Broadcast Industry News

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Commission staff apparently has been taking a good hard look at a lot of public files

The post FCC Continues Its Campaign of Political File Settlements appeared first on Radio World.

The Federal Communications Commission continues almost daily to announce new settlements in the form of consent decrees with various U.S. radio broadcast companies that were not complying with the rules about their political files. The number is up to 25 and counting.

You’ll recall that in late July the commission announced consent decrees covering six big-name radio companies. (Read about that here.) We reported subsequently that the commission has been using the same template with a growing list of broadcasters.

More have been posted over the past couple of weeks. A sampling of the most recent includes agreements with Liberty in Christ Jesus Ministry, Sun Broadcasting, Heidelberg Broadcasting, Radio Fiesta, Thornburg Communications and Glades Media.

The basic pattern throughout is that the Audio Division of the Media Bureau suspends consideration of a company’s station license renewals, then determines that the broadcaster hasn’t complied with the political file rules, presumably through analysis of information that stations have posted (or not posted) in its online database.

It then gets the company to agree to a series of compliance steps and reporting. At that point the commission says it won’t investigate further, and lifts the suspension. The agreements don’t involve financial penalties.

The consent decrees all use much the same language, including a historical discussion of the need for political files and a statement that the FCC has taken into consideration the difficulties that radio stations face because of the pandemic.

The rules state that radio stations must maintain records of requests for schedules of ad time from candidates and certain issue advertisers, and of deals resulting from those requests. The records must include what advertising aired, advertising preempted, and the timing of any make-goods, along with other information.

Since March 2018 all radio stations were supposed to be uploading new public and political files to the FCC’s online site. More info about the rules can be found here.

The post FCC Continues Its Campaign of Political File Settlements appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 12, 2020, 5:47 pm

Brown says the association is "continuing to evolve the digital event model"

The post NAB Show New York Will Spread Over 10 Days Online appeared first on Radio World.

The pandemic has been tough on trade show planners, no question. But with no physical convention center to occupy, event organizers at least are free to experiment with different formats.

Witness what the National Association of Broadcasters is doing with its NAB Show New York. It will hold that event this year virtually, which is no surprise at this point; but it will also spread it out over a 10-day period.

Executive Vice President of NAB Conventions Chris Brown said in an announcement that the association is “continuing to evolve the digital event model.” He mentioned a more robust platform and enhanced experience for participants as selling points.

The content of NAB Show New York targets the television, film, online video, live events, podcasting, advertising, corporate A/V, production and post business segments. Typically the show is co-located with the AES convention at the Javits Center in New York.

Brown said the 10-day virtual format offers “a longer, more flexible schedule that optimize opportunities for conducting business, networking and peer-to-peer learning.”

In lieu of exhibit booths, the event includes a marketplace that will feature “immersive tours, new product demonstrations, authoritative white papers, and live chats with representatives from exhibiting companies.”

The fall Radio Show also will be held virtually, on Oct. 5 to 9.

The post NAB Show New York Will Spread Over 10 Days Online appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 12, 2020, 5:11 pm

Free webcast explores new and pending offerings from RCS, Wheatstone, Telos Alliance and WideOrbit

The post Radio World to Stream “Fall Product Peeks 2020” appeared first on Radio World.

RW promo banner for Fall Sneak Peeks 2020 webcast

A new 30-minute Radio World webcast explores new products from several of radio’s leading technology vendors.

Editor in Chief Paul McLane spends a few minutes with each of the manufacturers listed below to learn what they are offering for radio broadcasters. The format is intended to be fast-moving so you can learn about new products without taking up a lot of your day.

You can register here; the webcast goes live on Aug. 26, registrants will receive a reminder email.

From RCS Worldwide, Nate Mumford discusses the company’s cloud-based remote offerings. Though working outside the studio, your radio staff can continue to add audio, metadata or schedules as well as massage a log, automatically send a music log to automation and stream from any location. He also covers brand-new unique hybrid workflows between RCS products.

At Wheatstone, Jay Tyler introduces the Blade 4, a new WheatNet-IP I/O access unit coming out this fall. He explains what’s new in AoIP architecture and walks you through Blade 4 features, including dual ports and power supplies; new onboard apps; advanced source attribution for automating routing and control; codec integration with the AoIP network; and interoperability improvements using AES67 and NMOS.

Marty Sacks of Telos Alliance explains how the Axia Quasar AoIP Console builds on the company’s deep AoIP expertise. He describes its native AoIP architecture; features like new Source profiles, automatic mix-minus and automixing on all channels; and highly customizable design including user-assignable buttons in the Master touchscreen module and every channel strip. Marty also sets the stage for the future of consoles — hardware, software, cloud — based on the needs of the user.

And WideOrbit’s William “Dub” Irvin talks about how WO Automation for Radio helps stations manageoperations from any location. The conversation includes a sneak peek into v5.0, available soon, which allows for full control of the automation system, including true voice tracking and recording capabilities, through native apps that can be installed and used from anywhere.

This is a free sponsored webcast, part of Radio World’s ongoing series about radio and audio products and technology trends. Register here.

The post Radio World to Stream “Fall Product Peeks 2020” appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 12, 2020, 3:50 pm

Radio is just one of many media taking a big hit this year

The post BIA Lowers Local Ad Spending Projections Again appeared first on Radio World.

We already knew that U.S. commercial radio was going to bring in a lot less money from local advertising this year; but the latest projection is not any more encouraging.

BIA Advisory Services expects over-the-air radio advertising to finish at about $11.2 billion for 2020. Its prior projection four months ago was $11.4 billion; and before the pandemic, BIA originally had projected that OTA radio would bring in about $13.1 billion.

So this latest forecast suggests a –15% differential from “what might have been” for radio this year. (The estimate includes spending by national, regional and local advertisers on radio; it does not include spending by national advertisers on radio networks.)

