Radio technology news updated as it happens.
Click here to view the Currents Online archive list.
| Business | People |
DRM Celebrates Four Years
Geneva - Feb 28, 2002 - The consortium Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)
will celebrate the fourth anniversary of its inaugural meeting in
Guangzhou, China, on March 5. DRM was formed when a small group of
leading-edge media organizations and broadcast equipment manufacturers
decided to collaborate to create a universal, digital system for the
broadcasting bands below 30MHz - short-wave, medium-wave and long-wave.
DRM has expanded into an international consortium of 72 of the world's
best-known broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators and
researchers. DRM's digital on-air system (also called DRM) will launch
Since its inception, DRM has been led by Chairman Peter Senger, who is
also the chief Engineere for Deutsche Welle. DRM reached several
milestones toward its 2003 launch in the past year. The International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) approved its recommendation of the DRM
system in April 2001. DRM unveiled mobile reception tours at IFA 2001,
Germany's largest consumer electronics show, in Berlin last August. DRM
introduced new equipment specially built for its system at the
International Broadcasting Convention (IBC 2001) in Amsterdam last
September. Soon after, the European Telecommunications Standards
Institute (ETSI) published the DRM system specification.
DRM audio samples can be heard online at www.drm.org.
NAB Crystal Radio AwardsFinalists Announced
WASHINGTON D.C. - Mar 1, 2002 - Fifty finalists for the NAB Crystal
Radio Awards competition were announced by the National Association of
Broadcasters. Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized
radio stations for their outstanding year-round community service
The 2002 finalists are:
||WIL, St. Louis,
||WIZM, La Crosse,
||WJON, St. Cloud,
|KOZT, Fort Bragg,
Lake City, UT
||WRTH, St. Louis,
||WSSM, St. Louis,
||WVRV, St. Louis,
The finalists were selected by a panel of judges representing
broadcasting, community service organizations and public relations
firms. Finalists will be honored and 10 Crystal Award winners will be
announced during the Radio Luncheon at NAB2002 Tuesday, April 9, in Las
Vegas. The luncheon will also feature speaker Keith Reinhard, chairman,
DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc., and the induction of Dick
Orkin, president, The Radio Ranch, into NAB's Broadcasting Hall of
FCC Seeks Comments on NCE LicenseAllocations
Washington, DC – Feb 25, 2002 – The Federal
Communications Commission has requested comment from broadcasters on
the matter of non-commercial educational (NCE) license allocation via a
just released Second Further Notice of Proposed
In the FM band, channels 88.1MHz to 91.9MHz - effectively 20 channels -
are reserved for NCE license. Historically, when a prospective
non-commercial NCE license holder has applied for license on a channel
outside of the reserved band or in a service where there is not a
reserved band (i.e. AM radio), that party has had to compete under the
same rules as a commercial entity. However, because of the differing
nature of the applicants, The Commission was forced to use different
comparative criteria to decide the license award. In the early 1990s,
the U.S. Court of Appeals called the process "arbitrary and capricious,
and therefore unlawful." Compounding the issue, The Budget Act of 1997
introduced several other issues that the Commission was unable to
resolve, including whether it was completely prohibited from using
competitive bidding to resolve such applications.
At that point, the Commission issued a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking to consider revising the criteria used to select among
competing applicants for new NCE broadcast facilities, and in 2000
issued a Report & Order and rules on the issue. The Report stated
that NCE stations could seek to reserve a new channel by meeting, but
that if the NCE station could not meet the reduced criteria for doing
so, they had to compete at auction with commercial stations for the
channel. However, the Court of Appeals has rejected the Commission's
new construction of section because "nothing in the Act authorizes the
Commission to hold auctions for licenses issued to NCEs to operate in
the unreserved spectrum."
In light of the Court's decision, the FCC now seeks comment on several
points: (1) holding NCE entities ineligible for licenses for
non-reserved channels and frequencies; (2) permitting NCE entities
opportunities to acquire licenses for non-reserved channels and
frequencies when there is no conflict with commercial entities; and (3)
providing NCE entities opportunities to reserve additional channels in
the Table of Allotments. A combination of the above options working in
tandem is also a possibility, as are any others that are consistent
with the Court's decision. The Commission also seeks comment upon
"comment on the breadth of the statutory language that describes the
entities that are exempt from auctions." Such language can be found in
the full text of the Second Further Notice.
Interested parties may file comments on or before April 15, 2002, and
reply comments on or before May 15, 2002.
