Industry News

Data Driven Linear: ‘A More Precise Approach’ To Buying Broadcast TV

Radio+Television Business Report - Tue, 10/12/2021 - 09:00

In late September, the analytics and advertising division of AT&T that operates the Community digital advertising online platform released its annual “Relevance Report” findings.”

This year’s report focuses on the state of convergence and advanced TV, and there’s certainly something to glean for over-the-air broadcast television station operators from the findings.

AT&T ad tech company Xandr examined the data and automation that are bringing video into the future of advertising. Xandr spoke with 357 advertising decision-makers across five global regions — the U.S., the U.K., Australia, France and Germany — to get a holistic picture of the state of convergence.

The full report, available here, found that much of the world is experiencing a “golden age” of premium video content for viewers, it is also the height of complexity for advertisers.

Among the key findings from Xandr:

  • Data-driven linear (DDL) is gaining momentum in the U.S. with 3 in 4 advertisers believing it gives marketers the very best of TV and digital advertising and over half planning to increase DDL spending in the next year.
  • OTT and CTV remain a top strategic priority among advertisers with 4 out of 5 regions surveyed ranking it as a top priority among video types.
  • There is work to be done to move people and technology to a converged future as a third of advertisers surveyed lack familiarity with the programmatic OTT buying process.

The first point is perhaps the most intriguing one. How is that helping broadcast television?

“In short, Data Driven Linear is a more precise approach to buying linear TV, without compromising scale,” a Xandr spokesperson tells Weekly Tech Roundup.

Literature shared by Xandr elaborates that “data-driven linear leverages advanced data and automation to further define and target audiences across national linear TV.”

Why? Traditional TV advertising, in its view, is broad. “From a marketing perspective, women 25-54 can be very different,” Xandr shares.

With Data Driven Linear opportunities, a marketer can gain access to targeted audiences, “optimized plans across high-indexing networks and dayparts on the largest national TV networks to deliver on KPIs,” drive efficiencies with streamlined RFPs and negotiation, and “advanced measurement.”

 

Categories: Industry News

A Deal Designed to Boost Addressable Advertising Options

Radio+Television Business Report - Tue, 10/12/2021 - 08:30

BELLEVUE, WASH. — A “real-time platform” for measuring the business and brand impact of cross-platform television advertising has agreed to purchase a real-time television ad measurement company that specializes in products for D2C and direct response TV advertisers.

The deal, which sees the acquisition of DRMetrix by iSpot.tv, widens iSpot’s measurement of emerging formats for addressable advertising.

And, the iSpot.tv says, it enhances its ability to track rotating calls-to-actions, including website URLs, SMS and toll-free numbers.

“This capability — coupled with iSpot’s ability to track distinct creatives at scale and correlate ad exposures to conversion events such as digital actions and in-store traffic — gives brands of all sizes the expanded ability to measure the business impact of complex and dynamic ad buys across platforms,” iSpot notes.

Sean Muller, founder and CEO of iSpot, elaborates, “DRMetrix has developed unique and real-time measurement capabilities around creative versioning and dynamic advertising that will become increasingly important as the TV ad market evolves.”

DRMetrix’s AdSphere developed a measurement system for monitoring all TV ad formats and executions including those delivered via digital program insertion (DPI) ad breaks. The DPI measurement capabilities allow precise identification of ad creatives that are sold by the cable networks as “cover-ups,” which MVPDs inconsistently overlay with their own inventories.

This inventory, which includes addressable and local advertising, creates a continuous blind spot for networks, agencies and brands. The cover-ups are a favorite means for DTC and DR advertisers to invest in and test television, as they often come at a heavy discount. But both the buy and sell side struggle to accurately quantify the performance and value of this inventory because, until the combination of DRMetrix and iSpot, they could not be measured precisely at scale.

“We developed a unique system for accurately measuring one of the most dynamic and difficult portions of TV advertising, and we amassed a client base that represents a growing and important part of the TV ecosystem,” says Joseph Gray, founder/CEO of DRMetrix. “In iSpot, we’ve found a home for our innovations to thrive and a vehicle to accelerate our shared goals of making all TV ad measurement more transparent, more actionable and easier.”

