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A First Look at Spring NAB Engineering Sessions

Paul McLane is Radio World editor in chief.

If you want an intense six-day tutorial on the state of radio broadcast engineering, go to the spring NAB Show.

Here’s my early read on the most interesting and relevant ones for our readers. While the broad themes are familiar ones — improving digital radio performance, green engineering, EAS, emergency preparedness and so forth — the agenda has some new and intriguing twists. The conference organizers and engineering advisers really do a good job putting this stuff together.

Saturday’s SBE Ennes program will look at “Video and Audio on IP to IPTV.” Featured sessions of interest include Wayne Pecena’s session on “The Broadcast Engineer in an IT World” and Jerry Whitaker’s talk about “The Tube Sound: Fact or Fiction?” Saturday sessions will also offer cloud IT considerations, an IPTV tutorial and a discussion of ATSC’s future of TV.

Sunday engineering talks include “Advancements in Radio Technology,” chaired by Steve Fluker and Milford Smith. Manufacturer ERI will discuss high-power circulator solutions for FM dual-input antenna systems, and later in the day will talk about high-level IBOC combining for single-input systems. Public radio’s Bruce Wahl and Dan Mansergh will update attendees about data distribution improvements to the Public Radio Satellite System. Frank Foti, who has been vocal in support of FM stereo transmission using single sideband suppressed carrier modulation, will delve into the topic further.

NPR Labs, Towson University and Harris representatives will discuss deployment of an FM+HD booster at KUOW(FM) Seattle. Terry Cockerill of Harris will talk about liquid vs. air cooling in transmission systems. Brian Lindemann of Broadcast Electronics will expound on topologies for FM translators with HD Radio.

Paul Donahue of MelRok will explain an automated HD2 and HD3 “front end” architecture so stations can access and bill for new interactive mobile revenue. NAB’s David Layer will present results from lab tests by iBiquity for an NAB FASTROAD project that explored digital SNR improvements from using asymmetric digital sidebands on FM IBOC. Tim Anderson of Harris will discuss next-generation HD Radio features.

Monday sessions include a discussion of international digital radio trends by Rich Redmond of Harris and a presentation about Joe Talbot of Telos Systems will talk about VoIP and “learning to live without POTS.” Ben Brinitzer of Clear Channel will explore advanced STL alternatives for radio. David Layer will moderate an afternoon workshop about HD Radio for managers and engineers.

Tuesday themes include network security for broadcast; speakers from Nagra Kudelski, NDS Americas, Harris and Broadcast Electronics are among the participants. Exploring network infrastructure, Wayne Pecena of Texas A&M University will talk about why stations need to be up on IPv6, a topic he has just written about in Radio World.

Also Tuesday, Glynn Walden of CBS moderates a series of talks about “green” engineering. Among the speakers: Rohde & Schwarz representatives will talk about a “weighted carbon footprint” for broadcast gear. Several speakers will explain the ABCs of LEDs in lighting. Consultant Gary Cavell and several guests will cover “greening the broadcast plant” and recent developments in the Transmitter Efficiency Calculator. Andre Janitschek of Radio Free Asia will talk about how broadcasters are incorporating environmental thinking into their operations. Geoff Mendenhall of Harris will speak about how to reduce the overall transmission facility cost of ownership. A representative of Dialight will review LED lighting systems for aviation obstructions.

Wednesday, the focus turns to emergency alerting. Gary Kline of Cumulus chairs a series of discussions. Matthew Straeb of Global Security Systems and Larry Wilkins of the Alabama Broadcast Association will talk about the experience of the state of Alabama. Several EAS equipment manufacturers will give their views of the CAP/EAS regulatory and technical situation.

Also that day, sessions will explore the challenges of engineering management in difficult times. John Poray of SBE and Fred Baumgartner of SBE and Harris will talk about the perceived shortage of broadcast engineers and how techies can better manage their careers.

Disaster preparation and recovery get the focus on Wednesday afternoon of NAB, in a session moderated by Jim Stagnitto. Sarah Foss will talk about business continuity plans using the cloud. Dave Davies of Consolidated Engineering Inc. has a paper on preventing the next tower disaster. Katsunori Osada of NHK will discuss how the organization covered the March 2011 earthquake and tsunamis. Tom Ray of WOR will help attendees evaluate their facility evacuation needs.

Come Thursday, modulation-dependent carrier control gets the nod. Martin Stabbert chairs a series of presentations by Daniel Maxwell of the International Broadcasting Bureau; Brian Walker of Nautel; and Terry Cockerill of Harris. Also that day, a part of sessions looks at “graphics for radio,” including a paper by Radio World contributor Alan Jurison of Clear Channel, talking about RadioText Plus; and representatives of Radio Free Asia, discussing how to create web video for a radio organization.

Will you be at NAB? Let me know if you’re going so Radio World can keep in touch and get your reactions and comments about the sessions and booths. Meantime, look for in-depth coverage of the show in our upcoming preview issues and news wrapup.

NAB Show Info