BE Radio Currents Online - Nov 12 - Nov 25, 2001

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BE Radio Currents Online - Nov 12 - Nov 25, 2001

Nov 1, 2001 12:00 PM

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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SBE Plans for itsFuture

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Indianapolis - Nov 19, 2001 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers will conduct a special strategic planning session on Saturday, January 12 in Indianapolis. The purpose is to help focus the Society�s programs and services to meet the needs of its members in the coming years. The Society is inviting all chapter chairmen or another designated representative from each SBE chapter. The national officers, directors and staff will also participate in the event. Tom Zoss, a professional facilitator from Bloomington, Indiana, will lead the session.

The SBE held a similar meeting in 1995. The success of this meeting six years ago led to the planning of the 2002 meeting.

Meeting attendees must provide their own transportation and lodging. Lunch will be provided for all participants on the meeting day. The specific location is being determined and will be announced on the SBE website and in the December issue of the SBE Signal. Chapters are encouraged to cover the travel expenses of the chapter representative if possible, since the delegate will represent that chapter in an official capacity.

AES Convention Features Event onDAB in the US

New York - Nov 14, 2001 - The AES 111th Convention, taking place November 30 to December 3 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, is again featuring a special event on digital broadcasting in the United States. The event will take place on Saturday, December 1, at 9:00 am.

With the advent of digital television, satellite delivered digital radio, and eventually in-band on-channel terrestrial radio, the audio community will be expected to deliver the highest quality of audio utilizing all these mediums. The Audio Engineering Society first began presenting the forum in 1988 to familiarize the audio engineer and interested parties with the latest technology being used in audio for digital broadcasting. The effect of the various broadcasting services on the audio industry will also be presented.

In addtion to representatives from both XM and Sirius Radio, the group of panelists who will discuss the best methods for delivering high quality audio in broadcasting includes Jerry Butler of PBS, Ralph Justus of CES, David Layer of the NAB, Jeffrey Riedmiller of Dolby Labs, and Deepen Sinha of iBiquity Digital.

FCC Launches Examination ofMultiple Ownership Rules

Washington, D.C. � Nov 8, 2001 - The FCC took three significant steps toward providing clarity and certainty to the processing of radio license transfer applications in cases that may result in substantial economic concentration and thus raise competition concerns.

The FCC commenced a comprehensive examination of its rules and policies concerning multiple ownership of radio stations in local markets. The Commission said its objective is to ask the relevant questions and develop a complete record that will support the approach and the regulations it ultimately adopts.

The FCC established an interim policy to clarify the review criteria for applications that are currently under review and for applications filed during completion of the rulemaking.

The FCC set specific deadlines in order to expedite the resolution of pending applications.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today, the FCC seeks to undertake a comprehensive examination of the rules and policies concerning multiple ownership of radio stations in local markets. The FCC intends to be more responsive to current marketplace realities while continuing to address its core public interest concerns of promoting diversity and competition. The FCC will examine the statutory framework as well as consider the public interest advantages and disadvantages of various potential rule and policy changes.

The FCC also adopted an interim policy that establishes a plan of action to resolve pending applications. The interim policy sets timetables for the FCC staff to make its recommendation to the Commission on how to resolve the pending applications. The applications that have been pending the longest will receive the highest priority. For example, within 90 days of today, the staff must make a recommendation on the limited number of applications that have been pending for more than one year. The FCC said it will continue to flag applications that raise competitive concerns, and the staff will then conduct a public interest analysis, including a competitive analysis of the particular market. The categories of information that the staff may use in conducting its competitive analysis include: product market definition; geographic definition; market participants; market shares and concentration; barriers to entry; potential adverse competitive effects; and efficiencies and other public interest benefits.

Today�s NPRM also asked for specific empirical data on the effect of consolidation on the public interest. It specifically asked for data in three Arbitron radio markets that illustrate significant differences in market structure but which have all undergone substantial consolidation since 1996: Syracuse, N.Y.; Rockford, Ill; and Florence, S.C. The FCC also encouraged commenters to file information on any local market they feel is relevant or helpful.

The NPRM asked for comment on the interplay between the numerical radio ownership limits in Section 202(b) of the 1996 Telecommunications Act and the public interest mandates of sections 309(a) and 310(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 and how these sections relate to Commission policies on competition and diversity.

The Commission noted that promoting diversity and competition remains the touchstone of its local radio ownership rules. It asked for comments on whether the three traditional aspects of diversity (viewpoint, outlet and source) should guide its public interest consideration.