DRMetrix serves 120 brands, networks and agencies, growing iSpot’s customer footprint to more than 450 annual brand subscriptions representing 50%+ of brands in the Ad Age 100 and 95% of TV networks in North America. This is iSpot’s second acquisition of a real-time ad measurement company, as it acquired Ace Metrix in January 2021 to combine business and brand impact using Ace’s comprehensive qualitative approach to measurement and scoring of creative performance.

— Reporting by Melissa Hourigan

Categories: Industry News

Veritonic Lures A Triton Leader For Marketing Post

Radio+Television Business Report - Tue, 10/12/2021 - 08:30

NEW YORK — Audio analytics company Veritonic has a new VP of Marketing.

The company has selected a 10-year Triton Digital veteran for the role, as she exits the company just months after its acquisition by iHeartMedia from The E.W. Scripps Co.

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Categories: Industry News

XPN-Enterprise for Centralized Processing Arrives at Orban

Radio+Television Business Report - Tue, 10/12/2021 - 08:00

Broadcast audio processing company Orban has brought to market its new OPTIMOD XPN-Enterprise ecosystem. The company describes the product as an “an easy-to-use, customizable Linux-based processing platform for multiple broadcast stations or streaming services, with centralized control.”

It provides Orban’s proprietary OptiCloud processing for up to 8 FM and 8 HD/DAB+/Streaming processing channels in a 1 RU package, using an enterprise-class SoftGear server and the appropriate OPTIMOD XPN-Enterprise Nodes, Orban notes.

The XPN-Enterprise server that’s now shipping provides 16 processing channels via AoIP and supports AES-67/SMPTE-2110 protocols.

Also shipping now: the XPN-Enterprise AES3 Input/Output Node.

Additional nodes to extend the available outputs and functionalities, e.g., DMPX, Kantar and Nielsen watermarking and Orban uMPX, will be released in the near future.

The XPN-Enterprise system has been extensively field-tested and approved by national broadcasters, Orban President David Day said.

Content to be OptiCloud processed is brought to one location, utilizing any of the most common methods of audio transport – AES3, AES-67, SMPTE-2110-30, Dante or Livewire+, and creates the necessary outputs (FM Composite, DMPX, uMPX, and DAB+HD) using the appropriate Orban XPN-Enterprise Nodes for distribution to each transmitter site.

Processed channels destined for streaming are also handled by the XPN-Enterprise server, which sends those outputs to the appropriate streaming devices.

Each signal coming into the OPTIMOD XPN-Enterprise server can be individually processed, with Orban’s OptiCloud providing precision tailoring of each station’s broadcast or stream to meet the requirements of the audience and delivery method. OptiCloud factory presets give users a quick start for each format; Orban’s exclusive “Less-More” controls simplify “dialing in” the desired sound by combining multiple OptiCloud processing parameters with a handful of controls.

Further simplifying the processing path, Orban offers “Last Mile” products including XPN-
Enterprise input and output nodes and low bandwidth (<500 kbps for FM & HD-1, HD-2 & HD-3) equipment for “virtually any requirement,” Day says.

He comments, “We make it possible to manage our processing remotely and feed that signal to a site on lines as slow as 500 kbps, and many nodes are ‘Power over Ethernet’ (PoE) capable, further simplifying installation.”

For more information, visit https://www.orban.com.

Categories: Industry News

Digital: Ever-Changing the Communications Game

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 16:36

Today, digital media and technology have permeated businesses at every level. Yet, they continue to create fundamentally new challenges in the crisis and risk management field.

Perhaps Edelman’s just released 2021 Connected Crisis Study can help. It sheds new light on how significant this shift has become, and how far companies still have to go, to adapt.

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Categories: Industry News

The Hispanic Radio Listener: An Up-Close Look

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 16:29

Harker Bos Group recently fielded a study documenting the consumption habits and voting trends of Hispanic Radio Listeners.

A cursory overview of some findings was shared at the Hispanic Radio Conference in late September. Now, an eight-page report with further details is available for public view.

How has revenue recovered from the onset of a pandemic that saw generally steep declines and where some categories continue to experience slower than hoped for rebounds? A Forecast 2022 panel of experts are preparing a provocative discussion about who is going to “show us the money” in the year to come. For more, click on the logo at left!

 

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Categories: Industry News

Powergold Rolls Out NXT

Radio World - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 16:24

Music scheduling software developer Powergold has a new edition of its eponymous program.

