Radio Currents Online - Dec 1 - Dec 7, 2008
Dec 1, 2008 8:00 AM
CEA Revises Holiday Forecast
Arlington, VA - Dec 4, 2008 - The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) revised its projected industry growth for the fourth quarter of 2008 as new data shows the economy and consumer sentiment remain muted, and CEA surveys show overall spending is down this holiday season. Newly available data, including final October shipment and revenue data and a new survey of Black Friday shoppers, leads the CEA to project fourth quarter wholesale shipment revenues to increase by 0.1 percent over the same period in 2007. The original forecast, issued in October, anticipated 3.5 percent fourth quarter growth over 2007.
CEA's earlier forecast was based on shipment data, consumer surveys and economic analysis available in early October. Flat-panel TV shipment revenues in September 2008, for example, were up 32 percent on unit volume and up eight percent on revenue over 2007. In October 2008, unit shipment growth of flat-panels remained high at 22 percent but shipment revenues fell to negative three percent, affecting the fourth quarter forecast. The revised holiday forecast also reflects new data indicating that holiday shoppers are opting for smaller, less expensive TVs and other CE products purchased at discount retailers.
Mobile phones and computers are also feeling the impact of the economy. Mobile phones will see five percent growth in the fourth quarter compared to last year, a projection revised downward from CEA's 11 percent growth forecast issued in October. Consumers are holding off on upgrading their handsets while steeper than expected price declines are cutting into revenues. Greater than expected discounts on laptops and an increased interest in lower-priced netbooks are impacting the computer category, which is now projected to post a year-over-year revenue decline of two percent, down slightly from CEA's earlier estimate of negative one percent growth.
Consumers are taking advantage of lower prices available from a variety of retail outlets. CEA's Black Friday survey showed that roughly a third of adult consumers shopped between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consumer electronics (CE) remained a popular choice for a majority of shoppers. Fifty-four percent of consumers that shopped over the Black Friday weekend purchased a CE device during that period, making it the second most frequent purchase product behind clothing.
Dave Scott Companies add Regional Managers
Dallas - Dec 1, 2008 - Scott Kerr, Kelli Pate and Steve Knoll have joined RadioTraffic.com, RadioTextMessages.com and RadioWeather.com. The three companies are part of the Dave Scott Companies.
Scott Kerr has been with American Media Services Interactive, an ad sales rep with Citadel and Clear Channel stations, and former national programming consultant for Drake-Chenault. He is located in Charleston, SC.
Kelli Pate was formerly an account executive and radio analyst with KMA Direct Communications of Dallas, a direct response fundraising and marketing agency for faith-based and nonprofit organizations. She also handled affiliate relations and sales for the Branson Radio Network. She is based in Springfield, MO.
Steve Knoll was formerly an affiliate relations manager for TM Studios, TM Jones and Thompson Creative Productions, all of Dallas, as well as a program director, air personality and webmaster for Dallas radio stations including KEGL, KSCS, KVIL, KTXQ and KBFB. He is located in Dallas.
My Simbook Names Lambert as EVP and COO
McKinney, TX - Dec 1, 2008 - My Simbook, the developer of Iphone app Radiolicious, has appointed T.J. Lambert as the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer. Lambert, most recently the SVP affiliate relations at ABC Radio Networks, will direct the software development, customer service, sales and marketing teams for Radiolicious.
Lambert's career in media began with on-air duties in radio and television and includes sales and general management experience at the station and network levels. He served as SVP and general manager for Drake-Chenault Radio Consultants and helped direct that company's merger with Jones Satellite Network (now Jones Radio Network). He joined ABC Radio Networks in 1993.
Sweeney Joins Stream The World as SVP
Montreal, Canada - Dec 4, 2008 - Stream The World has appointed Neil Sweeney to be the company's senior vice president. Sweeney most recently worked as the director of business development and strategy at Canwest, where he was responsible for developing strategic plans for mobile, online and digital signage.
His prior experience spans radio, via Standard Radio, and television, where he was on the sales side of the business at CTV. He has received academic and industry recognition, including a gold medal at the 2007 Media Innovation awards for his integration of mobile technology into the Grammy Awards show. He holds a bachelor's degree from Carleton University in Ottawa and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Cox Consolidates Divisions as Cox Media Group
Atlanta - Dec 3, 2008 - Cox Enterprises is bringing its three media units -- Cox Newspapers, Cox Television and Cox Radio -- under a new organization named Cox Media Group, effective January 2009. The subsidiary will be headquartered in Atlanta, and Cox veteran Sandy Schwartz will serve as president.
