Industry News

The End of the Needless Climb

Radio World - 17 hours 13 min ago
QCommunications uses drones custom-made by BFD Systems to work in high RF environments.

The author is QCommunications Vice President, Airborne Division — QForce.

Drones, “they ain’t just for kids anymore!”

Farmers are using them to measure crops, real estate developers are using them to survey land and medical professionals are even using them to deliver supplies to unreachable areas in disaster zones.

There’s no question about it, these unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs make it easier to go where no human can or should go, and in the radio business that’s up a 400-foot or higher tower.

The Needless Climb

One drone = Hundreds fewer climbs. Drones bring with them a technology that allows engineers to ascertain and validate different types of structures, pattern signals and various equipment, all without human intervention other than the pilot on the ground.

Inspection by drone eliminates the “Needless Climb,” a phrase coined by QCommunications to describe an unnecessary and dangerous human journey up the side of an enormous tower to get a picture or investigate an irregularity.

Safety first

Warning signs are placed around the work area, entry points of long driveways and other critical locations.

Without putting a climber on a tower, it’s now possible to confirm that a signal is reaching everybody it needs to reach — or not. The drone can perform different types of inspection services efficiently, accurately, safely and faster than a human without presenting a hazard, not only to the pilot, but to the customer or any else in the area.

Three of the most common and important inspections are:

  1. Pattern verification — confirm antenna functionality, installation, operation and coverage, and enable maintenance trouble shooting.
  1. Thermal line inspection — identify hot spots, burn outs, potential burnouts, blocking in system, or connection joint security.
  1. Structural inspection — directly related to the structure and all components surrounding it as part of the anchoring system.  This inspection provides “points of interest” of any potential structural issues and potential failure points so the station engineers can make the best decision to ensure the structure’s safety. This service can also be used for the installation of any new equipment, can validate locations of new equipment and can indicate if a structure is rated to carry a new load.

Not only safe, but smart

Every drone flight reduces a tower climb, lessens risk to life and arms station engineers with information they need to make better, faster, more intelligent, actionable decisions.

With numerous drone service options for tower owners, station engineers and sales and marketing teams to choose from, the need of climbers outside of installation and hands-on maintenance is a thing of the past. Perhaps the greatest benefit of using drones is “tower surveys,” video inspections of a structure prior to any climbers arriving onsite. Climbers can use the imagery to ensure the structure is safe, thus minimizing injury of death.

The reports are also used as interactive engineering tools to mitigate customer viewership issues.

Historically, data was just used to prove FCC minimum requirements were met. Now it’s so much more than that. Drones identify damage, exactly where it is, and make it easier to fix so the signal is back quicker.

Safe and smart, good with money

Advertising only works if it reaches its audience. On the FM side, advertising is dependent upon how far it can go. If a signal is compromised, not reaching its target, advertising is not being delivered and revenues are not being fully generated.

Salespeople, therefore, have become enormous drone fans. The drone captures the data to provide an actual picture and model of the coverage, not a hypothetical. Salespeople are able to use the reports as sales tools to give advertisers factual, visible data about demographics making success more attainable, sales are increased, and stations can charge more money for advertising.

It’s all about the Base(line)

Have you ever asked yourself: Is my 50-year-old tower as sound structurally as it was 50 years ago? Am I getting all the signal strength I should from it, and do I even know what I should expect from it?

Well, the answer is probably not. There could be mistakes residing on the tower for 20, 30 or 40 years. There could be a bee’s hive, or a bird’s nest, or maybe someone painted over something that shouldn’t have been painted over and signal strength is being compromised, or gradually degrading.

Chances are … you don’t know because no one has been up there in decades, maybe the last time was when a light bulb needed to be replaced.

Send the drone up and take a baseline for everything.  Whether the tower is five decades old, or it’s brand new, a baseline for your RF and structural effects will allow you to move forward confidently and evaluate solutions for problems down the road. You can explore, compare and determine what it takes to fix, and what makes sense to invest capital in, and what doesn’t.

In the past several years, numerous towers have fallen. A birds-eye inspection would have uncovered structural weaknesses that could have been repaired and a tower saved.

Once you’ve a baseline, how often should this be done? It depends on the initial find, the age of the equipment and if everything meets regulations.

In the beginning, we’d recommend every five years, but if something changes, or something happens such as a problem with your signal or you’ve been notified that you’re radiating too much out of the line, then send in the drones, because perhaps a seal is broken and you can’t see it, but a drone can and no one’s safety is put in jeopardy.

