Broadcast Industry News
Broadcasting & Cable
Signiant Inc, a long-time leader in intelligent file transfer, today announced record business growth in 2018 with new highs for key SaaS metrics. The growth was fuelled by expansion of the company's market-leading SaaS platform to support a broader array of use-cases for any sized media organization, a massive media footprint that is creating a powerful network-effect, and an industry that continues to evolve to larger file sizes, more complex workflows and greater demand for enterprise-grade security. Year-over-year SaaS platform growth of 46% makes Signiant one of the fastest growing technology companies in the media and entertainment industry.
Key Growth Metrics for Signiant in 2018 include:
· 46% year-over-year SaaS total bookings growth (annual contract value)
· 22% year-over-year total bookings growth (annual contract value)
· 71% year-over-year new and expansion SaaS bookings growth (annual contract value)
· 90+% gross renewal rates for its SaaS products
· 110% net renewal rates for SaaS
· 100+% growth across users and endpoints across its SaaS platform surpassing the 400,000 mark
“We’re thrilled to celebrate a record year and are already working to continue that trend in 2019,” said Margaret Craig, CEO of Signiant. “Our success was driven by the increasingly central role that Signiant solutions play in our customers’ businesses, connecting their entire content supply chain. Media companies of all sizes have embraced our unique SaaS platform and that has paved the way for Signiant to expand beyond fast file transfers to become a trusted network that is connecting the global media industry.”
Signiant is uniquely positioned to help media companies navigate ongoing changes in consumer viewing habits and a fast-moving technology landscape. The company has established a massive footprint of installed software at content storage locations (both on-premises and cloud) across the B2B media ecosystem. With more than 400,000 endpoints and systems connected, Signiant’s SaaS platform now reaches every corner of the media world to provide fast, seamless and secure access to any content, anywhere in the world.
“There’s no company better positioned to help solve the unique challenges of the modern media supply chain,” added Craig. “Expect to see many more announcements in 2019 as we continue to innovate on our unique SaaS platform that connects people, systems and cloud services.”
Encompass Digital Media, a global technology services company delivering end-to-end video playout and distribution solutions to broadcast and digital media companies, announces its partnership with Zixi, the industry leader for enabling dependable, live broadcast-quality video over the internet. Zixi’s proven, best-of-breed solutions coupled with Encompass’ broadcast expertise gives its clients additional economical methods to acquire and deliver content.
“We have enjoyed great success working with Zixi’s platform to provide our clients with even more choices and business flexibility for media acquisition and distribution options,” states Bill Tillson, CEO of Encompass. “Our clients can now capitalize on the universal reach of the internet while maintaining professional broadcast quality regardless of the technology platform.”
As the industry embraces video across IP, the ability to transition from traditional methods of delivery alongside the exploding OTT offerings, this partnership between Zixi and Encompass brings the power of the internet to the market, along with the expected performance of professional broadcast.
By offering Zixi, Encompass has extended its range of transport solutions to satisfy clients with a multitude of acquisition and delivery requirements. Zixi’s widely deployed solutions are available across the media and broadcast ecosystem which offers a flexible, economical and easy-to-use option.
“We are delighted to go to market with Encompass, pairing our powerful video over IP technology with their renowned operational management excellence,” said Gordon Brooks, Executive Chairman, Zixi. “With this partnership, we can offer our mutual clients the ability to live stream their content to any destination worldwide, within a seamless workflow and modern economic requirements.”
Republicans, Democrats join to take aim at Chinese telecoms
The bill, the Telecommunications Denial Order Enforcement Act, is co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Rep.Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.). It would direct the President to impose orders banning the export of parts or components to Chinese telecoms in violation of export control or sanction laws.
The bill is partly in response to the reports that Huawei's CFO was arrested in Canada at the request of the U.S. on charges of violating U.S. sanctions.
ZTE had been the subject of such a ban, but the President directed Commerce to find a way to lift it as a way to save jobs in China.
“Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin. Both companies have repeatedly violated U.S. laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests, and need to be held accountable," said Sen. Van Hollen. "Moving forward, we must combat China’s theft of advanced U.S. technology and their brazen violation of U.S. law."
ZTE and Huawei have been the targets of various government efforts to disentangle them from U.S. tech, though with that pushback from the White House in the case of ZTE.
For example, government contractors can no longer buy equipment from ZTE or Huawei as part of those contracts and must submit a plan for phasing out the use of that equipment from its systems.
Separately, the FCC is proposing to ban the use of broadband subsidy funds for ZTE and Huawei technology out of concern for national security.
The Trump White House has sent something of a mixed message.
After ZTE allegedly failed to comply with the terms of a settlement over illegally shipping telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea, Commerce banned U.S. companies from exporting their technology to the company for seven years. Not long after, the U.S. also banned the sale of phones from ZTE and Huawei on U.S. military bases.
But President Trump then instructed the Commerce Department to strike the deal that lifted the ban on U.S. tech exports to ZTE after China's president reached out to him over the resulting Chinese job losses.
Morgan Neville producing ‘Shangri-La,’ about famed music producer
Showtime will air a docu-series about music producer Rick Rubin later this year, with Morgan Neville producing the project. Shangri-La is its working title, and Rubin’s Malibu studio, also called Shangri-La, is the backdrop.
What Showtime calls a “work-in-progress” will screen at SXSW in Austin in March. “The series is an all-access pass into Rubin’s creative process, giving viewers a taste of what it’s like to be produced by the music world’s most singular voice,” said Showtime.
Rubin co-founded Def Jam Records as a college student in the 1980s, and helped launch the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Run-DMC on that label.
He has produced albums from Kanye West, Adele, Eminem, Black Sabbath, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, among other stars.
Neville’s documentaries include Won’t You Be My Neighbor and 20 Feet From Stardom.
Shangri-La is a Tremolo production. Neville, Rubin, Jeff Malmberg, Danny Breen, Michael Goldberg, Eric Lynn, Isaac Heymann, Dianna Schmedeman and Jason Schrift are executive producers. Malmberg will direct two episodes.
Showtime’s music documentaries include Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, Whitney. Can I Be Me and Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrow.
Lays out case against Saudi Arabia-based network
Qatar-based sports broadcaster beIN Media Group has launched a website laying out its case against Saudi Arabia-based network beoutQ, which it said "consistently steals content from both international leagues and networks for illegal broadcasts."
BeIN said that since the network's launch in 2017, beoutQ has illegally broadcast billions of dollars worth of entertainment content. The site was launched following the World Trade Organization's (WTO) agreement to consider Qatar's claim that Saudi Arabia has failed to provide "adequate protection" for intellectual property rights, particularly those of Qatari-based entities like beIN.
Then there are the IPTV apps which beoutQ set-tops use to stream pirated movies and TV shows, said beIN.
According to Qatar's request for WTO resolution of the issue, "since Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, ...beoutQ has begun operating, broadcasting beIN's signal without authorization in Saudi Arabia and beyond, and allowing access to hundreds of beIN proprietary channels and programs via the internet and satellite broadcasting. The scale of the operation and the financial and technical support received indicate that it enjoys the support of Saudi Arabia. Relief has been sought through the Saudi legal system and appeals have been made to the Saudi government for help, all to no avail. The actions of Saudi Arabia are a concern not only to Qatar but for other WTO members whose rights holders license content to beIN..."
According to beIN, that piracy includes NFL, the NBA, Olympics, Formula 1, Premiere League and Asian Cup, in what beIN calls "the most sophisticated piracy operation that the world has ever seen," including "inserting its own logos and branding; selling subscriptions; carrying separate advertising; and even adding its own commentary" on 10 encrypted channels.
Saudi Arabia has countered that it regretted Qatar's request to WTO and that it "diligently protects the legitimate rights of all IP owners properly registered in Saudi Arabia." It also said that given the severing of diplomatic ties, WTO dispute resolution is impossible given the need to protect its security interests.
The U.S. sided with Saudi Arabia, arguing that WTO should not undercut a member's own assessment of its national security and said the parties should try to resolve the dispute outside the WTO dispute settlement process.
BeIN has launched an arbitration claim against Saudi Arabia for over $1 billion in damages and FIFA signaled its plan last July to take legal action.
"FIFA has observed that the pirate entity named ‘beoutQ’ continues to use illegally the 2018 FIFA World Cup broadcast signal," FIFA said in a statement at the time. "Accordingly, FIFA has engaged counsel to take legal action in Saudi Arabia and is working alongside other sports rights owners that have also been affected to protect its interest."
In 2018, the U.S. put Saudi Arabia on the IP watch list citing "IP challenges."
“What started out as a concerted and targeted campaign against beIN has now morphed into the largest commercial theft that’s ever been seen in the world of sport and entertainment, affecting everyone from the biggest organizations in sport to Hollywood movie studios and international broadcasters," said beIN Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region CEO Tom Keaveny.
Mirrors government-targeted 1974 Privacy Act
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced a bill, the American Data Dissemination Act, regulating the collection and use of personal data. It would apply the general outlines of the 1974 Privacy Act, which dealt with government record keeping, to private companies data practices.
It comes as the practices of edge behemoths are increasingly coming under scrutiny in Congress from both sides of the aisle.
That 1974 act established a code of fair information practices for information retained by federal agencies, including prohibition of disclosure of an individual's records without prior written consent, with some statutory exceptions. It also allows individuals to seek access and amend their records.
"[T]he bill provides overdue transparency and accountability from the tech industry while ensuring that small businesses and start-ups are still able to innovate and compete in the digital marketplace," Rubio's office said.
Rubio said the goal of the 1974 act was to balance the need of the government to retain information with protections against government intrusions into privacy. "A similar structure would provide consumers with protections against similar unwarranted intrusions from sophisticated actors in the private industry," the Senator said.
Specifically, the bill requires the Federal Trade Commission to submit recommendations for the privacy requirements Congress can impose on private actors, then submit proposed regulations to impose those requirements, then promulgate a final rule if Congress has not enacted a law based on those recommendations within two years' of the bill's enactment.
There are carveouts for smaller, newly formed, companies so that the bill does not "entrench" large incumbents who can more easily shoulder the financial load of new regs.
Mirroring the 1974 act, it also "provides consumers with rights to access and correct records maintained by a covered provider that are not accurate, relevant, timely or complete as defined by the FTC, and a process for deletion of a record."
"Without seeing the full Rubio language, his one-pager uses the pejorative 'patchwork' to dismiss innovative state law efforts such as the new California Consumer Privacy and Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Acts," said U.S.Pirg senior director, federal consumer programs, Ed Mierzwinski. "Any new comprehensive federal privacy law should provide baseline protections but continue to allow states to lead with stronger laws. No law can protect consumers unless it preserves future state action."
“While I appreciate Senator Rubio’s interest in privacy protection, this bill fails to adequately address the modern ecosystem of data collection and use and would nullify stronger state laws," said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy for Consumer Federation of America. "Furthermore, we need an independent data protection agency that can promulgate rules without having to submit them for Congressional approval.”
Ellen DeGeneres game show off to a strong start in season two
NBC has renewed Ellen’s Game of Games for a third season. Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, Game of Games features supersized versions of the most popular games from her daytime show. DeGeneres is an executive producer as well.
Ellen’s Game of Games returned to the NBC schedule Jan. 8, rating a 1.5 in viewers 18-49 to win the 8 p.m. hour. It bumped up to a 1.7 with this week’s episode.
“We are delighted that America has wholeheartedly embraced this wildly entertaining and unpredictable show,” said Meredith Ahr, president, alternative and reality group, NBC Entertainment. “Ellen’s signature humor, coupled with the clever twists she and the producers bring to each hilarious moment, puts Game of Games in a league of its own. We can’t wait to get started on season three.”
Besides DeGeneres, the executive producers are Kevin A. Leman II, Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, Jeff Kleeman, Derek Westervelt and David A. Hurwitz.
The series is produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted and Alternative Television in association with Telepictures and A Very Good Production.
VITEC, a worldwide leader in advanced video encoding and streaming solutions, today announced it will showcase the latest capabilities for its award-winning EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform at ISE 2019 on Stand 14-M200. The chosen solution for sports and entertainment venues, enterprise, government, and military agencies in Europe and the U.S., EZ TV's comprehensive feature set enables any organization to centrally manage and stream HD, low-latency, in-house feeds and TV channels, as well as create eye-catching digital signage and video walls for distribution to any displays through a facility.
PARIS — Jan. 16, 2019 — VITEC, a worldwide leader in advanced video encoding and streaming solutions, today announced it will showcase the latest capabilities for its award-winning EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform at ISE 2019 on Stand 14-M200. The chosen solution for sports and entertainment venues, enterprise, government, and military agencies in Europe and the U.S., EZ TV's comprehensive feature set enables any organization to centrally manage and stream HD, low-latency, in-house feeds and TV channels, as well as create eye-catching digital signage and video walls for distribution to any displays through a facility.
"We're seeing more outdated RF-based facilities being transformed by EZ TV," said Bruno Teissier, international sales and marketing director, VITEC. "Not only is the platform bringing them into the IPTV world, it's also improving OPEX, supporting HD and even 4K as they explore future capabilities, and allowing users and fans to access digital media from any screen — TVs, PCs, or mobile devices — and have the video-on-demand experience they crave. ISE 2019 is the perfect opportunity for VITEC to discuss with attendees how EZ TV's latest innovations can simplify deployment and management of projects involving IPTV, digital signage, and video wall content."
VITEC's EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform is ideal for the ever-changing video, marketing, and sales requirements of today's sports venues as well as for the secure dissemination and content management of full-motion video streams and offline files for enterprise and mission-critical applications and government agencies. Designed to integrate seamlessly with any IT environment and run on all types of networks — LAN, WAN, and wireless — EZ TV can be rapidly deployed and is intuitive to operate and maintain for any-size project. With centralized creation, distribution, and monitoring of live and on-demand content and digital signage, the platform streamlines the process of linear and non-linear workflows. Its network-agnostic, modular architecture allows organizations to easily upgrade legacy systems or deploy a turnkey IPTV and signage solution for a new build, at a fraction of the cost of traditional digital signage solutions. For sports and entertainment facilities, EZ TV can offer the most advanced fan experience while reducing CAPEX and OPEX often associated with legacy solutions.
The platform's video wall capability simplifies deployment and management of projects. VITEC's video wall processors are 100-percent hardware-based, feature low-latency native playback of IPTV streams up to 4K, and support interactive content and imagery transformations. More than 50 displays can be managed from a single processor, including nonstandard layouts and resolutions of TVs and LED walls.
With the rapid adoption of video streaming and recording workflows, organizations increasingly face challenges related to storing, searching, and playing back valuable assets effectively. EZ TV's new Media Library module enables users to find, tag, edit, organize, store, search, and share media files quickly. Featuring a user-intuitive HTML5 interface, its powerful tools streamline media processes from live streaming to recording, archiving, and collaboration, easily allowing users to manage a full digital video experience across an entire venue.
More information on VITEC's full line of products is available at www.vitec.com.
# # #
VITEC is a leading worldwide end-to-end video streaming solutions provider for broadcast, military and government, enterprise, sports and entertainment venues, and houses of worship. Combining broadcasting with live streaming capabilities, VITEC's H.265 (HEVC) and H.264 offering is the most extensive in the market with encoding and decoding appliances, IPTV solutions for desktops and mobile devices, and PCI cards with SDK for integration projects. VITEC's intuitive digital video solutions can be tailored to each customer's unique market needs, delivering easy-to-use technology that ensures high-quality, low-latency HD video, capturing live and recorded events for seamless distribution in a multitude of formats anytime, anywhere, to any device.
Since 1988, VITEC has been a pioneer in the design and manufacture of hardware and software for video encoding, decoding, transcoding, recording, conversion, archiving, and streaming over IP. In keeping with the company's tradition of innovation, VITEC is the first company to bring bandwidth-efficient HEVC compression technology into the field with portable streaming appliances.
All company and product names used herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners. © 2019 VITEC
PR Link: www.ingearpr.com/VITEC/190116VITEC.docx
Image Caption: VITEC EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform for Sports Venues
Visit VITEC at ISE 2019, Stand 14-M200
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Disney vet joins struggling kids channel
Nickelodeon named Disney veteran Paul DeBenedittis as executive VP of programming and content strategy.
DeBenedittis, who earlier spent 10 years at Viacom's MTV, joins new Nickelodeon CEO Brian Robbins as owner Viacom looks to stem the loss of viewers at the top-ranked kids programmer.
Most recently, DeBenedittis was senior VP, programming strategy, at Disney Channels Worldwide. In his new post, he will lead the content and programming strategies, partnerships, acquisitions and media planning for Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons and TeenNick on linear television, digital, branded apps, VOD and wireless.
“Paul has extensive expertise in programming and leading content strategies that reach and resonate with youth audiences. He’s one of the most dynamic executives in the kids and family space, and we’re happy to have him on board as we forge a new Nickelodeon for today’s audience,’ said Robbins.
DeBenedittis will report to Robbins and be based at Nickelodeon’s Burbank, Calif., Studio.
Before Disney, he DeBenedittis spent 10 years at MTV as executive VP, multiplatform programming, content strategy and scheduling.
Steve Carell to star in and executive produce comedy
Steve Carell, Greg Daniels and Howard Klein, all veterans of The Office, are reunited for the Netflix comedy Space Force. Netflix describes the series as a workplace comedy “centered around the people tasked with creating a sixth branch of the armed services… Space Force.”
Carell is co-creator and will star and executive produce.
Daniels, whose credits also include King of the Hill and Parks and Recreation, along with developing The Office in the U.S., is co-creator, showrunner and exec producer.
Klein, co-founder of 3 Arts Entertainment and an executive producer on The Office, is executive producing Space Force as well.
The Office aired on NBC 2005-2013.
Said 'net is at risk while rule rollback remains
INCOMPAS, one of the groups challenging the FCC's net neutrality deregulation, has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit not to postpone the Feb. 1 oral argument. Its members include Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft.
That came in a filing opposing the FCC's request that the argument be delayed, citing the partial government shutdown that has closed all but FCC auction efforts (which are funded by proceeds not appropriations) and those protecting safety and property.
Currently the FCC's counsel is prohibited from working during the shutdown unless "authorized by law," but a court denial of the motion would constitute that express legal authorization and allow the FCC lawyers to work on the argument.
INCOMPAS points out that during the 2013 shutdown, the same court denied a host of similar requests to delay more than a dozen oral arguments.
It also argued that there is need to get the argument done with since "the FCC’s misguided and unlawful repeal of the network neutrality rules, consumers are at risk of substantial harm from Internet Service Providers ("ISPs”), which may now interfere with access to lawful Internet content without the restraint of the net neutrality rules."
Besides, they said, they and other petitioners have invested "substantial resources" to prepare their arguments and an extension would cause "substantial disruption."
Mozilla, INCOMPAS and others are challenging the FCC's decision in the Restoring Internet Freedom order to classify ISPs as Title I information services rather than Title II telecom services subject to some common carrier regs. The order eliminated rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.
In its opening brief to the court last October, the FCC said that its order deregulating internet access simply restored the longstanding regulatory classification of broadband internet access service as an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act" and returned to a "light touch" regulatory approach.
Mozilla et al. say that was not just bad policy but illegal.
Their argument is that the FCC decided the agency lacked all jurisdiction over the internet, a radical move that defined the statute, they said. Also in the "illegal" category, they argue what they said was the FCC's "cherrypicking" of investment evidence to justify their predetermined outcome of reversing the Title II classification.
Streaming service is free, ad supported
Giant Sinclair Broadcast Group is jumping into streaming with Stir, which combines content from a variety of national linear services, on-demand programming, and local channel with material from the company’s stations.
Consumers can access the free, ad supported service by downloading an app available for Apple and Android devices, Amazon FireTV, Apple TV and Roku. Consumers are asked to pick their home market for local news, sports and lifestyle programming on a new 24-hour Stirr City channel.
Other channel created for the streaming service including Stirr Movies, Stirr Sports and Stirr Life.
In addition to the Stirr channels, the app offer more than 20 national networks at launch, including streaming channels and multicast channels seeking greater distribution. Among the networks available are Buzzr, Cheddar, Comet, Dust, NASA TV, Stadium, The T and World Poker Tour. Sinclair owns or has stakes in several of the channels.
TV companies have been jumping into the streaming business as more consumer cut the cord and seek entertainment from digital sources. Early streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime will also be facing competition from upcoming entries from The Walt Disney Co., AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.
“We are entering a new era of broadcast television and our number one priority at Sinclair is to help advance the industry and increase access to broadcast content in the midst of a digital age,” said Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley. “With the launch of STIRR, we intend to offer audiences an easy, convenient and free way to watch live local and national channels, as well access a deep selection of on-demand programming.”
Stirr was created to take advantage of the cord-cutting and cord shaving trend that has led to increased viewing via over-the-top and a spike in advertisers looking to reach over-the-top viewers, said Adam Ware, general manager of Stirr.
Sinclair isn’t alone trying to cash in on the OTT opportunity.
“This space is moving very quickly. Far more quickly than people estimated a couple of years ago. And driving that is in part how fast cord-cutting is happening,” Ware said. “You have all these brands who have all tried to take advantage of OTT. Some have done it really well, some not so well. Some didn't do it at all,”
Ware expects a consolidation to come to the space. “You go back to the original questions,” he said. “Do you have a loyal enough audience, a definable audience? How good is your products and how much are you charging?
Sinclair has advantages in having its own streaming platform, dubbed Hummingbird,’ and multiple ads sales unit to monetize viewership.In addition to the advertising sales teams at its stations, last year, Sinclair rebranded its digital advertising unit as Compulse. It also partly owns Zypmedia, which does programmatic advertising.
Another thing Sinclair uniquely brings to the streaming party is the promotion its stations can generate. “It’s a priority for the stations, so it’s being treated that way,” Ware said. “We;ll get promotion within the newscasts as well because this is not that dissimilar from promotion your weather app.”
Ware says Sinclair will be running its stations’ local newscasts on the local Stirr City channels. That leaves other dayparts to program, including primetime and late night. “All of a sudden we have these dayparts available to us.”
And those dayparts are available in a big part of the country.
“I’m not even remotely saying that this is the launch of a TV network,” Ware said. “But what I am implying is it sure has some of the important parts of being able to take advantage of all these local affiliates all over the country.”
Here is the full list of channels available on Stirr:
The Pet Collective
World Poker Tour
" We are incredibly excited to distribute Stadium via Stirr's impressive platform", said Stadium CEO Jason Coyle. "We believe that the combination of Stadium's national sports programming lineup along with localized Sinclair station coverage will create a compelling sports experience for an important audience segment."
Gilbert, Ariz., Jan. 16, 2019 - The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS; www.cras.edu), the premier institution for audio engineering education, recently hosted a live version of the renowned pro audio show Pensado’s Place at its Gilbert, Ariz. campus on Nov. 30. “Live in the Desert” was streamed live by co-hosts Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick, who shared their pro audio industry wisdom in front of more than 300 CRAS students, staff, and invited guests. The full show can be seen at CRAS’ YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSlzM08WKbE).
“When we got the call (from CRAS), we wanted to talk about our perspective on audio,” said co-host and executive producer Herb Trawick. “Dave (Pensado) and I want to continue to learn because we see ourselves as students, as well, and to get CRAS’ students’ perspective on the industry.”
During the two-hour live streamed event, Pensado and Trawick shared their experiences and expertise over their tenured careers, emphasizing the life skills necessary to succeed in this business rather than the technical aspects of engineering. This was a conscious choice by the team to ensure that their voice spoke to everyone in the room, regardless of what phase students were at in their CRAS education. Pensado and Trawick also took questions from CRAS students. Their advice to the student body was invaluable.
“Things are changing so rapidly in the business, you need to have a wide variety of skill sets,” added Pensado, a Grammy Award-winning engineer. “You can’t be afraid of the future.”
About to surpass their 400th episode, Pensado’s Place is the industry standard with more than 170 million minutes consumed on Youtube and viewers in more than 200 countries and territories.
“The fact that Dave and Herb put in 10-12 hours of prep time getting ready for this event really showed in their presentation,” explained David Kohr, Instructor/AES Faculty Advisor for CRAS. “They had so much great information for our students…from their entrance to their topics, giveaways and Q&A, the entire event was filled with nothing but high points. And I’m sure that having them come to CRAS and hosting an AES event was an experience that our students won’t soon forget.”
Added Robert Brock, CRAS Director of Education, “Hearing the Pensado's Place perspective on topics such as life-long learning, professional networking, and career flexibility was not only informative and inspiring for our students, but incredibly validating to the CRAS instructors who consciously weave these principles into their classes every day. During the show, there were more than a few ‘preach it’ shout-outs heard in the live stream production control-room.”
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences is composed of two nearby campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz. A CRAS education includes Broadcast Audio, Live Sound, Audio Post for Film and TV, Music Production, Commercial Production and Video Game Audio, all taught by award-winning instructors who have excelled in their individual fields. CRAS’ structured programs, and highly qualified teaching staff, provide a professional and supportive atmosphere, which is complemented by its small class sizes allowing for individual instruction and assistance for students in engineering audio recordings. CRAS has been providing quality vocational training in Audio Recording for more than three decades. The curriculum and equipment are constantly being updated to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the music and sound recording industries. CRAS’ course offerings and subject matter have always centered around the skills and knowledge necessary for students’ success in the Audio Recording industries.
The 11-month program is designed to allow every student access to learn and train in all of the Conservatory’s studios which are comprised with state-of-the-art audio recording and mixing gear, the same equipment used in today’s finest studios and remote broadcast facilities, including Pro Tools 12, API Legacy consoles, SSL G+ and AWS consoles, Studer Vista consoles, and much more. All students must complete a 280-hour industry internship to graduate from the Master Recording Program II that may ultimately lead to industry employment.
“There are a host of opportunities for our students once they graduate, and we want to give them an idea of what’s out there first hand for them once they enter the open market,” said Kirt Hamm, CRAS administrator. “Besides our mandatory internship program, getting our students in touch with industry icons such as Dave and Herb and participating in these events is of enormous value for any student. We can’t thank Dave and Herb enough for allowing us to host ‘Live in the Desert’ for our students.”
For more information on the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences, please visit www.cras.edu, contact Kirt Hamm, administrator, at 1-800-562-6383, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences
Based in the heart of The Valley of the Sun with two campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz., The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) is one of the country’s premier institutions for audio education. The Conservatory has developed a unique and highly effective way to help the future audio professional launch their careers in the recording industry and other related professional audio categories.
Blackmagic Design today announced that Shiyan based Shiyan Daily Media Group built a new 4K OB van using URSA Broadcast and URSA Mini Pro cameras, as well as a number of other Blackmagic Design products to provide a 12G-SDI 4K workflow.
Beijing, China – January 16, 2019 - Blackmagic Design today announced that Shiyan based Shiyan Daily Media Group built a new 4K OB van using URSA Broadcast and URSA Mini Pro cameras, as well as a number of other Blackmagic Design products to provide a 12G-SDI 4K workflow. The new van continues the Shivan Media Group’s move from traditional print coverage to becoming a full digital media organization.
Designed by Wuhan Vijita Technology, the OB van uses a number of different Blackmagic Design cameras, including URSA Broadcast cameras, URSA Mini Pro and Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K. For switching, routing and conversions, they use Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K, Smart Videohub 20 x 20 and a variety of Mini Converters.
Shiyan Daily Media Group is one of the first print newspapers in China to have transferred to digital media. Its Shiyan Evening News won the “China’s Leading Digital Media Brand” award in 2012 and has more than one million followers on WeChat. The majority of whom are from Shiyan, a prefectural level city with a population of less than four million. According to new media big data analytics platform GS Data, Shiyan Evening News’s WeChat holds first place position among WeChat accounts of prefectural newspapers in China and has been one of the top 10 popular newspaper WeChat accounts in the country for many years.
“We have been doing well with new media because we started it off very early. Now that the time for commercial use of 5G has been confirmed and it will be much easier to get Ultra HD sources from the mobile Internet, we set our ‘mobile and video first’ strategy and founded a dedicated video team in 2017,” said Zhiguo Gan, deputy managing editor, multimedia division, Shiyan Daily Media Group.
At first, the video team created streaming content for Shiyan Daily’s new media platforms with smartphones and other simple devices, but these tools were not suitable for critical events that required multicam production, so they decided to procure equipment for professional live productions.
Speaking of their standard of choosing new solutions, Gan said: “The new solution must be reliable, have advantages over what our competitors are using, be future proof, able to get new functionalities with updates and be easy to use and maintain. Also, its supplier should provide professional support in a timely manner.”
The six camera 4K OB van designed by Wuhan Vijita Technology around Blackmagic Design’s 12G-SDI products won the contract. It includes two URSA Broadcast cameras and one URSA Mini Pro, each equipped with a Blackmagic Camera Fiber Converter, which is connected to a Studio Fiber Camera Converter housed in the van using a SMPTE fiber cable that supports bidirectional transmission of video, audio, talkback, Tally and camera control.
Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K is directly connected to the van with the fiber connection. All four camera feeds and two wireless feeds go into the Smart Videohub 20 x 20 router, which assigns and distributes the feeds to the ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K switcher and a backup switcher, monitors and a streaming device.
Looking back on the process of choosing products, the head of the video team Zhenyu Zhang said: “We saw how Blackmagic Design’s 4K OB van live streamed an intangible culture heritage event in Jingzhou. Also we visited Wuhan TV’s first HD broadcast studio, which was completely built with Blackmagic Design products, where most of Wuhan TV’s live shows are produced. This gave us confidence in the reliability of Blackmagic Design’s products.”
“In terms of advantages, when most new media and even broadcasters are still using HD products, every Blackmagic product in the van, including the camera, video router and switcher, supports 4K. But the costs are still lower than that of other HD solutions. Even compared with other 4K products, Blackmagic Design could save by one third, which can be used for future upgrades, such as adding 5G transmission devices.”
Zhang noted that the versatility of each Blackmagic product brings an overall advantage to the system. “It reduces the complexity of the system, making the van smaller, easy to use and maintain. For example, on the ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K, each input includes a re-synchronizer and format converter, so we don’t need extra devices because the switcher can take in any feed in any format, be it 720p from a drone, a non broadcast standard output from a computer, or any frame rate,” he said. “Also, both the URSA Broadcast and URSA Mini Pro can be used as a studio camera with a B4 mount or as a film camera with an EF or PL mount, which eliminates the need for more cameras.”
“This allows us to keep the crew small and that means lower operation costs. There are seven members in the crew, so there’d be profit if our van goes to some small or medium events; a common large OB van has to be taken care of by a much larger crew, which means much higher costs and there’d be no profit if it goes to these small or medium events.
The smaller van gives us more flexibility. Our van is a Mercedes Sprinter, enough to house all the equipment. So we can go to many places that large OB vans can’t go to, making us more competitive. Plus, all the products in the van are from Blackmagic Design, meaning the compatibility between each component is better than that of solutions consisting of various brands,” he said.
Before the van, most of the video team members had only used small video cameras and DSLRs and had rarely used broadcast equipment for multicam productions. Just a few days after the van was delivered, they started streaming with it.
“Blackmagic products offer intuitive UIs and are easy to master. We can find the functions very easily and quickly without scouring through menus. Less than a week after the first training, we did our first multicam live streaming for a high school military training with the van and went on live producing many other more complex events in the following two months, such as the China (Shiyan) Auto Products Expo, where there were separate venues and more screens for IMAG,“ he revealed.
