Radio Currents Online - Dec 4 - Dec 10, 2006

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Radio Currents Online - Dec 4 - Dec 10, 2006

Dec 4, 2006 11:30 AM


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FCC Sets Agenda Media Ownership Hearing in Nashville
Washington, DC - Dec 1, 2006 - The Federal Communications Commission has set the date and location for the hearing regarding media ownership: Dec. 11, 2006, at 1 p.m. at Belmont University. The meeting will be held in the Massey Performing Arts Center in Massey Concert Hall, 1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN.

The purpose of the hearing is to fully involve the public in the process of the 2006 quadrennial broadcast media ownership review that the Commission is currently conducting. The hearing is open to the public, and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. This hearing is the second in a series of media ownership hearings the Commission intends to hold across the country.

There will be two panels, each followed by a period for public comment. The first panel will examine issues affecting the music recording industry. The second panel will provide an overview of the Nashville market and issues affecting broadcasters and independent programmers.

Further details including names of the panelists will be released prior to the hearing.

SBE's Ennes NAB2007 Theme is Everything Audio
Indianapolis - Dec 1, 2006 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) will again be the organizing partner with the NAB for the upcoming Broadcast Engineering Conference (BEC) at NAB2007, to be held April 14 to April 19 in Las Vegas. The traditional Ennes Workshop will kick off the BEC with a special all-day program titled Everything Audio.

Fred Baumgartner, CPBE CBNT, is organizing the workshop with assistance from Lew Zager of PBS. Many of the attendees of the PBS Engineering Conference will join the Ennes Workshop again this year. Also joining for the first time will be participants in the annual NPR Engineering Conference.

The Ennes Workshop will be held Saturday, April 14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It will begin at 8 a.m. with a special one-hour, back-to-the-basics refresher tutorial followed by audio technology presentations that will be of interest to those in radio and TV.

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HD Digital Radio Ad Campaign Continues
Orlando, FL - Dec 4, 2006 - The HD Digital Radio Alliance, a consortium of U.S. radio companies that came together one year ago to accelerate the rollout of HD Radio, has announced a renewed plan to promote the technology. The Alliance's marketing plan includes a commitment for the participants to devote $250 million in advertising. This is an increase of $50 million from the announcement made last year.

The press release from the Alliance states that "next year's marketing campaigns will continue to support the success of a rapidly growing list of retail, receiver and automotive partners in the HD Radio marketplace."

Alliance member companies will continue to promote HD Radio and its FM multicast channels with manufacturing, retail and automotive receiver manufacturers. Currently, more than 1,000 U.S. radio stations transmit an HD Radio signal to reach 81 percent of the population. More than 500 of those FM stations are providing multicast services.

The HD Digital Radio Alliance members include ABC Radio in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, Beasley Broadcast Group, Bonneville International, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio, Cumulus, Emmis Communications, Entercom, Greater Media and independent owner Jerry Lee.

Observation from Radio magazine: While the news from the Alliance is packed with glowing praise of the efforts of it members, the advertising campaign and its whopping dollar figure is still a marketing push that does not extend beyond terrestrial radio. The money allocated to the campaign is in the form of stations over-the-air inventory. No money is changing hands, and no promotion is being made on other forms of media.

Compare the HD Radio marketing push to satellite radio, satellite TV and media players, which have all used TV, print, movie theaters and online as part of their marketing efforts. These other emerging digital technologies have actually invested money into reaching a new audience.

FCC Tweaks FM Allotment and City of License Rules
Washington - Nov 29, 2006 - In a Report and Order, the FCC has made some changes to its procedures for allotting and assigning channels, classes and communities of license for AM and FM broadcast stations.

Changes of community of license for commercial full-power AM standard-band and commercial and noncommercial educational (NCE) FM broadcast stations are now considered a minor modification. , These changes will be made on a first-come first-served minor modification application, subject to certain procedural requirements.

The FCC also changed the FM Table of Allotments, Section 73.202, so that only vacant allotments will be listed. Authorized, full-power, non-reserved band FM facilities already occupying allotments shall be listed only in the Media Bureau's Consolidated Data Base System (CDBS). As it does now, the CDBS will reflect the authorizations granted to those broadcasters operating on the listed channels and communities, and which are entitled to protection under our current rules.

Read the Report and Order at this link.
MB Docket No. 05-210

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ABC Reduces Transponder Power on AMC-8
Nov 29, 2006 - ABC Radio sent a letter to its affiliates stating that the transponder the company uses, transponder 23 on AMC-8, to deliver programming to ABC Starguide receivers will operate at a reduced power at various times until Jan. 3, 2007. After Jan.3, 2007, the power reduction will be permanent.

The power reduction may affect station's reception of signals from the satellite. According to the ABC memo, "These power reductions are necessary in order to configure ABC's satellite signal in preparation for a multiphase replacement of the Starguide system."

