Radio Currents Online – Mar 31 – Apr 13, 2003
Apr 1, 2003 12:00 PM
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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FCC, FAA Add Electronic TowerInfo Link
Washington, DC – Apr 10, 2003 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have announced that tower and antenna airspace clearance data from the FAA is now transferred to the FCC electronically. This development will enable the FCC to process antenna structure registration applications faster and it will save staff resources at both agencies. This is part of FCC and FAA efforts to employ innovative technologies in order to provide better customer service.
Previously, FAA clearance data was sent via paper copy to the FCC. Commission staff would then manually enter the information into the FCC’s Antenna Structure Registration Database. The electronic transfer of this data is expected to reduce the time it takes to get this information into the FCC’s database from one to two weeks to one day. Since the FCC cannot process antenna structure registration applications until the FAA clearance has been received, the prompt receipt of this data will also enable structure owners to more readily register structures with the FCC. In addition, the electronic transfer guarantees the accuracy of the FAA data since it is sent directly from their database.
As part of the FCC’s ongoing efforts to promote air safety, the FCC requires owners to register certain tower or antenna structures that may create a hazard to air navigation (generally those more than 200 feet in height or located near an airport). The FCC�s antenna structure registration process utilizes FAA clearance data to verify that the FAA has approved airspace clearance for the tower and site data being registered by a structure�s owner. The antenna structure registration process includes information on the specific structure including location, obstruction marking and lighting and owner data.
More information about the FCC’s antenna structure registration process is available at http://wireless.fcc.gov/antenna.
FCC Adopts New Procedures forNon-reserved Spectrum
Washington, DC – Apr 10, 2003 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released new procedures to allocate and license non-reserved broadcast spectrum where conflicting commercial and noncommercial uses are proposed.
The FCC adopted its new procedures in light of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit. Section 309(j)(1) of the Communications Act generally requires the FCC to resolve competing applications for construction permits or licenses via auction, but section 309(j)(2)(C) exempts NCE stations from this process. In April 2000, the FCC decided that the auction exemption of section 309(j)(2)(C) applied only when applicants for NCE stations sought the FM and TV channels reserved specifically for them; thus, the FCC decided that applicants for NCE stations, like applicants for commercial stations, must compete at auction for non-reserved spectrum. In order to mitigate any hardship for NCE stations, the FCC also decided to reserve additional FM and TV channels for their exclusive use whenever a proponent for reservation could demonstrate that it is technically precluded from using an already-reserved channel, and that it will provide needed NCE service in a given area, according to a particular test.
In July 2001, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the FCC�s interpretation of the auction exemption and said that “nothing in the Act authorizes the Commission to hold auctions for licenses issued to NCEs to operate in the unreserved spectrum,” because section 309(j)(2) denied the FCC the authority to use competitive bidding “based on the nature of the station that ultimately receives the license, and not on the part of the spectrum in which the station operates.” The court’s decision did not have any effect on the relaxed standards for reserving additional FM and TV channels. In order to resolve the issues raised by the court�s decision, the FCC issued a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on the scope of the auction exemption, and on options for resolving the competing interests of applicants for commercial and NCE stations in the non-reserved spectrum.
The April 10 Report and Order makes several determinations. First, the FCC said the auctions exemption for NCE stations applies to two types of broadcast stations: (1) AM, FM, and full-power TV stations that a nonprofit educational organization demonstrates will be used to advance an educational program and are eligible to be licensed as NCE stations pursuant to applicable service-specific standards; and (2) stations that will be used by a municipality to transmit only noncommercial programs for educational purposes. These standards track the definition of NCE stations that the Communications Act uses for purposes of section 309(j)(2)(C).
Applicants that do not satisfy one of these standards must compete at auction for licenses. Thus, an applicant is not exempt from auction under the first of the two standards if it applies for a station in a service for which the FCC does not have NCE eligibility rules, or if it fails to demonstrate it will use the station to advance an educational purpose.