It took less than three months to design, build up and deliver the OB van to Shiyan Daily Media Group. Gan pointed out that this not only proved Shiyan Daily’s efficiency but also their resolution to develop the video business. “This also means Blackmagic Design’s products and service are both reliable. Besides efficient van modification and delivery, Blackmagic Design’s authorized reseller Wuhan Vijita Technology always responds immediately when we need service and technical support and even sends experts to Shiyan to help and train our crew.”
Gan also shared his thoughts of the value of the OB van for new media development. “To adapt to media convergence trends, new media are actively exploring ways of increasing production value. Shiyan Daily Media Group started early and acted quickly and this has brought us a dramatic increase in advertising income, making us a model for many counterparts to learn from. In the past, we shared our experience in doing new media. Now that we have had our own 4K OB van, we will also share professional multicam production how-tos with our counterparts. We believe Blackmagic Design’s products will help more media like us, leading to a healthy and prosperous media industry,” he concluded.
Product photos of URSA Broadcast cameras, URSA Mini Pro, Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K, ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K, Smart Videohub 20 x 20 and other Blackmagic Design products are available at www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/images.
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.
‘Roswell, New Mexico’ starts OK on CW
NBC won Tuesday prime ratings with a big number, riding the return of This Is Us to a 1.6 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 7 share. That topped the 1.0/5 put up by CBS.
On NBC, Ellen’s Game of Games grew 13% to 1.7 before This Is Us did a 2.0, same as its fall finale. New Amsterdam ticked up 10% to 1.1.
On CBS, it was NCIS up 8% to 1.3 and FBI at a flat 1.0, then NCIS: New Orleans at a level 0.8.
ABC did a 0.9/4. The Conners slid 7% to 1.3 and The Kids Are Alright fell 20% to 0.8. Black-ish went up 14% to 0.8 and Splitting Up Together was a flat 0.7, before The Rookie grew 17% to 0.7.
Fox was at 0.6/3. Lethal Weapon got a 0.7 and The Gifted a 0.5, both dramas flat.
The CW did a 0.5/2. The Flash did a level 0.6 and Roswell, New Mexico premiered at a 0.4.
Univision rated a 0.4/2 and Telemundo a 0.3.2.
Legal debate rages in confirmation hearing
Georgia State law professor Nail Kinkopf told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the independence of federal agencies including the FCC are at risk under attorney general nominee William Barr's theory of executive power.
That came in day two of Barr's confirmation hearing, which featured a lively discussion of executive power.
Kinkopf did not sugar coat his criticism of a lengthy 2018 memo on that legal issue that Barr penned, a memo Democrats have pointed to as troubling since it argued the President's "interactions" with FBI director James Comey did not constitute obstruction of Justice.
Kinkopf said Barr's "manifesto of imperial power" has troubling implications for the executive branch. He said the independence of dozens of agencies including the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission, would be unconstitutional under Barr's "unitary executive" theory that the President is essentially a one-person, all-powerful, executive branch. Kinkopf said that theory is "fundamentally inconsistent with our Constitution and deeply dangerous for our nation.
But it was a case of dueling academics. In Barr's corner was witness Professor Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University Law School (the panel on the second day of hearings comprised alternating supporters and critics of Barr).
Turley, Barr's friend and former lawyer, said he disagreed with Barr's expansive theory of executive power, being more on the side of the legislative check in the systems of governmental checks and balances. But he said Barr was a legal nerd raising an important issue and, at the end of the day, understood that the Attorney General did not represent any on person or official, but the Constitution. He called Barr one of the most knowledgeable and circumspect leaders when it comes to constitutional theory.
Turley said the memo was vintage Barr wearing his law nerd hat, which Turley also claimed to sport. While Turley said the obstruction of justice question is a real issue of debate, on which he disagrees with Barr on some points, he argues that far from suggesting a sitting President is above indictment, Barr says the President can be charged with federal crimes in office, including obstruction of justice.
Turley agreed that Barr says that the Constitution does not limit the power of the presidency, but also that if a President misuses that authority it can be an abuse of power and he or she can be prosecuted while still in office.
Learn of social media site's ad preferences profile from researchers
The vast majority of Facebook users didn't know the company uses algorithms to classify their preferences for targeted advertising, including political leanings, life events food preferences, hobbies and the devices they use, and about half of them weren't happy to learn that was the case.
That was according to a new Pew Research survey of Facebook users. It found that 74% did not know about the "your ad preferences" list of categorized interests and traits until led there by the Pew survey.
Once the researchers showed them how Facebook classified their behaviors for targeted ads, about half (51%) said they were not comfortable that the company had created that list.
That said, a majority 59% said those classifications either very (13%) or somewhat (46%) accurately reflected their interests. An even greater majority (73%) said the side either very accurately or somewhat accurately reflected their political views.
“These findings relate to some of the biggest issues about technology’s role in society,” said Lee Rainie, director of internet and technology research at Pew Research Center. “They are central to the major discussions about consumer privacy, the role of micro-targeting of advertisements in commerce and political activity, and the role of algorithms in shaping news and information systems. This research tries to bring some data to those debates.”
"We want people to understand how our ad settings and controls work," said Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne. "That means better ads for people. While we and the rest of the online ad industry need to do more to educate people on how interest-based advertising works and how we protect people’s information, we welcome conversations about transparency and control."
The survey was conducted Sept. 4-Oct. 1, 2018 among adults 18-plus who have a Facebook account. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Facebook has been under pressure from Washington over how it shares user data with third parties. Just this week at the oversight hearing for Attorney General nominee William Barr, he was asked about enforcing a 2011 consent decree settling allegations Facebook deceived consumers by not keeping its privacy promises.
Facebook is already being investigated by the FTC over whether the Cambridge Analytica data sharing constituted a breach of that 2011 consent decree.
Stems from Motherboad report on T-Mobile
House Republican leaders have weighed into the issue of wireless carriers and how they secure and/or share geo-location data of their users.
On Wednesday (Jan. 16), House Energy & Commerce Committee members sent letters to T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and others in the wake of reports of T-Mobile selling geo-location data to a third party, Zumingo.
The letters are seeking info on how carriers and third parties access, transfer, and secure customer location data.
The letters were signed by Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Communications and Technology Subcommittee ranking member Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittee ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), and Oversight and Investigations Republican Subcommittee ranking member Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.).
“According to a recent Motherboard investigative report, nationwide wireless carriers may be continuing to sell American customers’ real-time location data and information to various third parties without customers’ knowledge and consent," the legislators wrote. "According to the report, Zumigo, a location aggregation firm, purchased geo-location data from T-Mobile, and subsequently sold that data to Microbilt, a third party firm, which further disseminated the geo-location data to another company and intermediary. This practice of selling and sharing of location information through multiple entities potentially impacts hundreds of millions of American customers. We are deeply troubled because it is not the first time we have received reports and information about the sharing of mobile users’ location information involving a number of parties who may have misused personally identifiable information.”
Among the questions they want answered are whether others have the same contracts with Zumingo or other third parties and whether they have a screening process for such third parties. Among the info they want from the carriers are lists of the records they provide location aggregators like Zumingo.
Clooney stars and produces, series starts in the spring
Hulu is adapting the comic military novel Catch-22 to series, with George Clooney producing. The limited series will have six episodes and premieres in the spring.
Joseph Heller wrote the novel, published in 1961, about Yossarian, a U.S. Air Force bombardier in World War II who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. Yossarian’s real problem is not the enemy, but his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to avoid his military assignments, he’ll be in violation of bureaucratic rule Catch-22.
Besides executive producing, Clooney is in the cast as well, playing Scheisskopf. Kyle Handler, Hugh Laurie, Giancarlo Giannini, Daniel David Stewart and Rafi Gavron are also in the cast.
Catch-22 is executive produced by Clooney and Grant Heslov on behalf of Smokehouse Pictures, along with Richard Brown and Steve Golin on behalf of Anonymous Content. Luke Davies and David Michôd are co-writers and executive producers for the series.
Paramount Television and Anonymous Content are producing. Clooney, Heslov and Ellen Kuras each direct two episodes.
Automaker sponsors new Syfy series
Even in science fiction, you can’t always integrate a product into a show, but NBCUniversal found a sanguine way to put Toyota in the driver’s seat as sponsor of the new Syfy series Deadly Class.
The show, about an elite school that trains killers, is set in the 1980s punk rock era in San Francisco, so it would be difficult to pull off a beauty shot of new car, Instead, NBCU created videos of Syfy Wire correspondent Whitney Moore talking to Rick Remender, who created the show based on his comic book series, and providing a behind-the-scenes guided tour in a Toyota RAV4.
NBCU is on a campaign to make advertising less intrusive and more effective. Creating and airing this type of branded content is one way the company plans to cut commercial loads on its broadcast and cable networks.
Deadly Class has its premiere Wednesday. The premiere also marks the first sponsorship of this type on Syfy.
"Scifi genre fans, and certainly Syfy network viewers are so engaged and passionate about the content that they want to go deep and they want to understand the inspiration of what the author was creating,” said Mark Miller, executive VP, ad sales, at NBCU.
Miller said NBCU has had great results doing behind the scenes vignettes for other shows including This Is Us. “We’re seeing success in other parts of the portfolio and this is another great way to do it on Syfy.”
For Toyota, the project presented a chance for the RAV4 to be integrated into engaging content.The network and show were also a good contextual match for Toyota.
“They were looking for millennial males and Syfy and certainly graphic novels line up with that demo,” Miller said. “So when we first started talking to Toyota about it, it was the right genre, right content, right demo. Everything fit.”
Pamela Mark, media manager for Toyota Marketing, added that the opportunity with Deadly Class gave the automaker an chance to connect with the audience while showcasing the all-new RAV4 in action.
As one of the most highly anticipated new series on the Syfy network this year, this content integration provided a unique opportunity to engage with the millennial audience that aligns with the target for our all-new RAV4 launch campaign," Mark said.
Miller noted that music is important to Toyota’s brand and the music in the series was attractive to the sponsor as well.
In three vignettes produced, Syfy Wire’s talks about the stories origins with Remender, the show’s creator while tooling around in a Rav4. The production highlights the car and some of its features.
Short 30-second versions of the vignettes will appear on the channel and in the show, paired with commercials for Toyota of the course of the season. Longer five minute versions of the vignettes will be stream on Syfy Wire. The vignettes will also be pushed out on social channels by NBCU.
As a presenting sponsor of the show, Toyota will get brand recognition in the shows open and be co-promoted in tune in spots.
Financial details of the sponsorship were not disclosed.
According to NBCU, Deadly Class is an unlikely coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of late-‘80s counter-culture. It follows a teenager who is recruited into the Kings Dominion School for the Deadly Arts, an elite high school for the world’s top future killers. As he begins his training, he quickly learns that maintaining his moral code while surviving a ruthless curriculum, vicious social cliques and his own adolescent uncertainties may prove fatal.
From Sony Pictures Television and Universal Cable Productions, the show is directed by Joe & Anthony Russo, It stars Benjamin Wadsworth, Benedict Wong, Lana Condor, Maria Gabriela de Faria, Luke Tennie, Liam James and Michel Duval.
Cites partial government shutdown, Justice advice
With the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit signaling it planned to hold the Feb. 1 oral argument in Mozilla vs. the FCC partial government shutdown or not, the FCC Tuesday (Jan. 15) asked the court to instead delay the arguments, a move that is OK with cable and telco ISPs.
"The Commission recognizes that the Court has indicated that arguments in February will proceed as scheduled," the FCC said in a court filing. "However, due to the recent lapse in funding for the FCC and the relevant component of the Department of Justice, the Commission believes that, in an abundance of caution, it should move for an extension to ensure that attorneys may fully prepare for argument."
The FCC said it needs an answer ASAP in the event the request is denied and it has to stick to the schedule.
The Justice Department has advised government attorneys to request cases be postponed until government funding is available.
According to the FCC, Mozilla opposes the delay, intervenors for Mozilla, the Internet Association, Entertainment Software Association, CCIA, and the Writers Guild of America, West, have taken no position one way or the other, and Justice, USTelecom, CTIA, NCTA-the Internet & Television Association, the American Cable Association, and Wireless Internet Service Providers Association do not oppose it.
Mozilla is challenging the FCC's decision in the Restoring Internet Freedom order to classify ISPs as Title I information services rather than Title II telecom services subject to some common carrier regs. The order eliminated rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.
In its opening brief to the court last October, the FCC said that its order deregulating internet access simply restored the longstanding regulatory classification of broadband internet access service as an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act" and returned to a "light touch" regulatory approach.
Mozilla et al. say that was not just bad policy but illegal.
Their argument is that the FCC decided the agency lacked all jurisdiction over the internet, a radical move that defined the statute, they said. Also in the "illegal" category, they argue what they said was the FCC's "cherrypicking" of investment evidence to justify their predetermined outcome of reversing the Title II classification.
Monday, January 14, 2019 — Anaheim, CA, January 14, 2019 — Andy Grammer’s pop music career has been on the rise since the 2011 release of his self-titled debut album, which included the hit singles “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me.” A few years later, his song “Honey I’m Good” — off his 2014 sophomore effort Magazines and Novels — shot to the top of the pop music charts and has since been certified triple-platinum.
Now, having wrapped up Grammer’s latest tour in support of his third album The Good Parts last November, guitarist Greg Karas and playback technician Joey Muraoka were tasked with upgrading Grammer’s playback rig to the next level flexibility, reliability and portability. Together, with help of FOH engineer Adam Robison, Grammer’s team added a product to their rig worthy of the next stage in the pop star’s career – the Ferrofish A32 AD/DA Converter.
Pioneering the Next Level of Pop
With a background in recording and digital cinema mastering, Karas, who has been Andy Grammer’s guitarist since 2013, depends on the playback rig to ensure his guitar will sound the way it’s supposed to on every song.
“In the past year, we have basically gone through our entire set and programmed all the MIDI changes, so that, as we’re going through the show, all of our presets and patches will automatically change as the songs go on,” Karas said. “That’s extremely important for us because we have a ton of dance moves in our set. In pop music, it’s all about nailing the sounds from a record. When you’re dancing around doing choreography it looks awesome, but it’s really difficult to concentrate on some of the minor details. So, implementing the MIDI switches into our set has been game changer, and now it’s essential.”
When it came to choosing a converter, Grammer’s playback engineering team had to consider all aspects of their production — in addition to dance moves — that go beyond the music, including for lighting, video and TelePrompTer, with flexible time code applications for different types of productions. Due to the number of television performances that Grammer books in a given year, the Ferrofish A32 affords his playback team the flexibility to work with different production crews without having to change anything in the setup.
“With the TV stuff, it’s really hard for us to travel with a large crew and ship gear out,” Karas said. “Sometimes we’re able to bring our own lighting and video guys, but a lot of times we’re bringing in people that are just tasked to a specific show, and we have to have flexibility on the different types of time code for the different arrangements of our songs.
“Some lighting technicians want to see one frame rate,” Karas continued, “and maybe our system is set up on a different frame rate. And maybe the video guy needs to see something that is slightly different. So, instead of having to redo an entire session and spend all this time and man-hours, one of the reasons that we chose to incorporate the Ferrofish A32 into this rig is that we now have the capability to provide multiple sources of time code at these different branches.”
With their previous system, Muraoka said, “We were pushing it to the limits. We wanted more control over the tracks, better audio quality and a minimum number of cables. Now, by going fully digital with the Ferrofish A32, we’re pushing our rig to the next level, in regards to flexibility with MADI and our consoles, and with the audio quality of our live show.”
For the past year, Muraoka – who refers himself as a “Hawaiian Swiss Army Knife” – has been in charge of increasing efficiency in all aspects of Grammer’s live show, from production and stage management, to maintaining, organizing, and taking care of drums, keyboards and MIDI instruments. ”I’ve worked with nine different artists,” Muraoka said, “and every camp has their own style of playback rigs. The biggest thing is to be able to fit in any configuration in any situation. With the A32, we have that ability. Whether it is in MADI format with BNC/optical outputs up to 64 tracks or sending out copper with 32 analog outputs, the A32 gives us complete control to send playback tracks to production to be able to give the best mix possible with amazing audio from the A32.”
Ready to Fly, from Gig to Gig
When Karas, Muraoka and Robinson began planning upgrades for Andy Grammer’s playback rig last year, one of their biggest concerns was keeping the rig under 50 pounds for fly dates.
“With this rig, we were trying to build it in such a way that we could carry it on,” Karas said, “so that we would have the ability to keep our eyes on it at all times to reduce the amount of variables you could encounter when you deal with baggage handlers. So, there was lots of emailing and sketching diagrams back and forth, and also asking the equipment companies, ‘How do we shave off and extra two pounds to get this under weight?’ Or, ‘Do we talk about building a custom power supply that will take care of three units with similar power requirements?’”
Having worked with other artists playback teams who used Ferrofish, Muraoka was familiar with the brand’s reputation for making flexible, dependable and lightweight equipment. So, when as they were designing fully digital MADI rig, they kept their eye on the Ferrofish A32 and designed their whole system around it.
Now, with a new playback rig built around the Ferrofish A32, Andy Grammer’s crew is all set up for 2019, and ready to raise the level of their live performances to new heights. “In a lot of ways we’re the ideal candidates to test the A32, because of the high frequency of fly dates we do, and the amount of variables that we encounter,” Karas said. “Most people are doing a tour for months, and they have a lot more control over their situation. With us, we don’t have that luxury often. So, we’re definitely ready to test the new equipment firsthand.”
Karas and Muraoka will be breaking down their playback rig and walking listeners through their workflow during the 2019 NAMM Show on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at RME’s booth 14702.
For more information, visit ferrofish.com.
Known for its precision-engineered German technology, Ferrofish manufacturers high quality, innovative advanced audio applications. From its class-leading A16 MK-II and A32 AD/DA converters to its Verto Series of intuitive Dante converters, Ferrofish is known for its premium conversion solutions that are ideal for a wide range of applications. For additional information, visit the company online at http://www.ferrofish.com.
About Synthax, Incorporated
Synthax Inc. is the exclusive USA distributor for RME digital audio solutions, Ferrofish advanced audio applications, myMix audio products, and ALVA cableware. We supply a nationwide network of dealers with these products for professional audio, broadcast, music industry, commercial audio, theater, military and government applications. For additional information, visit the company online at http://www.synthax.com.
Clarke elected vice chair of full committee
Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) has been elected chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee.
Doyle was the lead legislator on the House attempt to reverse the FCC's deregulatory Restoring Internet Freedom order repealing regs against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization. He has also pushed the FCC to go through with a hearing over allegations Sinclair may not have been truthful with the FCC about its proposal to buy Tribune, a hearing currently in limbo after the Tribune deal cratered, and sought investigations into the impact of TV station sharing agreements on competition, localism and diversity.
Doyle was also the ranking member of the subcommittee in the last Congress, so his ascension to the chair was expected.
“I’m humbled and grateful that my Democratic colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee have entrusted me with the chairmanship of this subcommittee,” said Doyle. “After eight years serving in the minority, I’m excited for the opportunity to set the Committee’s agenda on these issues – rather than just playing defense. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to promote policies that benefit consumers, small businesses, and innovators, as well as to conduct effective oversight of the Trump Administration.”
House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D.N.J.) also unveiled the Democratic members of the committee as well as the newly elected vice chair of the full committee, Rep. Yvette Clarke (N.Y.).
In addition to Doyle, they are Jerry McNerney (Calif.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), David Loebsack (Iowa), Marc Veasey (Tex.), A. Donald McEachin (Va.), Darren Soto (Fla.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Diana DeGette (Colo.), G.K. Butterfield (N.C.), Doris Matsui (Calif.), Peter Welch (Vt.), Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.), Kurt Shcrader (Ore.), Tony Cárdenas (Calif.), Debbie Dingell (Mich.) and Pallone ex officio.
As a BSC patron, Litepanels is pleased to be showcasing our award-winning lighting kits to attendees of the BSC Expo, alongside our highly-regarded sister brands OConnor and Anton/Bauer. The Expo is an important industry event for those in film and television, providing gaffers, cinematographers, producers, and more with a great opportunity to demo all of the latest gear and learn new production techniques. Our award-winning Gemini was developed thanks to the valuable feedback from world-leading DoPs — many of whom are part of the BSC — and we are proud to support BSC members whenever possible in their quest to create and capture exceptional content.
Litepanels — BSC Expo Prize Draw
To ring in the New Year alongside the BSC Expo, Litepanels will raffle off a professional lighting kit to one lucky winner. The prize includes one Gemini 2x1 soft panel, one Astra 6x Bi-Color, and one Sola 4+ Daylight Fresnel. The online entry is free and takes only a few moments to complete.
Link Here: http://bit.ly/2Fvsjmu
New Litepanels Dual-Battery Bracket for Gemini 2x1 Soft Panel
Making its official debut at the BSC Expo will be the all-new dual-battery bracket, which enables users to power a Gemini panel with two industry-standard 14.4V broadcast camera batteries mounted directly to the yoke or light stand. With its extremely lightweight and on-board, ballast-free power supply, Gemini has always been easy to transport and rig at on-location shoots. Now it's even more practical in situations where portable power is preferred over mains power, including a broad range of ENG and ENP applications. Unlike competing LED panels, which can only generate 50 percent of their maximum output when battery-powered, Gemini can operate at up to 100 percent intensity running from mains and battery power alike.
The Gemini dual-battery bracket is available in either a Gold Mount or V-Mount version, each supporting two batteries in sizes ranging from 90 to 190 watt-hours, including Anton/Bauer's Dionic XT onboard cinema and broadcast batteries. The bracket has been specifically designed to regulate power output to ensure maximum battery life and maintain peak performance for the Gemini LED and includes a connecting cable.
Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/TheVitecGroup/Litepanels-GeminiBracket.jpg
Photo Caption: The New Litepanels Dual-Battery Bracket for the Gemini 2x1 Soft Panel
Litepanels Gemini 2x1 Soft Panel
The accurate and versatile Gemini 2x1 soft panel can be set up in an instant to produce true, flicker-free, full-spectrum white light for any frame rate, shutter angle, or intensity, offering an ideal lighting solution for live broadcasts.
Rendering exceptional color, Gemini enables lighting professionals to "go bold" by lighting with any color in the 360-degree color spectrum. The light's most recent firmware update includes new special effects, new gel modes, and advanced fan operation. An all-new lighting effects mode offers dynamic effects ranging from emergency lights, lightning, fire to pulsing, square, and strobe. Gemini eliminates the need for color correction by offering full-spectrum white light that's perfect for lighting public speakers and on-air talent.
The versatile Gemini's lightweight design allows the light to be rigged virtually anywhere, requiring less cabling because the power supply is built-in. The production-friendly soft panel can also deliver full-intensity, mobile-powered operation under battery only — an ideal complement to any of the Anton/Bauer battery lines..
Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/TheVitecGroup/TheVitecGroup-Gemini.zip
Photo Captions: Product Shots of Litepanels Gemini 2x1 Soft Panel
OConnor Fluid Head 2560
As the global camera support leader in the cinema industry, OConnor will showcase its entire fluid head lineup at the BSC Expo, including the 1030D, 2575D, 2560, and 120EX.
The 2560 is the latest addition to the OConnor fluid head family, offering versatility for both lightweight and heavy rig setups and enabling cinematographers to move more quickly and efficiently while still maintaining control and stability. The continuously adjustable 2560 offers sinusoidal counterbalance and fluid drag that together provide the ultra-smooth OConnor feel over the largest payload range. The 2560 offers cine-standard position of controls (including brakes) and a front-handle mount for intuitive, controlled positioning of the camera, as well as a lightweight magnesium housing and carbon-fibre cover for best-in-class performance, power-to- weight ratio, and reliability.
Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/TheVitecGroup/OConnor_Fluid-Head-Line-2560.jpeg
Photo Caption: OConnor 2560 Fluid Head
Anton/Bauer Dionic XT Battery Series
Available in both V-Mount and Gold Mount, the high-performing and compact Dionic XT is a 14V Li-ion battery capable of delivering up to 12A of continuous power. This highly dependable, long-lasting battery line is available in two models — the Dionic XT90 and the Dionic XT150 — and features ultra-high-strength ABS and rubber construction that cushions and protects the battery and ensures industry-standard performance even in the most demanding conditions, including extreme heat, humidity, and cold. Dionic XT's superior cell technology is engineered for maximum cycle life, enabling the battery to be recharged many more times than competing batteries for superior ROI and the lowest management overhead.
Dionic XT batteries not only work with Anton/Bauer's complete line of battery-charging systems but also are cross-compatible with competing brands' charging systems and offer superior performance for powering accessories such as portable LED lighting.
Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/TheVitecGroup/Anton-Bauer-Dionic-XT.jpg
Photo Caption: The New Dionic XT From Anton/Bauer
"As a BSC patron, Litepanels is pleased to be showcasing our award-winning lighting kits to attendees of the BSC Expo, alongside our highly-regarded sister brands OConnor and Anton/Bauer. The Expo is an important industry event for those in film and television, providing gaffers, cinematographers, producers, and more with a great opportunity to demo all of the latest gear and learn new production techniques. Our award-winning Gemini was developed thanks to the valuable feedback from world-leading DoPs — many of whom are part of the BSC — and we are proud to support BSC members whenever possible in their quest to create and capture exceptional content."
— Dave Dougall, Vice President of Sales, EMEA and Asia Pacific — Vitec Group
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A Snapshot of The Vitec Group plc
Vitec is a leading global provider of premium branded products and solutions to the fast moving and growing "image capture and content creation" market.
Vitec's customers include broadcasters, independent content creators, photographers and enterprises, and our activities comprise: design, manufacture and distribution of high performance products and solutions including camera supports, camera mounted electronic accessories, robotic camera systems, prompters, LED lights, mobile power, monitors, bags and noise reduction equipment.
We employ around 1,700 people across the world in 11 different countries and are organised in three Divisions: Imaging Solutions, Production Solutions and Creative Solutions. The Vitec Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange with 2017 adjusted revenue* of £378.1 million.
More information can be found at: www.vitecgroup.com.
LEI number: 2138007H5DQ4X8YOCF14
* Revenue from continuing and discontinued operations
Link to Word Doc: www.wallstcom.com/TheVitecGroup/190115VitecGroup.docx
BSC Expo Show Preview
Feb. 1-2, 2019
The Vitec Group
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Says during his days with Verizon, the company didn't use such tech, even though it was cheaper
Attorney General nominee William Barr said Tuesday during his Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing that he shared concerns over the "danger" of using tech from Chinese telecoms ZTE and Huawei in U.S. networks.
He said when he was an exec (executive VP) with Verizon (in the early 2000s) the company already recognized that danger and would not use such equipment in its networks even though it was economically attractive.
ZTE and Huawei have been the targets of various government efforts to disentangle them from U.S. tech, though with some pushback from the White House in the case of ZTE.
For example, government contractors can no longer buy equipment from Chinese telecoms ZTE or Huawei as part of those contracts, and must submit a plan for phasing out the use of that equipment from its systems.
Separately, the FCC is proposing to ban the use of broadband subsidy funds for ZTE and Huawei technology out of concern for national security.
The Trump White House has sent something of a mixed message.
After ZTE allegedly failed to comply with the terms of a settlement over illegally shipping telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea, Commerce banned U.S. companies from exporting their technology to the company for seven years. Not long after, the U.S. also banned the sale of phones from ZTE and Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei on U.S. military bases.
But President Trump then instructed the Commerce Department to strike a deal that lifted the ban on U.S. tech exports after China's president reached out to him over the resulting Chinese job losses.
Barr told the Senate that China was a paramount economic and military rival and that he was also disturbed by the progress that country had made militarily on the back of U.S. tech.
Jane Fonda plays Grace, Lily Tomlin portrays Frankie
Days before season five debuts, Netflix has ordered a sixth season of Grace and Frankie. Season six will be available in 2020.
Jane Fonda plays Grace and Lily Tomlin plays Frankie, two women whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands reveal they are gay, and are leaving their wives for each other.
Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play the ex-husbands.
Netflix calls the pair “sparring partners and partners-in-crime.”
Season five starts Jan. 18.
Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris created the show. They are executive producers, along with Paula Weinstein, John Hoffman, Billy Finnegan, Robbie Tollin, Fonda, Tomlin, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross.
Harmonic (NASDAQ: HLIT) today announced that 1Tennessee, a broadband internet, TV and telecomm cooperative in Tennessee, has deployed Harmonic's CableOS™ virtualized cable access solution for DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 broadband service delivery. As the industry's first fully virtualized Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS), the CableOS solution enables 1Tennessee to cost-effectively deliver 1 gigabit internet speeds to its growing subscriber base today, while also creating a flexible foundation for further speed enhancements in the future.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jan. 15, 2019 — Harmonic (NASDAQ: HLIT) today announced that 1Tennessee, a broadband internet, TV and telecomm cooperative in Tennessee, has deployed Harmonic's CableOS™ virtualized cable access solution for DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 broadband service delivery. As the industry's first fully virtualized Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS), the CableOS solution enables 1Tennessee to cost-effectively deliver 1 gigabit internet speeds to its growing subscriber base today, while also creating a flexible foundation for further speed enhancements in the future.
"We're always striving to deliver the fastest broadband speeds to our subscribers and looking for ways to bring the most value to our member-owners. Harmonic's CableOS virtualized cable access solution fulfills both of those requirements for us," said John Warmath, president and CEO at 1Tennessee. "Finding a cutting-edge cable access technology that will work with our existing plant while providing a cost-effective migration path to distributed R-PHY nodes was our top priority for this project. The CableOS solution greatly reduces the complexity of our network operations and met our tight deployment schedule for introducing next-generation gigabit services."
1Tennessee's architecture is powered by a centralized CableOS solution with a software-based CMTS core and dense PHY shelves located in remote facilities. Relying on COTS servers and switches, the CableOS solution enabled 1Tennessee to quickly launch a 1Gbps tier offering to its customers.
"Our CableOS offering offers the easiest path to DOCSIS 3.1 service delivery," said Yaniv Ben-Soussan, vice president of sales, North America cable, at Harmonic. "As smaller sized operators like 1Tennessee look for ways to increase their broadband capacity, they can exploit a centralized virtualized CMTS Core connected to dense PHY shelves in multiple hubs to enable seamless transition to remote PHY nodes in the future."
Further information about Harmonic and the company's solutions is available at www.harmonicinc.com.
# # #
Harmonic (NASDAQ: HLIT), the worldwide leader in video delivery technology and services, enables media companies and service providers to deliver ultra-high-quality broadcast and OTT video services to consumers globally. The company has also revolutionized cable access networking via the industry's first virtualized cable access solution, enabling cable operators to more flexibly deploy gigabit internet service to consumers' homes and mobile devices. Whether simplifying OTT video delivery via innovative cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) technologies, or powering the delivery of gigabit internet cable services, Harmonic is changing the way media companies and service providers monetize live and VOD content on every screen. More information is available at www.harmonicinc.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Statements concerning Harmonic's business and the anticipated capabilities, advantages, reliability, efficiency, market acceptance, market growth, specifications and benefits of Harmonic products, services and technology are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on our current expectations and beliefs and are subject to risks and uncertainties, including the risks and uncertainties more fully described in Harmonic's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017, its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and its Current Reports on Form 8-K. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to Harmonic as of the date hereof, and Harmonic disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
Harmonic, the Harmonic logo and other Harmonic marks are owned by Harmonic Inc. or its affiliates. All other trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners.
