Radio Currents Online - Oct 24 - Oct 30, 2005
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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Petition Seeks to Create Low Power AM Service
Washington - Oct 23, 2005 - On Aug. 19, 2005, five parties filed a petition for rulemaking with the FCC to establish low-power AM (LPAM) radio service. The FCC has opened Docket RM-11287 to address the petition. Similar to low-power FM in some ways, the AM proposal asks for the service to allow commercial operation. LPFM service is noncommercial. An official rulemaking has not yet been issued, but the FCC is accepting comments through Nov. 21.
The LPAM proposal was submitted by a group led by the Amherst Alliance of Michigan that includes the Michigan Music is World Class Campaign, the LPAM Network of Maine, Nickolaus E. Leggett of Virginia and Don Schellhardt of Hollins University. Schellhardt and Leggett also participated in the creation of the LPFM service in 2000. The filing can be read at this link.
The petitioners suggest that the low-power AM radio service would complement LPFM. LPAM should serve localities with better community coverage, expanded exposure for local performers and affordable radio advertising for small, local businesses. The petition cites the need to make LPAM a commercial service because the AM band is not as popular as the FM band, and stations will need the commercial revenue to survive. The petition also argues that commercial rates on LPAM must be affordable to the potential local advertisers.
The petitioners agree on many of their operational points for LPAM, but disagree on the maximum licensed power level, which varies from 100 watts to 250 watts.
Radio magazine sees this latest petition as an effort to obtain the type of low-power service that was originally sought when LPFM was created. Unfortunately, the AM band is already plagued by interference from electrical noise and other factors, which the petitioners seem to have ignored. The proposal to license stations by using an assumed power level that is five to 10 times more than the licensed power level provides some margin to reduce potential interference.
New NAB President Pledges Hands-on Approach
Washington - Oct 27, 2005 - David Rehr, recently selected as the incoming president of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), stated in a speech to the NAB Board of Directors that he intends to aggressively promote over-the-air broadcasting's interests on Capitol Hill and at the FCC. Rehr, the president of the National Beer Wholesalers Association since 1999, officially begins his tenure at NAB on Dec. 5. Outgoing president Eddie Fritts will remain as an NAB consultant through April 2008.
Rehr emphasized his experience in lobbying. "I know how to make a message simple to communicate with a busy policymaker; I know how to form lasting relationships with members of Congress and ask for support when I need it. As beer wholesalers can tell you, I don't take no for an answer when it comes to advocating on behalf of my association on Capitol Hill," said Rehr.
Commenting on his relative experience with broadcasting, Rehr said that he knows more about broadcasting now than he knew about beer when he joined the National Beer Wholesalers Association. He added, "If you ask beer wholesalers, they will tell you that I was a very passionate advocate for their interests."
Rehr pledges that the NAB will "increase the value proposition for the association's members." He also told the board that he intends to seek guidance from all sectors of the broadcast industry and plans to travel extensively around the country to meet individually with local station operators and state broadcast association executives during his tenure.
South Florida Companies Deal with Wilma
Miami - Oct 25, 2005 - Now that Hurricane Wilma has passed through southern Florida, some manufacturers have made arrangements to continue serving broadcasters despite the damage and power outages. Radio magazine will update this list as information becomes available.
Audemat-Aztec: Temporary phone numbers have been established. Call 305-610-7776 or 786-201-3402. The company e-mail addresses are still active. The European office is also available at +33 5 57 928 933.
R.V.R.: The company's offices are operating with generator power, so business operations continue as usual.
AEQ: The AEQ Ft. Lauderdale office was closed from Oct. 17 to 21. The office reopened on Oct. 31.
Harris Offers Free Fuel to Florida Stations
Mason, OH - Oct 25, 2005 - Harris is providing 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel to help radio broadcasters in regions affected by Hurricane Wilma. Radio stations operating on generators can contact Hal Kneller from Harris in Melbourn, FL, at 941-286-3398, or Mark Goins from Harris in Mason, OH, at 513-312-6105 to place orders. The diesel fuel is available free to broadcasters in need until supplies run out. Clear Channel Radio, Cox Broadcasting, Spanish Broadcasting and Beasley Broadcast Group have all contacted Harris with commitments for specific amounts of diesel fuel.
It's reported that about 90 percent of the power is out in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area.
FCC Adopts Procedures for Kinstar Antenna Applications
Washington - Oct 25, 2005 - In a public notice, the FCC's Media Bureau announced simplified procedures for AM station construction permit applications that specify nondirectional Kinstar antennas. Based on its review of the Kinstar field tests and submitted reports, the bureau will not routinely require the submission of a proof of performance, current distribution measurements or a formula for the vertical plane radiation characteristic for nondirectional AM facilities that use these antennas.
The Kinstar antenna, developed by Star-H and manufactured by Kintronic Laboratories, is about one-third the height of the standard quarter-wave antenna used by many AM stations. The Kinstar antenna is only accepted for nondirectional use. The FCC will consider authorizing the use of directional Kinstar arrays when more information is available.