Guide to FCC Rules for PublicRadio Now Online
San Francisco - Feb 26, 2002 – The National Federation of
Community Broadcasters has gone a long way to ease the legal worries of
non-commercial radio in the updated, online version of The Public
Radio Legal Handbook: A Guide to FCC Rules and Regulations. The
guide, scheduled for online release on April 8, 2002, will be available
at www.nfcb.org at a cost of $45.
The Handbook is designed as both a reference for experienced
staff and a guide for newcomers. Staff will not only get all the basics
- saving on excessive legal fees - but, will also find out when the
first course of action should be to call a lawyer.
Handbook authors will update the Handbook within two
weeks of the time any changes are implemented.
The Handbook's searchable format offers a wide variety of
critical subjects, including:
Operating requirements & Checklist
Copyright law and payments
Political broadcasting an indecency
Stations can subscribe on line at www.nfcb.org. (Click on the "Legal
Handbook" button.) Cost is $45/year for NFCB members and $70/year
for non-members. The Handbook was revised and updated by John
Crigler of the law firm Garvey, Schubert & Barer. The Public
Radio Legal Handbook was funded through the support of the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
FCC Amends EAS, Includes AmberInfo
Washington - Feb 26, 2002 - The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) has adopted a Report and Order amending the Emergency Alert
System (EAS) rules. The Commission adopted several new EAS event and
location codes (FIPS codes), which broadcast stations and cable systems
may use to alert the public in the event of state and local
emergencies, including a new Child Abduction Emergency event code which
may be used to activate Amber Plans. The list of new codes
The Amber Plan is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement
agencies and the media used to alert the public of serious child
abduction cases, where police believe that the child is in danger of
bodily harm or death. Under the Amber Plan, radio and television
stations interrupt programming to disseminate information concerning
serious child abduction using the EAS. Adoption of the new Child
Abduction Emergency event code responds to concerns that the current
practice of using the Civil Emergency Message event code to activate
AMBER alerts has resulted in confusion as to the intent of the alert.
The revised EAS rules permit, but do not require, broadcast stations
and cable systems to modify their existing EAS equipment so that the
equipment is capable of receiving and transmitting the new event and
location codes. However, new EAS equipment installed by broadcast
stations and cable systems after February 1, 2004 must be able to
receive and transmit the new codes.
The Report and Order also increases the time period within which
Required Monthly Tests of the EAS must be retransmitted from 15 to 60
minutes. Further, it authorizes cable and wireless cable systems
serving fewer than 5,000 subscribers to install an FCC-certified EAS
decoder only, rather than both an encoder and decoder, if certified
decoders become available by October 1, 2002. The order also exempts
low power FM stations from the Commission requirement to install an
FCC-certified decoder until one year after any such decoders are
certified by the Commission. Meanwhile, broadcast satellite and
repeater stations, which rebroadcast 100% of the programming of their
hub station, will now be exempt from the requirement to install EAS
The action was taken by the Commission on February 22, 2002 by Report
and Order (FCC 02-64).
|Child Abduction Emergency
|Civil Danger Warning
|Coastal Flood Warning
|Coastal Flood Watch
|Dust Storm Warning
|Hazardous Materials Warning
|Law Enforcement Warning
|Local Area Emergency
|Network Message Notification
|911 Telephone Outage Emergency
|Nuclear Power Plant Warning
|Radiological Hazard Warning
|Shelter in Place Warning
|Special Marine Warning
|Tropical Storm Warning
|Tropical Storm Watch
Streaming Will Cost You
Washington - Feb 20, 2002 - The U.S. Copyright Office has made a
ruling regarding the royalty costs radio stations must pay for
streaming music online. The table below outlines the costs for
stations, but the fees begin at $0.0007 per performance for songs and
works retransmitted online.
Radio stations will also have to pay 9% of those total fees for what is
called an Ephemeral License. This is to cover the shadow digital copy
made when items are copied from one computer to another.
Radio stations and webcasters had argued for a rate of about $0.00015
per song, while record companies sought a rate of about $0.004. The
deliberations to reach this final number came after six weeks of
testimony from both sides late last summer.
"We would have preferred a higher rate. But in setting a rate that is
about 10 times that proposed by the Webcasters, the panel clearly
concluded that the Webcasters' proposal was unreasonably low and not
credible," said Hilary Rosen, president of the Recording Industry
Association of America. She added, "It is apparent to us, as it was to
the Panel, that webcasters and broadcasters of every size will be able
to afford these rates and build businesses on the Internet." In
reality, the chosen rate is high enough that most radio stations will
likely not stream their services at all.