Link to Word Doc: www.202comms.com/Harmonic/190115Harmonic.docx
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Photo Caption: Harmonic CableOS™ Virtualized Cable Access Solution
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Stock rises 6% after news it will raise prices in U.S.
Netflix stock rose more than 6% in early trading Tuesday, after the streaming video pioneer said it would raise monthly prices for service between 13% and 18% for all U.S., subscribers, which should help offset its costs for original programming.
Shares of Netflix soared as high as $355.18 (up 6.7%) on Jan. 15 after the announcement. The stock was trading at about $352.68 each (up 6%) at about 10:18 a.m.
Netflix has raised prices four times, the latest being in late 2017. But this rate hike -- it will immediately affect all new subscribers and be rolled out across the U.S. over the next three months -- is its biggest yet and the first time an increase will affect its entire U.S. subscriber base. Netflix has about 58 million domestic customers.
It’s most popular plan will receive the biggest increase -- from $11 per month to $13 per month, or 18%, for HD streaming content on up to two devices simultaneously. The price for its basic service -- SD content streamed to a single device -- will rise 13% from $8 per month to $9 per month.
Netflix was expected to spend about $12 billion to $13 billion on original content in 2018. The company has racked up a huge debt to pay for content, and raising prices is expected by some to ease some Wall Street pressure on the company.
Said FCC exceeded authority with what it says were unrelated conditions
The Competitive Enterprise Institute has filed the opening brief in its challenge to the FCC's conditions on the 2016 Charter-Time Warner Cable (Bright House) merger.
CEI challenged the conditions that it said went beyond the FCC's legal authority by imposing conditions unrelated to the services whose cable licenses were being exchanged and unrelated to any transaction-specific harm, including that the company build out broadband to an agency-mandated minimum new customers, that it provide a low-income broadband program and that it not engage in usage-based pricing or impose data caps.
Those conditions cause harm to Charter's customers that the FCC did not recognize or consider in imposing them, it told the court.
The group also suggests the FCC's buildout condition was arbitrary and capricious because the FCC mandate to get bigger (build out to more broadband customers) "contradicts the agency's own findings expressing concerns regarding the post-merger size of New Charter."
CEI sought FCC reconsideration of the conditions, from which both now-chairman Ajit Pai and fellow Republican commissioner Michael O'Rielly dissented from. At the time, Pai said that the FCC's merger review process had become "rife it is with fact-free, dilatory, politically motivated, non-transparent decision-making."
Pai dissented from the order but not because he did not think the deal was in the public interest, but because he thought the conditions the FCC majority imposed was an effort to micromanage the wider internet economy.
When the FCC, after two years and under Pai's chairmanship, finally decided not to reconsider--saying CEI did not have standing to bring the challenge--the group appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which has principal jurisdiction over FCC decisions.
"CEI has demonstrated that the FCC imposed unlawful conditions on the Charter merger that would increase costs for consumers, forcing them to foot the bill for an overreaching federal agency,” said CEI senior attorney Melissa Holyoak in a statement. “We are asking the court to apply the statute and find the FCC has no authority to micromanage the internet at the public’s expense."
The FCC under Pai did modify the Charter-Time Warner Cable deal conditions by removing the overbuild portion of the broadband buildout requirement that Charter to overbuild a million internet access customers who could already get high-speed access from another provider, in addition to the one million new buildouts.
Network to show eight episodes across four Sundays
Event series The Red Line, from Greg Berlanti and Ava DuVernay, begins on CBS April 28. The series follows three different Chicago families connected by a tragedy. Noah Wyle stars.
Featuring eight episodes, The Red Line will air across four Sundays.
“The Red Line is a serialized drama with compelling characters and provocative themes that we expect viewers will want to watch more than one hour per week, so we wanted to eventize it and try something unique with two-hour blocks over four weeks,” said Noriko Kelley, executive VP, program planning & scheduling, CBS Entertainment. “Sundays have always been a night of prestige programming for the network, and 60 Minutes provides the perfect lead-in for this special series.”
Also on CBS, military legal drama The Code starts April 9. It is a drama about the military’s brightest minds who take on our country’s toughest legal challenges, inside the courtroom and out, “in the only law office in the world where every attorney is trained as a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, an investigator – and a Marine,” in CBS’ words.
After its premiere, The Code shifts to Mondays starting April 15.
“Giving The Code a special premiere on Tuesday, the night after the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship plus the powerful lead-in of NCIS, provides two strong promotional platforms,” said Kelley. “When it moves to its regular slot on Mondays at 9:00, it will pair well with Bull to form a compatible two hours of high-quality legal dramas.”
Nearer term, Ransom, about a crisis and hostage negotiator and his team, starts season three Feb. 16.
The season premieres of Elementary and Instinct will be announced by CBS later.
Had been chair when GOP held those posts
As expected, Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has been named ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee.
Latta had chaired the subcommittee, but the gavels traveled to the Democrats for the new Congress following the midterm elections.
Ranking member on the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce (formerly the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee will be Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).
"The American people expect results, and I am confident that the leadership team Republicans are putting forward is ready to deliver," said Energy & Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.). "As we address some of the biggest challenges facing our nation, from health care, to the environment, to modernizing our energy infrastructure, to protecting consumers in the digital age and more, this committee is poised to truly make a positive impact in the lives of the American people."
“I’d like to thank Congressman Walden for the opportunity to serve as Republican Leader on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee,” said Latta. “The way we communicate and use technology plays a significant role in our daily lives. In this capacity, I’ll be able to advocate for policies that will help consumers, grow our economy, and spur innovation. One area I’ve focused on in Congress has been increasing access to high-speed broadband and closing the “digital divide” – an important issue to the people I represent in Northwest and West Central Ohio. In addition, the rollout of 5G promises to revolutionize our communications infrastructure, and this subcommittee will play a critical role in developing the necessary policies to ensure the United States maintains its place as a leader of this cutting-edge technology. I look forward to working with my colleagues on these issues and more during the 116 Congress.”
Repeats, preemptions, break outs depress ratings in week ended Jan. 6
While the world was celebrating the New Year, syndies remained in a slump in the week ended Jan. 6 that included both the low viewership New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Entertainment magazines, however, staged a bit of a rally in the run-up to the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 6.
CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight increased 22% from the prior week to a 2.8 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, to lead the magazines. CTD’s Inside Edition, which is not strictly an entertainment magazine and did not see a pop from the Globes, was next with a flat 2.7. NBCU’s Access jumped 20% to a 1.2, tying Warner Bros.’ TMZ, which rose 9%. Warner Bros.’ Extra grew 11% to a 1.0.
CTD’s Daily Mail TV posted a 13% increase to a 0.9, despite being handicapped after nearly three dozen Tribune media stations were blacked out on Spectrum in a carriage dispute affecting about 6 million subscribers in 24 markets, including New York and Los Angeles.
Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was on par with the prior week at a 6.0, tying CTD’s Wheel of Fortune for first place in the category, with Wheel gaining 11%. CTD’s Jeopardy! jumped 5% to a 5.8.
Further back, Disney’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire was unchanged at a 1.6 for the fourth straight week. Entertainment Studios’ Funny You Should Ask held at a 0.5 for the 24th week in a row.
Disney’s viral video show RightThisMinute recovered 9% from a season low set in the previous session to a 1.2.
In daytime, CTD’s Dr. Phil, which was in reruns on all five days and was one of the very few talkers to included the lightly watched New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in its average, held steady week to week at a 2.3, tying Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan, which remained at its season high for a second straight week.
Among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, Phil and Live again tied for first, with both scoring a 1.0 in the key demo.
Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres delivered a 17% increase to a 2.1. NBCU’s Maury was flat at a 1.4. NBCU’s Steve Wilkos advanced 9% to a 1.2. NBCU’s Steve, in repeats all week, slipped 8% to a 1.1, tying Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams and CTD’s Rachael Ray, both of which held steady. Williams has been taking a break from her show after sustaining a shoulder injury over the holiday.
SPT’s Dr. Oz rebounded 11% from a season low set in the prior week to a 1.0. Warner Bros.’ The Real and CTD’s The Doctors both flatlined at a 0.6. The syndicated run of the out-of- production Jerry Springer stabilized at a 0.4 for the 17th straight week, tying Disney’s Pickler & Ben, which broke even.
Debmar-Mercury’s rookie court show, Caught in Providence, caught up to CTD’s panel talker Face the Truth for the first time, with Caught adding 17% to hit a season high and tie an unchanged Face the Truth at a 0.7.
Week one of a two-week trial one of CTD’s talker Breakthrough with Dr. Steve Perry on Fox stations in eight markets averaged a 0.4 rating/1 share weighted metered market average, down 50% from both its lead in and year-ago time period average. That’s half the rating of the show that aired in those slots last year at this time, NBCU’s canceled Harry, in New York and Atlanta, and a third of the rating of the show it replaced in Los Angeles, Dr. Oz.
Among women 25-54, Breakthrough’s premiere week turned in a 0.2/1, off 50% from its lead-in and off 60% from its year-ago time-period average.
Back among the veterans, CTD’s Judge Judy rebounded 8% to a 6.5 despite five days of reruns and led all of syndication for the 23rd straight week with one tie.
CTD’s Hot Bench, in repeats for most of the week, gained 5% to a 2.2.
Warner Bros.’ People’s Court and Judge Mathis and Twentieth’s Divorce Court all were constant at a 1.4, 1.0 and 0.7, respectively.
Among the new true-crime shows, NBCU’s off-net Dateline held steady at a 1.2. SPT’s off-A&E Live PD Police Patrol slumped 8% to a 1.1, while off-Investigation Discovery’s True Crime Files was unchanged at a 0.3 for the 17th straight week.
NBCU’s scripted police procedural Chicago PD backed off 9% from a season high set in the prior week to a 1.0.
Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.’ leader The Big Bang Theory inched up 2% to a 4.4. Twentieth’s Last Man Standing slid 9% to a 2.0, tying Twentieth’s Modern Family, which forged ahead 5%. SPT’s The Goldbergs grew 7% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men moved down 7% to a 1.3. Twentieth’s Family Guy and Disney’s Black-ish both remained at a 1.2. Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly eroded 8% to a 1.1. Warner Bros’ 2 Broke Girls stayed at a 1.0, while SPT’s Seinfeld slid 10% to a 0.9.
But reiterates he will recuse himself from merger matters
Attorney General nominee William Barr told the Senate Tuesday (Jan. 15) he was concerned that the Justice Department's antitrust division was not engaging in some of AT&T-Time Warner's arguments (about why the merger did not violate antitrust).
That came in response to questioning from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) at his nomination hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barr reiterated that he would recuse himself from any matters related to Justice's ongoing legal challenge of that merger. Barr was a member of the Time Warner board and filed an affidavit challenging DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim's characterization of a meeting about the deal where Barr was also in attendance.
The affidavit also raised questions about whether Justice was taking the merits of AT&T-TW's arguments for the deal seriously and whether the President's animus toward the deal was a factor.
Barr said in that affidavit that Delrahim's version was "inaccurate and incomplete," and that his discomfort at that meeting stemmed from Barr's concerns that "Mr. Delrahim's position about the alleged harms from the merger and his inexplicable...rejection of remedies short of extreme divestitures were the product not of a well-versed substantive analysis, but rather political or other motivation."
Klobuchar asked what Barr meant by that and whether he meant the President's historic antipathy toward CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.
Barr said he was not sure why the antitrust division acted the way it did, but that what he meant was that he was concerned that the department "was not engaging" with some of the companies' arguments.
On another subject, Barr declined to rule out jailing reporters "for doing their jobs." He said he could conceive of situations where as a last resort and where a news organization had "run through a red flag" and where "putting out that stuff will hurt the country," a journalist could be held in contempt. Klobuchar said she would follow up with him on that point and whether the laws needed to be changed.
Cable net acquires existing episodes, aims to premiere ten more in early 2020
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is coming to HGTV, with the network planning on ten episodes. The home renovation show ran on ABC from 2003 to 2012. It is expected to premiere early in 2020.
HGTV has not revealed the cast. The network “will showcase its own superstar experts,” it said, “in the weekly race to complete a custom, whole home renovation for one deserving family.”
HGTV also secured the rights to air 100 episodes of the original series. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will be available on demand across all authenticated platforms and on the HGTV app.
“This is a big win for HGTV and we can’t wait to put our stamp on it,” said Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brands officer, Discovery Inc., parent of HGTV. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was must-see viewing for years because it combined moving stories of families and communities with life-changing home renovations. It’s the type of program that taps into every emotion and it’s the reason it was so popular with everyone in America.”
The HGTV episodes will be produced by Endemol Shine North America with Sharon Levy and DJ Nurre the executive producers. The company also produced the original version on ABC.
‘Bach’ up a bit, ‘America’s Got Talent’ down a bit, from their premieres
A strong The Bachelor led ABC to the ratings win Monday, climbing past America’s Got Talent: The Champions on NBC. ABC had a 1.5 in viewers 18-49, according to Nielsen’s overnights, and a 6 share. NBC was just behind at 1.4/6.
The Bachelor went up a tenth of a point to 1.6 from 8 to 10 p.m. and The Good Doctor fell 14% to 1.2.
On NBC, America’s Got Talent rated a 1.7 from 8 to 10, down a tenth from its premiere, before Manifest slipped 18% to 0.9.
Fox came in at 1.2/5. The Resident returned up 22% to 1.1 and the premiere of drama The Passage scored a promising 1.3.
CBS got a 0.9/4. The Neighborhood went up 20% to 1.2 and the Happy Together finale went north 29% to 0.9. Magnum P.I. slid 30% to 0.7 and Bull dropped 20% to 0.8.
Univision rated a 0.4/2 and Telemundo a 0.3/1.
The CW got a 0.2/1 with The 4th Annual Howie Mandel Stand-Up Extravaganza across prime.
Said he wants to learn how companies got so big 'under noses' of antitrust enforcers
Attorney General nominee William Barr signaled Tuesday that if he is confirmed he wants the Department of Justice to look into how Silicon Valley giants have gotten that big.
Asked by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) whether he thought big was necessarily bad, Barr said no, but...
The "but" was that he was "sort of interested" in "stepping back" and reassessing, or at least learning more about "how the antitrust division has been functioning and what its priorities are."
"I don't think big is necessarily bad," he said, "but I think a lot of people wonder how such huge behemoths that now exist in Silicon Valley have taken shape under the nose of the antitrust enforcers."
Many in Congress on both sides of the aisle have been wondering that too, which is why the CEOs of Facebook and Google have testified on issues ranging from privacy to cybersecurity to election meddling and content control.
Barr conceded Silicon Valley giants could have won their market share without violating the antitrust law, but added: "I want to find out more about that dynamic."
Congress has previously been primarily focused on the power of internet service providers as the gatekeeper between garage-innovating edge providers and their subs, but that view is changing with the size of FAANG--Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google--together dwarfing ISPs and the GNP of whole nations--and revelations about inappropriate data sharing, misuse of their platforms by foreign powers, allegations of content censorship--or lack of content oversight in other cases--and much more.
In follow-up questioning on the issue form new Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Barr said he did not want to get "too far ahead of my skis" on Big Tech issues since he had been advised that his recusal from issues related to AT&T-Time Warner extended to AT&T. He also added that he was not casting aspersions on any particular company or executive.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), in a further follow-up, said that tech companies control the flow of information to consumers to an unprecedented degree, including influencing news. He said there was growing evidence that tech giants were leveraging their market, if not not monopoly, power to disfavor conservative and libertarian viewpoints and asked if DOJ has the authority under antitrust or consumer protection powers to address that bias. Barr said he would have to think long and hard before saying that was an antitrust issue, but did say it could involve disclosure issues or implicate other laws.
Asked specifically about whether there was any point at which the ability of Facebook and Google to manipulate algorithms to potentialy favor candidates of their choice would require a DOJ response, Barr said he would have to think about that one, too.
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, JANUARY 11, 2019 - Wisycom, designer and builder of the most sophisticated RF solutions for broadcast, film and live production, is pleased to announce a Wisycom USA Q&A party to reinforce the company's U.S. presence, which was announced last year. The networking event, being held at Location Sound in North Hollywood on Friday, January 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., aims to strengthen the brand's status among film and broadcast professionals.
During the event, Jim Dugan, president of Wisycom USA, and Thomas "T.J." Miesen, Wisycom Account Executive, will present demos of Wisycom's latest portable wideband ENG devices, wireless microphones and antenna distribution products for professionals in the field production market. This includes Wisycom's Complete Wireless ENG Bundle, which is a great combination of wireless tools for any location sound operator.
The establishment of Wisycom USA has allowed the company to focus on building its reputation for unparalleled service and support, such as stocking inventory for quick delivery, a high-priority for last-minute production decisions. The company has also been collaborating with Wisycom's regional dealers to develop cutting-edge technology and software products that focus on the U.S. market.
"With the ongoing frequency changes in relation to the 600 MHz frequency band, the need for agility in wireless is paramount," explains Dugan. "I have been working with my team and our network of distributors to establish hassle-free solutions that will benefit audio professionals in the United States, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. Wisycom is the only manufacturer that integrates wideband technology that is three times the bandwidth of anything else currently available, making it the most flexible technology on the market. I look forward to showcasing all of our great offerings to attendees of this Q&A event."
Though this event is targeted toward field production, all audio professionals are encouraged to attend to check out the latest in wireless sound technology. Location Sound is located at 10639 Riverside Drive, North Hollywood, CA. Snacks and refreshments will be served.
Wisycom is a designer and builder of the most sophisticated RF solutions for broadcast, film and live production, renowned for their durability, flexibility, reliability, practicality and cost-effective price points. Wisycom's design process is driven by attention to detail, customer feedback and ultimate quality, from the selection of components to the manufacturing process, which takes place at the company's Italian plants. The company prides itself on serving as a technical advisor and partner to every customer. From custom design to evaluation and dimensioning of systems, the Wisycom team stands by its customers through every step of the process. For more information, please visit www.wisycom.com.
EditShare provides a foundation for maintaining rich historical film archive and supporting busy production schedule
Basingstoke, UK — January 15, 2019 - EditShare a technology leader in intelligent scale-out storage, AQC and media management solutions, announced today that global energy brand BP, has invested in the XStream EFS scale-out storage platform and Flow media asset management to manage the commissioning, producing and publishing of BP-related media projects.
“In its 110-year history, BP has published more than 10,500 films, documentaries, commercials and corporate videos covering a diverse range of topics produced in a wide range of geographic locations all around the world. And until recently, nearly all of the filmmaking was done with external resources. In 2015-2016, the BP Communications and External Affairs team set out to build an internal state-of-the-art production and post-production department that would support the diverse project needs and fast-growing content catalog,” states Steven Croston, head of visual media for BP. “We outgrew our original storage and media management system. We needed a replacement that would give us both the room and production capabilities to allow a fluid workflow supporting both internal teams and external contributors dotted around the world. EditShare proved to be the media-centric platform we required. With embedded production tools and workflow automation, we are able to connect the many moving parts and players across BP’s very dynamic production flows.”
The move to in-house streamlined production processes and reduced budgets. Croston adds, “The net result of the move to internal productions was a 40% savings on budget with zero reduction in the number of projects we could achieve or the quality in which they are produced.” The BP-TV team produces around 80 films per year published inside and outside BP.
The EditShare XStream EFS, Flow and AirFlow provide BP an advanced, fault tolerant shared storage infrastructure with comprehensive media asset management tools that connect BP systems and support remote productions. Serving as the control layer for media, Flow tracks all assets from capture to playback with tools to search, retrieve and assemble content as well as automate processes including migration to and from the BP content archive. The XStream EFS 300 stores all BP content up to 8K resolution including rushes, work in progress and finished productions for distribution. With metadata tracked, assets can be easily searched and retrieved via Flow or AirFlow for production internally or externally.
The installation, which was supported by EditShare reseller gaselec.tv, alleviated multiple pain points for BP. “BP is pushing the envelope when it comes to the range of productions they need to manage and this requires immense versatility with their infrastructure,” comments Tara Montford, managing director, EditShare. “They are producing documentaries, promos, animations, and commercials, and require flexibility in how they manage these projects with potentially hundreds of users all over the planet. This is where EditShare shines; you can manage near endless amount of projects simultaneously, limit user access to only certain projects, and have editors step into a different editing suite in which they were working and pick up a project right where they left off. With automating transcoding, EditShare also gives BP a way to create a mezzanine format and standardize production codecs. This is critical when dealing with content volumes of this magnitude.”
For more information on EditShare XStream EFS, Flow media asset management and AirFlow, please visit www.editshare.com.
EditShare is a technology leader in networked shared storage and tapeless, end-to-end workflow solutions for the post-production, TV and film industries. Our groundbreaking products improve efficiency and workflow collaboration every step of the way. They include video capture and playout servers, high-performance EFS central shared storage, AQC, archiving and backup software, media asset management, and Lightworks – the world’s first three-platform (Windows/OS X/Linux) professional non-linear video editing application.
©2019 EditShare LLC. All rights reserved. EditShare is a registered trademark of EditShare.
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Said partisan politics has no place in Justice enforcement of law
Attorney General nominee William Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday that he would not allow partisan politics to enter into Justice's special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian election meddling, or any other investigation or Justice decision for that matter.
The President who nominated him has suggested the investigation is a partisan "witch hunt" driven by his opponents with an assist from the mainstream media.
The country is deeply divided, Barr said in his confirmation hearing Tuesday (Jan. 15). He said in that current environment "people have to know there are places in government where the rule of law, not politics, holds sway. Justice must be that place."
Barr has already assured one Senator that he would recuse himself from the AT&T/Time Warner merger lawsuit DOJ filed to try and block or, now, unwind the deal as an antitrust threat.
Barr is a former AT&T-Time Warner board member who filed written testimony in the case taking issue with current DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim's characterization of a meeting they had both attended about the deal.
Barr separated himself from the President's attacks on Justice and the special counsel and the investigation. He said he did not think Mueller, who is a friend, would engage in a witch hunt; pledged to allow Mueller to finish the investigation into Russian election meddling, and would share the results of that investigation, to the degree he could under the law, with Congress and the American public.
Barr also said he had great respect for the Justice Department and the people who worked there, a sentiment the President has not shared.
Barr said that President Trump had not sought or gotten any assurances from Barr about how he would conduct himself as attorney general, beyond Barr's pledge to serve with independence, professionalism and integrity, as he had in his first stint as attorney general in the early 1990's under President George H.W. Bush.
Barr, when pressed by Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)," committed to providing Mueller with the resources and time to finish the investigation and would not be discharged without cause. He also said he would make Mueller's report public to the degree he could within the rules of the special counsel.
Barr said no matter what the President asks, DOJ can't act unless it concludes there is reason under the law to take that action. He used as an example a direction to go after a Chinese company for stealing trade secrets. Barr said the President would not be out of bounds to seek such action--he is the chief law enforcement officer--but Justice would be out of bounds if it took such action without first determining whether there was a reason under the law to do so.
Barr said his allegiance would be to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American people, adding: "This is how it should be, and must be, and will be if I am confirmed."
When asked by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) what would be his potential breaking point in the job, Barr said: "I will not be bullied by anybody into doing anything that is wrong, not by editorial boards, not by Congress and not by the President."
HEBDEN BRIDGE, UK, JANUARY 15, 2019 - In 2018, Calrec Audio generated serious momentum in the Japanese broadcasting market with the sale of 40 of its Brio audio consoles to a number of Japanese broadcasters. The customers are a mix of existing and new.
The installations were provided by Calrec's exclusive Japanese distributor, Hibino Intersound, which said the customers are using their Brios in a variety of ways, including for sub-mixing or as backup consoles.
"Because Brio is a compact and less expensive console than others in its class, we've been able to penetrate the broadcast market here in Japan on a pretty impressive level. Our customers highlight that the Brio is easy to learn and use, and they are also particularly impressed with Calrec's highly flexible Hydra2 networking capabilities," said Mr. Takashi Kozuma, Manager of the Broadcast Market at Hibino.
Anthony Harrison, International Sales Manager for Calrec, commented, "The need for a low-cost, high-quality, powerful broadcast console is pretty prevalent in Japan, which is proven by the success we're having there with Brio. When you compare price to specs, the Brio is such great value, and we're delighted that so many important broadcasters in the region are able to harness the power and networking capabilities of Brio."
About Calrec Audio Ltd.
Calrec Audio is exclusively dedicated to excellence in audio mixing for on-air and live production. A broadcast specialist for more than 50 years, Calrec has developed a range of digital consoles relied on by the world's most successful broadcasters. Increasingly consoles are integral components on a facility-wide networks, giving rise to adaptable workflows, shareable resources and the ability to be easily expanded. From the very beginning, Calrec has created innovative solutions that have allowed broadcasters to develop their working methods and get greater value from their equipment. For premium audio solutions, broadcasters put their trust in Calrec. More information is available at calrec.com.
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Study finds more than half solo viewers are men
Video is becoming a social experience for more young viewers, according to new research from MRI.
In MRI’s latest Cord Evaluation research, 60% of those in the 18-to-34 age group say they are co-viewing more often now than they did three years ago.
MRI did not say what device those 18-to-34 were using when co-viewing, but 72% said they were using a streaming service when they co-viewed.
Among all adults, 48% of their viewing time is spent co-viewing and 49% of all adults said they are co-viewing more now than they did three years ago.
“The social nature of TV viewing continues to drive people to this enjoyable shared experience,” said Amy Hunt, VP of TVideo Media Sales at MRI. “A lot has been said recently about the introduction of dynamically inserted ads for shows; but this seems to be predicated on the idea of only one target watching. The increase of co-viewing suggests that more ad options will need to be available, to appeal to the widest possible audience range.”
MRI found that 58% of co-viewing time was spent watching with a “significant other, While 19% account for 19% of co-viewing time.
The content that’s most popular for co-viewing was movies. When asked what they tend to watch with a significant other, the No. 1 response was movies. Movies was also No. 1 when viewers were asked what they watch with friends and with adult family members. Movies came in No. 2 when adults were asked what they watched with children. The No. 1 response for what was watched when co viewing with children was kids TV.
While watching with significant others, after movies, the most popular genres were comedy TV, drama TV, news and sports.
MRI found that more than half of the solo viewers--55%-- were men. On the other end of spectrum parents are more likely to be co-viewers, with 77% of parent co-viewers having children younger than 11 and 23% with children 12 to 17.
MRI’s Cord Evolution research is based in 24,000 in home interviews in MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer.
Singer owns 15 of her own Grammy Awards
Alicia Keys will host The 61st Annual Grammy Awards on CBS Feb. 10. Keys owns 15 Grammy awards. A singer-songwriter and pianist, her debut album Songs in A Minor came out in 2001. Her sixth album, Here, was released late in 2016.
The event happens at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Alicia is one of those rare artists who melds true musical genius with heartfelt emotional lyrics to create a unique approach to everything she does,” said Ken Ehrlich, Grammy Awards executive producer. “We have no doubt that she’ll bring all of that as she guides millions of Grammy viewers through what we believe will be a very special show in February.”
Keys is a coach on NBC competition series The Voice.
“I know what it feels like to be on that stage, and I’m going to bring that vibe and energy,” said Keys. "I'm so excited to be the master of ceremonies on the biggest night in music and celebrate the creativity, power and magic. I’m especially excited for all the incredible women nominated this year! It's going UP on Feb. 10!”
The Grammy Awards is produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures for the Recording Academy. Ehrlich and Ben Winston are executive producers and Louis J. Horvitz is director.
On Booth E50 at BVE 2019 (London) Crystal Vision will be showing its flexible IP platform, the MARBLE-V1 media processor hardware and the initial six software apps which run on it. These apps are IP gateways between SDI and SMPTE 2022 or 2110, and IP to IP translators which can make adjustments to IP flows and are ideal for use as a media firewall. Crystal Vision will also be showing its extensive range of modular interface and keyers for those planning SDI projects, including its popular chroma keyers, video delays and fail-safe routing switches.
Crystal Vision's IP products are software apps which run on the MARBLE-V1 media processor hardware, a card housed in the Vision frame and featuring a powerful CPU/GPU processor, six bi-directional SDI connections, four 10GbE SFP+ network interface ports and eight bi-directional discrete AES stereo channels. The initial six software apps are IP gateways for the transport of uncompressed video over 10GbE IP networks, converting to and from SMPTE 2022 or SMPTE 2110, and IP to IP translators which can help broadcasters solve any IP problems. There is currently considerable interest in using the IP-IP-2022 IP to IP translator as a media firewall, particularly for applications such as connecting to the cloud, providing signals to and from Telcos, connecting “inside” and “outside” areas together and connecting together two “inside” areas where different options have been selected. The IP-IP-2022 automatically stops everything going through apart from video and audio – as well as including features which sort out all the issues that people are having. These features include network security, unicast to multicast conversion, Network Address Translation, data shaping and flexible network redundancy.
The Safire 3 chroma keyer is now the lowest cost of the industry's best real-time chroma keyers following a significant price drop.
Also available on Booth E50 will be highlights from Crystal Vision's popular range of SDI interface, including up and down converters, video delays, fail-safe routing switches, synchronizers, color correctors, audio embedders and fiber transmitters and receivers. New applications have resulted in a recent surge in the popularity of Crystal Vision's niche SDI products. For example, broadcasters are increasingly finding more and more uses for PCs – from automated playout using channel in a box systems to automatic generation of subtitles by processing the audio. PCs running Windows operating systems with broadcast graphics cards create powerful systems at a reasonable price – but users worry about their reliability. Putting a Safe Switch 3G intelligent and clean 2 x 2 fail-safe routing switch in the system builds in redundancy and is allowing broadcasters to confidently use equipment that doesn't meet their quality of service requirement. Monitoring 18 different fault conditions, Safe Switch 3G automatically switches to a good signal. Its two independent framestore synchronizers ensure no disruption to the output on switching and it can automatically compensate for timing differences, with up to 25 frames of delay to ensure the switch is seamless. If the PC is delaying the signal by more than that 25 frames, extra delays can be added to the path by using a device such as Crystal Vision's ViViD 3G-20 video delay, which can delay a 1080i signal by up to 20 seconds.
Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK and with an office in the USA, Crystal Vision provides a full range of interface and keyers and helps people transition through a range of technologies – from SD to HD and from HD to IP.
TKS is using OpenVault’s cloud-based tools to gain the real-time visibility that can optimize network management, predict increased demand and ultimately deliver the best possible experience across service areas in Germany and Italy.
Hoboken, NJ; January 15, 2019 – OpenVault, a global provider of industry analytics and technology solutions for broadband operators, today announced that TKS is using multiple OpenVault solutions to gain greater insights into broadband usage across its networks to better manage and forecast bandwidth capacity in Europe.
TKS is using OpenVault’s cloud-based tools to gain the real-time visibility that can optimize network management, predict increased demand and ultimately deliver the best possible experience across service areas in Germany and Italy. TKS is a Vodafone company that provides American television programming, telephone, internet and wireless services to United States military communities, including service members and civilians, in Europe.