With respect to competition, the NPRM asked for comments on the scope of the FCC�s interest in competitive radio markets, on the definition of the relevant market (advertising or audience), on barriers to entry, potential efficiencies, possible harms, and on the economic costs and benefits of consolidation.

The NPRM requested comment on the general costs and benefits, and advantages and disadvantages, of various methods by which its policies concerning diversity and competition can be implemented, including: relying on numerical limits or other bright-line rules to guide the FCC�s public interest determination; conducting a case-by-case public interest analysis; using other regulatory tools such as screens or processing guidelines; or using a mixture of these methods.

The Commission also asked for comments on a variety of specific situations: how it should review applications proposing to assign or transfer control of existing station groups to new owners; how to treat claims that a station is failing, failed, dark, or unbuilt; and what is the appropriate regulatory and ownership treatment of contractual agreements between stations.


Senior Engineers Put APTTechnology To The Test

Belfast, Ireland, and Oxfordshire, England - Nov 20, 2001 - Audio Processing Technology recently held an intensive series of listening tests, entitled Open Your Ears, which were designed to highlight the audiophile qualities of its apt-X products. The tests took place at Solid State Logic�s headquarters in Oxfordshire and were conducted in a controlled studio environment to ensure accuracy of results. Leading figures from the commercial UK radio industry were invited to compare apt-X with the companding technique, J.41.

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The evaluation group gathered after the listening tests.

J.41 requires 768kbit/s for 15kHz Stereo uni-directional audio whereas Enhanced 24-bit apt-X requires 384kbit/s full-duplex, which means it can offer twice the performance with half the data requirement. Apt-X also offers a significantly greater dynamic range.

Among the guests attending the Open Your Ears tests were Tim Donaldson, head of group engineering services for the GWR radio station group, and Simon Mason, digital development manager broadcast radio group. Guests were played a series of tracks through J41 and through Standard and Enhanced apt-X. They were asked to score the results of the blind test and in nearly every case apt-X came out ahead. The listening tests were also backed up by a technical presentation on Enhanced apt-X.

BSI Names Simian Beta Team

Eugene, OR - Nov 16, 2001 - Broadcast Software International (BSI) announced the names of its six-person Simian digital automation beta testing team. The team includes Dave Graichen of Louisiana, Lyle Dodge of Idaho, Gavin Lawrence of Great Britain, Steve Runck of North Dakota, Dan Fulton of Wisconsin, and Dan Slentz of Ohio. The six were chosen out of a pool of more than forty applicants. The final selection was a challenge for BSI because the group of potential beta testers contained many well-qualified broadcasters. Each applicant was asked to have a computer available for testing, a working knowledge of Microsoft Windows and radio broadcasting.

Simian was unveiled at the 2001 NAB Radio Show in New Orleans.

Gentner to Become ClearOneCommunications

Salt Lake City - Nov 15, 2001 - Shareholders of Gentner Communications Corporation approved the board of directors� recommendation to change the company's name to ClearOne Communications Inc. at Gentner's annual shareholders� meeting on November 14.

The name change will take effect Jan. 1, 2002, at which time the company will begin trading under the symbol "CLRO" on the Nasdaq stock market. Gentner�s conferencing products will continue to be branded under the Gentner name.

The ClearOne name was chosen to more effectively communicate the company's focus on conferencing. It was also noted that the new name is more marketable to its target audiences and better reflects the company's new image and growth objectives.

A significant difference in the company is its increased emphasis on conferencing services, a division that experienced revenue growth of 98% in the most recent fiscal year.

Sequerra Audio Labs Formed

Stamford, CT - Nov 16, 2001 - Legendary audiophile electronics engineer Richard Sequerra recently joined forces with audio renaissance man Mark Conese to form Sequerra Audio Labs, with a mission to manufacture professional audio equipment. Though just over a year old, the enterprise mines nearly seventy years of combined engineering experience between the two founders and has already secured distribution through Transamerica Audio Group (TAG). Sequerra's first product, the 1070.A microphone preamplifier is being introduced at AES 2001 NYC and beta test units have met with critical acclaim. The company's second product, the RM-1 ribbon microphone will also be showcased at AES.

Over the past fifty years, Sequerra has engineered and designed numerous products and has secured patents in all manners of technology. He has served on innumerable standards committees, lectured both to university students and to industry groups, and published papers in peer-reviewed journals and consumer press alike.