The chart below compares the latest estimates for each media segment to two prior BIA forecasts:

BIA 2020 updated forecast for local ad spending

More broadly, the research company predicts that spending on all local advertising in the U.S. will be down about 6% despite strong anticipated political advertising.

The firm lowered its previous estimates in almost all media categories. It now projects total 2020 local ad spending at $140.4 billion, down from a projection of $144.3 billion four months ago.

Mark Fratrik

Its chief economist Mark Fratrik said in the announcement, “Right now, we believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.”

He pointed to local political ad spending as one positive area, with campaigns making more use of online rallies and events.

Segments showing “some COVID resilience” include healthcare and finance & insurance, but even those are down in terms of overall ad revenue spending.

The post BIA Lowers Local Ad Spending Projections Again appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 12, 2020, 1:31 pm

The Content Delivery Network can scale from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of streams

The post “Best of Show” Up Close: RCS Revma appeared first on Radio World.

Radio World Best of Show Award 2020 logo“Best of Show” Up Close is a series of Q&As with participants in Radio World’s annual springtime Best of Show Awards program.

RCS nominated its Revma Professional-Grade Streaming.

Radio World: What is Revma, and what kind of users is it intended for?

RCS: Revma is a Content Delivery Network that allows professionals from small to large scales to distribute their stream and efficiently duplicate their feeds to multiple destinations and configurations. Revma is compatible with industry standard encoders and players, as well as can be custom tailored to specific user workflows.

RW: What sets it apart from similar offerings in this product class?

RCS: Revma is different from most Content Delivery Networks because it can easily scale from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of streams, all while maintaining a next level of ultra-high reliability, with rich analytic detail.

To further monetize their streams, users can also take advantage of Revma’s VAST compliance ad-insertion technology, which can be further controlled with a wide array of rules, like geo-targeting and more.

The Revma Conference App, one of the many tools available for broadcasters included as part of the Revma package, creates a cloud studio in which hosts can invite multiple participants from different geographical locations, to be mixed as part of a single output stream.

RCS Revma Ads Graph
Revma Ads Graph

RW: RCS has been emphasizing the ability of many of its products to work remotely. What about Revma?

RCS: The Revma UI is completely web-based and can be accessed via any computer or device with an internet browser using defined logins and passwords. Administrators can remotely monitor their streams, adjust configurations and run analytic reports, all of which can be done without downloading from an app store or installing software on a machine.

RW: What does it cost? Is it shipping?

RCS: Available now. Since every client has different unique requirements, our RCS sales representatives are available to tailor each Revma quote to a user’s desired setup.

RW: What else should we know about Revma?

RCS: For commercial in-store radio applications, Revma also has an In-Store Radio model in which administrators can define centralized programming that is broken down between Blends, content, and Breaks, commercial traffic, that can be duplicated from the master feed or overwritten with each location’s own blends and/or breaks.

Most importantly, as part of the RCS family of products, users know they’re receiving renowned worldwide support, sales, development and reliability.

[Read about all the nominees and winners in the award program guide.]

The post “Best of Show” Up Close: RCS Revma appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 12, 2020, 12:01 pm

Pandemic or no, it’s more important than ever to keep our skills fresh

The post Engineers Should Never Stop Learning appeared first on Radio World.

It was 1980 and I was on top of the world, a kid in my early 20s and the chief (and only) engineer of a top-rated pop FM station in Dallas.

My office was on the top floor of a bank building and I had a great view out the glass wall in front of my desk. I had all the latest equipment, great studios, a brand-new main transmitter site, a nice paycheck, a company car and a bunch of trade to burn. Could it get any better? No doubt about it, I had arrived.

The past 40 years have made the memories a little fuzzy at times, but I’m pretty sure I thought I knew it all back then. I must have known it all, or I wouldn’t have had that job, office and all the perks, right?

One day, my DOE, Gary Hess, came into my office. He wanted me to do an allocation drop-in for an East Coast market. A what? How does that work? Obviously there was at least one thing I didn’t know.

Other memories may be hazy, but I have a clear recollection of Gary down on the floor of my office with me, topo maps spread out under a straight edge, showing me how to plot the chosen reference coordinates. Then he showed me how to do a channel study, how to lay out eight radials and how to calculate the average terrain elevation.

I did what Gary showed me, he filed the FCC paperwork, and the drop-in was successful. That allocation is still in place to this day, as is the Class A FM station he filed for after teaching me how.

It’s been a lot of years, but I’ve never forgotten that lesson. More importantly, I’ve never forgotten that Gary took the time to show a young, know-it-all kid something new, providing a skill that would serve me well for many years to come.

How Does That Work?

Fast-forward almost a decade from that point. I was older, presumably wiser, and infinitely more aware of what all I didn’t know. Except for maintaining a few simple, mostly non-directional AM transmitter sites, all my experience to date had been television and FM, but I had a new 5 kW four-tower AM build-out dropped right into my lap with a deadline and a budget. Oh boy.

I knew virtually nothing about AM antenna systems, phasors, ATUs and sample systems. Certainly I understood the basic principles from what I had learned in engineering school many years prior, but I had never put that into practice in any way. So I was really sweating it.

For many years, my company had used Gallagher & Associates as its consulting engineering firm, and Charlie Gallagher was a good friend. When I dropped the bomb of the AM antenna project on Charlie, he didn’t miss a beat. He immediately began teaching me the things I needed to know, taking me step by step through the process.

Charlie showed me how to do a phase budget, then how to design a phasing and coupling system. He taught me how to design a power divider, the advantages and disadvantages of various designs, and how to choose real-world components for the system. Within a few short weeks he had shown me how to calculate driving point impedances and leg values in tee-networks.

Engineering notes
Charlie Gallagher showed me how to do a phase budget, how to design a phasing and coupling system, how to design a power divider and lots more. These are some of his notes.