Second, although the FCC will not hold applicants for NCE stations ineligible for non-reserved channels (in the same way that applicants for commercial stations are ineligible for reserved channels), applications for NCE stations will be dismissed if they conflict with an application for a commercial station after any applicable settlement window expires. Under existing rules, applicants for secondary services (i.e. LPTV and translator services) already have a limited opportunity to resolve their application conflicts outside of the auction process, in part because engineering solutions are possible.
Under the new procedures, the FCC will extend a similar opportunity to resolve application conflicts to mixed groups of applicants for AM service, because engineering solutions are likewise possible. Finally, the FCC reaffirmed that it will continue to reserve additional FM and TV channels for NCE stations if the proponent for reservation demonstrates that it is technically precluded from using an already-reserved channel, and it will provide needed NCE service in a given area. As a result of this action, the FCC will allow proponents for reservation to apply these criteria not only in future allocation proceedings, but also to FM and TV channels currently in the Table of Allotments for which the FCC initiated an allocation proceeding prior to the effective date of these reservation standards, and for which the FCC has never accepted applications.
Recently, the FCC opened a filing window for FM translator applications, which resulted in an estimated 30,000 filings. This Report and Order may affect some of those applications.
Canadian Broadcasters Objectto Royalty Fees
Ottawa, Canada – Apr 1, 2003 – The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) expressed its disappointment over the recent ruling by the Copyright Board of Canada on royalties payable for the reproduction of musical works. The ruling requires commercial radio stations to pay for making reproductions of music for broadcast purposes, such as from a CD to the radio station’s computer system. The impact of this new tariff is estimated at about CDN$6.5 million annually, retroactive to 2001. This is an additional new payment for radio stations.
In April 2001, the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) and the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC) filed proposed tariffs for the reproduction in Canada of musical works by commercial radio stations. The CAB is in the process of reviewing the decision and will determine if it will appeal the decision at a later date.
Proposed Revised Royaltiesfor Large Webcasters
Washington – Apr 4, 2003 – On April 2, the Digital Media Association and the Recording Industry Association of America agreed to a proposal for royalty fees for Internet radio services to pay record companies for Webcasting. The proposal was submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office. It requires large Internet companies to pay $0.000726 – an increase from $0.0007 – for each song Webcast through their radio services. The old rate was established by the Librarian of Congress last year. The new rate would cover royalties for 2003 and 2004.
The $0.000762 rate and the $0.0117 per aggregate hour, covers individual streams for subscription and nonsubscription services. The recording industry would also receive 10.9 percent of subscription revenue but no less than $0.27 a month per subscription.
To take effect, the proposal must undergo public hearings before a decision is made. It will not affect smaller Webcasters, such as college stations. Last November, Congress approved a bill that would offer substantially lower rates for small Webcasters.
IBOC Highlights at NAB2003
Las Vegas – Apr 1, 2003 – The NAB2003 convention will open on the weekend of April 6, and discussions about terrestrial digital radio in the United States will be a major part of the show. The IBOC rollout has begun, with a few stations formally commencing operations already.
The technology developer, Ibiquity Digital, and consumer electronics partners will showcase commercial IBOC (branded HD Radio by Ibiquity) receivers for the automotive and home environments. These receiver units rely on chip technology from leading semiconductor manufacturers such as Texas Instruments. Receiver demonstrations in Ibiquity�s and its partners� booths will enable visitors to hear IBOC broadcasts and view program-related data, such as song title, artist name and station information. Other demonstrations in Ibiquity�s booth will enable visitors to hear a digital broadcast and view next generation wireless data services, such as on-demand interactive audio.
Several broadcast manufacturing partners will display IBOC equipment, including Harris (C404), Broadcast Electronics (N2604), Nautel (N2312) and Continental Electronics (N2403). Ibiquity will exhibit in booth N2066.
The consumer equipment on display in the Ibiquity booth will include a Chevy Trailblazer outfitted with Kenwood receiver equipment and diplays from Kenwood, Visteon, Alpine, Delphi, JVC, Harman Kardon, Jensen and Sanyo.