Called Powergold NXT, the company said “This ground-breaking music scheduling software release is a purpose-built response to the evolving needs of some of the world’s largest broadcasters.”

[Check Out More Products at Radio World’s Products Section]

Powergold CEO/CTO Lance Olvey said, “Broadcasters around the globe were already moving toward technology hubs and decentralized working even before the worldwide pandemic. We observed these shifts and subsequently began to build Powergold NXT a number of years ago.” Adding, “COVID-19 only accelerated the need for a more robust scheduling solution that could accommodate many concurrent users working remotely in less-than-ideal networking conditions. It turned out to be the perfect environment in which to deploy Powergold NXT!”

According to Powergold, NXT is built on a Microsoft SQL database which will provide compatibility with most software and hardware it is likely to encounter in the broadcast plant and through remote operation.

According to Powergold, NXT also has enhanced functionality and flexibility that should give programmers more control over their music scheduling. In addition, rule optimization, schedule snapshots, element merge functions, music research imports, and an improved ‘undo’ function back to any point in time ensures will help users.

Send your new equipment news to radioworld@futurenet.com.

Info: www.powergold.com

 

The post Powergold Rolls Out NXT appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

A Digital Giant: Spot TV’s Top Spender?

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 16:15

While many broadcast media leaders lament how the “GAFAN” group of digital media Goliaths have grabbed dollar after dollar from their over-the-air stations, resulting in advertising challenges, it turns out that the top brand using Spot Television for the week ending October 10 is one of those “GAFAN” giants.

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Categories: Industry News

Salem’s C-Suite Leaders’ Noble Chat Now Available

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 16:10

A September 29 conversation with the four individuals at the helm of Salem Media Group with a key Wall Street media analyst is available now on Channelchek.

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Categories: Industry News

A Brand That Sees The Upside Of Radio

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 16:00

“People earn cash back, businesses make more.”

That’s the basic premise behind a brand that has sought to grow its national profile by promoting its services via Spot Radio. And, the latest Media Monitors Spot Ten Radio report shows, this brand has emerged as one of the more exciting new users of AM and FM radio for its marketing efforts.

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Categories: Industry News

Spot Cable’s Solid Spenders, and Returning Players

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 15:59

The latest Media Monitors Spot Ten Cable report is out, and it shows brand stability across the rankings by play count.

The report also shows that two brands that have been active in the past at Spot Cable are now back in a big way, thanks to new campaigns.

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Categories: Industry News

A Virtual Media Sales, Mgmt. Summit Is Set

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 15:50

Swagger Institute and P1 Learning are teaming up for a third time to stage a virtual sales and management training summit.

The two-day affair is scheduled for January 26-27, 2022.

Featuring lessons from top industry professionals, Rising Above (risingabovesummit.com) is designed to help sellers and managers get ready to take on 2022.

P1 Learning’s Speed Marriott commented, “After last January’s summit, we really didn’t think we were going to do another Rising Above event. We figured our world would be on a path to normalcy, but wow, were we wrong! With feedback from sellers and managers along with industry surveys, we learned that the industry still needs motivation and
encouragement, so how could we not do this again?”

Registration for Rising Above will be offered for free through participating State Broadcasters Associations and their memberships.

An on-demand version will be available for those who register.

Derron Steenbergen, of the Swagger Institute, said, “Sales managers across the country keep saying their sellers need help. With this pandemic lingering, salespeople are not getting to travel to training opportunities like they once did. Rising Above was birthed initially to provide help to those in the trenches in our industry and it continues to fill that void today. Speed and I are extremely excited to bring the best trainers together again to give our sellers and managers the tools to go deliver more results for their clients. Finally, the goal for Rising Above 3 will be to provide lift to our industry and those working so hard to help the businesses in their communities.”

For more information about Rising Above: A Virtual Sales & Management Summit, visit
risingabovesummit.com

Categories: Industry News

VCY, Patrick’s FCC Plea: Stop The Stolz Sale Stall!

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 15:30

Seven months ago, RBR+TVBR reported that the fate of three FM radio stations formerly controlled by Ed Stolz through his Royce International Broadcasting Corp. was seeming sealed. Paperwork had been filed with the FCC signaling the properties’ transfer of control to religious broadcast ministry VCY America, from the court-appointed receiver of the stations.