OpenVault’s Operations & Analytics module is enabling TKS to observe real-time subscriber usage patterns and predict network capacity needs, ultimately resulting in higher customer satisfaction. OpenVault’s Marketing Dashboard gives TKS insight into a variety of subscriber, package, and market usage metrics, such as usage distribution across its subscriber base, average usage per subscriber by package, and top upstream usage subscribers, in order to provide customers with more responsive and optimal bandwidth packages that improve the quality of experience.
The TKS deployment follows OpenVault’s expanded relationship with Cablenet of Cyprus and a pre-deployment trial with Grupo TVCable, the largest cable operator in Ecuador, as the latest steps in OpenVault’s international growth.
“TKS’s mission is to provide the high-quality communications and entertainment services that help the American military community abroad maintain its links to their families and friends in the United States,” said Axel Grün, Director of Operations at TKS. “OpenVault’s innovative technology and intelligent solutions ensures that our bandwidth capacity meets increased demands so we can continue to deliver the best possible experience to those who have made a commitment to safeguarding our region.”
“TKS is among a growing number of operators who are showing how network management and visibility into broadband usage patterns can drive new revenue opportunities and business success,” said Mark Trudeau, CEO and founder of OpenVault. “Together with Cablenet, Grupo TV Cable and others, they’re setting new standards for proactively anticipating subscribers’ usage needs and network capabilities and delivering service quality that can drive customer satisfaction and retention.”
Said government shutdown won't delay issue's latest day in court
It looks as though oral argument in the Mozilla et al. challenge to the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order rollback, Title II-based network neutrality regulations and the Title II classification itself will proceed as planned Feb. 1.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit says on its website that oral arguments scheduled for January and now February will take place, partial government shutdown or not.
Various groups joined Mozilla in suing the FCC over the decision of the Republican majority to repeal rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization (as well as a general conduct rule meant to get at practices that didn't fit under those categories), as well as to reclassify both wired and wireless broadband as Title I information services.
The FCC's deregulatory order included preempting any state or local attempts to restore the rules it had just eliminated.
That was one of the things Mozilla et al. challenged.
It will be just the latest twist in a circuitous route for net neutrality regs that has seen multiple legal challenges by both sides of the issue and calls for Congress to step in and clarify what the FCC's regulatory authority over the internet is and should be.
In its opening brief to the court last October, the FCC said that its order deregulating internet access simply restored the longstanding regulatory classification of broadband internet access service as an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act" and returned to a "light touch" regulatory approach.
Public Knowledge, Mozilla, the Benton Foundation, INCOMPAS and others challenging the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order say that was not just bad policy but illegal.
Their argument is that the FCC decided the agency lacked all jurisdiction over the internet, a radical move that defined the statute, they say. Also in the "illegal" category, they argue was what they said was the FCC's "cherrypicking" of investment evidence to justify their predetermined outcome of reversing the Title II classification.
Joining Mozilla in suing the FCC were Vimeo, Inc.; Public Knowledge; Open Technology Institute; the States of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington; the Commonwealths of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; the District of Columbia; the National Hispanic Media Coalition; NTCH, Inc.; the Benton Foundation; Free Press; the Coalition for Internet Openness; Etsy, Inc.: the Ad Hoc Telecom Users Committee; the Center for Democracy and Technology; the County of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District; the California Public Utilities Commission; and INCOMPAS.
Intervenors in support of the FCC included CTIA—The Wireless Association; NCTA—The Internet & Television Association; USTelecom—The Broadband Association; the American Cable Association; and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association.
Said carrier location data sharing is issue of first responder, consumer, safety
House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said Monday that FCC chair Ajit Pai had "refused" to brief committee staffers on an issue Pallone considers one that poses a threat to life and property, something the FCC is supposed to be able to deal with even during the government shutdown.
Pallone asked the FCC chairman to brief the committee on a report by Motherboard that wireless carriers were disclosing consumer real-time location data without authorization. He wanted to know what the FCC was doing about it.
Although the chairman and commissioners are on the job, the FCC is shuttered for business except for auctions and issues that threaten life or property. Pallone signaled unauthorized sharing of consumer and first responder location data qualified.
"There’s nothing in the law that should stop the chairman personally from meeting about this serious threat that could allow criminals to track the location of police officers on patrol, victims of domestic abuse, or foreign adversaries to track military personnel on American soil," said Pallone.
“Today, FCC chairman Ajit Pai refused to brief Energy and Commerce Committee staff on the real-time tracking of cell phone location, as reported by Motherboard last week," Pallone said. "In a phone conversation today, [Pai's] staff asserted that these egregious actions are not a threat to the safety of human life or property that the FCC will address during the Trump shutdown....The safety of first responders and consumers should be a top priority for the Chairman and the FCC."
Pallone said that Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel had been available for a briefing despite the shutdown, but she doesn't have Pai's authority over FCC resources.
"As we told Committee staff today, the Commission has been investigating wireless carriers' handling of location information," said an FCC spokesperson. "Unfortunately, we were required to suspend that investigation earlier this month because of the lapse in funding, and pursuant to guidance from our expert attorneys, the career staff that is working on this issue are currently on furlough. Of course, when the Commission is able to resume normal operations, the investigation will continue."
Adds voices to conversation about universal, affordable, access
The Benton Foundation has added to doctors to help cure access deficiencies.
Dr. Christopher Ali will be its new faculty research fellow and Dr. Ryland Sherman will be research associate.
Ali, an assistant professor in the Media Department Studies at the University of Virginia, will continue his work on an assessment of rural broadband policy. He has a new book coming out: Farm Fresh Spectrum: Rural Interventions in Broadband Policy.
"I am looking forward to working with the Benton Foundation to bring more voices and stakeholders to the [universal broadband] conversation," said Ali.
Sherman is Benton's chief researcher on broadband accessibility and affordability and is currently working with senior fellow Jon Sallet on a report on promoting accessibility.
Benton is a nonprofit bent on bringing affordable, high-speed and capacity broadband to all.
Benton also produces a daily "headlines" newsletter that has become an important morning read in Washington communications circles. “I first subscribed to the Benton Headlines just over 10 years ago, and it was an invaluable resource throughout my education. I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the Benton Foundation’s mission," said Sherman.
Auditions for next season of competition series start next month
Fox has renewed the competition series So You Think You Can Dance, lining up a 16th season for the show. Industrial Media’s 19 Entertainment and dick clark productions produces So You Think You Can Dance, which returns this summer.
“Each season, the talent on So You Think You Can Dance reaches new levels and continues to create the most incredible routines,” said Rob Wade, president, alternative entertainment and specials, Fox. “The hard work and passion that goes into each performance is awe-inspiring. We can’t wait to see what season 16 has in store and look forward to bringing you a new crop of incredible, inspired and inspiring dancers.”
The series is executive produced by co-creator Nigel Lythgoe, Allen Shapiro, Barry Adelman, Mike Yurchuk, Jeff Thacker, Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman.
“I am thrilled that we have been picked up by Fox for season 16 of So You Think You Can Dance,” said Lythgoe. “This allows us to shine the spotlight once again on the incredible choreographic and dance talent across the United States as we search for America’s favorite dancer.”
Auditions for the new season start next month. They happen in New York Feb. 9, Dallas Feb. 12 and Los Angeles Feb. 23.
Hammer, Lazarus get key assignments
Bonnie Hammer, who had been in charge of NBCU’s cable portfolio, was named chairman, direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises for NBC.
Mark Lazarus, who had been head of NBCU’s broadcast and sports businesses, was named chairman of NBCU Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News.
Jeff Shell has been named chairman, NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, adding NBC Entertainment to his portfolio.
NBCU said its streaming service will draw on the company’s content library and technology from both Comcast and the recently acquired Sky. The ad supported service will be available at no cost to NBCU’s pay TV subscribers in the U.S. and international markets.
NBC said that between Comcast Cable and Sky, 52 million subscribers will get the service free.
An ad-free version will be available for a fee.
Non-pay TV subscribers will be able to buy the service.
NBCU said it will continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain title for the new service.
NBCU is jumping into the streaming business at a time when traditional pay TV operators like Comcast Cable are losing subscribers. NBC will be facing competition from Netflix, Hulu (which Comcast owns a stake in) and Amazon, as well as new services planned by The Walt Disney Co. and AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit.
“NBCUniversal has some of the world’s most valuable intellectual property and top talent, both in front of and behind the camera. Many of the most-watched shows on today’s popular streaming platforms come from NBCUniversal,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal. “Our new service will be different than those presently in the market and it will be built on the company’s strengths, with NBCUniversal’s great content and the technology expertise, broad scale and the wide distribution of Comcast Cable and Sky,”
Burke added that “people are watching premium content more than ever, but they want more flexibility and value. NBCUniversal is perfectly positioned to offer a variety of choices, due to our deep relationships with advertisers and distribution partners, as well as our data-targeting capabilities. Advertising continues to be a major part of the entertainment ecosystem and we believe that a streaming service, with limited and personalized ads, will provide a great consumer experience.”
Michelle Yeoh to star in series about shadowy Section 31
CBS All Access will feature another series from the Star Trek universe. As yet untitled, the series will expand on Michelle Yeoh’s role in Starfleet’s Section 31 division, a shadow organization within the Federation, on Star Trek: Discovery.
Season two of Star Trek: Discovery starts on CBS All Access Jan. 17.
The new series will be produced by CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will be executive producers. Aaron Baiers and Bo Yeon Kim will be co-executive producers, and Erika Lippoldt will also write the series.
“Michelle has shattered ceilings, broken boundaries, and astonished us with her grace and gravitas for decades. As a human, I adore her. As an actor, I revere her,” said Kurtzman. “Erika and Boey are remarkable, exciting writers who bring a fresh perspective to the world of Star Trek, and we’re all thrilled to explore the next wild chapter in the life of Captain Philippa Georgiou.”
Yeoh starred in John M. Chu's romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians. She also appeared in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha, James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.
“I’m so excited to continue telling these rich Star Trek stories,” said Yeoh. “Being a part of this universe and this character specifically has been such a joy for me to play. I can’t wait to see where it all goes – certainly I believe it will go ‘where no WOMAN has ever gone before!’”
CBS All Access has another untitled Star Trek series in the works, that one starring Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard.
Media mogul Cathy Hughes will be recognized April 8 in Las Vegas
The National Association of Broadcasters will honor the first woman to own a number-one-ranked major-market radio station at this year’s NAB Show. Urban One founder and chairperson Cathy Hughes will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner, April 8 in Las Vegas.
“Cathy Hughes is a truly remarkable broadcaster and entrepreneur whose contributions continue to greatly influence and drive our industry,” NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith stated in the announcement.
Hughes founded Radio One — Urban One’s original name — in 1980 when she also purchased WOL(AM) in D.C. Thirty-nine years later, the company owns 59 broadcast stations in urban markets and consequently is “the largest African-American owned, diversified media corporation.”
In addition to its radio properties, Urban One — now run by Hughes’ son Alfred Liggins III — owns television network TV One, includes a major online presence through iOne Digital and has controlling interest in Reach Media. The company also has its own multiplatform marketing arm, One Solution, which Urban One says reaches “more than 80 percent of the African-American market.”
Hughes is a native of Omaha, where she got her first radio gig at KOWH(AM). In 1971, Hughes moved to Washington to lecture at Howard University’s new School of Communications, which was rechristened in her honor in 2016. She also worked as general sales manager at Howard University Radio; she’s credited with upping WHUR(FM)’s revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. Another impressive feat, Hughes became the first woman vice president and general manager of a station in D.C.
Hughes is also known for her programming inventions, especially the “Quiet Storm” and “24-Hour Talk From a Black Perspective” formats.
This won’t be Hughes’ first NAB honor. In 2001, the association recognized her with the NAB Distinguished Service Award. In addition to her radio work, Hughes mentors women and advocates for the homeless and minority communities. Hughes also continues the work begun by her grandfather in 1909 when he founded The Piney Woods School in Mississippi, a boarding school for African-American students.
Improving user experience is essential as the number of cars with digital radio increases
The author is chair, WorldDAB Automotive Working Group, and market development director, Digital Radio UK.
In the last 12 months DAB+ has made significant progress — with all major markets increasing the proportion of new cars fitted with digital radio as standard, and the adoption of the EECC directive by the European Union, requiring all new cars sold in the EU 18 months from now to be equipped with digital radio receivers. In advanced markets the majority of new cars are now sold with DAB+ as standard, with Norway leading the way with 98 percent, the United Kingdom close behind on 95 percent and Switzerland on 85 percent. As more countries roll out digital radio, attention is focused on converting the millions of cars already on the road to DAB+, enabling drivers to continue listening to digital radio across borders.
As the number of cars with digital radio increases, it is essential that the user experience goes above and beyond driver expectations, and WorldDAB has been working closely with the automotive sector to do this. Increasingly, the infotainment systems in new cars include IP connectivity and voice control which can really enhance the radio experience. The next step of WorldDAB’s work is to ensure the radio experience in connected cars is as good as possible and Hybrid Radio, DAB+ working with IP, ensures that.
AUTOMOTIVE WORKING GROUP
In just two years the WorldDAB Automotive group has produced several significant pieces of work, which are already having an impact and being implemented by automotive OEMs — showing the benefits of close collaboration between the radio and automotive industries.
Our research on the digital radio user experience (UX) in-car has enabled us to talk with confidence about how drivers use their digital radio and the user interface they need to provide the best experience. Almost exactly a year ago, we produced the first ever digital radio user experience design guidelines for the car and broadcast industries, providing clear guidance on best practice for the digital radio user interface and how this should be supported by good quality data from broadcasters. Following discussion and feedback from all the major car manufacturers over the last 12 months we are about to launch an updated version of the guidelines which will also include a clear roadmap to hybrid radio.
Meanwhile our work on antenna and receiver sensitivity is providing a vital link between network operators and car manufacturers. Later in January we will publish a number of European DAB+ test routes for car manufacturers, supported by WorldDAB member contacts in each country. This has been a specific request from car manufacturers and further strengthens the high level of collaboration we are now seeing.
We have been hugely impressed with the level of engagement and positive response from the wider automotive industry since the UX guidelines were launched last year. Throughout 2019 we will be continuing our close collaboration with car manufacturers on DAB+ performance and the user experience of digital radio in-car, with a clearer focus on supporting hybrid radio in connected cars. The WorldDAB User Experience Guidelines are available to download from the WorldDAB website here.
DAB+ DEVICES TO CONVERT CARS ALREADY ON THE ROAD
WorldDAB has also created a working group, focused on the performance and user experience of aftermarket devices for DAB+ in the car. The Aftermarket Devices Working Group (ADWG) brings together broadcasters, device and antenna manufacturers, plus experts from the automotive industry, in an important collaboration for digital radio in the car. The Group works on improving receiver performance, antennas, guidance on installation, marketing and all other areas to ensure aftermarket devices give the driver the best digital radio listening experience.
The chairman of the group is Jørn Jensen, a senior advisor at NRK who was closely involved in helping Norwegian drivers convert to digital in the recent digital switchover. “The aftermarket sector has seen a significant increase in demand over the last few years, with more drivers looking to bring the extra choice and better quality of DAB+ into their cars,” says Jensen.
“This group has been established to bring together all of the players from the value chain to ensure that drivers get the best possible digital radio experience. This group is focusing on key areas including technology development and innovation, better performance, best-case marketing initiatives and installation programs and training. I encourage any interested parties to get in touch with the WorldDAB Project Office to find out more about the work or join the team in this Working Group.”
Every year the WorldDAB Automotive conference brings together the biggest names in the car industry and 2018 was no different, bringing together several major auto manufacturers and most of their tier-one suppliers. The conference is the only place where broadcasters and automotive OEMs can discuss together the future of digital radio in the in-car, market developments and growth and share plans and work being undertaken by broadcasters and the wider digital radio community to promote DAB+ in cars.
These discussions are essential in delivering the best experience for the driver. The WorldDAB Automotive 2019 conference will be taking place in Turin on Thursday June 20.
What's next for radio — maybe capitalizing on the smart grid?
What's next for radio — not NextRadio (apparently), but maybe capitalizing on the smart grid? And just how smart will artificial intelligence become in the years ahead? Also, NAB weighs in on the audio marketplace in comments to the commission about competition. A station in Alaska shares details of its ground system work and more.
e-Radio Looks for Its Big Break
Up to $55 billion annually. That’s the estimate of value that could be created if U.S. FM stations were to add electrical appliance control messages to their data feeds.
NextRadio Outcome Leaves a Void
The reasons for its demise are still being discussed around the industry, and the vibe about the fall of NextRadio appears to be mixed. It can be read as a blow for hopes that the wireless industry will adopt local radio reception more directly into future device designs. Others are more hopeful.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
Coaxial speakers aimed at musicians, small production bays and podcasters
JBL Professional has unveiled its new One Series 104 compact powered reference monitors.
Created with an eye towards the needs of on-the-move content creators, One Series 104 monitors sport newly engineered JBL 4.5-inch coaxial drivers, 3/4-inch tweeter, reportedly contoured using the same research that led to the waveguide found in M2, 7-Series, and 3-Series monitors, providing users with a sizable sweet spot for the price point.
JBL 104 Reference monitors include integrated 60 W Class D amplification that, according to JBL, can drive the speakers to 104 dB SPL (peak) without distortion.
Features like a front-panel volume control allow level adjustments without straying from the sweet spot. A front-panel headphone jack automatically mutes the speakers, and dual 1/4-inch balanced and single 1/8-inch unbalanced TRS inputs can accommodate various sources. An optional, protective carrying case will also be available for production on the go.
This college radio station is student-operated and proud of it
This commentary originally appeared at Spark News.
From time to time we have featured independent radio stations that operate much like public radio stations but for various reasons aren’t public radio as we know it.
We call these stations “almost public radio.”
They copy public radio’s style, represent themselves as a public trust and/or are staffed by people who, frankly, would rather be working in public radio.
Today we are taking a look at WNYU(FM), licensed to New York University. WNYU operates a facility that, on the surface, has the necessary attributes to be a major public radio player. WNYU 89.1 FM broadcasts with 8,300 watts from its transmission site in the Bronx. The signal covers the entire city, Westchester County, suburban New Jersey and Long Island.
Despite this capacity, WNYU has only a few thousand estimated weekly listeners. Except for the students who work there, the station is unknown to most people who live in the city.
One reason for WNYU’S poor performance is because WNYU is a part-time radio station. These arrangements happen when two stations broadcast on the same frequency during different times of the day. In the biz, they are called “timeshares.” They are generally NOT happy situations.
WNYU shares 89.1 FM with WFDU, licensed to Fairleigh Dickinson University. WFDU broadcasts from just west of Manhattan in Alpine, New Jersey. WNYU is on-the-air from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and WFDU is on during the remaining hours. Both stations operate 24/7 online.
The story goes that both NYU and Fairleigh Dickinson filed mutually exclusive applications for 89.1 FM at the FCC in the mid-1960s. After several years of hard feelings and legal and technical wrangling, the two universities compromised on a time-sharing arrangement in 1969.
Since then, the two stations have struggled and the two universities still have frosty relations.
Another factor that may be limiting WNYU’s potential is their programming. To use a common phrase, WNYU is “too hip for the room.” When the “room” is New York City, there will be difficulty drawing a substantial audience.
The good news is that WNYU is programmed 100% by students. The bad news is these students are probably the only listeners. For instance, these programs aired on WNYU today:
• “Smart Moves for the Stiff Mind,” a generous mix of IDM, EBM, minimal, abstract, ambient, synthwave, electro-acoustic, post-punk, post-rock, leftfield sounds and music. The program guide says it is danceable;
• “The Cheap Seats,” a show where sports fans bring (quoting from the program guide) “…the excitement that comes when a bunch of college kids vehemently discuss what they love”;
• “MCQ,” a two-hour showcase of queer Latin hip-hop artists;
• “Other Worlds,” two hours of experimental sound collages.
Some of these programs sound interesting and a few sound courageous and historic. But, the cumulative effect of an entire schedule made up of such programs is of very limited interest.
WNYU does sell underwriting announcements but there is no mention of memberships or pledge drives on the station’s website. It looks like folks at WNYU are having a good time. There is nothing wrong with that but it is a long way from public radio.
Financial information for college stations is difficult to find and hard to confirm.
In general, college stations have the smallest budgets of any noncommercial media type. This limits the opportunities for participating students.
Perhaps that doesn’t matter when you are having fun.
CINCINNATI, January 16, 2019 — GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, has appointed Felipe Luna as Managing Director for the Caribbean and Latin American (CALA) region. Under the leadership of Rich Redmond, President and Managing Director, International, Luna will manage all sales and business development initiatives to increase regional market share and brand visibility. Luna will also oversee GatesAir’s extensive in-region sales team and partner network.
Luna is a familiar name to GatesAir customers and broadcasters throughout the region, having spent 12 years as Regional Director for Harris Broadcast, the company from which GatesAir was born. Luna looks forward to working with longtime GatesAir/Harris customers, many of whom he introduced to the company during his first tenure. He is also motivated to introduce GatesAir to new customersnavigating the challenges of digital broadcast and IP transitions.
“CALA remains a dynamic and exciting market with strong business opportunities, as many countries are just beginning their digital TV transitions,” said Luna. “GatesAir’s market-leading innovations in high-efficiency transmission strongly position the company for greater success in CALA, where we power some of today’s largest over-the-air networks with very low total cost of ownership. My goal is to amplify our level of service throughout the region, and deliver turnkey over-the-air solutions that solve problems and create new revenue opportunities for our TV and radio customers.”
Luna brings a rare mix of technical expertise and entrepreneurial spirit to his new role. He spent six years as an account and sales manager with Eletro Equip Telecom prior to joining Harris Broadcast in 2002, representing industry leading vendors in the broadcast, telecommunications and broadband markets. His responsibilities included technical and commercial proposals for over-the-air and PayTVsystems, with an emphasis on equipment sales, consulting, and design and installation services.
Luna has since focused on business development and managing partner roles outside of the broadcast industry, including Brazil’s largest restaurant business, Coco Bambu. He relocated to Miami and later joined the Hayman Woodward law firm as Business Development Director, where he led a team across four continents and substantially increased revenue.
“Felipe has exceeded expectations across his professional and leadership roles, with a strong track record in creating brand awareness, new market introductions, and financial growth in dynamic business environments,” said Redmond. “We are lucky to welcome Felipe back to the GatesAir family, where his industry knowledge, sales expertise and emphasis on customer relations will help GatesAir expand on its regional momentum throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.”
GatesAir, Inc., a portfolio company of The Gores Group, provides complete solutions for over-the-air radio and television broadcasting, leveraging wireless spectrum to maximize performance for multichannel, mission-critical services. Powering over-the-air networks worldwide with unparalleled reliability for nearly 100 years, GatesAir’s turnkey solutions enable broadcasters to create, transport and transmit radio and TV content. With customers in more than 185 countries, the company leads the industry in innovation and design breakthroughs, improving efficiency and reducing total cost of ownership with all products designed and assembled in the USA. Visit www.gatesair.com for more information, Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gatesair, and follow us on Twitter at @GatesAir.
About The Gores Group
The Gores Group, founded in 1987 by Alec Gores, is a global investment firm focused on acquiring controlling interests in mature and growing businesses which can benefit from the firm's operating experience and flexible capital base. The firm combines the operational expertise and detailed due diligence capabilities of a strategic buyer with the seasoned M&A team of a traditional financial buyer. Over its 30-year history, The Gores Group has become a leading investor having demonstrated a reliable track record of creating value in its portfolio companies alongside management. Headquartered in Los Angeles, The Gores Group maintains offices in Boulder, CO, and London. For more information, please visit http://www.gores.com.
Held a special event in New Delhi to honor the group before the start of BES conference and exhibition
Digital Radio Mondiale has named DRM Stakeholders’ Group in India as the 2018 winner of its annual DRM Enterprise award for Southeast Asia.
DRM recognized the group, which is led by national distributor BECIL, at a special event held in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Experts representing the public broadcaster, the Indian and international chipset, receiver and car manufacturers, various other agencies and content suppliers were present.
The Consortium is in India to attend the Broadcast Engineering Society conference and exhibition, where it is highlighting its recent achievements.
Under the “DRM Drives Forward,” the Consortium along with its members and partners, including BBC, Communication Systems Inc., Fraunhofer IIS, Gospell Digital Technologies, GeekSynergy, Inntot Technologies, NXP and RFmondial, presenting the latest DRM receiver models and demo live DRM transmission for local coverage on booths 72 and 73 in Hall 7B of the Pragmati Maidan convention center.
In addition, says DRM, visitors can learn more about the latest DRM encoder equipment with full CAP compliance able to support the rollout of DRM Emergency Warning Functionality in India. Three DRM sessions will also take place during the three-day conference, which runs parallel to the technical exhibition. One of the sessions feature a panel discussion on the successes and next steps necessary for getting receivers to the population in parallel with the introduction of DRM transmissions in the country.
The Broadcast Engineering Society conference and exhibition runs from Jan 17–19 in New Delhi.
Multiconferencing IP phone system handles island issues and can reach out to Paris
MADRID — Radio France is a French public radio service broadcaster founded in 1975. It currently offers six national networks: a regional network of 44 local stations (France Bleu), four orchestras and choirs, a record label and a program archive. The French public multimedia service (made up of Radio France, France Télévisions and France Médias Monde) has been a member of the European Broadcasting Union since its foundation in 1950.
The technical management of the company decided to select the AEQ Systel IP talk show system to manage all incoming and outgoing calls for the on-air programs in its radio studios on the Caribbean island of Martinique. The studios are located in Fort-De-France, the biggest city on the island.
Taking into account the distance between the island and Paris, the system selected for this purpose needed to be reliable, user-friendly and robust. These criteria influenced Radio France’s choice of the Systel IP for the mission.
AEQ Systel-IP is a talk show system with multiconference capability and able to put on air several incoming calls simultaneously. The system is also able to distribute the telephone lines in different studios in a flexible way.
The system is cost-effective as Systel IP reduces the operating costs and improves quality being able to operate with VoIP providers. It also allows the integration with an existing telephone system by connecting to current IP-based corporate switchboards, avoiding the maintenance of analog lines exclusively for broadcasting.
In addition, the new touchscreen phone interface SystelSet+ was also supplied for this project. Some of the highlights of the device are user-friendly keyboard and a wide touchscreen. The SystelSet+ was awarded as “Best of the Show of Radio World” in the recent NAB 2018 show.
The touchscreen makes management of every single task during a radio show fast and easy.
On the phone terminal itself, using the function keys and the touchscreen, calls are dialed or accepted, put on hold or pre-listened, their send and return levels are adjusted, they can be put on air, locked on air or hung up. The operational mode can be chosen between call queue or handling several calls on-air simultaneously. The queue is based on the actual lines with an indication of next call to be put on air. It also allows for the management of a call book and call scheduling. Lines can be shared between different programs and the layout is adapted to the number of available lines at each moment, thus making the best use of the phone’s touchscreen.
There is also remote control via computer for operating in a studio or across multiple rooms.
The project was implemented and executed by Eurocom Broadcast with support from AEQ’s representative in France, led by Jesus Vazquez, sales manager.
For information, contact Miguel Sancho at AEQ in Spain at +34-91-686-1300 or visit www.aeq.eu.
The author is product manager for Systel IP at AEQ.
Offers MPX-over-AES composite for some digital options
WorldCast’s Audemat marque is soon to be shipping a new RDS encoder, Audemat RDS Encoder.
Built on the company’s FMB80, the RDS encoder carries the expected RDS/RDBS tools (e.g. artist name, song titles, traffic message, EAS, etc.). But looking forward it adds an MPX-over-AES digital audio function. Furthermore, it can insert the encoding directly into the digital chain.
It is also compatible with the latest RDS Edition 2018 standards (IEC- 62106-1 :2018 to IEC 62106-6:2018) and upcoming RDS2 standards. WorldCast notes, “RDS2 will allow broadcasters to send more information (such as pictures) through the FM signal by adding three subcarriers to the MPX/composite signal.”
Being a WorldCast product it is conversant with the company’s ScriptEasy Apps and Manager for programming, control and management. It is fully networkable and remote controllable.
There’s also an onboard tuner for immediate monitoring.
“Spray and pray” is not the best way
Ask a radio advertiser: One of our medium’s strengths is the ability to target specific audiences with affordable frequency. So as the program director or marketing director of a radio station, you’d probably buy spots on a direct format competitor … if they’d sell them to you. They won’t; I’ve tried.
Here’s another option. Rather than “spray and pray” by marketing to everyone and hoping you hit the target audience, digital advertising can come close to pinpointing them.
“Of all the traditional media, radio is the farthest behind the digital curve,” says Rick Flowers, managing partner of Kmph Digital in Phoenix.
Flowers spent most of his career in newspapers before starting a company that helps ad agencies with digital strategies.
“Newspapers were forced to move to digital early when they lost their classified section revenues. Now the big TV station groups are finally seeing the light, too,” Flowers said.
Starting and growing a listener database is a great place to begin. You may be thinking, “Oh, we have one, and we send out an email every week about our contests, concerts and promotions.” If so, good for you!
Yet in 2019, collecting listener data and using it effectively can be far more, a highly sophisticated process and a long-term commitment.
“Start from contest entries,” says Leigh Jacobs, EVP of research analysis for Nuvoodoo, the firm founded by longtime radio researcher and marketer Carolyn Gilbert.
Jacobs recommends you proceed slowly, only asking for the information that’s absolutely necessary to play the game — name, email and a checkbox to confirm they’re of contest-legal age. That maximizes entries. Then, over time, you ask for more. “People love giving their opinions, and those opinions are gold,” he says.
Imagine always getting station emails with content that feels like it’s just for you — because it is! It might feature an artist you love, let you know that the contest you won last year is back, or contain a personal note from your favorite DJ.
“Developing the most valuable email campaigns means making sure every email is relevant to the recipient. Even if you’re emailing to the entire database every time, being able to customize emails based on the personal tastes of each listener or cohorts of listeners will make your email more relatable and powerful,” says Jacobs.
“Just sending out one-size-fits-all crap doesn’t add any value,” warns Flowers. He thinks it could even cheapen your brand. “If your email takes into account what it is your audience has in common and is not just a constant barrage of self-promotion then it can be meaningful. Unfortunately, few stations put in the effort to make that happen.”
Getting to know your most active listeners has another benefit, because — as mom always said — “Birds of a feather flock together.” Once you know more about their lifestyles, you can find more people just like them.
“The amount of information available is tremendous — and scary,” admits Jacobs. “We often build look-alike audiences using ‘big data.’ These are people who may not cume the station, but have so much in common with station listeners, the odds are good they’d like the station, too.”
That can include tracking your listeners’ online behaviors through the use of those dreaded “cookies” when they visit your website. Is that evil?
Using data to find potential new listeners to a radio station is noble compared to the ways that Facebook has allegedly misused data. Despite that, “People are still hooked on Facebook,” says Flowers.
In his opinion, Google may even be a worse offender. “They were fined $5 billion by the EU last year. Users sound off about the misuse of their personal data, yet they click OK to any changes a platform makes.”
Many consumers may accept that some loss of privacy for marketing purposes is a fair price to pay.
If we believe in our hearts that our radio stations perform a valuable service — making the workday and commute more fun, lifting listeners’ spirits, bringing them together to enjoy each others’ company and support good causes — a data-based strategy to grow our audiences is a win-win, for us and them.
