Industry News

Reminder About Sage EAS Security Patch

Radio World - 57 min 55 sec ago

Here’s a technical reminder for some EAS equipment users. It comes courtesy of the Alabama Broadcasters Association but will be of interest more broadly.

ABA’s technical newsletter, written by veteran engineer Larry Wilkins, notes that several stations that use Sage Endec EAS units had stopped receiving the required weekly test (RWT) from IPAWS late in 2020.

“The problem was discovered to be a missing security patch CR rev5. This patch was not part of the original 95.00 update, since the patch was not issued till after its release,” the newsletter states. “It is now part of the 95.00 firmware.” You can download the patch here or via the original Sage firmware revision announcement.

Wilkins, who chairs the state’s EAS Committee, wrote that ABA also identified a few stations that were still operating with outdated firmware, which is another FCC violation.

“The fact that so many stations were missing the IPAWS RWT for several weeks is disturbing, since the Chief Operator should have noticed this during the weekly station log review,” he wrote.

“Remember the FCC rules require that the CO review the station log weekly and make notes of any missing or incorrect entries. Discrepancies that continue should be reported to engineering or management for correction. It is not enough just to print the log and put it a file; it must be reviewed and signed by the Chief Operator and report any problems to the correct station personnel.”

Not complying with these EAS issues, Wilkins concluded, can open a station up to a Notice of Violation and fine.

 

The post Reminder About Sage EAS Security Patch appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Xperi’s Hybrid Platform Is Now “DTS AutoStage”

Radio World - 1 hour 32 min ago
An image from the Xperi website.

The DTS Connected Radio hybrid radio platform has a new name, DTS AutoStage.

Parent company Xperi introduced the name at the recent online CES show with the tag line “The global hybrid solution that works directly with broadcasters.”

The company’s George Cernat told Radio World that the change comes in the wake of Xperi’s merger with TiVo in June 2020.

“We integrated TiVo’s world-class music metadata and personalized content discovery engine with the DTS Connected Radio platform. This created a next-gen infotainment platform that is truly global and immersive.” He said the company felt that the name DTS AutoStage better represented the scope and implications of the product.

In a recent guest commentary, Xperi’s SVP, Broadcast Radio Joseph D’Angelo wrote about the platform: “Synergies gained from our merger with TiVo have accelerated deployment, enhanced our offerings and helped ensure unsurpassed security and operational support,” he wrote.

“TiVo’s massive music metadata platform and Xperi’s hybrid radio platform make an entirely new radio experience possible with premium radio content enhanced with visually rich data and deep content descriptors.”

Xperi is also the company that makes HD Radio technology.

Related stories:

“DTS Connected Radio Adds Lyrics,” Nov. 2020

“Hybrid Radio Picks Up Momentum,” Sept. 2020

The post Xperi’s Hybrid Platform Is Now “DTS AutoStage” appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

To Reduce Big Debt Burden, Alpha Media Files For Bankruptcy

Radio+Television Business Report - 1 hour 51 min ago

PORTLAND, ORE. — With no immediate impact expected for its radio stations, at least in the short-term, Alpha Media has announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

It’s a move designed, RBR+TVBR has learned, to reduce its massive $267 million debt burden and restructure its agreement with one key lender.

And, it is a decision that the company founded by Larry Wilson and today led by Chairman/CEO Bob Proffitt says will strengthen it once it emerges with a reorganization plan.

Plus, it will allow Alpha to invest in expanded digital capabilities.

In a statement posted to the Alpha Media website, the audio media company that owns such stations as KXL-FM and KINK in its home market of Portland; WDHT “Hot 102.9” in Dayton; and KBAY and KEZR “Mix 106.5” in San Jose says the Chapter 11 filing will also raise incremental capital to allow the company “to successfully navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities.”

There will be no management changes. Everyday station operations remain as-is.

And, with its clusters such as Dayton; Louisville; and Lincoln, Neb.; Alpha has the ingredients for a strong emergence from bankruptcy.

It is San Jose and its home market of Portland, each ravaged by COVID-19 in 2020, that are the toughest for Alpha.

In the statement, Alpha revealed that it filed a pre-arranged plan of re-organization, disclosure statement and voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Without naming the lenders it is working with, Alpha and the lenders agreed to a plan that gives the broadcasting company new capital — in the form of committed debtor-in-possession and exit financing.

Translation: the lenders will bankroll Alpha through its exit from bankruptcy.

And, with the emergence from bankruptcy, Alpha management and “certain” lenders will collectively own 100% of the post-reorganization Alpha Media. This will require the filing and subsequent approval of forms submitted to the FCC.