While many believed Stolz would maneuver to thwart the loss of his FMs, the proposed $6 million has perhaps an unexpected obstacle blocking its ultimate fruition: the FCC’s Media Bureau.

As such, the parties involved in the transaction last week met by video conference with the Media Bureau Chief, and the two key leaders in the Audio Division, pleading the Commission to green-light the deal already. It’s a move the frustrated Federal judge overseeing the court-ordered station deal is urging, too.

Join Larry Patrick, the noted broker who is the court-appointed receiver for the three FMs formerly controlled by Ed Stolz’s Royce International Broadcasting, as he moderates a Forecast 2022 panel discussion on how independent broadcasters are surviving and thriving as station owners. For more information, click on the Forecast 2022 logo today!

 

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Categories: Industry News

Sustainability Act Would Offer Tax Credit for Local Journalist Hires

Radio World - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 15:04

Legislation being considered in the House and Senate could help local media outlets hire and retain skilled local journalists — and the National Association of Broadcasters is asking radio and TV broadcasters to press their Congressional leaders to take action.

Introduced this summer, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act is designed to help local news outlets keep local journalists on staff by providing tax credits to local media outlets that hire local reporters. A recent briefing on the NAB website titled “What Would the Local Journalism Sustainability Act Mean for Your Station,” NAB Executive Vice President of Government Relations Shawn Donilon suggested stations press their members of Congress to support the inclusion of the act as part of the current budget reconciliation package. Such a move would help stations continue to deliver both trustworthy local news and vital investigative journalism to local communities, Donilon said.

The legislation is designed to support local news production through a series of tax credits, including a local news subscription credit, a local newspaper and local media advertising credit and the local news journalist compensation credit — the latter of which is gaining significant traction in Washington, Donilon said. This item is designed to give any broadcast station that employs local journalists — defined as those who do original reporting, design or technology support for their local station and work more than 100 hours per quarter — credit for 50% of an employee’s compensation (up to $50,000) in the first year and credit for 30% of an employee’s compensation (also up to $50,000) in the subsequent four years.

The proposed legislation has a cap of 1,500 employees for any individual company, although negotiations on Capitol Hill are ongoing in regard to the size and scope of the policies, Donilon said.

It’s time for NAB members to reach out to their Congressional members and press them to support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act in the budget reconciliation package, he said. Support for the act already exists by senators like Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), a co-sponsor of the legislation, who has said that local news needs to be supported and protected. “At its core, local news is about holding the powerful accountable,” she said. “The strength of our democracy is based in truth and transparency and local newsrooms are on the ground in our communities asking the critical questions, countering misinformation and telling our stories.”

Passage of this legislation could have a significant impact on broadcasters as they work to keep their newsroom staff on payroll, Donilon said. In addition to a recent blog post by the NAB, Donilon suggested broadcasters voice their supports for the act by emailing legislators prepared text outlining why local radio and TV matter.

The legislation also has garnered support from state broadcast associations, media organizations like the News Media Alliance and organizations representing journalists like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and Native Public Media.

 

The post Sustainability Act Would Offer Tax Credit for Local Journalist Hires appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Easy No-Budget Tips for Better Transmitter Care

Radio World - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 15:00
This article is from a Radio World ebook. Click image to read more on this subject.

The author is president of Burk Technology.

If you have transmitter sites to care for, you know each emergency means an engineer on the road and possibly lost airtime.

Remote control systems have traditionally allowed transmitter observations to be made remotely, but modern systems are capable of much more. Here are some tips to improve routine maintenance and reduce emergency calls using the versatility of a modern remote control.

Virtual channels add meaning.

Virtual channels can take data from other channels and synthesize new data mathematically. Each virtual channel uses an equation to process this data in real time. These channels can be logged and used for alarms and to trigger macros and notifications just as regular channels. Here are a few classic examples, but you can probably think of more:

It’s getting hot!

Knowing the heat rise in your transmitter is important. Two temperature probes can give you a way to measure the rise in temperature in your transmitter. Simply use a virtual channel to subtract the input temperature (or even the room temperature) from the exhaust plenum temperature. Stack probes make it easy to pick up the temperature in a closed plenum. The virtual equation is simply M1 – M2.

Is your efficiency sufficient?

A sudden drop in transmitter efficiency means trouble. Look at the other readings to determine a possible cause. If it suddenly gets better, you likely have a faulty meter sample.

