Radio Currents Online – Aug 11 – Aug 24, 2003
Aug 1, 2003 12:00 PM
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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Powell Announces Plans toEnhance Localism
Washington � Aug 20, 2003 – FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell has announced a series of initiatives to enhance localism among radio and TV broadcasters. A Localism Task Force will gather information on broadcast localism and advise the Commission on concrete steps that can be taken to promote localism.
Powell stated that he would shortly open a settlement window for low-power FM applications. Also, the Commission will waive its processing rules to permit mutually exclusive applicants to use all available frequencies to resolve conflicts and gain new station licenses. This settlement window will permit resolution of hundreds of pending conflicting applications. These stations will then be able to construct facilities and begin broadcasting.
In September, the staff will deliver to the Commissioners a proposed Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on localism. The NOI will seek comment on a wide range of FCC rules and procedures aimed at promoting localism. The NOI will ask whether various localism-based rules continue to work effectively and whether they should be changed or supplemented. The inquiry is also expected to address areas such as license renewals and network-affiliate rules, as well as newer localism issues such as voice-tracking on radio.
FCC Filing Freeze Ends, New FormsMade Available
Washington – Aug 14, 2003 – The FCC has revised and approved several forms for broadcasters. The forms are:
- FCC 301– Application for Construction Permit for Commercial Broadcast Station (July 2003 Edition)
- FCC 314– Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License (July 2003 Edition)
- FCC 315– Application for Consent to Transfer Control of Entity Holding Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License (July 2003 Edition)
The approval of the forms was entered into the Federal Register on Aug. 14 and are effective immediately. They are now available and may be accessed through the Media Bureau�s Consolidated Database System (CDBS). This system enables the public to complete and file these forms via the Internet from the Media Bureau�s website at www.fcc.gov/mb/elecfile.html. Electronic filing is mandatory for these three forms. All previous editions of FCC Forms 301, 314 and 315 are obsolete and may not be used.
Interep Study Shows Radio’sPopularity for News
New York – Aug 12, 2003 � Interep, an independent advertising sales and marketing company, released the results of a study designed to see whether there were any significant changes in radio listening patterns during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The time frame covered the first six months of 2003 and included Phase Three (March 2003) of Winter and Phase One (April 2003) of the Spring Arbitron surveys.
According to the study, radio continues to be a destination medium where Americans turn in times of national emergency. News and talk stations in the top 10 markets were studied for the survey.
The data revealed that there was a surge in average quarter-hour listening to news/talk stations during March and April of this year among 25 to 54 year old people. 12+ listening also increased during these two months but to a slightly lesser degree. Overall, radio listening increased by 29 percent in these two months.
The stations that were reviewed for the survey were:
- New York: WABC, WCBS, WINS, WLIB, WKXW-FM
- Los Angelese: KABC, KFI, KFWB, KNX, KLSX-FM
- Chicago: WBBM, WGN, WLS, WCKG-FM
- San Fracisco: KCBS, KGO, KIQI, KSFO
- Dallas: KLIF, KRLD, WBAP
- Philadelphia:KYW, WPHT
- Houston: KPRC, KSEV, KTRH
- Washington, DC: WMAL, WTOP, WTOP-FM, WJFK-FM
- Boston: WBZ, WRKO, WTKK-FM
- Detriot: WCHB, WJR, WWJ, WKRK-FM
FCC Extends Comment Period forRadio Market Definition
Washington – Aug 11, 2003 – The Commission has extended the reply comment period on radio market definitions by 30 days, making Oct. 6 the new deadline.
In its Report and Order, the Commission replaced its current contour-overlap methodology for defining radio markets with a geographic market approach in areas where such markets have been defined by Arbitron. These Metro markets are used to determine compliance with the local radio ownership rule. The Commission also initiated this proceeding to define radio markets for areas not covered by Metro markets. Until a new definition is developed, the Commission will continue to use a contour-overlap methodology in non-metro markets. The goal of the proceeding is to generate a map or a list of markets for radio stations across the country.
The National Association of Broadcasters and Saga Communications filed a joint motion asking the Commission to extend the comment and reply comment deadlines to Oct. 20, 2003, and Nov. 19, 2003, respectively. The petitioners assert that they need additional time to assess the impact of the options suggested by the Commission, as well as to attempt to develop a market definition specific to radio. The NAB has contracted with a consultant to study the Commission�s options, and requests additional time to accumulate and review the data. The petitioners also argue that additional time is needed for the NAB�s radio task force and Radio Board to act, and for staff to prepare comments reflecting the board�s decisions.
As a compromise, the FCC has granted a brief extension of the filing deadlines. The new deadline for comments is Oct. 6, 2003. The new deadline for replies is Oct. 21, 2003.