With Charlie’s help and calculations and diagrams flying back and forth on our newfangled fax machines, I got that site built, tuned up, proofed and licensed — and Charlie never set foot on the property. He gave me the tools — and the confidence — to do the job myself. That station and site are still on the air all these decades later.

The learning process didn’t stop there. Charlie continued to teach me about AM allocations, how to do groundwave equivalent distance calculations, how to make and apply conductivity measurements and how to do skywave night limit studies. After that came directional antenna design. I still have a drawer full of fading thermal fax paper with Charlie’s notes and examples, and occasionally I still refer to them.

In the years that followed, I did a lot of AM allocation and antenna projects completely on my own. I learned something, sometimes a lot, from each of them. But I still didn’t know it all.

Somewhere along the way, Charlie introduced me to John Furr, another of his protégés who was director of engineering for Clear Channel. John and I became friends and often swapped thoughts and ideas. John was a programmer, I was more of a hacker (in the sense that I tried to write code).

I learned a lot from John, and eventually we became business partners. John passed away several years ago, but the company he started and in which I remain managing partner still survives.

Passing it On

John, like Charlie, had a heart for teaching people our trade, and once or twice a year he would host an immersion symposium at a San Antonio hotel, bringing in Charlie, other presenters and me. We would, for a very reasonable cost, teach attendees how to do AM, FM and TV allocations and a whole lot more.

I still have the notebooks we used and handed out at those symposiums. To this day I occasionally hear from people who attended. The reality is that there was at the time nowhere else to get that kind of training. I was honored to be a part of the process.

Fast-forwarding again to recent years, instead of learning about scary AM allocations and networks, I find myself learning about firewalls, routing, AoIP, multicasting, VLANs, switches, protocols and other scary stuff.

Attendees listen at a John Furr symposium in 2002.
Attendees listen at a John Furr symposium in 2002. You might recognize attendees if you look closely; I see Joel Saxburg, Steve Davis and Jeff Littlejohn, among others.

It occurred to me recently that the learning never stops, not really, or it shouldn’t, not if we’re to keep up. With technology changing so rapidly, I find that knowledge to be perishable.

For some, sadly, the learning does stop, and for those folks, skills quickly become dated and stale. Their value in the industry is low, or at least lower than that of those who work at keeping up. I occasionally encounter folks like that. With some, it’s as if they are unaware there is anything beyond the things they do know. They’re missing out altogether on a whole world of opportunity.

Coming out of a pandemic, the broadcast industry will be leaner and more efficient than ever. We’re operating in a whole new way, often remotely and certainly with fewer warm bodies at the controls. More is required of engineers, and a higher skill set is needed than perhaps any time in the past. Those without those skills will find themselves at a significant disadvantage.

Which brings me to a point: There have never been more opportunities for continuing education than there are right now, and you don’t have to travel to a hotel in San Antonio to take advantage.

There are live and on-demand webinars on timely topics available from many sources, including the Society of Broadcast Engineers. There is, in my opinion, no better bargain out there than the SBE’s “Member Plus” membership level, which provides unlimited access to the entire archived catalogue of SBE educational webinars and all new webinars produced during the membership year.

Manufacturers often offer product-specific training that has broader application, many times in webinar format. White papers on timely topics abound and are often available online, and we strive to make the cream of that crop available in these pages.

In short, there is no excuse for not continuing to learn in this business. The opportunities are many, and your very livelihood may depend on it. So make it a point to try and learn something new or expand your skills every day. Never stop learning!

And perhaps more importantly, make an effort to pass on what you learn to others. I am forever grateful to Gary, Charlie, John and others who took the time to show me some new things. Don’t miss an opportunity to be a mentor to someone else!

W.C. “Cris” Alexander, CPBE, AMD, DRB, is director of engineering at Crawford Broadcasting and the technical editor of Radio World Engineering Extra. Read past issues of RWEE and RW.

The post Engineers Should Never Stop Learning appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Cris Alexander
Posted: August 12, 2020, 11:00 am

Audio ad agency will use the Podcast Buying Power service

The post Nielsen Signs Veritone One for Podcast Research appeared first on Radio World.

Announcements like this are a reminder of how the podcast advertising environment is maturing and getting more sophisticated.

Nielsen says it has signed audio advertising and media agency Veritone One as a subscriber to its Podcast Buying Power service.

Nielsen launched the service in the summer of last year and says it now has about a dozen major subscribers including IPG Media Brands, which signed in January, and PodcastOne, which joined in April. Previously announced clients include iHeartMedia; Cadence13; Midroll, Stitcher’s advertising arm; Westwood One and cabana.

The research service provides data about 18 genres and 150 podcast titles that can be cross-referenced by consumer purchase behavior patterns and use of services.

Nielsen says this “allows clients to profile shows using program titles collected from subscribers in order to connect specific types of listeners with particular advertisers and specific program-level insights. It also features the same capabilities by genres and listening usage.”

In the announcement, Veritone One’s SVP of Strategy and Investment Conor Doyle was quoted saying this tool will help it refine ad placements and expand offerings for new advertisers that want to get into podcasting. “Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space,” he said.

Nielsen says the service can capture results for given programs and tie them to retail categories and advertisers with specific brand names. It says the service is particularly relevant as more brand advertisers are coming into podcasting.

 

The post Nielsen Signs Veritone One for Podcast Research appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 12, 2020, 9:00 am

Says RRI set up the first digital stations for FM in Indonesia and Southeast Asia

The post DRM Highlights DRM for FM Tests in Java appeared first on Radio World.

An image from Google Maps shows the installation locations; click on map to see details.

Digital Radio Mondiale is highlighting test measurements done by the Radio Republik Indonesia network.

“RRI has just conducted measurements proving that DRM in FM is spectrum- [and] energy-efficient, delivering audio and text in superior quality without any interference even in very crowded FM environments,” the organization stated.

It provided a link to a one-minute RRI video about the project.

