Radio Currents Online - Sep 29 - Oct 5, 2008


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House Passes Webcaster Bill
Washington - Sep 27, 2008 - House bill 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act, has been passed in the House of Representatives. The bill allows webcasters to negotiate with the music industry for a royalty rate lower than that mandated by Congress last year. The NAB had opposed the bill, which had the legislation on hold. But according to an article on CNET, the NAB met with Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and expressed its concerns about webcasters striking a deal before broadcasters. Sound Exchange, the RIAA group that collects royalties, has until Dec. 15 to negotiate a new royalty rate. CNET says the NAB was worried that the deadline didn't give it enough time to strike its own royalty agreement.

CNET says that Rep. Berman agreed to extend the deadline to Feb. 15, 2009, to allow the NAB the additional time it needed. CNET quotes Berman as saying, "There isn't anything in the act that prevents traditional broadcasters from reaching their own royalty rate."

The bill is expected to pass in the Senate without any problem. Read the bill at this link.


NAB Extends Deadline for 2009 NAB Show Call for Papers
Washington - Sep 29, 2008 - The NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference at the NAB Show provides technical papers covering a variety of topics relevant to the broadcast and allied industries. The deadline to submit proposals has been extended to Oct. 27, 2008.

Submission can be made electronically by following this link. Questions regarding the NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference can be directed to John Marino at jmarino@nab.org.


Congressional Bill to Require Satellite and HD Radio in All Receivers
Washington - Sep 27, 2008 - Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, with backing from a bipartisan group of Energy and Commerce Committee members, cosponsored a bill, H.R. 7157, which amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require all radios manufactured or sold within the United States to be capable of receiving satellite radio and digital terrestrial radio signals. Representatives Lee Terry (R-NE), Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX), Greg Walden (R-OR), Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Dan Burton (R-IN) are the cosponsors.

Rep. Markey said, "As the broadcast radio industry migrates to digital broadcasting technology, this legislation will ensure that consumers are able to readily receive free service through consumer electronics systems that are otherwise receiving satellite digital audio radio and traditional AM or FM stations."

If the bill is passed, it requires the FCC to take action within 180 days of the enactment.

Markey also added further justification of including satellite radio in the bill: "Further, the recent merger of the only two satellite radio providers, XM and Sirius satellite radio, has underscored the importance of ensuring consumer access to a diversity of sources for digital radio content, in particular content originating in their local communities. My bill therefore simultaneously seeks to address the long-term competitive health of local radio while ensuring that their local, digital services are readily received by radio consumers."

Read Markey's bill at this link.


Federal Regulation: Media Must Wear Safety Vests on Highways
Washington - Oct 2, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued new requirements for workers on federal-aid highways that appear to require the media to wear high visibility safety vests when covering incidents on public highways, according to a memo received by Radio magazine from the Indiana Association of Broadcasters. The regulations, which take effect on Nov. 24, 2008, seek to increase visibility and ultimately the safety of roadside workers by requiring the use of high-visibility apparel.

The memo highlights one portion of the regulation: "All workers within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway who are exposed either to traffic (vehicles using the highway for purposes of travel) or to construction equipment within the work area shall wear high-visibility safety apparel."

The term "workers" includes "responders to incidents," and in the explanatory notes to the regulation the FHWA takes the position that this includes media representatives when covering events on highways. The regulations can be found at 23 C.F.R. ยง634.

Because most public roads are constructed and maintained using federal funds, they are covered by the FHWA regulations. Members of the media responding to accidents or incidents on public roads should wear compliant, high visibility apparel beginning in November. The regulation specifies ANSI/ISEA 107 Class 2 or 3 high-visibility apparel, such as a vest. The Indiana memo suggests that workers should purchase lime-colored vests instead of orange or yellow so motorists can more easily differentiate them from other items on the roads, such as cones and signs.

The International Safety Equipment Association maintains a list of manufacturers that produce high-visibility apparel compliant with the new federal regulations.


NAB Radio Show Attendance: 2,743
Washington - Oct 3, 2008 - The buzz from the NAB Radio exhibits floor during the convention in Austin, TX, was about the obvious lack of traffic that booths were seeing. And official numbers from the NAB prove suspicions right: Attendance was down more than 350 from last year's show in Charlotte, which brought in 3,100 attendees.

