of several stories providing a final overview of news and themes of the recent
LAS VEGAS — The future of radio in the
dashboard. The appearance of program content descriptions on various receivers.
The outlook for AM radio. These are big topics in the industry, and they
certainly were as well in the sessions, exhibit floor and hallway buzz at the
2013 NAB Show.
Radio’s involvement in platforms old and
new was a theme of discussions at the NAB Show.
by Jim Peck
The show came as the FCC faces a big
change at the top. Meanwhile, so-called “sequestration” budget cuts left many
commission staffers, and all FEMA personnel, who’d planned to attend at home.
Here are selected highlights; future
issues will feature further in-depth analysis of show themes.
FM TRANSLATORS A-GO-GO
More than 1,000 pending FM translator applications from the Auction 83
window will survive FCC processing, according to experts. And Wilkinson Barker
Knauer attorney Peter Oxenford believes that figure is low.
He praised the commission for working to
balance the spectrum needs of those who want FM translators as well as
non-profits who plan to file for new LPFM licenses.
The FCC has been winnowing the remaining pending FM translator
applications, and the agency is “close to announcing a settlement window” for
the remaining apps, according to Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle.
Speaking to attendees via Skype, Doyle
said the agency is on track to open a window in October for non-commercial
entities to apply for LPFMs. The Audio Division hopes to release LPFM
applications electronically, with the goal of getting non-profits to begin
completing their station applications in June, he said.
And what’s next for FCC Commissioner
Ajit Pai’s call for an AM revitalization initiative? That’s “ultimately an
Eighth Floor call,” according to Doyle. He ticked off regulatory barriers the
agency has lifted over the years to help AM owners, like allowing AMs to retransmit
their signal on FM translators.
ONLINE PUBLIC FILE PLANS DELAYED
It appears that sequestration will have at least one unexpected effect,
delaying a rule change that would affect radio station public files, RW
The across-the board federal budget cuts
went into effect in March. As a result, many FCC personnel who had planned to
attend the show had to do so via Skype or phone.
Sequestration also has “greatly reduced”
the commission’s IT budget, according to Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake, who did
attend. He didn’t delve into specifics. But asked during a session about the
effect of sequestration on the agency’s relatively new online television
station public file system, Lake said, “It won’t affect the ability of the
consumer today to use various files. But our ability to fix problems in the
future or whatever we might want to do, we might not be able to do in the
Radio World first reported, the FCC wants to extend the online public file
requirement to radio. But Lake told Radio World that this won’t happen anytime
soon. “We just don’t have the technical capability.”
METADATA, MDCL GUIDELINES
Metadata distribution — and how the data displays
on devices fed by analog transmission, HD Radio and Internet streams — was a
The National Radio Systems Committee adopted a metadata distribution
guideline. It contains recommendations for the creation, packaging and delivery
of program metadata for receiver displays.
an engineering session, Alan Jurison said the NRSC-G301 guideline is meant to
give stations an easy way to maintain a consistent display of their program information
on all types of receivers, from the car to handheld devices.
Jurison is a senior operations
engineer for ClearChannelMedia +
Entertainment’s Engineering and Systems Integration Group. He led the NRSC
working group for the metadata distribution guideline. KQED
Public Radio DOE Dan Mansergh chairs the NRSC RBDS Subcommittee that adopted
the vote, NRSC Chairman Milford Smith told Radio World that the use of metadata
is proliferating, and stations need a way of handling it unattended.
guideline adopted by the NRSC concerned AM Modulation-Dependent Carrier Level
The AM and FM Analog Broadcasting Subcommittee adopted a guideline that
outlines MDCL technologies used by AM stations to reduce electrical power
consumption at their facilities. When used carefully, MDCL has little or no impact
on the audio quality of AM transmissions, the NRSC says. Implementation of
MDCL can reduce power consumption by as much as 20 to 40 percent, according to
Garvey Schubert Barer.
& Edison Senior Engineer Stan Salek and Cumulus Broadcasting Senior Vice
President/Corporate Director of Engineering & IT Gary Kline co-chair the
for these documents on the NRSC website, www.NRSCstandards.org/.
guidelines aim to help radio broadcasters, equipment manufacturers and receiver
makers in the operation and implementation of local AM and FM systems. The
Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Broadcasters
co-sponsor the NRSC.
RAIN ON RADIO TRENDS
How can radio remain relevant in a world
in which everyone wants what they want, delivered when they want it, coupled
with the open dashboard and near-infinite bandwidth? Radio and Internet Radio
Newsletter Publisher Kurt Hanson offered some ideas.
In his annual “State of the Internet
Radio Industry” remarks, Hanson pointed to a Netflix trend of releasing all
episodes of a video program series at once. He said this is a reminder to both
traditional AM/FM as well as Internet radio that they need to step up their game
Hanson also noted the morphing role of the smartphone, which, for many
people, has replaced their camera, alarm clock, voice recorder, address book,
calculator and navigation unit.