The Bottom Line

And here’s the section everyone has been waiting for!

First, reports of this magnitude that supported both engineering and sales didn’t exist until now. Secondly, cost and delivery — about half price of a traditional minimal report by human engineers would cost approximately $60,000 to $75,000 following a week and a half of data collection that would result in about 40 photos.

QCommunications fees are approximately $20,000 to $45,000 and include an interactive HD 4K video and interactive visual and planning tools. QComm also encourages engineers to witness the drone data collection process in real time and see their structure preliminary pattern start to generate on their screens for immediate results. A comprehensive report is then delivered within 10 days.

The post The End of the Needless Climb appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Spotify Aims for More In-Car Listening

Radio World - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 16:14
Spotify Car Thing

The in-car media experience is clearly no longer broadcast radio’s sanctuary, and it looks as if competition in the dashboard will further intensify with Spotify announcing a new aftermarket streaming device called Car Thing.

The rollout of the gadget will allow Spotify diehards to more easily find their fave playlists and podcasts, and stunningly Spotify says the new streaming device will help accelerate its push into live audio, including a feature that will allow podcast hosts to have interactions with listeners.

Spotify, which says Car Thing can be controlled by voice, touchscreen or physical controls, says it seized upon the idea of the dedicated smartplayer to promote a “seamless and personalized in-car listening experience.” Interestingly, the company says the release of Car Thing is not meant to compete with in-car infotainment systems.

[Read: Amazon’s Alexa Gets in the Car]

“Instead, it’s another step in our larger ubiquity strategy to create a frictionless audio experience for our users,” Spotify says in a promotional statement for Car Thing. Despite the development of the new streaming device, the company says it remains focused on “developing its catalogue of music and podcasts and not on creating hardware.”

From promotional photos, Car Thing appears to be about the size of an average cellphone with a display screen and large round dial that navigates user functions. The case appears to feature four push buttons for pre-sets. The photos show the streaming device clipped to air vents in the center console of a vehicle.

Spotify’s push to “interactivity” with users was fortified with the recent acquisition of Betty Labs, creators of Locker Room, a sports-intensive live audio app. The acquisition last month foreshadowed Spotify’s seemingly new interest in live audio. In fact, Spotify promotes the Car Thing as a “new listening device with live audio experiences” all from “a smartplayer that fills the car with music, news, entertainment, talk and more.”

Some radio industry followers say that description sounds surprisingly very similar to broadcast radio. In addition, Spotify’s moves come at a time when many radio broadcasters are rebranding themselves as “audio” companies. Jerry Del Colliano observed the irony in his Inside Music Media newsletter this week and theorized Spotify might even someday develop personality music shows in order to compete more directly with radio.

Del Colliano pondered: “The more important issue for radio is since they can’t compete with streaming playlists, and the sheer volume of available music discovery and no commercials, [will Spotify] reinvent the morning personality and add one for afternoon drive as well?”

The Spotify-only Car Thing is currently available on an invite-only basis in the United States so most will have to wait. However, Spotify users can join a waiting list, the company says. The device requires a paid Spotify Premium subscription and a smartphone with Wi-Fi or aux cable to connect to the vehicle. Its anticipated retail price is $79.99 plus monthly Premium subscription for ad-free music playlists, according to Spotify.

 

The post Spotify Aims for More In-Car Listening appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Monday at NAB Show Premiere: HD Radio Data Services

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 16:04

A Senior VP at Xperi has been selected to lead a NAB Show Premiere session scheduled for Monday (4/19) on the application of radio broadcasting in IoT and smart cities.

Ashruf El-Dinary, Xperi’s senior vice president, Digital Platforms, will join NAB Show Premiere on Monday, April 19 at 3:00 p.m. ET to outline a vision of how digital radio broadcasting can play a role in developing secure, low-cost communication services to millions of devices.

The session, “HD Radio Data Services: Radio Broadcasting Applications in IoT and Smart Cities,” and NAB Show Premiere are available exclusively on NAB Amplify. An NAB Amplify account is required to access the session.

El-Dinary will explore how HD radio broadcasting can:

  • Create cost-effective one-to-many data applications with a digital broadcast system for AM and FM radio stations;
  • Expand stations beyond a single audio program;
  • Provide multiple program services through multicasting;
  • Compete as a more accessible alternative to 5G.

El-Dinary will additionally lead an audience discussion after the session.

