Radio Currents Online - Mar 03 - Mar 09, 2003

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Radio Currents Online - Mar 03 - Mar 09, 2003

Mar 1, 2003 12:00 PM

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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| Business | People |Internet Watch | Products


FCC Endures Debate On OwnershipLimits

Michael K. Powell, chairman of theFederal Communications Commission, presides over a hearing oncompetition between telephone companies last week. Photo: MatthewCavanaugh, The Washington Post

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Richmond, VA - Feb 28, 2003 - At the peak of attendance, nearly 200people attended the FCC public hearing held on Feb. 27 in Richmond, VA.The agenda called for 22 people to make presentations before theCommission to help the FCC in its pending decision on broadcastownership limits.

Many of the attendees openly support an ownership limit cap and feelthat the rules are already too generous. Television group owners wantto raise the limit beyond its current 35 percent of the nationaltelevision audience and remove the restriction that bars a single ownerfrom holding a newspaper and television or radio station in a singlemarket. The typical opposition cry is that reduced restrictions willlead to more mergers and a few large companies controlling what peopleread, hear and watch. Representatives of newspapers and televisionnetworks disagreed, saying that decades-old ownership rules areoutdated in today's world of satellite broadcasts, cable television andthe Internet.

Both sides made their pleas to the Federal Communications Commission,which moved out of Washington for a day to get opinions on its reviewof six ownership rules. The FCC is expected to make its decision inMay.


Arbitron and Nielsen ExpandAgreement for Testing PPM

New York - Mar 4, 2003 - Arbitron and Nielsen Media Research haveexpanded their agreement to increase Nielsen's involvement in a jointresearch program to evaluate the Arbitron Portable People Meter(PPM).

The two companies are exploring the feasibility of using the PPM as adata collection tool for television audience measurement. Arbitron andNielsen first announced an agreement in June 2000 to jointly test thePPM in Philadelphia. This latest agreement expands this relationship toinclude a number of research initiatives that will be supported, inpart, by increasing the financial involvement and commitment ofresources from Nielsen Media Research.

The two companies anticipate reporting initial results of theseexpanded tests by Fall of 2003.

BRS Media Marks Anniversary on AlternateDomains

San Francisco - Mar 4, 2003 - BRS Media's DotFM, the exclusiveworldwide registry for Web addresses ending in .FM, marks its fifthanniversary in providing alternate domain name registration services.Since 1998, DotFM has made the unique .FM domain available to radiostations and other entities looking for a different identity.

On a non-exclusive basis, BRS Media also offers .AM top-level domainsthrough its DotAM division. The company also registers domains for allother available domain extensions.

Are you wondering where the unique domain endings originated? Mosttwo-letter ending are assigned to countries. These countries then offerthe ending as a business venture. Some unique endings in use and theirassociated origins are:

.fm . . . Federated States of Micronesia
.am . . . Armenia
.tv . . . Tuvalu
.cd . . . Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire
.bz . . . Belize
.cc . . . Cocos (Keeling) Islands
.nu . . . Niue
.ws . . . Samoa

Emediatrade ProvidesInterface to Wicks

Reedsport, OR, and Atlanta - Mar 3, 2003 - Wicks Broadcast Solutionshas contracted Emediatrade as its direct electronic data invoicing(EDI) interface with advertising agencies and media buyers usingsystems such as Adware, Datatech, Donovan Data Systems, Strata, and MRPSmartplus. Electronic invoicing has been watched with keen interest byradio stations for several years.

Wicks Invoice Express is used by 7,800 radio stations, and thisagreement makes it possible for Wicks to offer its clients a newplatform for electronic invoice delivery. For the broadcaster, InvoiceExpress Desk reduces paper, envelope, postage and labor expensesassociated with printing documents, enabling invoicing within hours ofthe end of the broadcast month. For the agency, Invoice Express Deskprovides machine-readable files enabling automatic reconciliation ofinvoices and eliminates labor costs and reduces margin of error.Invoices are received immediately.

Clear Channel Chicago andCincinnati Go IBOC with Harris

Cincinnati - Mar 4, 2003 - Two Clear Channel radio stations inChicago and one in Cincinnati will implement Ibiquity Digital's IBOCwith products from Harris. The equipment, including the Harris DexstarHD Radio AM/FM exciter and transmitters from the Harris Z line, will beused at WVAZ-FM Chicago, IL; WNUA-FM Chicago, IL; and WSAI-AMCincinnati, OH.

Clear Channel has chosen a Z16HD transmitter from the Harris Z PlatinumFM line for WVAZ and has upgraded WNUA's transmitter to a Z10HD. WVAZand WSAI will receive a Dexstar HD AM/FM exciter.

