Radio Currents Online - Dec 29, 2003 - Jan 11, 2004

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Radio Currents Online - Dec 29, 2003 - Jan 11, 2004

Dec 1, 2003 12:00 PM

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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The First IBOC Radio Sale

Cedar Rapids, IA - Jan 6, 2004 - The first commercially sold IBOC radio receiver is owned by Cedar Rapids engineer Nathan Franzen. He installed it in a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix. The radio was manufactured by Kenwood and cost $350.

The Associated Press reports that Franzen also received a certificate for being the first to buy the new technology. The sale was highlighted as part of ceremony featuring representatives from Ibiquity, the city of Cedar Rapids, Kenwood and two local radio stations.

One station in Cedar Rapids is transmitting an IBOC signal: KZIA-FM.

Study Investigates ClimbingHarness Dangers

It�s not the fall or the sudden jerk that can kill you

An article in Occupational Health & Safety magazine investigates a real danger to tower climbers caused not by falling but from simply using a climbing harness. A NASA experiment held at the University of Texas Medical Branch Hospital at Galveston, TX, studied orthostatic intolerance in astronauts, but the research applies to anyone supported in a harness with his body dangling.

The article is available online at this link ( While it describes the causes and effects of the potential danger in scientific terms, the general information is valuable to any climber wearing a harness.

FCC Opens Proceeding on SmartRadios

Washington - Dec 30, 2003 - With ever-increasing demand for radio spectrum and a desire to facilitate new technologies and services that provide more efficient spectrum use, the Federal Communications Commission has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Order that sets forth proposals and seeks comment on the use and applications for cognitive, or �smart,� radio systems. The intent of the Commission�s proposals is to provide additional technical and operational flexibility for service providers particularly in rural and underserved areas, and also offer the potential for facilitating increased interoperability for public safety first responders. The FCC anticipates that the result will benefit consumers with new and enhanced services.

Smart radios have the technical capability to adapt their use of spectrum in response to information external to the radio. For instance, a system could use geolocation information to determine whether certain transmissions are permissible. Alternatively, such radios could sense their operating or RF environment and use this information to determine the optimal frequencies and transmit powers to use, while avoiding harmful interference. Many smart radios also can interpret and transmit signals in different formats or modulation schemes. Because of their technical and operational flexibility, they also make it possible to use vacant spectrum channels -- that is, spectrum that may be available in a particular geographic location or during a particular period of time -- spectrum that would otherwise go unused.

Certain smart radio capabilities are employed to some extent today in applications such as commercial mobile wireless services and wireless local area networks (WLANs). Further advancements in the technology promise greater future benefits.

The Notice seeks comment on the ways that the Commission can encourage and remove regulatory impediments to continued development and deployment of smart radio technologies, including, for example, facilitating the ability of licensed spectrum users to deploy them for their own use to increase spectrum efficiency, and to facilitate secondary markets, allowing licensees to lease their spectrum access to third parties using such technologies. The Notice also seeks comment on ways that smart radios can facilitate opportunistic use of the spectrum by unlicensed devices, while protecting incumbents from harmful interference.

In addition, the Notice seeks comment on rules permitting additional technical flexibility, including allowing unlicensed devices in limited bands to use higher transmit powers in rural and underserved areas. This would potentially reduce network infrastructure costs, facilitating broadband and other services in these areas. The Notice also seeks comment on a specific technical approach that would provide licensees with the ability to retain real-time access to spectrum they lease to third parties, such as public safety entities, if the Commission decides to permit such leasing. Also, the Notice seeks comment on how smart radios could facilitate public safety interoperability. Specifically, because of their frequency agility, smart radios may potentially be used as a communications bridge between two different radio services � effectively translating the signals from one service into the format and frequency of another. This could enhance the ability of different public safety entities to communicate with one another in the event of an emergency.

The Notice also seeks comment on specific applications for smart radios, such as mesh networks and real-time frequency coordination between NGSO satellite and other services. Further, the Notice proposes changes to the Commission�s equipment authorization processes to better accommodate software-defined radios and smart radio systems.

One potential drawback to smart radios for broadcasters concerns the itinerate use of BAS frequencies. The FCC believes that temporary-use frequencies can be shared with other industries. The reality is that these other users will not be able to coordinate their use with broadcast needs.

The complete NPRM and Order is available through these links:

Word document:

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (FCC 03-322). ET Docket No. 03-108.

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Orban/CRL Mobile Broadcast Lab On theRoad Again

Tempe, AZ - Jan 6, 2004 - Orban/CRL has announced the dates and cities for the 2004 first quarter stops of the Orban/CRL Mobile Broadcast Laboratory (MBL). Radio stations, TV stations, SBE chapter meetings and state broadcast conventions will host the traveling exhibition, which provides demonstrations of Orban and CRL broadcast equipment. The MBL is a fully equipped 33-foot mobile vehicle that has been converted to permit testing and demonstrations of Orban and CRL products, and to provide comparisons with other products.

In the second half of 2003, the MBL visited 24 cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco and Philadelphia. The first stops of 2004 will cover the South. Here is the tour schedule to date.



