Industry News

Podchaser Partners With Audacy on Podcasting Insights

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 15:50

A leading podcast database is partnering with and “enhancing” the podcasting capabilities of Audacy, the multi-platform audio content and entertainment organization formerly known as Entercom.

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Categories: Industry News

Political Programming and Advertising Rules Get a FCC Tweak

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 15:45

The FCC late Wednesday (1/26) released a Report and Order that updates the Commission’s political programming and recordkeeping rules for broadcast licensees, cable television system operators, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) service providers, and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) licensees.

What does this mean for you? A Fletcher Heald & Hildreth attorney provides an easy explanation for curious radio and TV industry executives and staff that will need to abide by the revised regulatory policy.

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Categories: Industry News

Entravision’s Long-Awaited AZ Dial Change Inches Forward

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 15:30

On July 23, 2019, Entravision Communications filed an application proposing to upgrade one of its stations. It is still waiting to do so.

But, it is one step closer to this goal — one that sees the station’s simulcast partner moving ever-closer to claiming the 106.7 MHz on the west side of the Valley of the Sun. It is thanks to a Memorandum Opinion and Order issued this week by the FCC.

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Categories: Industry News

Gray Solidifies Its Q4, FY 2021 Earnings Release

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 15:27

Gray Television has decided when it will host a conference call to discuss its operating results for the quarter ended December 31, 2021.

The broadcast TV station owner will unveil its latest fiscal health report on Friday, February 25. Key company executives will participate in a conference call for investors and Wall Street analysts at 11am Eastern on that day.

The results come as Gray shares have retreated to a price last seen on a regular basis in April 2021. That said, the fluctuations for GTN, which trades on the NYSE, are minor. With Gray shares at $20.18 as of 3:25pm Eastern on Thursday (1/27), it has a 52-week high of $25.24 seen on Nov. 3, 2021. More importantly, its 52-week low was seen exactly one year ago, with pricing at $17.03.

Categories: Industry News

Sohn Nomination to Get Commerce Committee Vote

Radio World - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 14:47
Gigi Sohn (image credit C-SPAN)

With the asterisked caveat that the items are “subject to change,” a vote on the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the open Democratic seat on the FCC has been slotted.

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled an executive session for Wednesday, February 2, and among Sohn is among a 14 nominations scheduled to get a vote. Among the other nominees are Alvaro Bedoya for the open Democratic seat on the Federal Trade Commission and four members of the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kathy Im, Thomas Rothman, Elizabeth Sembler, and Laura Ross.

[Read More of Our Coverage of the FCC]

But the Sohn nomination is the highest profile agenda item given the pushback from Republicans and the call by Commerce ranking member Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for a second nomination hearing before a vote, which looks like it is not happening.

Commerce chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) had signaled she wanted to firm up a vote by this week.

The Committee vote would be a big step forward, but Sen. Thom Tillis has threatened to put a hold on her nomination before a full Senate vote.

Sohn this week got endorsements from the Communications Workers of America and the National Urban League.

A version of this story appeared on our sister publication, Broadcasting & Cable.

The post Sohn Nomination to Get Commerce Committee Vote appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Roger Wahl Gets a Rescheduled Pre-ALJ Hearing Conference

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 14:15

Faced with a Hearing Designation Order that will put his continued ability to own the station in the hands of FCC Administrative Law Judge Jane Hinckley HalprinRoger Wahl was all but expected to participate in a pre-hearing conference scheduled for January 13.

That didn’t happen. Halprin expressed her disappointment. Now, a new date has been put on the calendar for this all-important event, which could be Wahl’s last gasp at holding on to ownership of his Pennsylvania FM radio station.

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The InFOCUS Podcast: Jim Long, LocalBTV

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 12:15

Until January 20, we have to admit that we barely knew LocalBTV existed. Yet, here it is — with 15 new DMAs added to its roster in 2021 after six launched in 2019. An additional 20 DMAs are on the way.

Is it a folly, with a big hurdle ahead as it needs to ink retransmission consent agreements to come close to what the now-shuttered Locast offered, but legally? Or, can it be successful as a “virtual over-the-air” TV service focused on digital multicast channels and PBS Member stations?

Those questions and more are asked by RBR+TVBR Editor-in-Chief Adam Jacobson in a fresh and provocative InFOCUS Podcast featuring LocalBTV founder and CEO Jim Long.

Listen to “The InFOCUS Podcast: Jim Long, LocalBTV” on Spreaker.