DRM said that in June, “a digital radio transmitter was installed and commissioned by RRI at Pelubharan Ratu in Sukabumi province, West Java. This innovative step meant this is the first-ever digital radio broadcasting station for FMset up for warning functionality in Indonesia and in Southeast Asia.”

It said the station is broadcasting three audio programs in digital DRM, and a data channel presenting text of news and current affairs information in the Bhasa Indonesia language; that data is provided through the Journaline system.

A second digital transmitter was installed at Pantai Labuan in West Java; a third DRM FM transmitter was commissioned in July in central Java.

In addition, DRM said, RRI plans to install and commission two more DRM FM transmitters in West Sumatra and in eastern Indonesia in August.

It said RRI’s tests in West Java indicated that six test points covered by the 1 kW transmitter could be served with only 50 watts of DRM power. “In testing a simulcast broadcast using 1 kW and 800 Watt with spacing distance 150 kHz between the middle frequency FM and DRM, the measurement showed no interference between FM and DRM. The DRM quality was at least equally good to FM, but the sound quality of DRM was even better than FM.”

DRM provided a link to a coverage map as well.

[Related commentary: “Use DRM for India’s FM Band”]

The post DRM Highlights DRM for FM Tests in Java appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 11, 2020, 4:12 pm

Also reports drop in net revenue of 48% in latest quarter

The post Cumulus Will Sell Its Towers to Vertical Bridge appeared first on Radio World.

Cumulus Media is getting out of the tower ownership biz. It plans to sell “substantially all” of its broadcast communication tower sites to Vertical Bridge and to lease access to them instead.

The company also announced that its net revenue in the most recent quarter was down almost 48% from a year ago.

The sale of its towers is a move to raise cash to pay down debt. President/CEO Mary Berner described it as “an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt pay down.”

The company reported the agreement in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in its latest quarterly financial announcement.

[Related: Cumulus Considers Selling Tower Holdings]

The first closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the fourth quarter.

The initial term of each tower site lease would be 10 years, followed by five option periods of five years each. If all the sites are sold, Cumulus expects to have lease obligations of approximately $13.5 million each year; while it will lose some annual tenant revenues, it will also save money in operating expenses.

“The transaction will not have any effect on the company’s current broadcast operations,” the company told the SEC.

In reporting its latest financials, Berner said that despite the pandemic, Cumulus generated $90 million of cash in the quarter “through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management and the completion of the sale of land in Bethesda, Md.,” referring to the former tower site of WMAL. The completion of that sale netted it an additional $66 million in cash.

The company told shareholders that it had “meaningfully mitigated” the pandemic’s impact in the second quarter through “significant fixed cost expense reductions,” and that it expects total reductions of more than $85 million in 2020.

Still, the numbers were filled with minus signs as Cumulus struggled, like other media companies, to cope with the pandemic. In the latest quarter, Cumulus reported net revenue of $146 million, down almost 48% from the same period a year ago. It had a net loss of $36.3 million. For its entire first fiscal half, net revenue was $373.9 million, down about 32%, with a net loss of $43.7 million.

Cumulus owns 424 radio stations in 87 markets and is a major syndicator through its Westwood One arm.

 

The post Cumulus Will Sell Its Towers to Vertical Bridge appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 11, 2020, 4:04 pm

“Radio Air-Chain Innovation” series starts Aug. 13

The post Nautel Teams With Telos on Webinars appeared first on Radio World.

Nautel, Telos Alliance, Radio Air-Chain InnovationNautel is adding another series of webinars.

Working with equipment manufacturer Telos Alliance, and entitled “Radio Air-Chain Innovation,” the new series starts Aug. 13 and continues on Aug. 27 and Sept. 10.

Telos Alliance Executive Chairman Frank Foti said, “Nautel and Telos Alliance have collaborated numerous times in the past, and we have an affinity for each other, both technologically and philosophically.”

A release explained, “This new series indicates a close alliance between the companies to bring solutions to broadcast engineers that will focus on ways to leverage ‘Made for Radio’ standards and technologies — MPX, µMPX, MPX node, E2X, HD Radio PAR, and virtualization — to solve nagging air-chain issues and open the door to new and easier implementations of HD Radio transmission opportunities.”

Nautel is also continuing its current Transmission Talk Tuesday webinar series. On Aug, 18 is “Back-ups and STL” and on Aug. 25 is “Life on the Road.” The latter focuses on tales of sales pros traveling. Transmission Talk Tuesday webinars are hosted Nautel’s Jeff Welton.

Both sets of webinars are free, start at noon and count for half an SBE recertification credit.

 

The post Nautel Teams With Telos on Webinars appeared first on Radio World.

Author: RW Staff
Posted: August 11, 2020, 3:22 pm

Station’s reasoning that the move was a “permissible means of self-help” is rejected by FCC

The post Translator Handed $12,000 Forfeiture for Operating at Unauthorized Power Levels appeared first on Radio World.

Rules are rules, so says the Enforcement Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission. And there’s little leeway given, especially in the case of a licensee that bent the rules by modifying a station’s operating parameters without FCC approval.

Even if the licensee claims it did so as a form of “self-help.”

[Read: FCC Stands Behind Philadelphia Translator Decision]

That was the case for Ondas de Vidas Inc., the licensee of FM translator station K256BS in Palmdale, Calif. Ondas balked at the $12,000 monetary forfeiture handed down by the Enforcement Bureau after Ondas began operating the station at unauthorized power levels.

It was back in April 2017 that the bureau first issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture after finding (on two separate occasions) that Ondas operated the station at power levels that exceeded those found on the station’s license.

Ondas in turn argued that the proposed forfeiture should be reduced or canceled for several reasons: the bureau should have alerted Ondas of the violations before issuing the notice, the station was entitled to operate at a higher transmitter output power than specified on its license, and because Ondas was a thinly funded, nonprofit entity.

