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IBC Sneak Peek: Broadcast Bionics Caller One Eases Call Management

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 04:00

Caller One is the new call-in system from Broadcast Bionics.

The all-in-one web-based software solution uses SIP and webRTC to deliver a new hardware-free way of routing calls to air, explains the company.

Designed with smaller studios and podcasters in mind, Caller One delivers up to 12 SIP lines. It can be used on mobile devices, as well as PCs.

Easy-to-use Caller One lets users install and add more workstations as well as screen/control calls via any browser. Other features include management of up to 12 lines; connection using IP audio drivers or a soundcard, caller demographics, call history/call log and call recording.

Broadcast Bionics will also be unveiling other products in its “One” range during IBC2019.

IBC Stand: 8.D71

Info: http://www.bionics.co.uk

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IBC Sneak Peek: Tieline Unveils ViA Dual Active SIM Module

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 04:00

Tieline has developed a new Dual Active SIM internal module for the ViA remote codec supporting two active cellular connections.

The company says the module, which is “designed to perform in the most challenging production environments,” supports the use of SIM cards from different Telcos simultaneously for diversity when using Tieline’s SmartStream Plus dual redundant streaming technology. Users can also bond the two SIM cards to create additional bandwidth using a single robust Fuse-IP link.

“The new ViA dual internal modem will deliver more choice to Tieline customers for wireless remote broadcasting,” said Charlie Gawley, VP Sales APAC/EMEA. “The ViA already supports connecting two air cards using USB, however many customers requested an internal module with dual modems to avoid using external dongles. This innovation also means there will be seven different IP interface options from which to choose when going live.”

The ViA lets operators connect over dual Ethernet ports, built-in Wi-Fi (no USB modem required), dual air cards, and now the new module with dual internal modems. Any two interfaces can also be bonded to deliver secure and robust connections from remote locations in challenging environments. The new Dual Active SIM module has four antenna connections to provide antenna diversity for both SIM card connections.

There will be an international and U.S. version of the module to suit different cellular networks.

IBC Stand: 8.E74

Info: www.tieline.com

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FCC Issues Fines For Misuse Of Emergency Alert Tones By TV, Radio Outlets

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 22:13

Settlements have been reached between the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and a TV broadcaster, cable networks and a radio broadcaster for misusing the Emergency Alert Systems and Wireless Emergency Alert tones. Combined fines of $600,000 in civil penalties were issued as a result of misuse by ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” Discovery’s “Lone Star Law” and Meruelo Radio Holdings’ KDAY(FM) and KDEY(FM) morning radio shows.

[Read: Advisory Group Issues Recommendations for Improving IPAWS]

ABC agreed to pay a $395,000 civil penalty for an Oct. 2018 episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” where it used a simulated WEA tone three times during a sketch. AMC paid $104,000 for an episode of “The Walking Dead” that aired in February 2019 and used the EAS tone twice. Discovery paid $68,000 for an episode of “Lone Star Law” that included an actual WEA tone that was captured while filming during Hurricane Harvey. Meruelo Radio Holdings paid $67,000 for a promotion of its two morning shows that included a simulation of EAS tones. All outlets admitted their errors and agreed to a compliance plan.

In addition to these finds, the Enforcement Bureau has released an enforcement advisory to reiterate the existing law that speaks to the misuse of EAS tones and how it can be a public safety concern.

“We remain concerned about the misuse of the EAS codes and EAS and WEA Attention Signals, or simultaneous thereof, to capture audience attention during advertisements; dramatic, entertainment and educational programs; and at any other time that there is no genuine alert, authorized test or authorized PSA about the EAS or WEA that is accompanied by an appropriate disclaimer,” the advisory reads.

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Community Broadcaster: Joining Forces

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 17:03

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

One of community media’s great challenges is finding a way to reduce a station’s expenses while still staying local. Some recent moves by noncommercial outlets are worthy of review.