January 21-23


January 28-30

El Paso

February 16-18


February 20-23

New Orleans

February 2-4

San Antonio

February 25-27


March 12-15


March 17-19


March 8-10


To schedule a stop, contact David Rusch at 602-438-0888 or

Harris Awarded $96 Million IraqiContract

Melbourne, FL - Jan 9, 2004 - Harris has been awarded a one-year, $96 million contract by the Defense Contracting Command-Washington (DCC-W), on behalf of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) currently governing Iraq, for developing an existing but antiquated media network into a modern media organization for Iraq. The Iraqi Media Network (IMN) program includes equipment, operation, training and provisioning of programming for national radio and TV networks and a national newspaper with operating locations in Baghdad and more than 30 other locations throughout the country. Two additional six-month contract options could increase the total value of the program to nearly $165 million.

The goal of the IMN contract is to create from the existing organization a first class, integrated media network that will include two national radio channels, two national TV channels and a national newspaper called Al Sabah.

Harris will lead this project and provide all of the necessary transmitters, integration and automation broadcast equipment with support from two local teammates: The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), a Middle Eastern media network, and Al Fawares, a Kuwaiti company with Iraqi ownership. LBCI is responsible for training and content programming for the two radio channels and two TV channels - one for news and one for entertainment. All four channels will be terrestrial and the all-news TV channel will additionally be available by satellite. Al Fawares will assist in expanding the newspaper into national status based on the company's experience with Al Watan in Kuwait, and also will provide security, logistics and construction services.

XM to Add Traffic and WeatherChannels

Washington - Jan 7, 2003 - In 2004, XM Satellite Radio will launch traffic and weather channels to offer listeners up-to-date information about road and weather conditions in 21 major metropolitan markets nationwide. The new channels will offer 24/7 service. XM announced that the new channels will provide greater detail and more frequent updates than available elsewhere.

The service, called XM Instant Traffic and Weather, is a cooperative effort between XM and Mobility Technologies, a provider of traffic data, and the Weather Channel. The first 15 XM instant traffic and weather channels will debut in March for New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Dedicated channels for Boston, Atlanta, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle and San Diego will be introduced later in 2004.

NAB president Eddie Fritts issued a statement quickly after the XM news was announced at the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show.

XM Satellite Radio's announcement today to provide weather and traffic reports to select major markets represents an appalling back-door attempt to bypass the FCC's intent to limit satellite radio to a national service only. The announcement also violates the spirit of a terrestrial repeater agreement NAB recently negotiated with XM barring XM from local programming delivery.

NAB will explore the legality of XM offering this program service. But there is no doubt the 175 million daily listeners of local radio stations know that the best and most reliable source for news, school closings, and weather and traffic alerts continues to be their local broadcasters.


magazine is not surprised at the announcement. XM has been investigating enhancements to its service offerings. This is hardly a back-door attempt as the NAB claims.

XM also announced that it is adding more audio channels, including some completely commercial free channels. The new lineup will begin in February. The new additions will bring XM's channel count to 121 channels: 68 music channels, 32 news, sports, talk, and variety channels, and 21 XM instant traffic and weather channels.

Satellite Radio WithPictures?

New York - Jan 7, 2004 - According to the Associated Press, XM and Sirius are planning to provide video services in addition to their existing audio entertainment. Both satellite radio providers will debut systems that transmit video to automobiles using the same satellites, antennas and infrastructure as their audio networks.

Sirius plans to offer three or four video channels within 18 months. Sirius is partnering with auto parts manufacturer Delphi to develop the system. The cost of the service has not yet been determined, but it is expected that data, such as stock quotes, traffic information and sports scores, will cost less than $20 a month. Sirius plans to install the motion video displays where they will only be visible to the vehicle's back seat so they will not distract the driver.

XM, which is showing music videos, cartoons and other video on its system, also hopes to offer a video system one day, but doesn't believe it's a viable business yet. XM feels that the quality would be insufficient to support providing the service.

Because of the low video quality, Sirius plans to deliver cartoons because of the popularity if in-car DVD systems for children, and also because cartoons transmit better on limited bandwidth.

Loud Technologies Appoints New Rep forSo. California

Woodinville, WA - Jan 6, 2004 - Loud Technologies has appointed Audio Geer as its sales representation firm in Southern California and Southern Nevada. Founded in 1994, Audio Geer is headquartered in Los Angeles with regional offices in San Diego and Las Vegas.

Audio Geer will represent a portfolio of brands including Mackie, Tapco, EAW and the new EAW Commercial line. Contact Audio Geer at 714-960-0600, fax 714-960-0656, e-mail or

Clear Channel Deploys DG Media Manager

Dallas - Jan 5, 2004 - Clear Channel Radio has deployed the DG Systems DG Media Manager for digital spot, traffic and music delivery to all of the Clear Channel owned and operated stations. Launched in October 2002, the DG Media Manager is a dedicated, on-site server offering advertisers and agencies guaranteed delivery of spots and music directly to radio stations. DG Media Manager allows radio stations to automatically receive commercials without manual intervention. Additionally, the DG Media Manager provides Web-based, desktop access to spots and traffic, more than 300 hours of storage and multiple-user access to move spots into other digital systems.

