Who's got the hot box?
Marketing claims are in the air this month, as two manufacturers make their latest claims to the radio on-air processor market.
This is the text of a press release issued by Omnia Audio on Dec. 2, 2002:
More Than Half of Top 100 FM Stations in the USA Are Processing With Omnia
It's official: Leading FM broadcasters choose Omnia audio processors more often than all other brands-combined!
Data from surveys conducted in Arbitron's Top 10 Markets reveal that a majority of the nation's highest rated FM stations* have upgraded to Omnia audio processing. (*Spring 2002 ARB, Mon-Sun 6a-Mid, 12+)
"In market after market, we found the same thing," says Frank Foti, President of Omnia Audio. "Many of radio's most respected broadcasters have already upgraded to Omnia - and more are doing so every day." Markets included in the study were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, Houston, and Detroit. In many markets, FM broadcasters have shown an overwhelming preference for Omnia.
"8 of New York's Top 10 FM stations are on the air with Omnia," says Foti. "It's the same thing in Dallas; in Philadelphia 9 of the Top 10 use Omnia. And of course, the highest billing station in America, KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, relies on Omnia as well. The message is clear: broadcasters in the most competitive markets on earth rely on Omnia to help them win."
For more information about Omnia audio processors, visit www.omniaaudio.com.
This is a statement issued in reply by Orban/CRL President/CEO Jay Brentlinger:
Omnia's press release is part of a disciplined, long-term marketing campaign, and we salute the company for staying on-message. Orban hasn't been keeping detailed statistics of its own, so we can't immediately counter Omnia's specific claims that more than half of the top-100 stations are "processing" with Omnia. Does this mean "on the air," or does it mean that the station has bought an Omnia of any model sometime in the past? It evidently does mean that in Omnia's researched markets other than New York, Dallas and Philadelphia (i.e., Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston, Houston, and Detroit), Omnia does not dominate.
For example, we know that all four of the top four FM stations in the Los Angeles market (Arbitron 12+, 6 a.m.-midnight) are processing with not just any Optimod, but with Optimod 8400. Given that Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world and that the artists who made the hits are more likely to hear their songs on the radio here than anywhere else, we think this says a great deal about 8400's acceptance not only by the mass audience, but by the entertainment industry in this most critical of markets.
We also know that we have now shipped over 850 Optimod 8400s to customers. We believe that this number speaks for itself. Further, we have maintained the 8400's technical lead by its being the first FM processor to be hardware-upgradeable for full compatibility with the iBiquity HD FM IBOC system. This means that there are two AES/EBU digital outputs, one for the FM channel and one for the digital channel, so 8400HD FM interfaces problem-free with the iBiquity HD FM exciter. (While we have heard about other processor manufacturers' plans for HD FM upgrades, the ones we have heard about so far sacrifice the processor's single AES/EBU digital output to the iBiquity digital channel, forcing the user to make do with the analog left/right outputs or composite output for the FM channel.)
Finally, we know what a vice-president of America's largest radio group owner has to say about Omnia6 and 8400. Quoted in the Oct. 7, 2002 issue of Radio Ink, Benjamin Brinitzer of Clear Channel Radio stated, "Stations seem to be requesting Optimod 8400 and the Omnia6 - the Omnia6 for very aggressive formats and the Optimod for less aggressive situations. The 8400 has added and changed several features, making it the most attractive box for all formats."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Paul McLane, Editor
PO Box 1214
Falls Church, VA., 22041
Having read Jay Brentlinger's letter regarding our recent press release, I am compelled to clarify some points, lest readers be left with a wrong impression.
Jay asks whether our statistics represent stations using Omnia on-air. Of course! We counted only those stations employing Omnia as their main on-air processor. Any other measurement would be meaningless; indeed, Orban could claim to be on virtually all of the top 100 stations if the criterion was whether or not the station owned any old Orban equipment purchased over the last 20 years; what station doesn't have something of Orban's somewhere? To be 100% clear: we only counted stations that told us they are using Omnia now as their main on-air processor.
Jay asked about how Omnia did in markets outside of New York City, Dallas and Philadelphia (which he knows are Omnia-dominated markets). We're delighted to report that Omnia has advanced in all of the other Top 10 ARB markets as well. So, to answer his question: Omnia is now on 8 of the Top 10 FM stations in Houston, and 6 of 10 in Detroit, D.C. and Chicago. With respect to Los Angeles, our survey confirms Jay's claim: Omnia is on two of the Top 10 stations.
By the way, we'd be happy to share the data with a trusted, impartial third party - such as Radio World - for verification. There would be the caveat that some of our clients have asked to remain anonymous for competitive reasons. They could be confirmed and counted in the results, but cannot be named without their permission.
Lastly, I don't know why Jay was quoting sales figures. While shipping 850 pieces is an impressive accomplishment, what's the connection to this discussion? Our point is that more of the top stations, in the top markets - those that could have anything and where the stakes are highest - prefer Omnia. We didn't make any claim about overall sales numbers. (But since I know readers will be curious, Omnia-6 has shipped well in excess of 850 units.)
Telos Systems / Omnia Audio
Who's got the hot box?