More nonprofit media organizations this year, than perhaps in recent memory, have announced compacts with other noncommercial media groups. The reasons are complex. Staffing, offices and the myriad operational costs for radio stations are rising each year. In addition, more managers are seeing the value of combining resources with other like-minded organizations. Case in point, the Ohio news coalition involving three public radio stations in the state. Finding friends in the content and engagement realms of radio service, as more leaders are finding, can prove to be beneficial.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Peace, Love, Radio]

From a bottom-line standpoint, these unions are helping address basic questions of functionality. In one instance, Humboldt State University has opted into a short-term operational agreement with another noncommercial broadcaster based out of Sacramento. Another community station in Chico, not far from either, has also joined in. For both, and especially KHSU, where the outlet’s future is unresolved, involving another entity in the day-to-day projects could be attractive while other strategic issues are sorted out.

The combining of core operational endeavors is an emerging trend. In April, Illinois stations WGLT and WCBU struck up a programming and infrastructure agreement that began June 1. Through it, the stations would retain their call letters, formats and local presence. However, a host of personnel and news capacity would be merged under WGLT.

Noncommercial television and radio in Massachusetts made a similar deal the same month. Managers at the stations said this was less an effort to cut costs and was more intended to pool resources to be more competitive on the content side of their respective work.

Such collaborations are becoming more common. KPCC launching a new version of LAist, WNET taking over another online product, NJ Spotlight, and many more examples seem to be the way of the world at the moment.

Community radio has no shortage of statewide alliances, such as Ampers in Minnesota and Rocky Mountain Community Radio in Colorado. However, the sort of partnerships now on the rise in noncommercial media are foreign to most community stations. Why? The reasons such partnerships have not happened much in community media are as complicated as why larger public media organizations choose to go this route. Sometimes there are localism or job concerns. Sometimes there are worries about optics. As financial pressures and audience demands grow more persistent, though, such conversations are certain to happen more – albeit quietly — at community radio stations across the United States.

There are a variety of considerations to weigh in on if your station is looking to partner with another community radio station to share your resources. In some cases, the financial investment may be different, depending on each station’s size. If the collaborations will merge roles both stations have, there’s the thorny question of where reassignments can happen and, if shuffling is untenable, where reductions may occur. And, if your local partnership is aimed at combining your strengths to grow in new areas, your station may want to understand how the envisioned expansion will affect each partner, where costs are divided up, and where new people, if hires are part of the plan, will be located.

Of course, at community radio stations where resistance to such cooperation may linger, concern for how these conglomerations could affect the tenor and tone of an area station are absolutely fair. Any shared efforts have to center a station’s local interests and sound. Editorial autonomy and many conversations about shared values are a must among partner stations. Such endeavors are not easy, which could also explain why community radio has not taken much to them at this point. Turnover and resources are likely part of the reason, too.

Whether a sharing partnership is the right move for your community radio station, or if it is not, these sorts of models are changing the way audiences and organizations see collaboration. Innovations in this area may be important for your station to watch.

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IBC Sneak Peek: GatesAir Spotlights DAB Radio Solutions

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 03:57

GatesAir is highlighting its expanded range of DAB Radio transmitters and solutions resulting from the company’s recent acquisition of ONEtastic, known forward as GatesAir S.r.l. The expanded portfolio is anchored by MultiD, a multicarrier DAB transmitter; and a new liquid-cooled VHF range to serve all DAB power levels.

MultiD brings three DAB transmitters together into a compact 1RU chassis, which the company says, “is a unique design attribute that reduces space and equipment costs.” The design, GatesAir explains, removes the need for external RF combining, and instead generates and re-transmits all three channels through a single amplifier.

The multi-carrier modulation built into the transmitter supports both adjacent and non-adjacent frequencies, providing a solution for DAB networks of any size. At the show, GatesAir will exhibit the transmitter with a special spectrum analyzer to demonstrate the modulation carriers.

In addition, GatesAir will show a liquid-cooled VHF Band III power amplifier from its new Maxiva VLXTE range of liquid-cooled transmitters. Starting at 80 W, all VLXTE transmitters cover DAB/DAB+ frequencies from 170–240 MHz, with no jumpers or tuning required. The VLXTE transmitter design leverages a single-band PA module to cover all Band III frequencies. The transmitter’s modular design provides card inputs for ETI (coaxial) and EDI (IP) distribution across DAB networks.           