Jonathan Potter, executive director of the Digital Media Association
(DiMA), said, "We are extremely disappointed, however, that the panel's
proposed rate is not significantly lower, as a lower rate would more
accurately reflect the marketplace for music-performance rights and the
uncertain business environment of the webcast industry," The DiMA plans
to contest the rate through further comments to the Copyright Office.
DiMA had offered to pay $0.15 per listener, per hour, to the labels and
Eddie Fritts, president and CEO of the NAB said, "The ruling from the
Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel may have the effect of unintended
consequences, in that many radio broadcasters may reevaluate their
streaming strategies. If the powerful record company interests’
goal was to strangle a fledgling new service to radio listeners, it may
have succeeded beyond its own expectations."
Summary of Royalty Rates For Section 114(F)(2) And 112(E) Statutory
DMCA – Complaint Service
|(a) Simultaneous Internet
retransmissions of over-the-air AM or FM radio
|9% of Performance Fees
|(b) All other Internet
|9% of Performance Fees
2.) Commercial Broadcaster:
|(a) Simultaneous Internet
retransmissions of over-the-air AM or FM radio
|9% of Performance Fees
|(b) All other Internet
|9% of Performance Fees
3.) Non-CPB, Non-commercial
|(a) Simultaneous Internet
retransmissions of over-the-air AM or FM
|9% of Performance Fees
|(b) Other Internet
transmissions, including up to two side channels of programming
consistent with the public broadcasting mission of the
|9% of Performance Fees
|(c) Transmissions on any other side
4.) Business Establishment
|For digital broadcast transmissions of
sound recordings pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §
|10% of Gross
5.) Minimum Fee
|$500 per year for each
Computer Concepts TapsAudioscience
Newcastle, DE - Feb 27, 2002 - AudioScience, a specialist in digital
audio peripherals for the broadcast and entertainment markets, and
Computer Concepts Corporation (CCC) have reached an agreement for CCC
to primarily use AudioScience audio cards in its radio station
automation systems. CCC is one of the longest established radio system
automation manufacturers in the world.
CCC cited that the selection was made based on Audioscience's
reputation as being a company capable of adapting to changing
technological conditions without abandoning what has been proven to be
useful and reliable. The Audioscience line of sound cards will provide
CCC with features and benefits without CCC having to completely rework
its product line.
CCC will initially use the Audioscience ASI6114 PCI-bus sound cards in
Maestro 3.2 on-air digital systems. The ASI6114 has four streams of
MPEG Layer 2 or 3 mixed to four stereo analog and AES/EBU outputs at
any sample rate coupled with one stream of MPEG layer 2 or 3
With the introduction of the ASI6000 series, Audioscience was the first
sound card supplier to meet CCC's requirements for system
Stardraw Appoints New PremierPartner in Belgium
London - Feb 25, 2002 - Stardraw.com has appointed Prevost S.A. as
the exclusive Premier Partner for Belgium and Luxembourg. With more
than 50 years experience in the professional sound industry and
exclusive distribution of 14 of the top lines in the pro audio and AV
market, Prevost is well placed to make the maximum impact with
Stardraw specializes in the design, development and implementation of
Internet-enabled software components and sales-design tools for
specific vertical markets (including Stardraw Audio, Stardraw AV,
Stardraw Lighting 2D and Stardraw Professional) Stardraw's corporate
client base for custom software solutions includes Celestion,
Clear-Com, Klark Teknik, Midas and Purple Voice.
Patriot Receives Type ApprovalFor Intelsat Antennas
Albion, MI - Feb 26, 2002 - At the Satellite 2002 tradeshow held in
Washington, DC, in March, Patriot Antenna Systems, formerly Satellite
Export and Engineering, a manufacturer of satellite ground station
antennas, announced that it had received Standard Intelsat Type
Approval for its new 1.2 and 1.0 meter Ku-band transmit/receive
antennas. Patriot is the first company to receive Standard Intelsat
Type Approvals for 1.2 meter metal antennas.
The 1.2-meter antenna has achieved Standard G and K-2 Intelsat Type
Approval. The K-2 classification is dependent upon an appropriate
low-noise block down converter (LNB) noise figure. The Patriot 1.2
meter metal antenna is the first to receive the Standard K-2 Intelsat
Type Approval. The 1.0 meter metal antenna has received a Standard G
Intelsat Type Approval.
