Radio Currents Online - Feb 16 - Feb 22, 2004

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Radio Currents Online - Feb 16 - Feb 22, 2004

Feb 1, 2004 12:00 PM

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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| Business | People |Internet Watch


Morse Code Knows Where It's @

Feb 19, 2004 � International Morse Code, the nearly forgottenshorthand of early electronic communications, is being updated to 1990stechnology. Morse Code was first introduced in 1844 and has seen littlechange since that time. As the electronic age continues to advance,Morse Code users were finding the need to transmit the "@" symbol. InDecember, the International Telecommunications Union voted to add thenew character.

The new sign, which will be known as a commat, consists of thesignals for "A" (dot-dash) and "C" (dash-dot-dash-dot), with no spacebetween them.

The symbol was selected for use in e-mail addresses in 1972 because itwas rarely used but widely available. It's history is not clearlyknown, but some credit it as being an adaptation of the Latin wordad meaning at, to or toward. The symbolencircles the letter a with the letter d. The symbol wasadapted for commerce as a shorthand to mean at the priceof.

Another possible origin is the flourished style of the letter ato mean amphora, a standard-sized terra cotta jar used in the14th century.

In English, it is commonly referred to as the at sign. In otherlanguages, it carries names related to names of animals, tails andears. Some examples appear below.

  • Czech: In the Czech Republic, itis called zavinac, meaning "rollmop," or "pickledherring"
  • French: In France it is calledarobase the name of the symbol. It is also referred to as una commercial, meaning "business a", a enroule, meaning"coiled a", and sometimes escargot, meaning "snail" or petitescargot, meaning "little snail"
  • German: In Germany it is calledAffenschwanz, meaning "monkey's tail" or Klammeraffe,meaning "hanging monkey"
  • Greek: In Greece it is calledpapaki, meaning "little duck"
  • Norwegian - In Norway it is calledeither grisehale, meaning "pig's tail" or krollalfa,meaning "curly alpha."
  • Polish: In Poland it is calledmalpa, meaning "monkey." It is also called kotek, meaning"little cat" and ucho s'wini, meaning "pig's ear"
  • Swedish: The official term inSweden is snabel-a, meaning "trunk-a," or "a with an elephant'strunk"

Webcasting Royalties Setby Copyright Office

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Washington - Feb 18, 2004 - Info from Reuters reports thatthe U.S. Copyright Office has published the long-awaited royalty ratesfor Web music broadcasts, bringing to the year-long process to anend.

Regulations published on Feb. 6 accepted a resolution reached lastApril between online music broadcasters and the Recording IndustryAssociation of America (RIAA). In addition to setting rates for the2003-2004 license period, the Copyright Office also named SoundExchange, formerly an arm of the RIAA that was spun off as a separatenonprofit group in Sept. 2003, as the only designated agent to collectand distribute royalties from webcasters and new online subscriptionservices.

The recording industry and webcasters finally agreed on a proposed0.076 cents per performance or 1.17 cents per aggregate hour tuned infor free, advertising-supported services. Webcasters had opposed otherrates the RIAA suggested, saying they would put them out ofbusiness.

The negotiated rates were submitted to the Copyright Office foradoption on April 14, but a legal objection by one company, droppedlast month, led to the delay. Under the new regulations, all coveredservices are required to submit a lump sum payment to Sound Exchangecovering the period from Jan. 1, 2003, through Feb. 29, 2004, on orbefore April 14, 2004.

Starting in March, services are required to make royalty paymentswithin 45 days after the end of each month. Additionally, commercialwebcasters, broadcast simulcasters and new subscription services mustchoose their preferred rate structure by March 8, 2004.

SBE Celebrates 40 Years

Indianapolis - Feb 18, 2004 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers(SBE) will celebrate its 40th anniversary during the 2004 convention ofthe National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Las Vegas. Whatstarted as a gathering of about 100 broadcast engineers at the ConradHilton Hotel in Chicago during the 1964 NAB Convention, has grown tomore than 5,500 members in 107 chapters today.