Stand: 8.D60

Info: www.gatesair.com

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Deadline Approaching for IBC2019 Best Of Show Awards

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 03:38

The Best of Show Awards — supported by Future’s media and entertainment technology brands Radio World International, TVBEurope and PSNEurope — are a chance for companies to raise awareness for new products and services that will be featured at IBC. All nominated products will be recognized by those publications as well as Future titles like TV Technology, Radio World, Creative Planet Network, AV Technology Europe and Installation.

The winners of the Best of Show Awards will be determined by a panel of independent industry experts during the conference. All nominees will receive a stand visit with the judge to get a first-hand look at the product. Nominees will be judged on general quality and relevance of the product; design and build quality; business/operational benefits; innovation in concept/design/delivery; technical excellence; cost effectiveness; and game-changing ability.

To nominate a product, companies must follow the registration procedure detailed at here. The deadline for registering nominees is Sept. 9; winners will be announced on Sept. 16 during the conference.

IBC2019 will take place Sept. 13-17 at RAI Amsterdam.

The post Deadline Approaching for IBC2019 Best Of Show Awards appeared first on Radio World.

IBC2019 Will Explore “a New Era in Media”

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 00:00

With conference and exhibition dates now aligned, this year’s IBC will take place from Friday 13 to Tuesday 17 September 2019, at the RAI in Amsterdam and will provide an unprecedented opportunity for attendees to enhance their understanding of a media production environment whose pace of change is continuing to accelerate.

Themed conference days, increased representation of women on stage, and a brand new esports event are among the developments that will greet visitors to this year’s IBC as organizers continue to strengthen its credentials as one of the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show.

In line with the multitude of creative, commercial and technical issues now influencing the development of media production, this year’s IBC conference has a different theme for each day: Friday’s is “create and produce: creating disruption;” Saturday’s is “manage: automating media supply chains;” Sunday’s is “publish; embracing the platform revolution;” Monday’s is ‘consume: engaging consumer experiences;” and Tuesday’s is “monetize: scaling audiences and revenues.”

Confirmed keynote presenters include Cécile Frot-Coutaz, head of YouTube EMEA; Arnaud de Puyfontaine, chairman of Vivendi; and Max Amordeluso, Amazon Alexa evangelist in the EU.  Building on the success of last year, IBC is also bringing back the Global Gamechangers Stage, which has a special focus on the technologies and business developments expected to change the game for the media industry. Speakers on this stage are set to include Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association; Jane Turton, CEO of All3Media; and Lisa Opie, director of factual for BBC Studios.

The final day of the show, Tuesday, will play host to an innovative new event, the Esports Showcase, powered by ESL, EVS and Lagardère. Combining a series of conference sessions — which will include the participation of key players such as Ginx TV, Twitch, Riot and Blizzard, as well as developers like EA Sports — with a live demonstration of Counter-Strike featuring professional teams from ESL’s National Championships.

[Read: IBC Exhibitor Viewpoint: Charlie Gawley, Tieline]

Also new for IBC2019 is the Media-Telecom Convergence Catalyst. This collaboration between IBC and the TM Forum will see three catalyst projects on the showfloor that highlight open innovation between the telecoms and media industries. Participation from Al Jazeera, Associated Press, BBC R&D, RTÉ and more will show how 5G, AI and big data management can solve business and technology challenges, and improve the customer experience.

IBC2019 provides a vital annual opportunity to become acquainted with the latest media solutions, it is also a venue for serious networking and deal making. IBC is a show where business genuinely gets done and deals are signed on the show floor. It’s great for exhibitors, but good too for buyers, who have the opportunity to compare solutions from all the leading vendors around the world in one convenient showcase.

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Attendees will go home equipped with shared unique insight and experience that will drive their own businesses forward in the year ahead. What visitors will experience at IBC2019 will energize and motivate them, and reveal new opportunities – for their businesses and as individuals in the year ahead.

The post IBC2019 Will Explore “a New Era in Media” appeared first on Radio World.