The Arbitron and Edison Research report
“Infinite Dial” data suggests that weekly use of Internet radio is up to 86
million listeners. It has more than tripled over five years, Hanson said.
Will Apple enter the online radio business, as speculated, with its
reported iRadio service? Hanson said that “might be great for all of us.” He
likened it to a battle of the brands that raises the visibility of the entire
AM and FM radio can maximize its value
by being live and local; with an Internet stream, a station is “not constrained
by a 90-mile signal anymore,” he pointed out. But Hanson cautioned broadcasters
not to procrastinate. “If you wait too long, the opportunities are taken.”
‘CAR COMPANIES LOVE RADIO’
The car is radio’s “number one listening location and our number one
advertiser,” says Jacobs Media and JacApps executive Paul Jacobs.
The automobile is essential to radio, which “is no longer two buttons on
the dash. In these big-screen entertainment systems, finding the radio is an
option.” He spoke at the Radio and Internet Newsletter Summit.
Addressing industry scuttlebutt about whether carmakers would someday
leave radio out of the dash, Jacobs said, “We talk to car companies. They love
radio.” He said radio remains a big part of how automakers view the dash going
forward. However the industry needs to take a “much more intense view of our
relationship with the car,” paying more attention to the dashboard user
interface and ultimately the advertiser interface.
“That’s what the car companies want”
from the traditional radio industry, Jacobs said.
IBiquity Digital President/CEO Bob Struble said in an interview that the
risk for broadcasters is not so much being left out of the dash entirely but
“being buried down in some menu.” TuneIn Vice President of Business Development
Carl Rohling said his service allows listeners to hear 70,000 streamed stations
ranging from podcasts to so-called “long-tail” content, but he admitted it
hasn’t been easy to implement the service into the vehicle.
It’s difficult to develop an app for
“every car stack,” said Entercom Director of Digital Operations Amy Van Hook,
noting that the cost for developing one app can range from $400,000 to more
than a million dollars. Entercom’s strategy is to have every station branded
individually. The broadcaster works with JacApps to get its mobile phone
applications in the car and with Triton for data integration.
Time-shifted content in the car is
important, said Van Hook. “The DVR has changed consumers’ expectations.”
Further, lifestyles change for individuals as they age from their 20s to 30s
and 40s, leading to differences in how much time they have to consume radio and
how they want to do that.
IBIQUITY TOUTS HD CAR OFFERINGS
IBiquity Digital is seeing significant
growth in digital broadcast services and receiver sales. That growth is especially
in auto receivers, because in-car is where most listening takes place and where
broadcasters make the most money, Senior Vice President Joe D’Angelo told Radio
Among receivers in iBiquity Digital’s
booth were these tabletop models. The Insignia in the middle shows ‘Active
Alerts.’ The HD Radio technology enables stations to broadcast EAS alerts.
by Leslie Stimson
Some 12 million HD Radio receivers have
been sold to date, with 10 million in-car, according to iBiquity. Thirty-three
automakers include factory-installed HD Radio technology on 170 models. Eighty
models include HD as standard equipment.
Twenty percent of new cars sold in 2012
included HD Radio, and iBiquity expects that figure to grow.
In addition to
digital audio, HD increasingly is used to deliver advanced data services. One
of the most notable features is Artist Experience, in which visual elements
like album covers are synchronized with digital audio. Over the past year, 10
radio groups — including Clear Channel, CBS, Emmis, Entercom and Greater Media
— have worked to implement Artist Experience on their stations for a total of
some 450 stations total, according to the technology developer.
HD Digital Traffic Services are launching in more cars; the service is
available in JVC and Garmin products, and Toyota, Lexus and Mitsubishi will
bring cars to market this year with these features built in.
HD RADIO NAV PLATFORM DEMOED
The recently introduced Mitsubishi HD Radio Navigation platform with the
Nokia/Broadcast Traffic Consortium Service was displayed for the first time.
The BTC comprises 24 broadcasters that provide a nationwide digital broadcast
distribution platform for advanced traffic and traveler information service.
The new radio is integrated into the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander, to be
available later this year. The automaker is one of the first OEMs to announce the integration of
HD Radio Digital Traffic services; iBiquity Digital Chief Operating Officer
Jeff Jury said the tech developer expects more such announcements this year.
the BTC and Nokia’s HD Radio service, drivers will have access to real-time
traffic information that extends beyond highways to include smaller roads; the
service has the same level of accuracy on traffic speed and time delays due to
incidents like as road closures or construction, according to iBiquity.
Additionally, Nokia’s HD Radio service will include weather reports and fuel prices.
A prototype 2013 Toyota radio featuring Clear
Channel Total Traffic Network service was displayed in iBiquity’s booth as