Comment on this or any story. Email email@example.com.
Dave Beasing predicted the growth of podcasting and started “Sound That Brands.” Among other projects, the company co-produces “Inside Trader Joe’s” with Amplifi Media, the most successful branded podcast of its kind.
Larry Langford insists that AM can sound better and without additional regulations or specifications
Larry Langford is owner of WGTO(AM) and W244ds in Cassopolis, Mich. He has been in radio since 1965. His commentaries on radio issues such as those facing AM owners are a recurring feature. Read his past articles by searching for “Langford.”
There have been numerous articles about reducing AM bandwidth and the overall AM listener experience. Both sides of the issue make some good arguments. Those opposed to reduction say it ruins what’s left of AM and 5 kHz cutoff filters cause excessive ringing where it can be heard most. Those in favor say almost all AM radios have little response above 4 kHz so why waste the juice transmitting a full 10 kHz signal that is pre-emphasized where few receivers can benefit.
Well, I am taking a different approach to this issue. I say let’s just make what we have work as well as it can. I will be blunt. The NRSC curve leaves a lot to be desired but it was well-intentioned. We all agree that despite the hype decades ago extended range radios were never built. So, the reality is the 10 dB boost at 10 kHz has little or no high-frequency impact on 99% of receivers because radios made from the most common chipset have an intermediate frequency (IF) amplifier bandpass extremely tight above 4 kHz. Efforts to ram more highs to the receiver by jacking up the HF EQ even more just results in added distortion and “highs” that are more ringing and smeared than musical. My experiment provides more highs on the typical radio, reduces dynamic bandwidth with no ringing and much less receiver distortion.
The original Orban AM 9000 Optimod (1977) was a wonderful creation and had a boost of up to 22 dB peaked at 5 kHz then shelved out past that. For radios through the early ’80s it was great because the IF slope in the typical receiver was gentle enough that some more highs could be passed with a big enough push. But if you try and run the old Optimod curve now you will find that it sounds bad on most radios unless you follow it with a 4.5 kHz cutoff, but then there is that ringing problem again. This is again due to the newer much sharper receiver IF cutoff.
So how about a new curve that reflects the real world without heavy distortion, ringing and waste of sideband energy where it cannot be heard?
The advantage to owning the station and being the chief is that you can tinker at will and that’s what I started doing.
Since modern IF sections are so unforgiving of high-frequency shelf boost, let’s see just how we can get more highs without the shelf. The NRSC curve has a boost of 5 dB at 5 kHz so let’s improve on that with a boost of 9 dB at 4 kHz. But instead of the Orban shelving method let’s make it a bell curve boost and allow it to roll off back to 0 dB as it approaches 10 kHz. I did not alter the NRSC cutoff filter so as not to introduce any complications that would muddy the results.
I set the curve up and gave it some critical listening.
The new curve has an additional 4 dB boost over the NRSC curve but only at 4 kHz. The rolloff to zero past 4 kHz cleans up the ringing and smear that the IF produces when hit with excessive boost over 5 kHz. Since the curve rolls gently back to 0 dB additional gain at 10 kHz the processor does not need a brickwall at 5 kHz and that stops the ringing on the transmission side.
So how does it sound?
Amazingly clean and the consonants have the sharpness that was the sound of the first AM Optimod. On music it really brightens things up without the nasty artifacts of before. To make sure I was hearing the action of the curve and not so much the processor, I used a wideband limiter that would preserve the response curve shape while limiting the peak amplitude. I chose a vintage rebuilt CBS AM Volumax 4300 preceded by a UREI graphic equalizer. The Volumax was followed by an NRSC low-pass filter. I have been running it for a while and I am definitely not going back to the NRSC preemphasis curve. WGTO now sounds louder, brighter and much cleaner on a wide variety of car radios I have sampled. The increased sideband power near 4 kHz helps mask noise that the weaker, wider NRSC curve could not.
If you can try it, please do so I am curious as to what you find. When I did some research after making the design I found that noted audio engineer, the late Neville Thiele had written a paper back in the ’80s proposing a bell curve for AM preemphasis rather than the NRSC modified 75 microsecond boost. He argued; “The modified preemphasis standard proposed by the National Radio Systems Committee could prove deleterious to AM broadcasting, both in the quality received through the wanted channel and in the interference produced in the wanted channel by the adjacent channels. An alternative standard is proposed that could produce the improvements sought by the NRSC proposal with little or none of its ill effects…,” If you are a member of the AES the paper can be downloaded free. He makes some very interesting points that I have now verified with my own experiences. Never stop experimenting!
What are your own thoughts? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Letter to the Editor” in the subject field.
Media Hackathon is a collaboration between Beasley Media Group and Carnegie R1 research institution UNLV
The results of the inaugural Media Innovation Hackathon are in — and the winners proposed yet another use for AM/FM frequencies.
In a press release, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley said the ideas “ignite our thinking as a media company preparing for the future.”
Chosen by experts from Beasley Media Group and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the first-place team submitted an entry titled “Using AM/FM Frequencies to Charge Devices.” According to the UNLV News Center, the Radio Heads “used a crystal radio to show that small amounts of energy can be converted from radio waves to power a low-voltage LED light” as part of efforts to demonstrate truly wireless charging.
The team was composed of Erick Serrano, Kristine Monsada, Matias Allietti, Ricardo Rodriguez and Yuria Mann and mentored by UNLV communications studies professor Natalierose Pennington. Beasley Media Group handed out $5,000 to reward their efforts.
A proposal for “Augmented Intelligence in Smart Cities” came in second place and received $2,500, to be split among team members Edison Smith, Peter Hernandez and Aldair Callejas. They were mentored by UNLV entertainment engineering and design faculty Si “SJ” Kim.
And in third place was “Fernwell App for Tourism Using Social Media,” which earned the $1,000 prize from Beasley. Ricardo Guzman, Ashtin Hofert, Joshua Padilla, Francisco Reyes, Allie Ryerson and Fausto Vega comprise the team; UNLV communication studies faculty Bryan Blankfield was their mentor.
The Media Hackathon was announced last fall as a collaboration of Beasley and Carnegie R1 research institution UNLV. The initiative was intended to “generate potential commercial products and services utilizing existing media technology, data and infrastructure, as well as to conceptualize the kinds of transformative, disruptive technologies that will become mainstream in the next 20 years,” according to the announcement.
But one group of EEO advocates say proposed steps do not go far enough
When it gets back to work after the government shutdown, the Federal Communications Commission will have a fair amount of work on its plate — including a formal vote on equal employment opportunity enforcement, which one nonprofit organization is hoping will bring about changes that it says are 14 years overdue.
The president emeritus of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) asked FCC Commissioners Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel to consider additional steps beyond the FCC’s planned housekeeping vote on EEO in order to better address diversity and employment issues at broadcast stations via a series of phone calls in early January.
It was nearly a year ago that the FCC announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (another piece of its ongoing media modernization efforts) that would eliminate the need for TV and radio stations to submit a mid-term report detailing their EEO practices.
The subsequent Report and Order, known as the EEO Mid-Term Report (part of Media Bureau Docket No. 18-23), would eliminate a station’s need to submit a so-called mid-term Form 397 because details about a broadcaster’s EEO compliance are now part of the FCC’s Online Public Inspection File.
But during phone calls with Commissioners Carr and Rosenworcel in early January, the MMTC’s David Honig said he reiterated to the commissioners the MMTC’s concerns about the FCC’s EEO efforts — specifically regarding the long-standing means by which racial and gender discrimination in broadcasting occur: word-of-mouth recruiting.
While the commission does discourage word-of-mouth recruiting, Honig said, the FCC has not taken enough steps to address cronyism, which “is the primary reason why key sectors of the broadcast industry remain largely closed to people of color and, often, to all but a handful of women,” he said in ex parte letters to the commission.
Honig urges the commission to use certain racial and gender data to identify stations which recruit primarily by word of mouth and require them to submit more information as part of a station’s Annual Employment Report. If not, sanctions may be in order, Honig said.
“This two-step method — first identifying those stations that recruit primarily by [word of mouth] and then having those stations submit a Form 395 in camera (in private) — will allow the commission to find and bring to justice those broadcasters that inherently discriminate, thereby fulfilling the purpose of the EEO rule,” Honig wrote.
But in its Report and Order, the FCC noted that MMTC and its filers were seeking “far-reaching substantive changes to the commission’s EEO rules, whereas this NPRM is only concerned with improvements to EEO compliance and enforcement.” As a result, the commission did not address the groups’ proposed broader changes in the item.
The commission did note, however, that it has demonstrated its commitment to EEO enforcement by the relocation of EEO enforcement staff and responsibilities to the Enforcement Bureau, as the EEO supporters suggested.
But Honig expressed concern that the commission has repeatedly avoided opportunities to address key issues impacting EEO hiring.
“[These] proposals, in only slightly different form, have been pending since 2004 [yet] the agency has repeatedly avoided opportunities to address them,” he said. “The NPRM presented members of the public with their first opportunity, in 14 years, to respond to what appeared to be a genuine indication from the commission that it intended to seriously consider the proposals at last.”
The right steps from here, Honig said, would be to put the proposals out for further comment on any specific issues that the commission feels would benefit from additional evidence or argument.
“Fifteen years have elapsed since these proposals were first lodged, and during that time minorities and women in broadcasting have had no protection against ‘cronyism,’” Honig said. Race and gender discrimination in employment is just as top-line an issue as intercarrier comp, undersea cables or retransmission consent.”
He suggested that the commission undertake to complete the proceeding no later than July 2019.
Online service emphasizes active content curation and the power of personalities
Given that online broadcaster Dash Radio is reaching more than 10 million listeners monthly since its launch in August 2014, the company must be doing something right. And what Dash is doing right, said founder Scott Keeney (aka DJ Skee) “is offering listeners online audio that is curated and voiced by actual human beings, rather than focus group-defined playlists that pose as radio being pumped out by soulless computers.”
To be precise, Dash Radio offers more than 80 free audio streams in all genres, produced by some of the world’s top DJs, and with no commercials. Yet although Dash Radio is mainly programmed to millennials and available via their favorite platforms — Android/Apple smartphone apps; Amazon Echo, Sonos, and Google Home smart speakers and online streaming to computers — the programming concept that anchors this digital service appears to be 1970s human-curated FM radio.
Asked if this is the case, Scott Keeney replied, “Absolutely. As much as we are moving forward, we’re also looking backwards to what made analog radio special, and using that knowledge to make what I call ‘digital radio’ special again.”
DASH RADIO’S APPROACH
In harnessing the power of personality driven, human-curated radio in the online world, Keeney is taking a page from the medium’s rock’n’roll revival, after network television stole radio’s audiences in the 1950s. By focusing on the cool factor associated with 1970s FM DJs, as opposed to the top 40 on-air mania of 1960s AM music jocks, he is also appealing to the sophistication of Dash Radio’s listeners and their devotion to major music personalities.
This is why many of Dash Radio music channels are directly produced and voiced by major names in the contemporary music world such as Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Ice Cube and Oscar De La Hoya. Weekly shows are also provided by celebrities such as NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp and hip-hop veteran Too Short.
“We have our headquarters here in Hollywood where the majority of our shows are produced, but we have also empowered our talent to build studios wherever they want,” said Keeney.
“For instance, Snoop Dogg build his production facility at his headquarters, and produces his channel out of there. And although he has a range of DJs on his channel, you never know when he might pop into the booth and take over the mic.”
At the same time, Dash Radio isn’t leaving out older listeners. There are music channels based on decades going back to the 1960s, jazz, swing and even classical. But what all of these channel have in common is that they are curated and hosted by people — which Keeney says is what makes Dash Radio different from streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify.
“We look at what the music streaming services are doing, and see their models as being more of a music business transactional system than a form of digital radio,” Keeney said. “It used to be that people would buy a vinyl record, a tape or a CD of their favorite music. Now they pay $9.99 to get anything they want on demand. To us, that’s a different market than broadcast radio, be it over the air or online.”
The fact that Dash Radio is reaching so many monthly listeners has not gone unnoticed by the business community. In October, Dash announced that it had raised $8.8 million in seed money from a group of investors including Nimble Ventures, Slow Ventures, Lazerow Ventures and new board members Kevin Tsujihara and Michael Zeisser, whose business credits include notable work with the likes of Warner Brothers Alibaba Group and Liberty Media.
“With this new funding and an all-star board, Dash is now ready to aggressively expand its footprint and pursue the next stage of its growth journey,” stated Keeney in a news release. “Our team has done an incredible job in building a best-in-class product, and by adding an incredible group of investors and world-class team, Dash will continue to rapidly expand and take advantage of the $45 billion per year radio market as it evolves from analog to digital.”
In that announcement, Tsujihara was quoted saying that Dash is “positioned to disrupt analog radio and convert listeners to Dash users.”
So where are the revenues to come from, to make these investors happy? Well, Dash Radio may not run commercials per se, but its announcers do read 30 second spots during their shifts, just as in the old days of “traditional radio.”
As well, Dash Radio allows sponsors to mount their own individual audio channels on the platform, such as Build-A-Bear Radio. Programmed by the Build-A-Bear Workshop retail chain, this channel offers “music that kids and parents are sure to love, as well as a schedule of fun segments, including interviews and kid-inspired content,” according to a news release in October.
“Music is an important part of the Build-A-Bear Workshop experience,” said Sharon Price John, president and CEO, Build-A-Bear Workshop in the announcement. “Hit songs and original music, inside sound chips that are added to our furry friends, have been incorporated into our Make-Your-Own process for years.” The channel was thought up by Dash Radio Vice President of Business Development Clinton Sparks, who worked with Keeney and Foundation Media Partners to pitch the idea to Build-A-Bear.
WHAT WAS OLD IS NEW AGAIN
In allowing sponsors to program and brand their own Dash Radio channels, Keeney seems to be going back to radio’s roots. When network radio began to catch on in the early 1930s, it was the sponsors whose names were front-and-center on programs; thus comedian Jack Benny’s shows had names like “The Canada Dry Ginger Ale Program,” “The Chevrolet Program” and “The General Tire Revue.” Or if Benny’s name appeared it may have been “The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny.”
In returning to this and other traditional advertising models — and avoiding 20-minute blocks of commercials — Keeney is relying on many aspects of traditional radio to make Dash Radio’s version of digital radio a hit with listeners. Add the platform’s emphasis on human content curation and program presentation, and what was old is new again at Dash Radio.
“In the move towards industry consolidation while competing against online music services, over-the-air radio broadcasters have abandoned their great edge — which was great personalities and human-curated music formats that listeners really cared about and were loyal to,” he believes. “At Dash Radio, we’re trying to bring that back.”
iKlip series adds three members
Ideal for organizing smart devices around the studio, IK Multimedia is adding a new line of tablet computer and smartphone mounts, the iKlip 3 series.
The iKlip 3, iKlip 3 Video and iKlip 3 Deluxe provide mounting options for keeping smart devices within visual range and at visually useful angles rather than relying on laying the device on the table or trying to prop it up.
The iKlip 3 is designed for microphone stand or boom mounting and includes a newly designed holding bracket with more durable rubber pads and a spring mechanism that allows users to rotate the device up to 360 degrees.
The iKlip 3 Video is like the iKlip 3 but aimed at camera tripod mounting.
The iKlip 3 Deluxe includes both the mic stand mounting bracket and the tripod mount attachment.
According to IK Multimedia all three utilize materials superior to the previous iKlip series along with featuring a simplified mounting grip. Prices: iKlip 3 and iKip 3 Vide: $49.99; and iKlip 3 Deluxe: $69.99.
Here is how your station can prepare for this year’s celebration
The 8th annual World Radio Day will take place on Feb. 13. With the theme “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace,” the 2019 edition is emphasizing radio as a “vector of peace.” In anticipation of this year’s event, Radio World spoke to UNESCO’s Chief of Media Development and Society, Mirta Lourenço, to find out how stations around the world can join in on the celebration.
Radio World: How long has World Radio Day existed?
Mirta Lourenço: Feb. 13, 2019 will mark the 8th anniversary of World Radio Day. This Day was proclaimed at UNESCO’s 36th General Conference in 2011 and was then unanimously endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as a UN Day. The date was chosen to represent the day United Nations Radio was launched in 1946, more than 72 years ago.
RW: Each year you have a different theme. What is the 2019 edition’s theme and why was it chosen?
Lourenço: The theme of World Radio Day will be “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace.” Radio broadcasts can be effective at promoting dialogue and participation between different groups in society, as well as uniting them under the common concerns to which they can all relate. As such, World Radio Day 2019 will celebrate the impact of radio in pursuing a more peaceful and tolerant world.
RW: What does UNESCO want radio organizations reading this to do now (or next year) in celebration of World Radio day?
Lourenço: World Radio Day is an occasion for radio stations to create awareness for the many aspects of this medium. The Organization would like to mobilize these radio broadcasters to plan events for Feb. 13 and to show the capacity of radio to lead us toward a better future. They can celebrate on-air, create their own WRD content, join the conversation on social media (#WorldRadioDay) and encourage their listeners to participate.
In addition, 10 Ideas on how to celebrate World Radio Day can also be found on the dedicated website.
RW: Can you provide examples of how organizations are getting involved?
Lourenço: Radio organizations are getting involved by creating their own World Radio Day events on Feb. 13 and celebrating with their listeners. By registering their event on the official website and interacting with other radio lovers on social media, radio stations help make World Radio Day a consistent global trending topic on Twitter on the day of the celebrations.
UNESCO also makes a broad array of audio, interviews, jingles, and other assets available on the website for broadcasters, free of charge, which they may free to widely diffuse.
They additionally follow the 10 Ideas to plan celebrations, such as airing the voices of marginalized groups to empower the voiceless, hosting on-air discussions of local issues and highlighting community spirit.
RW: With all the new forms of “radio” and audio consumption (vs. traditional radio), how does World Radio Day define “radio”?
Lourenço: Despite the ever-changing media sphere and its ongoing advances, radio continues to be the most popular medium in the world. World Radio Day welcomes other audio-based media, such as podcasts and audio hosting platforms, to join in the celebrations, and the Organization sees them as part of the evolution of traditional radio.
UNESCO stands for free, independent and pluralistic media, and journalism that adheres to truthfulness and accuracy, independence, impartiality and fairness, humanity and public accountability. That being said, not all podcasts or platforms respect this code of ethics.
RW: Is this an effort aimed at traditional over-the-air formats or is UNESCO also targeting streaming services and podcasts, etc.?
Lourenço: The Organization would also like to target podcasts and audio hosting platforms, as they present an important extension of radio in providing widespread access to information, encouraging freedom of expression and a means of promoting gender equality through aural communication.
RW: What are your goals for this upcoming edition?
Lourenço: With the theme of “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace” being especially pertinent to this age, UNESCO’s goal for World Radio Day 2019 is to have as many radio stations and listeners as possible celebrate radio and its capacity as a vector of peace.
The Organization is also working alongside the European Radio Show to create a contest for the 2019 edition. Radio stations will have the opportunity to create and enter their own messages for World Radio Day, and we hope to receive many good submissions to help UNESCO raise awareness for the importance of radio.
RW: How do you see World Radio Day evolving in the future?
Lourenço: World Radio Day observation has continued to develop and tends to reach more people each year. In whatever way radio evolves and innovates, UNESCO will lay emphasis on the right to information, without any obstacle to freedom of expression. Infrastructure capacity is crucial, but our focus is on access and participation. The ultimate message for World Radio Day is that everyone in society should be able to access information through radio and to make their voices heard.
There is no sign the Australian broadcaster’s high frequency broadcasts will be back on anytime soon
PERTH, Australia — In response to the article Opposition Will Restore Shuttered ABC Shortwave Broadcasts, the CEO and board chairperson who made the decision to switch-off the last remaining domestic and international shortwave broadcasts are now no longer with the ABC. They claimed a lack of listeners and use of obsolete technology. They did not promote the shortwave service, consult the listeners or try using the modern technology of Digital Radio Mondiale on the Tennant Creek transmitter.
They also stated that remote listeners could listen to the viewer accessed satellite television service, low powered FM and AM or mobile phone. This claim ignores the need to accurately point a VAST dish on a moving vehicle, and it’s virtually impossible therefore to reach all potential listeners, since both low-power FM and mobile phones have a typical coverage area diameter of 10 kilometers (approximately six miles). One could easily drive the whole day with no live radio/cell phone coverage. Domestic satellite phones do not have data capacity for streaming and phone calls cost USD 0.36 per connection and USD 0.71 for 30 seconds of voice. The sat phone must have a clear view of the sky and will not work in heavy rain.
The ABC maintained that the money saved from shutting down the broadcasts would be used to install medium power DAB+ digital radio into Canberra, Hobart and Darwin, all of which have good analog radio coverage. It did not mention that up to 600,000 listeners might not be able to access live radio once they are mobile.
The ABC’s transmitter contractor Broadcast Australia only knows the current status of all of the closed shortwave transmitters.
The fate of the ABC’s international shortwave broadcasts rests with Department of Communications. Their issued paper and submissions can be found here. The Department has yet to publish the resulting recommendations to the Government. The Australian Labor Party’s media release makes no mention of Radio Australia.
Much of inland Australia has no cell phone coverage the only option is shortwave radio. Australia has a couple of two-way radio manufacturers. Their shortwave transceivers can be used like telephones and do not require expensive satellite time. Most four-wheel drive vehicles and fishing boats in remote Australia use these transceivers for communications including during emergencies, to phone for example the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the case of an emergency. The receiver section of these transceivers can also receive broadcast shortwave signals on AM. These software designed radios can be easily upgraded for Digital Radio Mondiale reception.
At the time of the switch off, the CEO tried to play down ABC’s role as Australia’s emergency broadcaster, a fact they promote on their own radio broadcasts — Northern Australia is subject to cyclones, floods, tsunamis and bushfires.
The ABC could have used their DRM transmitters to radiate the Emergency Warning System, which would automatically wake the radio switch to the audio channel containing a loud voice warning, and provide maps and detailed text instructions.
Shortwave AM reception during the monsoon is noisy because of the lightning, whereas DRM can be heard in noise free stereo, provide there is sufficient signal strength from a transmitter outside of the monsoon zone.
When a shortwave AM transmitter is switched to DRM the expensive electricity consumption drops by 67 percent.
The ABC needs to recognize the 600,000 remote residents as potential audience and provide them with clear radio regardless of where they are by using modern DRM technology. They will also need to promote the broadcasts.
Alan Hughes is a technical author and broadcasting industry consultant.
You’ve heard that content is king, but sharing it is equally crucial
Consensus from those who measure trends is that audio consumption is up!
C’mon … this has gotta be cause for celebration for the radio industry. Haters will be quick to point out that consumption is being fueled by streaming services like Spotify, combined with the still-emerging — but assumed to be ubiquitous — smart speaker.
The takeaway I’d like to address concerns the proliferation of on-demand content and the soaring growth of smart speakers. These two items — content and distribution — are always connected, but radio stations don’t think too much about the latter because we have wide-reaching broadcast signals.
I am a huge fan of commentator Bob Lefsetz, who points out that distribution, not content, is actually king. You can make the most wonderful movie ever, but if you can’t get it into theaters or on a major streaming service, few people will see it. My proposition is that radio is not an exception to this rule.
Nielsen reports on-demand audio streaming up 45 percent year over year. As you might expect, the proliferation of podcasts — and the listening audience that connects to them — also continues. Edison Research indicates that monthly podcast listeners grew from 24 percent of Americans 12+ to 26 percent year over year. And yes, listening of podcasts in vehicles is growing as well.
JUMPING ON THE ON-DEMAND BANDWAGON
Seeing this growth in on-demand, what’s a broadcast radio station to do?
If it’s about immediate profit, there is no question that you should stay away from on-demand audio. Creating highly entertaining/informative podcasts and streaming on smart speakers each requires investment without immediate return.
On the other hand, if you want to stay relevant — not just for the future but in the present — radio stations don’t have much choice. The more places in which people can listen to your product, the better the chances that they will actually do so. If you’re not present on a smart speaker, on an app and streaming via a website, you’re not covering your bases.
Fence-sitters will be bested by competitors — not just radio stations, but by other streamers who are flooding the marketplace. While broadcast stations still have the advantage of large mass audiences, we must promote our own on-demand content, whether that’s a live stream, podcasts or both.
Who should be the best at creating the best on-demand audio? It’s us — the radio industry. We know how to find talent. We know how to structure talk and news shows. And we certainly know how to tell stories, create characters and set up actual plots.
And what are we not good at? It’s a list just as long: patience, investing in the future, taking risks and two things that are small but important: repurposing our own content and fully utilizing our talent.
The barrier to becoming a podcaster is extremely low, so most podcasts are not good. It’s often a group of people laughing at inside jokes or taking forever to get to a not-so-interesting point. Typically, the host has little experience and can’t even hear how self-indulgent they sound. The appearance on the scene of so many badly-done podcasts should show us that there is still plenty of room for quality shows.
I’m all in for original content creation. Surely you’ve got creative people on staff who are ready to give fame a whirl. Local fame is great! A podcast listened to by thousands in a small town can have an amazing impact.
You’re looking for themes or plots that can pass what I call the Jerry Seinfeld test. Any of Jerry’s shows can be described in one sentence, such as, “Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer, each suffering a time-sensitive issue, can’t remember where they left Kramer’s car in the enormous parking garage of a shopping mall in New Jersey.” If you can’t describe a podcast in one sentence, it’s not worth even starting.
Radio stations already make quite a bit of content that isn’t being “versioned” properly for podcasting. Stations are notorious for taking an entire morning show and putting it up as a podcast. That’s fine when shows are exceptional, but it’s the rare talent who can be entertaining for four solid hours. Much better to have a savvy editor create a better show for on-demand use that’s of reasonable and consistent length.
When technology introduces a “utility” that by definition is user-instant, we must pay attention. Turn on a lamp and in one second you get light. Turn on a radio and you get audio. Turn on a speaker and your house comes alive with on-demand audio.
Flip the switch and turn on the light!
Welcome to the era of contextual awareness
While artificial intelligence has been kicked around academic computer science departments for decades, it’s enjoying an unprecedented public moment as the fruits of machine learning and neural networks become an inescapable part of our daily lives.
At CES 2019, products that leverage some form of artificial intelligence were expected to be ubiquitous.
And, according to analysts tracking the development of artificial intelligence, we’d better get used to it.
IN THE RECIPE
To understand how AI will evolve, it helps to think of it less as a thing by itself and more as an “ingredient technology,” said Sayon Deb, senior research analyst at the Consumer Technology Association. Like salt, it will be sprinkled liberally into in a wide range of products, software and services but not in the same way or to the same degree. Asking how big the demand for AI will be in consumer and business markets is a bit like asking about the demand for USB ports, Deb noted. “It’s so large because it’s everywhere.”
In the near-term, look for AI-powered improvements to arrive in any device that uses sensors to interact with the real world, in particular, via voice-based interfaces, predicted Bob O’Donnell, president and chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research. Advances in natural language processing will enable devices such as smart speakers to better understand and respond to verbal commands. It will also deliver voice interaction to new product categories. The spread of Amazon’s Alexa is a good example of the trend, Deb said.
Edge devices will increasingly be able to perform their own local learning.
Any device with a camera will be the beneficiary of advances in machine vision and neural network-powered object classification, enabling cameras to differentiate objects in a scene, recognize human faces and more. Home security cameras, for instance, can learn to distinguish home owners from visitors and analyze exterior behavior for signs of trouble, O’Donnell said. While sophisticated facial-recognition technologies do raise privacy concerns, some of the early use-cases (like unlocking your phone) have proven very popular among consumers, Deb added.
One of the big shifts that’s underway concerns how AI devices acquire knowledge.
Today, much of the machine learning that powers AI capabilities is performed in the cloud, where developers can harness massive amounts of computing power and ingest huge data sets that no local desktop or tiny electronic device has the memory or processing power to cope with. The results of this learning get loaded onto so-called edge devices (your security camera, your smart speaker) which then interact with the world, but no longer acquire any new knowledge about it.
IT’S IN THE CONTEXT
But edge devices will increasingly be able to perform their own local learning, O’Donnell said.
Chips from NVIDIA, AMD, Qualcomm and others are increasingly capable of running AI algorithms and conducting some sparse local learning without a server farm. This improvement in edge-device intelligence will mean a more personalized experience — devices that are smart enough to learn your unique patterns and even attempt to anticipate them, O’Donnell said. You could, for instance, have user interfaces on devices that refine themselves on the basis of real-time feedback from the user.
This so-called “contextual awareness” will be extremely important for autonomous vehicles and personalized robotics as well, O’Donnell said. Both need an immense of data to navigate on their own, but the real world constantly throws new data at them. Vehicles and/or robots that can perform localized learning but then upload those results to the cloud will help in the collective effort to make robotic devices more intelligence.
“There’s bound to be growing pains, but the potential of AI is boundless.” — Sayon Deb
This two-way communication does raise privacy concerns, particularly when it comes to the kind of granular, location-based data that contextually aware devices can generate, O’Donnell said. Ironically, the better devices get at edge learning, the less they’ll need to send personalized data up to the cloud, he added.
While personalized devices grow more responsive, AI will also be leveraged by more businesses to automate and augment the work previously done by humans. According to a recent report from Forrester Research, natural language processing will combine with robot process automation to build more responsive chatbots, organize unstructured business data and automate a variety of business tasks.
This business automation naturally gives rise to concerns that as AI gets smarter, we’ll collectively be automated out of a job. One widely cited study from Oxford University’s Martin School noted that 47 percent of jobs, including many white-collar professions, are vulnerable to automation. CTA’s Deb sees those fears as unfounded, at least for now. What studies like the one from Oxford can’t measure is the new jobs that AI may create, Deb said.
“There’s bound to be growing pains,” Deb said, “but the potential of AI is boundless.”
This article originally appeared in the CES 2019 Daily.
First release from new Sonomar Collection inspires with abstract sound design elements
Brooklyn, NY (January 10, 2019): Pro Sound Effects®, the next level sound effects library company, has released Bass Machine – a collection of high-resolution sound design elements featuring over 7 hours of expressive drones, metallic resonances, and cinematic punches performed and sculpted using a unique, custom-built instrument.
Bass Machine is the first of many upcoming exclusive sound libraries in the Sonomar Collection to be released by Pro Sound Effects in 2019. The new series features sound libraries created by sound designer and recordist Martin Pinsonnault (Big Little Lies, Dallas Buyers Club) and his team at Sonomar Inc. – a Montréal-based audio post production studio for film and television.
With 720 inspiring sound effects in total, Bass Machine demonstrates Sonomar’s sonic curiosity and commitment to quality. The library features 70 raw recordings performed on an experimental contraption with intense manipulation of objects on a bass guitar string and captured at 192kHz using contact mics and guitar pickups. Those recordings were then used by to Sonomar team to create an additional 650 designed sound effects – sculpted, pitched, and processed at 96kHz to instantly add eerie tension and harmonic depth to your projects.
“When we created Bass Machine, we wanted to make a sound library that would be different – that had not been done before,” says Martin Pinsonnault. “The sounds we came up with are very organic, moody, and full of potential. We’re excited to hear how sound artists will use them to create in their own projects and designs.”
