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Find-your-way PDA

I was thrilled to see the Palm FASTtrack download listing that was on the NAB floor. But, I assume that the program won't work on my PocketPC Casio E-115. I know Palm has the big share of the handheld market, but PocketPC is gaining, and I happen to think it's a better system anyway.

So, here's hoping future handheld data files will work on a PocketPC.

I always enjoy reading BE Radio.
Dr. David Spiceland
associate professor
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

I'm glad you like the idea. I hope we can create a Win CE and other versions in the future. This is the first time we offered the the FASTtrack in a portable format. You're right, we chose the Palm OS because of its popularity. We will look at other formats for next year.
Chriss Scherer
editor

NFL GDC is A-OK

The NFL Game Day Coordinator article in the April 2001 issue is informative and appreciated by all that are mentioned in it. The folks work hard as volunteers all season long and deserve a great deal of credit and acknowledgement.

It was at Super Bowl XXIX that the NFL first recognized the problems of RF interference and asked me for help with this mystifying situation. That was the nucleus of the GDC program launched by the NFL at Super Bowl XXX at Tempe Stadium in Phoenix.

The NFL has been proactive with its development and support of the NFL/SBE joint venture for the purpose of NFL event coordination.

It should be noted that the Super Bowl is set up as a non-SBE event. SBE coordinators are hired by the NFL, and I am the manager of that effort.

I thank you for your efforts and appreciate the fact that any ink the program gets will help further the public awareness of the need to coordinate in this ever burgeoning wireless arena.

I am personally very pleased with the program, as is the League. I think we've hit a home run with event coordination for the NFL. I've even offered to help anywhere I can as a volunteer to try and spread the concept to other types of events.

There are still a number of other ideas to further enhance the public awareness of the heightened responsibility for proper and effective coordination.

We at the NFL in concert with the SBE will continue to develop this program and find enhancements that will help us achieve the most interference-free environment possible for everyone.
Jay Gerber
manager
NFL Frequency Organization Group

Interest in disinterest

Dear Skip:
Belatedly, I have read your column about LPFM and the public interest [Last Byte, April 2001]. Your analysis is quite accurate, but I wish to add my own comment based on my experience as a member of the board of directors of a now defunt nonprofit organization that promoted eclecticism in radio programming in the San Francisco Area during the '90s.

I agree that most proponents of LPFM, those who disparage the way that broadcasters serve “the public interest,” would probably prefer to substitute their own judgment for the judgment of those making programming decisions at radio stations. Either they feel that most programming does not truly address the listeners' desires, or they believe that “quality programming” that reflects their own ideology should be rammed down listeners' throats (or ear canals).

For the latter group I have no sympathy. As you pointed out, the listeners vote with their ears, and I believe that if people want to listen in large numbers to a particular program or format, such programming is in the public interest as a matter of definition.

It's the former group that I sympathize with to some extent and our nonprofit organization tried to deal with the alleged shortcomings in local radio programming, though without much success. Our views stemmed from the anecdotal observation that a particular station in San Francisco in the mid-80s had favorable word-of-mouth presence but failed commercially because the ratings did not reflect the community support that we believed truly did exist.

Those of us who feel that various interests of the listening public are going unmet would have to put up or shut up: if the programs/formats we like are not actually being listened to, then by definition they are not in the public interest.
John Covell
Former member, Bd. of Dirs.
Coalition for Eclectic Radio
San Francisco

Dear John:
I too have mixed feelings about the plight of LPFM. While it would be beneficial to have more choice of programming and greater public access to the airwaves, LPFM just isn't the right way to do it. The Internet may provide a better answer.
Skip Pizzi
contributing editor

Let me clarify

I want to comment on Jim Paluzzi's article in the June issue. He makes some good points, but a few need a little more explanation.

Never buy based on a demo could better be worded “A demo is only one part of the buying process.” The other steps that he describes are very legitimate and should probably be done before a demo. As much as we salespeople hate demos (I'm not sure that buyers know that we do), they are very beneficial in showing users that the proposed system is not difficult to learn and will not make their jobs harder or take longer.

Find at least two installations of the proposed system at facilities similar to yours. Travel to those stations and spend a day talking to management, engineering and operations. This is great advice in which buyers usually will not invest the time or small budget to follow.

If you hear frequent references to only one person at the station who ‘really knows how to make this thing work’ run away from the product. It has been my experience with software products that most operators are typical users. In a successful installation, at least one staff person will go deeper and learn to make the system “sing” in their application. This is and always has been true with almost all broadcast equipment including tape-based automation, consoles, etc.

Visit the factory. This is more great advice that few buyers will invest the time or budget to do. I also suggest asking about the most common software and workflow problems that users have rather than just hardware problems. All reputable vendors use non-proprietary, off-the-shelf hardware. Hardware is no longer unique and does not typically distinguish one vendor's system from another.

System training can be hardly worth the expense. This is the statement that I disagree with the most. In selling automation for over twenty years, I have never seen a successful installation without factory training. Trying to find another user for training usually winds up to be a very frustrating experience. A radio station's staff organization and workflow is somewhat unique to it. A user from a different station probably only knows how the system works in his operation. Many of the system's capabilities may be unknown to him because his station doesn't need them. Further, a trainer who has experience with operations at other co-owned stations within a group may be extremely valuable.

One of the biggest challenges most vendors face is keeping their existing user base knowledgeable about product advancements. Too often systems are bad-mouthed and replaced because a vendor didn't communicate new feature releases and enhancements well.
Criss Onan
sales manager
RCS
Fairport, NY



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