 

Categories: Industry News

A Spanish Radio Talker Is Put To A TV Station Owner in Miami

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 15:59

CORAL GABLES, FLA. — In a crowded television market that includes flagship properties from NBCUniversal’s Telemundo, Spanish Broadcasting System’s MegaTV and Univision Communications, in addition to Estrella Media’s owned-and-operated home for EstrellaTV, a pair of television stations have carved a niche of late as a local news source — en español — with a Conservative lean.

That programming tilt will soon be expanding to an AM radio station that has been offering a more balanced Spanish-language spoken word format for several years, thanks to a transaction that sees the executive of a “Put” agreement.

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Categories: Industry News

Rosenworcel Wants to “Revitalize” CSRIC

Radio World - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 15:25
An image from a recent online meeting of the seventh CSRIC.

The acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission plans to “refocus and revitalize” the group that advises the FCC on improving the security, reliability and interoperability of U.S. communications systems. And she wants it to focus on 5G.

The group is called the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council or CSRIC. It is re-chartered every couple of years; the one that’s expected to start in September will be the eighth iteration.

But Jessica Rosenworcel clearly wants a fresh start. She said the commission will “reestablish” the group with an emphasis on 5G network security. Also, in the wake of security breaches that affected the communications sector, she will ask it to review software and cloud service vulnerabilities and to develop mitigation strategies.

And she wants to diversify the group’s membership “to include a broad variety of stakeholders, including representation from the FCC’s federal partners with similar interests.”

[Read: FCC Will Explore EAS on the Internet]

She said her goal is “refocusing and revitalizing” the CSRIC “for the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

“The damage from recent supply chain attacks, like the SolarWinds software breach, demonstrates our need for a coordinated, multifaceted and strategic approach to protecting our networks from all threats,” she said in an announcement.

Among topics that prior CSRICs have explored are emergency alerting, national security preparedness, duplication in National Weather Service alerts, security challenges in Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), and Next Generation 911.

Members of the most recent group included agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FEMA and the National Weather Service; local police, fire and emergency management officials; media entities like iHeartMedia, Cox Communications and the Florida Association of Broadcasters; alerting entities including the AWARN Alliance; telecom companies like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon; and internet and security companies like Verisign and SecuLore Solutions.

That group concluded its work in March. The next one will be chartered for two years. The FCC is inviting nominations for membership and a chairperson.

The agency said it is particularly interested in getting nominations from government agencies that have expertise in communications, public safety, emergency management and/or homeland security matters; communications service providers, including broadcasters; developers of software apps and systems for mobile and desktop computing; developers of mobile devices and new technologies; users of communications systems in business, health care, finance and other sectors; and consumer and community organizations including those representing groups with special communications needs.

Details are laid out in the public notice (PDF). Nominations are due by June 1 and will be taken by email, but if you are interested, be sure to read the details and requirements in the public notice first.

 

The post Rosenworcel Wants to “Revitalize” CSRIC appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

U.S. Entertainment-On-Demand: The Latest Video Sub Numbers

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 15:15

MIAMI — The latest results from Kantar‘s report focused on “Entertainment On Demand” service in the U.S. is out, and it only further illustrates just how many consumers are paying for a SVOD service.

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California PUC Unanimously OKs Frontier’s Exit From Bankruptcy

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 14:50

LAKEWOOD RANCH, FLA. — The California Public Utilities Commission has unanimously voted to approve a MVPD engaged in a “Good Faith” complaint with Gray Television to emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The decision comes three months after the FCC gave its blessings.

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Categories: Industry News

AWMF Opens 2021 Scholarship Application Window

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 14:44

The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) Scholarship Program is now accepting applications for the 2021 fall semester.

In partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, and NCTA – The Internet and Television Association, AWMF recognizes and supports future generations of women in media with over $20,000 in scholarships awarded annually.

“For years, these generous partners have stood with AWMF to support, encourage, and promote women in the media industry at every level, and we are proud to continue that tradition of advancing women in media,” said Heather Cohen, Chair of the AWMF Board of Directors. “Now, more than ever, we are proud to provide deserving young women the opportunity to complete their education and meet their full potential.”

