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NAB Exhibitor Viewpoint: Mark Grant, Belar

The company is aiming at HD Radio time-alignment solutions

As the NAB Show gets closer, we continue our series of short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the big annual trade show. Mark Grant is CEO of Belar Electronics Lab.

Radio World: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2015 NAB Show?
Last year, in talking to our customers and radio engineers, the time-alignment issue in HD Radio transmission was a hot-button topic. This is the year to bring solutions to the table that solve those problems. Belar will announce some new software developments in its modulation monitors to address this, and I expect to see some solutions from other manufacturers. Stateside, full digital AM HD broadcasts should be a hot topic, while internationally, the emerging DRM and expanding DAB standards continue to gain momentum.

Radio World: Belar Electronics is showing new software-defined test and monitoring applications. Tell us more.
Our current flagship products, the FMHD-1 and FMCS-1, are both software-based designs which we continue to refine through software updates. Added to the FMCS-1 this year are ITU-R 412 multiplex power measurements, which many European countries are now specifying for measuring total modulation. For the FMHD-1 we’ve added a network interface connection for correcting FM HD Radio diversity delay errors. The FMHD-1 continuously monitors the time-alignment between the analog and digital signals and feeds back the error condition to either the station’s delay line, processor or exporter. The feedback loop automatically adjusts for any deviations that occur over time.

Radio World: How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?
We continually strive to make products that deliver superior performance, supported with over 50 years of modulation monitor manufacturing experience. Our software base designed products allow us to continually refine and add features that benefit our existing users and keep our products fresh.

Radio World: How has the integration of the Internet into everyday business life changed the role and function of the mod monitor in today’s radio plant?
Smartphones have raised the expectations for connectivity of devices on the Internet. While we’ve had remote software for our products since the 1990s, these days many of our customers use this as the primary means of accessing their mod monitor. Alarm conditions can be sent using email or text message. Relay closures, while still present, are not as relevant with everyone carrying a cellphone.

As I mentioned earlier, the Internet also opens up the possibility of products talking to each other in the broadcast chain. With the mod monitor being the last device in the air chain, we can provide valuable feedback to the processor, transmitter and other devices upstream in the chain.

Radio World: Your company recently announced a management reorganization after Arno Meyer’s retirement. Who does what now?
I have taken over the role of leading the company and making the business decisions. In addition, I have maintained my role as the principal engineer responsible for product design. This is in alignment with how Arno led the company. Erich Meyer, Arno’s son, manages the day-to-day operations of the company and oversees the whole manufacturing operation. Erich Barchi, Arno’s grandson, handles sales and marketing.

Radio World: What’s your favorite thing about the spring show? Your least favorite?
I always enjoy getting to see everyone. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of friends in the industry, and this is the one time every year to reconnect and see what’s going on in the business from their perspectives. Also, being able to talk to our customers in person provides us with valuable feedback on our products, as well as future products. My least favorite part is the travel to and home from the show. Those airplane seats get tighter every year, it seems.

Radio World: Anything else we should know?
In order to ensure that every product sold meets the standards Arno established over the last 50 years, Belar will continue to manufacture 100% of its products under one roof, here in the U.S.A.

Booth: C2452

Radio World invites you to register for a free NAB Show Exhibits-Only pass using our VIP code: LV3772.