The memo adds, "If your satellite antenna and receiver are properly configured and maintained this Starguide Carrier power reduction should have no impact on your station. However, if your current Starguide III Eb/No readings are 13dB or less, you need to start now to make the repairs necessary to restore your downlink's performance.

The change in power is not related to the solar panel power problems that AMC-8 experienced in May 2006. The solar panel problem has stabilized for now. The ABC power reduction is part of ABC's effort to begin rollout of a new delivery system to replace the Starguide system. That rollout will likely take more than a year to complete.

To ensure reliable reception during the transition, ABC recommends that stations:

  • Adjust azimuth, elevation and polarization on the satellite antenna with a spectrum analyzer.
  • Access up-to-date center-of-the box information for optimum antenna alignment at
  • Observe dish for physical obstructions (trees, shrubs, buildings).
  • Check feed horn for any foreign objects (wasp/bee/hornet nest).
  • Check LNB and cabling for any poor connections, corrosion or water seepage.
  • If still using LNA/block downconverter, replace with a PLL LNB.
  • ABC recommends a 3.8 meter solid satellite antenna as a requirement for reliable reception.

Questions and technical assistance are available from ABC Radio Networks at 212-456-5000.

HD Radio Multicasts Must Carry EAS on Dec. 31
By Chriss Scherer, editor
Washington - Dec 5, 2006 - With the coming of the new year comes an EAS requirement of which many FM stations may not be aware. In FCC EB Docket 04-296, the FCC ruled that emergency messaging capabilities must be added to the newer digital transmission technologies such as HDTV, HD Radio and satellite radio.

For radio stations transmitting a digital signal, compliance with this rule is already in place on the main channel because the FCC rules require the analog and digital main channels to carry the same programming. However, stations transmitting a multicast program (HD2, HD3, etc.) may not have an in-place method of transmitting EAS messages.

The FCC ruling was passed in November 2005 (access on the FCC Edocs filing system by searching for FCC 05-191). The details of the rules for terrestrial radio are in section III D.

The rules require stations to carry national EAS messages on all digital channels. Participation in state and local EAS activations will be voluntary, as it currently is for analog radio broadcasts. The rulemaking states that if a digital broadcaster chooses to participate in state and local EAS activations, he must comply with the Commission's Part 11 EAS rules. In reviewing the potential burden of carrying EAS messages on multicast streams, the FCC concluded that the costs of complying with the EAS requirements are outweighed by the public safety benefits of ensuring that all listeners receive EAS messages.

In the rulemaking, the FCC noted that broadcasters had more than one year to comply with the new rule, so it's unlikely that the FCC will be lenient in any citations of noncompliance.

There are four options for stations with multicast streams to take to ensure compliance:
1. Create the necessary switching to use a single EAS encoder for all the program streams.
2. Purchase additional EAS encoders for each multicast stream.
3. Cease transmitting a multicast signal until compliance is possible.
4. Prepare to pay the possible FCC fines.


RBDG Designs Broadcast Facility at UNLV
Las Vegas - Dec 4, 2006 - Russ Berger Design Group (RBDG) has completed the design of television and radio studios at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) as part of a new building for the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. The facility will incorporate the latest in broadcast technologies and the latest in sustainable design technologies.

The building, slated to be completed in the summer of 2008, comprises more than 120,000 square feet and will house the seven departments that make up the college. RBDG helped create the 28,000 square foot space that will be the new home for UNLV-TV and KUNV radio, which serve the Las Vegas community and are also used for student instruction. The new facility will include two television studios, video and audio control rooms, radio control rooms, performance and interview studios, post production suites, edit booths, radio and TV newsrooms, and a variety of equipment rooms, media libraries, and related support spaces.

Google in Beta Test for Audio Ads
Dallas - Dec 7, 2006 - Google has been integrating the Dmarc advertising system into Google Adwords, and the Internet company has begun a U.S. beta test of Google Audio Ads with a small group of Adwords advertisers. Google Audio Ads brings an online ordering system to its advertisers to create radio campaigns.

Google has been coordinating with satellite and terrestrial radio stations to provide a range of stations for advertisers to use.

Google has not yet set a final launch date for Google Audio Ads.

SBE Names Focal Press Official Publisher
Indianapolis - Nov 30, 2006 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has tapped Focal Press, a division of Elsevier Publishing, to be the official publisher of the society. Focal Press specializes in technical and scientific publications directed to many fields including broadcasting and media.

The agreement means that the SBE and Focal Press will co-brand as many as three books each year. The SBE will bring relevant topics and arrange many of the authors. Focal Press will contribute its editorial, marketing and production services.

The first SBE/Focal Press publication is expected by late 2007 or early 2008.