And, as was the case for Cumulus Media, iHeartMedia, Estrella Media predecessor LBI Media, and Steel City Media, restructuring of the Alpha Media balance sheet will require receipt of bankruptcy court approval in addition to regulatory approval.

If all goes according to plan, Alpha expects to conclude the restructuring process by the end of June.

Commenting on the Chapter 11 decision, Proffitt said, “We have made significant progress in aggressively deleveraging our business in recent years. As we proceed with our financial restructuring to improve our capital structure and manage through the ongoing downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreement we reached today will leave Alpha Media well positioned for a market recovery as a stronger and even more competitive company.”

He also offered words that Entercom President/CEO David Field has shared time and again in recent years.

“Broadcast radio is the leading reach medium in the United States, with attractive ROIs for advertisers, and radio continues to be an indispensable communications platform nationwide,” Proffitt said. “We believe the balance sheet restructuring will provide greater financial resources and flexibility to Alpha Media, enabling the company to strengthen its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster in the United States, and invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities.”

And, in a nod to the performance of Alpha’s stations in Nebraska’s second-largest market, the Miami Valley of Ohio, and Louisville, Proffitt said, “Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges. We will continue to invest in our talented teams to foster the unique culture that has been key to Alpha Media’s success in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is serving as Alpha Media’s lead restructuring counsel in connection with this process; Kutak Rock LLP is serving as Virginia counsel.

Wiley Rein LLP is serving as Alpha Media’s FCC counsel.

EY Turnaround Management Services LLC and Moelis & Co. are serving as the company’s financial advisors.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, McGuireWoods and Fletcher Heald & Hildreth are serving as legal co-counsel to an ad hoc group of certain lenders; GLC Advisors & Co. is serving as financial advisor.

— Reporting by Meagan Cauthen and Ed Ryan, with editing by Adam Jacobson and editorial research from the RBR+TVBR West Coast Bureau.

Stretto is serving as Alpha Media’s claims agent. Additional information concerning the Chapter 11 Court process is available on Alpha Media’s restructuring website: https://cases.stretto.com/AlphaMedia. The corresponding information hotline can be accessed at the following toll-free number: (855) 395-0761.

RBR+TVBR InFOCUS Podcast: Bob Proffitt, Alpha Media What role have Alpha Media’s flagship stations played in informing and entertaining listeners across Oregon’s biggest market, and how have the stations worked with clients in “the rebound” from COVID-19 shutdowns? RBR+TVBR got the exclusive answer from President/CEO Bob Proffitt, who also shared positive stories from two Ohio markets where Alpha Media has stations, in this recent RBR+TVBR InFOCUS Podcast, sponsored by Dot.FM.
Categories: Industry News

Could Suddenlink/CMG Impasse Lead To Congressional Action?

Radio+Television Business Report - 2 hours 53 min ago

EUREKA, CALIF. — At 6:30pm Pacific on Friday, Jan. 8, subscribers to the dominant cable TV services provider in Humboldt County, Calif., lost access to the NBC and CBS affiliates serving this pocket of the Golden State known for its greener pastures, behind the “Redwood Curtain.”

The “blackout” of the stations came as Altice USA’s Suddenlink, by law, was prevented from offering two Cox Media Group stations in the absence of a new retransmission services agreement.

Today, the stations remain absent from Suddenlink’s local systems, as do other CMG stations once owned by Brian Brady’s Northwest Broadcasting. Now, the Member of Congress serving Northwest California is ready to take action on Capitol Hill that could help thwart such disputes — and the consumer harm they create.

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Categories: Industry News

FCC Makes A General Counsel Switch

Radio+Television Business Report - 3 hours 23 min ago

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Counsel of the FCC is stepping down. While he has agreed to continue to serve in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has appointed his acting successor.

Rosenworcel also made some moves in the wireless arm of the Commission.

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Categories: Industry News

Ellison Is Acting General Counsel at FCC

Radio World - 3 hours 26 min ago

Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel named Michele Ellison as acting general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission.

Tom Johnson steps down as general counsel and but continues to serve in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

Ellison, most recently deputy general counsel, is a commission veteran. “Ms. Ellison managed the multi-billion dollar transactions, bankruptcy and fraud portfolio,” Rosenworcel’s announcement stated. “She also has the distinction of being the first woman of color to serve as the agency’s chief of staff, chief of the Enforcement Bureau, and acting general counsel.”

Among her current roles she chairs the FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force, and has been involved in commission efforts on localism and on expanding communications opportunities for small, minority and women-owned businesses as well as developing countries.