Conese has been designing and building audio electronics and acoustical spaces since 1980 to serve his passion for audiophile perfection. An accomplished musician, Conese designed and built Ambient Recording in 1989 and later founded Ambient Records. Both the studio and the label place a premium on fidelity, stopping at nothing to capture the raw emotion of a performance.

Sirius Announces Launch Plans
New York - Nov 14, 2001 - Sirius Satellite Radio announced that it will launch its service on February 14, 2002, in the metropolitan markets of Houston, Denver and Phoenix. The announcement was made during a conference call held on November 14. Sirius worked closely with its hardware and retail partners to select these launch markets based on commuter data, retail spending patterns and marketing opportunities. Sirius stated that its testing has shown excellent results. Sirius also expects to have a complete service launch by the third quarter of 2002.

Sirius' launch markets feature large commuter bases, early adopters of technology, favorable attitudes towards mobile electronic products and strong retail environments. The three markets encompass approximately 10.5 million people, including more than 1.4 million commuters who spend at least an hour a day driving to work. Consumers will be able to purchase Sirius receivers in more than 200 storefronts, including major consumer electronics outlets like Circuit City, Best Buy, Good Guys, Ultimate Electronics, Car Toys, Audio Express and Crutchfield. Advertising, retail marketing, public relations, event marketing and online and direct marketing will support the launch plans.

Kenwood, Panasonic, Jensen and Clarion will have production units available before the service launch. The company expects to announce the next phase of its rollout in early January at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.

At the end of October Sirius expanded its in-vehicle testing. This testing was designed to complete the evaluation of all aspects of the company's product and transmission, distribution and system capabilities, including retail sales support, installation, subscriber management and billing, customer service, and communications.

During drive testing, Sirius was able to compile critical objective and subjective data from drive routes across the country. User feedback on the quality of the service was measured by factors including sound quality, installation, reception, customer service and programming.

Sirius commented that the overall test results met or exceeded the company's demanding performance criteria. Sirius was particularly pleased with the input from a consumer standpoint that showed a strong consumer interest in the commercial-free music, news and entertainment line-up.

Sirius also announced that it has expanded its music lineup to include 60 channels of commercial-free music, all originally produced at the company's national broadcast studio. Sirius' channel mix also includes 40 channels of sports, news and entertainment programming, including services such as CNBC, CNN Headline News, Fox News, ESPNews, Discovery and A&E.

Concerning the resignation of David Margolese as CEO, company officials noted that the search for a CEO is progressing well.

Transamerica Audio to DistributeMassenburg and Sequerra

Las Vegas - Nov 13, 2001 - George Massenburg Labs (GML) has joined forces with Transamerica Audio Group (TAG) for product distribution in the United States. TAG has also picked up high-end manufacturer Sequerra Audio Labs.

GML was founded by current CEO George Massenburg. Massenburg has engineered and/or produced more than 250 albums for such luminaries as Earth, Wind & Fire, Little Feat, Linda Ronstadt and Randy Newman, garnering numerous Grammys. He has designed, built, and managed ITI Studios in Huntsville, MD, and The Complex in Los Angeles. Massenburg is an adjunct professor of music technology at McGill University in Montr�al and visiting lecturer at UCLA and USC in Los Angeles and MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN. Massenburg chartered GML in 1982 to produce the audio equipment he used in the above activities.

Sequerra, co-founded by Dick Sequerra and Mark Conese, is focused on two products: The 1070.A microphone pre-amplifier and the RM-1 ribbon microphone. Sequerra brings engineering experience to the enterprise, having contributed inventions and patents to all facets of the high-end consumer and pro audio industries over the past fifty years. Conese brings real-world recording expertise to the venture as Ambient Records' owner, engineer, and resident audiophile.

5,000th Redbox Sale Goes toRadio Medica

Gary Booth (left) and Julian Watson of Radio Medica hold the 5,000th Redbox sold.

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East Yorkshire, England - Nov 6, 2001 - In the three years since the launch of the Redbox range of analog and digital interfaces, Sonifex has sold its 5,000th Redbox. It was delivered to Julian Watson of Radio Medica in October 2001. The Redbox RB-SM2 dual stereo to mono converter was ordered as part of Radio Medica�s on-going studio refurbishments.

Radio Medica is the Hospital Radio service for the Goole and District Hospital in East Yorkshire. There are about 20 volunteers running Radio Medica with a core of five people handling the main day to day running of the station.

