Radio Currents Online - Feb 21 - Feb 27, 2004

February 22, 2005

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

Click here to view the Currents Online archive.
Click here to receive the Currents Online Weekly E-mail.


SBE Introduces AM Directional Specialist Certification
Indianapolis, IN - Feb 25, 2005 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has introduced the AM Directional Specialist Certification, the first of a series of Specialist Certifications the organization plans to establish. At a recent meeting of the Society's Executive Committee, SBE Vice President and Certification Committee Chairman Chriss Scherer, CSRE CBNT, remarked, "The Specialist Certifications were established to provide a benchmark of knowledge in specific, specialized areas and to recognize those who have attained that knowledge."

The first Specialist Certification chosen for development by the SBE is AM directional antenna operation and maintenance. The SBE Certification Committee has developed an exam that will help evaluate an individual's ability to perform the necessary tasks to keep AM directional facilities operating properly.

The SBE Certification Committee plans to develop and introduce additional Specialist Certifications later this year and into 2006.

The SBE exam will cover the operation, maintenance and repair of a directional antenna system, the tasks common to a station engineer charged with maintaining these systems. The exam will also gauge a person's knowledge of AM radiators, their understanding of the principles of phase addition and cancellation, familiarity with the various components used in a directional antenna system and their ability to correctly make necessary measurements and take proper procedures to make repairs and adjustments to the system. In addition, the exam will cover the FCC rules concerning directional operation, test equipment and safety procedures. The AM Directional Specialist Certification exam will consist of 50 multiple-choice questions.

To apply for the SBE AM Directional Specialist Certification and take the exam, the applicant must currently hold SBE certification at the Certified Broadcast Engineer, Certified Senior Broadcast Engineer or Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer level.

To obtain an application for the SBE AM Directional Specialist Certification, visit the SBE website at and click on the link to the SBE Certification Program.

Amber Alert Consortium Receives Donation of Amber Alert Domain Names
Scottsdale, AZ - Feb 24, 2005 - Secondscount L.P. has donated the domains, and to the the Amber Alert Web Portal Consortium, a public/private partnership deploying a state-by-state alert system linking law enforcement and citizens to rescue kidnapped children. The new domain names will redirect browsers to the portal, providing a single point of access for the Amber Alert community.

Peter Ward, founding chairman of the Partnership for Public Warning and now co-founder of the All Alert Consortium said, "This contribution will make it easier for the public to access alerts and to be engaged and empowered in locating kidnapped children."

The Amber Alert Web Portal enhances the current Amber Alert system to include message broadcasts via cell phones, beepers, e-mail, websites and desktop computers. The system was deployed in 2004 and is endorsed by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. Washington, Arizona, Montana and Idaho are among the first states to fully implement the new system.

Engineers Week is Feb. 20-26
Because this week is Engineers Week, here are some items to help you fully appreciate the engineers around you. Each day this week Radio will post a new joke, engineering fact or fun bit to help you enjoy the day.

Engineering Terminology
What an engineer says What an engineer means
A number of different approaches are being tried. We don't know where we're going, but we're moving.
An extensive report is being prepared on a fresh approach to the problem. We just hired three guys... We'll let them kick it around for a while.
Developed after years of intensive research. It was discovered by accident.
Modifications are underway to correct certain minor difficulties. We threw the whole thing out and are starting from scratch.
Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive. The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.
Test results were extremely gratifying. It works, and boy are we surprised!
The design will be finalized in the next reporting period. We haven't started this job yet, but we've got to say something.
The entire concept is unworkable. The only guy who understood the thing just quit.
We need close project coordination. We should have asked someone else.
Alternate: Let's spread the responsibility for this.

You might be an engineer if...

  • You frequently whistle the theme song to MacGyver.
  • You have a pet named after a scientist.
  • You can translate English into Binary.
  • You'll assume that a "horse" is a "sphere" in order to make the math easier.
  • The blinking 12:00 on someone's VCR draws you in like a tractor beam to fix it.
  • The salesperson at Circuit City can't answer any of your questions.
  • You have a habit of destroying things in order to see how they work.
  • You spent more on your calculator than on your wedding ring.
  • You've ever calculated how much you make per second.
  • Your favorite James Bond character is Q, the guy who makes the gadgets.