SBE members attending the NAB convention in Las Vegas this spring areinvited to celebrate the SBE's 40th anniversary during the SBEMembership Meeting on Tuesday, April 20 at 5 p.m. in room N110 of theLas Vegas Convention Center. The first 100 members in attendance willreceive a commemorative SBE 40th anniversary memento. There will bedoor prizes including a digital camera to a lucky winner. The meetingwill be sponsored by Microwave Radio Communications.

The first official meeting, April 5, 1964, came after several years ofdiscontent over a merger between the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE)and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (now the Instituteof Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE). Some felt the mergedorganizations would not serve the needs of the broadcast engineerwell.

John Battison, then editor of Broadcast Engineering, wrote aneditorial suggesting the time had come to organize a new organizationfor broadcast engineers. The editorial received a favorable responsebut no one came forward offering to organize the new group. Finally,Battison decided to do it himself, running an application form in hismagazine and, with help from his family, writing letters to more than5,000 TV and radio engineers in the United States and Canada.Battison's efforts led to an informal meeting in Binghamton, NY, in thelatter part of 1963, which led to the first official meeting of theInstitute of Broadcast Engineers (IBE) at the NAB convention thefollowing April.

The first official business of the organization was to change its name.Those in attendance felt there would be confusion between the new IBEand the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and theydidn't want their new professional organization to be confused with alabor union. They voted at that first meeting to change the name to theSociety of Broadcast Engineers. Battison became the organization'sfirst president. He is still active as a broadcast engineeringconsultant and writes a regular column that appears in Radiomagazine, sister publication to Broadcast Engineering. On theoccasion of the SBE's 40th anniversary, Battison reminisced, "TheSociety of Broadcast Engineers was conceived in my office inWashington, DC, in 1961. It was born in 1964 in The Willard Room C inthe Chicago Hilton, courtesy of NAB, and today, on its 40th birthday,it is a strong and hearty force in broadcast engineering thanks to themembers who followed after me."

Current SBE president, Raymond Benedict remarked, "Since those smallbeginnings, the SBE has grown in size and stature. In response toindustry needs, it has developed the most recognized and acceptedcertification program for broadcast engineers in the industry, quietlycarried on an important volunteer frequency coordination service forthe industry and has represented the interests of broadcast engineerswith the FCC and other federal agencies. Most SBE chapters offer localmembers monthly meetings that feature educational presentations on thelatest technology and broadcast equipment while providing anopportunity to network with fellow engineers. SBE will continue toprovide the professional development services and network of colleaguesthat broadcast engineers will need in the years to come."

For more information about SBE membership, the certification program,chapters and other member services, contact the SBE National Office at317-846-9000 or visit the website at

SBE Begins Annual Member RecruitmentEffort

Indianapolis - Feb 17, 2004 -The Society of Broadcast Engineers(SBE) will conduct its annual membership drive from March 1 through May31, 2004. Members are urged to invite friends to the party, which is inrecognition of the SBE�s 40th anniversary, and bring new membersinto the society. Though SBE accepts new members all year long, themembership drive is an annual special effort to recruit radio and TVengineers and those in related fields to the organization.

Current SBE members can win prizes and discounts on future membershipdues by participating. New members will also be entered into a drawingfor a valuable prize.

Details on the membership drive are available through the SBE NationalOffice. Contact Angel Bates at 317-846-9000 or visit the SBE website

SBE has more than 5,500 members in 107 chapters across the UnitedStates. There are also members in 30 other countries. Most chaptersmeet monthly and offer educational programs and an opportunity tonetwork with their peers. SBE also offers the largest and most acceptedcertification program for broadcast engineers, operators andtechnicians.

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Digigram Sells RemainingShares in Audemat-Aztec

Montbonnot, France - Feb 17, 2004 - Digigram has sold its 40 percentshare in Audemat-Aztec, manufacturer of measurement and monitoringequipment for broadcast applications, to the remaining shareholders ofAudemat-Aztec. Digigram made the decision so that it could concentrateon its core interest of providing digital audio solutions for thebroadcast and public address markets. Although Audemat-Aztec willcontinue to develop products using Digigram technology, the commercialand technological overlap with the Audemat-Aztec's product portfoliowas not big enough for Digigram to justify its continued minorityinvolvement.