The AWMF Scholarship Program opportunities include:

Ford Emerging Voices Scholarship

In partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund, the “Emerging Voices” Scholarship consists of one $5,000 scholarship for a student pursuing a media career as a producer, writer, director or on the business side of media companies in areas such as television, radio, digital media, streaming, publishing, advertising, and production, made payable directly to the student’s educational institute in the name of Ford Motor Company Fund for the 2021 fall academic semester. The selected winner will be given the opportunity to be mentored by an Alliance for Women in Media Board member. Winning submissions will be featured on AWM’s website and social networks. The mission of the Ford Motor Company fund is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Education is the foundation for success. It is key to making lives better, creating social change and building sustainable communities. That’s why Ford Fund invests more than $16 million annually to support educational initiatives that empower people to envision and lead change in their communities or in their own lives.

 

Ford Empowering America Scholarship

In partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund, the “Empowering America” Scholarship program consists of one $5,000 scholarship for a winning student pursuing a media career as talent in front of the camera or microphone in an area such as television, radio, or digital media, made payable directly to the student’s educational institute in the name of Ford Motor Company Fund for the 2021 fall academic semester. The selected winner will be given the opportunity to work with the Ford Motor Company Fund to conduct interviews as part of the Faces of Ford Fund program. Winning submissions will be featured on AWM’s website and social networks.

Loreen Arbus Foundation & AWMF Scholarship

The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation engaged in a partnership with The Loreen Arbus Foundation to focus on the needs, achievements, contributions, and stories of citizens with disabilities. The Loreen Arbus Foundation and AWMF Scholarship provides a deserving female communications/media undergraduate or graduate student with a scholarship to their educational institution for $2,500 and a ticket to attend an upcoming AWM event. Winning submissions will be featured on AWM’s website and social networks.  The Loreen Arbus Foundation supports a broad scope of interests including advocacy for women and girls, scientific and medical research, minorities, people with disabilities, gender and racial equality in media, the arts, animal rights, and global peace. The Foundation has established and funds many scholarships that both enhance and elevate social consciousness around key societal issues. Loreen Arbus holds the trailblazing distinction of being the first woman to head programming for a U.S. network, a feat accomplished twice (both at Showtime and Cable Health Network/Lifetime).

NCTA & AWMF Scholarship

The NCTA – The Internet and Television Association & AWMF Scholarship allows a deserving female communications/media undergraduate or graduate student to create an original piece (essay, digital short, video, animation, multi-media or other concept chosen by the student) that will be featured in NCTA and AWMF media distribution channels. In addition, the chosen student will receive a scholarship to their educational institution for $5,000 and a ticket to attend an upcoming AWM event. This scholarship serves to fund a promising student’s education as well as to provide a unique and compelling piece for her resume. NCTA believes in a technology and entertainment future that will advance innovation, inspire creativity, unleash connectivity, and exceed consumer expectations for a wide range of high-quality services. Annually, the organization donates millions to efforts that include everything from enhancing student learning and digital literacy, to restoring and rebuilding towns after natural disasters, and much more.

The Alliance for Women in Media, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, is the longest-established professional association dedicated to advancing women in all facets of media. The Foundation supports educational programs and scholarships and hosts the Gracie Awards, which recognize individual achievement and programing by, for, and about women at the student, local, and national level.

To learn more about the AWMF scholarship opportunities and to apply, visit https://allwomeninmedia.org/foundation/scholarships/.  

Scholarship materials are due by June 11, 2021.

Categories: Industry News

CPB Reveals Distribution Plan for ‘American Rescue Plan Act’ Funds

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 14:35

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)‘s Board of Directors has unanimously approved a distribution plan for the $175 million of emergency stabilization funds for public media.

These funds were included in the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law on March 11.

As enacted, the American Rescue Plan Act provides $175 million “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including for fiscal stabilization grants to public telecommunications entities, as defined in section 397 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 397), with no deduction for administrative or other costs of the Corporation, to maintain programming and services and preserve small and rural stations threatened by declines in non-Federal revenues.”

The distribution plan reflects the consensus recommendation of an advisory group of public radio and television system representatives convened by CPB in March. The group developed a simple, equitable and impactful funding formula that divides the $175 million among television and radio grantees and ensures the preservation of small or rural stations.

Of the $175 million, $100 million will be calculated using the CARES Act formula that was developed in April 2020 in order to prioritize funding to small, rural and/or minority stations. The remaining $75 million will be distributed according to the respective television and radio Community Service Grant (CSG) formulas, which also take into account stations’ service to rural communities, as well as the number of transmitters needed to cover large geographic areas, and the amount raised in non-federal financial support (NFFS).