“Ms. Ellison also played a pivotal role on national broadband planning under Acting Chairman Michael Copps, served as transition counsel to Commissioner (then Chief of Staff to Acting Chairwoman) Mignon Clyburn, and advised Chairman William Kennard as his deputy chief of staff.”

Rosenworcel also named Joel Taubenblatt as acting chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. He was deputy bureau chief.

And Don Stockdale moves to the Office of Economics and Analytics.

The post Ellison Is Acting General Counsel at FCC appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Disinformation Fight Taken To New Heights at TEGNA

Radio+Television Business Report - 3 hours 54 min ago

In 2015, TEGNA established an internal initiative designed to combat the growing instances of “fake news” reaching its consumers.

Now, it is fortifying that fight by expanding its efforts against the spread of “disinformation” by hiring a managing editor responsible for leading VERIFY’s editorial growth across all platforms.

 

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Categories: Industry News

Townsquare Snags All Of Oaktree’s Company Equity

Radio+Television Business Report - 4 hours 54 min ago

In a major move that ignited its stock price immediately after Monday’s Opening Bell on the NYSE, Townsquare Media has announced that it is repurchasing at least 10 million of the 12.5 million shares of Class A and Class B common stock — and warrants — held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P.

The strike price price reflects a 19% discount from Friday’s closing price. Given early trading today, that discount will likely be even greater come Tuesday.

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Categories: Industry News

With iGaming Deal Done, Entercom Bets On ‘BETQL’ Launch

Radio+Television Business Report - 5 hours 28 min ago

On November 9, sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group (QLGG) officially became a sibling to KROQ and the Radio.com audio streaming platform, as Entercom Communications closed on its all-cash purchase of QLGG.

Now, Entercom has launched an audio network that includes broadcast radio stations and its Radio.com platform expressly for the sports gaming community.

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Categories: Industry News

Nexstar Boosts NewsNation Brand In A Big Way

Radio+Television Business Report - 5 hours 38 min ago

After more than 42 years of serving America from Michigan Avenue and the “Magnificent Mile,” a former integral piece of the Tribune Media family is fading to black.

Sunday, February 29, is the final day for WGN America.

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Categories: Industry News

Nurture Your Personal Network

Radio World - 6 hours 32 min ago
Trade show conversations, like this one between Mark Goins and Stephen Denny in the GatesAir booth at the 2019 NAB Show, are an important part of building your personal knowledge network. Manufacturer salespeople and designers can be valuable sources of technical and career info. (Photo by Jim Peck)

When you’re an engineer, the employer judges you by your skills and knowledge. Let’s talk about knowledge.

A good engineer does not need to know everything, just how to find the answer. In the old days we had tons of books to refer to (I still have editions of the “Audio Cyclopedia” and “Radio Handbook” on the shelves). Manuals from companies like Ampex and Scully explained the principles of how the products worked. Today we have the search engines — but who can really rely on the unedited and curated database?

The best answers will come from your teammates in arms: other engineers. This is why organizations like the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Audio Engineering Society, IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers are important.

At local meetings, engineers gather and learn from headline speakers on new and innovative topics. Then the magic happens. Groups form and the engineers start to trade war stories. During these discussions you will hear about the idiosyncrasies of various equipment, how non-ordinary scenarios were solved and where the job openings are.

Unfortunately, online Zoom meetings are not the best for this, but it is still happening.

Associations and societies bring you together with people who have common career interests. Here, colleagues teased Nautel’s Jeff Welton, right, as he was honored at the 2019 Public Radio Engineering Conference.

Trade publications are fabulous when you can determine the difference between a good user report and sales hype. Learn which authors are good; you will eventually meet them throughout your career. Trade publications also let you know about current technologies and products, where to obtain the items and sometimes who is using them.

School is a great start for the engineer, but you should also take advantage of industry conferences and conventions.

Someday soon we’ll be able to attend major events in person again, where you’ll be greeted by huge exhibition halls. Yes, you get to see all the new and exciting equipment available for the right price. But you also get to meet salespeople and (if lucky) the designers of the gear you will depend on.

One thing to ask, because it is never obvious, is whether you can join their online user group. Sometimes the company hosts it, or it may be found on a common social media platform like Facebook. That’s a great place to read, ask questions, trade experiences.

Beyond the exhibit hall there are gatherings, technical sessions and standards meetings. The gatherings will be very broad and you can usually hear some notable speakers. The technical sessions will teach you about new technologies and techniques. Standards meetings will allow you to be part of the evolution of the technology.

