It’s a newly created position for Patrick Butkus, who was most recently Director of Acquisition Marketing at Discovery streaming products discovery+ and GOLFTV. He’ll be responsible for building and enhancing recognition of the Acast brand, products and services globally.
Lizzy Pollott, Acast’s SVP Marketing Communications and Brand, said, “Pat is a really important addition to our growing global marketing team, and will allow us to get the Acast brand in front of thousands more creators, listeners and brands, all around the world.
Butkus added, “The name ‘Acast’ is one I’ve heard more and more over the past couple of years, and it’s easy to see why it’s become such a high-profile player in the creator economy — this is an innovative, ambitious podcast company with the leadership and vision in place to become the world leader. I’m looking forward to playing my part in making that happen.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lerman Senter has added a Member to the firm, and it is a woman who first joined the communications, technology and media-focused PLLC on L Street NW in April 2020 as Counsel.
A Senior Director of Content Strategy and Inclusive Journalism has been selected for the Local Media division of The E.W. Scripps Company. It’s a new role that the company says “will help all Scripps television stations better connect with their audiences.”
Radio imaging, voiceover, programming, podcasting and jingles company Benztown has appointed an East Coast Director of Commercial Production.
It’s an individual who was previously Creative Services Director for iHeartMedia radio stations in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where she’s been for the last nine years.
Taking the position is MJ Bloch, a role that will also see Bloch serve in the position at Benztown client Yamanair Creative.
Dave “Chachi” Denes, President at Benztown, said, “We’re excited to have MJ Bloch join
our all-star team as East Coast Director of Commercial Production. Her incredible talent
and deep experience as a producer make her an industry go-to, and our client
Yamanair Creative and their customers and listeners will love what they hear. The fact
that MJ has done contract work for us in the past and knows our systems is a definite
advantage and makes her a terrific fit for this position.”
Bloch added, “I am overjoyed to join the incredible team at Benztown. They
have been family and friends for years, a trusted name for quality wherever I was
working, and now, I get to be part of that team! It’s a dream come true! We look forward
to continuing to super-serve our clients and produce incredible branding and advertising
campaigns for radio stations across the globe.”
Private equity firm Banneker Partners acquired industry facility management software firm Xytech Systems, the latter announced. Terms of the acquisition were not available.
“We see this as a strategic investment to accelerate Xytech’s ability to enhance their solution offering and operational delivery capabilities in this key market segment,” said Kenneth Frank, partner at Banneker Partners, in the announcement, which was made with Xytech CEO Richard Gallagher.
Gallagher said Xytech has worked to “bring facility management into the next generation” to help media companies become more efficient and productive.
He said Banneker has an investment focus on software solutions aimed at specific verticals “and willingness to invest to scale operational delivery, product innovation and sales and marketing.”
Banneker Partners is an enterprise-software-focused private equity firm based in San Francisco.
Last April, Xytech acquired the ScheduALL brand of enterprise resource management software.
More information is available on the company’s website.
Submit business announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TASCAM is updating its firmware for the Mixcast 4 Podcast Station with built-in recorder/USB audio interface. The Mixcast 4, suitable for podcast creation, live streaming, event production or voiceover work, offers enhanced audio production capabilities, the company said.
The V1.20 update enables users to apply a global voice effect to any or all four mic inputs. This can be useful for raising or lowering the timbre of one’s voice for dramatic effect or for creating a podcast featuring various character voices.
V1.20 will allow input gain control for the USB, Bluetooth and 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) auxiliary input for outside calls or an additional input. To prevent audio feedback, the update also features automatic mute on monitor out when the Mixcast 4 microphone inputs are active.
Three additional enhancements complete the update.
The audio level display is indicated in decibels, as opposed to the green/red color-only indicators, giving users a more accurate reference for signal strength. The audio ducking control is applied to the sound pads for automatic ducking when speaking over musicbeds or when effects are played from the sound pads. And, lastly, front-panel channel buttons are assigned as a Jump function for quick access to individual channel settings.
