Radio Currents Online - Dec 09 - Dec 31, 2002

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Radio Currents Online - Dec 09 - Dec 31, 2002

Dec 1, 2002 12:00 PM

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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| Business | People |Internet Watch | Products


NAB Survey Reveals StrongConsumer Support for Local Radio

Washington, D.C. - Dec 30, 2002 - More than three-quarters ofAmericans believe radio stations regularly provide important news andinformation relevant to local communities, according to a nationwidepoll commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters andperformed by the Washington polling firm The Mellman Group. The pollfound that 78 percent of Americans believe local radio stations providea "very important" or "somewhat important" role in providing valuablenews and information. Only three percent of respondents said localradio stations are "not at all important" in providing relevantcommunity news and information.

The Mellman Group national telephone poll of 1,000 consumers wasconducted between Dec. 17 and 19, 2002, and has a margin of error of3.1 percent.

By a 5-1 margin (65 percent to 13 percent), consumers expressedsatisfaction with the overall programming provided by local radiostations. The survey also found that 77 percent of consumers believetheir favorite local radio stations provide the music that they likeeither all of the time, most of the time or some of the time. Only 13percent of radio listeners believe that local stations rarely or nevercarry music that they like.

Only 17% of Americans say that local radio stations are providing lessvariety than they were five years ago. Twenty-nine percent (29%) saythat these stations are providing more variety, and 21% say that theyare providing the same amount of variety.

FCC Hears Importance Of AuxiliarySpectrum From SBE

Indianapolis - Dec 19, 2002 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers(SBE) presented the Broadcast News and Sports Tutorial to morethan 100 staff of the FCC on the Dec. 17. The purpose of the five-hourprogram was to inform attendees about broadcasters� use ofauxiliary spectrum regulated under 47 CFR Part 74.

Ken Aagaard, VP of sports operations,engineering and production services, CBS Networks (far right) is joinedby CBS Sports Director of Engineer Larry Barbatsoulis and Louis Libinof Broad-Comm to discuss use of auxiliary spectrum in PGA Golftournament TV coverage.

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The program included presentations by the SBE, CBS Sports, theNational Football League, Broadcast Sports, Media Alert and theSouthern California Frequency Coordination Committee. The importance ofspectrum availability and coordination of its use was described usingreal-life examples of breaking news and sports programming. Video clipsof breaking news coverage of wildfires, marine disasters and severeweather depicted how broadcasters rely on auxiliary spectrum andwireless communications to report news to the public. The wide use ofwireless devices in sporting events was depicted using PGA Golftournaments, auto races and NFL football games as examples. Theimportant role of the SBE regional and event frequency coordinators wasexplained.

Moderating the program was SBE frequency coordination director DavidOtey, CSTE. Presenters, in addition to Otey, included Ken Aagaard andLarry Barbatsoulis of CBS Sports, Ralph Beaver, CBT of Media Alert,Howard Fine, CPBE of the Southern California Frequency CoordinationCommittee, Jay Gerber, CBT and Karl Voss of the National FootballLeague. Also making presentations were SBE general counsel Chris Imlayof Booth, Freret, Imlay & Tepper, P.C., Peter Larsson of BroadcastSports and Louis Libin of Broad-Comm. Bruce Franca, deputy chief of theFCC Office of Engineering and Technology, Benedict and SBE executivedirector John Poray provided opening comments.

Organized in 1964, the Society of Broadcast Engineers is theprofessional organization for broadcast engineers and technicians withmore than 5,400 members in 107 chapters throughout the United Statesand 30 other countries. The SBE Certification Program is recognizedacross the United States as the best indicator of a broadcastengineer�s experience and expertise. SBE also provides eventfrequency coordination services and is an advocate for broadcastengineers on technical issues before the FCC and other governmentagencies and officials.

FCC Investigates Additional Spectrum ForUnlicensed Devices

Washington - Dec 11, 2002 - As part of the ongoing effort to promoteefficient use of spectrum, the FCC has asked for public comment on thepossibility of permitting unlicensed transmitters to operate inadditional frequency bands. Such changes could allow the development ofnew and innovative types of unlicensed devices. This inquiry examinesnew and creative ways to use the spectrum resource more efficiently byconsidering new spectral frontiers for unlicensed use.

In a Notice of Inquiry approved Dec. 11, the Commission stated that thecurrent rules for unlicensed transmitters have been a tremendoussuccess. A wide variety of devices have been developed and introducedunder those rules for consumer and business use, including cordlesstelephones, home security systems, electronic toys, anti-pilfering andinventory control systems, and computer wireless local area networks.The success of those rules shows that there could be significantbenefits to the economy, businesses and consumers in making additionalspectrum available for unlicensed transmitters. Unlicensed transmittersmay be operated under the provisions of Part 15 of theCommission�s rules.

