Radio Currents Online - May 19 - Jun 01, 2003
May 1, 2003 12:00 PM
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
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Radio Owners May AvoidRule Changes
Washington - May 29, 2003 - The ongoing discussions of the FCC'sreview of station ownership rules has dominated headlines in trade andconsumer publications. With the pending decision expected in less thanone week, most of the current information has been speculation and themain focus has been on television matters. However, one bit of radiorelevance has been included. Local radio monopolies could remain intactif current owners keep them or sell them to women or minoritygroups.
A proposal, discussed in a closed session on May 28, could affect manysmall markets where a single company now owns most or all of the localradio stations. Under a grandfathering clause, the FCC won't forcecurrent owners to sell stations, but when a market sale is planned,that owner must break the cluster or sell it intact to a minority groupor a female owner.
The plan is the idea of FCC Chairman Michael Powell. Democrat JonathanAdelstein supports the concept. Republican Kevin Martin favors norestrictions on sales.
The plan fits into the FCC's ongoing mission to increase minorityownership in broadcasting. In addition, a bill introduced by Sen. JohnMcCain that attempts to increase minority ownership through taxcertificates shows favor with this approach.
Five Radio Automation CompaniesFace Potential Lawsuit
Fort Worth, TX - May 28, 2003 - On May 9, the law office ofFriedman, Suder and Cooke, representing Media Digital Corporation andJohn M. Connell, filed a complaint in the Northern District of Texasalleging patent infringement. The complaint relates to U.S. Patent6,101,324, which, according to the patent abstract, covers:
A computerized audio or video signal control systemcontrolled by an announcer and having a display of the available signalsources and scheduled events which can be activated, mixed, faded andcued by the announcer in the scheduled order or in an order theannouncer desires. The control system provides the correlation betweenthe displayed source or event name, the devices necessary to air thesource or event and the routing necessary to air the event or sourceand then activates the proper devices to perform the task. The controlsystem additionally logs the events actually activated inorder.
While the abstract does not specifically state it, the real issuebeing covered is the use of a computer touch screen.
John Connell was the owner of Mediatouch from 1984 to 1995. Mediatouchis currently owned by OMT Technologies. Despite the sale of thecompany, Connell retained the U.S. patent rights because they had notyet been issued, despite the application that was made in 1985. Thepatent was granted in August 2000. OMT has already secured an agreementwith Media Digital for the technology.
The patent itself discusses the method of storing, playing andmanipulating audio from a touch-screen computer interface for broadcastuse. The complaint filed in the Texas court claims that Radio ComputingServices (RCS), Broadcast Electronics, Prophet Systems, BroadcastSoftware International and Enco Systems violate this patent because ofthe technology used in each company's respective products.
Media Digital recently reached an agreement with Scott Studios for bothScott and Computer Concepts products. According to Dave Scott,president of Scott Studios, "Scott denies infringing on the MediaDigital patent, but a royalty arrangement was worked out." No suit wasbrought against Scott Studios or Computer Concepts. The terms ofScott's arrangement are confidential, but it states that a royaltypayment is due to Media Digital for each system sold that could benefitfrom the use of a touch-screen controller.
While Scott is not mentioned by name, the cover letter sent to the fivecompanies cites the recent agreement and states that "MDC remainsinterested in pursuing a resolution to this matter without resorting tolitigation." The letter goes on to say that the referenced supplier "isnow a licensee of the�patent." The letter closes by saying thatthe MDC lawyers are willing to discuss a similar agreement with thefive companies named and states a June 6, 2003, deadline for aresponse.
The filing law firm is based in Fort Worth, TX. Scott Studios isheadquartered in Texas, and because of the physical proximity was thelikely first company contacted. The original complaint filed in thecourt states that RCS, BE, Prophet, BSI and Enco all may be found in ordo business in the Northern District of Texas and the matter cantherefore be pursued there.
There are other companies that manufacture systems that could beconsidered to infringe on the patent. When Radio magazine askedthe Texas law firm if other companies would be approached, the responsewas that they did not want to reveal their legal strategies.
The exact amount of each royalty payment is not specified, but it islikely in the range of a few hundred dollars.
To view the patent, go to patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/search-bool.html and enterpatent number 6101324 in the search field.
NAB Opens Marconi AwardsNominations
Washington - May 19, 2003 - The National Association of Broadcastershas mailed the 2003 Marconi Radio Awards nomination kits to all NABmember radio stations. Named after inventor and Nobel Prize winnerGuglielmo Marconi, the NAB Marconi Radio Awards honor the top radiostations and personalities.