Being a member of the organized technical community is essential. Going to conferences and conventions is great. Don’t be arrogant and think, “I don’t need to do this because I know everything.” (Yes, I have met such people.) You are never too old to learn, and technology is always changing. Don’t be ashamed to ask others questions; this is the only way to learn (Socrates agreed with this).

Remember: An engineer does not have to know everything, just how to find the answer.

David Bialik is a consultant who has held technical broadcast and streaming positions for companies like Entercom, CBS Radio, Bloomberg and Bonneville. He is co-chair of the AES Technical Committee for Broadcast and Online Delivery and a Senior Member of the SBE. Reach him at dkbialik@erols.com or 845-634-6595.

Comment on this or any article. Email radioworld@futurenet.com with “Letter to the Editor” in the subject field.

The post Nurture Your Personal Network appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Community Broadcaster: How Biden Helps Radio

Radio World - 14 hours 38 min ago

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

As you likely saw on a screen near you, a flurry of activity has been the calling card of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Appointments and executive orders were only the beginning. However, one cannot stress enough how radio must be a focus. Not only can radio be a player in the many initiatives the new administration is set to launch, but it also needs the president and vice president’s attention.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Off-Air]

Our relationship with audiences as Biden takes office that may prove to be most crucial to our place in Americans’ lives. As political divisiveness hits levels rarely seen in the nation, what can the new administration do to engage radio? A few things, really.

Ensure greater investment in rural, locally staffed, educational media. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is not likely to be on the chopping block like it was when former President Trump tried unsuccessfully several times to gut it. And though CPB does a great job, the new administration is seeing the decline of local news and culture sources that all Americans are witnessing. Biden’s team must put attention on how real radio in communities — radio that is not voicetracked from elsewhere and able to respond to rural needs and emergencies, radio whose service is rooted in education — survives amid the pandemic.

Help streamline filings. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, at points criticized for his deregulatory zeal, resigned Jan. 20, making way for Jessica Rosenworcel, to be named acting chair. It’s probable that Pai’s legacy of simplifying the multitude of filings we do will continue after his departure. While it is important not to decimate rules that protect the public and its interest in an inclusive broadcast space, the new administration can certainly support smoothing out the processes that can be onerous, especially for rural community broadcasters.

Put vaccine education dollars into radio. The new administration would be wise to learn on radio for efforts around coronavirus as well as vaccine education. Pres. Biden has made COVID-19 response a cornerstone of his first 100 days. Such a drive will require a massive education campaign placing radio at the center. Even as more polls find little trust in media, radio’s bond remains steady. Pew Research and other pollsters say Americans remain skeptical of the vaccine, and they’ll need to be persuaded through expert interviews and information radio stations can effectively deliver.

Ask radio to educate about extremism. With white supremacy a potent topic on the American agenda, the new administration may consider how radio can help Americans understand and address issues locally. We in media can also reflect on how we can better contribute to cohesion instead of handing the microphone to the worst among us. A new study slams TV news for amplifying the voices of hyperpartisans to shore up ratings, but not because they widely represent Republicans or Democrats. Give credit to executives at Cumulus Media, who warned its hosts to stop spreading conspiracy theories that have buoyed the latest tensions. However, the more the new president can do with radio in the form of public education, the better off the country will be.

The Biden administration should look at radio’s position of trust in communities. The new president’s vision can be strengthened by prioritizing our content service for this new chapter of U.S. history.

The post Community Broadcaster: How Biden Helps Radio appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Is There Any Good Year for DAB?

Radio World - 14 hours 48 min ago

The author writes on radio from Stockholm.

In “DAB Advocates Celebrated Growth in 2020” and “Assembly Highlights Advances for WorldDAB,” WorldDAB President Patrick Hannon claimed that 2020 was a good year for DAB+. I am disputing that. Slanted or exaggerated information about DAB have circulated over the years. Unfortunately, such information has indiscriminately been accepted by publishers in Europe and the U.S. The journalistic mission should be to uncover fake news within the media industry.

Many might not realize that WorldDAB is an organization with the purpose to promote the “Digital Audio Broadcast” brand introduced 25 years ago in the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden. Such a resourceful lobbying body will, of course, never tell us the full story complete with all the inconvenient facts regarding DAB. So, beyond the information barrage by DAB stakeholders, there are a lot of claims to question and investigate.

WorldDAB made some successful lobbying for an EU Communication Code requirement that car radio receivers in new passenger cars — not buses and trucks — must be able to receive “terrestrial digital radio. “But it is NOT a requirement “to receive DAB+.” This would be contrary to EU competition rules as there are also other system brands for terrestrial digital radio, e.g. the DRM system (established in India), HD Radio (used in the United States), Chinese CDR and the emerging global technology 5G Broadcast. In fact, the European Union has not recommended or defined DAB or any other system as standard for terrestrial digital radio. And probably never will.