During development of these products, Patriot made it a priority to
implement customer requests for features and improvements not offered
by existing manufacturers. The new antenna products will feature
elevation and azimuth fine tuning capability for reduction of pointing
errors during installation and reinforced steel arms that can
accommodate up to 14 pounds of equipment mounted on the end of the
feed-boom. This is one of the highest weight ratings in the industry
for antennas of these sizes. In addition to the weight capacity, an
additional 25 pounds can be supported under the boom at the back frame
to accommodate radio equipment. Low-cost mounting brackets have been
designed to allow customers a wide range of flexibility in choosing
electronics to be used with the antennas. Patriot will leverage its
300,000 square foot facility to keep a large quantity of these antennas
in stock for response to short lead-time projects, a concern also
raised by customers.
AEQ USA Opens New HQ in Florida
Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Feb 22, 2002 - To improve its activities in the
USA market, AEQ Broadcast Int'l Ltd has opened a new headquarters in
the New Town Commerce Center near Ft. Lauderdale. AEQ has an expansion
plan that will increase its USA technical and commercial services more
than 100% during 2002. For the past two years, AEQ has been developing
audio communications equipment specially developed for American
Some of these equipment offerings include the Eagle ISDN codec, the
Swing portable codec, the Impact digital audio matrix and the Caddy
AD/DA multiple converter.
Contact the new AEQ office:
4121 SW 47th Avenue - Suite 1303
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314 USA
Gepco NE Office Completes SuccessfulFirst Year
Nazareth, PA - Feb 20, 2002 - Gepco International Inc. has announced
that its northeast U.S. office in Nazareth, PA has enjoyed a successful
first year. The office is headed by Lewis Frisch.
Gepco established this office to improve the company's customer service
to the northeast client base through face-to-face contact. Gepco stated
that it has met this goal. The office has allowed Gepco to more quickly
disseminate new product info, increase awareness of the special
products and services offered by Gepco, improve communications between
end users and Gepco so as to facilitate better products and services in
the future, and provide more opportunities to make Gepco's specialized
experience and expertise available to a wider range of clients.
Frisch began his career working at radio stations in the mid-1960s and
was a studio owner and engineer in Atlanta from 1976 through 1987. He
has also held several sales and management positions at pro audio
dealerships, and he was a manufacturer's rep for Amek, Community,
Ramsa, Mogami and Monster Cable. Frisch was also Amek's eastern
regional sales manager from 1990 to 1994.
More recently, he was sales manager for Comprehensive Technical Group
in Atlanta from 1994 to 2000, where he was involved in hundreds of
installations for corporate clients, theme parks, post houses, the 1996
Olympics and personal studios for more than a dozen of the leading
names in the music industry including LaFace Records, Jermaine Dupri,
Usher, She'kspere, Daryl Simmons and Keith Sweat.
Gepco's main office is in Des Plaines, IL. The company also supports a
branch office in Burbank, CA
Digidesign To Offer DUY Plug-ins
Daly City, CA - Feb 5, 2002 - Digidesign and Iris Multimedia S.L.
have agreed to make Digidesign the distributor of DUY plug-ins for the
Pro Tools and Pro Tools LE platforms. These plug-ins include a new
addition to the DUY product line, the SynthSpider TDM plug-in.
DUY plug-ins are developed in Spain by Barcelona-based Iris Multimedia,
S.L. The plug-ins to be offered exclusively for Pro Tools TDM systems
include DSPider, REDspider and SynthSpider for creative sound
generation options. Additional plug-ins that will be available in
bundled packages include DUYshape, DaDValve, DaDtape, MaxDUY, DUYwide
and the new Z-room reverb for RTAS.
Austria's Krone Hit Radio goes livewith APT
Belfast and Vienna – Feb 18, 2002 - Krone Hit Radio in Vienna
has installed 24 APT NXL units throughout its new nationwide radio
distribution chain. Krone Hit Radio is the first private radio station
in Austria to broadcast nationwide.
The codecs were installed at different points on the network, helping
to ensure secure satellite transmission over permanent digital links,
program supply over a 2MB circuit and program supply to local
transmission locations over permanent digital links including ISDN.
Wiley to Receive NAB DistinguishedService Award
Washington, DC - Mar 1, 2002 - Richard E. Wiley, senior partner at
Wiley, Rein and Fielding, has been selected to receive the 2002
Distinguished Service Award presented by the National Association of
Broadcasters. The award will be presented at the All-Industry Opening
Ceremony, April 8 at NAB2002 in Las Vegas.
Each year, the NAB DSA award recognizes an individual who has made
significant and lasting contributions to U.S. broadcasting. Recent
recipients of the DSA include Radio One founder and chairperson
Catherine Hughes, Hearst Corp. President and CEO Frank Bennack and The
Cox Family. Other recipients include Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow
and Bob Hope.