“Public media stations across the country are informing their local communities about the latest coronavirus vaccine and economic developments, increasing access to remote learning with innovative educational resources, and providing vital health and safety information,” CPB President/CEO Pat Harrison said. “The stabilization funding from Congress will support essential public media services and sustain the broad reach and access that keeps public media resources available online, over-the-air and in communities across the country. I want to express our deep appreciation to Congress for their strong, bipartisan support of public media. I would also like to thank the advisory group that worked so quickly to develop a thoughtful plan for equitably distributing these much-needed funds in a way that honors Congress’ intent.”

CPB will expeditiously distribute the American Rescue Plan stabilization grants to each station licensee.

A list of grantees and their grant amounts can be found on the CPB website.

Categories: Industry News

Roku Completes Nielsen Deal, With Abcarian Shifting

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 14:12

Seven weeks ago, Nielsen and Roku shared details about “a new strategic alliance” that the companies believe will help shape the future of media and TV measurement.

This saw Roku purchase Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising business.

As of today, that transaction is now complete — as is the transition of Kelly Abcarian.

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Categories: Industry News

Survey Says U.S. Radio Listeners Engaged and Receptive to Ads

Radio World - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 11:48

In these challenging times, or perhaps because of them, radio continues to play an important role in the lives of consumers, and the majority of radio listeners are receptive to sponsorship messages on the platform. Around 156 million Americans 18+ — 63% of adults — listen to AM/FM radio daily, and they are attracted to it for several reasons.

That’s according to “Radio: Live on Air and Everywhere,” a recent survey conducted by NPR and Edison Research, which also identified six segments of radio listeners, based on why they listen:

  • Radio Heads (9% of radio listeners) — Listen for all audio needs; listen to the most radio;
  • Connection Seekers (16% of radio listeners) — Listen for company and connection;
  • Infomaniacs (18% of radio listeners) — Listen for their need to consume news and information;
  • Rhythm Rockers (27% of radio listeners) — Listen for their need to consume music;
  • Laidback Listeners (17% of radio listeners) — Listen to radio only in the background;
  • Habitualists (13% of radio listeners) — Listen to radio when it is the only option available.

AM/FM radio listeners are more engaged with ads on radio than ads on TV or social media, according to the research, which also said that the heaviest users of radio are also the most open to its advertising messages.

The survey suggested an interesting breakdown of NPR vs. AM/FM listeners. When ranked by time spent listening, the leading three groups, Radioheads, Connection Seekers and Infomaniacs preferred NPR. On the other hand, the trailing three, Rhythm Rockers, Laidback Listeners and Habitualists, listened more to AM/FM radio.

The findings were presented in a webinar hosted by NPR VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick.

 

The post Survey Says U.S. Radio Listeners Engaged and Receptive to Ads appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Beasley Chief’s Clubhouse Chat: Radio’s In A Good Spot

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 10:45

What’s the typical day behind the scenes at Beasley Media Group?

CEO Caroline Beasley on Friday morning (4/16) offered listeners to a live Radio Ink interview on the Clubhouse app an inside peek at life at the audio media and eSports company.

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Categories: Industry News

Alpha Media’s $267 Million Wound: Is West Palm Beach To Blame?

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 10:30

WEST PALM BEACH — From hugely successful News/Talk KXL-FM 101.1 to Adult Alternative KINK-FM, Alpha Media’s home market station group is highly competitive. So are such stations as WDJX-FM in Louisville, and WDHT-FM “Hot 102.9” in Dayton.

Other markets are laggards for Alpha, including many that came with its $254 million purchase of Digity LLC in 2016. Alpha completed the transaction in early 2017.

It included a forlorn group of stations in West Palm Beach, including Hot Adult Contemporary blowtorch WRMF-FM 97.9, which can be heard from Indian River County south to Key Largo.

These stations, Wilson claims in the FCC filing, were crux to the Digity deal. “Alpha acquired a group of incredibly high-performing stations … The West Palm Beach Cluster had phenomenal signal clarity and reach, management, employees, and advertising revenue. Without the West Palm Beach Cluster, Alpha would not have been interested in acquiring Digity, LLC.”

Why, then, did Alpha in late September 2018 agree to spin WRMF along with Country WIRK-FM 103.1, FOX Sports Radio affiliate WMEN-AM 640, Classic Hits WEAT-FM “Sunny 107.9,” Urban AC WMBX-FM “X102.3,” Rhythmic Top 40 “Party 96.3” W242CI, which uses the WMBX HD2 signal, and Talk WFTL-AM 850?