Bad Electrolytic Capacitors Can Cripple Your Exciter

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 12:08
Fig. 1: Spurious emissions seen on the exciter RF output.

One of the biggest hassles in maintaining older equipment is getting it repaired when it fails. A lot of companies don’t even want to deal with older, “legacy” equipment. Others will attempt repairs, but dwindling or discontinued parts may be an issue. 

A number of contract engineers and special project/consulting engineers have picked up the slack, offering repair services. 

One such repair service is Frank and Dave Hertel’s Newman-Kees RF Measurement and Engineering (contact via newman-kees-hertel-rf-eng@twc.com).

Recently, one of their clients sent in a Broadcast Electronics FX-50 exciter for repair. The reported problem was that the exciter was producing “spurs” (spurious emissions) up and down the FM broadcast band, causing interference. 

Once hooked up on the bench, Fig. 1 shows what the RF output looked like. It’s not a friendly picture — and a great invitation for an FCC visit, if allowed to continue.

Because of the precise repetition of the unwanted frequencies, Frank and his son questioned if it really was, in the pure sense of the definition, a spurious condition. The precise spacing of the unwanted frequencies pointed them to look at the frequency modulated oscillator and the filtering of the automatic frequency control voltage that is sourced from the phase locked loop.  

Fig. 2: Inside the exciter module where electrolytic capacitors were replaced.

To their surprise, the AFC control voltage appeared to be free of any pulses that could be inducing the spurious problem. Next, they dismounted the Modulated Oscillator module and opened it up. Fig. 2 shows what they discovered.

[Making Sense of Component-Level Troubleshooting]

Inside the FMO module there are three electrolytic capacitors. C4 and C7 are 100 MFD @ 35 V and C6 is 10 MFD @ 35 V. The 100 MFD capacitors are used to buffer and filter the FMO modules on board regulator’s DC. The 10 MFD capacitor is used for bypass filtering of the modulated oscillator’s (Q-2) “drain” element.

Considering the age of the exciter, and since the FMO is a sealed unit and has no ventilation, they decided to replace all of the electrolytic capacitors. They replaced the C4 and C7 — 100 MFD @ 35 volts capacitors with 330 MFD @ 35 volts capacitors. The C6 — 10 MFD @ 35 volts capacitor was also replaced with a new 10 MFD @ 35 volts capacitor. The deteriorated foam was removed from the lid and the residue cleaned away and blown off all of the internal parts. Fig. 3 shows the RF output as a result of the repairs.

Fig. 3: A nice clean spectrum after electrolytic replacement.

After the successful repairs, they measured the values of the removed electrolytic capacitors. The C4 and C7 (100 @ 35 volts) capacitors checked good in their value, but exhibited a slightly elevated equivalent series resistance.  

The C6 (10 MFD @ 35 volts) capacitor was only slightly lower than its rated value, but its ESR value was elevated. An elevated ESR, in an electrolytic capacitor, will tend to make them become slightly inductive, and thus, they become resonant and can “ring” at some frequencies.

The rated value of a capacitor can be misleading when working with RF circuits. Frank writes that it is wise to check the ESR value of any capacitor that is used in an RF (or any) circuit. If you do not have an ESR capacitor tester, play it safe and replace the electrolytic capacitors. 

[Replace Electrolytic Capacitors — Before They Explode!]

Keep in mind that electrolytic capacitors are rated in temperature range and projected hours of use. Research and use only the “best” rated electrolytic capacitors. This is not a place to cut corners.

In recent columns, we have discussed the need to replace electrolytic capacitors about every seven years. If you have older equipment with the original electrolytics inside, your best preventive maintenance is to shotgun (replace) them all. 

If you’re troubleshooting older gear with the original electrolytics, a lot of time can be saved by first viewing the power supply voltages on an oscilloscope for excessive ripple on the DC power supply rails. 

The list of problems that bad electrolytics can cause is a long one. Save yourself the headache by getting rid of these ticking time bombs!

***

Dan Slentz found another interesting product on Amazon. It’s an $8,000 tiny home that can be constructed in just eight hours. Manufactured by Allwood, the structure cannot be used as a house, as there is no kitchen or bathroom, but a permanent structure for a remote broadcast studio at a fair or similar location is certainly a possible use case. 