To be considered for a 2003 NAB Marconi Radio Award, general managersnominate stations in the following categories:
- Station of the Year by Market Size
- Station of the Year by Format
- Personality of the Year by Market Size
- Legendary Station
- Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year
All nominations must be received no later than June 4 to be eligible.Finalists will be announced in July. New this year, nominations can besubmitted online from the members-only section of the NABwebsite.
The 22 winners will be announced during the NAB Marconi Radio AwardsDinner and Show Oct. 2 at The NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia.
Winners are chosen by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy.The academy is made up of general managers, program directors, regionalradio executives, owners, consultants and former radio executives.Applications for membership into the academy can be received bycontacting NAB Radio's Chris Suever at 202-775-3511 email@example.com.
NAB Radio Show SteeringCommittee Announced
Washington - May 16, 2003 - The NAB announced the members of thesteering committee for the 2003 NAB Radio Show. The committee willdirect content for conference programming at the upcoming NAB RadioShow in Philadelphia, Oct. 1 to 3.
The committee, chaired by Joe Bilotta, COO of Buckley Broadcasting,will focus on the business of radio. Bilotta is joined on the committeeby the following radio broadcasters:
Programming: Pat Paxton, vice president, programming, EntercomCommunications (chair); Bill Bailey, program director, WLHT-FM; HollandCooke, McVay Media; Kim Johnson, program director, WZAK-FM/WENZ-FM; andJeff McHugh, program director, WKZL-FM.
Management: Charles Warfield, president, Inner City Broadcasting(chair); Chris Berry, president, WMAL-AM; Rebecca Breeding, vicepresident, KOOJ/KQXL/WBBE/WEMX/WIBR/WXOK; Steve Kaspar, generalmanager, KWRE-AM; Jay Meyers, senior vice president, Clear ChannelCommunications; and Dan Savadove, CEO, Root Communications.
Sales/Marketing: Rosemary Scott, director, research &marketing, Hispanic Broadcasting - San Antonio (chair); George Hyde,executive vice president, training, Radio Advertising Bureau; WeezieKramer, regional vice president, Entercom Communications; and MikeO'Brien, vice president, sales, Bliss Communications.
The technical portions of the NAB Radio sessions are already planned.Three sessions will be held on each day and include an AntennaCertification Workshop, Digital Radio Certification Workshop andTransmitter Certification Workshop.
Marti and ERI Help Kansas Stationafter Tornado
Girard, KS - May 29, 2003 - A tornado ripped through Girard, KS, onMay 4 and destroyed KSEK-FM�s tower, turned the transmitterbuilding into rubble and carried the transmitter across a field some 70yards before dumping it in a ditch. When Jerry Tibbetts, the contractengineer for KSEK, arrived at the transmitter site that evening, hefound the building in pieces and the transmitter in a heap alongside aroad. The exciter was gone. Only the transmitter tube remainedintact.
To get the station back on the air, Tibbetts rented a Marti Plug N Play1kW transmitter and connected it to a single-bay ERI antenna. Thestation used this system until a new tower could be built and thestation could return to full power.
This is the the third time that Tibbets had to make temporaryarrangements to get a station back on the air following bad weather.Broadcast Electronics, the parent company of Marti, has supplied theloaner transmitter every time.
Tibbetts rented a Marti 1kW transmitter a little more than a year agowhen another station took a lightning hit that charred the inside ofthe transmitter building, and again when an ice storm took down yetanother tower and knocked the station off the air.
The loaner PNP will remain in service at KSEK-FM for another 45 daysuntil construction is completed on a replacement tower and antennasystem specified for Class A operation, per a construction permitapproved before the tornado struck. The station's new transmitter willbe a Broadcast Electronics FM-5T (5kW) transmitter.
LA Sees New IBOC Licenses
Los Angeles - May 28, 2003 - KUSC-FM in Los Angeles is the area'sfirst noncommercial licensee of Ibiquity's IBOC (HD Radio) technology.KUSC is part of a Los Angeles-area public radio network providingclassical music and arts programming. Other stations in the sameSouthern California network licensed for IBOC include KCPB-ThousandOaks, KFAC-Santa Barbara and KPSC-Palm Springs.
The KUSC site will upgrade its existing Harris Z-20 transmitter. Theremaining sites - KFAC, KCPB, KPSC - will have Broadcast Electronicstransmitters installed for low-level combining. These sites will alsoreceive new antennas.
Fast Channel DeliveryTops 9,000 Radio Stations
Boston - May 29, 2003 - Fast Channel Network announced that itsTraffic Channel delivery service surpassed 9,000 radio stations online.Fast Channel Network's Traffic Channel offers a single source forsecure management of the entire trafficking and delivery process forbroadcasters, publishers, advertisers and agencies. The Traffic Channelservice features Web-based flexibility, real-time access and integratedand automated send and receive features, as well as instantsend-and-confirm ad delivery to unlimited destinations. A single userinterface offers any authorized user the ability to simply and quicklydistribute advertising in all media from a desktop or laptop, and fromany location in the world.
