Radio Currents Online - Jan 19 - Jan 25, 2004

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Radio Currents Online - Jan 19 - Jan 25, 2004

Jan 1, 2004 12:00 PM

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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News

Senate Approves Spending Billwith Broadcast Ownership Verbiage

Washington - Jan 22, 2004 - The Senate approved a $373 billion billto fund most federal agencies. The catch-all measure passed in a 65 to28 vote. The bill now goes to President Bush, who will sign it soon,according to Republicans.

Included in the bill is language that sets the national TV ownershipcap to 39 percent. While the FCC increased the limit to 45 percent inJune, a federal court has debated the issue. The 39 percent compromisewas established by lawmakers at the end of 2003.

The NAB is pleased with the bill's passage. NAB President Eddie Frittsreleased the following statement:

"We're pleased the national television ownership capissue appears to be resolved by the passage of this legislation. Wesalute all broadcasters who worked with Congress to reach thiscompromise that recognizes the enduring value of free, local televisionstations."

FCC Sets Agenda for LocalismHearing

Washington - Jan 22, 2004 - The Localism Task Force of the FCC hasreleased further details of the San Antonio field hearing regardingbroadcast localism. Chairman Michael Powell will preside along withCommissioners Kathleen Abernathy, Michael Copps, and JonathanAdelstein. The hearing will be held Jan. 28, 2004, from 5:30 p.m. to9:30 p.m. at the City Council Chamber, Municipal Plaza Building, SanAntonio, TX.

The purpose of the hearing is to gather information from consumers,industry, civic organizations and others on broadcasters� serviceto their local communities. An important focus of the hearing will beto gather information and to conduct outreach for the ongoingnationwide round of broadcast station license renewals. The designatedspeakers were selected to compose balanced and informative panels, andinclude representatives from consumer and advocacy groups, the creativecommunity and broadcasters. The hearing format will enable members ofthe public to participate via �open microphone� andsubmission of written questions.

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Ray Benson, co-founder/guitarist/vocalist of the band �Asleepat the Wheel�; board member, The Recording Academy, TexasChapter.
  • Lydia Camarillo, vice president, Southwest Voter RegistrationEducation Project, San Antonio.
  • John Freeman, chief operations officer, Southern DevelopmentFoundation, licensee of low-power FM station KOCZ-LP, Opelousas,LA.
  • Steve Giust, general manager, KWEX-TV (Univision), San Antonio.
  • Tom Glade, vice president/market manager, Clear Channel Radio, SanAntonio.
  • Jerry Hanszen, owner and general manager, KMHT AM-FM, Marshall, TX,and KGAS AM-FM, Carthage, TX.
  • Joe Linson, vice president, NAACP, San Antonio Branch.
  • Robert G. McGann, president and general manager, KENS-TV (CBS)(Belo), San Antonio.
  • Oscar Moran, senior advisor to the executive board and formerpresident, League of United Latin American Citizens, San Antonio
  • Ray Rossman, director, Parents Television Council, San AntonioChapter.

    A detailed agenda along with the final roster of panelists will bereleased prior to the hearing.

Jampro Investigates Nitrogen vs.Dry Air Debate

Sacramento, CA - Jan 21, 2004 - The use of desiccated air vs. theuse of nitrogen to pressurize transmission lines is seldom given muchattention beyond the ongoing costs of the desiccating equipment or thenitrogen bottle rental. But following some research by Dupont at theurging of Technical Broadcast Associates, Jampro has releasedinformation that endorses the use of dry air for chemicalreasons.

Pressurized transmission lines use Teflon insulators to maintain thespacing between the outer and inner conductors. When Teflon is heatedto 500� C, the carbon and fluorine atoms, normally bonded intoCF2 molecules, will become a double-bonded CF2molecule. This double bonded CF2 becomes CF3 (agas) and C (carbon, which is visible as soot).

The chemical result of CF2 + CF2 when heated withnitrogen yields HF + CF2O (carbonate fluoride) + C (carbon).Carbon inside the antenna and coax is not a favorable condition.

However, when CF2 + CF2 and dry air are heated,the result is HF + CF2O + CO2, a less damaginggas.

While dry air contains some nitrogen, the additional gases, notablyoxygen, modify the chemical reaction.

High heat in a coaxial cable can be caused by an electrical arc or alightning strike. During the arc, the heated air expands quickly andmay open the pop-off valve, which allows more air to move through thesystem. When dry air is used, more oxygen is provided to bond with theCF2, creating more CO2. Once the oxygen isdepleted, the resulting byproduct is carbon. Depending on the durationof the flash-over or arc some carbon will still form in the presence ofdry air, but not nearly as much as in the presence of nitrogen. Somecarbon will likely result whether nitrogen or dry air is used, butusing dry air should significantly reduce the amount of carbon duringthe reaction.

Jampro recommends that stations likely to experience lightning or thatuse transmitters capable of sustaining an arc for more than few secondsshould only use dry air, not nitrogen. Nitrogen can be used to testpressurization or to purge a line, but the nitrogen should also bepurged when the coaxial cable is put into regular service.

FCC's Powell Wants to Boost Finesfor Obscenities

Washington - Jan 16, 2004 - FCC Chairman Michael Powell last weekproposed a tenfold increase in the fines that can be imposed onbroadcasters for indecent programming. The current maximum levy is$27,500, which Powell termed as "peanuts" for large mediacompanies.

"They�re just a cost of doing business," Powell told a NationalPress Club luncheon. "That has to change."

