Radio Currents Online - Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2004

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Radio Currents Online - Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2004

Mar 1, 2004 12:00 PM

Radio technology news updated as it happens.

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FCC Okays Use of SeparateAntennas for IBOC

Washington - Mar 17, 2004 - On Oct. 10, 2002, the FCC authorized interim operation with the Ibiquity hybrid IBOC systems. Under these interim authorization procedures, stations can only use facilities similar to those evaluated by the National Radio Systems Committee. In particular, FM stations are restricted to transmission systems that combine the digital and analog signals into one antenna. On July 24, 2003, the NAB submitted a report to the Commission regarding the use of separate antennas for the analog and digital components of the hybrid FM IBOC signal. The report included field tests prepared by an ad hoc technical group, and recommended that the Commission permit certain FM stations implementing IBOC transmissions to use separate antennas for analog and digital signals, provided that the following criteria are met:

  • The digital transmission must use a licensed auxiliary antenna.
  • The auxiliary antenna must be within three seconds of latitude and longitude of the main antenna.
  • The height above average terrain of the auxiliary antennas must be between 70 percent and 100 percent of the height above average terrain of the main antenna.

    In a Public Notice released Dec. 8, 2003, the Commission sought comment on the conclusions and recommendations made by the NAB report. Comments were due by Jan. 8, 2004, and reply comments were due by Jan. 23, 2004.

    Several commenters suggested broadening the NAB recommendations to include dual-antenna systems at variance with the NAB recommendations; however, in the interest of expediting the initiation of dual antenna operation for systems that meet the recommended criteria, the FCC has defered consideration of such systems to a future Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making.

    The FCC believes that the pubic interest would be served by permitting dual-antenna FM IBOC implementation at this time. Although the NAB report recommended expanding the notification procedures currently in place for combined antenna implementation, such operation does not fall within the scope of the notification procedures authorized by the IBOC order, and thus will require separate action by the Commission.

    Consequently, in the interest of expediency, the FCC has authorized conforming dual antenna FM IBOC transmissions pursuant to routine special temporary authorization (STA) procedures. The matter of expanded notification procedures will be deferred for consideration at a future date. The NAB report also recommends that the Commission authorize use of antennas specially designed with interleaved or stacked elements for analog and digital signals. Because such antennas clearly meet the horizontal and vertical distance criteria, the use of such antennas will be considered acceptable, provided that the interleaved antenna system is first licensed as an auxiliary antenna.

    We note that a debate has arisen recently in various technical fora as to the proper designation of these dual-feed systems, in which the digital and analog signals are introduced to the same set of active antenna elements through different input connections. Based on the information currently available to the FCC, if the digital and analog signals are fed to the same set of active, radiating elements, that system is a combined system. Licensees may obtain authority to operate this kind of system in accordance with the notification procedures set forth in the IBOC order. Where different sets of active, radiating elements are used for the analog and digital signals, the system will be considered as a separate-antenna system, and subject to the STA procedures announced in the FCC's public notice.

    FM stations may file requests for STA to commence IBOC operations using dual-antenna systems that meet the NAB recommended criteria.

    The FCC noted that stations implementing IBOC shall broadcast the same main channel program material in analog and digital modes.

    MM Docket No. 99-325

NAB Crystal Radio AwardsFinalists Announced

Forty finalists for the NAB Crystal Radio Awards competition were announced by the NAB. Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round community service efforts. The finalists are:

KBHP Bemidji, MN
KDFC San Francisco, CA
KEEY Minneapolis, MN
KFOG San Francisco, CA
KFOR Lincoln, NE
KGBI Omaha, NE
KGO San Francisco, CA
KLOS Los Angeles, CA
KLVI Beaumont, TX
KRRO Sioux Falls, SD
KSTP-FM Minneapolis, MN
KSTZ Des Moines, IA
KTCZ Minneapolis, MN
KTRR Windsor, CO
KUAD Windsor, CO
KUZZ-AM Bakersfield, CA
KYW Philadelphia, PA
WBAB Long Island, NY
WBIG-FM Washington, DC
WCMT-AM Martin, TNWDEL Wilmington, DE
WDRV Chicago, IL
WEZL Charleston, SC
WGHT Pompton Lakes, NJ
WGRD Grand Rapids, MI
WHAM Rochester, NY
WHUR Washington, DC
WICO-FM Salisbury, MD
WJBC Bloomington, IL
WLUP Chicago, IL
WSTW Wilmington, DE
WSYR Syracuse, NY
WTMX Chicago, IL
WTOP-AM Washington, DC
WUPE Pittsfield, MA
WUSL Philadelphia, PA
WVXA Rogers City, MI
WVXU Cincinnati, OH
WWKI Kokomo, IN
WWZZ Washington, DC