ERI, Shively Awarded Contract for NYCTower Project
New York - May 27, 2003 - Electronics Research (ERI) has beenawarded a contract by The Durst Organization to design, manufacture anddeliver a 385ft. tower to be mounted on the 4 Times Square building inNew York City. The building is a 48-story office tower located at thecorner of 42 Street and Broadway. In addition to the design andmanufacture of the steel structure, the contract also includes sitesupervision related to the erection of the tower. ERI will also supplythe gin poles used to erect the new structure, and provide thestructural engineering services associated with the installation. ERIwill also provide structural analysis services needed to support themodification of the existing 75ft. tower installed on the building sothat the roof can be made to accommodate the new tower.
Shively Labswill provide the FM antenna and coaxial transmission line for theexpansion of the broadcast facility. The facility is already home toeight New York-area FM stations with WKCR recently signing on in thenumber nine spot. The expansion at 4 Times Square will alleviatealready overcrowded broadcast facilities at Empire State Building. Thenew Shively Model 6016 Master Panel antenna system will replace anexisting Shively Model 6016 analog-only panel antenna that has been inuse since 1999.
The new 4 Times Square FM antenna will be the first major multistationfacility designed from inception to handle both IBOC and analogsignals. The antenna is capable of handling 19 stations broadcastingsimultaneously and features a low windload design that is of criticalimportance to the self-supporting tower design being used on top of thebuilding. Shively Labs will work with Myat of Norwood, NJ, to supplyboth the analog and digital transmission lines.
Shively Labs has already supplied a Model 6017-1/4 single levelLindenblad style antenna for use during construction by the 8 stationscurrently on site.
Toko to Offer IBOC Decoder Modules
Columbia, MD and Warren, NJ � May 22, 2003 - Toko, amanufacturer of electronic components and modules, has receivedperformance certification from Ibiquity for its IBOC decoding module.Toko, one of Ibiquity's original development partners, supplies tunermodules to many of the world's largest automotive receivermanufacturers, as well as portable radio manufacturers. Thiscertification will enable manufacturers of HD Radio-branded receiversto speed time-to-market and reduce engineering costs.
The Toko Group is a multinational manufacturer of electroniccomponents, subassemblies, and systems with worldwide operationsencompassing 19 sales and service centers and 12 manufacturing andR&D facilities. Employing more than 9,000 people, Toko is one ofthe world's largest manufacturers of miniature RF/IF inductor andfilter products.
TM Century Adds to SpecialProjects Division
Dallas - May 19, 2003 - TM Century has appointed Eve Mayer Orsburnto the newly created position of director of special projects. Orsburnrejoins TM Century after a 30-month hiatus. Her duties will focus onnew projects in development, group sales, network/syndicator relationsand will interface with domestic and international sales. Orsburn willreport directly to President David Graupner.
Orsburn is originally from Louisiana. In 1997, she graduated fromLouisiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts in masscommunications and a minor in business. She hosted the afternoon driveshow at KEZP in Alexandria. She joined TM Century 1998, first incustomer service, followed by a position in sales, and then she waspromoted to director of sales and marketing for the Comedy and MusicDivision. Orsburn left TM Century 30 months ago to handle the corporatesales for IBM in San Francisco. After a short stint in Louisiana withTime Trend Computers, Orsburn has returned to TM Century as director ofspecial projects.
AOL Enhances Radio@Aol
Dulles, VA - May 28, 2003 - Following the launch of AOL forBroadband 8.0 Plus earlier this spring, America Online has unveiled thelatest enhancements to its Radio@AOL services, which include improvedsound quality and more programming. One key change is the AOLconversion to its proprietary Ultravox streaming media platform. Theplatform promises downloads that are twice as fast, which nearlyeliminate the transition time between songs.
A new relationship with Infinity Broadcasting brings select Infinitystation streams into the Radio@AOL service. This marks the first timethat this network's popular stations will be available to an onlineaudience.
The AOL Radio@ network encompasses AOL's first integrated radio,Radio@AOL, and Radio@AOL for Broadband, as well as Radio@Netscape andSpinner.
APT Plug-in Added to Cool Edit Pro
Belfast, Ireland - May 27, 2003 - Launched at NAB2003, the APTplug-in that permits Apt-x audio encoding and editing in Syntrillium'sCool Edit Pro is provided as an off-the-shelf product. It is availableas a download from APT�s website at http://www.aptx.com/pro-soft-cooledit.asp.