TASCAM plans to have the Mixcast 4 V1.20 update available in February. It can be downloaded here.
In mid-December, noted Washington communications attorney David Oxenford shared details of a new joint letter posted on the Radio Music License Committee website that shed light on a possible settlement with Global Music Rights (GMR) that would settle their long-running litigation over the royalties that the commercial radio industry will pay for the public performance of music written by GMR composers.
A “conditional confidential settlement” has now been distributed to RMLC members that outlines a member station’s ability to obtain future licenses from GMR to avoid potential copyright infringement.
Asked for comment, RMLC Executive Director Bill Velez said, “At this juncture, neither side is commenting beyond what has been transmitted to radio operators.”
But, what was sent to RMLC Members contains important information concerning a conditional settlement of antitrust litigation that dates to late 2016. The battle was bruising, with RMLC striking first in November 2016. A month later, GMR countersued, assailing the RMLC as “an illegal cartel.”
At long last, those war cries appear to be squelched, as RMLC has offered instructions to its members on their ability to continue to obtain a GMR license after the current one expires.
Importantly, an election is required by January 31.
“GMR will send each broadcaster a direct communication about the settlement, which is confidential and should not be discussed outside your radio group,” the RMLC said.
It added, “The conditional settlement recognizes a shared desire by both sides to resolve these disputes and to find a way for radio stations and GMR to work together on a long-term basis without repeatedly resorting to litigation. The resulting conditional settlement reflects a commitment by GMR to treat all similarly situated radio stations consistently
and to ensure that radio stations … have access to the performance rights you currently need as well as those you may need in the future as your business evolves and grows.”
The conditional settlement also reflects changes in the licensing landscape, including growth in GMR’s roster, since the parties filed these lawsuits five years ago, the RMLC says.
The settlement opens the door to long-term license agreements to commence on April 1, 2022. However, there is one important — and large — caveat.
The settlement is “conditional” because it will be finalized only if a sufficient percentage of radio stations opt into the settlement by signing the form license agreement that
RMLC and GMR negotiated. The negotiated form license agreement, with member
stations’ annual license fees, will be sent directly by GMR via e-mail.
What happens if a significant number of RMLC members say no to the settlement?
“While it is ultimately your decision whether to enter into the license, we strongly
encourage your company to consider this negotiated settlement offer if your
stations desire to continue publicly performing songs in the GMR repertory,” the RMLC advised. “It will put an end to five years of litigation between RMLC and GMR, and give radio stations the opportunity to perform GMR works for several years with rate certainty. If an insufficient percentage of radio stations accept the negotiated license with GMR, the settlement will not be finalized and the litigation will continue.”
Thus, the RMLC has issued to its members a “take it or leave it” notice. A “no” to the settlement means more litigation, and GMR has made zero commitment to offer any other license to Radio once the current interim license expires at the end of the first quarter of 2022.
“[If] this settlement fails and the litigation continues, there is no guarantee GMR will make another license available to your stations at all, much less at the prices in this settlement,” RMLC warns.
Some of the NAB’s best technological minds are giving their predictions about breakthrough technologies will arrive in 2022.
The forward-looking forecast from NAB technologists points to greater use of artificial intelligence in broadcasting, as well as the expansion of all-digital AM, among other breakouts.
John Clark, executive director of NAB’s PILOT, sees an explosion of voice-based services in the year ahead. “Whether it’s a car, TV, radio, phone or appliances in your home, you’ll find that you’re talking more than ever,” Clark said.
Clark envisions a day when those conversations will be more natural as consumers become more comfortable talking with multiple interfaces.
Meanwhile, the rollout of artificial intelligence will continue to have an impact on broadcasting, playing a more significant role in the industry, said Sam Matheny, chief technology officer at NAB.
“It could take many forms — ranging from content creation and conversion, inventory analysis, relationship management, weather forecasting, automated captioning, translation, asset recognition, or some other application,” Methany predicted.