The notice seeks comments on whether unlicensed operations should bepermitted in additional frequency bands. Specifically, it seekscomments on the feasibility of allowing unlicensed devices to operatein the TV broadcast spectrum and locations and times when spectrum isnot being used. It also seeks comment on the feasibility of permittingunlicensed devices to operate in other bands, such as the3650MHz�3700MHz band, at power levels higher than otherunlicensed transmitters with only the minimal technical requirementsnecessary to prevent interference to licensed services.

The Commission noted that there have been significant advances intechnology that may make it feasible to design new types of unlicenseddevices that are able to share spectrum in the TV bands without causinginterference to licensed services operating in those bands. Advances incomputer technology make it possible to design equipment that couldmonitor the spectrum to detect frequencies already in use and ensurethat transmissions only occur on open frequencies. The low cost of GPSequipment could allow a device to determine its location and useinformation from a database to determine whether there are any licensedoperations in its vicinity. Equipment can be designed that is frequencyagile, with the capability of changing frequency as needed to avoidinterference to licensed users.

OET Docket No. 02-380

New England Station Wins ZoningDispute in Court

Lebanon, NH - Dec 12, 2002 - After a long court battle, KoorCommunications won its case in the New Hampshire Supreme Court overzoning restrictions in the town of Lebanon, NH, that precluded thelicensee from constructing towers on a new site for WQTH-AM, a 50kWstation on 720kHz licensed to Hanover, NH.

The dispute centered around a zoning restriction that prohibited towerstaller than 42 from being erected. The Licensee�s constructionpermit specifies towers to be 266 feet tall. The final ruling of thestate�s Supreme Court provides a preemption to the licensee inthe matter that showed the local and federal elements to be inconflict.

The complete court report can be viewed at the New Hampshire SupremeCourt website by following this link:


XM Announces $450 Million FinancingPackage

Washington - Dec 23, 2002 - XM Satellite Radio announced a set ofdefinitive financing agreements totaling $450 million - consisting of$200 million in new funds from strategic and financial investors and$250 million in payment deferrals and related credit facilities fromGeneral Motors. The $200 million in new funding is in the form of 10percent Senior Secured Discount Convertible Notes due in 2009, and asmall concurrent common stock sale. Purchasers of the notes includeAmerican Honda Motor, Hughes Electronics, The Hearst Corporation,Columbia Capital LLC, AEA Investors, Eastbourne Capital Management LLC,BayStar Capital II and other parties. The notes are convertible intocommon stock at a price of $3.18 per share. Proceeds will be used forgeneral corporate purposes.

In the other major element of the financing package, General Motors,which is currently factory-installing XM radios in 25 different 2003vehicle lines, has agreed to defer or finance up to $250 million ofpayments through 2006.

In addition to the financing package, the company will commence anexchange offer on Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2002, for all $325 million of itsoutstanding 14 percent Senior Secured Notes due 2010 in exchange fornew 14 percent Senior Secured Discount Notes due 2009, warrants andcash. The financing package is contingent on at least a 90 percentparticipation threshold of the outstanding Senior Notes participatingin the exchange offer, which can be waived by the company with theconcurrence of the investors in the 10 percent Senior Secured DiscountConvertible Notes and General Motors.

"With this financing package, we believe we have achieved full fundingthrough cash flow breakeven," said Hugh Panero, XM's President and CEO."The financing also removes a major roadblock to our company beingvalued based on its marketplace progress, business plan execution andfuture economic potential," he added.

Based on sales-to-date and projections through year end, XM expects tohave more than 350,000 radios (retail and OEM) sold and ready foractivation by Dec. 31, 2002. The actual year-end activated subscribertotal (sales that have resulted in activations) is expected to bebetween 340,000-350,000. A major reason for the range is the recentincrease in the number of XM radios not activated at the time of retailpurchase (currently, about 24,000 units), which XM attributes to themany XM radios being purchased as holiday gifts.

Full Compass SystemsCelebrates 25 Years

Madison, WI - Dec 16, 2002 - Full Compass Systems was founded in1977 by Jonathan Lipp in a small office next to Full Compass SoundStudios. His mission was to provide a better way to give customerservice.