    What is Engineers Week?
    Established in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, Engineers Week takes place every year at the time of George Washington's birthday. The purpose of the week is to help increase public understanding of the profession. A a consortium of more than 100 engineering, scientific, education societies and major corporations has helped increase public awareness and appreciation of technology and the engineering profession. Thousands of engineers, engineering students, teachers and leaders in government and business participate each year.

    For more information visit

    Some Engineering Fun
    We at Radio magazine believe radio engineers everywhere should take a moment out of their busy schedules to relax during E-week. To help, here is a link to a game we think you will enjoy:

    NOTE: Radio magazine can not be held responsible if you get in trouble with your boss for playing computer games at work.

    Trivia Questions
    Put your brain to work in celebration of Engineer's Week.

    What is the next letter in the following sequence?

    The answer is at the bottom of the page.

    Which of the two sums would you estimate to be the largest, the numbers on the left or the numbers on the right?


    The answer is at the bottom of the page.

    A man, his wife and their two sons come to a river they wish to cross. They find a rowboat on the river bank; however, the boat can only carry a maximum of 150 pounds at a time. Both the man and the woman weigh 145 pounds each. Their sons each weigh 75 pounds. How will they get across the river using the boat, and how many trips will it take?

    The answer is at the bottom of the page.

    House Votes to Stiffen Broadcast Indecency Fines
    Washington - Feb 21, 2005 - The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would impose huge fines for airing content that government regulators deem inappropriate. Rejecting criticism that the penalties will stifle free speech, homogenize radio and TV broadcasts, and threaten viability of broadcasters to compete with cable, supporters of the legislation said stiff fines are needed to give "deep pocketed" broadcasters more incentive to clean up their programs and to assure parents that their children won''t be exposed to inappropriate material, the Associated Press reported.

    The measure, which passed 389 to 38, boosts the maximum fine from $32,500 to $500,000 for a company and from $11,000 to $500,000 for an individual entertainer. The legislation garnered broad bipartisan support from lawmakers upset about incidents like Janet Jackson''s "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

    The bill gives affiliates protection from fines in cases in which they air network programming that is later found to be indecent. The legislation would also force the FCC to respond to viewer complaints within six months and require the Commission to hold a license revocation hearing after a broadcaster''s third offense.

    "This is a penalty that makes broadcasters sit up and take notice," said Rep. Joe Barton, (R-TX) chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee that sent the bill to the full House. "This legislation makes great strides in making it safe for families to come back into their living room."

    The White House, in a statement, said it strongly supports the legislation that "will make broadcast television and radio more suitable for family viewing." The Senate is considering a similar bill. Any differences in the two will have to be worked out before it goes to President Bush for a signature. Last year, the two chambers were unable to reach a compromise.

    Opponents are concerned that stiffer fines by the FCC will lead to more self-censorship by broadcasters and entertainers unclear about the definition of indecent. There is also concern that broadcasters will no longer be able to compete with more provocative programming available on pay television services, which are not subject to the government's content rules.

    The House bill, H.R. 310, allows the FCC to fine an individual entertainer without first issuing a warning, which is the case now. The FCC has never before issued such a fine. A similar Senate bill, missing many of the provisions in the House legislation, calls for raising the maximum fine on broadcasters to $325,000, with a cap of $3 million for one day. The House bill does not include a cap.


    Cedar Awarded Technical Oscar
    In February, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Cedar's Senior Engineer, Christopher Hicks and Cedar's Engineering Director, Dave Betts, with a Technical Achievement Award for the design and implementation of the Cedar DNS1000. The Cedar DNS1000 was designed and developed to remove background noise from recorded and live dialog.

    On receiving their awards, Betts and Hicks thanked the academy, Fraser Jones of Cedar Audio USA, Dave Dysart of HHB Communications Canada and the directors and staff of Cedar Audio who had made the development of the DNS1000 possible.

    Scientific and Technical Awards are presented by the academy for devices, methods, formulas, discoveries or inventions of special and outstanding value to the arts and sciences of motion pictures.