Methany wrote on the predictions post at NABPILOT.org that he doesn’t see “fully enabled, self-contained solutions,” but rather incremental AI tools that, “when combined with human expertise, deliver measurable operational improvements.”
David Layer, VP of advanced engineering for NAB, foresees the expansion of all-digital AM in the United States with more stations launching the service now that AM broadcasters in the U.S. can replace their analog AM with an HD Radio all-digital AM signal.
“A handful of broadcasters made the leap in 2021, and my prediction is that we will see more stations do the same in 2022,” Layer said.
Layer cited a number of benefits to all-digital AM, including improved audio quality, reduced adjacent-channel interference, expanded coverage and support for metadata, such as song title and artist information and artwork. Of course, Layer said, the flip side is all-digital AM signals are not receivable on analog radios.
All the AM stations switching to all-digital have FM translators or affiliated FM radio stations, Layer noted, which means their signals are still receivable on analog radios. “However, as the number of automobiles with HD Radio receivers continues to rise over time, whether to switch or not will become an easier question to answer,” Layer said.
Jeremy Sinon, vice president of digital strategy at Hubbard Radio, offered that hybrid radio dashboards — with streaming audio and OTA displays — will end up being the catalyst to finally seeing HD subchannels having true potential as they are no longer buried in dashboard interfaces.
“Demos of Hybrid Radio-enabled dashboards rolling off new car lots show HD subchannels sitting in the same tier as their HD-1 counterparts. Consumers using these dashboards will not know the difference between a main station and subchannels,” Sinon said.
However, Sinon wrote, the “true pay-off [for broadcasters] won’t be available for years to come as hybrid radio prevalence is a ways away.”
Under a new strategic plan approved by its board of directors in December, RTBF plans to wind down its FM and DVB-T signals over the next five years. RTBF is the public service broadcaster for Wallonia, the French-speaking half of Belgium.
The new five-year plan replaces the “Vision 2022” initiative RTBF adopted in 2016. The new plan places an emphasis on the digital transition, streaming, and younger audiences. According to reports in the French-language newspaper Le Soir, the RTBF board worked with consultancy Deloitte considering three scenarios: the migration of audiences away from traditional platforms, the difficulty of procuring original content, and increasing competition in a globalized media market.
As part of adapting to the expected changes, RTBF would shut down digital terrestrial television signals in favor of IPTV and migrate its FM services to DAB+ by 2027.
The latest IPSOS/maRaido.be survey found, as of year-end 2020, that 80 percent of people in French-speaking Belgium were familiar with DAB+ and some 20 percent of people use a DAB+ receiver. The same survey found that about half of all radio listening in Wallonia was done via a digital platform (DAB+, streaming or digital television).
With Nexstar Media Group‘s merger with Tribune Broadcasting — a transaction originally planned by Sinclair Broadcast Group until the Pai Commission questioned Sinclair’s close relationship to station spinoff partners — the company founded by Perry Sook in Scranton, Pa., became one of the most important affiliate partners of The CW Network.
Now, according to multiple reports Nexstar’s not commenting on, it appears the nation’s largest Over-The-Air TV station group seeks to take a sizable equity interest in the network known for its young adult programming, including just-concluded sci-fi series “The 100.”
By Brian Galante
RAYMOND, ME. — For many low-power television station licensees, the multilevel ROI opportunities associated with ATSC 3.0 and NEXTGEN TV — getting a big splash in Las Vegas at CES 2022 — could mean big dollars for savvy operators investing in the right technology.
Among the companies with LPTVs in its stable taking the lead with ATSC 3.0 is ARK Multicasting. It’s just selected a Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned antenna provider to usher in the NEXTGEN era at its television stations.
The Wyoming Association of Broadcasters are adding two long-time sportscasters to its Hall of Fame: Gene “Gabby” Barrus of Cody, Wyo., and Tim Ray of Grand Junction, Colo. The pair will be inducted into the WAB Hall of Fame at WAB’s annual convention on June 11, 2022, in Cody.