Categories: Industry News

A Pending Change In Command at El Paso’s ABC Affiliate

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 11:59
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Media Rating Council Sets The Record Straight On VAB/Nielsen Spat

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 11:59

A 22-page VAB PowerPoint presentation that seeks to place a spotlight on the “billions of lost TV impressions” it believes are linked to a Nielsen undercount of television audiences between September 2020 and December 2021 has come under scrutiny by the Media Rating Council.

As the MRC sees it, the VAB’s characterization of the group’s analysis of Nielsen’s undercounting of linear television consumption isn’t a correct representation of the facts.

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Channel Change Stirs Discord in Arizona

Radio World - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 10:49

The Federal Communications Commission is flexing its regulatory muscle to help resolve an impasse between two radio licensees — as the two argue over channel changes, reimbursement details and whether an escrow account should be required to ensure proper payment.

The situation began when Entravision Holdings LLC filed an application proposing to upgrade one of its stations, KVVA(FM) in Apache Junction, Ariz., by changing the the station’s transmitter location and shifting its community of license to Sun Lakes, Ariz. To facilitate this, Entravision proposed moving one of its other stations — KDVA(FM) — from Channel 295 to Channel 294, a change that would require another licensee to move the station it currently operates on Channel 294 to Channel 295. When that licensee, Prescott Valley Broadcasting Co., modified KPPV(FM)’s license to Channel 295, Entravision said it would reimburse Prescott for the costs of the channel change.

The Media Bureau then notified Prescott of Entravision’s proposal and asked the licensee to show cause why KPPV’s license should not be modified. The bureau reminded Prescott that these types of involuntary channel changes are allowed in instances where such a change would allow for new or expanded service in another community.

But Prescott balked at the request, saying it could not support modification of the KPPV license unless Entravision agreed to deposit an estimate of the reasonable costs into an escrow account. While Entravision said it was committed to reimburse Prescott, the reimbursement amount Prescott requested —$2.75 million — “far exceeded” the amount typically specified in moves such as this, Entravision said. Entravision then alleged that Prescott was abusing commission processes and filed an objection to simply delay the channel change, otherwise known as a bad-faith strike pleading.

[Read: FCC Addresses Reconsideration Petitions on FM Translator Interference Rules]

And so began an exchange of character-related attacks and insults by Entravision and Prescott, the bureau said.

In the midst of these back-and-forth battles, the Media Bureau took several steps. The bureau granted Entravision’s applications in July 2020, issued construction permits for KVVA and KDVA, modified KPPV’s license to operate on Channel 295 instead of Channel 294, and directed Prescott to file an application to implement the channel change by Oct. 19, 2020.

As is customary in an involuntary channel change situation such as this, the bureau placed special operating conditions on the permits it issued to Entravision. As a result, Entravision is not permitted to commence program tests or officially license the new channel as its own until the Prescott station is officially licensed and begins tests from its new location.

The bureau also reminded Entravision that it must reimburse Prescott for “reasonable and prudent” costs incurred in changing KPPV’s channel, though Entravision would not be required to place funds in an escrow account. The bureau also dismissed Entravision’s allegation that Prescott was filing a strike pleading.

Prescott filed a minor modification application to implement the program change (which was granted by the bureau) but the licensee also argued against the bureau’s decision not to require an escrow deposit. Entravision opposed that petition, again accusing Prescott of filing a strike pleading.

More name-calling ensued. According to the Media Bureau, Prescott accused Entravision of engaging in reprehensible and unprofessional behavior, accusing the licensee of stonewalling. Prescott further charged Entravision with obfuscation, disingenuousness, bullying and intimidation. According to Prescott, the bureau should reconsider its decision and require Entravision to place funds in an escrow account because, Prescott said, Entravision’s trustworthiness should be questioned.

Again, the bureau issued several denials. It denied Prescott’s request, saying the licensee had not shown adequate reasoning to require an escrow account, and it denied Entravision’s allegation that the latest Prescott petition was another strike pleading. Another round of objections were filed with the bureau again dismissing Prescott’s request for an escrow account.

By January 2021, Entravision filed a request asking the bureau to remove the special operating condition initially placed on the construction permit for KDVA because the licensee had “no idea whether or when [Prescott] will commence construction.” Because of the various delays, Entravision said that KPPV should no longer be entitled to protection on that channel.

But eliminating protections to its station would result in interference to more than 300,000 listeners, Prescott responded. The licensee again characterized Entravision’s moves as a way to avoid its reimbursement obligations.

The two licensees also accused the other of other blunders, including defective filings, late-filed pleadings, mislabeled mailings and wrongly routed packages.

But in its most recent order on the issue, the commission made several things clear.

