FCC Approves Sirius/XM Merger
Washington - Jul 26, 2008 - After 16 months and a seemingly never-ending debate, the proposed merger of Sirius and XM has been approved by the FCC. In the $3.6 billion deal, Sirius has acquired XM, giving the combined company more than 18 million subscribers.
The final FCC vote was 3-2 along party lines. Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate cast the tie-breaking vote. Earlier this month, Democrat commissioner Jon Adelstein said he would vote yes if more stringent conditions were applied to the transaction. His request was not met, which returned the decision to Taylor-Tate.
The conditions that were approved include a three-year cap on subscription fees, allotting 8 percent of the total 25MHz spectrum for minority and non-commercial programming, and paying a $19.7 million penalty ($17.5 million from XM, $2.2 million from Sirius) for past FCC rule violations. In addition, the combined company will have to provide radios to receive signals from both services. The FCC will conduct an inquiry to evaluate the possibility of adding HD Radio capability to all satellite radio receivers.
CAP Advisory Council Formed
Jul 23, 2008 - As the effort to plan the evolution of emergency warning continues, several organizations have banded together to aid the process of implementing the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). In June, the Society of Broadcast Engineers submitted a plan to ensure that various elements of CAP implementation were considered. This plan has been referred to as the Cap Roadmap.
As part of this process, an advisory council was formed with representatives from The International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the National Emergency Management Association, the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the Society of Cable Television Engineers, the State Emergency Communications Committees and EAS equipment manufacturers.
|NAB||Ann Bobeck (Kelly Williams and John Marino, ex-officio) |
|NCTA||Steve Johnson (Andy Scott, ex-officio) |
|SBE||Clay Freinwald (Barry Thomas, ex-officio) |
At this time, FEMA has not yet issued its plan to implement CAP, so the group has not yet taken any firm action. However, the EAS equipment manufacturers have been working together to define how CAP should be implemented with EAS.
Ibiquity's Struble Launches Column
Columbia, MD - Jul 25, 2008 - Bob Struble, president and CEO of Ibiquity Digital, has penned his first online column. In his introduction, Struble notes that his intent "is to fairly regularly put fingers to keyboard and give you all a candid inside view of what we at Ibiquity are thinking and doing to speed AM/FM's conversion to digital."
Struble starts with a status report of HD Radio to date. Not surprisingly, he says that the rollout is going fantastic. He notes the statistics that 80 percent of the population can hear an HD Radio station, 50 percent of radio listening is on stations that have converted to digital, and several of the largest markets are saturated with digital at 20 to 30 stations.
After the happy progress report, Struble outlined ideas for HD Radio going forward. He urges the ongoing conversion, the need to add multicast channels and promoting the technology to listeners. He also notes that a complete upgrade of a 100-year-old medium will take time, although HD Radio is on a comparable track compared to the transitions for black-and-white TV to color, AM to FM and analog TV to digital TV.
While much of what Struble writes may be considered hype, one thought is unquestionable: "Every other consumer medium is digital already or on a strong path to get there, and radio cannot be stuck in the analog world of the last century. Our future is digital -- online and over the air. I'm encouraged by our progress and hope you are too. We will get there together."
Read Stuble's column.
Sirius, XM Work with FCC to Settle FCC Enforcement Issues
Washington, DC, New York, NY - Jul 24, 2008 - XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio confirmed that the companies are in discussions with the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to settle outstanding enforcement matters. In 2006, the FCC commenced investigations regarding FCC compliance of certain radio receivers that include FM transmitters, and compliance of certain terrestrial repeaters with special temporary authority. The companies hope to enter into a consent decree with the FCC to terminate these inquiries.
The goals of the consent decree:
- Adopt comprehensive compliance plans and take steps to address any potentially non-compliant radios remaining in the hands of consumers.
- XM will shut down 50 variant terrestrial repeaters and shut down or bring into compliance an additional 50 variant terrestrial repeaters within 60 days of the adoption the consent decree.
- Sirius will bring into compliance or shut down up to 11 variant terrestrial repeaters within 60 days of the order adopting the consent decree. These terrestrial repeaters were shut off by Sirius in October 2006.
- Make a voluntary contributions to the United States Treasury of approximately $17 million in the case of XM, and approximately $2 million in the case of Sirius.
AES Oral History Project DVD Debuts
New York - Jul 23, 2008 - The Audio Engineering Society has completed the first phase of the AES Oral History Project. Initiated in 1997 by AES member Irv Joel, the project was envisioned as an opportunity to provide insights into the creative and technical mindsets of the founding fathers of professional audio for future generations. Early in 2007, Joel enlisted Harry Hirsch to edit the material into a series of DVDs.
Premiered at the AES 60th Anniversary Celebration sponsored by the New York Section on March 11, excerpts from the AES Oral History Project provided anecdotes from Columbia Records engineer Frank Laico (Dylan, Miles Davis, Streisand, Sinatra); Louis Goodfriend, first editor of the AES Journal; Norman Pickering, pioneer in phonograph cartridge design; and Les Paul, the godfather of multi-track recording.
