Radio Currents Online - May 24 - May 31, 2004
May 1, 2004 4:05 PM
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
SBE Adds Two Schools to Certified List
Indianapolis - May 26, 2004 - The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has added two schools to its list of certified higher education institutions that offer quality educational opportunities in the broadcast electronics field.
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, offers a Broadcast Electronics Technology Program and a Telecommunications Technology program. Both lead to two-year degrees. Courses include Systems Integration, Troubleshooting to Component Level, Audio and Video Systems Installation and Use and Application of Broadcast Instrumentation. Eugene Blanchard is the program instructor.
On completion of coursework, students will be eligible for certification as an SBE Certified Broadcast Technologist (CBT) by taking the SBE CBT examination. For more information about Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's broadcast electronics technology programs, contact Blanchard at email@example.com or visit the Institute's website at www.sait.ab.ca.
Spokane Community College (SCC) in Spokane, WA, has also been added to SBE's list of certified schools. SCC offers a two-year program. Courses include Linear Devices, Digital Microprocessors and Computers, Basic Computer Systems, Communication Fundamentals, Advanced Computer Systems, Advanced Communications and Systems Troubleshooting, Broadcast Communications, Digital and Data Communications and Wireless Communications.
On completion of coursework, students at SCC are also eligible for certification as a SBE Certified Broadcast Technologist by taking the SBE CBT examination. For more information, contact John Barnett, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their web site at www.scc.spokane.edu.
Chriss Scherer, CSRE CBNT, chairman of the SBE Certification Committee, which reviews a school's course offerings, said, "People often ask the SBE about ways to get involved in the technical side of broadcasting. The certified schools provide a direct means to gain the knowledge needed to begin a career in broadcast engineering." This brings the total number of schools certified by the SBE to 14. For a complete list of SBE certified schools, visit the SBE's website at www.sbe.org.
Traffic Plane Lands on Highway
San Francisco - May 24, 2004 - At 8:30 a.m. on May 24, a radio traffic plane, a Cessna 172, made an emergency landing on I-580. The plane was covering the local traffic as usual when the propeller stopped. No one was injured in the incident. The plane was on its way to the Hayward municipal airport.
A motorist slowed cars on the freeway by weaving, preventing other cars from passing and allowing a break in traffic for the plane to land. The plane came to a stop on the right shoulder. No cars were hit.
The plane is used by Metro Networks/Shadow Broadcast Services and provides traffic reports for several radio and TV networks, including KCBS.
Newspaper reports state that the pilot looked for a field in which to land, but saw only school playgrounds with children playing on them. The highway was the only alternative.
Recording Rights Back for Round Two in Congress
Washington - May 25, 2004 - A proposal to calm an aggressive anti-copying legislation has made its way back to Congress, setting the stage for round two in one of the most contentious battles of the digital media era. The big electronic content producers are fighting to preserve the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Critics want to water it down with a new follow-up law.
The new law, the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, is backed by librarians, consumer groups and some technology firms. But change is bitterly opposed by the entertainment industry, including the Hollywood studios, major record labels and the Business Software Alliance.
The content owners argue that preserving the earlier law banning technologies that let people copy DVDs and other digital entertainment is necessary to stop rampant piracy, even if it means that consumers cannot make copies for their personal use. The proposed amendments, sponsored by Rick Boucher, D-VA, and John Doolittle, R-CA, would permit circumvention of the DMCA for "fair use" purposes. Selling pirated DVDs, and other forms of copyright infringement, would remain illegal.
At a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection, lobbyists for the content holders said changing the law and allowing such technologies could cripple the multibillion-dollar entertainment industry, chill creative innovation and cost jobs.
Critics of the restrictive law ridiculed such claims. They argued that the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act goes too far to protect those who create digital media, and instead punishes people who simply want to enjoy music or movies in different locations by having more than one copy.
To the entertainment industry, which is at war against piracy on file-sharing networks and elsewhere, the only solution is to put technology into their products to prevent copying, and then outlaw anything that seeks to break that technology.
Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-CA), one of the new bill's co-sponsors, waved his Apple Ipod for committee members to see and said when he voted for the DMCA in 1998 he failed to grasp that it would restrict his rights to make use of music he had legally purchased.