Jeff Littlejohn, senior vice president of engineering for Clear ChannelRadio, feels that the Harris FM solid-state transmitters had a decisiveadvantage in IBOC hybrid mode and that was the reason for theselection.


NAB Announces 2003 EngineeringAchievement Award Recipients

Washington - Feb 28, 2003 - The National Association of Broadcastershas announced the winners of its Engineering Achievement Awards. Theawards, first established in 1959, are given to industry leaders forsignificant contributions that have advanced broadcast engineering. Theaward winners will be honored at the Technology Luncheon, Wednesday,April 9 at NAB2003 in Las Vegas.

This year's recipients are John Reiser (radio) and Robert P. Eckert(television).

Radio Engineering Achievement Award Winner - John W.Reiser
John Reiser retired in 2000 as a senior broadcast engineer with theFCC's International Bureau. He played a significant role in manylandmark rulings during his 39 years at the FCC, including thestandardization of the FCC national program for broadcast stationinspections in the 1970s, the 1976 revision of the broadcast rules andregulations and the reorganization of the Broadcast Bureau into what isnow the Media Bureau. From 1986-2000, he served as the U.S. chairman ofthe technical study groups on broadcasting that participate in thestandards and conference preparatory work of the InternationalTelecommunications Union and represented the U.S. at numerousinternational meetings on broadcasting issues. For manyyears, his extensive knowledge of the FCC rules and hands-on experienceand day-to-day contact with broadcast stations made him a criticalresource to the industry in helping broadcasters comply with the FCCrules.

Television Engineering Achievement Award Winner - Robert P.Eckert
Robert Eckert is the Branch Chief-Electromagnetic CompatibilityDivision, Technical Analysis Branch of the Office of Engineering andTechnology at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He began hiscareer with the FCC in 1980, specializing in matters relating to radiopropagation prediction, spectrum efficiency, and frequency-assignmentalgorithms. For the past 15 years, his work at the FCC has been devotedto spectrum planning for advanced television. He investigated ways toassign digital TV channels within the current TV broadcast bands andconstructed computer programs to evaluate the coverage and interferenceconsequences of various digital TV (DTV) channel allotment tables. Hewas one of the principal architects of the original DTV channelallotment plan, and developed and implemented the FCC's channelselection algorithms that accommodated all television stations with aDTV channel assignment. His significant technical accomplishments havebeen instrumental in facilitating the DTV transition for the broadcasttelevision service.

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Internet Watch

BSI Launches Spanish Website

Eugene, OR - Mar 3, 2003 - Broadcast Software International (BSI)has debuted its Spanish-language website. The website mirrors theEnglish website, including online ordering and product information. TheSpanish edition was created to better serve the company's global clientbase.

The Spanish website follows the release of a Spanish-language Simianmanual, and allows Spanish speaking users to access the informationthat was on the original website in English. BSI plans to release amulti-lingual version of Simian in the near future.


TC Works Ships Spark XL 2.7 with CDBurning

Westlake Village, CA - Mar 5, 2003 - Spark XL Version 2.7 of TCWorks' audio processing application is now shipping. Spark XL 2.7features direct CD-burning from inside Spark XL's play list. Trackindexes may be activated or deactivated per region, allowing severalregions to be used to create one track without rendering.

Spark XL 2.7 is the first version that supports only OS X. A Mac OS 9version is still available, but it does not support the newfeatures.

SBE Publishes Handbook forRadio Operators

Indianapolis - Mar 5, 2003 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers'Certification Committee has announced the publication of an importantnew book useful in training radio station board operators. TheCertification Handbook for Radio Operators is designed to helpboard operators increase their knowledge of station operations byexplaining standard practices and common procedures. It is availablebeginning this month from the Society's National Headquarters inIndianapolis and will also be found at the SBE's booth during the NABConvention in Las Vegas, April 7 -10.

Radio board operators�that is anyone who takes operationalresponsibility of a radio station, including announcers�need tounderstand the inner workings of the radio station. This handbookwill help operators learn more about the broadcasting business from thetechnical and business side. While it is designed for individuals justgetting started in radio, the information is useful to anyone who pullsa shift behind the console.

The book covers FCC rules, technical layout of a typical station andthe general responsibilities of a radio operator. In addition, anoverview of station management structure and professional etiquette ispresented. Other chapters cover station logs, the Emergency AlertSystem (EAS), safety requirements and operational procedures fortrouble situations.