Where are the DAB listeners, really? Introducing DAB in a country does not mean that listeners will abandon FM and broadband. Except for the U.K. WorldDAB has not presented any DAB listening figures. It is estimated that less than 1% of the world’s population today listens to DAB radio. In most countries “digital radio” is not DAB, it is radio on the internet.

After the fiasco in Norway the DAB stakeholders are smart enough to report only ”digital listening” which includes both DAB and on-line. Big attempts are made to hide the truth. But the Norwegian radio listener is not happy with the national transition from FM to DAB.

In neighboring Sweden DAB broadcasting still exists, but there are extremely few listeners. Why should they?

Since 1995 82 million DAB/DAB+ receivers have been sold in the world. This should be put into the perspective that there are more than 6 billion FM receivers and now more than 2.5 billion smartphones. The sale of standalone receivers is decreasing while the smartphone/connected car will be the only future radio listening platform to challenge FM radio.

The BBC, a pioneer of the development of DAB in the 1990s, now regards the internet as the most important platform for radio and television of the future. BBC is already successfully testing 5G Broadcast in Scotland.

Attempts to include DAB in smartphones have not been successful. A DAB receiver consumes more energy than a corresponding FM receiver. This is a decisive reason for the lack of a global consumer market for DAB. The prospects that DAB will become a major radio listening platform in the U.K. or elsewhere are slim. So why even go on trying?

There are no signs of DAB ever being accepted in the world’s 11 largest nations among them China, India, United States, Brazil, Russia, Mexico and Japan, which together muster half the world’s total population.

Today most standalone receivers sold including in-car radio are capable for both FM and DAB. In Sweden a new car is a connected car. In a well-covered mobile broadband country this provides superior diversity and sound quality for radio online also in your car.

FM is still available as a robust emergency alert system (EAS) in most countries (except Norway). Finland has recently passed a national law requiring FM for all new cars.

Some countries will go for other digital systems for terrestrial radio such as DRM and HD Radio with better geographical coverage than DAB. These systems use current frequency bands for FM (VHF II) as well as shortwave and mediumwave (HF). Investing in short-range DAB transmitters will be too expensive outside metropolitan areas. This is already on the agenda in Australia, India, Brazil and Russia.

FM will probably be retained for decades in most of the world’s 220 countries and territories. Norway occupies a world-unique position as the only country where FM has been replaced by DAB for its national network (FM is retained for local radio). Switzerland might follow suit 2023. In Australia DAB is established in metropolitan areas, but AM and FM will be retained. Among the countries that have previously tested DAB and/or declined public investment at national level are Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Portugal, Spain, Latvia, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, Ireland and New Zealand.

Some digital technologies are short-lived. Remember the CD, the DAT cassette. And watch out; Switzerland last year closed its terrestrial digital television network.

During the quarter-century that DAB existed, the chances of a market breakthrough were significantly greater in the 1990s than today. Then the internet did not exist as a major media platform and DAB could attract with improvements as more channels than FM. Today, the system cannot offer the radio listener any competitive added value when mobile and fixed broadband are already established everywhere. And with FM retained as a global standard.

DAB tried to kill FM, but from behind came internet and killed DAB. There is a lot to learn from this. I look forward to read in-depth reports also based objective sources.

 

The post Is There Any Good Year for DAB? appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

At NAB, a Focus on Hybrid and the Dash

Radio World - Sun, 01/24/2021 - 07:00

Normally this is the time of year when technologists at the National Association of Broadcasters are finalizing their agenda for engineering and IT presentations at the spring NAB Show.

Those efforts have been pushed back, with the convention now scheduled for October. But Radio World checked in with NAB Vice President, Advanced Engineering David Layer for an update on the organization’s technology initiatives at the beginning of 2021.

He has been vocal recently about the coming impact of hybrid radios — radios that combine over-the-air and internet connectivity — and the consequent need for FM and HD Radio stations to register with RadioDNS. He expanded on that theme during this interview.

Radio World: How will COVID-19 impact how NAB funds technology initiatives going forward?

David Layer: I expect that in the near term we will be focusing our funding on technology initiatives prioritized by our board as we adjust to the new financial realities created by the pandemic.

RW: What are the highlights of current NAB PILOT projects?