As a former Chairman, Commissioner and General Counsel of the Federal
Communications Commission (1970-77), Wiley was a leading force in the
agency's initial efforts to foster increased competition and reduced
regulation in the communications field. The Wiley, Rein & Fielding
law firm is one of the largest communications practices in the United
Wiley also led the FCC's Advisory Committee and Advanced Television
Services, which resulted in the government's adoption of the standard
for digital and high definition television in the U.S.
Wiley has been recognized as one of the nation's "100 most influential"
lawyers by The National Law Journal. He has been profiled in The New
York Times ("Telecommunications' Ubiquitous Man of Influence"),
The Los Angeles Times ("The Sixth Commissioner"), and The
American Lawyer ("Brand Name of Communications Law"). In
recognition of his nine-year service as Chairman of the FCC's Advisory
Committee on Digital Television, he has received an Emmy from the
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Wiley graduated with distinction from Northwestern (B.S. and J.D.
degrees) and holds a Masters Degree in Law (LL.M.) from Georgetown. He
has received distinguished alumnus awards from each University as well
as Honorary Doctor of Laws from Catholic University.
NAB Announces 2002 EngineringAchievement Awards
Washington - Feb 15, 2002 – The National Association of
Broadcasters announced the winners of its Engineering Achievement
Awards. The awards, first established in 1959, are given to industry
leaders for significant contributions that have advanced broadcast
engineering. The award winners will be honored at the Technology
Luncheon, Wednesday, April 10 at NAB2002 in Las Vegas.
Radio Engineering Achievement Award Winner
Paul C. Schafer
Schafer is president of Schafer International, Bonita, CA. A pioneer in
early development of automation systems for radio stations, he founded
Schaefer Electronics in 1953, Schafer International in 1969 and the
Schafer Digital Project in 1986.
Involved in broadcasting for over 50 years, Schafer has been called the
"father of automation" for radio broadcasting. Schafer designed and
installed the first "automation system" at KGEE, Bakersfield, CA, in
the mid-1950s. Subsequently, more than 1,000 Schafer Automation systems
were installed in AM and FM radio stations all over the world. The
Schafer Automation System was included in field tests conducted by NAB
in 1955 designed to show the viability of unattended remote control for
radio transmitters. As a result of the considerable data from these
tests filed by the NAB in 1956, the FCC amended the rules in 1957 to
permit the remote control of all radio transmitters. Schafer’s
innovations and products have played an important role in keeping radio
broadcasting a competitive and viable medium.
Television Engineering Achievement Award Winner
Bernard J. Lechner
Lechner is extensively involved in technical research of advanced
television and display systems as a consultant to government and
industry. He has been an active participant in the U.S. digital
television standards development as a member and leader of working
groups in the FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service
(ACATS), the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the
Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC).
An independent consultant since 1987, Lechner was formerly staff vice
president, Advanced Video Systems for RCA Laboratories. His 30-year
career at RCA covered all aspects of television and display research
from early work on home video tape recorders in the late 1950s,
development of flat-panel matrix displays in the 1960s, CCD broadcast
cameras in the 1970s and then in the mid-1980s to HDTV. Lechner
received the David Sarnoff Gold Medal Award from SMPTE in 1996 and in
2000 was the first winner of the ATSC Outstanding Contributor Award
that is named in his honor. He holds ten U.S. patents and is widely
published in the areas of displays and television systems.
Lechner is a fellow of the IEEE and SMPTE and in 1996 he was awarded
the David Sarnoff Gold Medal by SMPTE for his many contributions to the
technologies essential to today’s television systems.
APW Launches New Website
Monon, IN - Feb 22, 2002 - APW Enclosure Products launched it's new
website, www.apw-enclosureproducts.com. The new site is dedicated to
providing users with detailed and up-to-date information on APW and all
of its products.
The new website has launched with over 300 pages of company, product
and user support information. Besides easily found product information
pages, the site contains an overview of APW, an easy-to-use contact
form for requesting information on APW, a listing of it's national
sales support team, up-to-date news on the latest products from APW and
a section dedicated to supporting its nationwide network of
distributors and sales team.
APW Enclosure Products offers a full line of cabinets, racks, cable
race-way, wall products, camera enclosures and mounts to distributors
worldwide specializing in the Data Communications, Audio/Video,
Broadcast and Security markets. APW Enclosure Products is the proud
manufacturers of PFT, Stantron and EMI products.