Audemat-Aztec was formed Jan. 1, 2003, in a merger between Audemat andDigigram subsidiary Aztec Radiomedia. At the time, Audemat shareholdersreceived 60 percent of the new company with the remaining 40 percentheld by Digigram.

Digigram will continue to manufacture, support and sell the Hitplayer,a stand-alone appliance for audio IP networks formerly developed byAztec Radiomedia.

Blue Order Opens New York CorporateOffice

Kaiserslautern, Germany - Feb 17, 2004 - Blue Order, a provider ofmedia asset management systems for the broadcast and entertainmentindustry, has relocated its U.S. office to New York. With the movecomes personnel appointments, including Paul Gudelis, directorstrategic accounts, and Peter Humphrey, director solutions. With morethan 10 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry thenew team will run the company�s North American business from theNew York location.

The company can be contacted at 1001 Avenue of the Americas, 11thFloor; NY, NY 10018; phone 212-719-7560; fax 212-719-7561.

Blue Order is headquartered in Germany with subsidiaries in the UnitedKingdom and United States. The company has been deploying its productssince 1995 for a broad range of customer applications, with a specialemphasis on broadcast, library and media production applications.

Two More Transition to IBOC

Cincinnati - Feb 17, 2004 - Harris announced that KRGN-FM, Amarillo,TX, and WNRK-FM, Norwalk, OH, have selected Harris HD Radiotransmission systems and other broadcast equipment for theirimplementation of IBOC digital broadcasting.

KRGN has purchased Harris' Z4HDS FM digital and HT 25CD FM analogtransmitters for its separate amplification installation, as well as anFM antenna, transmission line, studio-to-transmitter link (STL) systemand studio equipment. WNRK, a repeater station for Kent StateUniversity's radio station WKSU-FM, has purchased a Harris Z8HDC FMdigital transmitter, a Dexstar FM digital exciter and a Neustar codecprocessor. WNRK is one of four repeater stations for WKSU and will bethe first digital build-out in the network.

Patriot Antenna AwardedManufacturing Patent

Alexandria, VA - Feb 16, 2004 - Patriot Antenna Systems has beenawarded a United States Patent for its method of manufacturing antennasystems. The vacuum-forming, dual-skin process allows Patriot to holdtolerances to better than to 0.007". In addition, the finishedreflector is lighter and more durable.

The process can be applied to virtually any reflector size, and hasalready made its way into the satellite market via Patriot's SNG andfly-away antenna systems.

CBC Selects Radioscape for DAB

London - Feb 17, 2004 - CBC has chosen Radioscape's Professional DABBroadcast System for the first multiplex in its upgrade rollout, whichwill be located in Vancouver. The DAB Broadcast System from Radioscapeconsists of a series of software modules, connected by an IP-basedarchitecture that controls and delivers audio and data from the studiotogether with any external service providers, taking care of encodingand multiplexing to provide a complete baseband DAB broadcastingsignal.

Radioscape's Eureka-147 DAB Broadcast Suite includes the main ensemblemultiplexer, broadcast manager, software Musicam encoder, datamultiplexer, PAD multiplexer, IP gateway, MOT carousel for broadcastwebsites and slide shows, ETI monitor, DAB test and field-monitoringreceivers and the new DMB Gateway. These are supplied as a system thatruns on standard industrial PCs with Windows XP.

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Fraser Joins BSS Audio

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Northridge, CA - Feb 17, 2004 - BSS Audio USA has hired Will Fraseras an applications engineer and product specialist. Working from theHarman International campus in Northridge, Fraser provides support forthe entire BSS product line, including handling customer relations andsatisfaction issues, product training and other relatedactivities.

He comes to BSS Audio from the contracting industry, where he mostrecently served as a systems engineer and project manager for EdwardsTechnologies (ETI) of El Segundo. Prior to that, he was the vicepresident of engineering for Associates in Media Engineering ofGlendale.