It upheld the Media Bureau’s decision not to require Entravision to deposit funds into an escrow account. The commission also found no merit in Entravision’s assertion that Prescott’s pleadings were simply to cause a delay. And the commission upheld the bureau’s earlier decision to modify Prescott’s channel of license because, as the bureau wrote at the time, such a change would “promote the public interest, convenience and necessity.”

The commission also declined Prescott’s request that the FCC modify its reimbursement rules so that Entravision would also cover the cost of moving an FM translator (Prescott’s FM translator would also be affected by the channel move).

The FCC reminded Prescott that FM translators are authorized as a secondary service and can be subject to displacement by a full-service station. (Any related costs would fall to the translator licensee — not the station causing displacement — because in constructing an FM translator station, the licensee knew the risks and accepted the secondary status of the translator construction permit.)

The commission also denied Entravision’s request that the FCC remove the special operating condition on the station that prevents Entravision from conducting tests on its new channel.

Finally, the commission addressed the contentious negotiations between Entravision and Prescott, directing the Media Bureau to monitor the situation and make a decision on which expenses are covered if the two licensees cannot come to an agreement.

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The post Channel Change Stirs Discord in Arizona appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

NATE Issues New Climber/Rescuer Training Standard

Radio World - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 10:19

A new climber rescue training standard has been issued by NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association.

The new document, known as the Climber/Rescuer Training Standard (CRTS), is designed to assist in standardizing fall-protection and rescue training for climbers in the tower and communications infrastructure industry.

Guidelines in the newest version of the NATE CRTS include new evaluation strategies an employer can use to properly identify authorized climbers/rescuers. The new document also offers guidelines to help an employer develop and maintain its fall-protection program, which can be used to comply with the ANSI/ASSP A10.48 “Criteria for Safety Practices with the Construction, Demolition, Modification and Maintenance of Communications Structures” standard and other regulations.

[Related: NATE, OSHA and FCC in Safety Partnership]

The new document replaces the fourth edition of the NATE training standard and is available in electronic format at no cost to NATE members and for purchase to non-members.

The development of the new CRTS is a by-product of hours of sweat equity from prominent subject-matter experts, said John Paul Jones, a member of the NATE board of directors who presided over the ad-hoc committee that produced the new document.

“NATE is thrilled to offer this new CRTS resource to better facilitate and standardize climber and rescue training and ultimately improve safety in the industry,” said Kathy Stieler, director of safety, health and compliance for NATE. “This new CRTS document instantly becomes the association’s signature safety resource and provides an invaluable tool in the toolbox to ensure that climbing and rescue training is consistent regardless of who is conducting the training.”

Other features in the new standard include a series of training topics, details on the skill that a climber should possess and guidance on setting a baseline of knowledge for tower professionals.

At the organization’s NATE UNITE 2022 Conference in Las Vegas on February 22, the association will host an educational session exploring all aspects of the new CRTS update.

Across all worksites and industries, fall protection was the most commonly cited standard violation by OSHA in 2020, the most recent year for which data has been reported.

The post NATE Issues New Climber/Rescuer Training Standard appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

February 2: A Big Day For Radio on Capitol Hill

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 10:10

On Wednesday, all eyes will be on Washington, D.C., for radio industry leaders that have collectively voiced their opposition to any legislation that would impose new royalty fees on music their stations play.

At the same time, radio’s C-Suites — and those for television broadcasting companies — will have their eyes and ears attune to a just-confirmed House Judiciary Committee hearing that will consider the nomination of a highly controversial selection of the Biden Administration to serve as a FCC Commissioner.

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Categories: Industry News

Gray Renews, Expands Comscore Agreement

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 10:01

Comscore has agreed to renew and expand its agreement to provide broadcast station owner Gray Television with its “full suite” of local market currency tools, including Comscore’s Advanced Automotive Demographics segments.

Importantly, Gray TV will now be using Comscore’s audience data as primary selling currency across 199 stations in 96 markets including its largest, Atlanta, and will serve as Gray’s exclusive currency in 95 of those markets. It’s bad news for Nielsen, which remains the television industry’s dominant provider of audience measurement and consumer psychographic data.

“Gray Television has been a terrific partner of Comscore’s for many years, and we are very excited to once again renew and expand our commitment to each other,” said Comscore Chief Revenue Officer Carol Hinnant. “Comscore’s local measurement service provides Gray and all of our clients with the audience insights made possible by our industry-leading and currency-quality measurement footprint of over 30 million homes across the U.S.”

Categories: Industry News

Peterle Looks to Next Chapter

Radio World - Thu, 01/27/2022 - 09:37

Tony Peterle will transition to a consulting role at WorldCast Systems in April.

Peterle is manager for the Americas at the France-based company, which he joined in 2005.

