With New Administration Comes Change for Broadcasters
from Broadcast Engineering
Washington - Nov 10, 2008 - With the election of Sen. Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president comes a sea change in American politics - one that will profoundly affect the nation's broadcasters. From the make-up of the FCC to a more solid Democrat majority in Congress, expect new policies to come in 2009. The effects from the 2008 election, coupled with the DTV transition next February and a continually poor economy, may make the New Year one for broadcasting's history books.
The president-elect was expected to name attorney Henry Rivera to head a transition team focused on the FCC. Rivera is a partner in Wiley Rein, a prominent communications law firm in Washington, DC. He served at the FCC from 1981 to 1985 under FCC chairman Mark Fowler. The Government Accounting Office has identified the upcoming DTV transition as an "urgent policy concern" for the incoming administration. It was expected that Rivera would put together a team to monitor the transition.
With Republican Kevin Martin expected to soon be out of his FCC chairmanship, there's speculation that President Obama will appoint Democrat FCC member Michael J. Copps as the new FCC chairman. Copps began serving his second FCC term in 2006. He's been a Democrat activist on the FCC and was formerly chief of staff for former Senator Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina.
Although the same Democrats still lead most congressional committees, there's change in Congress that will affect broadcast issues. Sen. Ted Stevens, in a still undecided, razor-close race for re-election in Alaska, could return to the Senate, but may face expulsion as a result of his conviction of felony charges for failing to report gifts. Though in the minority party in Congress, Stevens has long been a strong ally of broadcasters.
After the conviction, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texan, replaced Stevens as ranking Republican on the Commerce committee. Even if Stevens returns to the Senate, Hutchison will probably retain the committee seat.
Sen. Gordon Smith, a Republican member of the Senate Commerce Committee from Oregon, lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jeff Merkley. Add to that Sen. John Sununu, a Republican Commerce committee member from New Hampshire who lost to Democrat Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. Neither Smith nor Sununu, however, were major allies to broadcasters.
A big win for broadcasters was the Democrat failure to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell, a close friend of broadcasters, was in a tough race for his seat. He retained it by a hair.
As of late last week, Democrats had won 57 seats in the Senate, three short of the 60 needed to prevent a filibuster. That could go higher when the winner of the Stevens race in Alaska is determined, and when the results are in from the Minnesota Senate contest, in which Democrat Al Franken is in a dead heat with Republican Norm Coleman. That race is so close a recount is being conducted.
And, in Georgia, Republican Saxby Chambliss is in a Dec. 2 runoff race.
In the House, Democrats extended their control to about an 80-vote majority. Less than a day after the election, Rep Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, said he will challenge Rep. John Dingell of Michigan for the chairmanship of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. It will be major fight.
That committee oversees broadcasting issues. However, the race for the chairmanship has little to do with broadcasting, because the committee also handles health care, alternative energy, climate change and even restoring stability to financial systems - all critical to President-elect Obama's agenda. On many of these issues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is more closely aligned ideologically with Waxman than with Dingell, and Waxman is seen as an ally of the Speaker while Dingell is not.
Otherwise, Democrat Commerce committee members will all return, but at least five Republicans will no longer be on the committee. These include Barbara Cubin of Wyoming, Heather Wilson of New Mexico, Chip Pickering of Mississippi, Mike Ferguson of New Jersey, and Vito Fossella of New York. All chose not to run for re-election.
There also may be some organizational shifts as the new Congress is reorganized. For example, Sen. Robert Byrd, the ailing 90-year-old chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, may step aside to allow Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii to take the chairmanship.
This could open the way for West Virginia's Sen. Jay Rockefeller to chair the Commerce Committee. Rockefeller has never been a friend to broadcasters.
Emmis Interactive Adds New Radio Partners
Chicago - Nov 10, 2008 - Emmis Interactive has partnered with several radio stations to provide its interactive platform and sales consulting services. The stations are KPRS-FM (Kansas City, Carter Broadcasting), WLOQ-FM (Orlando, FL, Gross Communications), WABB-FM (Mobile, AL, Dittman Group) and WRAL-FM (Raleigh, NC, Capitol Broadcasting). All have signed for the Emmis Interactive custom Base Station platform and sales consulting services.