That’s open to interpretation.

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CPB Announces Federal Grant Amounts

Radio World - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 10:23
Hands-on legislation: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hold the signed American Rescue Plan Act in March. (Photo OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Almost 400 public radio stations in the United States now know how much federal grant money they will receive related to the pandemic.

The majority of the radio grants are in the $100,000 to $300,000 range, though there are larger ones, like (for example) KVOD(FM) in Centennial, Colo., which will receive $548,000, and WBEZ(FM) in Chicago will get $740,400.

And three biggies will get between $1 million and $1.4 million each; they are WNYC(FM) in New York, KSJN(FM) in St. Paul and KQED(FM) in San Francisco.

This is part of $175 million in emergency stabilization funds for public media provided by Congress in the American Rescue Plan Act.

The money is “fiscal stabilization grants to public telecommunications entities … to maintain programming and services and preserve small and rural stations threatened by declines in non-federal revenues.”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has the job of deciding how to distribute it, and CPB announced Thursday that its board had unanimously approved a distribution plan.

Its allocations were decided by an advisory group of public radio and TV representatives. They decided to split the $175 million pool equally between television and radio.

The amount awarded to each station was calculated by adding the sums of two formulas.

Of the $175 million, $100 million was calculated using the CARES Act formula developed earlier to prioritize small, rural and/or minority stations. The rest was calculated according to Community Service Grant formulas, which take into account various factors including service to rural communities, number of transmitters to cover large areas and the amount raised in non-federal support.

These funds are not intended to cover costs of new technology initiatives, though certain urgent replacement of equipment is provided for.

Pat Harrison, president/CEO of CPB, said in an announcement, “The stabilization funding from Congress will support essential public media services and sustain the broad reach and access that keeps public media resources available online, over-the-air and in communities across the country.” Harrison thanked Congress “for their strong, bipartisan support of public media.”

A list of grantees and their amounts is on the CPB website and at the link below.

American Rescue Act Award Recipients (PDF)

The post CPB Announces Federal Grant Amounts appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Alpha Bite: Could Founder, Former CEO Thwart Chapter 11 Emergence?

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 08:59

Former Alpha Media CEO Larry Wilson, who was pushed out of the company back in 2018, has filed a 191 page document with the FCC that accuses his former company of misleading the FCC, making decisions without proper board approval and challenging Alpha’s qualifications as a broadcast licensee.

Wilson’s filing makes public what has been whispered about in the industry for years; that the breakup between Wilson and its current management, including current CEO Bob Proffitt, was very messy with long friendships shattered. Alpha filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

In his petition, which targets four Alpha license renewals, Wilson’s attorney’s say that in their 40 years of practice before the FCC they have never encountered such blatant, unlawful self-dealing by directors of a privately held licensee, flippant false certifications to the FCC and unauthorized transfers of control.

Wilson alleges two private equity funds usurped control of the privately held broadcast licensee from its Board of Directors and ran the company into the ground. He says that was done by “attempting to cut costs to achieve profitability, and then promote a prepackaged bankruptcy plan that would erase the obligations owed to secured and unsecured creditors and minority stockholders to the advantage of management and the private equity funds.”

Wilson alleges that his former company committed several illegal acts, misrepresentations and demonstrations of a lack of candor to the Commission.
He alleges the company of:
– making false certifications on multiple FCC applications.
– purporting to adopt changes to Alpha’s governing documents in a post-hoc effort to cover up past misdeeds and to remove nearly all duties owed by Alpha’s directors to the company and its shareholders
– transferring control of fundamental aspects of Alpha’s business operations to various people and entities without Board authorization to effect such transfers, and, most recently, further delegating substantial control of the company to a “Special Independent Committee,” all – ii – without publicly disclosing such transfers of control to the FCC and requesting prior Commission approval of such transfers of control; and, finally
– pursuing a foreign ownership structure with the purpose and intent to freeze the current Alpha domestic shareholders out of the company and for the sole benefit of Alpha management, private equity investors, and foreign entities.

Wilson says, “all of these facts reveal fundamental character defects that call into question the applicant’s qualifications as a broadcast licensee—and, concomitantly, the applicant’s ability to satisfy its mandate to serve the public interest.”

The petition concludes by stating “Alpha is on fire as a result of the facts and misdeeds set forth in this Petition. Petitioner therefore respectfully requests that the Commission deny the above-captioned applications or, in the alternative, designate the applications for a hearing on the issues specified in this Petition.”