The commission considered those arguments but ultimately rejected them and formally issuing a Forfeiture Order of $12,000.

In a second round of arguments, Ondas also reasoned that, following damage to the station’s antenna, it intentionally increased the station’s transmitter power — a “permissible means of self-help,” Ondas argued — in an effort to continue operating at the station’s authorized effective radiated power. The licensee also acknowledged that, in retrospect, it should have followed established procedures — such as filing an application for special temporary authority — to obtain commission approval.

After fully considering the petition, the commission found none of the arguments persuasive and affirmed the $12,000 forfeiture originally assessed in the forfeiture order.

The bureau said that Ondas was mistaken in assuming it was somehow entitled to additional warning before the bureau can issue a notice. It also rejected the notion that a licensee can sit back and await findings of violation before taking appropriate steps to ensure compliance with commission rules.

The bureau also rejected the notion that any “good faith compliance efforts” outweigh the fact that Ondas deliberately increased the station’s transmitter power output. Ondas willfully violated FCC rules plain and simple, the bureau said.

The commission also rejected Ondas’ claim that it has an unblemished tenure as a licensee and thus any proposed forfeiture should be lowered. While this action may be Ondas’ first monetary sanction, the bureau reminded Ondas’ of several other nonmonetary sanctions over the years, which included operating from an unauthorized location, interference violations, unauthorized facility modification, unauthorized antenna orientation and several EAS violations.

As a result, the bureau dismissed Ondas’ petition and reiterated that the licensee is liable for a monetary forfeiture of $12,000.

 

The post Translator Handed $12,000 Forfeiture for Operating at Unauthorized Power Levels appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Susan Ashworth
Posted: August 11, 2020, 5:21 am

The decision to include the FM band in the mix drew ire from two FCC commissioners

The post FCC Eliminates Radio Duplication Rule for Both AM and FM Bands appeared first on Radio World.

In a move that many in the industry felt was long overdue, the Federal Communications Commission has now eliminated its radio duplication rule.

Unexpectedly, it did so for FM stations as well as the AM band.

This outcome was not cheered by everyone at the commission. One commissioner said the decision to include FMs chips away at the commission’s goal of protecting localism, competition and diversity.

Greater flexibility

At its August open meeting, the commission adopted a Report and Order eliminating the rule that restricts the duplication of programming on commonly owned broadcast radio stations operating in the same service and geographic area.

[Related: Trump Rescinds O’Rielly Nomination at FCC]

Initially adopted in 1964, the rules on this issue had been updated several times since to reflect changes in the marketplace. But now was the time to eliminate the rule outright, according to Chairman Ajit Pai.

The commission decided that rescinding the rule would help struggling stations stay on the air and give licensees greater flexibility to address issues of local concern in a timelier fashion, particularly in a time of crisis. “In order to help AM broadcasters overcome … challenges, the commission has been looking for ways to help by alleviating unnecessary regulatory burdens, providing more flexibility and improving sound quality,” Pai said.

He said this move give stations greater flexibility to simulcast programming — thereby helping them stay afloat and continue serving their communities — and also that simulcasting could assist AM stations looking to transition to all-digital transmission. “One station could offer the higher-audio quality of digital transmission, while another could keep supplying analog programming to listeners who don’t yet have digital-capable equipment,” he wrote in a statement.

The move is designed to help AM stations survive in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Pai said. Nowhere in his statement, however, did the chairman discuss reasons for expanding the change to the FM band.

The outcome was cheered by the National Association of Broadcasters.

“We applaud the commission for continuing to modernize its media rules,” said NAB Senior Vice President of Communications Ann Marie Cumming in a statement. “Given that there is no longer any rationale for imposing a ban on duplicating one’s radio signal, we appreciate the FCC’s decision to rescind the rule.”

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the Democratic minority on the commission, concurred with the ruling in respect to the AM band but she dissented in all other respects.

She said that in the 36 hours before the August meeting, the FCC leadership discarded its original Report and Order language, which would have eliminated the rule in the AM band only, as we reported earlier.

“As originally drafted, this decision would help alleviate some of the strain on these stations and experiment with rolling back this rule in the AM band,” she said. “It would be a smart test bed to see how localism, competition and diversity in the band fared when this rule was set aside.”

But the agency threw its approach away, she said, and eliminated the policy in both AM and FM in one fell swoop. But signal quality issues in these bands are totally different, Rosenworcel said, as are economic issues and the impact of content duplication.

 So what we have is yet another small chip in our principles [that] rushes ahead without doing the due diligence needed to consider the impact on localism, competition and diversity,” she said.

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, a fellow Democrat, said the majority leadership failed to explain “how the benefits to FM broadcasters outweigh the public interest in protecting truly local broadcast programming and local audiences from the potential harms caused by unfettered duplicate programming.”

“I have concerns that today’s decision will undoubtedly make it easier and more cost-effective for large station groups to hoard local stations without any obligation to provide significant programming that meets local community needs,” he said.

Pai and fellow Republican Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr said elimination of the rule will give radio stations greater flexibility when it comes to format changes and ultimately allow stations to improve service to their communities.

The rulemaking is part of the commission’s ongoing Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative.

 

The post FCC Eliminates Radio Duplication Rule for Both AM and FM Bands appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Susan Ashworth
Posted: August 10, 2020, 7:55 pm

Was also a lawyer, developer and former chair of the NAB Radio Board

The post Doug Williams Dies, Was Longtime Oklahoma Broadcaster appeared first on Radio World.

Doug Williams and daughter Brooke Williams
Doug Williams and daughter Brooke Williams

Doug Williams, a longtime broadcaster and a past chairman of the Radio Board of the National Association of Broadcasters, has died. He was 78.

“J. Douglas Williams, whose legendary career in broadcasting, law, real estate, education and civic involvement spanned more than five decades, passed away on Friday, Aug. 7, in his beloved hometown of Woodward, Okla., at the age of 78,” stated an obituary.