The formula for efficiency we are all familiar with is Power Out divided by Power In. The input power is final volts times current, so efficiency simplifies to P Out / E / I. (If this simplification doesn’t make sense, try it on paper.)

Assuming the first three metering channels, Fig. 1 shows the equation.

Set this virtual channel to alarm if too high or too low, and make sure you add it to the log.

It’s been a while.

Just how long have those air filters been in there? Set up a virtual channel for each such item and assign it to a timer. Elapsed hours can be accumulated and can trigger a warning if overdue.

As shown in Fig. 2, a command button for each can be used to reset the timers when the maintenance is performed.

Straight as an arrow

Ever have a sample that isn’t linear? Here is a fix:

Measure across the needed range and record actual and indicated values. You’ll need at least three points, but more is better.

Now put the actual and measured values in a graph in excel as shown in Fig. 3. Try different degrees of polynomials and pick the lowest order that gives you a good R squared value.

In this case a second order polynomial works well. The equation for Channel M1 becomes:

.0182 * M1 * M1 + 3.864 * M1 – 93.2.

Voila: a transfer function that is linear.

APIs add data.

There are many data sources that are not physically connected at the site but are available through an Application Programming Interface (API).

The obvious example is a source of free weather information such as weather.com. This can provide a virtual weather station that represents the conditions in a radius of about 1,500 meters of your site. Good enough to know when to automatically turn on the deicers. Add 0.35 degrees per 100 feet of antenna height. It’s 7 degrees colder at 2,000 feet!

Burk has an app note available that explains how to use APIs.

Alarm on low VSWR.

That’s not a typo! Most engineers alarm on high VSWR, as well you should, but there is also a reason to alarm if the meter sits on the left peg. A VSWR indication of near-perfect may look comforting, but it is likely a faulty sample. To assure VSWR protection, alarm if it is too good to be true.

Don’t miss a beat.

If you are lucky enough to have an auxiliary transmitter, you should already be switching to it automatically when the main transmitter fails.

It is important to test the aux regularly, but you don’t need to get out of bed to do it. Schedule a flowchart or macro to run the text on a regular basis.

Test on-air with the same sequence as your normal recovery. You will be testing the complete backup chain so recovery in a real failure will be smooth. Let your routine tell you about the test in the morning.

Mr. Pearson and his coefficient

Most of us diligently keep transmitter logs, but what do you do with the data? There is a lot of interesting information in there if you dump the log data into Excel and start digging.

Ever wonder if AC line voltage affects power out? Does the STL signal fade on warm days? How does tube age affect efficiency? Those are the kinds of questions that you can answer with a stack of logs and the Pearson correlation coefficient.

In Excel, fill two columns with the values to test and put “PEARSON(Array1,Array2)” in another cell as shown in Fig. 4.

The answer will be between –1 and +1, with zero indicating no correlation and one representing a perfect correlation.

Continuous Improvement

If your system has been in place for a few years, there are improvements that you can make to avoid future down time. Call your equipment suppliers or check the web for the latest updates.

The post Easy No-Budget Tips for Better Transmitter Care appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

This FCC Commissioner Wants To Hear From You

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 12:59

As a former senior advisor at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Republican FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington is well
prepared to address the many items on the Commission docket that will impact broadcasters in the years ahead.

As he demonstrated at the recent Hispanic Radio Conference, Simington is eager to learn about the broadcast media industry’s input and concerns.

You can share your thoughts and desires with Simington in-person, with your registration to Forecast 2022 at the prestigious Harvard Club in New York.

You can never have too many allies — especially at the FCC. That’s why your attendance at Forecast 2022, November 16 in midtown Manhattan, is the perfect opportunity for you to use your voice where it counts. Broadcasters need decisionmakers who understand their challenges and will listen to their perspectives with an unbiased and well-informed mind.

Simington is that type of individual, and has demonstrated that he appreciates the unique value proposition broadcasters offer communities across the country and the media environment in which they operate.

This could be the only chance you get this year to express your views to someone who can impact and influence the fate of your business over the coming years.

Will you be there, or will you give up your spot to someone who may not see things your way?

Make your voice heard. Register for Forecast 2022 today.