The Kinstar antenna consists of a cage of vertical wires (usually four), symmetrically arranged around a central support. The vertical wires extend to a height of about 0.08 wavelength (75 feet at a frequency of 1,000kHz). Each vertical wire is connected to a horizontal top-loading wire extending to a radial distance of about 0.17 wavelength (169 feet at 1,000kHz). The Kinstar antenna requires use of the standard 120-radial, one-quarter wave, buried ground system.
The FCC also issued an attachment relating to the construction, modeling and field testing of the Kinstar antenna. Read the attachment at this link.
The FCC noted that the comprehensive report submitted by the antenna developers demonstrates that the radiation patterns of the Kinstar antenna do not change significantly as the antenna is scaled at frequencies across the AM band. The report also shows that the performance of the Kinstar antenna, built according to the manufacturer's specifications, will comply with applicable rules and will remain consistent for installations at different AM frequencies. Because of this, the FCC will not routinely require the use of current distribution measurements to determine the vertical plane radiation characteristic, or the submission of a proof of performance following the construction of such facilities by AM applicants proposing nondirectional Kinstar antennas.
FCC to Hold Open Commission Meeting Oct. 28
Washington - Oct 21, 2005 - The FCC will hold an Open Meeting regarding several subjects on Oct. 28, 2005. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. ET in Room TW-C305, at 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.
There are four items on the agenda. The first item is important to broadcasters. It is slated as a Review of the Emergency Alert System (EB Docket No. 04-296). The Commission will consider a First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the Emergency Alert System rules.
Audio and video coverage of the meeting will be broadcast live with open captioning over the Internet from the FCC's Audio/Video Events Web page at www.fcc.gov/realaudio.
Three Indicted in U.S. for Pirated CDs
San Francisco - Oct 25, 2005 - A federal grand jury in San Francisco has indicted three men in what prosecutors are calling the largest bust of pirated CDs in U.S. history. The indictment follows the arrest of Ye Teng Wen, Hao He and Yaobin Zhai on charges of illegally reproducing 325,000 music and software CDs. Two of the men are American citizens and one has a U.S. work permit, said a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for Northern California, Reuters reported.
The piracy of music and software represents a potential loss of millions of dollars to the artists and businesses that legitimately own the copyrights on these works, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said in a statement.
Prosecutors said the pirated CDs, which included Latin music and Symantec computer security software, circulated widely. One of the disks was found at a store in Chicago.
The three men, who live near San Francisco, have been released on bail and will appear in court on Oct. 27.
Daylight Saving Time Ends Oct. 30
On Sunday, Oct. 30, the majority of the people in the United States will turn their clocks back one hour. For radio stations, program logs for Sunday will involve a 25th hour to be squeezed into the normal 24-hour day, as clocks are turned back at 2 a.m. local time. For many stations, this means taking the scheduled hour from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. and repeating it. Other stations will run parties at night spots celebrating the 25th hour, while others line up overnight businesses to sponsor the bonus hour.
Harris' Acquisition of Leitch Complete
Melbourne, FL and Toronto, Ontario Canada - Oct. 25, 2005 - Harris has completed its previously announced acquisition of Leitch following approval by Leitch shareholders and court approval of the transaction. Harris has acquired ll of the outstanding common shares of the Toronto-based company for a price of C$14.00 per share. Total cash consideration paid by Harris, net of Leitch's cash on hand, was about US$450 million. Leitch shareholders should refer to Leitch's management information circular dated Sept. 16, 2005, for information regarding receipt of the payment of C$14.00 per share for their Leitch shares.
Leitch currently serves about 3,000 TV service providers in 100 countries.
SETI League Wins Twice in Bird Charity Auction
Solon, OH - Sep 20, 2005 - To commemorate the 300,000 unit mark on the production of its Model 43 Thruline Wattmeter, which was introduced in 1952, Bird Electronic manufactured meter number 300,000 with a special gold-plated finish, and auctioned the milestone piece of equipment. Bird held the special charity auction on Aug. 31. The winner of the Model 43 unit requested the proceeds of the sale go to The SETI League (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). In addition, the bidder generously donated the noteworthy meter to the organization to help further its research.
SETI League officials were surprised and pleased by the generous donation of cash as well as the Model 43. "We will use [the meter] to monitor the operation of our Lunar Reflective Calibration Beacon, which bounces microwave signals off the surface of the Moon, to be received by radio astronomy facilities around the world," said SETI League Executive Director Dr. H. Paul Shuch. Largely using radio telescopes and optical telescopes, SETI scientists seek to determine whether humankind is alone in the universe.
In the suspenseful last moments of the auction, the winning bid was nearly placed by the son of one of the original Model 43 design engineers, Jim Widlar, who was seeking to commemorate his father's contribution to the development of the product. Widlar, whose father Walt Widlar worked with J. Raymond Bird and the Model 43 design team in the early 1950s, lost the auction to an anonymous bidder at the last minute.
Mediaspan Study: Radio Web Interaction Growing
New York, NY - Oct 24, 2005 - A recent survey of almost 35,000 Mediaspan Network site visitors finds that local radio station website visitors are actively accessing their local sites to stream music and downloading podcasts. Half of all site visitors across all formats and demos go online at least monthly to stream their favorite station and 11 percent download podcasts.