He was president/CEO of Omni Communications Inc. for 40 years. Omni owns three radio and one TV stations.

“Affectionately known as ‘J. Doug,’ he also entertained and informed Northwest Oklahoma listeners every day as the voice of the ‘Morning Show’ on Woodward station K-101,” according to the obituary, which noted that he was a past recipient of an NAB Marconi Award as Radio Personality of the Year.

The announcement was distributed by the Radio Advertising Bureau, where Williams’ daughter Brooke Williams is senior vice president of membership.

The obituary quoted Woodward Chamber of Commerce President C.J. Montgomery saying, “Doug Williams held a radio station that has become as much a part of the tri-state area as the land and the people that call it home.” That area includes parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.

He held bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Oklahoma and was a former special agent with the FBI. In addition to law and broadcasting, he was a local real estate developer and held executive roles with the G.O. Williams Oil Company and f the G.O. Williams Investment Co. He also was president/GM of a concert and special events production and promotion company.

In addition to his work on the NAB Radio Board, Williams was a board member and former president of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, and a member of the Texas Association of Broadcasters.

“Mr. Williams will also be remembered as the founding producer of The 101 Classic Bowl in Woodward, an annual event that honors local high school athletes, band members and cheerleaders, and awards scholarships to deserving students,” the obituary stated.

In addition to his daughter, Williams is survived by granddaughter Drew and son-in-law Ryan Hamby.

A funeral is planned in Woodward, Okla., on Aug. 12 will be streamed via Billings Funeral Home’s Facebook page.

The post Doug Williams Dies, Was Longtime Oklahoma Broadcaster appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 10, 2020, 4:07 pm

Industry expects huge domestic demand and is ready for massive exports

The post Commentary: Use DRM on India’s FM Band appeared first on Radio World.

Yogendra Pal
Yogendra Pal

The author is chair of the India chapter of the DRM Consortium.

All India Radio (AIR) has adopted the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard for digital terrestrial radio broadcasting in MW and SW bands. Thirty-eight high-power DRM transmitters are carrying regular digital transmissions, either in pure digital and/or in simulcast mode.

Sometime back, AIR had issued instructions to increase the transmission hours of such transmitters in pure digital mode. Also each of the four metro cities had been asked to operate one transmitter in Pure Digital Mode. Over 80% of the Indian population was expected to be able to receive radio programs in digital. And this is before most of these transmitters started operating in pure DRM digital mode.

The COVID-19 lockdown has adversely affected the digital transmission schedule in pure digital but we are confident that it will be restored soon.

Key features of Digital Radio Mondiale for India

The stakeholders’ efforts are also paying off, as the ecosystem for DRM digital receivers has evolved in India, from domestic chipset development to receiver design and production.

The Indian auto industry has responded very positively. Over 2 million cars on Indian roads have line-fit DRM receivers, and this number is increasing every day.

Five leading automotive manufacturers — Maruti/Suzuki, Hyundai, Mahindra, MG Motors and Toyota — are rolling out cars with built-in DRM receivers. Most of the other leading car manufacturers are understood to be in the process of incorporating them but are waiting to see the demand first.

Development and production of standalone DRM receivers is also being taken up fast by Indian as well as foreign companies.

Made-in-India Avion DRM receivers are already available online at Amazon. The DRM receiver prototype by Inntot, another India company, has been successfully demonstrated. The company paired with Clarion for manufacturing DRM car receivers and is looking for partners for starting large-scale production of standalone DRM receivers.

Foreign companies — Gospell, Starwaves, Titus and Nedis — have come out with a number of models of standalone as well as car models of DRM receivers. Cambridge Consultants in the U.K. have just unveiled the prototype of a low-cost DRM receiver. Korean companies RF2Digital and AlgorKorea are also developing software-defined DRM radios.

To further boost the presence of digital radio in the country, AIR has taken a number of initiatives and it held a DRM Stakeholders Meeting in February, which was addressed by the CEO and Member (Finance) of the Prasar Bharati. A Project Management Unit (PMU) has also been constituted to ensure that DRM Digital Radio is rolled out successfully.

Graphic Digital Radio Mondiale for all bands

AIR is broadcasting in the FM band also for local coverage. It provides about 43% coverage of the 1.3 billion population. Private broadcasters in India are allowed to broadcast in FM only but it is not possible to meet their demand for additional FM services, particularly in big cities, due to limited spectrum available for FM broadcasting. Their coverage is also limited to about 40%.

Therefore, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the broadcasting sector regulator, has recommended that private FM broadcasters be allowed to broadcast in digital in the white spaces in the VHF band II (FM band). Though TRAI has not specified which digital broadcast standard is to be used, it is recommended that white spaces may be auctioned by 200 kHz bandwidth blocks.

India is currently carrying out trials of ITU-approved standards, including DRM, in the FM band. DRM is fully compatible with the existing FM band transmissions. It utilizes the unused white spaces in the spectrum, technically unavailable for further analog FM expansion.

Using DRM, in the allocated 200 kHz bandwidth, a broadcaster can transmit up to six high-quality audio services along with a host of value-added services and Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF). All digital services work without disturbing the existing analog FM services.

DRM standard can be supported natively on all mobile phones based on the already available tuners for analog FM reception. No additional hardware and, therefore, no additional design or component cost is required to enable DRM digital FM support on these phones.

The DRM App for mobile phones has already been developed and demonstrated by a number of organizations. Only the mobile phone manufacturers need to provide access of the baseband digital output. The mobile phone industry is also expecting the clear policy announcement for the country to start incorporating this functionality in future phone models.

For legacy phone models, external FM front-end dongles have been developed. These dongles along with the already developed DRM radio app can be used to receive full DRM FM functions. This has been demonstrated successfully by a number of developers.

As the DRM standard works in all the broadcast bands, most of the DRM desktop receivers available today or in development are already prepared for DRM in the FM band. Several of them have demonstrated their working in all the broadcast bands, including FM band.

