Radio Currents Online - May 29 - Jun 4, 2006
May 29, 2006 9:00 AM
Radio technology news updated as it happens.
AES Calls 120th Convention a Success
Paris - Jun 1, 2006 - The 120th AES Pro Audio Expo and Convention ended May 23. The convention continues to be the largest pro-audio event in Europe. More than 6,400 attendees were counted this year as compared to 6,200 in 2005.
The show floor featured more than 250 manufacturers. Full program attendance increased by 10 percent from last year.
The presentations by Radio France, held in a special auditorium in the exhibition, were well attended. Visitors were able to create their own surround mixes of a concert performed by singer-composer and keynote speaker Emilie Simon. The convention organizers plan to offer more hands-on event for the European convention in 2007.
The 122nd AES Pro Audio Expo and Convention in 2007 will be held May 5 to 8 at the Austria Center in Vienna.
Senate Confirms McDowell for FCC
Washington - May 26, 2006 - The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of telecommunications lawyer Robert McDowell to fill the third Republican seat on the Federal Communications Commission. McDowell is the third Republican on the Commission and fills the seat vacated by Kathleen Abernathy. Radio magazine reported the President Bush planned to appoint McDowell in February (view that story).
McDowell was the senior VP and assistant general counsel for Comptel, the Washington-based association for competitors to the large Bell legacy, telephone companies such as Bell South and AT&T. McDowell had support from Senate Commerce Committee chairman Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). McDowell's term will run through 2009. Abernathy's term ended in 2004, but she remained at the FCC through most of 2005. McDowell will serve the remaining four years in the five-year term.
McDowell's Senate approval was unanimous. He joins current Republican Commissioners Martin and Tate, and Democrat Commissioners Copps and Adelstein.
Commissioners Martin and Copps issued statements congratulating McDowell on his new post.
Two Tower Accidents in One Week
Doerun, GA, and Oakland, IA - Jun 2, 2006 - On the morning of June 1, a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter clipped the tower used by WFXL-TV in Albany, GA. The aircraft crashed and killed four of the five people onboard. According to station manager Deborah Owens, it appears the helicopter clipped a guy wire and may also have struck and damaged the tower at about 950ft from the ground. Following the accident, the U.S. military cordoned off the area, making it difficult for the station to assess the damage fully, she said.
The tower, located in Doerun, GA, a rural section of the state about 30 miles southeast of Albany, "is not stable," said Owens. WFXL owns the structure. A tower crew was expected on site lat on June 1 to install a temporary tower guy wire and perform a full inspection.
The crash occurred at about 8 a.m. The MH-47 Chinook was on its way from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah to Fort Rucker, AL.
The other accident occurred on May 31. A three-man tower crew was replacing strobe lights at the KHIN-TV tower about 2:40 p.m. when the men fell. It is believed that the rope lifting the men up the tower broke. The men fell about 1,200 feet.
Leo Deters, Jason Galles and Jon McWilliams were replacing tower strobe lights when they fell. Deters was the owner of Deters Tower Service of Grimes, IA. The tower company has been in business for more than 22 years and operates in eight states.
Sanyo Trading Joins Ibiquity Team
Columbia, MD - Jun 1, 2006 - Ibiquity Digital has contracted with the Sanyo Trading Company to support and expand Ibiquity's presence in Japan. Sanyo Trading has already built relationships with Japanese automakers, such as Toyota and Honda. One goal is to help accelerate the inclusion of HD Radio technology in more vehicles. Sanyo Trading will supplement Ibiquity's efforts by providing in-country support to major OEMs deploying HD Radio in vehicles.
WV Public Radio Chooses BE, Shively
Charleston, WV - May 26, 2006 - Broadcast Electronics (BE) has received orders for nine HD Radio systems and two booster systems from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, which operates the statewide West Virginia Public Radio service. Included are BE transmission and signal generation equipment for turnkey HD Radio conversion of all nine West Virginia Public Radio stations. HD Radio conversion of the stations is expected to take place before September 2006. At that time, the pubcaster will broadcast the main channels. The HD Radio transmission systems are multicast-compatible for additional multicast channels later.
The broadcaster is interested in commencing HD Radio transmissions as a way to combat the difficult terrain of West Virgina. "Early studies indicate that converting to digital will reduce or eliminate reflective noise from signals bouncing off hills," said Bill Acker, director of broadcasting and technology for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
The transaction was handled by Ernie Vincent of SCMS, Charlotte, NC. Separate antenna configurations are being used for seven of the nine conversions, as well as one high-level and one low-level combined configuration. For the project, Vincent specified Shively 6812B series antennas.
In a separate order, West Virginia Public Broadcasting purchased two BE FXI 60 digital FM exciters that will be synchronized to main broadcast signals as fill-in for low-lying areas in West Virginia.
ADC and Andrew to Merge
Minneapolis and Westchester, IL - May 31, 2006 - ADC and Andrew Corporation have entered into a definitive merger agreement. The transaction was approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Combined sales for the two companies for the past 12 months total about $3.3 billion. The proposed business combination remains subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
Robert E. Switz, president of ADC, will be president of the combined company after closing. Ralph E. Faison, president of Andrew, will serve as a consultant to the combined company.