Barrus began his play-by-play career at KODI(AM) in Cody in 1947 and later served as the station’s sports director. Curt Gowdy, 2003 WAB Hall of Fame inductee, once referred to Barrus as “the voice of high school sports in Wyoming.” He spend more than 20 years on air, mostly at KODI, and was a mentor to many future sports broadcasters in the state. Barrus passed away Nov. 20, 1998.
Tim Ray stared on air as a play-by-play announcer at KWYO(AM) in Sheridan, Wyo., in 1980. In 1984, he launched the first sports program on sister station KROE(AM) with play-by-play commentary and weekly live sports-talk shows from a variety of businesses in Sheridan.
In 1987, Ray joined KTWO Radio/Wyoming Radio Network where he did various radio and television assignments for the station and the University of Wyoming, including sideline reporting, play-by-play and studio broadcasting. He hosted a statewide radio talk show with 2005 WAB Hall of Famer George Kay on KTWO(AM) in Caspter, Wyo., radio for nine seasons.
Ray was named Wyoming Sportscaster of the Year in 1986, 1988 and 2003 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in Salisbury, N.C.
The Wyoming Association of Broadcasters has inducted 41 Wyoming broadcast legends into the WAB Hall of Fame since it was founded in 2003.
The post Wyo. Broadcasters Name Two Sportscasters to Hall of Fame appeared first on Radio World.
SAVANNAH, GA. — Dick Broadcasting has selected an Operations Manager to lead the programming of its five radio brands serving the Coastal Empire of Georgia.
The individual taking the slot was formerly in a similar role at SummitMedia in Omaha.
The author is owner and chief engineer of WGTO and W246DV in Cassopolis, Mich. His commentaries are a recurring feature at radioworld.com.
I have written in recent years about AM quality, including modulation and bandwidth. There have been several articles from many other experienced and qualified engineers as well.
Today I want to ask a few questions and set the stage for answers that seem to have evaded us for more than three decades.
A brief history
AM radios were at one time rather broad in their front-end response. And while that sounded pleasant, that broad front end caused trouble as the band became packed with more stations. The typical receiver delivered degraded audio, as its wide front end let in adjacent signals that made listening less enjoyable, especially at considerable distances.
The problem was exacerbated by AM stations running boosted high-frequency audio at full unrestricted bandwidth, as the audio demanded.
As a response, manufacturers tightened up the IF so the audio output was less affected by adjacent-station high-frequency modulation. We then saw years of tit for tat. Denser modulation with high-frequency boost was met with more narrowed response by radio manufacturers.
The battle went on until AM sounded more like telephone audio than a quality audio service.
In the 1980s the National Radio Systems Committee set out the honorable goal of standardizing transmission equalization with preemphasis that was matched by complimentary deemphasis in receivers. The goal was a much improved end-to-end listening experience, one that could approach the sound of FM in new radios.
The FCC adopted the transmission preemphasis, along with a bandwidth limit or mask for modulating audio with a cutoff that was as sharp as the edge of the Grand Canyon, blocking anything over 10 kHz from making it onto the air.
Receiver manufacturers said they would soon open the front ends of typical cars and home radios once the new preemphasis and cutoff were adopted.
Fact is the mask cutoff worked so well that you could sit 5 miles from a 50 kW station and tune to a 1 kW first-adjacent 80 miles away and hear it with no interference from the nearby flamethrower on just about any modern car radio. For the casual listener on a consumer radio, the days of adjacent interference were over.
It has been more than 30 years since that agreement was made at the NRSC table, more than a generation since the plan was drawn up.
We have gone through many phases since then — AM stereo, which died. AM hybrid digital, which frankly sucked. And now finally a move to go all-digital.
But we know that analog radios will be around for years to come. Most of the senior engineers from the manufacturers who were working in the ’80s have long since passed away. But the standards that were supposed to change never did.
