The Best 10 Years of Radio magazine

Publish date:

The Best 10 Years of Radio magazine

Aug 1, 2003 12:00 PM

Continuing our retrospective of the past 10 years of Radio magazine, we look at the years 1996 and 1997. Since our first issue in January 1994, the radio industry has changed in many ways. Through these installments we will recall the changes in technology, FCC rules and our industry in general. These changes have made radio what it is today, and Radio magazine has been there all along � and will continue to be there.

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1996 &1997

Time Line


  • The EIA RBDS rollout continues in markets 11 through 25 in an effort to bolster the acceptance of the technology.
  • The FCC streamlines antenna registration procedures for sites that require special FAA clearance.
  • Radio ownership rules are relaxed, removing the total station cap. Station facility consolidation begins to grow two years after duopoly rules are adopted.
  • Telecom Act enacts that stations that are silent for 12 months forfeit their license.
  • More stations look to computer-based audio storage.
  • In June, the NRSC begins a series of lab tests on high-speed FM subcarriers.
  • FCC tower registration rules go into effect in July.
  • Stations learn how to best deal with unattended operation rules.
  • The EIA DAB field tests begin in San Francisco. USADR does not participate.
  • As part of the 1997 budget, the U.S. Government revenue expectations for S-band satellite radio spectrum auctions are approved.


  • The EAS rules go into full effect.
  • ISDN use reaches commonplace status.
  • Uncompressed digital STLs are introduced.
  • The NRSC completes the laboratory phase of its FM subcarrier high-speed data tests. Field tests are scheduled for WGAR-FM, Cleveland and WKSU-FM, Kent, OH.
  • The IP Multicast protocol is discussed as the next step in Internet broadcasting.
  • Expanded AM band allocation plans begin.
  • The FCC auctions two satellite radio licenses.
  • USA Digital Radio and Lucent announce plans to work together on a single IBOC system.
  • Senator John McCain introduces legislation to remove the TV/newspaper cross-ownership ban.
  • The United States and Canada amend their agreement to allow an increase in power for FM translators to 250W and Class A stations to 6kW.
  • FCC Chairman Reed Hundt announces plans to resign. William Kennard is appointed to the FCC in October and is named chairman in November.

More online

See the Pick Hits from 1996 and 1997 and a gallery of past covers. Click here.

You read it in Radiomagazine

Computer-based radio

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In March 1996, we investigated the new role that computers were playing with audio storage, data storage and file retrieval for radio. Cart machine replacement, audio editing and paperless logs all relied on the emerging use of PCs.

�Today, the most important piece of computer-based gear � and thus the one that should be chosen most carefully � is the digital audio on-air delivery system. Especially for an on-air studio, thoughtful consideration should be given to the interface that the DJ/operator must use.�

In the September 1996 issue, we took this a step further and detailed the terms and concepts of computers to specific uses for audio; a practice that is second nature today.

�The major computer-industry issue of how to store and retrieve data faster and more reliably is being addressed in a multitude of ways today, and most of those will affect broadcasters soon.�

Advances in remote broadcasting

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The July 1996 issue discussed the new technology behind remote broadcasts. ISDN codecs were proving their value, frequency extenders were still holding on as POTS codecs began making a mark, and RPU was feeling the squeeze of frequency congestion. We also discussed portable mixers, microphones and the importance of mix-minus.

�The maturing of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) service across the country and around the world is making it the service of choice for moving audio in real-time from point to point.�

�For those interested in feeding live stereo music from remote locations, invers multiplexing systems are available that can combine up to three BRI ISDN lines.�

Production productivity

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Computer-based audio systems grew in popularity by January 1997, most likely due to increased processor speeds (the Pentium processor was introduced in 1993) and reduced costs for memory and hard drive space.

�DAWs are available in three basic types, defined by the computer upon which they run: the Apple Macintosh, the IBM PC or a non-standard (�proprietary� or �dedicated�) computer.�

�The gravity of platform choice has grown recently as the issue of networking emerges. The days of the single, stand-alone DAW are fast receding, with the sneakernet method of audio transfer (via removable media) being replaced by local area network interconnections.