"'Drive-in traffic that normally materializes at the Radio Show was pretty much non-existent this year because of Hurricane Ike, and because some 60 radio stations in Texas were off the air during our show trying to get their facilities back on the air," said Dennis Wharton, NAB executive vice president.

Next year the NAB Radio Show will return to Philadelphia, a city that has attracted big numbers in the past.


Business

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ABC News Radio in Washington, DC, is expanding its existing network of Wheatstone G4 and G3 control surfaces and Bridge Satellite frames to include a larger central Bridge router. This adds a 48 x 48 input/output matrix in the facility's technical center and provides redundant CPUS for the entire system.

Oktibbeha County, MS, has purchased the Alert FM, an FM radio-based emergency alert and messaging system, from Global Security Systems. Alert FM allows authorized emergency management officials to send alerts and messages to specific groups of first responders, business and citizens before, during and after a crisis. Because the system is FM radio-based, information can be distributed to a large number of recipients in a matter of seconds. Targeted alerts and messages are delivered by satellite to the data subcarrier of FM transmission towers and can be received on Alert FM receivers and other mobile devices.

Beginning in February 2009, 26 consecutive weeks of the award-winning NPR series Jazz Set with Dee Dee Bridgewater will be produced for air in Neural-THX Surround Sound. The program is produced by WBGO/Jazz 88.3FM in Newark, NJ, and airing on 105 NPR member stations every week. Since spring 2008, Jazz Set has broadcast select programs in surround sound.

Products

The NS-HD3113 (top) and NS-HDTUNE are available exclusively at Best Buy.

The NS-HD3113 (top) and NS-HDTUNE are available exclusively at Best Buy.

Insignia Offers Two HD Radio Receivers
Richfield, MN - Sep 29, 2008 - Insignia joins the list of manufacturers with HD Radio products, and is offering the NS-HD3113 and NS-HDTUNE exclusively through Best Buy and BestBuy.com.

The NS-HD3113 is a shelf system with Itunes tagging, a DVD/CD player and Ipod dock. The two-way speakers are feed from a dual 20W audio amplifier. The unit retails for $200.

The Insignia NS-HDTUNE is a stand-alone HD Radio tuner with 16 FM and 8 AM presets. It retails for $150.


Orban Releases Opticodec 1010 Version 3
Tempe, AZ - Sep 30, 2008 - Orban PC Products introduced version 3 of its 1010 Opticodec-PC streaming encoder. Version 3 fully supports the Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), the protocol that Adobe Flash Media Server 3 uses to stream data, audio and video via the Internet, as well as Icy Shoutcast, Icecast 2, and standards-based RTSP/RTP MPEG-4/3GPP protocols.

When developing Version 3, Orban worked with Adobe to ensure full support of the RTMP protocol.

All Optimod-PC 1010 owners can request a free demo of the new v3 software with RTMP by sending the card serial number and unfiltered email return address to pcproducts@orban.com.


HHB Ships 10,000th Flashmic
Old Lyme, CT - Oct 2, 2008 - HHB has shipped its 10,000th Flashmic. First launched at IBC three years ago, the digital recording microphone has captured attention of broadcasters and news organizations around the world.

Some of the notable users of the Flashmic include German public broadcaster NDR, The Financial Times, actor Jamie Foxx, ABC Radio, Capital Radio, Classic FM, Danish Broadcasting, Radio France and the BBC. The BBC alone has added 500 Flashmics to its collection in 2008, bringing its total to more than 1,000.

HHB products are distributed exclusively in the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean by Sennheiser Electronic.


People

Bassik Named CDO at Air America Media
New York - Sep 30, 2008 - Air America Media has named Michael Bassik to be its chief digital officer. Most recently, Bassik helped build the nation's largest online political marketing firm at MSHC Partners, where he served as the vice president of interactive marketing. In this newly created position, Bassik will focus on Air America Media and its digital strategy, building the AirAmerica.com presence for independent news, commentary and community.

Bassik has more than a decade of online political marketing and advertising experience. He is a frequent guest lecturer at conferences and universities across the country and has been featured on National Public Radio and in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune and Advertising Age, among others.

Bassik directed political advertising strategy at America Online during the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, and previously held positions at The New York Times, The White House and City Hall in New York.




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