Radio Currents Online – Jul 14 – Jul 27, 2003
Jul 1, 2003 12:00 PM
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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FCC Updates Broadcast StationTotal
Washington – June 30, 2003 – Each quarter, the FCC updates its licensed broadcast station list. As of June 30, the totals are as follows:
UHF commercial TV
VHF commercial TV
UHF educational TV
VHF educational TV
Class A UHF stations
Class A VHF stations
FM translators and boosters
UHF low power TV
VHF low power TV
Arbitron Diarykeepers ChangeListening Recording Habits
New York – Jul 22, 2003 � Arbitron has released an analysis of 2001-2002 data about how diarykeepers use station identifiers to record their listening. The analysis shows that a shift has occurred in the identifier diarykeepers record most often. In 1996, when Arbitron had last examined the use of station identifiers by studying a random sample of diary entries, call letters were the most commonly used station identifier recorded by diarykeepers. The new analysis of 2001-2002 data shows that diarykeepers are now principally recording stations� frequencies instead.
Using new data retrieval tools, Arbitron has conducted a complete accounting of all 103,456,251 quarter-hours included in the Fall 2002, Spring 2002 and Fall 2001 surveys. As these one hundred million+ quarter-hours were counted, the station identifiers associated with each quarter-hour were tallied. The tally shows that 42.0 percent of quarter-hours in each of the three surveys were credited based on station frequencies alone, up from 27.9 percent of diary entries in 1996. For about 68 percent of quarter-hours in each of the three surveys, a station�s frequency was one of the station identifiers included when a diarykeeper recorded more than one identifier, up from 51 percent of diary entries in 1996.
In contrast, the use of call letters alone dropped significantly to about 18 percent of quarter-hours in the 2001-2002 surveys, vs. 33.4 percent of diary entries in 1996. When multiple identifiers were recorded by diarykeepers, only about 35 percent of the quarter-hours in 2001-2002 surveys included call letters, vs. 52.1 percent of the diary entries in the earlier study.
Ratings Period% of Fall 2002 Quarter-Hours% of Spring 2002 Quarter-Hours% of Fall 2001 Quarter-Hours% of Spring 1996 Diary Entries
Call Letters Are Only Identifier
Call Letters Are One of the Identifiers
Frequency Is Only Identifier
Frequency Is One Identifier
Arbitron noted that during the 1996 Diary Content Analysis, the diary entry was the metric chosen to analyze diarykeeper use of station identifiers. As new data retrieval tools became available, the quarter-hour replaced the diary entry as the metric of choice. While diary entries and quarter-hours are different measures, the recent data make clear that there has been an observable shift toward the use of frequency as the dominant station identifier.
Diarykeepers� use of station name and program/personality have generally remained stable since the 1996 analysis. Diarykeepers continue to use station names as one of the station identifiers they note about 19 percent of the time. Arbitron states that this is evidence that efforts at station branding have been successful. Diarykeepers continue to include references to programs and personalities (nationally syndicated and local) among the multiple station identifiers they record about two percent of the time.
In it’s report, Arbitron attributes the change in recording practice to several factors, but the likely predominant reason is that stations – particularly FM – increasingly identify themselves over the air by exact frequency.
House Committee Votes to Block FCC’sOwnership Cap
Washington – July 17, 2003 – With the help of Republicans who bolted their own leadership, the House Appropriations Committee voted last week to block the FCC�s new 45 percent national ownership cap on television stations.
An amendment approved in a bipartisan 40-25 vote would overturn the FCC�s June 2 ownership decision, allowing networks to acquire stations that reach as much as 45 percent of the national television audience. The committee�s action prevents the FCC from spending money to carry out its new rules. That, in effect, keeps the current limit at 35 percent.
The House action took place in front of general managers of about 75 network owned-and-operated TV stations, who visited Capitol Hill last week to lobby for retaining the FCC�s new rules. They watched as the legislators overrode their wishes.
The House action follows intense activity in the Senate to kill the new FCC rules. Rep. David R. Obey (D-WI), author of the successful House amendment, said the vote was a victory for those seeking to keep big media conglomerates from getting even bigger and from silencing smaller voices in the process.
The House vote, unlike Senate measures, let stand other parts of the FCC�s ruling, such as the easing of limits on broadcast and newspaper cross-ownership. A Republican amendment that also would have pared back that part of the ruling was defeated on a voice vote in the House.
The significance of the House vote even shook the White House. A presidential spokeswoman, Claire Buchan, said the president�s senior advisers would recommend a veto if a bill including the amendment ultimately reached his desk.
T he action also drew fire from Rep. W.J. “Billy” Tauzin (R-LA), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC. “This is exactly not the way to do this,” said Tauzin, who supports the FCC’s new rules.