To celebrate the silver anniversary, the company owners threw an "icefishing party" on Dec. 10. The party started when 114 flannel-clademployees and another 200 invited guests took over Madison�sEssen Haus restaurant for traditional Wisconsin dinner of spaetzle (aGerman noodle), corn on the cob, 'taters, and a fish fry. After dinner,the troupe attended a private performance of the ice fishing classicGuys on Ice performed by the Madison Repertory Theatre.Equipment manufacturers and representatives flew in from all over thecountry to join in the celebration.

Audion Labs adds RAM NorthAmerican Sales Channel

Seattle - Dec 11, 2002 - Audion Laboratories has entered into awholesale channel sales contract with RAM Broadcast Systems. All VoxproPC and Voxpro PC network customers can use RAM Systems American andCanadian resellers to evaluate, trial and purchase Voxpro PC editingand network products.

Almost a dozen new features come with the Voxpro PC 3.1, including theability to manage disk space by team, user and location, exportunlimited files at one time, personalize waveform size and speed, linktwo or more Voxpro PC workstations, and undo or redo unlimitedtimes.

STMicroelectronics Ships One-Millionth XM Chipset

Geneva - Dec 9, 2002 - STMicroelectronics has shipped its onemillionth XM Satellite Radio chipset to XM's radio manufacturers. Thesechipsets integrate the key receiver functions into two custom-designedsystem-on-chip products. ST is the sole supplier of thesechipsets.

The one million XM Radio chipsets have been delivered to equipmentmanufacturers including Pioneer, Alpine, Delphi, Sony, Clarion andAudiovox for vehicle and home receiver products that also include AMand FM radio capability. ST began production shipments of the XMchipset in July 2001.

Avis to Offer XM

Parsippany, NJ, and Washington - Dec 9, 2002 - Avis Rent A CarSystem will offer XM Satellite Radio to its rental customers nationwidebeginning in the first quarter of 2003. Service will be offered at anintroductory cost of $2.99 per day.

Avis is adding as many as 50,000 select General Motors vehicles withfactory-installed XM radios to its fleet. Avis customers may requestthe XM-equipped vehicles in advance, or when they arrive at Avislocations throughout the country.


Change in SBE Board ofDirectors

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Dec 18, 2002 � Indianapolis � During a conference-callboard meeting, the Society of Broadcast Engineers board of directorsratified the appointment of Dave Hultsman, CSRE to the board. Hultsman,domestic channel manager for Continental Electronics, assumes theunexpired term of Donald Driskell, CSTE CBNT of Jackson, MS.

Driskell elected to step down from the board for personal reasons andhas expressed his hope to serve on the board in the future.

Hultsman's term will expire in the Fall of 2003.

Bottorff Joins Dielectric

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Raymond, ME - Dec 18, 2002 - Dielectric Communications has appointedWarren Bottorff as regional sales manager for the western states.Bottorff comes to Dielectric from SpectraSite, where he served asdirector of sales. Previously he was with Harris for 15 years, and hasheld engineering positions at local TV stations.

TC Electronic U.S. Restructures

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Westlake Village, CA - Dec 16, 2002 - To better align the companyfor future growth, TC Electronic Worldwide has named named John Maierto the newly created post of vice president of sales, North America.Also announced as part of this new company structure, long-time TCElectronic U.S. managing director Ed Simeone has been appointed to theBoard of Directors and now holds the title of president.

John Maier is an 18-year veteran of the pro audio industry and mostrecently was the pro audio buyer for Guitar Center Management. Beforethat Maier held several positions at Alesis Studio Electronicsincluding director of marketing communication and national accountsmanager. The prior 14 years were spent as a retailer and an independentrepresentative. Maier will be in charge of all operations of the and will be responsible for sales results in the United Statesand Canada.

Ed Simeone founded TC's U.S. distribution company and is a 30-yearveteran of the audio and music industries. He has toured with groupssuch as Journey, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and Toto to name afew.

PPW Names New Executive Director

McLean, VA - Dec 6, 2002 - The Partnership for Public Warning (PPW)has named Kenneth B. Allen as its first executive director. This actionwas taken at the PPW board meeting held in early December.

From 1997 until 2001, Allen was executive vice president and chiefexecutive officer of the National Newspaper Association, the largestsuch association in the United States, representing more than 3,000community newspapers. Before that, Allen was president and senior vicepresident of the Information Industry Association, a group representingmore than 800 of the world's leading high-tech information companies,including electronic publishers, telecommunication providers, andtechnology companies. He has also been a management consultant andnewspaper publisher. In addition to his management experience, he hasextensive experience working on the infrastructure issues associatedwith the information society. From 1976 until 1985, Allen was a seniorpolicy analyst with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, ExecutiveOffice of the President.