“I’m honored to remain a part of the WorldCast family and will remain available to our customers for pre and post-sale support, planning, installations, presentations — and hopefully still get the occasional trip to Bordeaux, my beautiful ‘second home’ on the Garrone,” he wrote in a social media post.

[Read Tony Peterle’s article “Using the SNMP Protocol in Broadcast Monitoring”]

“I’m also excited about the new opportunities that await. I’ll have time for some freelance and consulting work, professional writing, voice work and who knows what else might come along.”

He plans to move from Florida to Ohio by mid-year.

Peterle began in radio in 1975 and started engineering in 1978. He was a chief engineer in Honolulu, Wichita and Kansas City, and spent years in the air as a traffic pilot in Honolulu, Kansas City and Seattle.

He is a past recipient of the James C. Wulliman SBE Educator of the Year Award who has trained engineers through SBE University, Ennes workshops and SBE webinars as well as articles in Radio World and elsewhere.

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The post Peterle Looks to Next Chapter appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Matthews Appointed President of ABC Owned Stations

Radio+Television Business Report - Wed, 01/26/2022 - 16:09

As of today, there’s a new individual charged with overseeing the day-to-day management for the eight ABC-owned television stations owned by The Walt Disney Company.

Now President of ABC Owned Television Stations, which comprise properties in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno, is Chad Matthews.

He reports directly to Debra OConnell, President of Networks at Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

“Chad is an exceptional leader who has a track record of success, always championing innovative content and storytelling, programs that have a meaningful impact on the community overall, and achieving and maintaining the highest standards of operational excellence while driving enormous success across linear and digital platforms,” OConnell said. “His strategic vision, passion for local news, forward thinking roll-up your sleeves attitude and commitment to teamwork are among the many attributes that will ensure that under his leadership our Owned Television Stations will continue to thrive.”

Matthews commented, “I am truly honored to be given this opportunity to lead the best station group in the country! The great eight as I like to call it. The team members who make up the ABC Owned Stations are the best in the business. Their talents, innovation, perseverance and flexibility are sources of constant inspiration. I am very much looking forward to working with them to further grow the business while continuing to find new ways to super serve our viewers and communities in a way that raises the bar for local television.”

Matthews presently serves as President/GM of WABC-7 in New York, overseeing the station known for the most-watched newscasts in the U.S. and for its role as the hub of “Live with Kelly and Ryan.” The syndicated program was born out of the WABC Morning Show, starring Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford, in the mid-1980s.

Matthews started his career at WABC in 2000 and was promoted to senior executive producer in 2002. In 2012, Matthews exited WABC for a five-year stint as Assistant News Director at NBC-owned WTVJ-6 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale. He returned to New York in 2017.



WABC-7 Selects OConnell’s Successor Adam Jacobson In fall 2020, Debra OConnell was elevated to President of Networks for Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, thus leaving the role of President/GM of WABC-7 in New York open for her replacement. ABC Owned Television Stations has just chosen that individual, and it is WABC’s News Director.
Categories: Industry News

Richmond City Council Gives Urban One a Second Casino Referendum

Radio+Television Business Report - Wed, 01/26/2022 - 15:59

If at first you don’t succeed, try again? That’s what the Richmond, Va., City Council has done with respect to a casino referendum which, if approved by voters, will bring a casino resort owned by Urban One to fruition.

The 8-1 move comes following a devastating November 2021 election defeat of the original proposal.

As first reported by Streamline Publishing’s Radio Ink, Richmond City Council on Tuesday evening voted 8-1 to place the ONE Casino + Resort proposal on the ballot for another vote.

While local media outlets were relatively mum on the decision, Richmond BizSense, the city’s business newspaper, offered a full update on the move. The key difference with the new referendum, the newspaper notes, is “a promise to cut the real estate tax rate as a sweetener.”

This would bring the ONE Casino + Resort project back to the fold for Richmond, and prevent Urban One from seeking out sites in other Virginia municipalities, which CEO Alfred Liggins III said in November was something he was prepared to do.

The City of Richmond’s Tuesday vote saw leaders note that Urban One “didn’t show its full cards” in the first referendum, and that the benefits from the $565 million proposal are simply too good to pass up.

Of the nine members of the city council, Katherine Jordan of the Second District was the sole dissenter at the virtual meeting held on Zoom due to continued COVID-19 concerns.

In November, some 51.4% of voters disapproved the referendum. Now, they will get a new pitch touting not only positive economic impacts, but job creation and other benefits. These include a commitment to a two-cent reduction in the city real estate tax rate, and $560 million in capital investment specifically to Richmond Public Schools and city projects, Richmond BizSense reports.