The Certification Handbook for Radio Operators was written forthe SBE by Ron Bartlebaugh, CBNT, a 25-year radio veteran. Bartlebaughis the director of engineering for public radio station WKSU-FM inKent, OH, which owns and operates a network of four FM stations innortheast Ohio. Bartlebaugh also owns his own company that providestechnical services to the broadcast industry. Bartlebaugh has earnedthe Certified Broadcast Networking Technician designation from theSociety of Broadcast Engineers. He has regularly written articles forRadio magazine since 1997. He is also an active amateur radiooperator (W8JPG) and a member of SBE Chapter 70 -Northeast Ohio, theAcoustical Society of America, the Audio Engineering Society and theNational Systems Contractors Association.

Years ago, the FCC required all announcers to hold a third-classlLicense and later a restricted operator's permit. The SBE now offers aradio operator certification examination that covers much of the sameinformation that the third-class license covered and provides abenchmark standard to gauge an individual's proficiency in stationoperations. Studying the information in the Certification Handbookfor Radio Operators will prepare an operator to take the optionalSBE certification test and earn the Certified Radio Operator (CRO)designation.

SBE Certification Committee Chairman, Chriss Scherer, CSRE, inannouncing the publication's release said, "This new handbook andcertification level fits perfectly with the SBE's established Programof Certification. The goal of the Certification Committee is to providea standard metric of determining a person's skill and offer that persona method to gain the knowledge he or she needs whenever possible. TheCertification Handbook for Radio Operators does both."

Larry Wilkins, CPBE, CBNT, chief engineer for Cumulus Radio inMontgomery, AL, says this about the new Certification Handbook forRadio Operators: "The new handbook gives a great overview ofstation layout and operation. The board operator doesn't have to knowhow it works, but why it's there and what it does. Every board operatorshould have a copy."

Professional board operators are a must in today's competitive radiostation environment. Bartlebaugh writes, "The broadcast industry isfast-paced and requires the person who wishes to be a professionalbroadcaster to be properly informed and otherwise kept up-to-date withthe policies, procedures and technologies that affect each and everybroadcast station and its operators. Broadcasting is alearn-it-and-keep-learning-it business." This publication, from theprofessional organization for broadcast engineers, will help you meetyour competitive challenges.

To order one or more copies, call the Society of Broadcast Engineers at317-846-9000.

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Omnia Makes New Omnia-6 PresetsAvailable for Download

Cleveland - Mar 4, 2003 - Omnia-6fm on-air processor owners candownload four new presets for their Omnias. The presets are availablethrough the Omnia website at

The presets were designed by the Omnia team and based on input fromOmnia users. The settings were designed for classical, jazz, talk andhit radio. A brief description of the new presets follows.

Classical2 provides a percieved louder sound on the air than thefactory Classical preset. Medium and short-term program dynamics remainessentially untouched, while long-term dynamics are modified tosubstantially increase overall on-air loudness.

SmoothJazz was designed for use smooth jazz formats. It wasdesigned to provide good on-air loudness while minimizingclipper-induced bass IM distortion on material that is easily prone toit, such as compositions heavy with saxophone and bass.

TalkNR was designed to minimize noise and artifacts that wouldotherwise be brought out by normal multiband settings.

Warm Contemp uses the multiband AGCs and limiters to build upcompetitive on-air loudness with less reliance on the clipper sections,resulting in an on-air sound that is competitive but lacks theartifacts normally associated with clipping.

Omnia Releases FM Analog/DigitalProcessor

Cleveland - Feb 28, 2003 - Omnia has introduced a product forstations making the transition to IBOC operation: the Omnia-6hdfm. The processor,part of the Omnia-6 family of processors, provides simultaneous outputsfor analog and digital transmissions in one unit.

Omnia-6hdfm uses 96kHz, 24-bit sampling, which Omnia touts as thehighest sampling rate of any broadcast processor. The processorprovides a dual-output signal to deliver a processed signal for IBOCand analog transmissions. This simplifies set up for the radio stationand also helps to create a seamless transition when a hybrid receiverblends from analog to digital or back. A split processing structureroutes audio from the mixer section to separate, concurrent outputstages for conventional FM and DAB. The IBOC section features auser-selectable frequency response, up to 20kHz. A specially designedfinal limiter conditions audio for the bit-reduced encoders used inIBOC systems, while the analog FM output signal receivesdistortion-controlled final limiting with pre-emphasis and 15kHzfiltering.

An upgrade package is available to current Omnia6-fm owners. Theupgrade includes new processing software and a back panel with addedAES connections. The upgrade can be installed in the field.

Other Omnia-6hdfm features include a six-band limiter, five AGC bandswith adjustable AGC crossovers and wideband AGC, and twin full-coloractive-matrix displays with integrated Dorrough Loudness Meters. Theunit can be remotely controlled via Ethernet, serial or modemconnection. Software updates can be added through a plug-in softwarearchitecture.

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