About Forecast:
Forecast brings together the best and brightest talent in broadcasting and advertising to forecast the coming year, and to discuss the trends and momentums that will affect ratings and revenue. From Washington to Wall Street, Forecast focuses on what’s ahead in the broadcast community’s future and how to prepare for its opportunities and challenges. Join today’s industry leaders and be part of the discussions and debates about what’s ahead for radio in 2022 and beyond. Register today for Forecast 2022. The venue is small – demand is higher than usual – don’t be left out due to a sellout!

 

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Categories: Industry News

Sirius XM Invests, Set To Collaborate, With Podcast Studio

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 11:15

An outfit that describes itself as “an innovative podcast and audio entertainment production studio” has completed a $12 million fundraising round, and this particular effort saw the nation’s lone satellite radio content creator and distributor emerge as the biggest dollar injector.

Sirius XM Radio Inc. on Monday (10/11) confirmed that it led a Series B fundraising round for Audio Up. 

Founded by CEO Jared Gutstadt, Audio Up was founded in 2020 by the creator of the Jingle Punks creative music agency, Podcast Business Journal reports.

With the investment, Sirius XM SVP/Business Affairs and Programming Operations Andrew Moss is joining Audio Up’s Board of Directors.

And, thanks to the dollar dose from Sirius XM, it’s moved forward with the creation of a creative programming and strategic agreement with Audio Up.

It’s a significant development, as it brings Sirius XM further into the on-demand audio space. Under the agreement, Audio Up is expected to create new original scripted podcasts for Sirius XM and its owned audio platforms – which include the SXM App, Pandora and Stitcher. Audio Up will also collaborate with Sirius XM to develop new audio entertainment concepts and forge new promotional and distribution synergies across Sirius XM properties, the companies say.

Specifically, the agreement gives Sirius XM an exclusive “first-look” co-production option for new Audio Up original podcast concepts, with accompanying options for exclusive distribution across Sirius XM properties, in addition to exclusive rights to manage and sell advertising inventory and sponsorship in connection with any podcast produced for Sirius XM through its SXM Media combined sales organization.

Audio Up’s slate of original scripted audio entertainment includes offerings from recording artists Machine Gun Kelly, 24kGoldn, Miranda Lambert and Nelly, and actors including Jason Alexander and Gary Busey.

Forthcoming new Audio Up original podcast series include The Playboy Interview, which presents teleplay-type reenactments “of some of the most iconic Playboy Interview conversations in history,” Audio Up says.

“Whether it’s inventing a new breed of boundary-breaking original podcasts or developing innovative audio concepts that let brands and creators connect with listeners in new ways, Jared and Audio Up have become the place where talent meets technology,” said Sirius XM President/Chief Creative Officer Scott Greenstein. “Audio Up is known for creating podcasts that combine music, entertainment, and rich storytelling to create bold new listening experiences, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to our extended SiriusXM family.”

The agreement follows SiriusXM’s acquisition of podcast platform Stitcher and the inking of a series of exclusive podcast content deals, including the acquisition of Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible podcast and the launch of Seth Rogen’s original podcast series, Storytime With Seth Rogen.

Categories: Industry News

User Report: WIHS Upgrades Automation With ENCO

Radio World - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 07:00


The author is general manager and chief engineer of WIHS(FM).

Noncommercial, listener-supported WIHS/104.9 FM is a ministry of the Connecticut Radio Fellowship and broadcasts music plus local and national Christian programming to listeners in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and parts of Long Island, N.Y.

I had worked at the station from 1985 to 1991, and returned last year as its general manager and chief engineer.

One of my first priorities is refurbishing all three of our station’s studios. The main objective is to update our technology, but also make the studios more aesthetically pleasing.

Phase 1 of the project was the upgrade of our on-air studio, replacing everything from the furniture and flooring to the audio console. At the heart of our technology overhaul was a significant upgrade to our ENCO DAD automation and playout system.

WIHS was a long-time satisfied ENCO customer, but our DAD deployment had not been updated in many years. The software was seven major versions behind the current release, and most of the hardware it was running on was well beyond the viable lifecycle for any computer platform. I felt like we were using the old system on borrowed time.

With our announcers familiar and happy with DAD already, we decided to stay on the ENCO platform for the upgrade. I wanted all of the equipment to come from ENCO so they could fully configure and test it before shipping it to us, making it mostly “plug-and-play” when we received it. We purchased everything turnkey from ENCO, from the mice and monitors to the workstations and network switch.