Stations Given Grace Period onPosting EEO Info
Washington – Mar 31, 2003 – By Public Notice (MM Docket No. 98-204) the Media Bureau of the FCC has established an interim policy concerning the enforcement of the requirement of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) rule (defined in FCC Rule 73.2080) that if a broadcaster is part of an employment unit with five or more full-time employees, it must place information concerning its EEO efforts in its public file and on its website, if it has one. This information is required to be placed in the station�s public file on the anniversary of the date the station is due to file its renewal application. The information relates to specified EEO activities engaged in during the preceding year.
Petitions for reconsideration have been filed by two groups of state broadcasters associations urging that the requirement be modified to allow a 10 day grace period for the specified information to be placed in the public file because broadcasters may not have sufficient time to collect and review data concerning activities that occur shortly before the renewal filing anniversary. The Commission stated that it will address the merits of these requests in due course, but in the meantime, it has adopted an interim enforcement policy of allowing a 10-day grace period with respect to EEO public file reports due April 1, 2003. For stations that were due to file info on April 1 now have until April 11, 2003, to comply.
This is a one-time allowance. In the future, licensees should place EEO public file reports in their public files by the due date. They may, however, base their public file reports on activity that concludes up to 10 days prior to the due date. Licensees who choose to conclude their reports prior to the day before the due date should include any reportable information occurring between their cutoff date and the due date in next year�s public file report.
Daylight Saving Time Reminder
Apr 1, 2003 – The Traffic Directors Guild of America issued a reminder that Daylight Saving Time goes into effect on April 6. For areas that observe the change there will be no 2:00 a.m. hour. The clocks change from 1:59 to 3:00 that morning.
Stations should verify that no revenue-generating elements are scheduled in the 2:00 hour. If logs designate Daylight or Standard time, this should be noted in subsequent logs.
WOR Posts IBOC Audio Samples
New York – Mar 31, 2003 – WOR-AM, New York, a station that is embracing IBOC with great excitement, has updated the operating software in its IBOC exciter. Tom Ray, corporate director of engineering for WOR and Buckley Broadcasting, has posted recorded samples of the exciter and new software.
The samples were recorded in stereo. Ray has stateed that the new software is an improvement over the previous version, but it still not quite ready for regular use. Listen to the samples at www.wor710.com/Engineering/iboc/hdindex.htm.
Arbitron,M�diam�trie Sign Agreement For PPM Trials In France
New York – Apr 8, 2003 – Arbitron and M�diam�trie, the provider of TV, radio, Internet and cinema audience measurement in France, have signed a license agreement that will enable the independent media measurement company to evaluate Arbitron�s Portable People Meter system in Paris.
The two-year agreement will enable M�diam�trie to evaluate the PPM encoding system and the willingness of Parisians to keep the pager-sized PPM device with them as they go about their daily routines. M�diam�trie will also appraise the radio and TV ratings from the PPM and compare the ratings to the current audience measurement systems – set-top people meters for TV and day-after telephone recall for radio – used in Paris.
CSS Selected for Entercom DenverProject
Denver – Apr 9, 2003 – Creative Studio Solutions (CSS) has been chosen to design, build and install Entercom’s suite of broadcast studios at Entercom’s new facility at The Denver Technology Center. Entercom currently operates four radio stations in the Denver area, including KALC-FM, KOSI-FM, KQMT�FM and KEZW�AM. CSS will design and install a total of 12 new studios for Entercom: four on-air studios, four production studios, three news studios and one live room.
CSS is primarily using Wheatstone technology and its related products for this project. CSS will also be using Stardraw Radio documentation software for the design of the wiring infrastructure and project documentation.
CSS will design, build and document all 12 studios at its facility in Wheat Ridge, CO, before disassembly and final installation at Entercom’s new location.
Fujitsu Ten, Panasonic LicenseIBOC
Las Vegas, NV – Apr 7, 2003 – Ibiquity Digital has licensed its IBOC technology, branded HD Radio, to Fujitsu Ten Limited of Japan. Fujitsu Ten�s aftermarket Eclipse brand is one of the top-five sellers in the high-end category of aftermarket automotive receivers.
Matsushita Electric Industrial, known worldwide for the Panasonic brand of digital consumer and communications products, will develop HD Radio receivers. The first products will be automotive car radios in 2004.