Such a change would require congressional approval. It comes in anelection year amid conservative criticism of the FCC for a ruling lastOctober (an expletive uttered by the musician Bono on a network TVprogram was not indecent because it was used as an adjective ratherthan to describe a sex act).

Congress plans a hearing this month on broadcast indecency.Broadcasters are trying to compete with coarser cable programming andare targeting young men, who are coveted by advertisers and consideredless likely to be offended by explicit language.

Under FCC rules and federal law, terrestrial broadcasters cannot airobscene material at any time, and cannot air indecent material between6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The FCC defines obscene material as describingsexual conduct "in a patently offensive way" and lacking "seriousliterary, artistic, political or scientific value."

There are no such requirements for subscription TV channels, which donot use the public airwaves for transmission. Some critics say mediaconsolidation has contributed to the use of stronger language on theairwaves. They argue programming decisions increasingly are being madeby media company officials who have no connection to the communitiesthey serve.

Powell, however, argued that broadcasting has simply become morecompetitive. But rather than spawning better programming, "it�s arace to the bottom," he said.

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Business

Digidesign Acquires Assets of BombFactory Digital

Anaheim, CA - Jan 16, 2004 - Digidesign has acquired the assets ofBomb Factory Digital, a manufacturer of real-time audio DSP effects forthe Digidesign Pro Tools platform. Terms of the deal were notdisclosed.

The Bomb Factory plug-ins are known for emulating the sound and look ofvintage studio processors. Digidesign has not yet announced its plansfor deploying the Bomb Factory assets across the Pro Tools productline.

SalesCall

  • The Audemat-Aztec FMB80 RBDS generator isseeing popular acceptance. Clear Channel is using this unit in itstop-50 market RBDS rollout. The unit features a scrolling PS functionthat allows text to appear to scroll by sending blocks of charactersfor the static display. Since the Clear Channel sale, Audemat-Aztec hasprovided units to more stations including Emmis' WQHT, WRKS and WQCD inNew York; KUSC in Los Angeles; Bonneville's WNND, WDRV and WWDV inChicago; Susquehanna's KFOG in San Francisco; and Infinity's WBMX inBoston.
  • Sound Images, a production facility inCincinnati, recently invested in a Worldnet Tokyo ISDN codec from APT.A primary part of Sound Images' business is recording voice-overs. TheWorldnet Tokyo communicates via Apt-X, Enhanced Apt-X, Layer II, LayerIII, G.722 and AAC algorithms.
  • There has been lots of Telos Zephyractivity in San Francisco lately, where ABC Radio's #1-rated News/Talkpowerhouse KGO just received a Zephyr Xport and four Zephyr Xportcodecs; across the dial, Univision's KSOL gets five rack-mount ZephyrXstreams and a portable Zephyr Xstream MXP for use in on-locationremote broadcasts.
    The Lynx AES16 sound card is enjoyingwide acceptance in pro audio. Los Angeles-based producer Rory Kaplanhas added three AES16s to his digital recording system that is anchoredby Nuendo and a Yamaha DM2000 console. Kaplan�s credits includeThe Eagles, Sheryl Crow, Frank Zappa, Queen, Chick Corea, Sting and theLondon Symphony Orchestra. Nashville engineer/producers Chuck Ainlayhas upgraded his recording system to include three AES16s. Ainlay hasworked with artists ranging from Mark Knopfler to George Strait toVince Gill to Peter Frampton.

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People

Capasso Named President ofDielectric

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Raymond, ME - Jan 22, 2004 - Dielectric Communications, a unit ofSPX, has selected John Capasso to serve as the company's president.Capasso joined Dielectric in 1997 as the company's chief financialofficer.

Capasso began his career with SPX in 1994 as CFO of the company's GFIGenfare business. In addition to serving as CFO for Dielectric, he hasheld the position of CFO for the Communication and Technology SystemsGroup of SPX.

Capasso earned his BS in Accounting from Boston College, and he is aCPA and member of the American Society of CPAs.

Clear Channel RecognizesEngineering Talent

Jan 19, 2004 - Clear Channel has begun a new program to recognizethe talent of its engineers by creating an annual honor for the ClearChannel Engineer of the Year award.

Nominees were submitted by Clear Channel regional engineering managers,who submitted the names of the engineer that they felt were the bestand details supporting this belief. The recognitions were divided intofour market groups: Major Market (Arbitron 1-10), Large Markets(Arbitron 11-50), Medium Market (Arbitron 51-150), Small Market(Arbitron 151+).

The nominations were reviewed by Jeff Littlejohn, senior VP ofengineering. The winners receive recognition among their Clear Channelpeers and are provided with travel, lodging and admission to theNAB2004 convention.

  • Major Market Engineer of the Year for 2003: Josh Hadden, New YorkCity.
  • Large Market Engineer of the Year for 2003: Erik Kuhlman, CSRE,Portland, OR.
  • Medium Market Engineer of the Year for 2003: Raleigh Rubenking, DesMoines, IA.
  • Small Market Engineer of the Year for 2003: Charlie Wooten, PanamaCity, FL.

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Internet Watch

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Products

Cowan Communications OffersMarketing Checkup

Washington - Jan 14, 2003 - Hardware and software technologycompanies, service providers and radio stations may realize that theirwebsites, brochures and other communications tools need to be updated,but time and financial resources prevent the changes from beingdefined, much less implemented. Cowan Communications has created theMarketing Communications Checkup to assist firms in assessing theirexisting marketing communications programs. The service includes areview of the company's current practices and a prescription forimprovements and practical tactics to set priorities, allocate budgetsand choose necessary collaborators.

More information is available through the Cowan website at www.cowancommunications.com/marcomm.html.

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