Here’s the link for more information.

Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips and high-resolution photos to johnpbisset@gmail.com

Author John Bisset has spent 50 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles western U.S. radio sales for the Telos Alliance. He holds CPBE status with the SBE and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.

The post Bad Electrolytic Capacitors Can Cripple Your Exciter appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Exhibitor Viewpoint: Werner Drews, 2wcom

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 03:00

IBC2019 is almost here. Between now and then Radio World will conduct several short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the big annual trade show. Werner Drews is managing director at 2wcom.

Radio World: How has business been for the company since IBC2019?

Werner Drews

Werner Drews: To be honest, we were a little surprised with our success. 2018 was the second best year in 2wcom’s 20-year history. This trend continues in 2019. We have expanded our development team to assure implementation of new technical requirements of the markets can be fulfilled time-efficiently. The market directly adopted our new product line, 4 Audio, and we have completed the some big international projects for our customers. The next projects are in the queue, so we are very optimistic about the future.

Radio World: What are you hearing from your customers about their business outlook this year? In what areas should we expect growth or the most interesting projects?

Drews: We have won some large tenders this year, so the business is clearly going very well for our customers. We get requests for FM and DAB with almost the same frequency, so our clients are looking to expand in both markets. The big topic of course is “everything via IP.” Requests for transcoding and the exchange of data in mixed networks are very interesting, e.g. from Livewire to Ravenna when transmitting from a studio site to the headend.

Radio World: Stepping away from your particular segment, what is your feeling for the overall health of the radio industry?

Drews: It’s hard to tell. On one hand, we see a shift in the way people consume media, trending toward more personalized consumption away from linear programs. Podcasts and streaming services like Spotify are real competitors for radios, especially when they offer offline options. On the other hand, technology is changing as well. The rollout of new transport technologies like 5G in the next couple of years could also be used for broadcasting radio programs via IP. However, it’s still going to be a while until 5G or wide area WLANs are available everywhere and a final replacement of the current modes of radio broadcast is feasible in practice. Until we can ensure excellent coverage with these newer technologies, FM and DAB will retain a good position. And while mobile phones are replacing the radio in more situations, radio remains strong in places where people spend a lot of time, like in the car or the kitchen.

Radio World: You’ve been active in the audio and video distribution market for more than 20 years. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing users in this segment right now?

Drews: One of the biggest challenges is the speed of the current development — it has never been faster! Technology is progressing year on year and customers need solutions that meet these new requirements. In addition, devices are morphing to multipurpose systems that are able to handle different functionalities in much higher density. It’s not always easy to explain these products to customers because of their multipurpose approach. Old descriptions like RDS encoder, satellite receiver or stereo generator for instance are no longer accurate. It’s challenging to describe — in concise terms — what a multipurpose platform (that comprises many units in one box) offers in a way that is quick and easy to grasp for clients.

Radio World: What new goodies will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit your booth?

Drews: One of the most interesting reason for customers to visit us at stand 8.E78 is that our well known AoIP, MPX over IP and FM/RDS solutions are undergoing a monumental change. The common denominator is a Linux-based and well thought-out technological concept. Our goal is to provide new products, which support broadcasters navigating to the next gen of audio technology. Each device of the audio-IP series, like IP-4c or MoIN [Multimedia over IP Network] server ensure outstanding flexibility in application, high compatibility and support studio-to-studio or studio-to-transmitter links as well as broadcasters increasing cross-media tasks.

For our established FM/RDS and MPX over IP solutions the new state-of-the-art, hybrid and modularly configurable 4audio MPX series will replace all existing products, like C02, S02 or the analog/digital MPX over IP codecs. One advantage, for example, is that the devices are configurable respective to client needs — a stereo generator, RDS encoder, MPX over IP codec and satellite receiver in just one 19-inch rack unit. This saves money and rack space.