I often wonder why the NRSC or NAB could not twist some arms and why the FCC left the room when asked to mandate the new receiver standards; but that is another story.
AM portable and most car radios still have audio response that rolls off like a ski slope after 2 kHz. But every station in the United States and some other areas have adopted the 10 kHz cutoff.
The question and challenge
A lot of people read Radio World so I am looking for someone to answer the question in technical detail of why, after all these years and tests, the standard AM radio is still unnecessarily narrow and bad-sounding.
I want someone with credentials as a manufacturer to step up and tell us what possible reason they have for not redoing the basic chipset in 30 years to accommodate the NRSC standard.
The argument has gone on for decades, but I have never seen a written word from any trade group or individual representing radio manufacturers that really explains this position.
Manufacturers promised the NRSC they would make radios to compliment the new standard, even though the FCC never made the receiver improvement mandatory, while making every radio station modify transmission systems to meet the new standard.
Makers did respond quickly to the expanded band, cranking out radios that went to 1700 kHz at record speed; and now they are slowly making digital radios for more car models. But no one took the simple step of changing the mass-produced chipsets to something that would better resemble decent fidelity since 1988.
Someone tell me why improvements were not made to increase bandwidth to any reasonable degree. Is there a political answer? I cannot think of an engineering answer, but I wish to open the floor for someone to stand up to explain this archaic practice of tightly limited AM bandwidth — at a time when most AM listening is local, and adjacent interference at that range is rare. Is there anyone from the manufacturing side who will offer testimony? Is there someone to come forward or will we hear only country crickets in the night?
“If its start is any indication, 2022 is going to be a busy and productive year at the FCC.”
Those are the words of Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who shared on Wednesday a preview of what the Commissioners will consider at its January 2022 Open Meeting on Thursday, January 27.
Should a television station licensed to Opelika, Ala., offering content from diginets THISTV and NBCLX be given “must carry” status for the Atlanta DMA, something its owner believes should be enforced by DirecTV?
The Media Bureau of the FCC says no.
LAS VEGAS — Despite the negative press, lines of CES 2022 registered attendees were seen at McCarran International Airport awaiting their official credentials on Wednesday.
At the same time, the NEXTGEN TV team was busily sharing three big stories involving the rollout of the ATSC 3.0-powered broadcast television technology — making Day 1 of the three-day affair a significant one for next-generation television.
Add Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro to the list of those strongly endorsing Gigi Sohn for the fifth seat on the Federal Communications Commission.
President Joe Biden resubmitted Sohn’s nomination to the Senate on Jan. 4 as the administration attempts to finally secure a Democratic majority after a year in a political 2–2 tie. (Nominations must be resubmitted to a new session of Congress unless they have been held over by the relevant committee, which Sohn’s was not.)
It will take that majority to tackle potential regulation of broadcasters and internet service providers, s9mething Republicans are unlikely to vote for.
In a blog post as CTA kicked off CES 2022, Shapiro called Sohn a “pragmatic problem solver who understands what it takes to make innovation thrive.”
Support from Shapiro comes hardly out of the blue. He and Sohn were on the same side of several fair-use fights when she headed advocacy group Public Knowledge.
He pointed to her opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), which CTA also opposed.
“Good government depends on the leadership of good people — individuals who are committed to principles over partisanship, open to diverse perspectives and dedicated to acting in the public interest,” wrote Shapiro. “As the U.S. Senate considers a nominee for Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), I urge them to confirm a candidate who embodies these qualities: Gigi Sohn.”
Sohn also received the endorsement of a trio of Obama-era FCC Homeland Security Bureau chiefs this week.
She has already had a nomination hearing, but has yet to get a vote out of the Senate Commerce Committee, after which she would need full-Senate confirmation.
Some Republicans have taken issue with her tweets about Fox News and past positions on net neutrality, but others concede elections have consequences and respect her intellect and her integrity.