Orban/CRL to Restructure Debt toHarman
Tempe, AZ – Apr 1, 2003 – Orban/Circuit Research Labs has reached an agreement in principle to restructure the company�s debt with Harman International Industries. Circuit Research Labs purchased Orban from Harman International in May 2000.
In announcing the action, Jay Brentlinger, president of Orban/CRL, noted that Harman had been supportive of CRL during the past three years and that this agreement further shows this support.
The main elements of the agreement allow a restructuring of the Harman debt of Circuit Research Labs and its subsidiary companies under the following terms:
- Prior to April 30, 2003, CRLI will issue $1.5 million in common stock for cash consideration
- CRLI will then make a $1 million cash principal payment on its outstanding debt to Harman
- Harman will permit CRLI to retain the cash raised by the sale of its common stock in excess of the payment to Harman
- Harman will agree to exchange $3.5 million principal amount of the debt owed to Harman by CRLI and its outstanding warrant to purchase shares of CRLI common stock, so that Harman will own 19 percent of CRLI common stock.
AOL and Infinity Form MarketingAlliance
New York, NY and Dulles, VA – Apr 1, 2003 – America Online and Infinity Broadcasting have reached an agreement for a marketing alliance. America Online will provide AOL for broadband service to broadcasting facilities at Infinity’s stations across the country. As AOL’s interactive content partner, Infinity stations will have access to real-time updates directly from AOL for broadband.
The partnership is part of America Online’s newborn marketing campaign for its broadband service.
Lynx Studio Technology MovesDistribution In-house
Costa Mesa, CA – Mar 31, 2003 – Lynx Studio Technology has moved all its sales and marketing functions to the company’s Costa Mesa headquarters effective April 1, 2003. While most international sales responsibilities were already in-house, U.S. sales and marketing were previously handled through distribution channels. The internal sales and marketing functions are being overseen by Phil Moon.
HHB Communications previously handled domestic distribution of Lynx products for the past two years. Current Lynx retailers have been informed about the transition and provided with new contact information.
Digigram Hires Hageman as Salesand Communications Director
Montbonnot, France – Apr 4, 2003 � Digigram has hired Miranda Hageman as sales and communications director.
Dutch native Hageman spent more than a decade in various roles with Maycom Systems Europe (as international marketing and sales director), Maycom Automation Systems (as managing director) and Electronic Data Systems (as business relations and development manager), all headquartered in the Netherlands. Hageman graduated from Utrecht Business School with a degree in marketing, which she complemented with additional management and sales studies.
Lynx Studio Technology Appoints Moonfor Sales and Marketing
Costa Mesa, CA – Mar 27, 2003 – Five years after launching Lynx Studio Technology, company founders David Hoatson and Bob Bauman have brought the North American sales and marketing functions in-house in order to better serve its customers. To support an expanding line of professional computer based digital audio products, Bauman and Hoatson have appointed Phil Moon to oversee all marketing and sales efforts.
Moon’s background over the past 25 years includes key marketing positions at many of the leading companies in the musical instrument and pro audio segments. While at Yamaha in the 1980’s Moon was involved with such milestone products as the DX7 synthesizer, SPX90 processor and PM series consoles. In 1991, Moon founded Loft Marketing, which provided marketing consulting and market research to the industry throughout the 1990’s. He has also held vice-president and director level marketing positions at Alesis and JBL Professional.
Lynx Studio Technology designs and manufactures professional, computer-related audio products.
The Radio magazine Pick Hitsof NAB2003
Las Vegas – Apr 10, 2003 – Since 1985, Radio magazine has awarded the most-coveted and most-respected technology award at the NAB convention. The Pick Hit awards recognize the 10 best new products introduced at the annual convention. This year’s award recipients are:
Audemat-Aztec IP2 Choice
Belar Wizard for Windows
Comrex Matrix GSM module
Henry Engineering Digimatch 2X6
Wheatstone Generation-9 and Generation-4
The Radio magazine Pick Hits panel also recognized one Honorable Mention:
Congratulations to the award recipients. Complete information about the award recipients will be published in the June 2003 issue of Radio magazine as part of our NAB2003 convention review.