The designers/manufacturers of DRM receivers are thus eagerly waiting for the official policy announcements of the Indian government to finalize the digital FM support in their DRM receiver models. Use of DRM in FM band by AIR and private broadcasters in India would motivate them further to incorporate DRM FM facility in the receivers being produced and/or designed by them.

It is thus the right time for India to go for digital broadcasting in the FM band, too, using the DRM standard already adopted in MW and SW bands. Indian industry is looking towards meeting the huge domestic demand and is ready for massive exports.

Read other recent stories and commentaries about digital radio.

Radio World welcomes comments on this or any story. Email [email protected] with “Letter to the Editor” in the subject field.

The post Commentary: Use DRM on India’s FM Band appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Yogendra Pal
Posted: August 10, 2020, 3:26 pm

Association president and CEO did not suffer stroke

The post Updated: NAB’s Gordon Smith Hospitalized appeared first on Radio World.

Update: There is additional news on NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith’s condition. Further analysis indicates that he did not suffer a stroke. These words from Smith were released by the National Association of Broadcasters:

“I am so grateful for the outpouring of support from all of you. Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night [Aug. 6] it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted. As a result, my prognosis is extremely positive and there is no permanent damage.”

Gordon Smith, the National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO, suffered a stroke on Wednesday, Aug. 5, and was admitted to a hospital, according to a statement from the NAB.

“He is responding well to treatment, is stable and alert, and is resting comfortably,” the NAB shared in its statement. “His prognosis is good, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”

Smith, a former two-term Senator from Oregon, has been leading the NAB since September of 2009.

The post Updated: NAB’s Gordon Smith Hospitalized appeared first on Radio World.

Author: TVT Staff
Posted: August 10, 2020, 2:32 pm

GV20 FM transmitter installed for use at WSRB and WPWX

The post Crawford Chicago Selects Nautel appeared first on Radio World.

Nautel, GV20, Crawford Broadcasting, Rick Sewell
Crawford Broadcasting has installed a Nautel GV20D FM transmitter and a Nautel HD Multicast + Importer/ Exporter for use at its WRSB and WPWX HD Radio stations. The transmitter will fulfill backup duties.
Crawford Broadcasting Chicago Engineering Manager Rick Sewell stands with his new transmitter.
RW welcomes news for Who’s Buying What, email us at [email protected].

The post Crawford Chicago Selects Nautel appeared first on Radio World.

Author: RW Staff
Posted: August 9, 2020, 4:55 pm

Application window open until Aug. 19

The post NABLF Accepting 2021 Broadcast Leadership Training Applications appeared first on Radio World.

NAB Leadership Foundation, Broadcast Leadership Training program

The NAB Leadership Foundation is preparing for the 2021 edition of its Broadcast Leadership Training program, for which it is now accepting applications.

Now in its 21st year, BLT is an executive training program for the broadcast industry designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions. This includes the fundamentals of purchasing, owning and operating radio and TV stations.

NABLF especially encourages women and people of color to apply for the program.

This iteration of BLT will be a hybrid online and in-person model because of health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online. The inaugural session is scheduled to take place Sept. 24–25. The complete schedule will be announced in early October.

“As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program,” said Diane Sutter, BLT program founder and dean, as well as the founder and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.”

The application deadline for the 2021 BLT program is Aug. 19. For more information or to apply for the BLT program, visit the website.

 

The post NABLF Accepting 2021 Broadcast Leadership Training Applications appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Michael Balderston
Posted: August 9, 2020, 1:47 pm

How can stations best educate before Election Day?

The post Community Broadcaster: Correct the Record appeared first on Radio World.

The author is membership program director of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. NFCB commentaries are featured regularly at www.radioworld.com.

Pew Research has issued its latest findings on the lead up to the U.S. election in November. The opinions of 11,000+ polled voters may give your radio station ideas on how to create new interest and conversation with your programming.

Pew’s figures revealed that, even amid major upheavals nationally, political affiliation since 2018 for thousands of Americans remains largely unchanged. There certainly have been shifts. The largest flights were among people of color and college-educated whites. However, whatever you think of media’s approaches to the news, early indications are that coverage is primarily seen as informational. Voters still feel as they do. Such is not a bad thing. In fact, this clarity can help us ask better questions to those in our medium.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Why Look Away?]

What can radio’s role be in an election year? NFCB will explore that issue in a webinar Aug. 12, but it’s a subject all of us, commercial and noncommercial, are trying to figure out.

One possibility for your election coverage is to cover tension responsibly. Ariana Pekary just posted an announcement of her departure from MSNBC that may be instructive about what to avoid. In her view, pursing particular metrics incentivized offering a platform to fringe voices, stoking divisions, and cultivating an us-versus-them ethos. Chasing ratings, she writes, was “practically baked in to the editorial process — and those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing.”

It is highly tempting to cover the worst aspects of any side of an issue. Indeed, conflict creates excitement and interest, but it may also normalize a distorted position to represent conservatives and liberals. As Pekary points out, commercial media has to change this. It can start with radio.

Another strategy for election coverage is seeking to tackle left-right splits in your community. The GroundTruth Project interviewed two academics on this subject. Reframing questions to avoid defensiveness; and talking with people about how they think, rather than what they think are among the ideas.

And finally, perhaps your radio station can use its website or airwaves to help answer voters’ questions and correct misunderstandings and assumptions they hear from friends or read on social media and text message exchanges. Make a little time for First Draft’s Infotheque 2020 virtual conference, which was held this week and posted its sessions on YouTube. You may discover ways to help your audience by addressing disinformation and, in turn, providing them assurances that you give back to your community.

Election day is less than three months away and listeners are hungry for your station to be the main dish in their information diet. We as radio can contribute with many innovative approaches and a commitment to do more.

