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NRSC Marks 35th Milestone

NAB’s Sam Matheny: “Standards are what make the magic happen”

At the fall Radio Show, members of the National Radio Systems Committee celebrated the 35th anniversary of the standards- and guideline-setting technical organization. The organization, jointly sponsored by NAB and CEA, held a breakfast open to all attendees before its formal meeting. Members later adopted some committee changes as well as a revision to its RDS guideline.

NAB EVP/CTO Sam Matheny: “I’ve experienced first-hand the dedication, give-and-take and the cooperation that is required to build a technical foundation for our business.”

The NRSC updated its Radio Data System guidelines.

NRSC-G300-B, RDS Usage Guideline was adopted by the Radio Broadcasting Data System Subcommittee; that is chaired by Dan Mansergh, director of engineering, KQED Public Radio, San Francisco. Approximately 70 pages in length, G300-B includes a new section, 4.6, providing information on establishing adequate RDS encoder security at stations.


The NRSC also unveiled a new, more mobile-friendly website ( and an updated logo.

New NAB EVP/CTO Sam Matheny told the group during a breakfast that was open to all attendees: “Developing technical standards and recommended practices is important work and has been — and continues to be the primary mission of the NRSC. I believe standards are what make the magic happen. It’s the work of the NRSC that ensures that when listeners turn on and tune in that their radio is simple.”

Matheny, who joined NAB in July, said that while he’s new to the broadcast lobbying organization, he’s familiar with standards-setting work; he mentioned his experience as a member of the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

“I’ve experienced first-hand the dedication, give-and-take and the cooperation that is required to build a technical foundation for our business,” Matheny said. He pledged NAB’s continuing commitment to the group, saying the industry will continue to look to the NRSC for technical leadership and guidance as radio faces “challenging times and new competition.”

NAB’s David Layer, left, and Journal’s Andy Laird, outgoing chair of the NRSC DRB Subcommittee.… AND ELECTS NEW DIGITAL CHAIRS

NRSC members also elected two new subcommittee co-chairs. Glynn Walden, senior vice president, CBS Radio, and Jackson Wang, president and CEO, e-Radio Inc., are now the co-chairs of the Digital Radio Broadcast Subcommittee.

Walden, recipient of the 2004 NAB Engineering Achievement Award for radio, has been active in the DRB Subcommittee since its founding. He is generally considered one of the fathers of the in-band/on-channel approach to digital radio, and in his previous capacity as vice president of broadcast engineering for iBiquity Digital Corp., he wrote the IBOC technical and regulatory specifications for what would become the HD Radio system.

Wang is founder of e-Radio, a smart grid communications solutions company. Previously, he was an aerospace engineering officer in the Canadian military and a systems engineer with Litton Guidance and Control Systems on the U.S. Tomahawk Cruise Missile Program.

Walden and Wang succeed Andy Laird, former vice president and chief technical officer of Journal Broadcast Group, who is retiring later this year. Laird chaired the DRB Subcommittee since 2007, succeeding Milford Smith, vice president of radio engineering with Greater Media, who remains chair of the full NRSC.

During Laird’s tenure, a number of significant documents were developed, including the latest revision of the NRSC digital radio standard, NRSC-5-C, which describes significant new operational capabilities, including asymmetric digital sidebands for AM and FM, increased FM digital carrier power and reduced AM digital bandwidth.


The Consumer Electronics Association has honored NAB Senior Director Advanced Engineering David Layer.

CEA annually presents its Technology & Standards Leadership Award to an outstanding individual for “their commitment to excellence as evidenced by the extent and consistency of their overall, ongoing participation in CEA’s Technology & Standards program … for significant contributions to CEA’s Technology & Standards program to advance the state-of-the-art in consumer electronics … [and] demonstrated industry leadership through active participation.”

Layer was honored during the NRSC’s breakfast.

Mike Bergman, CEA senior director Technology & Standards, is also CEA’s staff liaison with the NRSC, we reported in February.

In prepared remarks shared with Radio World, Bergman said: “This year, the NRSC’s 35th year, it is appropriate that the award go to someone who has contributed so much to this group, to radio and to radio standards. [Layer] has been with the NRSC for close to 20 years.

“When you consider the phrases ‘extent and consistency,’ ‘significant contributions’ and ‘demonstrated industry leadership,’ there is certainly no shortage of names. NRSC is home to a host of award-winning engineering talent,” he said. “But over the past two decades, one individual has contributed many hours to the efforts of the NRSC.”

Bergman said that Layer “has participated in a thousand discussions and more; and he has set a standard of excellence by example and by insistence on quality.”

Layer has been with the NAB since 1995, and is NAB’s staff representative to the NRSC. Bergman cited Layer’s work as key to the smooth operation of the joint NAB-CEA standards- and guideline-setting effort.

Layer was instrumental in the adoption of NRSC-4 RBDS and NRSC-5 IBOC standards, and for most of the several dozen additional standards and guidelines published by this group, according to Bergman. 

In addition to the NRSC, Layer’s contributions may be seen in IEEE Spectrum Magazine, the NAB Engineering Handbook and at technical conferences and broadcast symposiums in the U.S. and abroad. In his spare time, he has leadership roles in Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers and the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society.

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