Liggins appeared at the virtual hearing. He commented, “Many referendums are reheard, particularly if the project and the benefits of the project have changed. I applaud the administration and council for starting the discussion tonight on the main issue I heard from people of where the dollars are actually going, who was going to benefit.”

The project is estimated to cost approximately $563 million and Urban One’s aggregate capital investment in RVA Entertainment Holdings, LLC (RVAEH) is anticipated to be up to approximately $100 million. The company’s investment will be sourced from a combination of cash on Urban One’s balance sheet and/or capacity from the company’s undrawn $50 million revolver. The company also anticipates investment from local investors in the amount of $11.5 million as well as a personal investment by Liggins, Urban One stated in a recent SEC filing.

Categories: Industry News

FCC Adopts Revised Political Broadcast Rules

Radio World - Wed, 01/26/2022 - 15:50

The FCC has updated its political programming and record-keeping rules for broadcast licensees.

A Report and Order adopted this week revises the rules with the goal, the commission said, of aligning them with modern campaign practices and increasing transparency.

The rules revise the list of ways that define if someone is a “legally qualified candidate” to add the creation of a campaign website and the use of social media to promote or further a campaign for public office.

The revision will help determine whether an individual running as a write-in has made “substantial showing” of his or her bona fide candidacy.

David Oxenford, a communications attorney with Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, wrote about it on his Broadcast Law Blog. “Legally qualified candidates, even write-ins who have made this substantial showing, are entitled to all the protections of the commission’s political rules, including equal opportunities, lowest unit rates and, for candidates for federal office, reasonable access to buy advertising time on commercial broadcast stations.”

A person just saying that they are a write-in candidate is not enough to qualify for protections under the FCC rules, he continued; a substantial showing is also required.

[Previously: Rosenworcel Wants to Update Political Programming Rules]

“The FCC is simply recognizing that online media is an important factor in determining if a candidate is a serious candidate who should receive the benefit of FCC protections, “ he wrote.

The commission does specify in the order that a legally qualified candidate needs his or her campaign to be more than totally virtual. “Some real-world activity is still necessary for a write-in candidate to be considered legally qualified,” the FCC wrote.

The National Association of Broadcasters, in comments filed during the political programming and record-keeping rulemaking proceeding in 2021, expressed support for these changes, according to the FCC.

The revisions, which Oxenford deemed as minor, includes a second part that brings the FCC in line with existing federal statutory requirements by requiring stations to upload to their political file any information about advertising on federal issues.

This record-keeping requirement makes the FCC’s political file rules consistent with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, according to the commission. This extends a station’s political file requirements to any request for the purchase of advertising time that “communicates a message relating to any political matter of national importance.”

The requirement was adopted some 20 years ago but never formally carried over in the FCC’s rules, Oxenford explained in his blog; yet the FCC has been enforcing the record-keeping requirement, even issuing admonitions to some TV stations for perceived violations of the political file rules.

“So formally adding these obligations to the rules just reiterates what is already required of broadcasters dealing with federal issue ads,” according to Oxenford’s blog.

The FCC first adopted rules requiring broadcast stations to maintain public inspection files documenting requests for political advertising time more than 80 years ago. It says the record-keeping requirement is integral to ensuring compliance with the statutory protections for political programming.

Comments made during the FCC’s political programming and record-keeping rulemaking proceeding (MB 21-293) can be viewed here.

The post FCC Adopts Revised Political Broadcast Rules appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Collura Captures CBS/Sacramento’s Top Spot

Radio+Television Business Report - Wed, 01/26/2022 - 15:15

A veteran local media executive who most recently served as VP/GM of the CBS affiliate in Atlanta recently transferred to Gray Television through its merger with Meredith Corporation has returned to the Golden State capital affectionally called by some as Cowtown.

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Categories: Industry News

‘Old Music’ Isn’t Killing New Music. Radio Has Plenty Of It.

Radio+Television Business Report - Wed, 01/26/2022 - 14:59
RBR+TVBR OBSERVATION There’s much discussion about the lack of success for current product on the Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) charts in the U.S. Why? An opinion piece in The Atlantic seeks to discover the reason, tying radio to the conundrum in his hypothesis. Is that a fair assessment? Our editor-in-chief argues it is not.


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Categories: Industry News

PBS Digital Studios Selects Regional Digital Centers of Innovation

Radio+Television Business Report - Wed, 01/26/2022 - 14:12

It is known for creating “fresh, insightful and responsive content for multi-platform audiences from diverse backgrounds.” Now, it has revealed the three PBS Member stations selected as Regional Digital Centers of Innovation.

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