Proponents of changing the law argue that efforts to stop illegal copying should focus on the conduct of pirates, not the underlying technology that provides law-abiding users with rights and benefits. Other witnesses said that the ban on copying is making it harder for libraries and other educational institutions to make selected use of digital works for long-distance learning.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the full House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the DMCA was too restrictive. Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-IL) asked movie industry representatives whether the DMCA would prevent a tool that would allow him to edit out scenes containing "smut" that he does not want his children to see. An MPAA lawyer said it would, but that technology could allow him to fast-forward past those scenes.
Former representative Al Swift, a Washington-state Democrat, said he is a former disc jockey and a music lover who enjoys taking individual songs from CDs and making compilations that he gives to friends. Swift said the law treats most U.S. consumers as pirates, which they are not.
FCC'S Localism Task Force to Hold Hearing in South Dakota
Washington - May 24, 2004 - The FCC's Localism Task Force will hold a field hearing this week in Rapid City, SD. FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell and commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein will preside.
The hearing will held be from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday, May 26, at the Surbeck Student Center Ballroom, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology at 501 East Saint Joseph Street in Rapid City. The purpose of the hearing is to gather information from consumers, industry, civic organizations and others on broadcasters' service to their local communities. The designated speakers will include representatives from consumer and advocacy groups as well as broadcasters. The hearing format will enable members of the public to participate via an open microphone session.
A live audiocast of the hearing will be available at www.fcc.gov on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, the hearing will be recorded, and the recording will be made available to the public.
Chairman Powell cuts the ribbon to officially unveil the new RF anechoic measurement chamber. FCC Photo.
FCC Opens RF Testing Chamber
Washington, DC - May 18, 2004 - FCC Chairman Michael Powell established the Commission's Excellence in Engineering Program to "enhance the FCC's independent technical and engineering expertise," according to Powell in his remarks during the opening of the FCC's new anechoic RF test facility in Columbia, MD. "The creation of this measurement chamber is one of many efforts we have undertaken to ensure the Commission has the most talented staff and the latest tools to perform sound engineering analysis."
Power stated that one of the Commission's core functions is to measure RF interference. With the new test facility chamber, FCC engineers will be able to perform sophisticated RF measurements on consumer and commercial devices, such as cellphones and wall-penetrating radars and wireless meter readers.
FCC to Launch EEO Audits
Washington, DC - May 21, 2004 - FCC Chairman Michael Powell announced that the FCC will begin conducting EEO audits by the end of May 2004. The FCC plans to send letters to 5 percent of the radio and television licensees to determine stations' compliance with the FCC's EEO rules. This group represents about 550 radio and 70 TV stations. In its assessment, the FCC will also audit several smaller stations that have claimed exemptions from the EEO rules based on their size.
The current EEO rules went into effect in March 2003. By waiting a year, the FCC hopes to get a realistic overview of compliance with the rules.
The NAB has recommended that stations review their annual EEO Public File reports for completion and accuracy and take steps to respond to any FCC requests for information in a timely manner.
Stardraw Appoints Dove Net Technologies as U.S. Reseller
May 24, 2004 - Stardraw.com has appointed Dove Net Technologies as a reseller of the entire Stardraw product range throughout the United States and Canada. Stardraw Marketing Director Rob Robinson noted that the appointment is a logical extension of Stardraw's activities in North America because of Dove Net's complementary offerings to Stardraw.
Dove Net's own application, The Project System, is an administration program that creates, handles and tracks quotes, bookings, commissions, margins, invoicing and job costs for systems integrators with the ability to link everything to an accounting system. Stardraw deals with the front end, providing the drawing tools to produce engineering schematics, rack layouts, custom panel designs and sales presentations.
Vermont Public Radio (VPR) has standardized its announce microphones by deploying 12 Neumann BCM 104 broadcast mics throughout the five-station statewide network. VPR Director of Engineering Rich Parker made the selection after a recommendation from Mike Pappas, chief engineer of KUVO public radio in Denver.
Harris Reassigns Broadcast Communications Roles