We just launched the high-density DAB-4c ETI/EDI convertor to address some special challenges in operating expanded DAB networks including EDI and ETI multiplexers as sources. The converter enables customers to operate legacy ETI and EDI transmitters in parallel. Moreover, it is possible to operate DAB in already existing infrastructures (such as DVB-S/S2 or ASI) originally not intended for DAB.

Radio World: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at IBC2019?

Drews: As in previous years, anything related to IP. All devices have to work via IP and the customers are beginning to look more carefully at the IP security of these solutions. All standard IP protocols and devices must be compatible with other IP products of a network.

In addition, the trend is moving toward more density. This means everything must be delivered in one device, or even better, function as software only. What I mean by this is that each function can run on standard PC-based machines in virtual environments. A cloud-based technology is also becoming more important for the customers. I’m sure 5G broadcast will also be a main topic of the show.

Radio World: How do your international sales and marketing efforts differ from your U.S. efforts?

Drews: The U.S. industry very often needs their own standards, their own products, just using the same products and technologies like in other parts of the world is not 1:1 possible. So we are “Americanizing” our products before we make our products available in the U.S. Of course you have to go to the U.S. shows as well to be part of that market — yet this is not enough. There are many specification groups and forums where one needs to be present as well.

Radio World: Will you be attending any sessions or looking forward to any events?

Drews: I’m mainly focusing on meeting our customers and dealers to understand their requirements and to exchange thoughts. The IABM breakfast meeting and some standardization meetings are also interesting. Moreover, many of our engineers will be joining us on our stand this year. They will also have time to attend various targeted sessions. In my opinion, IBC offers great networking opportunities and we are able to meet people from all different kinds of technologies and divisions.

[Read: Sneak Peek: 2wcom Unveils DAB-4c Converter]

Radio World: You’re a show veteran, how has the show changed since your first visit?

Drews: The show is getting bigger, louder and more international. But I love it — it always feels good being there. The basic principle has not really changed, but for us the show is becoming increasingly important each year thanks to our expanding customer base.

Radio World: What’s your favorite thing about this show?

Drews: Meeting people! In our world of social media and many ways of digital communication it is more important than ever to meet in person and work with your customer and partner in a team. The IBC is perfect for this! Networking is very important in the broadcast industry. We are a small, very specialized family, and so it is good to know your customers and competitors in person. Another aspect about the show is that it allows us to learn more about new technology and trends in the market and, of course, what the competitors are doing.

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In-car Updates From Radioplayer, BBC Sounds

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 02:00

LONDONRadioplayer is launching a new way for car companies to access official metadata about radio stations. The new RadioDNS “ClientID” standard allows vehicle manufacturers to add rich metadata such as streams, logos, now-playing information, and podcasts via a feed using Radioplayer.

BBC Sounds music mixes displayed via Android Auto.

The non-profit radio platform, which is backed by international broadcasters, already offers basic metadata such as logos and station descriptions on behalf of partner stations in the open RadioDNS format.

ENHANCEMENTS

The new “ClientID” functionality will rollout in addition to the original open feed, enabling Radioplayer to offer more enhanced and valuable metadata to trusted partners by issuing them with unique “Client Identifiers.” This ensures that official metadata from broadcasters is only used by licensed partners.

The road-test rig for the Radioplayer reference radio.

“Radioplayer’s top priority is to help car companies build better radios,” says Michael Hill, managing director of Radioplayer. “We welcome any technology solution which helps us achieve that, particularly if it’s underpinned by open standards like DAB and RadioDNS. This new feed will help manufacturers build fantastic new ‘hybrid’ radio interfaces, keeping radio strong in the connected cars of the future.”

 

Countries that have rolled out the Radioplayer model include Germany, Ireland, Austria, Norway, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Peru and Denmark.

Michael Hill is managing director of Radioplayer.

Meanwhile, BBC Sounds, which launched last year to bring together the United Kingdom broadcaster’s live and on-demand radio, music and podcasts into a single personalized app, has introduced support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This expands what was previously available in the BBC’s iPlayer Radio app, offering drivers a larger choice of content from the dashboard.

Listeners now have four main sections to explore: “My Sounds,” which brings the user’s Bookmarks, Subscriptions and Latest list into one place, as on the mobile app; “Browse,” which provides a route to explore music mixes and recommendations; “Stations” for listening to live radio; and “Downloads,” for everything downloaded on the app.