Read the entire petition filed at the FCC HERE.

Categories: Industry News

Affiliation Swaps Mark ABC News, ViacomCBS Changes

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 08:59

On Wednesday (4/14), ABC News officially announced the much-discussed arrival of Kim Godwin as its new President. It involves a former CBS News leader.

Following Thursday’s Closing Bell on Wall Street, CBS News responded with some major news of its own. Parent ViacomCBS is combining “the journalistic and business resources” of its news division with its owned television stations “into one divisional and leadership structure.”

This will see a pair of presidents and co-heads in this newly integrated structure for ViacomCBS. One just happens to be a woman who spent 11 years in the ABC family — most recently as President of its owned stations.

Wendy McMahon

Wendy McMahon is joining Neeraj Khemlani in taking a role as a president and co-head of the newly formed division, which does not have a name as of today.

Khemlani has a strong print journalism background, and was most recently EVP and Deputy Group Head for Hearst Newspapers, owner of such publications as the San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and the Times Union serving Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.

But, it is a return to CBS for him: Khemlani spent eight years as a producer on 60 Minutes and spinoff news magazine 60 Minutes II.

What does this mean for CBS News President Susan Zirinsky?

Zirinsky will continue in the role until the new leadership has started in early May, ViacomCBS says, and will assist with the transition. “The company is in discussions with Zirinsky for a significant role at a new CBS News Content Studio to be launched later this year,” the company adds, signaling that she will not be departing the company but shifting to a different leadership position.

Neeraj Khemlani

Khemlani and McMahon each report to CBS Entertainment Group President/CEO George Cheeks.

“This is an opportunity to create a news and information structure that positions CBS for the future,” Cheeks said. “It speaks to our ability to scale newsgathering, production, technical and operational resources to serve both national and local, linear and digital, with the agility to deliver trusted information to every platform. Wendy and Neeraj have the leadership background and cross-platform accomplishments that cover all these important areas, and they share our commitment for supporting superior journalism, optimal delivery platforms and the strongest of organizational cultures.”

Specifically, the unified ViacomCBS division will bring under one management structure CBS News, growing streaming news service CBSN and 28 CBS-owned stations in 17 U.S. markets. “It will maximize the power of CBS’s newsgathering and production operations to serve audiences across all national, digital, local and global platforms,” ViacomCBS says.

The appointment of McMahon is also a return to CBS for the longtime ABC employee: From 2006-2009 she served as Creative Services Director at CBS’s WBZ-4 and WSBK-38 in Boston. McMahon previously held a similar role at CBS O&O WCCO-4 in Minneapolis.

“I’m excited to return home to CBS and work with George and Neeraj to build out a unique and inspired structure that brings together the best in journalism, digital innovation and collaboration, to serve audiences at a time when trusted news and information — the hallmark of CBS — has never been more needed,” McMahon said. “Driven by the ingenuity, experience and dedication of the storytellers and teams at CBS News and our local stations, we are committed to reflecting the communities where we operate while cultivating a culture grounded in trust.”

McMahon’s history at ABC dates to her arrival at KABC in September 2009. She rose through the ranks, becoming SVP/Digital at ABC Television Network Online in 2015. On Jan. 1, 2018, McMahon was selected President of ABC Owned Television Stations Group.

McMahon began her career as Promotion Manager for Gray Television’s dominant CBS affiliated WTOC-11 in Savannah, Ga., upon graduation from Louisiana State University in 1996.

The ViacomCBS followed ABC’s appointment of Godwin, who will now oversee editorial and business operations for broadcast, digital, streaming and audio news across the organization.

Godwin had been “second-in-command” as an EVP at CBS News, in charge of newsgathering.

She’s also served as Exec. Director for Development and Diversity at CBS News, and as a senior broadcast producer of the “CBS Evening News.” She joined the network in 2007.

Before that, Godwin served as the acting news director and assistant news director at WCBS-2 in New York.

Earlier in her career, Godwin was the VP/News Operations for NBC Television Stations, and held key ND roles for KNBC-4 in Los Angeles and KXAS-5 in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Categories: Industry News

Alpha Responds to Wilson, Stone Claims

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 08:56

As first reported by Streamline Publishing’s Radio Ink, former Alpha Media CEO and its founder, Larry Wilson, through attorneys at Brooks Pierce, wants the Audio Division of the FCC’s Media Bureau to deny the license renewal of four stations due to actions made over several years without — according to Wilson — full board approval.