BASS MACHINE KEY FEATURES:
- 720 sound effects (15GB)
- 70 raw recordings at 192kHz
- 650 designed sounds at 96kHz
- 24-bit broadcast .wav files
- Precise, imaginative, and comprehensive embedded metadata descriptions
- 100% Royalty-Free
- Download or flash drive delivery (+$40)
- Free Sampler available for download (3 sounds, 24.5MB)
RICING AND AVAILABILITY
The Bass Machine sound effects library is available now at $149 for a one-user lifetime license. A free sampler including three WAV files selected from the library is available for immediate download at prosoundeffects.com/bass-machine.
An annual reference guide and supplement
Here’s your 2019 Radio World Source Book & Directory, a resource for professionals working in the U.S. radio broadcasting industry.Check it out online here.
What companies are listed here? Any industry supplier that responded to our solicitation emails toward the end of 2018.
You’ll find the respondents listed alphabetically in the Vendor & Product Directory section starting on page 14.
Companies also tell us the type of hardware or service they offer; find those categories in the Supplier Cross Index starting on page 10.
On pages 4–9, sponsors highlight key products in the Profiles in Excellence section. Starting on page 29 are sponsored reprints of product stories that originally appeared in Radio World in recent months
We are grateful to the manufacturers and service providers who help build this industry and keep it on the air. We particularly hope you’ll support our advertisers, who make this publication and every issue of Radio World throughout the year possible.
How may we serve you better? Email me at email@example.com.
— Paul McLane
A new transmitter for a radio station has the same effect that a new car for everyone else
With the recent installation of a new Nautel GV15 FM IBOC transmitter, WAWZ(FM) in Zarephath, N.J., finally has both feet firmly planted in the 21st Century. And while the install went smoothly, it wasn’t without a fair amount of fancy footwork.
For nearly 15 years, Star 99.1 has been able to broadcast in HD Radio with a Broadcast Electronics FMi-1405. This has also allowed us to add two additional program channels to our main offering of contemporary Christian music. Our 99.1 MHz HD2 features a Gospel format, while 99.1 HD3 features Christian rap and hip-hop.
The BE FMi-1405 has been very good to us during its tenure, but when maintenance or component failure made it necessary to switch to the backup transmitter, we found ourselves hobbled. Our backup transmitter was a Gates FM10H3 tube transmitter that WAWZ purchased new in 1975! (Regular readers may remember my account of the Gates restoration.)
The Gates was, and still is, a beautiful piece of engineering, and saved our bacon more times than we can recall; but it operated at a lower TPO and wasn’t capable of HD Radio broadcasting. Every time we put it on the air was like taking a small step backwards. Clearly, an upgrade was in order.
WAWZ’s General Manager Scott Taylor said, “Nautel’s reputation precedes them, but after doing the research it was the reliability and efficiency that sold the day.”
Chief Engineer Ron Habegger echoed that sentiment and added, “It has much higher efficiency in hybrid FM mode than we were accustomed to. And built-in asymmetrical HD capability, ready to go with a finger tap on the UI screen, is something WAWZ will be taking advantage of in the near future.”
Another feature that got our attention is the ability of the GV15’s exciter to accept the MPX output of our Orban 8600 processor directly via AES/EBU digital format.
Installation of something this critical obviously takes careful planning. Ron and I, with the help of our longtime electrician Bob Fernandez, had to plan out some rerouting of the utility wiring to ensure the GV15 would have proper UPS protection and generator backup. This also affected power to our FMi-1405, which would become our backup, and we had to carefully choreograph switching to the old Gates one last time before it would be decommissioned.
The GV15 would then occupy the same space in our small building as the Gates once the latter was moved out. This was no mean feat. Even though the GV15 is smaller than the Gates, it’s much heavier. With little room to maneuver dollies or hand trucks, we resorted to using sections of 2-inch steel pipe as rollers. (Hey, if it worked for the ancient Egyptians …) The Gates was placed in an adjoining building on the site, where it will likely reside as a museum piece of sorts. She doesn’t owe us a dime!
Once it landed in its new home, the GV15 was a breeze to install. Thankfully, Ron had all the plumbing in place ahead of time, having spent the previous months reworking much of it to allow us to switch seamlessly either the GV15 or the FMi-1405 between our main and backup antennas or dummy load.
This was a long-overdue improvement to our facility in general. Previously, just having one coax switch meant we could only switch our main or backup transmitter to either our main or backup antenna. Using the dummy load meant disconnecting the 4-inch coaxial line from the backup antenna to connect the dummy load line. Ron’s addition of a second switch now allows us to keep everything “hard-wired.”
Once the UPS-conditioned power and RF output line were connected, we brought the GV15 to life. The first thing we noticed was how quiet this transmitter is. Because of the noise in the room from the air conditioning and other equipment, Ron had to put his ear to the cabinet to confirm to himself that it was actually running.
Although we had spent several weeks studying the manuals, it was still a testament to good design that the touchscreen interface was intuitive enough that we were able to configure all but the IBOC parameters without having the manuals in our laps.
Getting IBOC to behave was a bit of a head scratcher, even with the manual, but this turned out to be self-inflicted. Just when we were about to give up and call Nautel tech support, we traced the issue to a faulty connector on a Cat-5 cable. (Ron must have crimped that one! Cough, cough …)
Speaking of tech support, a key feature of the Nautel GV15 interface is “Phone Home.” Once the transmitter’s onboard computer was connected to the internet, this feature allows it to contact the factory automatically. This lets Nautel know, first, “I’m here! I’m up and running!” It also allows factory technicians to more effectively troubleshoot should we find ourselves in over our heads.
The GUI is presented on a fairly large screen, especially compared to those on our audio processors. The graphics are large and easy to read, without the fear of sausage fingers like mine inadvertently breaking things. It’s also easily customizable. We were quickly able to customize it to a way that made sense to us without even a peek at the documentation.
In addition to running much quieter than our older transmitters, it also runs much cooler. We have three five-ton-capacity air conditioners servicing the building. One usually runs all the time, while the second kicks on as needed to supplement. The third is a backup.
We soon found this arrangement kept the building too cold for comfort. Dialing back the unnecessary cooling has brought the noise level down even further. Time will tell just how much of an impact this has on our electric bill.
Ron says, “After a month on the Nautel, our electric bill for the site is about 30 percent less than the previous month.”
As we enjoy the “new transmitter smell” of the Nautel GV15, we’re looking forward to many years of efficient, economical operation, with the added plus of being able to keep all three HD Radio channels alive regardless of which transmitter we operate.
Again, Scott Taylor, “We’re confident in our ability to serve our large and loyal NYC metro audience for years to come.”
Curt Yengst, CSRE, is assistant engineer at WAWZ(FM) in Zarephath, N.J.
Read about the upcoming European Radio Show, developments in antennas and transmission support, and more
The January issue of Radio World International includes stories on QUB’s quest to take radio internet radio mainstream in Quebec; Belgian station MNM’s new mobile radio studio; buyer’s guide on antennas and transmission support; plus your 2019 European Radio Product Source List.
Will serve as center stage for new technologies, production, podcasts, music discovery and more
PRODUCT SOURCE LIST
Your 2019 source for everything radio is ready! Find information on companies worldwide that offer products and services to media facilities
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
Broadcasters need to understand IoT threats
If there is a single truth about trends in the Internet security space, it’s that every year brings more of the same. Akamai’s 2018 State of the Internet report looks forward to 2019 by describing ongoing patterns from the past few years, and suggests they’ll likely continue to evolve in the ways that they already have. Broadcasters, like other internet users, should continue to expect threats in the form of brute force DDoS attacks, application level attacks, credential stuffing and the theft and sale of credentials.
A more specific portfolio of threats exists for broadcasters, who are heavily invested in the Internet of Things, which are also vulnerable. A recent Gartner report estimates that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices, excluding PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
There are a number of weaknesses in IoT devices, which make them vulnerable to hackers.
- Very little security is built into the device itself, often as an economy measure, but also because some safeguards may impede operation.
- Because of poor network segmentation, the device may be directly exposed to the web. It can act as a pivot to the internal network, opening up a backdoor to let criminals in.
- Developers of IoT devices sometimes leave behind code or features developed in beta that are no longer relevant. This hidden functionality can provide a way in for hackers.
- Default credentials are often hard coded. That means that the software won't force you to create a unique password. Typing “1-2-3-4-5” can get you into a surprising number of devices.
A glimpse at best practices might be gleaned by looking at the U.S. government, which introduced the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act. It requires that any devices sold to the American government be patchable, not have any known security vulnerabilities, and allow users to change their default passwords. If you’re not working for the government, you’re on your own to figure all of this out.
Effort to promote hybrid radio app and build FM chip awareness produces disappointing outcome
The founders of NextRadio thought they had the next big thing with FM radio on smartphones.
They secured financial backing for their launch effort from a consortium of radio broadcast groups. They paid millions of dollars to Sprint and other cellular carriers to activate FM chips in Android handsets they sold. With the NAB’s help they launched massive public education campaigns. Even FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was in their corner touting the importance of activating FM reception capability in the interest of public safety.
The point was to regain more FM portability by allowing listeners to tune to local radio stations on their smartphones via a built-in receiver chip, while giving broadcasters the benefits of consumption information, as well as a return data path.
However, in the end it seems NextRadio lost its juice. As the New Year dawned, it had laid off most of its employees and was drawing down operations dramatically.
The reasons for its demise are still being discussed around the industry. Maybe it was the fact that NextRadio developers were unsuccessful at convincing Apple to activate the hybrid radio app on iPhones? Or perhaps it was a lack of interest by the general public who load up their smartphones with more appealing apps and entertainment options? Or the simple fact that money to fund the project simply ran out.
NextRadio, launched in 2013, was developed by TagStation LLC and owned by Emmis. TagStation is a cloud-based software platform that allows stations to manage album art, metadata and enhanced advertising on various devices.
At the time, in an effort to kick start NextRadio’s foothold in the marketplace, a consortium that included Emmis, iHeartMedia, Beasley, Urban One Inc. (formerly Radio One), Hubbard Radio, Townsquare Media, Bonneville, Entercom Communications and others agreed to pay Sprint $15 million per year over a three-year period in return for the wireless provider activating the FM tuners in a minimum of 30 million FM-enabled wireless devices.
In all it appears Sprint was paid at least $39.2 million total for the app activations, according to Emmis government filings. Emmis ended the practice of paying cell carriers to activate the chip in smartphones in 2016, and instead adopted a revenue sharing formula with wireless providers.
The long-term hope was that the radio industry could eventually monetize the NextRadio app, in part through data attribution. They hoped it would provide advertisers with robust analytics and more insights about radio ROI.
The long-term hope was that the radio industry could eventually monetize the NextRadio app, in part through data attribution.
The introduction of the Dial Report by TagStation in early 2017 was a milestone in those efforts, but that was about the time funding from the radio industry began drying up, according to Emmis filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Data attribution was what would make the platform successful, said Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, but it needed money and buy-in from the rest of the radio industry to make that happen.
By October 2018, Smulyan, who had toiled both hard and publicly to promote the initiative, made it clear that Emmis was “unwilling and unable” to continue funding the NextRadio and TagStation businesses on its own. Soon after, it terminated 35 employees of NextRadio and TagStation. The Indianapolis Star newspaper pegged the total number of employees between the businesses’ operations in Indianapolis and Chicago at 40 before the job cuts.
Emmis disclosed in its recent financial filings that operating losses from its related NextRadio businesses totaled $7.6 million over the 12 months ending Aug. 31.
The cuts in personnel and services resulted in a dramatic reduction in scope and scale of business operations. For now TagStation will only support free logo services to NextRadio and certain other distribution points.
“Station-specific content such as album art, on-air related images and other metadata that were previously used for PAD [Program-Associated Data]-related broadcasting will no longer be available through TagStation cloud services,” the company wrote in an email to station clients. “We will provide certain product support and maintenance for the foreseeable future.”
A TagStation representative told Radio World that “just under 4,000 HD radio stations lost album art and other metadata — news, talk, jock and promotional images — for HD Radio Artist Experience, certain connected cars, websites, NextRadio, third-party apps and Now Playing.”
In addition, approximately 15,000 radio stations, including FM/AM/HD and translators in the U.S., are online for simple logo and station metadata services being sent to NextRadio and certain connected cars, the company official said.
An Emmis spokesperson told Radio World that NextRadio President Paul Brenner remains with the company. Brenner, who has been with Emmis since 1998, declined to comment for this article.
Emmis tried to drum up additional investment in NextRadio the past two years by giving other eligible radio broadcasters several “call options” to acquire all or part of NextRadio, according to paperwork filed with the SEC. The next call option that could have been exercised by eligible radio broadcasters is in August 2019. Following recent developments it’s unlikely that will happen, observers said.
Smulyan’s failure to build the consortium large enough to support NextRadio for the long term was its ultimate failure
Smulyan’s failure to build the consortium large enough to support NextRadio for the long term was its ultimate failure, insiders say. It didn’t help that two of the largest U.S. radio broadcast groups, iHeartMedia and Cumulus, have been through bankruptcy proceedings.
The industry vibe about the fall of NextRadio appears to be mixed, according to observers. It can be read as a blow for hopes that the wireless industry will adopt local radio reception more directly into future device designs. Others are more hopeful.
“It’s unfortunate to see the momentum made on NextRadio and TagStation halted. We continue to believe in the technology, and are confident there will be other companies that step forward to take up the mantle,” said Dennis Wharton, executive VP for communications at NAB.
NAB had helped fund NextRadio’s initial development. The group’s biggest disappointment was Apple’s refusal to activate FM chips in iPhones, Wharton said, who confirmed NAB did supply a “significant amount of financial support for NextRadio” but declined to give a specific dollar amount.
Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia chairman and CEO, told Radio World in a prepared statement: “Although NextRadio may not have lived up to the high expectations we all had, it was a great success in getting the industry to begin thinking seriously about other devices besides just the traditional AM/FM radio. And for that we can thank Jeff Smulyan, who has always been a media innovator.”
Rick Ducey, managing director for BIA Advisory Services, said NextRadio had some big hurdles to overcome, though he was glad to see the radio industry showing it has an appetite for innovation.
“In the end, mobile carriers did not see a business case for activating FM chips in those phones so equipped,” Ducey said. “There was some operational complexity and limited risk-adjusted returns to support a FM chip strategy versus distributing content over streaming platforms. The handset manufacturers were reluctant to put more FM chips into their devices without carrier demand. And finally radio audiences did not see the benefits of NextRadio to the point of encouraging mass adoption.”
“In the end, mobile carriers did not see a business case for activating FM chips in those phones so equipped.” — Rick Ducey
There were skeptics of NextRadio who questioned whether the hybrid phone app could be the industry’s savior and reverse dropping listener levels. Some quietly doubted that the radio industry as a whole, beyond Emmis, was fully supportive when many large radio groups have their own individual listening apps and streams to promote.
“I think a focus for radio right now is on balance sheets, revenue growth, margin compression and increasing marketplace competition for listener hours and advertiser dollars,” Ducey said. “When the goal is to get to listeners wherever they are and on whatever device, the ready-made environment supporting streaming audio offers is a lot easier to adopt then building a new infrastructure.”
Mark Ramsey, media strategist and researcher, said NextRadio was “conceived as an industry-centric solution to an industry problem, not a consumer-centric solution to a consumer problem. That is always a recipe for disaster.”
He continued, “All tech innovations are risky and failure is simply the cost of a lesson learned. This shows that quality content is the most important factor in radio’s success. The greatest concern for the radio industry should be that passion for radio is sinking among younger listeners especially. To the degree that radio exits the content business to focus on distribution, economy, scale, consolidation, etc., it will continue to lose its way.”
LOSS OF SERVICE
The technical implications facing radio stations that participated in TagStation is still sorting itself out. A customer notification from TagStation in an email to radio stations in late December signaled the beginning of its plan to reduce the scope and scale of its operations: “From now on TagStation will only support free logo services. Station specific content such as album art, on-air related images and other metadata that were previously used for PAD related broadcasting will no longer be available through TagStation cloud services.”
Broadcasters who used the TagStation service do have replacement options for their album-art and on-air image needs. Jump2Go and Quu Interactive supply similar metadata services, according to several broadcast technical experts contacted for this story.
“Beasley was aware of a possible loss of the service so we already had a solution using Jump2Go and Quu Interactive,” said Mike Cooney, chief technology officer and VP of engineering for Beasley Media Group. “We were only without images for a day or two. Most of the impact of losing [TagStation] was on HD stations and subchannels.”
The TagStation logo service, which will continue for now, will be a good “interim solution” for other smaller broadcasters, Cooney said.
Jeff Littlejohn, executive VP of engineering and systems at iHeartMedia, said the broadcaster only uses TagStation to feed the NextRadio application, so “very little impact is expected” on iHeart stations.
Cumulus Media announced in 2017 that all of its stations, including subsidiary Westwood One, had signed on for the TagStation service. An engineering official with Cumulus said the company was reviewing options to replace TagStation and testing different services in few markets.
“It’s nice to see the logo versus nothing, but we do want to offer ‘full service’ to our HD listeners. Cumulus Media is striving to put the best product out there, whether it’s analog, HD, streaming, apps, etc.,” said Randy Norris, regional director of engineering for Cumulus.
Norris said only the broadcaster’s HD/HD2/HD3 stations were affected by the loss of TagStation.
There doesn’t appear to be much left of NextRadio and TagStation at this point, according to observers. In early January, the NextRadio website remained active but told visitors that the app had been removed from iTunes and that NextRadio would no longer provide support for live radio streams.
The businesses detailed cuts in personnel and services in a press release in mid-December: “After exploring several alternatives, we have made the difficult decision to dramatically reduce the scope and scale of our operations, which includes the termination of 35 employees of these businesses. NextRadio and TagStation employees that were separated were given generous severance packages.”
There was no mention of the status of Dial Report in any of TagStation’s press announcements and what would become of the audience measurement tool.
Colorado’s KSUT and KUTE have maintained community focus for four decades
The word unique is overused but seems appropriate when applied to KSUT Public Media.
Licensed to Ignacio, Colo., in a region of the southwest known as Four Corners, KSUT is a National Public Radio affiliate but also has long been known for its live and local programs and its commitment to community service.
KSUT was founded in 1976 by the Southern Ute Indian tribe with a goal of keeping tribal members informed and entertained. Today, KSUT provides two services.
One, “Tribal Radio” (KSUT), serves as the voice of the Native Americans who live in the area. It plays traditional Indian music, provides news and talk shows about issues of concern to the community, and tells the stories the mainstream media often ignore.
The other, “Four Corners Public Radio” (KUTE), offers a blend of popular NPR staples like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” as well as a locally-programmed adult album alternative (Triple A) format. The station’s playlist includes not only big names like Joni Mitchell or Coldplay but also local artists, in-studio live concerts, jazz, blues and world music.
REFLECTION OF THE REGION
While a lot has changed in the more than four decades since KSUT made its debut, the community focus has never wavered, according to Executive Director Tami Graham.
“We reflect the cultural diversity of the region. We’re unique because we’re tribally-founded, and we stay true to our roots; but we are also an NPR affiliate and an independent nonprofit.”
Graham is proud of KSUT’s success and its popularity in the region. In fact, it was recently voted “Best Radio Station in Durango and La Plata County” for the sixth consecutive year, in a reader poll by the Durango Herald.
Graham oversees an 11-person staff, and she wears many hats, as do her colleagues. Graham’s include fundraising and grant-writing (an ongoing part of being a listener-supported station); and she hosts an on-air shift on Four Corners Radio on Wednesday afternoons.
Four Corners Station Manager Rob Rawls also handles day-to-day engineering and hosts a Tuesday night blues show. Four Corners Music Director Stasia Lanier, who has been with KSUT for 25 years, not only oversees the station’s music but helps with marketing and promotion, and can be heard Tuesday afternoons on “Afternoon Blend” as well as on a Saturday morning program called “San Juan Sunrise.”
When KSUT went on the air in June 1976, it was one of the few tribal radio stations in the United States; back then, it had only 10 watts and a signal that could be heard for about 20 miles, and it broadcast four hours a day.
And yet, as Lillian Seibel, KSUT’s first station manager, recalls: “People appreciated [KSUT] right from the beginning. It was exciting for them to hear native music.”
Today, says Tribal Radio Station Manager Sheila Nanaeto, native music is key to the station’s identity; she hosts the morning show, and she enjoys promoting the songs of native artists. And while the station’s founders were Southern Utes, the music comes from all tribal groups.
But the station is known for more than just the music. It is also a focal point for educational programs on health, the environment and other issues. There are nationally produced talk shows like “Native America Calling,” but there are also locally produced programs.
For example, Nanaeto says, “We reached out to different organizations, who came in to discuss how they were preventing domestic violence.” Included in the 42 hours a week of native-oriented programming, Nanaeto hosts a show aimed at the homebound elderly population. And because Tribal Radio broadcasts high school sports as well as reporting live from area pow-wows. “People know us … and we have listeners of all different ages.”
KSUT’s two signals serve 14 towns across parts of four states (Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico). It’s quite a challenge serving such a wide area. Twice a day, the organization’s footprint results in a very long station ID, reflecting the call letters of six FM transmitters and four FM translators. The market is unrated, but by many accounts, KSUT reaches a potential audience of more than 200,000 people. (Most of the time, the stations just use the KSUT identifier, and the website’s audio stream, too, refers mainly to KSUT.)
Rob Rawls explains the logistics: “Tribal Radio [KSUT]’s main transmitter is 2,000 watts and is located in southwest Colorado. The Tribal signal is repeated in New Mexico on KUUT at 500 watts. Four Corners’ primary transmitter is located in southwest Colorado and runs at 900 watts. Four Corners is re-broadcast on KDNG in Durango [200 watts], KUSW in Farmington [900 watts] and KPGS in Pagosa Springs [500 watts].”
Both services also can be heard via the KSUT.org website.
THE GOODS AND THE GEAR
He also mentioned the technology behind the on-air product: “KSUT uses a mix of Harris, BE and Crown transmitters and translators. Most of KSUT’s transmitter sites now have internet, which allows KSUT to use Comrex Bric Links to deliver our programming to remote locations. KSUT is an NPR affiliate, receiving national programming through a 4-meter satellite dish … KSUT manages music, national programming and local programming using NexGen automation from RCS Sound Software.”
He also notes that KSUT is in the process of building a new broadcast facility, which everyone hopes will result in an upgrade of the current equipment.
“And boy, do we need it,” Rawls says. “KSUT on-air studios currently use 20-year old analog PR&E consoles that are in need of constant repair. KSUT has Tascam CD players in each studio, but they are rarely used. [There is] a digitized library of over 70,000 songs stored in a NexGen audio server — with a Raid 5 hard disk array — that is used by announcers, producers and programmers to create music programming. KSUT has standardized on EV RE-27 microphones for all studios. And audio processing is provided by an Orban Optimod 8600.”
Until 1998, KSUT tried to do it all with one service, but although the NPR programming was well-received (the station became an affiliate in 1984), some listeners felt the station was straying from its tribal roots. So, in June 1998, KSUT put the second on the air: Tribal Radio could now focus on the three Indian reservations within the signal range, while Four Corners could focus on the diverse blend of area residents that included students from Fort Lewis College in Durango, as well as tourists, and local residents drawn to the region’s scenic beauty.
As a listener-supported station, KSUT relies on fundraising drives in order to raise the money needed to operate. Fortunately, both Four Corners and Tribal Radio have loyal and devoted audiences: In the most recent fundraising campaign, more than $4.6 million was raised from area residents and businesses, as well as from grants (the Southern Ute tribe provided $1 million), augmented by some revenue that came from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
But raising money is an ongoing challenge, says KSUT’s Graham. She praises the Southern Ute tribe and tribal council for its commitment to KSUT’s success, and she is grateful for the many listeners who donate and who reach out to the station on social media.
EXPANSION AND OUTREACH PLANS
On Graham’s to-do list is getting funding for a tribal media center.
“Young people do care about radio,” she says, and she hopes to use the media center to train them to participate in broadcasting.
Graham also hopes to reenergize the station’s local news. Currently, due to budget cutbacks, there is no longer a local news department, but the plan is to restore local news coverage in the future. For now, the station uses its website for local headlines from area newspapers, and it broadcasts bulletins (such as impending bad weather) when they are received.
And like everyone on the staff, Graham is a big believer in the power of radio. “I fell in love with radio in college,” she explains, and after a long career in broadcasting, she ultimately joined KSUT because “I loved what the station was doing.”
People who think radio no longer matters haven’t listened to stations like KSUT, says Stasia Lanier. “KSUT is beloved in the region. Our slogan used to be ‘We create community on the air.’ People still think of us as a community asset.”
Donna Halper, Ph.D., is an associate professor of communication and media studies at Lesley University. The organization Historic New England recently awarded her its Prize for Collecting Works on Paper for her collection of memorabilia related to the history of broadcasting and pioneering men and women in the early days of radio and television.
One of NAB's own explains why stations should nominate themselves for this community service recognition
Here’s my take on "why you should nominate your station for a Crystal Radio Award."
Local radio broadcasters take seriously their responsibility to serve the public, and for most stations, community service is at the core of their mission. The Crystal Radio Awards are one way NAB recognizes broadcasters’ commitment to serving communities and the vital role radio plays across America.
The Crystal Radio Awards are one way NAB recognizes broadcasters’ commitment to serving communities and the vital role radio plays across America.
We encourage stations to take the time to tell their story by entering to win a prestigious Crystal Radio Award. Winning a Crystal is a major honor — a recognition for the impact your station has had in the community, a source of pride and motivation for station staff, and a symbol of distinction to your listeners.
Crystal winners receive national recognition at NAB Show in Las Vegas in April and at the Celebration of Service to America Awards in Washington, D.C. in June. The awards are not only an opportunity for NAB to highlight exemplary stations, but also a reminder to the public and to policymakers of the tremendous impact radio has.
For stations that have already been awarded a Crystal, don’t stop there. The NAB Crystal Heritage Award recognizes a radio station’s long-term commitment to community service, honoring stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards! Seven stations have received this honor since 2008.
Plug-in provides door into building and control of Dante digital audio networks for Iyo family
Audio interface and networking products manufacturer AudioScience has announced that its Iyo Dante line of rackmounted Dante interfaces can now operate in QSC’s Q-Sys network ecosystem.
This compatibility comes via a plug-in for QSC Q-Sys Designer Software, a builder and controller of Dante digital audio networks. A release explains, “system designers can now integrate Iyo Dante products into the familiar Q-Sys Designer Software and control all aspects of the interface on a native Q-SYS touch screen controller.”
AudioScience Network Product Manager Nicole Santiago said, “Following the successful introduction of our Iyo Dante family, integration with third-party ecosystems was high on our list. The extensive software-based capabilities within Q-Sys allow system designers to control Iyo devices in a number of different ways, all from within a familiar and robust platform.”
Iyo products offer channel capacities from 8 x 8 to 32 x 32.
French transmission site allows FRCN Kaduna to reach its entire audience for first time in years
A neglected Nigerian radio station is finally filling an information vacuum thanks to a shortwave transmitter site in France.
The Federal Radio Corp. of Nigeria (FRCN) station in Kaduna is part of the country's publicly funded domestic network. FRCN Kaduna has traditionally provided coverage not only to Kaduna State but to much of northern Nigeria. The station faces many problems in reaching its audience.
FRCN Kaduna relies upon diesel generators at times. “Whenever our transmitter in Jaji is not working because of the power supply, the radio station goes off air. The transmitter guzzles diesel that the station’s meager resources can’t afford,” a staff member told the Daily Trust newspaper last November.
Even with a reliable power supply, Kaduna's AM and FM transmitters have inadequate coverage. Shortwave used to fill the gaps, but this part of the network has collapsed. There have been calls to replace the 40-year old transmitter for over a decade. It was operating at just a fraction of its rated power before it went off completely last year.
Nigeria's external service, the Voice of Nigeria (VON), has at least two newer transmitters. In theory it could also transmit FRCN Kaduna. But VON has the same power supply problems and issues with transmitter availability that Kaduna has.
FRCN Kaduna staff staged a brief protest last July lamenting the condition of their equipment and appealing to the federal government.
Nigeria is also entering a critical political phase as it is scheduled to hold national elections in February.
Broadcasters such as Radio France International and the BBC have shortwave transmissions beamed to Nigeria. The broadcasts include transmissions in Hausa, a language used by tens of millions of people in northern Nigeria. Western-backed non-governmental organizations also broadcast to the country through the purchase of airtime on brokered stations. In addition, Nigeria exile groups purchase time but they tend to come and go.
These stations have been filling the information gaps left by the collapse of FRCN Kaduna. Until recently, that is.
Kaduna's Hausa service started brokered broadcasts in October via WRMI in Florida. Transmissions are now via Issoudun in central France for 11 hours a day. The signal is reportedly good thanks to a directional antenna and 150,000 watts of power.
The move is unprecedented but after years of neglect FRCN Kaduna now appears to be reaching its entire audience.
Hans Johnson has worked in the shortwave broadcasting industry for over 20 years as a sales and frequency manager.
Sambhav Media and ENIL contracts include 45 transmitters with services to support new nationwide FM frequencies
GatesAir recently signed two FM radio contracts in India with private broadcasters Sambhav Media and ENIL.
Specifically, the deals involve Flexiva FAX air-cooled transmitters, auxiliary RF equipment and rigid transmission line for 30 stations, and include installation, commissioning and technical support services through in-country partner Horizon Broadcast Electronics.
The Sambhav Media project covers 13 FM radio stations (two 5 kW and 11 3 kW sites) that the broadcaster won following the FM Phase III auction for new private FM broadcast licenses. Each station will also receive a 1 kW backup transmitter, with all sites operating in fully redundant 1+1 configurations. Deliveries are now in progress, with seven stations on the air in the Gujarat region.
“After many discussions with different manufacturers in the premium market, we selected GatesAir transmitters because of their high efficiency, smaller footprint and, most important, the redundancy within their transmission systems,” said Jagdish Pavra, director of engineering, Sambhav Media. “We are now on the air at seven sites with GatesAir transmitters, and are very happy with their performance as well as the services GatesAir provides.”
The ENIL deal is made up of two purchases, including 14 stations won in the FM Phase II auction. Each will install one 5 kW transmitter. The second order includes two 10 kW transmitters and one 6 kW model across three additional stations.
Flexiva transmitters feature GatesAir’s PowerSmart 3D designs to reduce size, weight and power consumption. The firm says these three operational benefits were paramount to each broadcaster’s decision, in addition to the company’s visibility throughout India.
Horizon will handle all post-installation support include spare parts delivery and on-site maintenance.
While Amazon and Google dominate, Strategy Analytics finds plenty of opportunity for other brands to get in the game
Consumer tech brands are gradually expanding their share of the exploding smart-speaker market despite the dominance of the Amazon and Google brands.
Amazon and Google dominate because of their first-to-market advantage and ample marketing and engineering resources. Amazon accounted for 64.4% of the U.S. installed base as of September 2018, and Google for 19.6%, a September 2018 Voicebot survey found. Brands other than Amazon, Google and Apple, however, have grown their share of the installed base from 9.7% in January 2018 to 11.3% in September 2018, Voicebot said.
When U.S. smart-speaker owners were asked in a mid-2018 survey to name a brand they’d choose for their next purchase, 54% chose Amazon, Google or Apple, but almost half cited other brands.