The finalists will be honored and 10 Crystal Radio Award winners will be announced during the Radio Luncheon at NAB2004 on Tuesday, April 20. The luncheon will also feature a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, whose radio program, Music and the Spoken Word, is being inducted into NAB's Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

The finalists were selected by a panel of judges representing broadcasting, community service organizations and public relations firms.

House Passes Broadcast DecencyEnforcement Act

Washington - Mar 11, 2004 - The House of Representatives approved the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 by a vote of 391 to 22. This act, which modifies the Communications Act of 1934, increase the maximum fine for radio and TV indecency. The bill would raise the maximum fine for a broadcast license holder from $27,500 to $500,000. The fine for a performer would also increase from $11,000 to $500,000.

Decency has been a hot topic in the news lately, and opponents of the legislation feel that this action undermines free-speech rights. Clear Channel has already announced it will require its air talent to pay part of any indecency fines. AFTRA has opposed the Clear Channel move saying that the station licensees are responsible and that performers are following owners' mandates.

The Senate has a bill that will also raise fines to $500,000. On March 9, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously passed a bill to increase fines for broadcast indecency violations. The measure is listed as S. 2056. The Senate bill includes wording to direct the FCC to conduct a mandatory license revocation hearing after three indecency violations.

The House bill is listed as H.R. 3717.

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Broadcast Electronics and E-radioAnnounce Partnership

Quincy, IL, and Toronto � Mar 18, 2004 - Broadcast Electronics and E-radio have entered into a partnership to develop RBDS and IBOC data applications. The applications will transmit a variety of additional information on display screens such as song titles, artist names, traffic updates, weather forecasts and sports scores. The partnership joins Broadcast Electronics' experience in RF and content management with E-Radio's text service and media delivery applications.

The result of the companies' efforts is Broadcast Electronics' Radio Data Dimensions, a data management software suite to be unveiled at the NAB2004 convention. In addition to RBDS eight-character identifiers and 64-character text of title/artists, promotional messages, advertiser IDs, traffic bulletins and AMBER alerts, the software suite includes support for IBOC's secondary program channel services such as Tomorrow Radio. Radio Data Dimensions also provides bandwidth provisions for navigational system data downloads to tuners. All functions and user controls for the software suite are accessible from a Web-browser content management tool.

Shively Supplies Systems for MiddleEast

Bridgeton, ME - Mar 15, 2004 - Shively Labs has shipped eight multi-station and combiner systems to Iraq for the International Broadcasting Bureau/Broadcasting Board of Governors. The IBB will use Shively equipment to broadcast from more than 14 sites in Iraq. The systems include fixed frequency, broadband and adjustable frequency antennas, as well as adjustable bandpass filters.

These combined systems will carry the programming of Voice of America and Radio Sawa.

Shively experience in building equipment for extreme-weather broadcast sites and the skills of Shively's parent company, Howell Laboratories, in packaging electronic equipment to survive military shock and vibration requirements were important aspects of this project.

The Iraq orders are part of an on-going, multi-year contract between Shively Labs and the IBB for FM broadcast equipment as the U.S. Government broadcaster increases its presence on the FM airwaves around the world. The IBB is an agency of the State Department and the successor to Voice of America. Additional projects have recently been completed for Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, and Georgia. Products range from low power, fixed frequency sidemount antennas to a twelve bay, broadband directional panel system.

WDRQ-FM and Telenor Deal on TextMessaging

Rockville, MD, and Detroit - Mar 9, 2004 - WDRQ-FM, licensed to ABC Radio, and Telenor Mobile Interactive USA have launched a wireless text messaging service on the Detroit station.

The service is used during the station' Man @ Large show that airs weekdays from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. During one part of the show listeners are invited to vote on a chosen song becoming a hit or miss by sending either the text message DRQH (for a hit) or DRQM (for a miss) from their mobile phones. Each vote costs a listener $0.50 in addition to the standard text messaging rates. The hit or miss text message voting service designed for 93.1 DRQ also provides an instant status report via text message to each participant after a vote is made.