Sales Call Eco-M�dia, a leading Moroccan media group, is launching a new Casablanca-based radio station built on Netia's complete Radio-Assist 7.5 software range. Prism Sound has sold Dscope III audio test and measurement systems to Topfield to test set-top boxes and personal video recorders, Blaupunkt for quality control of RDS car radios, and German audio console and router manufacturer Lawo to test audio cards.


Empire State Building Names Maguire as Broadcast Manager
New York - Dec 4, 2006 - The Empire State Building (ESB) has appointed Joseph J. Maguire to be the faciliy's broadcast manager. Maguire was formerly chief engineer of WLTW-FM at Clear Channel Communications.

In this capacity, Maguire will direct all business, management, operations and tenant relation functions of the ESB broadcasting and external telecommunications business. As a member of the ESB management team, he will provide vital input to strategic planning, budgeting and decision-making.

Maguire will report to James Connors, Empire State Building general manager, on business matters, and Hani Salama, director of operations, for all operations and tenant relations areas.

Chief engineer of WLTW-FM since 2002, Maguire was previously a senior engineer from 1998 through 2002 at WKTU-FM. Before that, he was the operations manager of WGHT-AM.

From 1991 to 1992, he was a senior associate at Northeastern Communications Concepts. From 1985 to 1991 he was vice president, engineering at Unistar/United Stations Radio Networks. From 1979 to 1985 he was vice president, engineering at RKO Radio Networks. He began his career as an engineering supervisor at WOR-AM.

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Symetrix Adds Tantzen
Mountlake Terrace, WA - Dec 4, 2006 - Symetrix has appointed Ray Tantzen to the newly-created position of product and training specialist/field engineer. Tantzen will spend most of his time traveling to help existing and potential customers understand the applications for Symetrix technology and to identify solutions for their needs. While he will work with all of the Symetrix brands, his focus will be on the Symnet line of network audio systems.

Tantzen spent four years as a product specialist at Loud Technologies, Woodinville, WA, where he grew the Tapco brand. His freelance audio engineering activities include studio recording, editing and mixing; location recording and mixing; audio for video; live sound and broadcast mixing. In addition, he developed and taught classes at Seattle's 911 Media Arts.

SBE Announces Ennes Scholarship Winners
Indianapolis - Dec 1, 2006 - The Ennes Educational Foundation Trust, an education-oriented arm of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, has awarded three educational scholarships for 2006. The Harold E. Ennes Scholarship has been awarded to Kate Carney Landow.

Landow's career in broadcasting started in high school with video and film production classes at the Fred N. Thomas Career Education Center (CEC) in Denver. She continued on to the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned a B.F.A. in film.

After graduating, she began her career at the National Digital Television Center (now operated by Comcast), which introduced her to a team of engineers that encouraged her to pursue engineering as a formal career path. Since passing her CBT and earning the CBNT certification, she has also continued her education at the graduate level. The Ennes scholarship will help her complete her final semester of graduate school, earning a Masters degree in interdisciplinary telecommunications from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her objective is to build the foundation for a video lab that will ultimately serve future students interested in testing IPTV signals and video compression.

The Robert D. Greenberg Scholarship has been awarded to Daniel Nevels. He is a member of SBE Chapter 39 and has been appointed the chapter's webmaster. Nevels is a Certified Audio Engineer (CAE), an amateur radio operator Extra Class (WD5ETR) and also holds an FCC commercial radio license with ship radar endorsement.

He works part-time and attends the University of Tampa full-time. He is majoring in music with a minor in electronic music and recording. He has been accepted in the Honors Society at UT and made the National Deans List in 2004-2005 and in 2005-2006. Nevels has been nominated to the International Scholar Laureate Program, Delegation on Music. At the 33rd Honors Convocation in April 2006 he was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Exemplary Academic Performance in Music. His goal is to pursue a career in broadcasting, writing soundtrack and music for commercial radio, TV and motion picture.

The Youth Scholarship recipient is Noah Van Zandt. Van Zandt currently is a freshman at Cedarville University in Ohio where he is majoring in electrical engineering. He previously attended Temple Christian School and was valedictorian of his class. He hopes to pursue a career in broadcast engineering for FM radio, as a station engineer or as a consulting engineer.

Eye on IBOC

Broadcast Electronics Demos HD Radio at ITU Telecom World 2006
Hong Kong - Dec 8, 2006 - Broadcast Electronics (BE) and Metro Radio in cooperation with Ibiquity Digital conducted the first HD Radio demonstration at the ITU Telecom World 2006 conference this week. The demonstrations took place in Hong Kong, which is at the center of radio receiver manufacturing.

Metro Radio, one of the largest commercial broadcasters in Hong Kong, demonstrated HD Radio technology as a digital broadcast standard compatible with analog transmission on the host frequency as well as adjacent channels. For the demonstration, BE supplied a BE FMI 106 transmission system, which broadcast the HD Radio signal at low power on 100.1 MHz.

Broadcast Electronics has also installed HD Radio systems in Europe, Asia and Latin America.