Radio Currents Online - Jun 9 - Jun 15, 2008

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Radio Currents Online - Jun 9 - Jun 15, 2008

Jun 9, 2008 8:44 AM


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NAB Report Scopes Broadcast Opportunities from FM-Capable Cell Phones
Washington, DC - Jun 12, 2008 - A new NAB report outlines the potential benefits that could result from an increase in the penetration of FM radio receivers in cell phone handsets. The study concludes that cell phone service providers, radio broadcasters and handset manufacturers all stand to benefit from the expansion of FM-capable cell phones, a platform that could reach 257 million American subscribers.

"Radio is a service that already reaches 235 million American listeners every week," said NAB president and CEO David K. Rehr. "With 257 million cell phones currently in service, we're confident that implementation of a new FM-radio feature would result in rapid penetration, benefiting not only the radio business and consumers, but the cell phone, electronics manufacturing and music industries as well."

The report, commissioned by the NAB technology advocacy program NAB Fastroad (Flexible Advanced Services for Television and Radio On All Devices), outlines a number of potential benefits derived from FM radio capability on cell phones. They include increased cellular service subscriber satisfaction, ad-sharing opportunities, and reduced-cost on-air cellular promotions. The study also notes that cellular operators are increasingly dependent on revenue from non-voice services, including music downloads. The implementation of FM receivers on cell phones could provide a boost to music downloads, the report suggests, by facilitating tagging of songs heard on the FM receiver for later purchase. FM receivers would also give cell phone users access to EAS announcements.

The report, entitled Study of the Potential for FM Radio to be a Universal Feature on Cellular Handsets, was authored by Dr. Joseph Kraemer of the Law and Economics Consulting Group (LECG) and Richard O. Levine of Constantine Cannon.

A potential catalyst for broadcaster/cellular network provider partnerships identified in the report is the pending implementation of the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) as recently defined by the FCC in a report and order adopted by the Commission in April 2008. The full text of the report and information on the NAB Fastroad technology advocacy program are available at

AES Announces 125th Convention Chairmen
San Francisco - Jun 6, 2008 - John Strawn and Valerie Tyler are serving as cochairmen for the 125th Audio Engineering Society Convention scheduled for Oct. 2-5 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Valerie Tyler is a long-time AES member, she has served on seven conventions as cochair for workshops, special events, tutorials and master classes and as the 105th Convention cochair in 1998. She is also an audio editor and freelance live sound engineer.

John Strawn is a Fulbright Scholar with a PhD from Stanford. He played an integral role with Lucasfilm's Droid Works affiliate and as a cofounder of Yamaha Music Technologies he headed an electronic music instruments R&D group. S Systems, Strawn's independent consulting practice, has advised such companies as Atari, Mattel, Kurzweil and Next. He has also served as a testifying expert witness. Prior to chairing the 2004 and 2006 AES Conventions, Strawn presented the 1996 keynote address.

Spanish Radio Broadcasters Speak Against Arbitron PPM
New York - Jun 11, 2008 - Spanish Broadcasting System, Entravision Communications Corporation, Univision Communications and Border Media Partners have formed a coalition to voice concerns about Arbitron's proposed rollout of the Portable People Meter (PPM), citing their view of its potentially harmful effect as it relates to measuring Spanish-language media. The newly created group has been named the Spanish Radio Association (SRA).

The group held a meeting with Arbitron on June 6, 2008, during which they advocated the importance of evaluating the Hispanic audience measurement capabilities and effectiveness of Arbitron's PPM before its full-scale implementation. Representing the major Spanish-language broadcasters were Raul Alarcon Jr., chief executive officer and president of Spanish Broadcasting Systems; Gary Stone, president and chief operating officer of Univision Radio; Jeffery Liberman, president of Entravision's radio division; and Jeff Hinson, president and chief executive officer of Border Media Partners. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) also attended the meeting to support the group's concerns, where he reminded Arbitron's chief executive officer Steve Morris that the PPM will not only affect Spanish-language broadcasters but every Hispanic in the country.

The group's arguments include reference to the growth of the Hispanic population in the U.S., an increase in popularity of Spanish-language formats, and the increased Hispanic buying power to its estimated level of $840 billion in the United States in 2007. The group wants Arbitron to "ensure sound methodology and representation of Hispanics," according to Liberman. He added, "We urge Arbitron not to move forward with the rollout of PPM until all ethnic broadcasters are satisfied that the principles of fair market representation are being fulfilled."

As part of the meeting, the SRA highlighted several key issues with PPM that need to be addressed before moving forward with the rollout, including panel sample size, the increased response rates, accurately identifying and tracking panelists' country of origin, improved language weighting, accurate cell phone-only representation, and fair measurement when it comes to high-density Hispanic areas and sharing of more detailed sample information including meter placement according to zip codes.

The group intends to meet regularly with Arbitron in an effort to ensure any sample includes accurate measurement of Hispanic audiences in all markets that will be launching the PPM.


Auralex Acoustics Promotes Haverstick in Engineering Department
Las Vegas - Jun 9, 2008 - Acoustical engineer Gavin Haverstick was recently promoted to the newly created position of lead acoustical engineer at Auralex Acoustics. As a member of the Auralex staff since first joining the company in 2000, Haverstick started in the engineering department and later stepped into his role as Midwest regional sales manager.