Final results from each day's vote are announced on air during the show and posted online at the station's website. The service is only available to subscribers of Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile.

More info: Telenor Mobile Interactive

Sound Devices to DistributeAmbient Recording Products in the U.S.

Reedsburg, WI - Mar 9, 2004 - Sound Devices has been appointed as the exclusive distributor of Ambient Recording products in the United States. The Ambient line of boom poles, mic support accessories, timecode products and miniature microphones will compliment the Sound Devices line field mixers, line amps and soon-to-be-released digital recorders.

Arbitron Inks Deal withMediaguide

New York and Berwyn, PA - Mar 9, 2004 - Arbitron is enhancing its Radar network radio ratings service through an agreement with Mediaguide, a technology-based media and marketing information company that monitors more than 2,300 local market radio and TV stations nationwide.

Beginning April 1, Arbitron will use Mediaguide's broadcast monitoring technology to verify whether the radio commercials that were scheduled to be aired on affiliated stations of Radar-rated networks were broadcast as indicated on the network commercial clearance reports. Mediaguide's technology provides real-time measurement and reporting of music performance and advertising execution.

Adopting the Mediaguide technology will allow Arbitron to nearly double the sample of stations and nearly triple the number of programming hours that Radar monitors to verify the accuracy of the clearance information provided by the networks. Mediaguide's technology does not require modification or encoding of the advertising creative, nor does it require any set-up at the back-end of the station or network.

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FCC Announces new EngineeringPersonnel

Washington - Mar 16, 2004 - The FCC has promoted Ira Keltz from deputy chief to chief of its Electromagnetic Compatibility Division. As deputy chief, Keltz managed a variety of spectrum policy rulemakings, most notably, the Advanced Wireless Services (3G) proceeding, implementing World Radiocommunication Conference allocations and proceedings relating to Part 15 unlicensed devices.

Jamison S. Prime has been promoted to chief of the Spectrum Policy Branch, Policy and Rules Division. Prime joined the FCC staff in 2001 and since that time has worked on reallocation issues, including DTV implementation and Advanced Wireless Services (3G).

Ronald J. Chase has been promoted to chief, Technical Analysis Branch, Electromagnetic Compatibility Division. Since joining the FCC in 2000, Chase has been a senior electrical engineer. In 2002, he was appointed to head the U.S. delegation on the development of recommendations for administrations on ultra-wideband communications.

Alexander Named President ofNAB Education Foundation

Washington - Mar 16, 2004 - Marcellus Alexander has been named president of the NAB Education Foundation (NABEF) and will oversee the expanded services of the foundation. In addition to his new position, Alexander will remain executive vice president, television, at the NAB. He replaces Chuck Sherman, who is retiring.

Bomar Promotes Noonan to NSM

Ledgewood, NJ - Mar 12, 2004 - Bomar Interconnect Products has named Joe Noonan as the company's national sales manager. Noonan joined Bomar in December 2000 as national accounts specialist.

In this new position, Noonan reports directly to Bob Mello, vice president of sales, and is responsible for the sales of Bomar's full product lines to OEMs and distributors throughout the United States, Canada, Central and South America. He is also charged with working with Bomar's management team to further develop marketing strategies for the company's proprietary SBC (Specialty Broadcast Connector) series of 75-ohm devices. Additional responsibilities include identifying new business and business retention, along with managing major account sales.

Ibiquity Adds to TwoDirectors

Columbia, MD � Mar 11, 2004 � Ibiquity Digital has added two new members to its commercialization team to assist in the expanded rollout of AM/FM digital radio. Peter Brady, former director of sales for Sony Electronics, joins Ibiquity as the director of aftermarket business development, and Bob Dillon, former CEO of Enikia, assumes the role of director of IC strategic marketing.

As director of aftermarket business development, Brady will work with receiver manufacturers to bring additional HD Radio products to market and with retailers to increase the outlets for those products. In his new position, Brady will draw on the experience he gained during his 18 years with Sony Electronics where he worked with retailers to successfully launch a wide range of consumer electronics products.

As director of IC strategic marketing, Dillon will be in charge of developing and strengthening Ibiquity's ties with semiconductor suppliers to help increase the availability of HD Radio chip sets. Dillon has 10 years of experience working in the semiconductor and networking industries in business and engineering roles, including former positions as CEO of Enikia, a privately held developer of power-line networking silicon, and vice president of Aware, a developer of DSL technology.

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