Currently, there is a hard-wired audio system throughout the hospital, and the station output is accessible on the TV system, which is distributed around most areas of the hospital, including the waiting rooms. Next year, it is hoped that an AM license will be awarded so that coverage of the whole hospital can be made more easily. Once a license is awarded, an extra �10,000 will need to be raised to get the transmitter up and running. Radio Medica broadcasts 24 hours a day using a combination of live broadcasting (about 20 to 30 hours per week) and the Myriad automation system.

Radio Medica was originally founded in 1974 at a different site, opened by Sir Jimmy Saville. The current hospital radio studios were planned into the building of the new hospital when work began on it in 1987. There are two studios providing a master mono output, an edit/production studio that also houses the record archives, and a main on-air studio.

There were two reasons for buying the Sonifex RB-SM2 stereo to mono converter. Firstly, the IRN news feed and the automation output needed to be mixed together. The RB-SM2 is used as a dual mono mixer to get a master mono output. The second reason for the purchase was to allow for future expansion.

XM Launches Nationwide

Chicago - Nov 12, 2001 - At a news conference in Chicago, XM president and CEO Hugh Panero announced that XM Satellite Radio has expanded its launch of the first U.S. digital satellite radio service nationwide, bringing 100 channels of music, news, sports and entertainment across the entire continental United States.

XM is marking the final phase of its national launch, across the entire Northern U.S., with a "Power of X" listen-and-ride tour, rolling city-by-city events beginning in Chicago and scheduled over the next 25 days in 25 major cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco and Washington, DC, and culminating with coast-to-coast events December 5 in New York and Seattle. XM initiated its nationwide launch Septempber 25 in its lead markets of San Diego and Dallas/Fort Worth and expanded in mid-October across the entire Southern U.S.

XM offers 13 channels of news and information covering the latest national, world, business, financial and technology developments from premier partners and its own programming staff. These channels extend the reach of America's most trusted and popular hosts and commentary from TV and radio to motorists everywhere across the United States, ensuring they are never out of touch with the latest news.

XM radios, already available across the Southern U.S., have now arrived at major electronics retailers in the North, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Tweeter, participating RadioShack Dealers and Franchisees, Crutchfield, Good Guys, CarToys, Audio Express and Sound Advice; and at independent retailers.

Such manufacturers as Sony, Alpine and Pioneer will offer a broad array of XM radios including models that will easily enable any existing car stereo system to receive XM service (the Pioneer Universal Receiver and the Sony Plug-and-Play) and more than 20 models of new AM/FM/XM systems offering many other great features. General Motors this month rolled out factory-installed Delphi-Delco XM radios in Cadillac DeVille and Seville models, and will expand to more than 20 GM models next year.


Martinsound AddsOsborne

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Alhambra, CA - Nov 19, 2001 - Martinsound has appointed Doug Osborne as director of sales and marketing. The announcement was made by Joe Martinson, president of Martinsound.

Osborne, formerly of M&K Professional and BGW Systems, will be responsibile for leading all sales and marketing efforts for Martinsound, including the company's Martech, MAX and Flying Faders products.

Martinsound, founded in 1975, is a professional audio company that operates a recording studio, and developed the Flying Faders console automation system, and markets the Martech MSS-10 Microphone Preamplifier and the line of MAX surround sound products.

Sabre Appoints Three Managers

Sioux City, IA - Nov 5, 2001 - Sabre Communications announced the addition of Jerry Chalup as national components sales manager for its Sabre site solutions division. Dan Verbeski has been appointed shipping manager, and Grant Gieselman has been named purchasing manager.

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Chalup is responsible for components and wireless sales activities for Sabre site solutions. Chalup has more than sixteen years of sales experience in electronics and other related fields. A native of Sioux City, IA, Chalup received his degree in electronic engineering from Western Iowa Tech Community College.

Verbeski has been with Sabre since June of 1999. His new responsibilities will include storage and shipment of all types of towers manufactured by Sabre and managing all functions related to the shipping department. He will also be responsible for inventory management of shipments. Verbeski is retired from the United States Air Force, where he served as chief, intelligence information management branch, for the 81st fighter wing in Bentwaters, England.

Gieselman has eighteen years of experience in the field of purchasing for manufacturers. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the purchasing department. Gieselman has a lifetime purchasing certification, CPM and an APICS certification CPIM.

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