Layer:  On the radio side, PILOT continues to work with Xperi and Hubbard to do a variety of all-digital AM radio tests, using of course Hubbard station WWFD, 820 kHz, Frederick, Md.

RW: What kind of tests, specifically?

Layer:  Possible test areas highlighted by Xperi and Hubbard in their most recent experimental authority application, filed in June of 2020, include expanded testing of the use of an HD2 multicast audio service — creating a second audio service in addition to the main program services, including experimentation with different audio bitrate sizes used, and audio formats, including parametric stereo. Also, the addition of different data services alongside data services already deployed now; testing of emergency alerts services and new advanced alerting services; testing the performance of MA3 vs. analog in different all‐electric vehicles; testing changes to the MA3 waveform by reducing the power level of the unmodulated pilot carrier level; and conducting building penetration tests of the MA3 all digital system vs. analog, and the MA1 hybrid system.

PILOT and Xperi also launched in October a collaboration focusing on radio implementation using Android Automotive, a new operating system that several auto OEMs have plans to deploy. We are working with Xperi and an international array of broadcasters to help build an engaging radio experience, continue to evolve the user interface and expand the hardware abstraction layer — the code that links the software and hardware in dashboard receivers.

RW: Can you summarize current activities of work groups of the NAB Radio Technology Committee?

Layer: Two projects initiated by the NABRTC’s Next Gen Architecture working group are now in the testing phase and were discussed publicly for the first time during the 2020 Radio Show.

The first is the development of the Nielsen Audio Software Encoder, a software implementation of Nielsen’s Portable People Meter encoder that can now reside within an audio processor. Early tests of this new encoder were conducted by Nielsen using AM radio stations. Additional tests are planned on FM stations in the coming months.

The second project in conjunction with Xperi is focused on improving and simplifying the inclusion of Emergency Alert System messages into HD Radio multicast channels. Broadcast equipment manufacturer 2wCom is producing a “capture client” device and shipping in small quantities to broadcasters involved in this project for on-air testing as a last step towards full production.

RW: You mentioned NAB’s work on developments involving hybrid radio. How significant are the recent iHeart/Audi announcement and Radio.com/DTS Connected Radio partnership?

Layer: These recent announcements have been very exciting — 2020 will go down as the year when automotive hybrid radio arrived in the U.S. With consumers now purchasing vehicles with hybrid radios, it’s vitally important that FM and HD Radio broadcasters register with RadioDNS, the not-for-profit organization that develops standards used by hybrid radio manufacturers for accessing broadcaster content over the internet.

All FM and HD Radio broadcasters should do two things to ensure that their stations are taking advantage of the hybrid radio receivers in Audi and BMW vehicles: first, create a Service Information (SI) file, which contains the basic metadata information needed by the hybrid radio receiver and second, register their stations with RadioDNS.

RadioDNS does not charge any fees for this registration. Broadcasters can do these things themselves, or they can enlist the aid of service providers, some of which can assist broadcasters in these tasks free of charge. NAB and RadioDNS co-produced a tutorial back in July to help broadcasters do these things. It’s available for free on-demand right now.

RW: What do you think about the uptake or lack of it for all-digital AM, now that FCC allows that option?Are broadcasters poised to take advantage of it?

Layer:  One of the best things to happen in 2020 for radio broadcasters was the adoption by the FCC of the all-digital AM Report and Order, establishing the all-digital AM service in the U.S., which broadcasters elect to use voluntarily.

I expect the uptake to be slow at first and to accelerate over time as the number of consumers with HD Radio receivers increases, thereby increasing the number of potential listeners.

RW: The pandemic has pushed the adoption of “work from home” strategies by broadcasters. Do you expect that to continue?

Layer: Anecdotally that would seem to be the case. I think it’s widely acknowledged that the pandemic has accelerated acceptance of “work from home” by the broadcast — and other — industries. There is no reason to expect that broadcasters won’t continue to make use of remote working.

RW: Are there any other technology trends broadcast engineers at the station level should be tracking?

Layer: I’ll take this opportunity to once again urge FM and HD Radio broadcasters to register with RadioDNS and develop their service information (SI) file. Now is the time for radio broadcasters to support these modern radio receiver technologies — the automakers are watching. Radio broadcasters’ level of support right now will no doubt be a factor in the future development of car radios by automakers.

RW: Can you tell us about any new NAB educational opportunities for broadcast engineers?

Layer:  The NAB Leadership Foundation hosts a Technology Ambassador Program, and NAB updates educational opportunities at nab.org/education. We’re also excited to convene the industry in October at NAB Show, which will collocate with Radio Show and AES.