The businesses comprising Cox Media Group will include 17 daily and 26 non-daily newspaper publications, 15 television broadcast stations, 86 radio stations, more than 100 digital services associated with these businesses and Valpak. Cox's planned sale of Valpak and newspaper assets in Texas, North Carolina and Colorado continues during this reorganization.
Following the formation of Cox Media Group, Cox Radio will continue to trade publicly on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CXR.
NAB Show Adds to Convention Management Team
Washington, DC - Dec 4, 2008 - Christina Vergara has joined the NAB Conventions and Business Operations department as director of convention education. Vergara will work with the NAB's educational partners on the execution of all conference programming related to the NAB Show. She joins the NAB from the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) where she worked for 15 years.
At NATPE, Vergara worked with the organization's president on annual conference programs and oversaw speaker management for more than 50 educational panels and sessions. Additionally, Vergara cofounded, programmed and produced the annual LATV Fest. She also managed membership activities, including recruiting, retention and member service development, and assisted with the coordination of the Educational Foundation's activities and programs.
In addition, Bob Sitrick, formerly senior vice president of live events and special production services at Discovery U.S. Networks, has joined the NAB Show team as executive producer for the NAB Show Content Theater. The Content Theater showcases cinema, television, online and mobile filmed entertainment and examines how it was created using new tools and technologies found on the show floor.
Sitrick has more than 30 years of experience in live television production and operations. Sitrick spent 11 years at Discovery U.S. Networks, managing more than 50 live television shows and 150 live events. In July, Sitrick left Discovery to form Bob Sitrick Productions, a consulting company managing live productions, remote and expedition productions and live events.
Youth-oriented station I105-107, licensed to Wilton Radio, signed on Nov. 24 from new studios in Athlone in County Roscommon, serving eight counties in the Northeast and Midlands of Ireland. The facility is the first Axia installation in Ireland. The installation consists two on-air studios and a production studio.
Westwood One has added 55 Telos Zephyr Xstream ISDN codecs to 76 already in service, giving the program provider a total of 131 Zephyr Xtreams feeding syndicated satellite programming, Metro Traffic affiliates and other content distribution services.
Katz Radio Group, part of Katz Media Group, will represent Lincoln Financial Media, which owns or operates 15 radio stations in four major markets. Katz Radio Group will represent Lincoln stations in Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego. The agreement calls for Katz Radio Group to begin selling advertising time on Lincoln stations on Dec. 1.
SIS Live, a British company that provided broadcasting services for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Limassol, Cyprus, and the host broadcaster CyBC, chose Mayah''s Sporty reporter codec as the main commentary tool during the production. Twelve commentary positions were set up in Limassol for those national broadcasters that sent their commentators and presenters to Cyprus. For transmissions there was traditional ISDN interface used mostly with just as traditional G.722 algorithm.
True RTA Releases Software Update
Andersonville TN - Nov 25, 2008 - True Audio has released version 3.4 of its real-time analyzer software, True RTA. Version 3.4 is a free upgrade for version 3 users and is available for download at trueaudio.com. The .1 release improves spanning the oscilloscope, an RTA and signal generator. Data infrastructure improvements allow faster operation and reduce the size of project files.
A trigger level control and selection for automatic triggering were added at the Oscilloscope Tool Bar. Scope triggering is now much more like a bench-top scope. Scope trace printing was changed so that traces are not printed outside the scope area. Also, the oscilloscope display can now be scrolled horizontally using alt+right and alt+left.
The Peak Hold bar display mode was revised to also show the live data within the peak. The internal data structure was widely revised and simplified with the result that the analyzer now runs more efficiently with significantly reduced CPU usage.
Lectrosonics Updates Service Policy for 700 MHz Products
Rio Rancho, NM - Dec 5, 2008 - Lectrosonics has instituted a new service policy to aid customers with products in the 700MHz band. The FCC recently ruled that Part 74 users (auxiliary broadcast devices, including wireless microphones) must vacate this frequency band between 698-806MHz, affecting blocks 27, 28, and 29.