Ibiquity Adopts new AudioCoder for IBOC
Columbia, MD, and Warren, NJ � Aug 12, 2003 � Ibiquity Digital has revised the codec it will use for its IBOC digital radio system, which has been branded HD Radio. The new codec, called HDC, was developed jointly with strategic partner Coding Technologies. HDC has been customized for the demands of terrestrial IBOC AM and FM. Part of HDC is Coding Technologies� Spectral Band Replication (SBR), which was designed to enable high audio quality at extremely low bit-rates.
Robert J. Struble, president of Ibiquity Digital said, “We’ve been working behind the scenes for quite some time on HDC and believe all of our commercialization partners will be thrilled with the audio quality of HD Radio. With the incorporation of HDC, our expectations are for a faster rollout amongst radio stations and receiver manufacturers.”
Ibiquity recently came under fire when the National Radio Systems Committee ceased it evaluation of the IBOC technology pending a review and improvement for the audio encoder. In a private preview with NPR engineers in early August, one NPR engineer reported that the audio quality of the demonstation, which is assumed to have been HDC, was markedly better.
“The improvement in audio quality on AM is spectacular with the HDC codec and there is improvement in FM quality as well,” said Milford Smith, chairman of the NRSC DAB subcommittee. “Several months ago, the NRSC steering committee suspended the standard setting process for IBOC digital radio and requested that Ibiquity find an effective solution to address our concerns. In my opinion, they have found that solution. Working in conjunction with my colleagues on the steering committee of the NRSC DAB subcommittee and its sponsoring organizations, we will give very serious consideration to resuming the standards setting process.”
Coding Technologies has applied its experience with low bit-rate encoding to other recognized products. The “PRO” in mp3PRO and the “Plus” in aacPlus are functions of the company’s SBE technology. SBR is also part of the Digital Radio Mondiale system.
CMBE Offers Audemat-Aztec Rentals
Burlington, VT, and Miami, FL � Aug 18, 2003 � Realcoverage.com, a division of CMBE, now offers Audemat-Aztec field-strength monitoring equipment for rental to radio stations. Audemat-Aztec measurement systems are used to document station’s signal performance through drive-around campaigns. The data can be analyzed later and overlayed onto maps such as those offered by Realcoverage.
Realcoverage.com rents the Audemat FM-MC4 for a week at a time and provides all the equipment and software needed to measure the coverage of FM stations. Other Audemat-Aztec products are available as well for purchase or rental.
Video Equipment Rentals Allies withTelex Pro Audio Group
Minneapolis – Aug 15, 2003 – Video Equipment Rentals (VER) has purchased a large inventory of Telex Pro Audio Group products from the EV, Telex, RTS, Dynacord, Midas and Klark Teknik lines. VER, based in Glendale, CA, has 12 offices nationwide.
The purchase includes equipment for live and concert sound use, as well as more than 200 Electro-Voice RE-1 dual wireless systems, RTS two-wire intercom units, Telex TR-825 dual-listen beltpacks, Dynacord Powermate mixing consoles and Midas Venice and Legend mixing consoles.
BE to Host HD Radio Seminar inPhiladelphia
Quincy, IL – Aug 13, 2003 – Broadcast Electronics will host another IBOC seminar in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Oct. 1 just before the convention floor opens for the NAB Radio Show. Broadcast Electronics has conducted nearly 30 seminars around the country over the past two years. The Philadelphia seminar will cover IBOC implementation, installation and planning criteria as well as reports from stations that have already made the transition.
The seminar will be conducted by the Broadcast Electronics engineering and marketing departments. The seminar will be held at the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott Hotel (21 North Juniper at City Hall) from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. There is no charge, but reservations are required. To register, email: [email protected].
Clear Channel Radio ReorganizesRadio Divisions and Management
San Antonio, TX – Aug 10, 2003 – Clear Channel Radio is realigning its radio regions and senior vice president team. Effective immediately, Clear Channel Radio will add three new regions, Central, Rocky Mountain and Northwest, bringing the total number to 10. Other regions include Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-South, Southeast, Delta, Mid-West and TexiCali. The reorganization also results in changes within the company�s management team, including the addition of three new senior vice presidents.
Dielectric Expands RadioProduct Line
Raymond, ME – Aug 11, 2003 – Enhancing its radio broadcast services, Dielectric is realigning its engineering and manufacturing radio operations, adding new products for IBOC, introducing products and services for AM broadcasters and adding of two sales leaders to the radio sales team.
Dielectric is relocating all of its radio engineering and manufacturing functions to Dielectric�s facility in Newburgh, IN. Rex Niekamp will be responsible for all radio and tower operations in his new role as vice president, tower and radio operations. This centralized location was chosen to provide faster delivery of products to either coast. In addition, collocating the tower and radio operations will aid in the coordination of the company’s resources.
The near-term focus of the radio engineering staff in Newburgh will be the development of additional products to support the needs of radio broadcasters’ transition to digital. By drawing on the expertise of the TCI brand leadership team in the AM spectrum, the Dielectric will develop a line of products and services for the domestic AM radio broadcaster.
