct-to-subscriber satellite service. States will still have the authority to levy taxes for satellite radio services with minor limitations.
Bill may Delay Pending Webcast Royalty Payments
Washington - Sept 27, 2002 - The Chairman of the House's Committee on the Judiciary, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., has introduced H.R.5469, a bill designed to help webcasters remain in business while the commercial dispute with record companies is resolved. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which Congress passed in 1998, permitted webcasters to purchase a compulsory license to operate by paying copyright owners a fee, negotiated privately or set by an arbitration panel, for the performance of music. After industry negotiations failed, the Copyright Office convened an arbitration panel, called CARP, to determine the rate. The CARP issued its rate-making decision, which was later rejected by the Librarian of Congress pursuant to his authority under the Copyright Act. The Librarian’s final decision, released on June 20, lowered the CARP rate further. Webcasters and copyright owners are still dissatisfied and have appealed to the D.C. Circuit for relief.

If the bill is enacted prior to Oct. 20, webcasters will not have to pay the pending royaly fees previously imposed.

A letter from the Committee's chairman states:
Since the Librarian’s decision is slated to take effect on Oct. 20, and the Court of Appeals has yet to set a trial schedule, the webcasting industry that Congress sought to nurture in 1998 may become extinct before the litigation officially ends. H.R. 5469 solves this problem by staying the implementation of the decision for six months, providing both sides the opportunity to have their day in court. It is only fair that private parties be allowed to pursue all legal remedies available to them before judgment is imposed.


The House is expected to vote on the extension on Oct. 1, 2002.
SBE Prepares for National Meeting
Indianapolis - Sept 26, 2002 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) will hold its annual national meeting on Oct. 16 and 17 at the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center and the adjacent Phoenix Downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel. The national meeting is being held in conjunction with the SBE Chapter 9 Regional Convention, and in cooperation with the Arizona Broadcasters Association.

Highlighting the national meeting will be the annual SBE Awards Dinner on Oct. 17 at Phoenix Civic Plaza. Awards recognizing outstanding achievements by individual members and local chapters will be presented, including the SBE Engineer of the Year to Joseph L. Snelson, Jr. of Meredith Corporation in Kansas City, KS, and Educator of the Year to Steven R. Keeler of Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY. SBE will also introduce Howard M. Fine of Pacific Television Center in Los Angeles as the Society’s newest Fellow and present a special Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard A. Rudman, CPBE, recently retired Director of Engineering at KFWB-AM in Los Angeles.

The keynote presentation will be provided by Joann Donnellan, media relations manager for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, DC. For the past two years, Donnellan has developed and promoted the AMBER program across the United States. AMBER, which stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, has been in the headlines often the past several months and has been put to use in several child abduction situations.

SBE National President, Troy D. Pennington, CSRE, will emcee the awards dinner. Pennington was recently elected to a second term as president of the Society, which is the largest organization dedicated solely to the interests and professional development of broadcast engineers and technicians and those in related fields. Pennington will also preside over the Society’s fall Board of Directors meeting and annual membership meeting during the event.

The SBE regional convention being presented by SBE Chapter 9 will include a special kickoff breakfast, broadcast equipment and services trade show and education seminars, all on Oct. 17. The Arizona Broadcasters Association will stage a broadcasting job fair during the SBE trade show and will also hold an awards dinner for its membership. For more information about the SBE events, visit the SBE website at www.sbe.org.
LPFMs Have One Year to Install EAS
Washington - Sept 19, 2002 - In a Report and Order released on Feb. 26, 2002, the FCC granted low-power FM stations a temporary blanket waiver of the requirement in the EAS rules to install FCC-certified decoders in an amendment of Part 11 of the Commission’s Rules. The Commission based the grant of the waiver on the fact that, at that time, there were no FCC-certified EAS decoders on the market. The Commission concurrently amended the EAS rules to exempt low-power FM stations from installing FCC-certified EAS decoders until one year after the Commission published a Public Notice in the Federal Registerindicating that at least one EAS decoder had been certified, specifically, a unit available from TFT. TFT was awarded the certification on July 23.