The post Community Broadcaster: Correct the Record appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Ernesto Aguilar
Posted: August 8, 2020, 4:13 pm

SoftSurface teams up with TeamViewer and ENCO WebDAD

The post User Report: Axia Helps KIOS Make Workflow Changes appeared first on Radio World.

Axia SoftSurfaceThe author is broadcast engineer for Second Opinion, an authorized Telos Alliance integrator.

OMAHA, Neb. — As the coronavirus pandemic began to greatly affect radio stations across the country, many were scrambling to produce and maintain program material for their media services.

KIOS in Omaha, Neb., was in a difficult situation since the radio station studios are located in an Omaha Public Schools building and the school system was being ordered to close. Did this order to close mean everyone needed to evacuate the school’s property, including the radio station?

A conference call was scheduled to discuss the issue and how we would prepare to evacuate the radio station studios. KIOS had recently completed a studio project of its four studios. This involved remodeling the studios physically, replacing some studio equipment with Telos Axia Fusion consoles from Broadcasters General Store, and upgrading the ENCO DAD studio automation system.

Three important questions had to be answered: how to remotely control the program; how to remotely access the automation and console; and how to provide real-time audio or voice tracks from a remote location. I had just addressed the same situation with WHYY in Philadelphia, as we were halfway through a studio system replacement and needed to answer the same questions.

Fortunately, using an AoIP system is the same from one facility to another, no matter the operational size. First, my equipment recommendation for controlling the audio console and automation is a utility computer to use with technical applications. One of the applications is the Axia SoftSurface software installed on the utility computer. Remote control of the console is taken care of using TeamViewer to access SoftSurface.

Next, we looked at the ENCO automation remote control. During an ENCO software upgrade to the automation system technical support normally has remote access to the system, as they did have remote access setup.  We used this remote access setup to remote control the ENCO automation system.

By using this remote access operation in a different way than using TeamViewer, it provided the ability to remotely access both the console and automation with full control from the same remote location computer.

Lastly, the most difficult question to answer is the real-time audio or voice tracks. We only had the internet as our method to provide a media for real-time audio. This would require a codec, same as we use for live remote broadcasts. It would need to be either software codec from a computer or hardware with a network connection at the remote location. If multiple locations are being used, then there would need to be multiple hardware units or traded less units between remote locations.

Since we are restricting contact between one another, trading a unit between locations was not the best solution. Additionally, there is an audio timing issue between audio from the automation at the studio and the codec audio feed that is slightly delayed. This can cause a train wreck on the final program product if not watched very carefully.

Using voice tracks, the remote location needs to have either remote ENCO WebDAD automation or prerecorded audio to be dropped into the ENCO system by Dropbox (file transfer system). The prerecorded remote voice tracking option was the best choice for KIOS. They would not have to worry about the timing issues of a codec and did not have the WebDAD software option installed for ENCO.

KIOS did not fully evacuate the radio station studios, but is operating with a limited staff. Some on-air shifts are using the remote control of the Axia Fusion Console and ENCO automation with prerecorded voice tracks as described. This remote operation will continue until further notice.

I appreciate being involved with KIOS preparing and executing the remote broadcast operation and the team of people involved: General Manager Ken Dudzik, Program Director Todd Hatton, Local Host, “All Things Considered,” Michael Hogan, former Chief Engineer Richard Dennis and current Chief Engineer Chuck Ramold.

Radio World User Reports are testimonial articles intended to help readers understand why a colleague chose a particular product to solve a technical situation.

For information, contact Cam Eicher at Axia Systems/The Telos Alliance in Ohio at 1-216-241-7225 or visit www.telosalliance.com.

The post User Report: Axia Helps KIOS Make Workflow Changes appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Greg Dahl
Posted: August 8, 2020, 12:00 pm

Here's what it looks like inside

The post AEQ Outfits CV Radio in Valencia appeared first on Radio World.

CV Radio Valencian main studio
Guests in the main studio. The furniture provides space for up to five guests. Each position includes an AEQ HB-02 controller, providing connections for a guest microphone and headphones with volume control.

Here’s a peek inside new studios of CV Radio in Valencia, Spain.

Manufacturer AEQ shared photos and details about this turnkey project.

There are three studio rooms. Main control is equipped with a digital modular AEQ Forum mixer with 12 faders on the desk, while an AEQ Capitol IP compact digital mixer was installed in the “self-control” studio. Studios connect with AoIP using Dante.

“All studios are interconnected together by means of a Gigabit Ethernet network carrying the Audio over IP,” AEQ wrote in a project summary.

“Forum sends and receives 32 audio signals. Capitol IP manages 16 channels. Two PCs running AudioPlus radio automation software are also part of the audio network. This way, all multi-pair wiring between studios is eliminated while flexibility is drastically enhanced.”

CV Radio, Valencian booth view
Booth view into the interview area.

Each studio can record and broadcast at the same time, although usually the self-control studio is for recording while main control is used for broadcasting.

In both cases, the AEQ mixers allow routing of a particular signal over a dedicated path in order to send the on-air program signal. Thus the signal provided by AEQ AudioPlus automation system can be sent on-air, and the two studios are released for recording tasks while a playout list is being broadcast.

An exterior rack holds AudioPlus servers, Venus IP audiocodec, Ethernet switches and radio links to send the program signal to its transmission center.

Content is managed by the AudioPlus automation system, and a continuity system records audio channels 24 hours a day, from which excerpts can be extracted. An AEQ Phoenix Venus codec in the studio pairs with an AEQ Alio codec in an OB van for remote work.

Recording studio, with main studio and control visible in rear.

The project was lead by Bernardo Saiz, AEQ’s sales area manager for the Valencian community, in coordination with CV Radio technical services.

Send news and photos of projects to Radio World at [email protected].

The post AEQ Outfits CV Radio in Valencia appeared first on Radio World.

Author: Paul McLane
Posted: August 8, 2020, 8:00 am

 

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