The Base Station content management system provides media management, interactive community tools and user-generated content tools to stations, and provides detailed reports that measure audience behavior and advertiser return on investment.
Since announcing in April 2008 that it would market its services to other local media companies, Emmis Interactive has signed on more than 100 non-Emmis stations to its platform.
Logitek Electronic Systems has received several orders for console and router products from locations around the world.
In Ireland, 4FM ordered two Audio Engines and four Mosaic consoles through Logitek's dealer BTS.
In the UK, Logitek dealer Preco said EMAP ordered four Audio Engines, three Mosaic consoles, one Remora console and the Vscreen GUI for locations in Stockton and London.
In the UK, GCAP ordered five Audio Engines and five Remora consoles through Preco In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation expanded its Tamworth operation with a Remora console.
In the USA, WBUL Radio purchased an Audio Engine, a Mosaic console and a Remora console; WLBT-TV in Jackson, MS purchased an Audio Engine and Artisan console, and KOAA-TV in Pueblo, CO ordered an Audio Engine with an Artisan console.
Public radio station WBEZ Chicago, producer of the shows This American Life and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, recently replaced the digital console in its music performance studio with a Solid State Logic AWS 900+ analog workstation system. The AWS provides WBEZ with integrated control of the Pro Tools HD system. This is the first radio application installation of the AWS 900+.
Entercom Communications is adding Splashcast technology on the websites of 70 of its music radio stations. The deal allows Entercom to provide listeners with more local content, more ways to interact with one another online, and the ability to share content on social networks. Entercom will add Splashcast micro-channels - virtual, embeddable, interactive TVs - to serve local content, including video coverage of events and concerts, interviews, photos, music and news. Each station's community of listeners can also contribute content and interact via Splashcast micro-channels, or embed them on their social networking profiles or other Web pages.
RAM Broadcast Systems has delivered broadcast furniture for six studios to Journal Broadcast Group in Tucson, AZ.
Regent Communications has signed a group-wide agreement to make all of Regent's radio station streams available to Iphone and Ipod Touch users through Radiolicious, the native Iphone application available through the Itunes App Store. Regent is the first major radio group to contract for all of its streaming stations to be available through the Radiolicious application.
Citadel Broadcasting, Emmis Communications and Clear Channel Communications have signed agreements with Media Monitors to expand their service agreements to include the Media Monitors Audience Reaction service. Audience Reaction allows users to view instant listener reaction captured via PPM technology with the Media Monitors' airplay information for a graphical representation of programming decisions.
APT Adds O'Dolan for Australasia
Belfast - Oct 31, 2008 - APT has appointed Malachy O'Dolan as field applications engineer for the Australasia region to support the company's customer base in Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
O'Dolan studied electronics and communications engineering at the University of Ulster and has held positions with the BBC in the UK, RTE in Ireland and TCN Ch9 and Sydney Opera House in Australia. Most recently he has worked in the RF field contracting for clients including Australian Department of Sustainability.
Klotz Digital Names Spielmann as Sales Manager Europe
Munich - Nov 12, 2008 - Klotz Digital has appointed Trevor Spielmann to the position of sales manager for Europe. Spielmann, who holds a degree in photo and media engineering, joins Klotz DVC, Digitalvideo Computing, where he served as sales manager.
Before that he worked for Warner Music Manufacturing Europe, where he was responsible for the acquisition, budgeting and leading of DVD feature film projects for Newline Cinema and Warner Home Video.
MySimBook Hires New VP Business Development
Austin, TX - Nov 20, 2008 - MySimBook, a subsidiary of Global Security Systems, has hired Doug Raines as vice president business development. His most recent position was vice president Sales for Dave Scott Companies where he worked on RadioTraffic.com and RadioWeather.com. Previously he held positions at TM Century, Super Radio Network, Pearson Broadcasting, Vision Communication and was also involved for several years in tourism/entertainment marketing in Branson, MO.