The post At NAB, a Focus on Hybrid and the Dash appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

AES’ Prez Wyner Starts Term

Radio World - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 14:05

The COVID pandemic may freeze some activities but the audio world hasn’t completely stopped.

One example is the Audio Engineering Society and its new president, Jonathan Wyner who started his term on Jan. 1.

[Read: 2021 AES Show Will Co-Locate With NAB]

Wyner is a familiar face to AES leadership having spent 30+ years in various roles including board of directors, board of governors and on numerous society committees.

As an audio professional, he has been a professional musician, audio engineer, author, technology developer and educator at Berklee College of Music.

“The AES is the most varied international assemblage of experts, thought leaders, researchers, manufacturers and practitioners of audio in the world,” said Wyner. “During our recent fall event we had attendees from 82 countries. Each of us has our individual interests and goals for our work, but a passion for audio ties us together. There are so many interesting and exciting developments taking place in the world of audio.”

Wyner takes over from previous president, Agnieszka Roginska.

 

The post AES’ Prez Wyner Starts Term appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

LEGENDARY TALK HOST LARRY KING DIES

Radio+Television Business Report - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 09:45

LOS ANGELES — Larry King, the famous radio and television talk show host who retired from CNN in fall 2010 yet continued to remain a Talk force across the next decade, has died at the age of 87.

He was at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

CNN reported King’s death early Saturday (1/23) through his son, Chance. A statement on Facebook further confirmed his passing, from Ora Media, which Larry King co-founded.

A cause of death was not disclosed. However, CNN notes he was hospitalized with COVID-19 in early January 2021.

King hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN for more than a quarter century, and during that time interviewing presidential candidates, celebrities, athletes, movie stars and everyday people.

Before that, King became famous as a radio host, including many years in Miami.

“For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster,” Ora Media said. “Additionally, while it was his name appearing in the shows’ titles, Larry always viewed his interview subjects as the true stars of his programs, and himself as merely an unbiased conduit between the guest and audience. Whether he was interviewing a U.S. president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry like to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions. He believed concise questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief.”

For Ora Media, King hosted “Larry King Now,” and “Politicking with Larry King.” The shows aired on Russia-backed RT America.

He was a survivor of cancer, a heart attack and a stroke. In addition to Chance, King is survived by his two other children, Larry Jr. and Cannon. In 2020 son Andy King, 65, suffered a heart attack and died. Weeks later, daughter Chaia King, 52, died after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later, in coordination with King’s family, who ask for their privacy at this time, Ora’s statement concluded.

A TRANSITION FROM CNN

At 76, King announced on “Larry King Live!” in late June 2010 that he would retire from the daily CNN program.

In making the announcement, he said:

Before I start the show tonight, I want to share some personal news with you. Twenty-five years ago, I sat across this table from New York Governor Mario Cuomo for the first broadcast of Larry King Live. Now, decades later, I talked to the guys here at CNN and I told them I would like to end Larry King Live, the nightly show, this fall and CNN has graciously accepted, giving me more time for my wife and I to get to the kids’ little league games. I’ll still be a part of the CNN family, hosting several Larry King specials on major national and international subjects.

King also expressed pride in making the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest running show with the same host in the same time slot. “With this chapter closing I’m looking forward to the future and what my next chapter will bring, but for now it’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders,” he said in 2010.

Days later in an interview with CBS, he was asked who his successor would be. “If it was up to me, I’d have Ryan Seacrest do it,” King told CBS News.

It was not up to him, and the job went to Piers Morgan. CNN made the announcement in September 2010.

In November 2013, after six decades, King returned to radio — the medium where he first became a star. On Veterans’ Day 2013, he launched 60-second vignettes through Cumulus Media stations also made available on the AARP website.

“Larry King Droppin’ In” was heard on such stations as WABC-AM in New York, KABC-AM in Los Angeles and WLS-AM in Chicago.

REMEMBERED BY CNN

CNN President Jeff Zucker, in a statement, saluted King, who he describes as “a scrappy young man from Brooklyn” who had a history-making career spanning radio and television.

His birth name: Lawrence Harvey Zeiger.

“His curiosity about the world propelled his award-winning career in broadcasting, but it was his generosity of spirit that drew the world to him,” Zucker said. “We are so proud of the 25 years he spent with CNN, where his newsmaker interviews truly put the network on the international stage. From our CNN family to Larry’s, we send our thoughts and prayers, and a promise to carry on his curiosity for the world in our work.”