Strategy Analytics finds plenty of opportunity for other brands. When U.S. smart-speaker owners were asked in a mid-2018 survey to name a brand they’d choose for their next purchase, 54% chose Amazon, Google or Apple, but almost half cited other brands.
Brand considerations: “Many consumers are ready to consider alternative brands, assuming they meet the high expectations identified in this study, including high quality audio, superior design and device compatibility,” said David Watkins of Strategy Analytics.
Nonetheless, CE brands won’t match Amazon or Google sales anytime soon because the tech giants offer many more products at prices lower than what many CE brands might be able to offer profitably, Futuresource said. The tech giants’ primary goal, added Stephen Baker, NPD Group technology industry advisor, “is to build an installed base” to deliver voice services, and that means “the vast majority of volumes” will be in aggressively priced, low-cost, low-audio-quality Amazon Dots and Google Home Minis.
Many CE brands — at least 30 in 2018 — already offer smart speakers, and so far, the winners consist of JBL and Sonos. Excluding Amazon and Google, those two led the pack in U.S. retail-level unit sales with shares of 6% and 4%, respectively, for the 12 months ending September 2018, the NPD Group found. Other brands, including Apple, accounted for another 6%.
Picking niches: Suppliers, however, must pick their niches carefully, said Dannie Lau, Xperi’s DTS Play-Fi at GM. Companies competing on price “will have a difficult time matching the scale and development cycles of Google and Amazon,” he said. But “traditional CE companies have historically been able to create price segmentation with ever-improving sound quality and design.”
Even a small share of an exploding market is significant for many companies. Based on a September 2018 consumer survey, Strategy Analytics forecast that U.S. smart-speaker shipments would jump 86% to 42.4 million in 2018, with the installed base growing 123% to 71.2 million. Sales are driven by new users and by repeat purchasers adding speakers to more rooms.
Up to 48% of U.S. consumers were expected to own a smart speaker by the end of 2018, an August 2018 Adobe Analytics study concluded.
The death knell, however, hasn’t sounded for Wi-Fi speakers lacking built-in assistants.
Other Wi-Fi Speakers: The death knell, however, hasn’t sounded for Wi-Fi speakers lacking built-in assistants. “Built-in AI will be a component of every manufacturers’ product plans, though it is doubtful microphones will find their way into the entire lineup,” said DTS’s Lau. As long as suppliers can’t integrate more than one AI assistant into a single speaker SKU, “it makes more sense to use a ‘works with’ strategy to appeal to the broadest audience.”
Brendon Stead, Sound United’s SVP of product development/engineering, also sees “great” potential for wireless multiroom speakers lacking built-in assistants. However, he said, “these speakers must interact with existing voice agents to stay relevant.” One key to success is “broad interoperability with more than one smart assistant simultaneously, like we’re seeing with Denon and Marantz AVRs,” Stead said.
Suppliers unveiling smart speakers include:
- Cleer Audio: The company’s latest smart speaker with Alexa voice control is the $149-suggested Connect Smart Display Speaker, due in Q2 with 8-inch color display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and far-field mics. The $249 Space speaker is already available.
- JBL: The Samsung-owned Harman brand is showing the JBL Link Bar, which is the first announced sound bar with both built-in Google Assistant and Android TV. It’s due in the spring. Pricing was unavailable.
- LG: The company’s first three sound bars with built-in Google Assistant feature Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 5.1.2-channel sound, far-field mics in the chassis, Chromecast built-in, and Meridian Audio design, and two optional wireless surround speakers.
- Voiz: The New York-based startup, co-founded by former Onkyo and JBL executive Mark Friedman, is unveiling its first three Ai Radio SKUs with built-in Amazon Alexa, classic-radio aesthetic, premium components, and premium look with bamboo cabinets and removable cloth grilles. The company also plans later this year to offer in-wall Smart Switch devices that replace standard wall switches, enabling voice control of whole-house audio and smart-home systems.
Also, helpful tidbits about interference and station logs
Exploring the big box stores for the latest in tools and useful accessories is fun. Projects engineer Edwin Bukont was scouring Lowes for neat finds and came up with the little LED flashlight shown in Fig. 1.
In addition to being rotatable, there’s a strong magnet on the back, making it ideal to “stick” onto steel racks or steel rack rails, as seen in Fig, 2.
The light intensity is adjustable, too; and being LED-powered, it does not get hot. Ed also found a larger plug-in floor LED lamp, shown in Fig. 3.
If you haven’t converted to these LED lamps and flashlights, you’re missing out. The lighting is bright, plus the case doesn’t get hot as with traditional incandescent bulb trouble lights. Perhaps the best feature: When you drop the lamp, the bulb doesn’t break.
I received an email from an engineer asking about satellite interference.
Broadcast engineering veteran Ira Wilner offered some advice to engineers experiencing terrestrial interference to their satellite dishes. His first question for C-band operations is whether you have a C-band pre-selector filter between your feed horn and your LNB. Ira strongly suggests one.
In some cases, Ira has used two of these filters in series. LNBs are far more susceptible to out-of-band RFI than LNAs plus down converters. Their front ends are easily overloaded, and the spurious response will generate noise all across your down-converted C-band signal at L-band.
Interference could also be on-channel interference, and in that case, a filter won’t really help. In those cases, use a spectrum analyzer to diagnose the problem or search for the offending signal source.
Salem Media Group Orlando’s Louis Mueller wanted a portable workbench that was sturdy and inexpensive but that didn’t take up too much space in the transmitter building. Engineers often need a place to set test equipment, and the floor just isn’t convenient.
Lou found portable voting booths on eBay for less than $20. Shown in Fig. 4, the legs go in the case. When disassembled, this is small enough to fit in a corner or, for contract engineers, in the back of your vehicle. Because it’s portable, the case can be used outside to hold a bridge or an FIM. Fig. 5 is the identifying label, should you want to search for your own portable workbench.
As we start a new year, a great reminder from Larry Wilkins’ Alabama Broadcasters Association newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee Technical Notes.
Section 73.1820 of the FCC rules require the licensee of each station to maintain a station log.
I’ve heard engineers say, “Logs are no longer required.” This is not true. The station log shall be kept by the station employees competent to do so, having actual knowledge of the facts required.
All entries are required to be reviewed once each week and must accurately reflect the station operation. The chief operator or his designee must sign and date the log, thereby attesting to the fact that the entry, or any correction or addition made thereto, is an accurate representation of what transpired
Items required to be posted in the station log include:
● A record of all EAS activity (test and alerts) during the preceding week.
● A record of any malfunction or extinguishment of tower lighting.
● A record of failure, out-of-tolerance condition or corrective action (including calibration of automatic devices) made to the transmission system equipment, including monitoring and control devices.
Finally, these logs must be retained for a period of two years. Start the New Year by ensuring that your station engineering paperwork is in order.
Workbench is Radio World’s iconic tech tips column, edited by John Bisset, who has worked in broadcasting for 48 years, is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award. However, this column relies on you, the reader, to share your great ideas, workarounds, facility photos, war stories and DIY projects. Help your colleagues — and qualify for SBE recertification credit while you’re at it. Send your ideas, tips and high-resolution photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax to (603) 472-4944. Aren’t sure it’s a worthy tip? Send it anyway, we welcome all great ideas, and sometimes the smallest one can turn into a great discussion with other readers.
Named regional sales manager for South Asia and the Middle East
Inovonics Inc. has promoted Mukesh Chaudhary to regional sales manager for South Asia and the Middle East.
Chaudhary, who graduated in electronics and communication engineering and has an MBA-international business degree, already manages the Indian market for Inovonics from his office in New Delhi. In his new post, says the company, he will be expanding his sales efforts to include South Asia and the Middle East markets.
“Mukesh has successfully increased our presence in India and we wish to continue with this momentum for regional markets in proximity to his base in New Delhi. Mukesh is in an ideal position to successfully tap into opportunities for South Asia and the Middle East,” said Gary Luhrman, sales and marketing Manager.
“We are very pleased to increase our presence in these promising and emerging markets for Inovonics,” added Luhrman.
Shutdown triggers questions about filing, recordkeeping requirements
As the partial government shutdown heads into its third week, broadcasters are facing ongoing uncertainty when it comes to filing documents, public inspection files and recordkeeping obligations.
Although the Federal Communications Commission was still on the job about a week and a half after the U.S. government officially shut down on Dec. 22 (due to the FCC’s ability to provide its own funding through Jan. 3), those funds officially ran out on last Thursday.
That now leaves broadcasters with myriad questions about filing deadlines and political file requirements, wrote Pillsbury Senior Counsel Lauren Lynch Flick in a blog post.
Under the Antideficiency Act, FCC employees are prohibited from working until funds are available to pay them. And while the Antideficiency Act doesn’t directly affect the FCC’s automated filing databases and other systems, some of those systems are incapable of operating without regular human intervention, Flick said. Others can only operate without human intervention until they experience a malfunction of some kind, “at which point the Antideficiency Act prohibits anyone from maintaining or repairing them,” she said.
On Jan. 2, the FCC released a Public Notice detailing which systems remain online for the time being. Those include network outage and disaster reporting systems, databases related to licensing and filing comments, among others.
Other systems, however, will be unavailable. According to Flick, conversations with FCC staff minutes before they were required to leave the building indicated that even they didn’t know for sure whether the commission’s Public Inspection File database would continue operating during the shutdown.
As of Jan. 7, attempts to access station documents were unsuccessful.
As of Jan. 7, attempts to access station documents were unsuccessful. While it says that stations are currently uploading documents on the FCC’s main Public File page, all attempts to view station documents simply lead to a page reading “Authentication Failed Error. Contact Technical Support.”
According to Flick, the public’s inability to access the online Public File triggers an obligation on the part of broadcasters and cable/DBS systems to make a backup copy of the political broadcasting portion of their Public Inspection File available to the public.
Though stations can keep this political file in physical form at their main studio or electronically on their website, the elimination of the Main Studio rule in 2017 placed another obligation in place. Political file documents that are not available via the FCC’s online database must now be made available at an accessible location in the station’s community of license during normal business hours, Flick wrote. That means a station office, the local library, the office of another broadcaster or another business.
“Your regulatory obligations didn’t go away, they just became more complicated to fulfill.” — Lauren Lynch Flick
Broadcasters are not required to make any other portion of their Public Inspection File beyond the political file available during the federal shutdown, she said.
She also noted that shutdown of the online Public Inspection File database also means broadcasters cannot upload their Quarterly Issues/Programs List or Children’s Commercial Television Limits compliance documents. Those would otherwise be due on Jan. 10, though the date to upload those documents has been extended until after the commission reopens.
However, she noted, “the inability to upload materials to the Public File does not relieve stations of their recordkeeping obligations.” A 2016 Public File Report and Order requires that stations must still maintain documents and upload them to the file once it is available again for upload. “[S]tations should proceed as usual in the creation of their Jan. 10, documentation and be prepared to upload those materials once the online Public Inspection File database becomes accessible,” she said.
The commission noted in its Public Notice that, other than auction filings and those necessary for the protection of life and property, filings at the FCC during the shutdown will be accepted on the day after return to normal operations.
One area that is not affected by the shutdown: spectrum auction operations. Those remain fully funded by the FCC and staff will available to answer questions, grant requests for Special Temporary Authority and process requests for reimbursement.
“So if upon hearing of the FCC shutdown you thought you could extend that holiday vacation, think again,” Flick wrote. “Your regulatory obligations didn’t go away, they just became more complicated to fulfill.”
LigoPTP RapidFire operates in 6 GHz range with 500-700 Mbps throughput
Wireless link equipment manufacturer DoubleRadius is launching a new line of “affordable” point-to-point wireless bridges using the 6 GHz range.
The weatherproof LigoPTP RapidFire 6-N offers up to 700 Mbps throughput with modulations of up to 256-QAM and 30dBm output power.
The unit is designed for set-and-forget operation. Or it can be remotely controlled via PC or phone/tablet app. An onboard 2.4 GHz radio allows for wireless control while dual Gigabit Ethernet network connections. One of the ports supports power over Ethernet. There’s also an onboard surge protector.
CINCINNATI, January 7, 2019 — GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for TV and radio broadcasters, has won turnkey FM radio contracts in India with private broadcasters Sambhav Media and ENIL. The deals comprise Flexiva FAX air-cooled transmitters, auxiliary RF equipment and rigid transmission line for 30 stations, extending GatesAir’s market-leading share of FM radio transmitters in India. Both contracts also include turnkey installation, commissioning and technical support services through in-country partner Horizon Broadcast Electronics.
GatesAir outperformed competitive solutions across transmitter size, energy efficiency and brand recognition to win both deals. The Sambhav Media project covers 13 FM radio stations (two 5kW and 11 3kW sites) that the broadcaster won following the FM Phase-III auction for new private FM broadcast licenses. Each station will also receive a 1kW backup transmitter, with all sites operating in fully redundant 1+1 configurations. Deliveries are now in progress, with seven stations on the air in the Gujarat region. The project marks Sambhav Media’s entry into the radio broadcast space.
“Based on our experience and knowledge of the radio broadcast market, we will only choose premium products that remove our transmission worries,” said Jagdish Pavra, Director of Engineering, Sambhav Media. “After many discussions with different manufacturers in the premium market, we selected GatesAir transmitters because of their high efficiency, smaller footprint and, most important, the redundancy within their transmission systems. We are now on the air at seven sites with GatesAir transmitters, and are very happy with their performance as well as the services GatesAir provides.”
The ENIL deal covers two purchases, including 14 stations won in the FM Phase-II auction. Each will install one 5kW transmitter. The second order includes two 10kW transmitters and one 6kW model across three additional stations. In selecting GatesAir and its Flexiva transmitters, ENIL emphasized improved reliability and total cost of ownership over its previous long-term supplier as key factors.
Flexiva transmitters leverage GatesAir’s PowerSmart 3D designs to reduce size, weight and power consumption. These three operational benefits were paramount to each broadcaster’s decision, in addition to the company’s visibility throughout India.
"The use of common transmission infrastructure for broadcasters in India often means that each broadcaster has limited real estate," said Rich Redmond, President and Managing Director, International for GatesAir. "Our PowerSmart 3D architecture optimizes transmitter size and weight, enabling our customers to comfortably install Flexiva transmitters in tight spaces. Furthermore, each customer's reliability, performance and efficiniency evaluations included electricity cost comparisons between GatesAir and competitive transmitters operating today in India. This clearly demonstrated that GatesAir would provide the best signal while reducing annual bills, and improving long-term total cost of ownership."
Redmond adds that the reputation of its partner Horizon Broadcast Electronics as a service-oriented transmission expert put GatesAir over the top in both cases. In addition to installation and commissioning, Horizon will handle all post-installation support include spare parts delivery and on-site maintenance. “With more than 400 GatesAir transmitters on the air today in India, our customers are assuredly in reliable hands with GatesAir and our partners at Horizon,” he said.
GatesAir, Inc., a portfolio company of The Gores Group, provides complete solutions for over-the-air radio and television broadcasting, leveraging wireless spectrum to maximize performance for multichannel, mission-critical services. Powering over-the-air networks worldwide with unparalleled reliability for nearly 100 years, GatesAir’s turnkey solutions enable broadcasters to create, transport and transmit radio and TV content. With customers in more than 185 countries, the company leads the industry in innovation and design breakthroughs, improving efficiency and reducing total cost of ownership with all products designed and assembled in the USA. Visit www.gatesair.com for more information, Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gatesair, and follow us on Twitter at @GatesAir.
About The Gores Group
The Gores Group, founded in 1987 by Alec Gores, is a global investment firm focused on acquiring controlling interests in mature and growing businesses which can benefit from the firm's operating experience and flexible capital base. The firm combines the operational expertise and detailed due diligence capabilities of a strategic buyer with the seasoned M&A team of a traditional financial buyer. Over its 30-year history, The Gores Group has become a leading investor having demonstrated a reliable track record of creating value in its portfolio companies alongside management. Headquartered in Los Angeles, The Gores Group maintains offices in Boulder, CO, and London. For more information, please visit http://www.gores.com.
Sharing knowledge has been a touchstone over his 50 years in broadcast tech
Attentive transmitter shoppers will notice that a familiar face is missing from the Nautel booth at future shows. Gary Liebisch is retiring from his role as a regional sales manager (to be succeeded by another industry veteran, Ted Nahil).
Liebisch is known to many of us for his work on the manufacturing side — at Nautel and at Harris before that — but also earlier in his career as a chief engineer in Raleigh and Cincinnati.
I caught up with Gary recently.
Paul McLane: When you look back, what are you most proud of?
Gary Liebisch: I recently celebrated 50 years in broadcasting on Oct 29. As my hair began to gray, I took a lot of satisfaction on drawing from those years of experience to assist young engineers and non-technical managers in solving their RF transmission challenges. So the years with Harris and then Nautel afforded me that opportunity and was a lot of fun, particularly as HD Radio began to roll out. That technology was new to everyone 15 years ago, so everyone was hungry to learn, and I was in a position to share my knowledge.
McLane: Any mentors or early advocates you particularly are grateful for?
Liebisch: When I made the transition from on-air to engineering early in my career, I had a First Phone license but only my ham radio experience to draw from. I took on a number of AM directional antenna projects during the early years and am grateful to early mentors like Lawrence Behr, the late Palmer Greer, Ron Rackley and William Culpepper for their guidance. Mitch Montgomery was the Harris rep in the Carolinas in the ’80s, and when he came to town there was always an opportunity to learn. I said, “Gee, that’s the kind of job I’d like to do someday.”
Since there was no internet at the time, the SBE was invaluable as a resource. I think I may have been the first or one of the first certified engineers in the state of South Carolina in 1980, and I worked with Jerry Massey to start SBE Chapter 86 in Greenville-Spartanburg and later Chapter 93 in Raleigh.
McLane: At one point you succeeded Jeff Littlejohn as a chief engineer, which brought you to Ohio. What prompted you to switch to the vendor side?
Liebisch: The prospect of not carrying a pager? No brainer! Actually, within the first two months after I arrived in Cincinnati at Chancellor Media, I read in the local paper about the Harris plan to open a headquarters there. So I just sat tight as I watched those plans develop. Two years later it became a reality when that facility opened.
Initially I was a studio systems engineer — Harris was buying PR&E — but as HD Radio got closer to reality, I knew that RF transmission and this new technology was where I wanted to be. As an applications engineer and later, product manager, I was quickly immersed in the product development side and was put in the educator role for both customers and sales staff as HD Radio products rolled out.
I never did sales at Harris, but was a resource of technical information in support of the sales staff. So when I had the opportunity to become the first U.S.-based salesperson for Nautel, I knew I was ready. Wendell Lonergan told me in our first meeting that my background was exactly what they were looking for.
McLane: What’s the coolest product or project you’ve worked on?
Liebisch: When I joined Nautel in 2007, there were quite a few “holes” in the product line. Harris and BE were dominating the HD Radio rollout, so it was a risky move for me. But when I learned of the Nautel plan to introduce high-power solid-state FM (the NV series), I was excited. I felt this was a major breakthrough in FM transmitter development, and the industry really buzzed at NAB in 2008 when we introduced the NV40 for the first time.
For the next several years, we seemed to hit the ball out of the park each year with something new and innovating. It was great time to be in sales, as a lot of transmitters were being replaced. I would usually ask to see the customer’s transmitter site when I visited. This gave me the opportunity for a one-on-one with the engineer for an hour or two where we could talk about the many aspects of the project.
McLane: Would you encourage a young person today to pursue a career in broadcast engineering technology?
Liebisch: Forty years ago when you thought “high-tech,” you thought broadcasting. And it was not unusual to see a ratio of engineers per station greater than one. Now “high-tech” encompasses so many other diversified fields. A young person has a wide array of choices, which is why there is such a shortage in broadcasting of young engineers. While opportunities exist for experienced engineers to take on a full facility, the opportunities for mentoring are more limited, but they do exist. Ratios are reversed.
You really need to live and breathe the “culture” of broadcasting as a prequalification, or you’ll inevitably be lured away to another field.
McLane: What are your plans? And any other thoughts?
Liebisch: I hope to remain active in the industry, and perhaps entertain special projects from time to time. I have taken on a local non-com station just to keep my hands dirty on a Nautel transmitter. My man cave in the basement of our home houses my O gauge model railroad layout, my ham radio shack (W8GEL) and my radio airchecks collection. My wife and I also enjoy traveling to U.S. national parks, and there are still many more to see.
I would just want to acknowledge the great engineering teams I worked with at both Harris and Nautel. I worked with Geoff Mendenhall and the Harris team on the groundbreaking Flexstar project. And with Nautel, the team led by Mike Woods was equally aggressive and innovative in making high-power solid-state HD FM a reality.
Read an interview with Nautel’s Ellis Terry about his own retirement at https://tinyurl.com/rw-terry.
Backed by media powerhouse Quebecor, QUB radio combines streaming audio with French language talk radio
MONTREAL — What do you do if you’re a Quebec media company that already owns TV stations and newspapers, but is barred from launching radio stations due to Canadian broadcast law? Answer: You bypass the broadcast regulator’s restrictive rules by launching an internet radio/podcasting service out of its legal reach, and promote the daylights out of it on your TV/newspaper properties.
This is precisely what Quebecor did on Oct. 4, 2018, when it launched QUB radio.
“Instead of tuning to an AM or FM channel, QUB radio is a 100 percent digital platform for broadcasting audio content and podcast, available on the website www.qub.radio and the QUB radio [Android/iOS],” said Jean-Nicolas Gagné, head of QUB radio. “QUB radio can also be found on the websites of the Journal de Montréal, Journal de Québec and TVA Nouvelles as well as on TVA Nouvelles and J5 Apps. In addition, QUB radio is available on broadcast platforms such as TuneIn and others.”
“It goes without saying that one of the largest media groups in Quebec had to position itself by embarking in what we believe is the future,” he added.
THE CLOUT OF CONTROVERSY
The fact that Quebecor has launched its own internet radio/podcasting service is, in itself, not unique. After all, “most major media (outlets) have traditional radio stations, and open a digital version later,” said Gagné. In contrast, Quebecor “started directly with a digital platform.”
What does make QUB radio unique is the station’s programming strategy, which is to target mainstream French-language listeners who love the brash, rude rants of Quebec talk radio hosts. By offering popular on-air talents such as Mario Dumont, Benoit Dutrizac, Richard Martineau and Sophie Durocher to QUB radio’s potential listeners, Quebecor is hoping to get them to tune in via computer and smartphone (including via Wi-Fi in the car); and to tune away from their regular AM/FM stations.
“Quebecor has put together a powerful stable of controversial talk radio hosts on a platform the CRTC [Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission] has no authority over,” said Steve Kowch, Canadian media consultant and president of kowchmedia in Toronto. “Some have been fired in the past for their opinions while others like popular politicians are making a return to radio via internet on QUB. On the web, there are few rules if any to get in the way of ‘free speech’ no matter how controversial, rude, politically incorrect and yes, even racist or hate speech their comments might be.” In response to this comment, Gagné replied “QUB radio does not tolerate racist and hate speech.”
The fact that QUB radio cannot be censored by the CRTC gives this channel an edge over its AM/FM competitors; especially in Quebec, where fans of French-language talk radio are no fonder of government regulation than American talk radio fans south of the Canadian-U.S. border. By allowing its hosts to say what they want, QUB radio can harness a reputation for fearlessness; much like U.S. “shock jock” Howard Stern who was forced off Canadian radio stations by regulators years ago.
THE POWER OF PROMOTION
Tapping into the French-speaking “Québécois” love of iconoclastic talk radio is a good way for Quebecor to make waves in the province’s radio market. But motivating them to tune in via the web and smartphones is something else — which is where Quebecor’s strong stable of TV stations, newspapers, and related websites come into the picture. By promoting QUB radio relentlessly on the company’s established media platforms, Quebecor will have no problem making Québécois aware of this readily-available alternative to AM/FM radio.
“It is our business model to circulate content on our various platforms to give them as much visibility as possible,” said Gagné, “For the launch of QUB radio, we came out with a strong media and PR campaign, which gave us an incredible visibility. Besides, our radio hosts are well known, their tweets and Facebook publications brings a lot of traffic to QUB radio.”
“Quebecor has newspapers across Quebec that will promote QUB to build an audience,” agreed Kowch. “Quebecor owns the Journal de Montreal. It is a tabloid much like the Toronto Sun, New York Post and British tabloids which push the limit. The Journal de Montreal ranks number one because of its no holds barred journalism, controversial columnists and sports coverage.”
“Quebecor also has an impressive sales force that will be tapped to sell adverting on QUB and offer deals to existing print advertisers to buy spots on the new digital radio station,” he added. “Quebecor has deep pockets and QUB will be a vanity project for owner/CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau; a former leader of Quebec’s separatist Parti Quebecois.”
A VIABLE CHALLENGE TO QUEBEC RADIO?
According to QUB radio’s Jean-Nicolas Gagné, his online station is a viable competitive alternative to Quebec’s AM/FM radio stations. “Ninety two percent of Quebec’s population has an internet connection at home.” he said. “So we are very confident that our model will be adopted by the masses. We also felt it was time for Quebecor to offer digital online radio because consumer habits clearly show us that consumers are ready for it.”
Toronto media consultant David Bray, president of Bray & Partners Communications, isn’t so sure. While terrestrial radio is somewhat outdated from a technological perspective, it remains extremely popular overall, consistently delivering in excess of a 92 percent reach rate,” said Bray. “The vast majority of radio tuning goes to terrestrial radio as opposed to online only.”
“I understand that Quebecor is launching their new service online due to a variety of regulatory concerns keeping them out of terrestrial radio: This certainly makes sense,” he added. “I have no doubt that their new online station will have some excellent content and will offer an exciting alternative to listeners. But keep in mind that listening on your phone, except where there is Wi-Fi, is not free.”
Steve Kowch doesn’t see the potential expense of listening to QUB radio on smartphones as a deal-breaker for listeners. But he does see risks associated with this project, which are similar to those faced by conventional radio broadcasters.
In particular, “QUB will live or die with its online product. Listeners, not regulators, will control its destiny,” he said. Meanwhile, “Advertisers can be skittish and if potential clients complain too much, they might pull their spots on a particular show. But in French Quebec, there is a lot more tolerance by the audience for shock jocks than in English Canada.”
How much impact QUB radio will have on Quebec’s AM/FM radio market remains to be seen. Also unknown is how much time Quebecor will give QUB to become profitable through ad sales, before pulling the plug. (As a successful media company, Quebecor likely knows the financial risks it is running with QUB, down to the penny.)
What Gagné will say is that QUB radio has “reached more then 100,000 downloads of the QUB radio app in less then a month, which is huge for our market!” Time will tell if these downloads and online tuning will translate into enough listeners and ad sales to make QUB commercially viable over the long-term.
James Careless reports on the industry for Radio World from Ottawa, Ontario.
SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS (JANUARY 1, 2019): Renowned audio engineer Robert Schulein, beloved son of the late Arthur and Jeanette Schulein, peacefully died in his home on New Years’ Day 2019 after a valiant, seven-year battle with cancer. The Fellow and Past-President of the International Audio Engineering Society and prolific inventor, with a wealth of patents to his credit in the fields of acoustics and electroacoustics, is survived by his wife, Joyce, and two daughters, Heather Davis (Rick) and Jennifer Yoder (Mark) and their son, Max Yoder, brother Thomas Schulein (Vivian), nephews Michael and Robert (Kate) and their daughters Harriett and Eloise. He was 76.
Born in 1942, Schulein was raised in Rockford, Illinois and showed early on a knack for technical tinkering. He went on to receive BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he did research on piezoresistive semiconductor transducers. It was right out of college in 1966 when Schulein landed what would become a thirty-year career at Shure Brothers Inc. in Evanston, Illinois. Achieving the title Staff VP & Director of Business Communications & Industrial Products, his responsibilities included research & development of microphones for automotive cellular telephone systems, R&D of microphones for land, mobile and related communication systems, as well as R&D of microphone systems for speech recognition applications. In 1977 he was elected to Fellowship in the Audio Engineering Society and that same year also won the Audio Engineering Society Publications Award. In 1990 Schulein was awarded the Audio Engineering Society Board of Governors Award.
His earlier work at Shure was in the area of condenser-microphone research, development and design. He led the group effort to introduce Shure's first professional condenser microphone, the SM-81. While at Shure, Schulein managed the Home Theater Sound (HTS) division, which pioneered the development of the first enhanced matrix decoders emulating the professional Dolby products in theaters. This work led to the development of a complete line of processors, power amplifiers, and loudspeakers for high-end home theater systems, predating the introduction of THX performance concepts. The HTS division also developed and pioneered the use of enhanced matrix encoders and decoders for professional applications. He also introduced matrix surround-sound encoding to baseball television broadcasting, episodic television, Saturday Night Live, The Grammy Awards, and Super Bowl XXIV in 1990.
After his time at Shure, Schulein held positions at Etymotic Research, Inc. (now Lucid Audio), in design, research and development. During this period, his focus was in areas of consumer electronics, professional audio, telecommunications systems, audiology, and hearing-aid component development.
At the time of his death he was owner of RBS Consultants, an international consulting firm, which provided consulting services in areas of acoustics, product research, product design and development, project management, and audio/video recording engineering and production. His areas of specialization included professional and consumer audio products and applications, telecommunications and the hearing-health industry.
Schulein took great pride in staying active in a number of professional organizations within the audio and hearing industries. He was a Fellow and Past President of the International Audio Engineering Society, where he received the Publications Award in 1977, the Board of Governors Award in 1990 and the Bronze Medal in 2013.
At the time of his death he was serving as a Vice-Chair of the AES Technical Council, and as Chair of the AES Technical Committee on Hearing and Hearing Loss Prevention. He was proud of his implementation of the Richard C. Heyser Memorial Lecture series, which was established in 1999 and remains active to this day. He was a member the American Auditory Society, as well as the American National Standards Institute working group on hearing-aid measurements.
Schulein's lifelong interest and successful track record solving difficult engineering problems led to his personal and professional development of, among other inventions, miniature directional microphones for hearing aids, acoustically transparent non-porous wax barrier for the hearing aid industry, plus an advanced professional in-ear monitoring system used by a list of today’s top performers.
Many may also have been aware of his passion project, ImmersAV Technology – a patent pending audio technology and high-definition video process to create “you-are-there” musical experiences. He finally was able to achieve his dream of becoming a music producer, having the opportunity to work on recording projects with many talented musicians of Chicago.
Robert was a loving son, husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather. He was very proud of his girl’s accomplishments and he enjoyed being a mentor and teacher to his grandson, Max, to his two nephews, Robert and Michael, and to many others.
Never taking a day off from his engineering efforts, Schulein worked up until his decision to enter hospice care at his home. He passed away peacefully on New Year’s Day.
There will be no formal service at this time, but a celebration of his life will be held for him at a later date.
Donations in his name may be sent to the North Shore Foundation Kellogg Cancer Center
Even during the shutdown, the FCC’s agenda makes waves
Has FCC Chairman Ajit Pai granted community radio and low-power FM a late Christmas gift? Hard to say, but the latest commission moves are causing a stir much more than a mouse.