Burk Releases EAS Update
Littleton, MA – Apr 7, 2003 – Burk Technology has released an update for it EAS units. The update contains new event codes, including the AMBER alert codes. With the latest firmware update, Burk EAS users are able to participate in local- and state-level AMBER plans, aimed at the recovery of abducted children. The firmware is a free download from the Burk Technology website at www.burk.com.
TFT Re-releases RPU Equipment
San Jose, CA � Apr 6, 2003 – TFT has reintroduced its 8888 and 8889 remote pickup (RPU) equipment to comply with new FCC channel assignments. The 8888 transmitter and 8889 receiver were the first frequency-synthesized, frequency-agile units, which also featured DTMF control of frequency and bandwidth. The transmitter can switch the receiver remotely between two pre-programmed frequencies and select three bandwidths with a touch-tone phone connected to the transmitter.
The units have been reintroduced to meet the FCC�s new Part 74 requirement for carriers on 3.125kHz spacings.
The 8888 Transmitter has three audio inputs, three selectable RF output power levels, external processor patching, and a built-in test-tone oscillator. Front panel metering and alarms show unit operation at a glance. Power can be supplied either from ac or +13.8Vdc external battery. The 8889 receiver, also frequency agile, has selectable IF bandwidth, a security command feature, a built-in DTMF input, and a repeater transmitter enable circuit.
Active Power Recognized by Frost& Sullivan
Austin, TX – Apr 3, 2003 – Active Power has been awarded Frost & Sullivan’s Product Line Strategy award for 2003. Active Power manufactures the Clean Source flywheel uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. The Clean Source product line provides a broad range of battery-free UPS systems, ranging from 65kVA to 900kVA, with a 1,200kVA UPS to be released later this quarter.
Frost & Sullivan’s Product Line Strategy Award is presented each year to the company that has demonstrated the most insight into customer needs and product demands in its industry. According to Frost & Sullivan, Active Power has demonstrated excellence in introducing new products that meet the stringent demands of the market and in accommodating different end-user markets by repurposing its technology.
Stardraw Adds Spanish
April 2, 2003 – Stardraw.com has updated its range of products, including Stardraw Audio, AV, Lighting 2D and the recently launched Stardraw Radio, to provide menus and an interface in Spanish. This brings the number of language versions up to six with English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese already being available. All language versions may be downloaded from www.stardraw.com using Stardraw Live Update.
Illbruck Launches Program toReplace Polyurethane Acoustical Foam
Minneapolis, MN – Apr 1, 2003 – Illbruck Architectural Products will offer a 20 percent discount on Willtec acoustical wall panel products to users that want to replace their existing polyurethane acoustical foam materials. The offer is being extended to all users, regardless of the original manufacturer of the polyurethane acoustical product.
Illbruck received a number of calls from people concerned about the flammability of their acoustical foam in the wake of the recent fire at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island. Illbruck said that the foam used in the Rhode Island nightclub appears to have been an inexpensive polyurethane product that was not approved for acoustical purposes. Polyurethane foam has a higher flammability than products made from melamine, such as Illbruck’s Willtec. Illbruck also said that users should verify that any acoustical materials is installed according to any building codes.
An alternative to polyurethane, melamine retains the acoustic qualities of polyurethane but is far less flammable. Willtec has a Class 1 fire rating, the best fire rating possible for a building material. It is flame and chemical resistant and, unlike polyurethane foams, it will not decompose or emit toxic gases when exposed to flame.
The Illbruck offer is valid through the end of 2003.
SAS to Debut Audio Consoles at NAB
Burbank, CA – Mar 31, 2003 � Sierra Automated Systems and Engineering (SAS) plans to show its entries into the audio console arena at NAB2003.
The Rubicon Broadcast Console Control Surface is a new entry in digital network system integration. A stand-alone control surface, the Rubicon integrates into the SAS 32KD digital audio network for mixing, switching, level control and effects. Completely modular, extensively customizable and fully programmable, Rubicon is designed for medium and large market facilities.
Indigo is an analog modular console that integrates tightly with SAS routers. Indigo can be equipped with individual router input selectors directly on the input module, where it is most convenient and flexible.