The plan offered by Lectrosonics allows owners of current generation products in these blocks, including SM Series, UM400-type, UH400-type, UT, LM-type, IM and MM400-type transmitters, and UCR411-type, UCR401, Venue-type, SR-type, UCR100 and R400-type receivers to have the frequency block changed to a lower range for a nominal fee. The cost for this modification varies by model depending upon the cost of the radio-frequency board replacement. For older generation products in blocks 27, 28 and 29, including the UCR211, UCR201, UM200, and UM100, if purchased new from an authorized dealer within the last five years, Lectrosonics is offering a reduced cost for replacement with new products in lower frequency blocks.
The Lectrosonics website has more information: www.lectrosonics.com/PressReleases/whitespace/whitespace.htm.
Eye on IBOC
IAAIS Develops Accessibility Standards for HD Radios
Dec 1, 2008 - The International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) has announced standards for HD Radio receivers for people who are visually and physically handicapped. The group says these universal design standards are the first of their kind for radios and other electronic devices.
The IAAIS notes that radios and other electronic devices have deployed increasingly advanced features that prevented senior citizens and people who are visually or physically from using them. Because the HD Radio systems are new, there are relatively few HD Radio receivers in homes. The IAAIS wishes to generate early adoption of the standards by many manufacturers so that many different units will be accessible and simple to use for all radio users.
Once units are available, the IAAIS will promote the purchase and use of accessible HD Radio receivers to provide reading services for blind or otherwise print-disabled persons. Manufacturers of radio or other consumer electronic devices must utilize the standards to create products for people who are visually and physically handicapped can buy and use independently. The IAAIS will not recommend or endorse any product that fails to meet the newly published standards.
The IAAIS breaks down radio functions and design into required, desirable, and unacceptable in the categories of controls, displays and feedback, documentation, other considerations, operation/ functions, and infrared remotes. The standards call for speech feedback, tactile controls, and larger buttons and at least 18-point print fonts, among other requirements. Specifically unacceptable functions include touch screens, soft keys and hard-to-find recessed buttons. The details of the standard are available at the IAAIS website at www.iaais.org.
Ilounge Poll Puts HD Radio on Top for Iphone Features
Dec 1, 2008 - Ilounge conducted an online poll of its readers and asked: "Which of the following next-gen add-on features most interests you?" The poll response options were: add HD Radio, Ipod remote + mic, a joypad/controller, a plug-in keyboard, a larger screen, some other feature, or satisfied as-is. 2,000 votes were cast in the poll.
HD Radio received 28 percent of the vote, followed by a want of larger screens at 22 percent. The next four responses were tightly contested with only four percentage points separating the options. 14 percent said they were interested in Ipod remote + mic add-ons, 11 percent expressed interest in some other feature, and an equal amount said they were satisfied as-is. 10 percent said they were interested in a plug-in keyboard. Only 5 percent of respondents said they were interested in a joypad or controller add-on.
These results are in check with the idea of adding a radio receiver to more portable devices. Making it an HD Radio receiver provides an added boost for the technology. In addition, users of new consumer technology are probably more likely to accept the multicast and data capabilities of HD Radio, which will further propel the transmission system.
HD Digital Radio Alliance Launches Holiday Marketing Plan
Orlando - Dec 2, 2008 - The HD Digital Radio Alliance has planned its marketing campaign for the 2008 holiday season. For the first time the plan will include a newspaper insert and promotional giveaways. The campaign will focus on the benefits of HD Radio. On Dec. 5, the Alliance will place an insert into USA Today.
The Alliance says that the online ad campaign has already produced 3.2 million impressions on the gift-giving page on HDRadio.com in the first two weeks. The Alliance's marketing efforts originally focused on radio ads. The Alliance values this on-air time as being worth more than $57 million, although it was unsold inventory in most cases. And since no money changed hands for the air time the real value is an abstract concept.
The Alliance repeated it goal of turning the increased awareness of HD Radio into a purchase intent.
HD Digital Radio Alliance Sponsors Local-market Multicast Ad Contest
Orlando - Dec 1, 2008 - HD Digital Radio Alliance member stations submitted were encouraged to submit a 30-second radio commercial promoting their multicast stations to the Alliance. These ads were judged and voted on based on their ability to excite listeners about the multicast content, along with their effectiveness in prompting a call to action to buy an HD Radio receiver. Ten winners were selected and given $1,000 each, which was shared among the writers and producers of the spots.
The contest winners: Jim Blommel
Santa -- What's a Polk?
Santa Doesn't Exist
Lou Dallman (2)
Farmington Hills, MI
Flashback Dad Singing and
Awesome Kid Kevin Kline
New York, NY
Entire Market Spot
New Orleans, LA