Ibiquity Cuts ThreeManagers
Columbia, MD – July 17, 2003 – Ibiquity Digital, the developer of the IBOC system in the United States, is laying off three top managers. They are E. Glynn Walden, vice president of broadcast engineering, Rick Martinson, vice president of program management, and Gerald Marcovsky, senior legal advisor.
Each individual’s employment will end at the end of July. Ibiquity would not comment as to the nature of the staff departures, however, Ibiquity issued this statement about Walden:
“Yesterday, Glynn Walden announced his departure from Ibiquity Digital. It would be difficult to overstate the contribution Glynn has made to what Ibiquity has accomplished over the years. Glynn Walden was one of the original visionaries for IBOC digital radio. Glynn should be very proud of his accomplishments, and we are honored to have had him as an employee. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Walden and Martinson have been visibly active with Ibiquity for many years, both starting with USA Digital Radio, one of the two companies that later merged to create Ibiquity.
All three individuals have a history with Westinghouse, one of the original founding companies of USA Digital Radio. Walden joined USA Digital Radio in 1989. Martinson was appointed Ibiquity’s director of broadcast development in 1996. Marcovsky joined the company in 1998.
Stolen Equipment Alert
Provided as a public service
Riverside, CA – July 15, 2003 – A TFT Model 8900 Reciter (STL receiver and FM exciter) serial number 1080312 was stolen between July 11 and July 12 from KWRP, Riverside (Hemet), CA. The unit contains an STL receiver on 944.50MHz and an FM exciter on 96.1MHz with a 50W output.
If the unit is located, please contact the Riverside County (CA) Sheriff’s Office at 909-955-2400 or John Squyers at KWRP at 909-929-5088.
Information provided by Darryl Parker of TFT.
Arbitron Update on PPM
New York – July 8, 2003 – Arbitron held a press conference on July 11 to update interested parties on the progress of the Portable People Meter (PPM). Overall, Arbitron said the results they are seeing from the PPM make sense and are in line with what they expected. In particular, radio is showing a greater reach with the PPM than the current paper diary methods. The PPM is finding additional listeners that Arbitron didn’t know about with the diary. While goals for the future of PPM were broad in scope, Arbitron did mention that the next PPM ratings marketing effort will be somewhere with a strong Hispanic component.
MITRE Releases LPFM InterferenceReport
Washington – July 11, 2003 – On Dec. 21, 2000, President Clinton signed into law an appropriations bill containing a requirement that the FCC conduct an experimental program to determine whether low-power FM (LPFM) radio stations will cause harmful interference to listeners of existing full-power FM (FPFM) radio stations or FM translator stations operating on third-adjacent channels.
Section 632(b) of the bill states that the “Commission shall select an independent testing entity to conduct field tests in the markets of the stations in the experimental program.” The statute further requires that the field tests include “an opportunity for the public to comment on interference” and “independent audience listening tests to determine what is objectionable and harmful interference to the average radio listener.”
Section 632(b) also requires the FCC to “conduct such tests in no more than nine FM radio markets, including urban, suburban, and rural markets, by waiving the minimum distance separations for third-adjacent channels for the stations that are subject of the experimental program. At least one of the stations shall be selected for the purpose of evaluating whether minimum distance separations for third-adjacent channels are needed for FM translator stations.”
Finally, the bill states that the FCC is required to submit a report to Congress on the testing activity results, including analysis, evaluations and recommendations derived from the completed test components.
The MITRE Corporation was selected by the FCC to provide technical leadership and management of the mandated requirement by establishing and monitoring the experimental program. In this role, MITRE will prepare a final report for use by the FCC in reporting to Congress.
Comsearch was contracted by MITRE to conduct the field measurement and public comment data collection portions of this experimental program by measuring the effects of LPFM stations located within the protected F(50,50) contour and operating on the third adjacent channel of FPFM and FM translator stations.
The results of these tests have been published and are available online at this link.
The 203-page report details the various test conditions and results of the tests. The measured results indicate the receiver least susceptible to LPFM interference was the in-vehicle receiver. Next was the home receiver, followed by the clock radio. The boombox and Walkman were the worst performers.
Public comments were also gathered and are included in the report.
The FCC seeks comments on the report by Sept. 12.
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NPR Upgrades PRSS Content Depot
Washington – July 21, 2003 – National Public Radio (NPR), through its Distribution Division, manages the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) on behalf of more than 400 interconnected public radio stations.