Omnia Ships Omnia One Studio Pro
Cleveland - Oct 28, 2008 - The Omnia One family of processors has been expanded to include the Omnia One Studio Pro for production use. The Omnia One Studio Pro includes tools useful in studio settings or as a preprocessor, including a wide-band automatic gain control four-band limiter and four-band compressor bass enhancement.
Ecreso Ships Next FM
Miami - Nov 12, 2008 - Ecreso, an Audemat company, is now shipping the Next FM. A recipient of the Radio magazine Pick Hit Award from the 2008 NAB Show, the all-in-one device includes an FM exciter, one of three output power levels (0.5W, 20W or 100W), audio processing, stereo encoder, RBDS encoder and a hard drive for audio back up.
Alpine Ships New HD Radio Tuner
Torrance, CA - Nov 13, 2008 - Alpine Electronics is now shipping the TUA-T550HD tuner. The unit is a small hide-away box that can be connected to any of Alpine's 2007-2008 model Ai-NET head units to add HD Radio reception.
The unit includes Itunes tagging functionality as well when used with the Alpine iDA-X100 digital media receiver, IVA-W505 double-DIN mobile multimedia station and the iDA-X100M marine digital media receiver. The tuner is priced $230.
Audiofile Engineering Ships Wave Editor 1.4
Minneapolis, MN - Nov 13, 2008 - Audiofile Engineering, an audio software developer for the Mac, is now shipping Wave Editor 1.4. Created for Mac OS X, Wave Editor 1.4 adds new features such as native support for VST effect plug-ins, the ability to diagnose and repair the most common causes of corrupt audio files, and DDP Import functions to freely loading DDP images back into Wave Editor with track markers, indexes, ISRC and PQ codes intact.
Wave Editor 1.4 includes workflow enhancements including DDP MD5 checksums, PQ and Cue Sheet export, keyboard shortcut presets, user-customizable split-file naming support as well as smoother and faster performance, improved meters, and new contextual menu items for even more efficient production.
Eye on IBOC
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Positive on HD Radio Captioning
Washington - Nov 13, 2008 - During the national elections held Nov. 4, 2008, some deaf and hard of hearing citizens were staying on top of the elections results through a captioned radio broadcast that used the data capacity of HD Radio. (Read the story here.) As the audience participants listened and read the broadcast, they were polled on their experiences with the technology.
More than three-quarters of the deaf and hard of hearing participants indicated they would be interested in purchasing captioned radio displays after watching live demonstrations of the technology at seven locations around the United States. The election night broadcast demonstrations were made possible by NPR, Harris and Towson University. The NPR broadcast was shown at private demonstrations at NPR's headquarters and Towson University in Towson, MD, along with five NPR member stations. At each of the demonstration locations, participants who are deaf or hard-of-hearing completed out surveys in person or online to provide feedback on the technology.
Responses to surveys indicated that captioned radio will be a popular broadcast format for deaf and hard-of-hearing users:
95 percent were happy with the level of captioning accuracy, a crucial aspect for readability and comprehension 77 percent said they would be interested in purchasing a captioned radio display unit when it becomes available 86 percent indicated they would be interested in purchasing a dual-view screen display for a car (which would enable a deaf passenger to see the captioned radio text while the driver listens to the radio).
Demonstration participants also showed a strong desire to rely upon captioned radio in emergency situations. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being extremely important, they ranked emergency notifications at 9.6 when asked what types of information would be important to receive through captioned radio broadcasts. General news came in second at 8.0.
The survey also included a number of questions regarding format preferences, such as the speed of the scrolling text and the size of the text. The information will be used to improve future captioned broadcasts.
Stenocaptioners from WGBH in Boston monitored NPR's live coverage and fed instantaneous speech-to-text transcriptions to the participating NPR stations and to NPR's website.
The event was coordinated by the International Center for Accessible Radio Technology (ICART), which is headquartered at Towson University. Founding members also include NPR and Harris. Towson houses the primary administrative and academic research office for the initiative, NPR Labs in Washington provides the technology R&D and software development, and Harris supplies the transmission and research support at its radio broadcast technology center in Cincinnati.