Incorporated last January, PPW ( ) is anot-for-profit partnership set up to promote and enhance effective,integrated dissemination of public warnings & related informationthat will save lives, reduce losses and speed recovery from acts ofterrorism, accidents and natural disasters.

Andrew Names new CEO

Orland Park, IL - Dec 11, 2002 - The Andrew board of directorsintends to name Ralph E. Faison as CEO of Andrew at the company's 55thannual meeting of stockholders to be held on Feb. 11, 2003. Faison willsucceed Dr. Floyd L. English, who will continue as Andrew chairmanuntil February 2004.

English, 68, is widely credited with growing Andrew asa global company. Since joining Andrew in 1980, the year the companywent public, and becoming CEO in 1983, he has continued the pursuit ofinternational expansion. Andrew now has more than 4,000 employees in 28countries around the world to provide global support for the world'smajor wireless operators and OEMs as they expand their services. Duringhis 20 years as Andrew CEO, the company's sales have grown at a 10percent compounded annual rate.

Ralph E.Faison, 44, became COO of Andrew in June 2002 after his company,Celiant, was acquired by Andrew. Before Celiant, Faison was a vicepresident in Lucent Technologies' New Ventures Group, in charge ofcreating businesses from the wireless and multimedia technologies ofBell Laboratories. Before that, Faison successfully launched Lucent'saward-winning brand advertising campaign as VP of advertising and brandmanagement. Prior to Lucent, he held positions in sales, marketing,business unit management, and manufacturing for AT&T, including VPand general manager of AT&T's wireless business unit andmanufacturing VP for its Consumer Products unit in Bangkok,Thailand.

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Internet Watch

Sennheiser Launches RFFinder Online

Old Lyme, CT - Dec 9, 2002 - Digital television (DTV) is gettingcloser. During the transition period from analog to digital, stationswill operate on two channels, adding more congestion to the alreadycrowded airwaves. To help RF specialists through the UHF maze,Sennheiser has launched a new website that offers tools and resourcesfor finding available frequency bandwidth anywhere in the UnitedStates. Available at, the resource is under theQuick Links section and is called RF Frequency Finder.

The site includes recommended tunings for Sennheiser Evolution Wirelessand 3000 and 5000 RF Series systems for situations that require there-tuning of factory presets or where multi-channel requirements exceedthe system's factory presets. An easy-to-follow, three-step guideallows audio engineers to download Sennheiser wireless equipment stockfrequency and available custom grouping guides, cross-referenced to TVchannel orientation, for study during tour pre-production or while onthe road. A 50-state grid provides links to Adobe PDF downloads withcomprehensive listings of the current analog and DTV frequencies in usein the major cities, including bandwidth allocations for future DTVtransmission.

RF engineers may use the guides to select the wireless frequency rangewith the least number of TV signals and choose the Sennheiser wirelessfrequencies applicable to their particular RF system that fall withinthe unused TV channels for their tuning requirements. DTV facilitiesare coming online regularly, and broadcasters may petition the FCC fortheir DTV frequency assignments to be reallocated, so the website alsoincludes a link to the FCC, where DTV spectrum allocation iscontinually updated.


Sennheiser UpgradesEvolution 609

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Old Lyme, CT - Dec 23, 2002 - Sennheiser Electronic Corporation isintroducing one of the first mic upgrades in the Evolution Wired MicSeries, the E 609 Silver. Building on the company's experience with theEvolution 609 and MD 409 dynamic microphones, Sennheiser hasre-engineered the E 609's capsule. The E 609 is recognized for itsside-address design, supercardioid pickup pattern and unique timbrethat has been described as a low-mid growl.

The new features include a modified tonal character to more closelymatch that of the original MD 409 and a cosmetic change to the frontgrill, which is now silver. The frequency response of the E 609 Silveris 40Hz to 18kHz; sensitivity is 1.5mV/Pa; and nominal impedance is 350ohms.

Enco Releases Phonetic SearchSystem

Southfield, MI - Dec 16, 2002 - Enco Systems has released Phonetica,a phonetic-based search system for digital audio, targeted to thebroadcast industry. Phonetica is available as an integrated module inEnco�s DADpro32 Digital Audio Delivery system. The module allowsusers to search through a library of audio files containing spokenmaterial and find specific words or phrases simply by typing them. ThePhonetica product contains underlying technology licensed fromFast-Talk, an Atlanta-based software company.

The product is designed to allow fast searches even in massivelibraries of news actualities, programs or other spoken material. Itoffers the potential to save the user hours or days when searching foraudio material. Enco sees Phonetica as an asset to news, talk andsports radio formats.

Phonetica is currently available from Enco Systems. For pricing,contact Enco sales.