Fraser also spent a number of years in the entertainment industry as aFOH and monitor mixer for LA Sound, audio editor at Voice Tracks Westand lighting and systems tech for Ocean Rose Lighting. Other stints asa production manager for Princess Cruise Lines and sound designer andsystems engineer for Thomas Gregor Associates further round out hisr�sum�.

NAB Announces EngineeringAchievement Winners

Washington, DC - Feb 13, 2004 - The National Association ofBroadcasters has announced the winners of its Engineering AchievementAwards. The awards, first established in 1959, are given to industryleaders for significant contributions that have advanced broadcastengineering. The award winners will be honored at the TechnologyLuncheon, Wednesday, April 21 at NAB2004 in Las Vegas.

Radio Engineering Achievement Award Winner - GlynnWalden
Glynn Walden is the senior vice president ofengineering for Infinity Broadcasting. Walden is the visionary of theconcept, technical design and economics of AM and FM in-band on-channel(IBOC) digital radio broadcasting system. In his capacity as vicepresident of broadcast engineering for Ibiquity Digital Corporation hewrote the IBOC technical and regulatory specifications for a designteam of 50 engineers, scientists and technicians who went on to developthe IBOC system.

Walden developed the transition plan that allowed broadcasters to movefrom analog to digital broadcasting with minimal technical and economicdisruptions to broadcasters and listeners. To aid in the adoption andimplementation of the IBOC system he developed and completed the mostcomprehensive study ever on the existing levels of interference in theAM and FM bands and predictions of how the interference would increasefollowing the adoption of IBOC. In addition he developed acomprehensive test program for evaluation of IBOC digital performanceand compatibility with the existing broadcast infrastructure.

In 1991 he helped found USA Digital Radio, a consortium of broadcastersdeveloping IBOC technology. USA Digital Radio merged with LucentDigital Radio in 2000 to form Ibiquity Digital Corporation.

Previously Walden was the vice president of engineering for CBS andWestinghouse Broadcasting where he worked on capital projects includingstation power increases, facility consolidations and relocations andserved as the engineering manager for KYW-AM, Philadelphia.

Television Engineering Achievement Award Winner - IraGoldstone
IraGoldstone is the technology coordinator for the Tribune Company as wellas vice president/chief technology officer for Tribune BroadcastingCompany. He oversees engineering and technology for the broadcastinggroup while coordinating projects involving common technologies acrossall of Tribune.

Goldstone is recognized as one of the most innovative technologymanagers in the broadcast industry. He pioneered implementation ofelectronic newsroom technology including digital editing, contentstorage and retrieval. He instituted the early adoption of digitalelectronic newsgathering (ENG) including one of the firstCOFDM-equipped helicopters in the country which allowed a number ofTribune stations to provide breaking news coverage from locationspreviously unreachable with analog ENG equipment.

He is the chairman of the Media Security and Reliability Council TaskForce on Future Technologies/Digital Solutions. He is a fellow of theSociety of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. In addition, he isa member of the board of the Advanced Television Systems Committee(ATSC) and was the original chair of the ATSC ApplicationsSub-Committee.

Previously, Goldstone was the vice president/engineering and technologyfor Tribune Broadcasting. From 1983 to 1994, he was thedirector/broadcast operations and engineering at KTLA-TV, Los Angeles.Before joining KTLA, he was vice president/corporate engineering forStandard Communications, Salt Lake City, and director/technicalservices at WCVB-TV, Boston, from 1972 to 1981.

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Internet Watch

NPR Shop Picks ATG for Online Use

Cambridge, MA - Feb 17, 2004 -The NPR Shop (, theonline commerce boutique of National Public Radio has selected theE-Business Suite from ATG (Art Technology Group) to power its onlineefforts. The move is part of NPR�s ongoing commitment to delivera satisfying user experience to its online audience, building on thenon-profit media company�s national acclaim for news,information, music and entertainment programming.

Prior to deploying the ATG system, NPR had no scalable means to sellNPR-branded products directly to its audience. ATG has provided NPRwith capabilities to create extensible applications on the NPR Shopsite, offering customers a convenient online experience. ATG alsoprovides back-end applications that support the NPR Shop from atransactional standpoint. Proceeds from the NPR Shop help support NPR'sprogramming.

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