NPR Distribution is currently in the process of reengineering its services in response to station and producer needs. Public radio’s new distribution system, the PRSS Content Depot, takes advantage of technological innovations to streamline how stations and producers select, send, acquire and automate programming.The PRSS delivers more than 80,000 hours of radio programming transmitted from 17 satellite uplinks located throughout the United States. Producers develop radio programs and send them to one of the PRSS uplinks. The uplinks transmit the programs to interconnected stations. Producers also create descriptive material, which is made available to stations in the form of an online catalog.
The Content Depot will move the PRSS distribution system from exclusively real-time to a subscription-based system for live and pre-produced broadcasts. The Content Depot will continue to incorporate satellite distribution, as this technology is still the most cost-effective and reliable means of delivering high-quality, real-time audio programming to a national network of radio stations. The Content Depot will also provide alternative distribution methods that will give stations flexibility in receiving and storing programs and other information from the PRSS.
BBC Technology (BBCT) has been engaged by NPR Distribution to provide strategic and technical consulting in support of its Content Depot initiative. Working with NPR Distribution engineers and staff, BBCT is focusing primarily on the transmission and station technologies that will underlie the future Content Depot system.
In the first phase of the engagement, BBCT was responsible for conducting empirical testing of proposed transmission technologies to ensure the viability of real-time audio transmission combined with file transfer (audio and metadata) over satellite via encapsulated IP packets using standard file formats. BBCT and NPR Distribution is also working together to build on the proof-of-concept information that was provided to NPR by stations and producers. This will create a framework for station and head-end operations under the Content Depot.
Orban Mobile Broadcast LaboratoryTour Dates Announced
Phoenix/Tempe, AZ – July 24 – Orban/CRL has announced the first cross-country USA tour of the new Orban/CRL Mobile Broadcast Laboratory (MBL). The unit is a fully-equipped, 33-foot mobile vehicle that has been converted to allow for tests and demonstrations of Orban and CRL products, and to provide comparisons with other products. The MBL also carries kiosk rack-mounted displays of the entire product line of Orban/CRL.
Orban/CRL launched this vehicle so that stations and networks that have faced budget reductions in recent years have the opportunity to learn about audio processing and Orban products. Presentations covering IBOC and the most recent developments in audio processing will be conducted. The MBL will offer broadcast engineers, technical service managers and owners an opportunity for hands-on demonstrations and a chance for in-depth Q&A sessions with the experts from Orban/CRL.
Beginning in August, the MBL will start a series of 16 coast-to-coast visits at state broadcasters association conventions, local SBE events, The National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Philadelphia, and the annual AES convention in New York City. The first phase of the tour will begin at the Nebraska Broadcasters Association gathering in Lincoln and will conclude an estimated 10,000 miles later in California in mid-November.
The following schedule is subject to change:
DateGroupLocationAug 14Nebraska Broadcasters Association SBELincoln, NEAug 21TX Assn. of Broadcasters/SW TX SBEAustin, TXAug 26Kansas City SBEKansas City, MOAug 28St. Louis SBESt. Louis, MOSep 11Minneapolis SBEMinneapolis, MNSep 13Milwaukee SBEMilwaukee, WISep 18Chicago SBEChicago, ILOct 1NAB PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia, PAOct 10 – 13115th AES ConventionNew York, NYOct 14Cleveland/NE Ohio SBECleveland, OHOct 20Kansas Association of BroadcastersWichita, KSOct 28Sacramento SBESacramento, CAOct 29San Francisco SBESan Francisco, CAOct 30Fresno SBEFresno, CANov 11Los Angeles SBELos Angeles, CANov 12Inland Empire SBESan Bernadino/Riverside, CA
Additional stops in Denver and Phoenix are still in the planning stage. The tour will continue into 2004 and beyond. To arrange a tour stop for your SBE chapter, state broadcast association or other group, contact David Rusch at 602-438-0888 or [email protected]
Andrew Completes Merger with AllenTelecom
Orland Park, IL � July 15, 2003 – Andrew has completed its merger with Allen Telecom following approvals by Allen Telecom and Andrew stockholders at a special stockholder meetings held on July 15. As previously announced, based on the exchange ratio for the merger, Allen Telecom stockholders will receive 1.775 shares of Andrew common stock for each share of Allen Telecom common stock, with cash paid in lieu of any fractional share.
Ralph Faison, Andrew president, emphasized the merger of Andrew and Allen has been rigorously planned for and that integration will begin immediately. Andrew expects to realize cost savings from the merger.
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Harris Adds Cole as SalesRepresentative
Cincinnati – Jul 25, 2003 – Harris has hired James “Andy” Cole in the company’s Broadcast Communications Division (BCD) as sales representative. Cole will be working out of the Harris Broadcast Center in Mason, OH, where he will be a part of the West Central sales team for North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico pairing with district sales manager for the territory, Ken Perkins. Cole will be responsible for sales of the full-line of Harris studio and audio products along with broadcast products distributed by the Broadcast Center.