MAGIC CITY BEGINNINGS

King’s career in media began in earnest in 1957, when he took a job as a disc jockey at WAHR-AM in Miami, today WMBM-AM 1490 in Miami Beach. He lasted a year and then moved to WKAT-AM 1360 in Miami, a prominent talk station across the 1960s and 1970s that was also an early home of the late Neil Rogers.

In fact, Rogers’ regularly poked fun of King’s time in Miami, with a sound byte of King asking “Loan me $50” a regular part of Rogers’ show.

And, like Rogers, King would also work at News/Talk WIOD-AM 610, where he’d successfully fend off an arrest for grand larceny following accusations by ex-business partner Louis Wolfson.

On January 30, 1978, King’s radio career went nationwide, thanks to a syndication contract with Mutual Broadcasting System.

 

Editorial research by Dana Jacobson. Archival reporting by Carl Marcucci. Additional reporting from RBR+TVBR’s West Coast Bureau in Los Angeles.

Categories: Industry News

HC2 Wants to Refinance ‘Substantially All’ Debt

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 16:15

GLOBE NEWSWIRE

HC2 Holdings Inc., the owner of low-power TV stations across the U.S. formerly led by Philip Falcone, confirmed Friday (1/22) that it is seeking to refinance all of its existing 11.500% senior secured notes due 2021 and a portion of existing 7.5% convertible senior notes due 2022.

As part of the proposed refinancing transactions, HC2 intends to, among other things, issue new senior secured notes and extend the maturity of a portion of its existing convertible notes by exchanging such existing convertible notes for new convertible notes.

The proceeds from the issuance of the new senior secured notes are expected to be used, together with other funds, to redeem in full HC2’s existing senior secured notes, repay the outstanding indebtedness under its revolving credit agreement, and pay related fees and expenses.

The proposed refinancing transactions are subject to market and other conditions, and the Company cannot make any assurances that it will complete any such transactions, in whole or in part, or as to the amount or timing of any such transactions.

The new senior secured notes and the new convertible notes will not be registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, any state securities laws or the securities laws of any other jurisdiction, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from registration. The new senior secured notes are expected to be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the Securities Act and to non-U.S. persons outside the United States in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act, and the new convertible notes are expected to be issued in one or more private exchange transactions pursuant to an exemption from registration under the Securities Act.

Categories: Industry News

Apollo-Controlled CMG Caught In a Small MVPD Retrans War

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 16:15

DAYTON, OHIO — Two weeks ago, in the evening hours, FOX affiliates KAYU-28 in Spokane, WHBQ-13 in Memphis and KOKI-23 in Tulsa; ABC affiliate KLAX-31 in Alexandria; the CBS and NBC affiliates serving Eureka-Arcata, Calif.; and the ABC, FOX, NBC and CBS stations serving Greenwood and Greenville, Miss., were all blocked from Suddenlink subscribers.

The reason: the MVPD owned by Altice USA couldn’t reach a fresh retransmission fee agreement with Apollo Global Management-controlled Cox Media Group for stations once owned by Brian Brady‘s Northwest Broadcasting.

That “blackout” continues. Now, a big CMG station in its founding DMA has a carriage problem. And, it is with a tiny service provider.

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Categories: Industry News

House E&C Committee Organizational Meeting Confirmed

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 16:11

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) has confirmed that the Committee’s formal organizational meeting for the 117th Congress will take place, remotely, on Tuesday.

The session will get underway at 1pm as a virtual event, owning to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During the meeting, the Energy and Commerce Committee will adopt the Committee Rules and its six standing subcommittees, as well as announce subcommittee chairs, ranking members, and members.

This meeting will take place remotely via Cisco Webex video conferencing. Members of the public may view the meeting via live webcast accessible on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website. Please note the webcast will not be available until the meeting begins.

Additional information for this meeting, including the live webcast, will be posted here as they become available.

Categories: Industry News

Three Ways COVID-19 Changed Listening Patterns

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 14:59

By Bruce Roberts
Special to RBR+TVBR

When stay-at-home orders first went into effect across the globe, radio broadcasters found themselves facing a changed landscape. Many stations were concerned about the hit they would take with the rise in remote work and the loss of drive-time listenership.

Even with significantly fewer people commuting to and from work every day, a Nielsen survey conducted in Spring 2020 found that 83% of Americans were listening to as much or more radio than they were before the pandemic.

Radio audiences are growing, and they’re as engaged as ever, but they’re also listening in new ways. Audio streaming services like Spotify and Pandora had already sparked a shift toward digital streaming and on-demand, but as more individuals tune in using smart speakers or mobile devices rather than car radios, digital platforms are becoming increasingly popular with audiences and increasingly important for broadcasters.

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Categories: Industry News

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