Talk formats have the most active podcast downloaders. Almost a quarter (24 percent) of visitors to sports talk stations go online at least weekly to download podcasts of their favorite programs while news talk falls closely behind with 22 percent of those surveyed making at least weekly downloads.
The Apple Itunes service dominated the music services that survey respondents who bought music online (18 percent) use, with 48 percent saying they used Itunes, more than double the Napster users (22 percent). Music downloaders (paid and unpaid) continue to be younger and more apt to listen to urban/hip hop and alternative rock, as 30 percent of alt rock station visitors downloaded music at least weekly, while 28 percent of urban station site visitors did so as well.
Despite the interest in podcasts, streaming is still the highest used interactive feature for online radio station sites, with 50 percent of users going online at least monthly to stream their favorite station. Younger-skewing formats such as urban and alt rock had the highest proportion of avid daily streamers with 27 percent and 17 percent respectively, with 47 percent and 40 percent respectively streaming content from their favorite station at least once a week.
Half of all visitors to adult rock and 43 percent of listeners to modern AC visit their local station websites to stream music at least weekly (the highest among any format). Because these formats also tend to skew heavily female online (61 percent and 80 percent respectively) plus have a high proportion of people between the ages of 30 and 44 (44 percent and 51 percent), one might consider the most active radio streamers the at-work moms; an attractive demo for advertisers.
Hollywood Edge Sound Libraries to be Distributed by Prosoundeffects.com
New York, NY - Oct 24, 2005 - Pro Sound Effects (www.prosoundeffects.com), a provider of royalty-free sound effects, audio imaging elements and sound library products, has entered into an agreement with Hollywood Edge to distribute the complete Edge sound effects catalog.
Pro Sound Effects also distributes libraries from Sound Ideas, BBC, Digiffects, Sound Vision, Noisefuel and others.
Most Edge Libraries can be auditioned in MP3 format and come with track listings in a PDF file. Many Edge libraries are currently available on www.prosoundeffects.com and the entire catalog is expected to be added in the coming weeks.
Johnson Joins ERI as Director of Corporate Quality Assurance
Chandler, IN - Oct 25, 2005 - Electronics Research (ERI) has appointed Todd Johnson as director of corporate quality assurance, reporting to Jim Meleski the chief operating officer of ERI. Johnson has more than 25 years of experience in total quality assurance, manufacturing process engineering and technical management positions.
In this newly created position, he leads all quality assurance programs and personnel for the RF and Structural Divisions at the Chandler headquarters and manufacturing operation, as well as at ERI's Gray, ME, manufacturing facility.
Johnson is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in metallurgical and material science engineering. He was previously employed at Hydro Aluminum, North America.
Mojave Audio Appoints Wakeman Director of Sales
Burbank, CA - Sep 24, 2005 - Mojave Audio has appointed Dusty Wakeman to the position of director of sales. Wakeman, who for the past 25 years has guided Mad Dog Studios in Burbank, CA, has a background entrenched in professional touring, the recording arts and music retail. In his new position, Wakeman will serve in multiple capacities and oversee the company's product planning and strategic sales initiatives.
As a recording engineer and producer, Wakeman has amassed more than 100 production and engineering credits, including projects with Dwight Yoakam, Lucinda Williams and Buck Owens. As a performing musician, Wakeman played bass and toured with numerous artists, among them Michelle Shocked and Rosie Flores. Further, Wakeman's retail experience includes serving as store manager for West LA Music.
Middle Atlantic Names Siegel as Regional Sales Manager
Riverdale, NJ - Oct 24, 2005 - Middle Atlantic Products has appointed Gary Siegel to the position of regional sales manager, southern region. Siegel, who previously served as account executive, outside sales, for distributor Anixter, will report to Bill Poling, Middle Atlantic Products director of sales, southern region.
Siegel brings more than 12 years of experience in the security and structured cable markets to Middle Atlantic Products. Prior to joining Middle Atlantic Products, Siegel held various positions with Anixter in Whippany, NJ; Cheshire, CT; and Tampa, FL. His most recent position with Anixter was as account executive, outside sales, where he was responsible for all outside sales in Western Florida. Siegel also held various positions with Rexel Data in the Tampa and Fort Meyers, FL, offices and finished as branch manager.
Eye on IBOC
Broadcast Electronics Intros HD Radio to New Zealand
Quincy, IL, and Auckland, New Zealand - Oct 27, 2005 - On Oct. 19, a Broadcast Electronics (BE) digital system delivered the first HD Radio signals heard in New Zealand. The event marks New Zealand's introduction to HD Radio technology.
Transmitting on 106.1MHz from the Skytower in Auckland, the broadcast is under a special demonstration license from the Radio Spectrum Management division of the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development.
Cobalt Technologies, BE's representative in New Zealand, submitted the license request and installed the digital FM system at the Skytower, the tallest structure in Auckland. The analog and digital signals are being transmitted by a Broadcast Electronics FXI 60 digital FM exciter operating at 37W analog and 370mW digital.
In addition to the test station, Cobalt Technologies and BE jointly sponsored an educational seminar on digital radio and synchronous FM, held in Auckland.
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