Cole joins Harris from Mid Star Incorporated, a distributor of semiconductor integrated circuits, memory modules and power supplies for the electronics industry. While in that position, Cole was responsible for sales and customer product orientation. Prior to Mid Star, Cole was an outside sales representative for Future Electronics.
Cole is a 1991 graduate of Ohio State University Ohio with a B.A. in Economics.
Thomas Joins WW1 as VP ofEngineering
New York – July 7, 2003 – Barry Thomas, a frequent contributor to Radio magazine, has joined Westwood One Radio Networks as the company’s vice president of engineering for the East Coast. He is based in the broadcast operations center in Manhattan.
Before moving to New York, Thomas was a broadcast engineering consultant in southern California. Some of his clients included Premiere Radio Networks, The Highway Stations (Barstow, CA) and KUSC.
Thomas got his start in radio in 1979 as a weekend announcer on WNOK in Columbia, SC. He later became the station’s program director and then operations manager of WNOK-AM/FM. Thomas’ career also includes working for Broadcasters General Store.
His career led him WPHR-FM (later WENZ-FM, Cleveland and then to Omniamerica Group as the director of engineering. In 1996 he moved to San Francisco as technical director for Evergreen Media’s KYLD and then to the first Jammin’ Oldies station, Mega 100, in Los Angeles. During its short existence, Thomas was the director of engineering for Comedy World Radio Network.
He is a senior member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers and is certified as a Professional Broadcast Engineer and Broadcast Networking Technologist. He currently sits on the SBE’s board of directors. He is a past national secretary of the society and also served three years on the NAB/SBE Conference committee. He has been active with the SBE on a local level as well, serving as the charter vice chairman and past chairman of Columbia, SC, Chapter 101 and the past chairman of Northeast Ohio Chapter 70.
Staco Hires VP of Engineering
Dayton, OH – July 14, 2003 – Jim Clark has joined Staco Energy as vice president of engineering. He replaces Jerry Combs, who retired in May. Clark brings with him more than 30 years of experience in power electronics, mostly in the UPS industry. Originally from San Diego, he began his engineering career at Elgar, designing small UPS products. Over the past 20 years, he has been vice president of engineering and part owner of Safe Power Systems in Tempe, AZ, vice president of engineering for Liebert in Irvine, CA, and most recently, president of Vanner, located in Hilliard, OH.
Broadcast Electronics Appoints KeyAccounts Manager
Quincy, IL – July 17, 2003 – Broadcast Electronics has appointed Mike Oakes as the key accounts manager in its Studio Systems Division. Oakes will be responsible for managing a significant number of the company’s major studio accounts in the United States. He will assume primary responsibility of Broadcast Electronics’ Audio Vault digital audio system and assist with the overall studio equipment needs of broadcasters and professional audio organizations.
Oakes has a background in media consulting and programming, including four years in software automation and 18 years as a program director for major group owners such as CBS Radio, Cumulus Media and Tribune Broadcasting.
Oakes can be reached at his Florida office at 772-546-3395 or [email protected].
FCC Establishes Office ofHomeland Security
Washington, DC – July 10, 2003 – The FCC has created an Office of Homeland Security within the Enforcement Bureau. The new office will provide consolidated support for the homeland security and emergency preparedness responsibilities of the Commission and the Defense Commissioner (currently, Chairman Powell), the agency�s Homeland Security Policy Council, and the Chief, Enforcement Bureau. James A. Dailey, a 31-year FCC veteran, has been named director of the office.
In addition, the office will be responsible for rulemaking proceedings relating to the Emergency Alert System and will oversee operation of the Commission�s 24-hour Communications and Crisis Management Center and its Emergency Operations Center, functions that are currently handled in the Enforcement Bureau�s Technical and Public Safety Division.
Prior to his appointment, Dailey served as deputy chief of the Enforcement Bureau�s Technical and Public Safety Division and as senior advisor to the FCC�s Homeland Security Policy Council. He has served in various capacities within the FCC, including deputy regional director of the South Central Region. Dailey, who joined the FCC in 1972 as an investigator in the FCC�s Norfolk, VA, Field Office, also served as district director of the FCC�s Kansas City Field Office for 17 years.
Dailey received a M.A. in Telecommunications Management from Webster University, Kansas City, MO, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the State University in New York at Buffalo.
The action was made by the Commission July 9, 2003, by Order (FCC 03-167).
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Andrew Intros Online Ordering
Orland Park, IL – July 21, 2003 – Andrew has launched the Shop-Andrew online accessory service to the Andrew website (www.andrew.com. The online systems provides pictures, part numbers, list pricing and discounted pricing.
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