Rather than simply replacing the systems in our previous configuration, ENCO’s technical team re-architected our deployment to reduce our hardware requirements. Our old installation did not have a true server, and it had two workstations just running supporting utilities. By deploying a DAD server license on a new file server and consolidating those utilities onto it, we went from eight workstations down to five — a significant savings.

The upgrade went smoothly. An ENCO technician helped us migrate our existing DAD libraries to the new system and came to our station for final refinements and training.

Our staff members vary in their technical aptitude, but everybody has adapted nicely to the new system. We went on-air with our new ENCO deployment June 17, and it has made our playout extremely reliable and less prone to the usual issues associated with aging hardware.

Our station is roughly 60% programming and 40% music, and the DAD platform helps us by making program retrieval largely automated. The combination of the DAD DropBox utility (for watch folder monitoring) and enConveyor utility (for automating FTP and web downloads) lets us efficiently get programs into our system in ready-for-air formats with minimal intervention.

We are also in the process of deploying ENCO’s WebDAD for browser-based remote control of the DAD system. My intention is to be able to operate the station remotely, so I can give our on-air staff time off for major holidays or when we can’t find somebody to fill a shift. With WebDAD, I’ll be able to make any changes from home if needed, without requiring staff to be in the studio.

I have been pleased with both the new system and the upgrade process. The support and level of information we received from ENCO have been stellar, and we have peace of mind that we no longer have to worry about legacy equipment failing. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it again with ENCO.

Info: Contact Sam Bortz at ENCO Systems in Michigan at 1-248-827-4440 or visit www.enco.com.

Radio World User Reports are testimonial articles intended to help readers understand why a colleague chose a particular product to solve a technical situation.

The post User Report: WIHS Upgrades Automation With ENCO appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Spotify Beefs Up Its Audience Network

Radio World - Sun, 10/10/2021 - 19:01

Spotify announced several developments related to its Spotify Audience Network, the audio advertising marketplace it introduced last winter.

The company has made Anchor podcasts in the U.S. eligible to be part of the Spotify Audience network. Anchor is a Spotify hosting platform intended to help creators monetize their podcasts.

[Read: Spotify Expands Audience Network]

Also, Spotify plans to introduce podcast ad buying to Spotify Ad Studio, its self-serve channel, beginning in the U.S. It said beta testers buying ads via Ad Studio include the company Two Men and a Truck.

Spotify also is joining the Global Alliance of Responsible Media, launching the ability to exclude sensitive topics. It says this will give advertisers more control over where their message is heard across the network. Spotify is the first audio company to join GARM.

And the company is adding new controls to allow advertisers to target their messages against relevant podcast topics.

The ad marketplace is now active in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada.

It posted details on its blog.

 

The post Spotify Beefs Up Its Audience Network appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

SiriusXM Fishes for Diversification

Radio World - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 08:35

In 2019–2020, Florida’s saltwater recreational fishing industry contributed $9.2 billion to the state’s economy. When COVID-19 finally wanes, that industry is likely to revive, as are saltwater recreational fishing industries off ocean coasts around North America.

For a diversification-minded technology company like SiriusXM, recreational fishing offers a natural business supplement to its core listening audience.

For decades, offshore fishing vessels have relied on radio for vital information. Today SiriusXM Marine is able to provide these craft with a Fish Mapping data service to identify areas in the ocean where the fish are most likely to be biting.

As an example of its activities in this area, SiriusXM announced this spring that it is now transmitting its Fish Mapping service to Furuno’s NavNet TZtouch3 line of multi-function displays (MFDs) equipped with BBWX4 SiriusXM Satellite Weather receivers.

“Furuno’s strong product line has always helped anglers get on the fish and catch them,” said Dean Kurutz, Furuno USA’s senior VP of sales, marketing & product planning, in the announcement.

“Now, with the advanced data provided by Fish Mapping, captains will have the ability to locate ideal fishing grounds by targeting specific species and sea conditions, maximizing their time on the water and helping save time and fuel.”

“Situational awareness” SiriusXM Weather and Fish Mapping on a boat helm

SiriusXM’s business case is based on providing listeners with a unique broadcast selection of entertainment, music and information audio channels.