The accusations by Wilson are numerous, and accusatory.

And, they came alongside another petition to deny filed by Southern Stone Communications‘ founder, also a minority investor in Alpha Media.

Alpha Media responded with a statement sent to Radio Ink early Friday.

“While we believe the petition is based on inaccurate information and baseless claims, Alpha Media remains squarely focused on serving our communities and operating our radio stations across the United States,” Alpha said. “Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges, and we are proud of what all of our teams have accomplished in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Alpha also notes that it continues to achieve “significant progress” in its financial restructuring process, confirmed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Va., “and best positions Alpha Media with strong financial partners to navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities.”

While all has appeared to be positive for Alpha, with an emergence from debtor-in-possession status all but certain, Wilson reemerged with fighting words submitted via a 191-page document with the FCC. In the filing, made to the attention of the Media Bureau’s Audio Division and his chief, Al Shuldiner, attorneys Mark J. Prak and Patrick Cross of Brooks Pierce lobbed several accusations against Alpha the FCC’s way.

Much of Wilson’s argument centers on the $88 million sale of a group of radio stations in West Palm Beach to Hubbard Broadcasting, which closed in early 2019.

And, while Wilson’s petition has received the majority of attention, a smaller but equally important petition to deny has been submitted to the Commission by Southern Stone Communications head Paul Stone.

He seeks a denial of Alpha Media’s request to increase its foreign ownership concentration via a temporary waiver of the Commission’s rules.

 

Categories: Industry News

The Financial Health of Pay TV’s Sports Nets

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 00:17

Across 2020, several multichannel operators  — including Comcast and Charter Communications — issued upward of $1 billion in rebates to subscribers following the cancellation and suspension of major televised sporting events.

Now, Kagan, the media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, is putting the finishing touches on its annual Sports report. It examines how 2020’s sports programming numbers stacked up against prior years.

The report also provides status updates on the latest in the sports programming market and how pay TV operators are responding to the increases in sports programming costs.

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Categories: Industry News

Community Broadcaster: Hidden Figures

Radio World - Thu, 04/15/2021 - 19:33

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

More than ever, media organizations and other businesses are being open about salary ranges. For a previous generation, this kind of public posting about salaries was unheard of. Yet leaders are seeing there are advantages to this approach.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: How Stations Fight the Virus]

Many of us have seen generic wording before in listings. “Salary commensurate with experience” or variations thereof. For years, this obfuscation around pay was the norm. it benefits the employer to keep pay quiet, so the boss has room come negotiation time. However, big pushes for salary transparency in media have emerged the last three years, with some fields sharing what a baseline could and should be. These tendencies have rattled the fashion we’re accustomed to seeing salaries.

How does your station handle salary and wages in its employment searches? And how can this change be a win?

Almost as common in the generic language are situations where a promising candidate withdraws from a search. In the worst cases, they may drop out after they’ve gotten the offer. Why? In many instances, it is because the employer was cagey about the bottom line until the very last minute. That’s unacceptable for the candidate, who walks away with the impression your station may be cheap and is apt to hide it; and for the station, which just expended hours of paid staff time for a process they’ll now have to restart, all because they avoided a discussion that could have been cleared up by the very first posting.

Some may think that, by posting a salary range, you’ll limit the number of candidates. But really, what’s better: a small pool of candidates who know what they’re walking into, or a large pool of candidates in the dark and needing to either be persuaded by other perks or lied to by omission until the offer comes? And which candidate has higher morale coming in to the job?

There’s also an argument for fairness and diversity in hiring by being open. Last year, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters started collecting anonymously reported salary and wage data. “Chances are you are not facing pressure on pay fairness at the moment. That does not mean your community radio station can’t work on equity and your mission,” the page notes. And it’s true. More organizations want to build trust with candidates, and transparency is a means to uphold this value.

Pay transparency represents a cultural change for radio. But such a change needn’t be difficult. In fact, such change can meet our missions.

The post Community Broadcaster: Hidden Figures appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Scripps Plans to Redeem Its 2025 Senior Notes

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 04/15/2021 - 16:17

The E.W. Scripps Company said after Thursday’s Closing Bell that it intends to redeem all $400 million in aggregate principal of its outstanding 5.125% senior notes due 2025.

The redemption will be made in accordance with the terms of the indenture governing the notes and the terms of the notice of redemption.

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Categories: Industry News

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