The Commission also amended the EAS rules in the Report and Order to permit cable systems serving fewer than 5,000 subscribers to use an FCC-certified decoder, if the decoders become available by Oct. 1, 2002.

Within one year of publication of the Public Notice in the Federal Register, low power FM stations will be required to install certified EAS decoders. In addition, cable systems that serve fewer than 5,000 subscribers may comply with the Commission’s requirement to install EAS equipment by Oct. 1, 2002, by installing a certified EAS decoder, rather than an encoder and a decoder.
NAB Radio Sees Decline in Attendance
Washington - Sept 16, 2002 - The NAB has released the final attendance figures for the NAB Radio Show held last week in Seattle. According to the organization's conventions department, there were 3,983 attendees at the show. This is down from last year's number in New Orleans (5,227), but the NAB states that attendance exceeded its expectations.

It was expected that attendance would be lower, given Sept. 11 travel concerns, the general state of the economy, the uncertainty over radio streaming issues in the last year and the bankruptcy of a number of Web streaming companies who exhibited at last year's convention. In additiona, the NAB cited that Attorney General Ashcroft's designation of Code Orange two days before the show started may have prompted some to stay home. Attendance from the international arena was down this year on a larger percentage basis than domestic, which the NAB relates to travel concerns.

Business


BGS Plans Southeast Expo
Ocala, FL - Sept 20, 2002 - Broadcaters General Store will hold the Southeast Equipment Expo on Oct. 31 in Charlotte, NC. The event will be held at the Adam's Mark Hotel. Exhibitors at the Southeast Equipment Expo will feature displays from Sierra Audio Systems, Audioarts, Burk, Gepco, Radio Systems, Translantech, Liebert, Comrex, Logitek, ERI, 360 Systems, Radio Design Labs, Telos, Marti, Musicam, Audion VoxPro, ADC, PreSonus, Raxxess, Mackie, Tieline, EMR, Tascam, DNF, AEQ, Crown, Fiber Group and Broadcast Tools.

Attendance is free, but registration is required by Oct. 18. Use the online form at www.broadcastdealer.com/forms/BGSRegistration2.pdf or call 828-698-2893.
Moseley Installs First Composite Starlink
Santa Barbara, CA - Sept 13, 2002 - Moseley has installed the first Starlink Composite STL at Clear Channel's KTYD, Santa Barbara, CA. The installation replaces an existing 15-year-old Moseley PCL-606/C system, which was suffering from intermodulation products in the composite baseband. The facility is located on the Gibraltar Peak antenna site. The STL path is about 15 miles long.

The Composite Starlink was unveiled at NAB2002. The system uses 128Hz sampling to digitally convey an FM composite signal. Advantages include at least 10dB improved signal-to-noise ratio and stereo separation and realization of maximum audio processing capability.
Rocket Network Licenses APT Technology
Belfast - Sept 17, 2002 - Rocket Network has arranged a licensing agreement with Audio Processing Technology that will enable Rocket Network to integrate the Apt-x digital audio data compression with Rocketdelivery, the company's product for simple, secure and speedy file delivery. While APT has been known as a hardware solutions provider, in 2000 the company began offering its algorithm in a software format for OEM resellers. Rocketdelivery with Apt-x compression will be available to end-users in November 2002.
APT and Skywalker Sound Make a Winning Team
Belfast - Sept 17, 2002 - Audio Processing Technology has been awarded the Invest Northern Ireland Strategic Development Award in recognition of its work with Skywalker Sound, a division of Lucas Digital LLC, to develop Worldnet Skylink, a range of products that will allow the secure transfer of multichannel audio using Internet Protocols (IP).

Field trials for the Worldnet Skylink units are expected to take place toward the end of this year. Skywalker Sound's engineering liaison for the project, Doug Ford, recently visited APT's head offices in Belfast to check on progress and he is pictured with APT's managing director, Noel McKenna, who received the award on behalf of APT.