Its North American satellite footprint covers from the Atlantic to Pacific coasts and adjoining waters. This is why “SiriusXM has provided key weather information for offshore anglers well beyond the reach of cell or internet signals for many years,” according to Geoff Leech, senior director of SiriusXM Marine Services.

“This information has provided anglers with valuable situational awareness while they are exposed out on the water.”

Initially, this weather service was voice-only. But eventually, under the name of SiriusXM Marine Weather, it was expanded to include weather and ocean data to onboard navigation displays made by Furuno, Garmin, Raymarine and the Navico brands Simrad, Lowrance and B&G.

These full-color displays allow boat operators to “see” the weather around them overlaid on top of their electronic navigation charts. The move made sense: Boat operators were willing to pay to access this data, and SiriusXM had the satellite distribution network in place to provide it to them.

SiriusXM Fish Mapping Plankton Front Strength and Sea Surface Temperature Front Strength help locate promising areas to fish.

So how did an information service for boats end up providing offshore fishing recommendations?

“One feature of SiriusXM Marine Weather that anglers value is Sea Surface Temperature data,” Leech replied.

“The areas where ocean surface temperatures change are often where bait fish find nutrients to feed on, and in turn the pelagic species of game fish feed on these bait fish. Knowing that many of our customers were already offshore anglers led us to develop Fish Mapping so we could provide additional fishing information for these valued customers.”

The Fish Mapping service costs $99.99 a month and includes SiriusXM Marine’s Weather information. The service can be suspended at no charge for up to six months each year.

The science

Fish Mapping works by identifying the qualities in areas of the ocean that influence the likelihood of finding desirable game fish such as marlin, tuna and wahoo, among others.

These ocean features include variations in sea surface height (upwellings of nutrients), surface/subsurface temperatures, “weed lines” — floating vegetation where fish congregate to find food and shelter, and where they are hunted by larger predator fish — and plankton concentrations.

SiriusXM Fish Mapping recommendations identify areas that oceanographers recommend for zeroing in on six target species.

At SiriusXM Marine Weather, “the data for our Fish Mapping service is provided by oceanographers from Maxar Technologies,” said Leech.

“Maxar is a satellite company that provides Google Earth imagery and other services including information to help find the best fishing conditions. The oceanographers at Maxar compile and analyze data from various sources and send it to SiriusXM to incorporate in our satellite feed for our Fish Mapping customers.”

This feed reaches boats up to 150 miles offshore. A SiriusXM receiver on the boat captures the signal, which is translated into images shown in large-screen format directly on the boat’s navigational display.

“Having onboard fishing-specific data showing the areas of the ocean where pelagic species of fish are most likely to congregate is seen as a true ‘game changer’ by offshore anglers,” Leech told Radio World.

“SiriusXM Marine Weather helps boaters stay away from dangerous weather so they can enjoy their time on the water, and Fish Mapping helps anglers find the best spots to fish, saving time and fuel.”

Happy customers

Finding that place where the fish are a-bitin’ is a constant question for fishing enthusiasts. SiriusXM’s Fish Mapping service harnesses science to answer this question, resulting in a lot of happy “fisherpeople,” if not happy fish.

“The ‘Fishing Recommendations’ are my favorite feature,” wrote Captain Greg Weaver of E-Fishing Sea Sport Fishing Charters in a testimonial sent to SiriusXM.

“In a recent trip, I headed out to the areas marked as recommended for wahoo. In addition to catching wahoo, I found that the area was productive with bait and I also caught tuna and marlin. Fish Mapping has already made a huge impact on where I take my charter customers.”

Dave Johnson, Mike Hatcher and Captain Tom Robinson of the fishing craft “Fixed Income” in Naples, Fla., told the company that after looking at SiriusXM’s Fish Mapping Fishing Recommendations feature on their Garmin plotter and seeing several recommended areas for wahoo, they aimed the Intrepid for one of the overlapping “fish bubble” areas about 80 miles offshore.

“We put two weighted wahoo flatlines out well behind the boat and two outriggers with skirts chugging over the wakes and trolled at 8.5 knots. We had our first wahoo on in minutes.”

Given its success in Fish Mapping, SiriusXM is understandably motivated to move into new areas beyond its core audio business.

“We are constantly exploring new and innovative services that would bring additional value to our existing and prospective subscribers,” said Geoff Leech.

The post SiriusXM Fishes for Diversification appeared first on Radio World.

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