The strategic business combination is structured as a stock-for-stock merger with Andrew becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ADC. Andrew shareholders will receive 0.57 of an ADC common share for each common share of Andrew they hold. On completion of the transaction, ADC shareholders will own about 56 percent of the combined company and Andrew shareholders will own about 44 percent of the combined company.
The combined company will be based at ADC's world headquarters in Minnesota with ADC's John A. Blanchard continuing as non-executive chairman. The board of directors of the combined company will be composed of 12 members of which eight will be current ADC directors, including Blanchard and Switz, and four will be current Andrew directors. Key members of the management team from both companies will comprise the management team after closing. The name of the combined company will be ADC Andrew.
The companies expect the transaction to be completed in four to six months. Until that time, both companies will continue to operate their businesses independently.
Staff Additions and Changes at SBE Headquarters
Indianapolis, IN - Jun 1, 2006 - The next time you contact the SBE national office, you may hear some new voices. The Society of Broadcast Engineers continues to grow, and the first addition happened earlier this year. On Feb. 6, Debbie Hennessey joined the SBE in the part-time position of executive administrative assistant. She was previously employed at Electronic Data Systems and Xerox where she held software training and product sales positions.
In March, Angel Bates, membership services director, accepted an offer not of a new job, but of marriage. She is leaving the SBE and moving to upstate New York where she will focus on freelance graphic design work. She joined the SBE in August 1999 as membership services coordinator and was promoted to membership services director in 2002.
Taking Angel's place is Pollyanna Bayman. Bayman joined the SBE on May 22 as membership services director. She was previously employed at Raytheon Corporation, where she worked in graphic design and technical writing. She is a graduate of Indiana University.
In May, Linda Baun, certification director, announced that she was leaving the SBE to take the position of vice president of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association in Madison, WI. Her last day with the will be June 30. Baun has been with the SBE for 15 years. She started in September 1991 as the certification secretary and was appointed to be the certification director in 1995. She added the responsibilities of being the assistant secretary of the Ennes Trust two years ago. Her contributions to the Society have been enormous and she has served the membership with an uncommon dedication and enthusiasm.
Megan Clappe has been promoted to the position of certification director effective July 1. Clappe has served on the SBE national office staff as certification assistant since September 2003. During that time, she has been involved in many facets of the certification program. That experience has prepared her for her new role.
Comrex Access Passes Inmarsat Service Tests
Devens, MA - May 31, 2006 - Comrex has successfully completed testing using the new Access IP codec over the newly available Inmarsat BGAN 32K streaming service. This was the second test of the system, after Immarsat implemented improvements to rectify issues on the upload path. Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) uses textbook-size terminals to deliver full-duplex voice, ISDN and IP-based data services worldwide.
The test was completed from the Inmarsat headquarters in London using a Comrex Access and a Thrane Explorer 500 BGAN terminal. Connection to an Access was accomplished on a DSL line at Comrex corporate headquarters in Massachusetts.
Tom Hartnett, Comrex technical director, described the test as flawless 15kHz audio transmission. "The real breakthrough here is cost" said Hartnett. "Due to high usage charges, these terminals have always appealed to the big-budget networks, but this new streaming service brings the cost down to around $2.10 per minute, which opens the service to many more broadcast applications."
BGAN service is scheduled for availibility in North America during the summer, as the newly placed Atlantic Ocean Region satellite becomes commercially active.
Harris Begins Data Plus Roll-out
Cincinnati - May 31, 2006 - The first public roll-outs of the Harris Data Plus data content management software have been made on two public radio services. The Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN) and Jazz Works will use Data Plus technology to augment their 24-hour programming with content data, allowing concurrent informational display for their listeners on HD Radio, RBDS analog radios or Web streaming. Content data, also known as program associated data (PAD) or program service data (PSD) on HD Radio, can be program-specific information, such as basic title and artist names, but may also include local station information like promotional messages, weather warnings, traffic information and other items of local interest to listeners or Web surfers.
CPRN, based in Denver and Los Angeles and distributed by National Public Radio, has 51 affiliates throughout the country and provides 24-hour classical music programming. Jazz Works originates at WDUQ-FM in Pittsburgh, and feeds 30 affiliates with a full-service jazz format. WDUQ and WUCF in Orlando, FL, are currently scheduled as the initial Jazz Works roll-outs.
Data Plus will be installed at the Denver uplink on the public radio satellite system and downlinked at Colorado Public Radio flagship station KVOD-FM (also located in Denver). Stations airing either service may pass the data through their local systems to the transmitter without additional equipment. These stations can also choose to install Data Plus and enrich the text with additional local information.
Via Radio Adds Translator Hijack Prevention to Receiver
Melbourne, FL - May 31, 2006 - Via Radio has upgraded its RD10 RBDS receiver to automatically detect invalid source FM signals and mute translators that have been hijacked from capture of Part 15 and other rebroadcast devices. A common source of the Part 15 devices includes devices to rebroadcast signals from satellite radio and MP3 players. Other sources of interference include pirate stations and atmospheric skip.
The anti-hijack feature, already available on Via Radio's RBDS decoders, monitors the RBDS ID code of the source signal and closes a relay contact to disable the translator if the ID code is missing or different. Via Radio has added this functionality as a result of the numerous requests it received before and during the NAB2006 show.