To further support the radio broadcasters, Dielectric has chosen John George of Lexington, SC, and Al Jason of Cameron Park, CA, to represent Dielectric radio products and services.
George comes to Dielectric from Harris where he served as district sales manager for the Southeast. He has previous experience with Audio Broadcast Group and Continental Electronics in addition to local FM station experience. George�s territory will cover the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Jason will be responsible for the western territory including Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Hawaii. He brings to Dielectric more than 25 years of experience in the broadcast industry with Jampro, CMBE and most recently ERI.
Tramont to Become Chief ofStaff
Washington � Aug 20, 2003 � Bryan Tramont is currently serving as Powell’s senior legal advisor, advising him on FCC agenda and circulate issues, and specifically on wireless, international, technology and consumer concerns. Before joining the FCC, Tramont was an attorney with the law firm of Wiley Rein and Fielding. He also clerked for the Honorable Duane Benton on the Supreme Court for his home state of Missouri.
Tramont replaces Marsha MacBride, who had served in the position since Powell became chairman in 2001, and who announced on Monday that she was stepping down as chief of staff.
Intelix Adds Smith to Sales
Middleton, WI – Aug 14, 2003 – Intelix, a U.S. manufacturer of audio and video hardware and software, has added Amos Smith to its growing sales network. Smith will serve as an Intelix inside sales engineer and primary sales representative for Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and most of Missouri.
Smith is the newest addition to Intelix�s sales representation team approach, instituted in May 2003. Through the team approach, design, sales and support are accomplished by a two-person team of professionals who are familiar with every stage of the audio and video installation. Smith will be working with Intelix applications engineer Alan Grout.
Smith served as an account executive with The Tape Company and as a national sales associate for design and sales with Full Compass Systems.
Wegener Adds Key Managers
Duluth, GA � Aug 18, 2003 – Wegener has made key management additions and changes to the company�s sales, marketing and engineering departments. The company has appointed Jay Batista to the newly created position of vice president, corporate development. Batista comes to Wegener from Harris Corporation�s Broadcast Communications Division where he led a sales and marketing team of four sales directors and more than 60 sales people. In his new position Batista is responsible for creating and implementing a new corporate sales strategy.
Batista holds a BA from Miami University (Ohio), and an MA in broadcast management from Ohio University. He has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences on the subject of digital television.
Kamy Merithew joins Wegener as vice president, marketing. Merithew comes from Motorola/General Instrument where she served as product line manager for professional satellite video receivers used in the broadcast and cable industries. Merithew holds a BS in general engineering from Harvey Mudd College, and an MS in electrical engineering from the University of California at San Diego.
Jeff Simyon has been named vice president, control systems engineering. Simyon has managed Wegener’s Compel Network Control Group. Simyon holds a BSEE from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
OMT Adds Director of BusinessDevelopment
Winnipeg, MB – Aug 13, 2003 – OMT Technologies has hired Harold Hermann as the company’s director of business development. In this role, he will be working closely with the sales and executive team to develop new business opportunities. Hermann brings more than 17 years of experience in software sales, customer service and strategy development.
Harris Reorganizes North AmericanSales Team
Cincinnati – Aug 13, 2003 � Harris Corporation�s Broadcast Communications Division (BCD) has reorganized its North American sales team. Harris stated that the changes were made to expand its capabilities to serve customers. The sales force will be divided into four sales teams: TV sales, radio sales, international sales and enterprise solution sales. Sales representatives from Intraplex Products and Harris Automation will be moving into these new teams to better enhance each team�s ability to offer solutions-driven product packages to the transmission and media acquisition markets.
Roland Eid will assume the title of director, radio sales. Eid will be responsible for managing all continuing radio transmitter, systems and resales activities for the call letter radio market. Eid joined BCD in September 1993 and previously was the managing director, Harris Broadcast Europe, ITIS Products. He replaces Virginia Lee Williams, who has been appointed to the newly-created position of director, enterprise solution sales. Williams will be responsible for managing the sales efforts to non-call letter customers. She joined Harris in January 2001.
Shawn Olsen will continue as director, TV sales, and Richard Frank as director of international sales. Joseph Mack and Marty Frange will remain as directors, national accounts.
Harris Now Shipping DAX 5/6 AM DigitalTransmitters
Cincinnati – Aug 19, 2003 – The Harris Broadcast Communications Division has begun shipping the DAX 5/6 AM radio transmitter. The DAX transmitters are lower-power transmitters that have been designed specifically for digital transmission, but are also suited for analog use.
The DAX AM uses a new modulation technique called Digital Adaptive Modulation, which can reduce antenna load-induced distortion, resulting in a cleaner analog signal and extended coverage in digital modes, such as IBOC and DRM.