    Ibiquity Licenses OMT Technologies for PAD
    Winnipeg, MB - Feb 22, 2005 - Ibiquity has licensed its HD Radio PAD (program associated data) capability for OMT's Imediatouch broadcast automation system. The licensing allows OMT to become an HD Radio wireless data service provider, providing Imediatouch 2.0 users to integrate the automation system with HD Radio technology.

    Harris to Outfit First IBOC in Jacksonville
    Cincinnati and Jacskonville, FL – Feb 22, 2005 - WJCT-FM, Jacksonville's NPR affiliate, has purchased an HD Radio transmission package from Harris. Scheduled to go on-air in the spring, the WJCT system includes a Z16HDS 3.5kW solid-state HD Radio transmitter operating in Harris' Split-Level Combining method with an existing analog transmitter; all three components of Harris' Flexstar family of HD Radio products; and Neustar codec processors. WJCT expects to be the first Jacksonville-licensed station to officially launch an HD Radio service.

    The package also will prepare WJCT to launch a Tomorrow Radio service dependent on FCC approval, including supplementary audio and data and an HD Radio simulcast of its current analog radio reading service.

    The station will use a Harris Flexstar HDI-100 importer and HDE-100 exporter at the studio instead of at the transmitter site. The importer feeds multiplexed supplemental audio and data to the exporter, which multiplexes the main channel audio with secondary services and sends them to the exciter in a single bit-rate efficient stream. With its hybrid analog/HD Radio capabilities, the Flexstar exciter further increases efficiency by allowing the station to pre-correct and condition both signals in a single box within the Z16HDS transmitter.

    Statmon Technologies Ships First EIF-32 to Harris
    Los Angeles - Jan 31, 2005 - Statmon Technologies has shipped the first order of its EIF-32 embedded interface unit to Harris. The EIF-32 is a stand-alone remote control and monitoring interface with a built-in CPU, providing automated monitoring and control of remote equipment and sites.

    Paired with Statmon's Neuro application software, the embedded software engine and database, the EIF-32 provides real-time monitoring, control, alarm notification and logging in a user-friendly, integrated system. With a built-in CPU, temperature, humidity and voltage sensors and 192 user assignable channels, the EIF-32 can be connected to as many as four devices. Neuro Web, a free software utility program provided with the EIF-32, allows users to connect to remote sites via the Internet to monitor and control devices connected to the EIF-32.

    WOR Selects CSS for New Studios
    New York and Wheat Ridge, CO - Feb 17, 2005 - WOR/Buckley Broadcasting has selected Creative Studio Solutions to provide broadcast system integration/engineering services for its new studios in New York City. The new facility will house 11 broadcast studios including four on-air talent studios, four control room studios, one production studio, one edit studio, one news studio, and master control. The studios will be fully operational by Spring 2005.

    Creative Studio Solutions will integrate the Axia router/console system into the studio infrastructure. This will be the largest installation of the Axia System to date. In addition, CSS is providing all studio wiring and broadcast equipment installation. CSS will document the project with Stardraw.

    WOR is moving from its longtime Times Square location to a location near the World Trade Center area in the Financial District.

    Sales Call
  • Lawo has been selected by Host Broadcast Services Consulting (HBS) to provide the audio services of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany from the 12 German stadiums to the master control room at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Munich. HBS is responsible for the host broadcast operations and technical broadcast infrastructure for this event. Each stadium will be equipped with several Dallis I/O systems and one Nova73 HD routing system to transmit the audio via ATM. Lawo will also install two of its MC2 66 audio consoles in the IBC.
  • People

    Sporkin Joins NPR as VP Communications
    Washington - Feb 24, 2005 - Andi Sporkin has been named vice president, communications for NPR. Sporkin will direct all strategic communications and brand management for the producer and distributor of noncommercial news, talk and entertainment programming. Among her responsibilities will be media relations, communications support for the organization's public radio member stations, national promotions, corporate graphic design and publications. She will be based at NPR's headquarters in Washington, DC.

