Radio Currents Online - Dec 29, 2008 - Jan 4, 2009


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IMDA Plans Meeting at CES
Las Vegas - Dec 31, 2008 - As the consumer electronics industry looks to see continuing growth, a group has been formed to define standards, functions and profiles and promote Internet media technology to consumers and retailers. The Internet Media Device Alliance was formed at the Internet Radio Summit in 2008. Membership is open to CE OEMs, retailers, broadcasters, content providers, device manufacturers and technology providers. The group will hold its first meeting at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Companies interested in participating in the group can attend the IMDA's inaugural general assembly on Jan. 9. Register on the IMDA website at this link.


FCC Steps Back from Pivotal Votes on Free Broadband, IBOC Digital Carrier Boost
Feeling the heat generated by irate telecom firms, new congressional committee leadership, and a scathing congressional report on his agency oversight, FCC Chair Kevin Martin decided last week to indefinitely postpone a scheduled agenda vote that included creation of free national broadband services and an IBOC digital radio power boost -- both issues of keen interest to broadcasters.

The decision to cancel the scheduled Dec. 18 meeting came after Martin's office received a letter co-authored by Sen. John D. Rockefeller and Rep. John Waxman, both Democrats headed for key chairmanships in their respective bodies of Congress.

Their message urged Martin to table the vote until the new administration had an opportunity to review complex and controversial issues on the agenda.

But Democrats were not alone in red-flagging the vote. Bush Administration officials reportedly asked the commission to forestall their decision on free broadband as wireless providers AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint complained that such a move would damage their ability to build out their respective 3G/4G networks.

How a new, democratically led FCC will deal with the proposed HD digital power increase as well as other hot-button issues such as broadcast music performance royalties and localism isn't yet clear. But Waxman's appointment in particular is seen as a sign that a tougher regulatory environment awaits broadcasters.

On the issue of universal wireless broadband, reports suggest that the incoming Obama administration and democratically controlled congress appear to favor an even more sweeping approach than the one on which the Commission was to vote, perhaps as part of a broad new national infrastructure spending initiative.


People

Transaudio Group to Distribute Tube-Tech
Las Vegas, NV - Dec 30, 2008 - Effective Jan. 1, 2009, Transaudio Group will handle the U.S. and Canadian distribution for Tube-Tech, a Denmark-based engineering and manufacturing firm. Tube-Tech has also hired Jesper Bo Nielsen, a Danish recording engineer, to focus on supporting the U.S. market as sales engineer.


Hayes Named CEO of Cox Enterprises
Atlanta - Dec 30, 2008 - Jimmy W. Hayes has been promoted to chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises effective Jan. 1, 2009. James C. Kennedy will remain chairman of the company and chairman of the executive committee of the board.

As CEO, Hayes will provide oversight to Cox Communications, Manheim Auctions, Cox Media Group and Cox Auto Trader and several corporate headquarters groups, including financial operations, human resources, administration and business development. He also serves as a member on the board of directors of Cox Enterprises and of Cox Radio.

Kennedy has been the CEO of Cox Enterprises for 20 years and decided to step down on his own. Hayes joined Cox Enterprises after having spent 16 years of his career in various leadership roles at Cox Communications, last serving as its executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer. Hayes began his career at Cox in 1980, and in 1982 was named a corporate officer. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from the University of Georgia and in 1989 completed the program for management development at the Harvard Business School.

Hayes serves on the board of directors of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Savannah, GA, and is actively involved in Angel Flight of Georgia, an organization of volunteer pilots dedicated to providing air transportation to those with medical needs that can't be filled locally.


Eye on IBOC

Report: UK Analog Radio Sunset May Begin in 2017
A final report drafted by the UK's Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG) indicates that a phased transition from analog broadcasting to a nationwide DAB multiplex could take place as soon as 2017, providing the government subsidizes the cost of infrastructure build-out, and relaxes key regulatory burdens.

The DRWG report, drafted at the request of British telecom officials, sets out three criteria that, once met, would set the transition in motion:

  • At least 50 percent of all radio listening taking place via non-analog channels
  • National DAB multiplex coverage equivalent or better to that of current analog FM
  • Local DAB multiplex coverage equivalent to at least 90 percent that of current analog FM

    The report also affirms that DAB is the most suitable replacement for public and commercial analog radio in the UK, but that the platform must be supplemented by low-power community analog FM service as well as broadband delivery. Thus, the report calls for new receivers entering the market to be multi-mode capable, including FM, DAB and other Eureka 147 family technology. Also recommended is the development of a timetable for migration from analog services on long- and medium-wave bands (AM) as well as FM in which LW and MW would be first to be reallocated for other applications, while VHF FM would follow last. Once set in motion, the entire process would play out over three years.

    DAB critics were quick to point out that the report does not address the use of the now-outmoded MPEG Layer 2 codec. The newer DAB+ standard, set for launch in Australia next May, employs 128 AAC coding, which is generally ranked as far superior to MP2 operating at 96-160kb/s rates. Controversy is also likely to surround the suggestion that government directly subsidize the cost of building out multiplex networks into rural and mountainous areas, while relaxing local content and ownership rules on commercial broadcasters.

    The report represents a closing phase for the government-sponsored group, organized by the regulatory authority Ofcom, and composed of representatives from the BBC, private broadcast groups, and other interested stakeholders.


    Europe Gets New DRM Service
    The BBC and Germany's Deutsche Welle have teamed together to launch a digital European radio service using DRM technology. The new channel will program 18 hours daily on 1296kHz using multiple transmitters to cover France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and neighboring countries. The same content will also be carried via DRM on an array of HF frequencies.

    Programming consists of Deutsche Welle and BBC international services available from early morning through evening, targeting Western and Central Europe with global news and a mix of in-depth analysis, documentaries and cultural programs in English. The broadcast stream also includes multi-media and electronic program guide (EPG) data.

    More information and a program schedule are available at www.drm.org.




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