The initial group of DVDs also include interviews with Michael Dorrough, Academy Award-winning audio innovator and broadcast industry pioneer; John M. Eargle, educator, mentor, and JBL Professional executive; Robin C. Caine, Pro-Bel executive, writer and innovator in broadcast facility digital, signal distribution and control systems; Kees A.S. Immink, scientist, inventor, and father of the CD; Alex Balster, former Polygram CD technology developer and acoustical consultant; Stanley P. Lipshitz, researcher, collaborator on techniques for digital audio mastering and signal processing which are now standard practice, and past-president of the AES; Richard Small, scientist, educator and leader in electroacoustic applications for loudspeaker analysis and measurement; Henk De Wit, recording and broadcast engineer and independent consumer electronics consultant; Cor L. Doesburg, inventor, author, and Dutch Broadcasting executive; Tom Magchielse, audio expert for Dutch Broadcasting Laboratories, innovator in microphone design and construction to room acoustics; Subir K. Pramanik, instrumental in the introduction of aesthetics to Bang & Olufsen products, AES Int'l president 1993-1995, president 1997-1998, board of governors 1999-2001; Neville Thiele, Australian Broadcasting Commission member, collaborated with Richard H. Small on the Thiele/Small Parameter; Han Tendeloo, AES secretary, design engineer at Philips, instrumental in the development of the CD and the construction of the facilities needed to produce them; Hermann A.O. Wilms, researcher in room acoustics, professor at National Institute of Radio and Cinematography in Brussels and recipient of the AES Distinguished Service Medal Award; Cornelis H. van de Gragt, producer and recording engineer for Dutch Broadcasting and distinguished educator at Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague; Titia Bakker, Philips Phonographic Industries executive, instrumental in the development of the European regions for the AES.
The AES plans to release the complete set of DVD interviews over the next 12 months as they become available. The AES plans to conduct further interviews as well.
The initial 20 AES Oral History Project DVDs are available at www.aes.org. The cost is $15 for AES members, $20 for non-members.
Clear Channel Shareholders Approve Merger
San Antonio, TX - Jul 24, 2008 - Clear Channel Communications shareholders have approved the adoption of the merger agreement with a group led by Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The preliminary tabulation indicates that approximately 97 percent of the votes were cast in favor of the transaction. The three companies plan to consummate the merger on July 30, 2008.
Yangaroo Updates DMDS Service
Toronto - Jul 18, 2008 - Yangaroo has added features and enhanced its digital media distribution system (DMDS), which record labels use to distribute songs digitally and securely to radio stations. The updates include:
- Faster download speeds: DMDS is now integrated with a world-leading high speed and large capacity Content Delivery Network, allowing it to provide faster download speeds of high-quality audio files.
- File attachments: Record labels using DMDS can now attach promotional materials like Word, Excel, MPEG, and PDF files to their deliveries. The attached files are available to recipients from notification emails and the DMDS Web site.
- Custom List Importing: Users can upload and utilize their own private distribution lists within DMDS, allowing new destinations for their content to be added for private or public use.
- Agentless Music Download: Users receive the same watermarked and secure files without installing the client side agent, granting faster access to tracks.
- Conversion of WAV to MP3: Large WAV files can now be converted to MP3s, allowing faster and easier access to tracks for some users.
- Portable Smart Playlists: Music and program directors can share new tracks through their playlists prior to weekly music meetings.
- Automatic track load, images and metadata: Integration with Radio Broadcast Systems vendor OMT's industry leading Imediatouch software provides seamless ingestion of new content into a radio station's music library.
- Rapid Registration: The registration process has been streamlined to allow new users quicker access to music through DMDS.
- Significant investment in infrastructure technology upgrades for routing, switching and network hardware to provide improved load balancing, redundancy and horizontal scalability, including additional servers, faster processing speed and expanded storage capacity. This investment will support significant current and future growth.
AEQ has installed an Arena mixing system in the facilities of National Radio of Russia in Moscow. This is the 5th Arena installed, completing the first phase of the digital studio project. This console will be used for BECTN 97.6FM.
BBE Sound recently constructed its own recording studio within its warehouse space at its Huntington Beach, CA, headquarters. BBE Sound outfitted the space with Auralex Acoustics Sheetblock Sound Barrier, 2" Mineral Fiber, U-Boat Floor Floaters, Stopgap Sealant, 3" Studiofoam Wedges Lenrd bass traps.
Coby Electronics to Unveil Portable HD Radio Receiver
Lake Success, NY - Jul 21, 2008 - Coby Electronics is introducing a range of HD Radio receivers including the HDR-700 portable HD Radio system and HDR-650 component HD Radio receiver. Both are scheduled for release in August 2008.
The HDR-700 is a portable HD Radio receiver. It features a splash-proof housing and an integrated rechargeable battery. It also includes an SD card slot for MP3 playback. The suggested retail price is $149. The HDR-650 was announced earlier this month.
APT Names Worldnet Oslo Product Manager
Belfast - Jul 21, 2008 - APT has appointed Marc Benard as product manager of the Worldnet Oslo multiplexer. Benard has worked in pro audio and broadcast for several year. During his eight years at Digigram he held positions as technical support engineer and most recently product manager. Prior to working with Digigram he worked as an outside broadcasting sound engineer.
The Worldnet Oslo is a modular, multiple-channel audio multiplexer designed to transport multiple channels over E1, T1 or IP. It can transmit linear and compressed audio with voice channels and data onto a single digital link.