Syntrillium�s Cool Edit Pro editing software has seen wideacceptance in broadcast and post-production facilities. WDBA-FM,Philadelphia, was one of the first stations to purchase theplug-in.
According to Jerry Meloon, WDBA chief engineer, the station bought theplug-in because it was more cost effective than buying APT ACE100 PROand D cards, which are becoming scarce. The station needed a way tocontinue working with the Apt-x format without having to purchasehardware for encoding and decoding. The plug in provided the answer.Using Cool Edit Pro (CEP), the station opens and edits Apt-x-basedScott Studios SND files.
The plug-in allows Apt-x users to import and edit files directly,eliminating the need to decode and re-encode audio files. The CEPplug-in is compatible with Cool Edit Pro 2000 (not lite version), 1.2a,2.0 and 2.1, and also with Scott Studios, Computer Concepts, Barrcode,The Management and generic Apt-x files (.DSS, .SND, .DAF, .CUT,.AUD).
Mackie Announces d8b Version5.1
Woodinville, WA - May 23, 2003 - Mackie Designs has releaseoperating software version 5.1 for the Digital 8�Bus (d8b)recording console, bringing more features and refinement to version 5.0software that was released last January.
The new features of version 5.1 include:
- A "Use V3 Style EQ" preference has been added to the Mix Optionswindow. This global setting is saved with the session and allowscomplete backward compatibility with version 3 sessions.
- Cut, copy, paste and shift/add buttons were added to the HUI layer.Undo was moved to the undo button. More functional buttons are nowdisplayed on-screen.
- Modify levels for trim faders is now calibrated in dB steps forimproved ease of use.
- Users can link a channel to a channel directly above or below it,between the mic/line and tape return banks (banks 1 and 2 only). Asmany as 24 stereo sources can be controlled from a single bank.
- A peak hold option was added to the TOP meter view.
- Record ready can now be mapped in the MIDI map window.
- Users can optionally remove the selected channels from the L-R buswhen copying.
Version 5.1 is currently available as for download from www.mackie.com. Version 5.1 is free forusers who purchased an d8b after Nov. 15, 2002, or users who purchasedthe version 5.0 upgrade.
Using the APT PCAU for ReliableStereo
Panama City, FL - May 22, 2003 - The Clear Channel company creedstates that Clear Channel believes in "providing superior value tocustomers through high quality, technologically advanced, fairly pricedservices designed to meet customer needs better than all the possiblealternatives." In keeping with this philosophy, the company recentlyinstalled new Audio Processing Technology PCAU-based stereo programcircuits to serve six radio stations in the Panama City, FL, area. Toensure guaranteed phasing of the left and right channels, ChiefEngineer Charlie Wooten specified circuits based around theAPT/Pulsecom Program Channel Access Unit, a high-quality channel audiocard that uses APT�s audio data compression algorithm, Apt-X.
Clear Channel�s Panama City stations use an analog 15kHz programcircuit, which was installed several years ago by the local telephonecompany, Bell South. The circuit is used to feed programming materialfrom Clear Channel�s studios to its WDIZ-AM (590kHz) transmittersite.
Wooten said, "One could ask why I didn�t just install aconventional microwave system to feed the programming, rather than aprogram circuit furnished by the telephone company. The reason Ididn�t do this is simple: I couldn�t mount any additionalantennas on my three-tower directional array, or build another tower tosupport those antennas, without having to re-engineer the directionalantenna array. Given the nature of this problem, the PCAU was theperfect solution."
Wooten read about PCAU in the broadcast press and when Bell South saidit couldn�t guarantee stereo phasing with its existing analogcircuit he began to research PCAU with the hope that it would enablehim to install a stereo programme circuit that Clear Channel could relyon.
"We ordered two circuits for stereo and these were installed in about30 days. It took Bell�s engineers a few days to figure out how toinstall them because they had never seen them before, but once theywere in they worked brilliantly. They sound absolutely great and farexceed my expectations. I�m now installing a backup transmittersite for two of our FM stations and I�ll be ordering anotherstereo pair of PCAUs and a single monoaural circuit later in the yearwhen the new transmitter project is completed."
Since announcing their joint venture in 2001, Belfast-based codecmanufacturer APT and U.S.-based Pulse Communications (Pulsecom) havedelivered more than 200 units to customers in the United States.
The PCAU incorporates APT�s Apt-X data compression algorithm andis configured as an encoder or decoder to support 5, 7.5, 8 or 15kHztariffed telco services over 64kb/s or 128kb/s links, enablingbroadcast quality audio from any D4, DLC or NGDLC carrier system. TheApt-X algorithm is implemented on boards incorporating Pulsecom�sunique ISDN U interface and network standard loopbacks. The cards aresold through Pulsecom�s sales channels to all telecommunicationscompanies in the United States.