Hours before the Federal Communications Commission ceased most operations amid the government shutdown, it posted the agenda for its Jan. 30 meeting. As usual, the schedule is ambitious. There are some exciting considerations on the table.
For low- and full-power noncommercial radio, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking herein will draw a great deal of interest. What is known as MB Docket 19-3 contains several reforms that surely will be explored later this month by commissioners, including the newly appointed Geoffrey Starks as well as Brendan Carr, just approved to serve a full term.
Why should community broadcasters take notice?
For LPFM, the FCC’s proposals are sweeping. Among the most noteworthy changes include a proposal to extend the LPFM construction period from 18 months to three years. That’s a groundbreaking reform, considering how many low-power stations genuinely struggled to meet the demands of a year-and-a-half construction permit window. When you consider the myriad technical and broadcast demands to get on the air, it should come as no surprise that more than a few stations filed for extensions or simply gave up.
Time sharing was a bone of contention in the previous LPFM filing windows, especially in populous areas, and the FCC is seeking to clarify rules. For the uninitiated, time sharing is in essence an agreement that several applicants for a LPFM space allot the 168-hour broadcast week based on the applicants’ interests and capacity. Complications could, of course, arise if an applicant dropped out, was added, or another change impacting the time share. New regulations would delineate FCC oversight in reviewing such agreements, dispensation of time in the event of changes, and other unforeseen issues.
Such a shift might not be as relevant until a new opportunity for LPFM filings happen, but the fact it is coming up now is a conversation starter if ever there was one.
Full- and low-power stations may see benefits in proposed reforms in the area of boards. Composition of a station’s board of directors is considered rather essential by the FCC, requiring filings and other documentation. Under proposed rules, gradual board changes will be regarded as minor and thus not subject to the same scrutiny, provided the organization and its mission remains fundamentally the same. Such has to be welcome news to the many community radio stations that have varied board election statutes in their bylaws and may parcel off board selection in whole or part. Regardless, changes of more than 50% of a board’s composition will require more filing and attention. This matter may be particularly delicate if and when a new LPFM filing window opens; board changes of 50% or more could result in application dismissal, should they come during future filing windows.
In other January actions, the FCC will look to close a loophole in LPFM applications in what can be construed as a continuance of the commission’s ongoing battle with unlicensed “pirate” broadcasters. Under the current rules, a station application could be dismissed if a person on the board of directors was involved in unlicensed broadcasting. However, opaque procedural actions by the applicant could effectively save the application from dismissal by removing parties formerly engaged in pirate broadcasting. Such was the case during the filing window six years ago, where ex-pirate broadcasters showed up on various rolls. Should the January changes be approved, that loophole would disappear for all intents and purposes.
Those are just a few of the alterations Pai and team are considering at the end of the month. The full review and rationale are quite extensive.
With the FCC closed due to the government shutdown, it is thus far unclear when the agenda items will be open for comments by the public. The next commission meeting is scheduled later this month.
Credit must go to REC Networks’ Michelle Bradley for her tireless efforts, the many heroic LPFM broadcasters coast to coast and members of the public who have filed comments, written commissioners and appealed for refinements. The effects of these proposals appear promising, and portend more attention for low-power broadcasting and the needs of noncommercial media as a whole. We shall find out much more on Jan. 30.
His son memorializes Jim Withers, engineer and RW contributor, a year after his passing
This is a tough article to write; my dad — James “Jim” Withers — was my hero for many reasons, and capturing the entire significance of that statement in the space of this article isn’t possible.
To start, he handled a battle with Muscular Dystrophy with grace, dignity and courage.
He knew what he wanted to do from the time he was five years old. He was an engineer at heart, and much of our bonding was over tinkering with something to make it work, or from him teaching me about how something worked.
He frequently commented that after I was born he knew he was meant to be a father. I had a great dad; I know I was fortunate, as not everyone can say this. He encouraged me to do things that I may not have otherwise done including: water-skiing, glider/pilot lessons, amateur radio and many other pursuits.
He lived a full life and encouraged everyone close to him to do the same.
He was a longtime contributor to Radio World, writing about his first love and what turned into a lifetime working in broadcasting, both as an employee and an entrepreneur.
As many longtime readers will attest, my dad had a knack for making complex topics very approachable. He contributed many articles in this space on subjects ranging from Ohm’s Law; the digital transformation as necessitated by World War II; AM radio; and “Twas the Night at the Site,” a broadcast engineer’s parody on “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” to name just a few. He was a longtime contributor to Radio World, writing about his first love and what turned into a lifetime working in broadcasting, both as an employee and an entrepreneur.
As I started to grow up, Dad began teaching and mentoring, and as I continued growing those lessons were taught as he pursued radio as a side career.
Many times I got to see up close and personal the number of hats an entrepreneur has to wear when building a business. There were invaluable lessons on engineering, accounting, marketing and the value of personal relationships. Dad created many of these relationships on his ability to tell a good story. This is the story of how engineering, business and life shaped the relationship I had with my dad.
It really starts not with a job or a side career at all, but with a connection established when I was in junior high. Dad took a job with an independent TV station down in San Antonio, KABB — Channel 29, and as with most companies, when they realized they needed him, the start date wasn’t tuned to our school year. So he went down ahead of us, and we stayed up in St. Louis so my sister and I could finish out the school year.
HAM RADIO LESSONS
I had just received my novice license and with it my call letters KB0FSO. Shortly after this my dad and mom helped me buy a Hallicrafters radio that I still have in my basement today. It can broadcast at 150 W on 80, 20, 15 and 10 meters.
My dad bought a HeathKit that looked very similar to the Hallicrafters rig and could broadcast on the identical frequencies. He also got his license and received call letters KB5LPK. Most of our early sessions would begin with a phone call where we would make contact and work out what frequency we’d meet each other on. Even with “cheating” like this, it wasn’t always easy to connect with one another.
Then we’d begin the process of coding in a series of dah-dit-dah-dits, letter by letter, what we wanted to say. A very primitive version of today’s text messaging, but a version nonetheless.
I never did graduate beyond thinking of Morse Code letter by letter. We had a neighbor who was a general class and he could code at 25 words per minute, he had a very impressive setup. He talked about how the best coders begin to think in patterns of words. I was 13 or 14 at the time and could never quite make that leap.
My dad had patience with me, and we would finish and sign our call signs and then I’d call him and we’d tell each other goodbye. This usually happened on a weekend or during the lunch hour.
I’ll never forget these sessions or the lessons it taught me. My dad had a way of instilling things in all of us kids. I went on to get QSO cards from people all over the country, many contacted by broadcasting “CQ, CQ, CQ” along with my call sign over and over again. All of them were patient with me. This was before email, before Microsoft was a household name and before phones would become “smart.”
It was a time and a pursuit that had a nobility about it and a certain grounded-ness. I could sit in my bedroom and look out the window and see the dipole antenna that I was transmitting and receiving from; I felt like I was joined to a network of another era. This never changed whether I was broadcasting or just listening to some foreign program from some country far away. I have always felt that there is something magical about radio.
As I started moving through high school, Dad ramped up his business pursuits on the side. He had already managed engineering departments in privately held TV stations as well as network affiliates. While he didn’t leave those positions, he added his love for radio and started a business to build radio automation.
To my knowledge it was his firm and Scott Studios that were competing in the space of radio automation (there were probably others, but I truthfully don’t know who they were).
It was pioneering work because it was in the days of 14.4 and 28.8 kB modems, a large hard drive at that time was 300 MB spinning at 7200 rpm, and they cost in the vicinity of $900.
His package was called RadioMax and primitive versions of it were run with MS-Dos Batch files. Then, many iterations and a couple programmers later, it was supported by Borland and interfaced with Digital IO boards triggering commercials and playlists to run. Perhaps, most importantly, you could upload a playlist and run it on a remote computer. The transmitter sites were outfitted with remote controls that allowed “dialing” and using a touch-tone phone, you could manipulate the on-air computer or the transmitter.
Dad bought a little Mackie mixer and began recording commercials using a closet in our home as a recording studio. His vision was to achieve fully automated remote station management, and he got very close to that goal over the course of several years.
Bandera County, Texas, is a part of south Texas known as the Hill Country, and as many readers will know, height in radio can trump power. One of the first stations that Dad tried to implement RadioMax at reached into Kerrville, Texas, and the transmitter site for that station was appropriately located on a large hill. The first time Dad brought me up there we were greeted by one of Hill Country’s finest, dressed in overalls leaning on a double barrel shotgun.
The transmitter building was a single-wide trailer that had been shelter for everything from raccoons to rattlesnakes, and it would eventually be home to the KEEP(FM) transmitter. For all I know it’s probably still up on that mountain. I watched my dad as he soldered RF components, ran wire, figured out schematics, and frequently, he would look up and say, “You can figure out any circuit if you know Ohm’s law.”
OHM’S LAW & SAGE
I must have heard that a hundred times as I watched and helped him with build that station. He learned about Ohm and RF engineering in the Air Force where he would work on the radar sites that were feeders into the SAGE (Semi Automated Ground Environment) computer that was built by IBM on contract for the Air Force.
This setup was used to track every airplane that entered or exited our national airspace it was quite a technical achievement for the time. Each radar site had a drum disk for data that cost about $90,000 in the late ’60s, and it only held a couple K worth of data.
He would recall how he would start every shift putting a couple pocketfuls of vacuum tubes in his flight jacket because they would burn out on such a regular basis.
It was against this backdrop that he brought experience into radio cabinets both near and far. He really had a gift for buying radio transmitters that were in disrepair and getting them going again.
While military service was ultimately a bit too stuffy for him, I’m convinced that it was his early days in the Air Force that gave him the foundation he needed to pursue a career in broadcasting.
WILL AND SKILL
As my high school years gave away to college, Dad’s radio ambitions continued. In 1996, Dad and some business partners/investors bought into a radio station that was no more than a license and a construction permit in Beaumont, Texas. They ended up purchasing that station for $600K and turning around to sell it for $3.2 million.
The build time from start to on air was about one month, with the vast majority of it happening in two weeks. It was during the build of Beaumont that I realized that the secret sauce to entrepreneurship consists of both will and skill.
It was more than just engineering, too. We met with locals, we worked on marketing, we wired and networked a studio.
The transmitter had three-phase power, which was my first exposure to that kind of power. Residential power, as most of you will know, is standard two-phase, what we know as alternating current, and it makes a kind of square wave of sorts. Three-phase power shifts this square wave so that the period is a third of the standard two-phased equivalent. This three-phase power is produced by piping the AC coming from the utility company into a contraption that looks a little bigger than an upside down propane tank, inside of which is contained a motor spinning to produce power with this phase shifted attribute. It has contacts rotated 120, 240, 360 degrees around the armature of a motor the output from this then heads into the transmitter.
The way Dad explained this to me is that it produces a cleaner power for the transmitter. Truthfully, there’s a lot more engineering involved that is way beyond my ability to describe. My dad went beyond engineering, though, and I remember, while working on this same project, Dad interacting with a guy who came into the studio. We heard stories about how the previous owners owned a NASCAR team and then came up with the game UNO. Radio and business were as much about engineering as they were about stories for my dad; he often connected with people through his ability to tell a story.
While I started out desiring to do an electrical engineering degree, I took one of my first programming courses on a vax mainframe using the C language. Almost all colleges had a VAX computer when I started my college career, and for many, this was their only computer. My first email address was served from a VAX mainframe computer.
It was my first programming class that convinced me I wanted to write software for a living. My degree became computer science, and I transferred to a school that would allow me to focus on this and provide opportunities for placement afterwards.
I bring this up because over the years as my career necessitated greater focus, my dad and I continued to have a lot of respect for each other’s abilities. He frequently remarked that he didn’t know how I could manage all the interconnectedness of software and its abstractions, and I always struggled to map the details in a schematic onto a board of intricately connected resistors, capacitors, voltage regulators and more.
My dad and I continued to have a lot of respect for each other’s abilities. He frequently remarked that he didn’t know how I could manage all the interconnectedness of software and its abstractions, and I always struggled to map the details in a schematic onto a board of intricately connected resistors, capacitors, voltage regulators and more.
However, as I think back on it, much of the foundation of modern-day networking came from packet radio and the “aloha standard” protocol formed in the Hawaiian Islands. And vacuum tubes were a precursor to the modern day transistor, which was the precursor to integrated circuits, which was the precursor to the microchip, which ultimately provided the basis for the CPU.
So while our career pursuits diverged, much of the foundation of computers and networking was paved by ideas that were discovered in radio. And to think that I started my career right across the street from where the Victor Talking Machine was manufactured in Camden, N.J.!
My dad had a love for the Corpus Christi area. He first drove down to the Gulf of Mexico in October 1989, shortly after moving to San Antonio. After that he never stopped commenting that in October he could be in a T-shirt and cut-offs by the beach.
Those early days led to the acquisition of permits for four radio stations, of which three were granted by the FCC and subsequently built. The fourth wouldn’t get signed on until 2007, and just a little over a year ago I remember him commenting that 20 years ago he would have never believed he would still own a radio station in the year 2017.
I’m helping my mom run KYRK(FM) — “106.5 FM The Shark” — in Corpus Christi, Texas, and have been very thankful for the memories this experience has allowed me to reflect on over this last year.
It’s been a long, hard slog because a month prior to his passing, Hurricane Harvey impacted the tower and the antenna on it, severely affecting our broadcast capability. My dad filed the first STA with me in concert with his FCC attorney in late September 2017, and I renewed in March 2018.
I’m happy to report by the time this article hits the presses, we will be back at 100 percent power. Along the way we came to find out, as we were bringing the main transmitter back to life, that our FM exciter needed to be replaced. I got a quote of $2,800. As you might imagine being a single-station operation, we run a pretty tight balance sheet. So an added $2,800 was not something I was all that enthusiastic about.
I figured I would make a trip to my mom and dad’s house to check out the old garage. Mom and I went nosing around out there — and sure enough we found the shell of an Armstrong FMX 30c exciter out there! In all honesty, it needs a power supply and probably to be bench tested, but that’s not a problem. The treasures found in an RF engineer’s garage!
In 2005, Dad and I took a trip down to Houston and then to Corpus Christi. In Houston we met with a broker who introduced us to one of the inheritors of the King Ranch, which for the uninitiated is a ranch in Texas larger that the state of Delaware (yes, things really are bigger in Texas). It was during and after this meeting that Dad spoke with me about the art of successful negotiation, and about how he hadn’t always negotiated successfully for himself. It was a deal that wouldn’t happen, but it was an impression that was lasting.
I valued my dad’s input on all matters business. He had argued both on the side of management and the union. He did much of his own legal work for the FCC, and often was consulted for his legal expertise.
In later years I valued my dad’s input on all matters business. He had argued both on the side of management and the union. He did much of his own legal work for the FCC, and often was consulted for his legal expertise. He could command a room and yet knew how to make everyone feel at ease.
Most importantly he had a mind that never slept, at the time of his passing he was working on 61 pages of engineering, a book for the family with memories of growing up in Rockhill and Webster Groves, Mo., and he had just completed planning the wedding of my youngest sister.
My dad never suffered from an idle mind, and yet he still made time to take care of and support his family. He gave me encouragement and advice. He had a listening ear and a wonderful sense of humor. He knew how to stay balanced in life and had the ability to maintain a positive outlook, even under the most trying of circumstances.
When he passed away, my sisters Kara, Kayley and I knew one of us had to return to the pages of Radio World to remember the man we thought so highly of, and to perhaps encourage his readers to connect with their sons and daughters, to explore and to never give up hope for a better and brighter tomorrow.
As I think about it, radio and engineering are about these ideals: making something better and, in so doing, leaving the world a little better than you found it.
Radio World joins the author and his family in remembering our friend and contributor Jim Withers.
Ryan James Withers lives with his wife Lisa and their four kids Clayton, Nathan, Madeline and Reagan. He is chief technology officer at 1904labs in St. Louis, Mo. Reach him at email@example.com.
Comment on this or any story. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new eBook from Radio World International
High-power transmission plants for medium-wave broadcasters are specialized technical environments that can be costly and complicated to run. Radio World’s December eBook explores how such operators can save money in managing their facilities.
How are worldwide electricity costs changing? What impact is this having on operators of high-power (100 kW+) facilities? How efficient are AM/MW transmitters that are being used in various high-power installations? What role do Modulation Dependent Carrier Level algorithms play in high-power MW facilities and what changes might be coming in MDCL?
We explored these questions with experts like Ben Dawson, Robert Webber, Gerhard Straub, Tom King and numerous others.
Radio World International eBooks are free to read. Dive in by reading it here.
But AM station count again declined
The Federal Communications Commission has released its broadcast station totals for Q4 2018. The numbers are tracked by some observers to provide insights into various trends in the broadcast radio market.
If you’re worried about broadcast radio and television being in decline, one figure should cheer you up: There are 3,510 more overall broadcast stations licensed as of Dec. 31 than there were a decade ago, now totaling 33,342. And there’s growth compared to a year ago, up from 33,006. Those counts include AM and FM stations, low-power FMs, translators, boosters, as well as television stations, UHF stations, low-power TV stations and more.
However, the station head count wasn’t quite as rosy for the Senior Band alone. As of Dec. 31, there are 20 fewer AM radio stations (4,619) licensed in the U.S. than one year ago (4,639); and compared to a decade ago, there are 167 fewer. This appears to be in line with anecdotes shared with radio and predictions made by industry observers.
In contrast, there were 10 more FM commercial stations on Dec. 31 (6,754) than a year ago; and their number was up by 327 from the 2008 total.
There was a year-over-year increase in licensed FM educational stations: 4,135 in 2018, up by 15 from the year before; and dramatic growth in NCEs is evident when you compare to 2008, when there were only 3,040 licensed.
The report also reveals the continuing growth in FM translators and boosters. The Dec. 31, 2018, total was 7,952 — up from 2017’s 7,585. A decade ago there were 6,120 translators and boosters.
The number of low-power FM stations has more than doubled since 2008, when there were 859 licensed; as of Dec. 31, 2018, there were 2,172 LPFMs licensed, up by 95 in the past year.
Also announces Wilmington SVP of sales
iHeartMedia has tapped Hetal Patel to serve as executive vice president of SmartAudio Intelligence Insights. The company also appointed Steve Gonzalez as senior vice president of sales for the Wilmington, Del., market.
Patel will report to SmartAudio and Analytics Group President Brian Kaminsky.
She will lead the SmartAudio Intelligence Insights team, and her responsibilities will include providing “consumer insights, market intelligence and industry trends” through “audience analysis, advertising sales metrics and media and digital consumer research,” according to the announcement.
Patel most recently served as head of sales research & insights for Vox Media. Prior to that, she worked for iHeart’s research team for four years, eventually serving as VP of research, insights & analytics. She’s also had stints at Radius GMR and KPMG Nunwood and launched her career at The Nielsen Company’s Mumbai office in 2006 as a research executive.
In Wilmington, Gonzalez will report to Brit Goldstein, area president for iHeartMedia Wilmington, Del., and Salisbury, Md. He replaces Martha Masters, who retired after 35 years at the company, and joins the company from Target Media, where he was executive vice president of administration and operations. Gonzalez previously was general sales manager for iHeart Philadelphia and began his career at WTEM(AM) in Silver Spring, Md., as an account executive
iHeartMedia Wilmington/Dover owns and operates WDSD(FM), WRDX(FM), WILM(AM), WWTX(AM) and WDOV(AM).
Honorees will be recognized for outstanding community service on June 11
The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation is accepting entries for this year’s round of Service to America Awards now through March 8.
Radio and television winners will be chosen in categories, subdivided in broadcast ownership groups, large/major market, medium market and small market stations.
Honorees will be recognized for outstanding community service on June 11 at the Celebration of Service to America Awards gala at The Anthem in Washington. The event and awards program are sponsored and produced by NABEF with major support from the National Association of Broadcasters, Bonneville International and Hearst Television.
Courses will be held in 12 regions this year
The National Association of Tower Erectors will offer 12 advanced rigging principles courses across the country this year, the association announced in late December.
“The Advanced Rigging Principles training progressively builds off of the Rigger Awareness Training that was developed as a result of last year’s grant,” said NATE Curriculum Development Committee Member James Ruedlinger.
The 2019 curriculum is divided into six sections:
- Introduction to NATE and OSHA
- State of the Industry
- Primary Regulations, Codes, Standards and Policies
- Synthetic Rope
- Rigging Forces and Lift Systems
- Communication and Execution of Hoisting Operations
The training will also cover execution of hoisting operations per the ANSI/ASSP 10.48 standard, “employee and employer rights and responsibilities under the OSH Act of 1970, whistleblower complaint procedures and protection provisions,” according to a NATE press release.
Training will be held in Grapevine, Texas; Portsmouth, N.H.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Tustin, Calif.; Phoenix; Urbana, Iowa; Glen Allen, Va.; Kenner, La.; Bellevue, Wash.; St. Louis; Mukwonago, Wis.; and Needham, Mass.
The sessions are funded by a Susan Harwood Training Grant (SH-05018-SH8) from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting “sticks to the basics of what made radio great”
TOCCOA, GA. — While many large radio broadcast groups sink millions of dollars into developing digital services like podcasting and streaming and hoping to make money on them, Art Sutton’s Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting Company isn’t obsessing about streaming cume, geofencing, website hits or podcast downloads.
It’s not that Sutton doesn’t believe in an online and social media presence for his radio stations, he’s just not into the great chase to monetize as many platforms as possible. Instead, the mission of Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting is pretty straight ahead: “To provide high-quality, informative local radio programming to listeners in the markets we serve.”
Sutton’s group, which operates small-market radio stations in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, still embraces classified ads shows like Trading Post and Swap Shop. And yes, even the obituary report.
Sutton has been vocal in his criticism of the radio industry’s habit of jumping on the latest digital trend. He told Tom Taylor’s NOW newsletter in late 2018 that “all we hear now is podcasting and how it’s the hottest thing in radio. If that’s really true, how sad to realize how empty the radio leadership bench has become.”
Instead, Sutton says he is focused on delivering results to his advertising clients and engaging local listeners in the community.
“We are in a business that is supported by advertising. This whole notion of diversifying and monetizing digital is off base. We don’t make money off digital. It’s not a priority with our sales staff. We really don’t make any revenue off digital,” Sutton said.
However, the group’s websites and Facebook pages are popular, he says. “In one small market, a county of 25,000 people, our station had 30,000 unique visitors to its website in a month.”
Sutton sees online and podcasting as “just add-ons” for his sales staff who target over-the-air advertising.
“I have noticed that most successful radio stations have leadership focused on sales. Even if they were not that good at sales themselves, they had good local sales staffs. It doesn’t take a dummy to make the correlation that this business is really about advertising,” Sutton said.
Sutton thinks it is gimmicky for radio to pitch digital over on air presence. “It frustrates me when I see what we do best, which is selling advertising on air, and it gets relegated to second rate. The industry has always been bad about coming up with the next new gimmick.
“Podcasting is not going to save the radio industry. That is ridiculous. Some folks now are more concerned with what the ideal length of a podcast is rather than selling advertising. I think it’s a disservice when the leaders of our industry get up and talk only about digital. Corporate radio is too focused on impressing investors when they should really focus just on what we do best, which is delivering customers to clients in through traditional over the air means,” Sutton said.
Sutton applauds Jeff Smulyan and his efforts at Emmis to promote the NextRadio initiative, the radio industry’s recently aborted attempt to get FM radio chips activated in smartphones to allow for over-the-air reception.
“The traditional radio receiver is quickly going away, and in the future if you can’t pick up every FM radio station on a mobile device, radio’s easy and no cost accessibility will be a thing of the past,” he said.
“It’s already underway with auto receivers. The greater good for every owner of a radio station is getting reception on mobile devices, turning them into the transistor radios of today, but the big operators wouldn’t step to the plate because it’s competing with their own streaming services.”
A TRUE GEORGIA BROADCASTER
Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting is based in Toccoa, Ga., about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta and home to Sutton’s flagship stations WNEG(AM/FM). It has around 60 employees company-wide. The group has four AM stations, six FM stations along with seven FM translators (four of which repeat AMs and two that repeat HD channels on FMs) and one FM booster station.
“Our stations primarily sit in areas outside the edge of big FM signals in Atlanta and Greenville, S.C.,” he said, “and that is by design, really. We don’t have that out-of-market deep signal penetration that can really hurt a small town station. If you have success in small town radio, it is usually one of the contributing factors.”
Sutton, 56, was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame this past year. According to his bio, he got his start in radio broadcasting at the age of 15, starting with his home-town station, WOGA(AM) in Sylvester, Ga. He later attended Abraham Baldwin College in Tifton, Ga., and by 1982 was full-time news director/part-time sales person at WTIF(AM) in Tifton. Then in 1986, he acquired 50-percent ownership interest of WMGA(AM) in Moultrie, Ga. In 1991, he became station manager of WJTH(AM) in Calhoun, Ga., and then proceeded to buy and sell a series of radio stations through the 1990s.
Sutton, who was born and raised on a peanut farm in Georgia, formed Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting in 2002 and focused for a time on upgrading and developing the frequencies and signals of his own stations while assisting other operators in enhancing their signals by taking advantage of FM move-ins.
“I was self-taught through study of FCC station allocation rules. The move-ins were eventually sold but resulted in several new radio stations in places like Atlanta and Asheville and Charlotte in (N.C.),” he said. “Luckily, we made those moves just prior to the Great Recession in 2007.”
Since then Sutton has focused on securing FM translators to rebroadcast several of his AM station’s signals.
He believes that localism is why he has been successful — and it’s localism that will ultimately save radio. In fact, his company once wrote in 2008 comments on a pending FCC NPRM on localism that “failure to associate with the communities’ needs is tantamount to a ‘death sentence’” for a radio station.
“Localism has been and is our theme,” he says. “We still emulate what hometown newspapers used to do. Through local news and being community oriented, we connect with the listeners. It’s about local information and being seen in the community. A strong local news department is critical. That’s the one thing that can’t be recreated by some music stream originating someplace else.”
Since Sutton has radio stations based in small markets, he isn’t afraid to admit that “radio advertising in small markets is priced cheaply, so let’s own it.”
His stations have also found a non-traditional source of on air advertising: local county governments.
“I think some of that has to do with newspapers going away. Even though local governments need to communicate with constituents. They need to advertise events, ordinance changes and meetings. We are tapping into that money.”
Sutton said he doesn’t believe future revenue growth in the digital sector for radio is a guaranteed thing. In fact, Borrell Associates, an advertising research firm, revised their local advertising forecast for 2019 to include warnings of digital growth slowing, according to Taylor’s NOW newsletter.
“In order to survive we will continue doing local radio. A radio station has to remain relevant in the community,” Sutton says, “since “revelancy is what it is all about. We need to stick to the basics of what makes radio great.”
Three Republican and two Democratic commissioners now seated
Much of the federal government may still be operating under a partial shutdown, but the Federal Communications Commission is one step closer to normalcy after the U.S. Senate confirmed Democrat Geoffrey Starks as an FCC commissioner and renewed Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr for a full term in a Wednesday voice vote.
The commission will now have its full five-member complement. Until yesterday, the voting members had consisted of Chairman Ajit Pai (Republican), Commissioner Michael O’Rielly (Republican), Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (Democrat) and Carr.
Both have been in limbo for several months, as highlighted by Carr on Twitter.
Starks was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in June to replace Mignon Clyburn, who stepped down from the commission late last spring. Carr, on the other hand, had been waiting for his full confirmation since early 2018.
“I congratulate Geoffrey on his Senate confirmation. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise, including having served most recently as assistant chief in the Enforcement Bureau,” Pai said in a statement released this week. Pai also took the opportunity to highlight their mutual Midwestern roots: “I look forward to working with him and having a fellow Kansan on the commission.”
Pai also commented on Carr’s confirmation, “Brendan has done tremendous work on a number of issues, including his leadership on wireless infrastructure modernization. He has also been a staunch advocate for rural broadband deployment, particularly for precision agriculture and advancements in telemedicine.”
NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith stated in a release, “These are two dedicated public servants with a firm grasp on telecommunications policy that will serve the American people well.”
STEVENSVILLE, Md., Jan. 3, 2019 — Video Mount Products (videomount.com), a leading provider of mounting solutions for the broadcast, commercial, security, residential, and pro audio/video markets, is pleased to announce it has reduced pricing on its line of articulating wall mounts for large flat screens, effective immediately. Ideal for Studios, the three mounts affected by the price reduction are the popular FP-XMLPAB, the FP-MLPAB, and the FP-LWAB.
“Current tariffs and other issues that are raising the costs of imports and overall production have resulted in most AV accessory manufacturers raising prices on many of their products recently and in the near future,” explained Keith Fulmer, president of Video Mount Products. “While we are not exempt, we are lowering prices on some of our most popular items. We feel we owe it to our customers and partners that have stuck with us in both the prosperous as well as the lean and challenging economic times to keep prices low, and even reduce prices on some of our most popular items.”
Reduced from $239.95 to $215.95 MSRP, the FP-XMLPAB is a low profile alternative for mounting larger flat panel displays from 32 to 52 inches. With a closed depth of 1.5 inches and a fully opened extension of 16.2 inches along with a fully adjustable 15 degree tilt, 3 degree list adjustment and ± 45 degree of rotation, you can get your flat panel to the optimal viewing angle you need for any room. For added safety and security, the mounting rails accept padlocks for your peace of mind.
Reduced from $169.95 to $144.95 MSRP, the FP-MLPAB is a low profile alternative for mounting medium flat panel displays from 27 to 42 inches. With a closed depth of 1.6 inches and a fully opened extension of 16.4 inches along with a fully adjustable 10 degree tilt, 3 degree list adjustment and ± 45 degree of rotation, you can get your flat panel to the optimal viewing angle you need for any room. For added safety and security, the mounting rails accept padlocks for your peace of mind.
Reduced from $355.95 to $295.95 MSRP, the FP-LWAB is a lower profile alternative for mounting large flat panel displays from 42 to 80 inches. With a closed depth of 2.9 inches and a fully opened extension of 18.2 inches along with a fully adjustable 15 degree tilt, 3 degree list adjustment and ± 45 degree of rotation, much like the FP-XMLPAB and FP-MLPAB, you can get your large flat panel to the optimal viewing angle you need for any room. For added safety and security, the mounting rails accept padlocks for your peace of mind.
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The broadcaster began reducing its medium-wave service in May
Culminating its scheme to phase out medium-wave transmissions, French-language public broadcaster RTBF ceased broadcasting on AM at the end of December.
In May RTBF reduced daily AM service from 19 hours to 14 hours with the intention of transitioning to DAB+. Since Jan. 1, the broadcaster’s programs, which include "VivaCité” and “La Première” are available via FM or DAB+ in Wallonia and the Brussels region.
RTBF said in a statement it chose to stop broadcasting via AM to take full advantage of DAB+ developments.
“Most major radio stations broadcasting in AM have decided to discontinue this old technology. This has been the case for some time now with our neighbors VRT and Radio France as well as for the English medium-wave transmitter of BBC World Service, which was discontinued a few years ago. It must be said these transmitters that operate in this old analog technology are extremely energy-hungry and DAB+ is much less so. Another advantage: DAB+ requires fewer antennas and generates less magnetic radiation than FM and AM.”
In mid-November, public, private and independent radio operators officially launched the final deployment of DAB+ digital terrestrial radio in Brussels and Wallonia.