In his new position, Haverstick is overseeing the research, development and testing for current and future products. His main focus lies in new product design, working in conjunction with acoustical consultants, as well as continuing to supervise large-scale projects. He is also responsible for writing technical white papers and giving presentations on Auralex's products and acoustical theory.

Throughout his tenure at Auralex Acoustics, Haverstick has completed testing and/or acoustical analysis of more than 3,000 spaces including gymnasiums, houses of worship, recording studios, cafeterias, conference rooms, home theaters and industrial facilities. Haverstick's other professional accomplishments at Auralex include a leadership role in conducting numerous training sessions focusing on various aspects of acoustics, as well as his training of multiple staff members in various software and hardware associated with acoustical testing. As Auralex's Midwest regional sales manager, Haverstick effectively managed the company's largest territory with consistent and significant growth each year.

Prior to joining Auralex Acoustics, Haverstick worked with Delphi Automotive at its Las Vegas and Indianapolis locations where he oversaw quality control in the electric car R&D division. He also coordinated with upper management to streamline the reporting and tracking of various iterations of battery cells. Haverstick earned his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University with a focus in robotics.

Prendergast Named Director of Engineering at Entercom Buffalo
Bala Cynwyd, PA - Jun 10, 2008 - Bill Prendergast has been named director of engineering for the seven Entercom Communications radio stations in Buffalo, NY: WBEN-AM, WGR-AM, WKSE-FM, WLKK-FM, WTSS-FM, WWKB-AM and WWWS-AM. Prior to joining Entercom, Prendergast served as a contract engineer working primarily in Alaska. Additionally, he spent five years as engineering chief with Infinity Broadcasting and has an extensive background with Broadcast Electronics Audio Vault installations.

Prendergast began his broadcast engineering career in Alaska after serving as a submarine sonar technician in the United States Navy.


IABM Survey: Order Volumes Robust but Squeeze on Margins
Worcester, WR1 2JG, UK - Jun 9, 2008 - The June 2008 Industry Trends Survey of International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM) members reflects a change of sentiment among senior executives in broadcast and media technology. Current order volumes are still robust but there is increasing softness in the selling prices with a consequent squeeze on margins. 55 percent of respondents reported orders as expected with 32 percent reporting better orders than expected.

According to the IABM, the overall level of confidence going forward is markedly down compared to previous surveys. Those respondents whose confidence has diminished have increased significantly. It looks as if suppliers will face challenging times in the quarters ahead.

For the first time, Asia has moved ahead of North America as the most active market after Western Europe. The IABM speculates that this could be due to business transacted ahead of the Beijing Olympics, the soft economy in North America or more complex factors.

IABM CEO Roger Stanwell said, "More companies are predicting increased costs in the next period but few are planning to reduce R&D expenditures. When this is combined with the softness of selling prices, it will produce some important challenges for senior executives in the coming months."

Sales Call

Universal Music Group (UMG) has expanded its agreement with Destiny Media Technologies to include UMG's affiliates in Canada and Mexico. Under the multi-year agreement, Destiny Media remains the primary and only company-wide platform for the global distribution of UMG's pre-release digital media in North America.

The ability of the 25-Seven Systems Audio Time Manager (ATM) to delay the start of an incoming feed or recorded program and catch up to real-time is not just for major markets. Glesiser Communications' KTTB, in Arbitron market 145, appreciates not just the benefits of ATM, but the way in which 25-Seven Systems has served him.

According to Paul Glesiser, owner and general manager, "In a post-consolidation world there are still companies out there taking care of radio stations in an engaged and personal way. 25-Seven Systems is one of them. The company's Audio Time Manager is a brilliantly designed piece of gear that does exactly what they say it will do. It's one of the best cap ex decisions I've made in a long time."


V-Soft Adds Features to FM Commander
Cedar Falls, IA - June 10, 2008 - V-Soft's FM Commander has added a number of new features in build 28, which is the latest version of the program. Some of the new features are functional revisions, while others are more cosmetic.

The Defaults Setup screen now has an option button group that allows the user to select the default overlap mode for contour-to-contour studies. This is the interference checking mode the program establishes when initially started. When the Direct Line option is selected, the In/Out columns on the main screen will display the calculated contour overlap distances on the direct line between the reference station and the database station. If Show Overlap < is selected, the program will check all reference station to database station contour relationships and flag contour overlap it finds by displaying < in the In or Out columns. This process displays the < when the program first detects contour overlap and then the checking process moves to the next station, consequently this process is faster than the Detailed mode which checks all azimuths for the greatest amount of contour overlap. If the Detailed option is selected, the program will show the greatest amount of overlap calculated in the In and Out columns. Once a selection is made, the setting will be employed at every start-up. The algorithm for Detailed mode has been optimized significantly, reducing the time to display a screen in this mode.

Other features include:

  • The reference station's call sign that is printed when the main screen table is listed or printed is now colored green and the overlap margin distance for the reference station will not be colored red. (Since an FM station does not cause interference with itself, red color flagging of the reference can be distracting.)
  • The name of the terrain database in use now shows up on the Find Information Screen when the program is in the interference mode.
  • DTV TV 6 stations have up to 18 characters in the file number (FM Commander previously had delivered only 16.)
  • New progress bar on the splash screen with a summary of quiet zone issues.

Another new feature is the screen setting Text Background color selector. This was added to make it easier to select a foreground text with a matching background of the user's choice.