    Sporkin brings more than 20 years' experience in communications leadership positions at such companies as CBS, Fox, Disney and Sony, with an extensive background in strategic planning; media relations for companies, news organizations, programming and multi-platform content; affiliate communications support and community relations. During a 13-year career at CBS, she held numerous executive positions, beginning as director, media relations at its owned stations in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Chicago. In 1996, she was named vice president, communications, CBS Enterprises, launching a department for the new worldwide business division and its seven independent operating units, including program distribution companies Eyemark Entertainment and CBS Broadcast International. Following CBS Enterprises' merger with distributor King World, she was promoted to senior vice president and appointed to combine the communications departments and operations.

    From 2000 to 2002, Sporkin was senior vice president, communications and talent relations for Sony's program distribution division Columbia Tristar Television Distribution. She has also served as director, publicity for The Walt Disney Company's Buena Vista Television distribution division and vice president, publicity, for Fox Television Stations Division and the Fox broadcast network. Sporkin began her career as a writer for Philadelphia Magazine and was general assignment reporter, then television columnist, for the daily Philadelphia Journal.

    Most recently, she has been strategic communications and marketing consultant to a wide-ranging media, cable and public affairs client base, including Reality Central cable network, Eurocinema video-on-demand channel, Adelphia Communications and the Southern California Water Replenishment District.

    Wohler Hires Chief Operating Officer
    San Francisco - Feb 22 2005 - David Johnson has joined Wohler Technologies as chief operating officer. A San Francisco native, Johnson has held senior management positions with several high-technology companies including Maxtor, Iomega and Amdahl.

    Soundcraft Appoints UREI DJ Product Specialist Team
    Potters Bar, England - Feb 22, 2005 - Soundcraft has established a UK-based team to handle its new range of UREI-branded DJ mixer products.

    Paul Morrissey joins Soundcraft as product manager for UREI and has already finalized the specs on several new products, including the 1620LE, 1601 and 1601S launched at NAMM. In addition to having years of experience with several leading DJ mixer companies, Morrissey is an active circuit DJ and familiar with market requirements.

    Also new to Soundcraft is Darren Elliott who now serves as key accounts sales manager with prime responsibility for the UK DJ market. He has more than 10 years of experience exclusively within the DJ industry, and has worked in retail operations, manufacturing and distribution.

    Elliott worked with Morrissey at their previous company.

    Internet Watch

    SCMS Relaunches Website
    Pineville, NC - Feb 22, 2005 - Broadcast equipment dealer SCMS has revised its website at to provide faster links to product categories, in addition to adding links to software and engineering tools.


    Transaudio Group Ships Brauner Phantom V
    Las Vegas - Feb 24, 2005 -, the direct sales division of Transaudio Group, is now shipping the Brauner Phantom V microphone, the company's first variable-pattern, FET, large-diaphragm microphone. The mic has selectable omni-directional, cardioid, and figure-eight polar patterns, as well as a 15dB pad.

    It features a satin nickel finish, a capsule based on the Brauner VM1 tube microphone, a self-noise of 8dBa, a maximum SPL of 142dB at 0.3 percent THD, and a frequency range of 20Hz to 22kHz. The mic includes the Brauner SMV shock-mount suspension system, custom aluminum case, cable and user manual.

    CAD Ships GXL3000 Mic
    Conneaut, OH - Feb 24, 2005 - Cad's GXL3000 is shipping. The GXL3000 is a large-diaphragm, multi-pattern (cardioid, omni, figure-eight) condenser mic that features a one-inch dual diaphragm, a highpass filter and a 10dB pad. A shock mount is included. Also shipping is the multi-pattern E300 Servo-condenser mic, which has a 1.1-inch dual diaphragm, an on and off switch with an auto power shut-off, a highpass filter and a 20dB pad.

    Answers to the trivia questions

    1. "E" for eight. The letters are the intial letters of the written numbers one, two, three, etc.

    2. Surprisingly, the colum on the right yields a higher sum.

    3. It will take five trips.

  • The two boys cross together, and one comes back.
  • The mother rows across and the boy who was waiting alone, rows back.
  • The two boys cross together again. One stays with his mother and the other rows back to his waiting father.
  • Then the father rows across and joins his wife. The boy who was waiting with his mother then rows back to where his brother is waiting.
  • The two boys row back and join their parents.

    Click here to receive the Radio magazine Currents Online Weekly E-mail.

  • Receive regular news and technology updates. Sign up for our free newsletter here.