New functionality has also been added to the BBC’s Alexa skill for smart speakers. Listeners are now able to pause and resume podcasts and on-demand programs seamlessly between the BBC skill and the BBC Sounds app and website.

This now means, for example, that if a user is halfway through listening to a podcast on a mobile phone using the BBC Sounds app during their commute home, they can then resume it once in the house using Alexa on a smart speaker. This feature is available when linking a BBC account to an Alexa account.

[Sennheiser to Unveil Immersive Automotive Sound System]

In-vehicle listening remains vital for broadcasters, with the latest U.K. RAJAR Midas Spring 2019 research showing that 22% of live radio, and 14% of podcast listening, takes place in either a car, van or lorry.

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IBC Sneak Peek: Digigram Iqoya Talk Simplifies Remotes

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 00:00

Digigram will showcase the Iqoya Talk portable codec at IBC2019.

Built for live remote-broadcast operations, the company says that “by carefully understanding the needs of the users, it has come up with a powerful solution.”

With three mic-line inputs and four headphone outputs that can be individually mixed, Iqoya Talk allows up to four journalists and guests to perform a studio-quality on-field reportage.

Designed like a smartphone, the codec’s commands are accessible through the 5-inch LCD touchscreen with a rotary-knob in the middle for quick access to all relevant on-field settings.

Users can configure the Iqoya Talk with predefined scenarios in the studio, and then stream audio content through a large number of wired or wireless “last-mile” connections.

Iqoya Talk is suitable for sports commentary, music festivals and small and large outside broadcasts. It features two independent and hot-swappable Li-ion batteries and, according to the company, can be used for up to 12 hours without interruption.

IBC Stand: 8.C51
Info: www.digigram.com

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Adventures in 1970s AM: The Big Kahuna

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 19:30

In 1959 Hawaii became our 50th state, making travel to that delightful island group easier and less expensive. During the next few years there was a bit of a nationwide Hawaiian craze which included a brief interest in island music, or at least a mainland version of same. And then there was the Big Kahuna.

“Kahuna” in Hawaiian means “wise man,” but somehow that got mangled in translation to the point where radio stations, beginning with KHJ(AM), Los Angeles, turned it into a goofy contest that soon spread across our nation with cheap knock-offs trickling down to markets like, say, Toledo, Ohio, home of WOHO(AM).

[Read: Adventures in 1970s AM: WOHO’s Missing Call Letters]

Even though I arrived at WOHO in 1972, there were still plenty of people on staff who remembered this promotion from 1966. Apparently the station sent a male employee out on the streets of Toledo dressed in a grass skirt, colorful Hawaiian shirt, sandals and for mysterious reasons, a fake bone in his nose. From the pictures I saw, this costume made the guy look more like the Wild Man from Borneo that appeared at county fair sideshows rather than a native Hawaiian.

Usually the 7 p.m.–midnight jock had to “volunteer” to play the part because these appearances were made during the day. Our cheap general manager never offered additional compensation for being The Big Kahuna because it was an “honor,” and because, he insisted, the “lucky” jock should do it in the spirit of cooperation and team spirit. Yeah, right.

WOHO announced on the air that “The Big Kahuna” was coming. Just those words with some Hawaiian steel guitar music in the background. That went on for weeks, and then the station sprang for some billboards to build anticipation.

The week before the promotion swung into high gear, the on-air announcements expanded to include the contest rules. If a listener saw The Big Kahuna anywhere in Toledo, he or she needed only approach this individual and ask, “Are you WO-HO’s Big Kahuna?” And if the listener had approached the right person and not some other individual wearing a grass skirt, The Big Kahuna would bestow upon the listener a “valuable” prize such as a coupon for a free Arby’s Roast Beef sandwich (worth up to $1.50 at the time), two tickets to a local movie theater or perhaps a coupon good for one free cupcake at a local bakery. All the prizes were traded out, meaning the station paid nothing for them. It’s hard to imagine getting excited about a prize worth less than $5, but these were the days before big lottery payouts and before inflation had decimated the buying power of a dollar bill.