Worldnet Skylink uses APT's compression algorithm Enhanced Apt-x to provide a method of transferring audio that is capable of operating over a variety of data links. APT has developed complimentary encoders and decoders that will operate in several modes including store-and-forward, using secure FTP transmission, real time streaming or pseudo-streaming. The new products will give film directors and producers the ability to review works being mixed at Skywalker Sound in Marin County wherever they are in the world. The inclusion of store and forward facilities will mean that time differences are eliminated.
Digigram, Radio France Sign Technological Partnership
Amsterdam - Sept 16, 2002 - Digigram and French national broadcaster Radio France have partnered to implement audio networking solutions as part of Radio France’s digitalization program. Digigram's expertise in digital audio networking will help in the design of new IP-based architectures for Radio France stations France Inter, France Info, France Bleu and Le MOUV' radio stations.

Radio France will base its on-air automation entirely on the IP streaming concept. Through the Digigram mpX Platform, the functions of playing, processing, monitoring and recording audio may all be called and applied to audio files or audio streams, local or remote.

Radio France produces 224,000 hours of program a year, distributed via its 57 radio stations. Radio France is part of French public service, employs 3,500 people and totals a global turnover of 540 million Euros. In 2002, Radio France totalizes 30 percent audience share in France.

People


Agnello, Conway Join Eventide
Little Ferry, NJ - Aug 14, 2002 - Tony Agnello, designer of the Harmonizer, returns to Eventide as chief technology officer. Agnello began working for Eventide in 1971 and then left to pursue other interests. His return to the company marks a major step in Eventide's management and direction, which focuses on pioneering products.

Christopher Conway joins Eventide as chief operating officer. Conway will run the company's daily operations and will oversee the release of new product launches. Conway holds a B.A. from Columbia University and has more than 10 years of management experience.

Internet Watch


RadioOnDemand Selects Worldcom
Clinton, MS - Sept 18, 2002 - Worldcom has entered into an agreement with RadioOnDemand, an Internet content provider, to deliver live audio and video streams to its broadcasting company customers. RadioOnDemand's content services enable broadcasters to customize real-time audio and video programming for local markets and demographics.

RadioOnDemand is using the Worldcom frame relay data service to connect its servers in California with each of its customer locations. As RadioOnDemand’s business grows by adding new customers and more broadcasting stations, Worldcom’s frame relay system will scale to meet new customer demand.

RadioOnDemand, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dr. Kuhnert & Associates, provides live streaming services through private and public networks, music library services for commercial broadcasters, play list dependent CD e-stores, content archiving and free Internet Services to radio stations.

Products


Tascam Ships XS-3 DJ Mixer


Designed for a wide variety of DJ environments, the XS-3 is a compact two-channel mixer with numerous features useful for DJs at any skill level. The unit offers a host of inputs and outputs, including line and phono for each channel, balanced and unbalanced master outputs, a recording output and a mic input. Featuring a three-band equalizer with full cut, crossfader start capabilities, adjustable crossfader curve selection and a crossfader reverse control, the XS-3 is is suitable for most DJ systems.
Tascam Releases v2.01 Software for DM-24 Digital Mixer
Montebello, CA - Sept 20, 2002 - Tascam has released the version 2.01 operating system update for its DM-24 Digital Mixer. Like previous enhancements to Tascam’s software-based products, this update is available as a free download from the Tascam website at www.tascam.com. Version 2.01 adds 20 new features and functions to the DM-24, including HUI emulation, improved internal signal routing and direct surround panning capabilities and new footswitch control capabilities.

The HUI emulation mode allows the DM-24 to be used as a control surface for music audio software such as Pro Tools, Digital Performer and Nuendo. Faders, pans and mutes as well as, aux sends, track arming and transport controls can all be controlled in these DAW applications via the DM-24.

Previously, effects returns, assignable returns and S/PDIF and AES/EBU inputs had to be assigned to channels to route signals to the stereo bus. Now in version 2.01, users can assign these signals directly to the stereo bus leaving eight more channels available for other inputs. Combined with the mic/line inputs assign capabilities from the DM-24’s version 1.60 update, these new routing capabilities effects offer access to 60 inputs at mixdown.

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