DG Systems' digital network reaches more than 5,000 advertisers and agencies, 7,500 radio stations and more than 1,850 broadcast and cable television destinations with delivery and management services for short- and long-form audio and video content.

Audio Science Opens Asia Office

Newcastle, DE - Jan 5, 2004 � Audio Science has opened an office to serve it customers in Asia. T.K. Pang has been named president of Audio Science Asia and will lead the company's regional sales and marketing efforts. The office is located in Singapore and will serve China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan as well as other Asian countries and the Middle East.

The office was opened following the interest in Audio Science products in Asia. The Chinese government is mandating digital equipment for all new installations, which provides manufacturers such as Audio Science with an opportunity in a growing market.

The Asia office can be reached at +65 9818 4303.

First Consumer IBOC Radio to be Soldin Iowa

Columbia, MD, and Cedar Rapids, IA - Jan 2, 2004 - The first IBOC receiver, a Kenwood KTC-HR 100 model, will go on sale commercially Jan. 5 in Cedar Rapids, IA, as part of a promotion with Kenwood USA, Ultimate Electronics and KZIA-FM Z102.9. Ibiquity Digital, the developer of the IBOC digital radio technology, has been branded the technology as HD Radio.

The event will take place on Monday, Jan. 5, 2004, at 5 p.m. at the Ultimate Electronics Store, 4701 First Ave Southeast in Cedar Rapids. On hand for the event will be Cedar Radid Mayor Paul D. Pate, Executive Vice President of KZIA-FM Rob Norton, Ultimate Electronics CEO Dave Workman, Kenwood USA Executive Vice President Dan Petersen, Ibiquity Digital President and CEO Robert Struble, KZIA-FM President and GM Eliot Keller, and Iowa Broadcasters Association Board Member and owner of KMRY-AM Rick Sellers. KMRY will commence IBOC transmissions in the coming weeks.

Why is the event being held in Cedar Rapids? According to a press release from Ibiquity, Cedar Rapids is the birthplace of Arthur Collins, the founder of Collins Radio. In addition, on the eve of the Presidential election hoopla, the event is being tied to Iowa's connection to the First in the Nation Caucus. Regardless of the thin (and rather obscure) associations being made, the receiver sale will lead the official commercial receiver availability of Kenwood IBOC radios, which will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 8.

New HQ for Studio Technology

Kennet Square, PA - Jan 2, 2004 - Broadcast studio furniture manufacturer Studio Technology has moved into its new East Coast facility. The company's website and e-mail contact information is unchanged (, but the phone numbers and mailing address have changed.

The new informaiton is:

Studio Technology
529 Rosedale Road , Ste 103
Kennett Square, PA 19348

610-925-2785 voice
610-925-2787 fax

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Internet Watch

The Best and Worst Lists of 2003

Overland Park, KS - Jan 2, 2004 - As is always the case as a new year begins, year-end lists are assembled and distributed. Here are lists some lists the staff of Radio magazine found online and thought were interesting:

Find out what Clear Channel's CEO and others had to say in 2003 at These comments are part of's P.U.-litzer Prizes, which were established to recognize the stinkiest media performances of the year.

Read the Popular Science 2003 Best of What's New. Note the Wi-Fi 802.11g mention.,18882,,00.html

Read about the iTunes Music Store and an FM Snorkel Radio in Time magazine's Coolest Inventions of 2003 list at We thought that a device that combined radio listening and swimming was unique. Perhaps Arbitron will have to modify the "at work, in the car or at home" listening locations to include "along the coral reef."

And last but not least, find out why the Kensington WiFi Finder made TechTV Labs' Tech Turkeys of 2003 at,24330,3574300,00.html.

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Sony Introduces New MD Format

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Las Vegas, CES - Jan 7, 2004 �Building on the existing format, Sony unveiled its Hi-MD format and audio players. The new format records as much as 45 hours of music on one disc. The players were designed to provide extensive battery life, a compact design and a robustness construction.

The Hi-MD recorders incorporate the ATRAC3plus codec. With ATRAC3plus compression, more audio files can be burned to Hi-MD media or to a standard Mini Disc. Music can be compressed to 132, 105, 66, 64 or 48kb/s. By compressing at 48kb/s, the format can store as much as 45 hours of stereo audio on one Hi-MD disc or 13 hours of stereo audio on one standard, 80-minute Mini Disc.

The Sony Hi-MD recorders connect to a PC via a USB cable for high-speed music transfers. They are compatible with the Connect online music service. The Hi-MD digital music players are backwards compatible, so they will play back and record music on standard Mini Disc media. The players are expected to be available in April.

Sony unveiled four models at the Consumer Electronics Show. One model includes an AM/FM tuner.

The Hi-MD discs can hold as much as 1GB of data. Hi-MD discs are expected to cost about $7 each when they become available in April.

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