Often The Big Kahuna would call the WOHO DJ live on the air from a two-way radio in the station vehicle, a 1965 blue Ford Thunderbird (also traded out) emblazoned with the station logo. The conversation on the air would sound like this:

Not The Big Kahuna, but the author.

DJ Buddy Carr:  Hello, Big Kahuna! Where are you calling from today?

The Big Kahuna:  Hey, Buddy, I’m at the Westgate Shopping Center on Central Ave. right now, and there are some lovely young women here. You want to say “Hi,” girls? (Sounds of teenage girls screaming in the background). You should see these chicks, Buddy. They’re real cute! Yeah, we’re giving away a boatload of prizes out here, so you should tell everyone to come out and join us for the fun. Remember, all you have to do is find me, which isn’t hard because I’m the one in a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses, and ask me if I’m WO-HO’s Big Kahuna! If it’s me, you get a prize!

DJ Buddy Carr: OK, B.K. We’ll look forward to talking to you next hour. Aloha!

And so it went for a few weeks, or until the station ran out of free coupons. I’m told that an appearance by the Big Kahuna could garner a mention in the local newspaper, a feat that would be unheard of now.

Usually this promotion went well, but on at least one occasion it didn’t. A WOHO DJ named Chuck Charming (not his real air name but close) was playing The Big Kahuna and decided to take the station cruiser over to a bar one night, while still wearing his native get-up. A policeman saw him in the dark parking lot and approached The Big Kahuna. Chuck was fairly inebriated at the time and was unable to explain his weird clothing or why he had an open bottle of alcohol in his car, not that there could really be a plausible explanation for such circumstances. The Big Kahuna’s next personal appearance was at the Toledo police station downtown where he was forced to call WOHO’s general manager to come down and pick him up. I’m sure free Arby coupons were generously distributed to the local gendarmes that night.

Ken Deutsch is a writer who lives in sunny Sarasota, Fla., and has a book of these tales available, Up and Down the Dial

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The post Adventures in 1970s AM: The Big Kahuna appeared first on Radio World.

DRM Can Make Emergency Broadcasts Better

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 19:20

The author is consortium chairman for Digital Radio Mondiale. Radio World welcomes opinion and points of view on important radio broadcast industry issues.

Jamila Flomo’s commentary, “Multilingual Emergency Broadcasting: A Moral Imperative for the Radio Industry,” highlights more than an American issue — it’s a global issue. Emergencies occur unexpectedly and often not in the areas where a local response plan has been made or alert resources are in place. In essence, this is what the author of this valuable article suggests. She is highlighting an important issue but offers a very homemade, patchy solution.

The Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) digital audio broadcasting standard has an in-built Emergency Warning Function (EWF) which allows multilingual messages to be broadcast and also sent as text messages, while superseding current programs, to the exact area affected and all within minutes, if the authorities are geared for responding that promptly. In that case the radio becomes the alert box.

Moreover, this feature means that, even if an area is totally devastated, a transmitter (in AM) from outside the area, could broadcast in one or several languages to the affected region. The ability to provide parallel images, maps and messages in one or several languages also means that people with disabilities can be informed in the language they understand.

Information on the Emergency Warning specs for DRM can be downloaded here (PDF).

FCC has mandated one digital system for the U.S.A. (HD Radio) but allowing DRM, an open and therefore freely available standard, to be implemented would also allow a ready-made, large-scale and scalable solution that could save American lives. No tinkering with EAS required and no ad hoc solutions that are not easy to implement 24 hours a day.

Digital DRM is a standard that has an inbuilt modern emergency system, at no cost, allowing people to survive even in the harshest and most unexpected conditions.

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The post DRM Can Make Emergency Broadcasts Better appeared first on Radio World.

The Artist Experience in the Post-TagStation Era

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 12:23

Two years ago, we set about putting HD Radio graphics on WPWX and then later WSRB. Our primary purpose was to open a new revenue stream for the stations. It was also important to make sure we had a good appearance on all the dashboards that newer vehicles are incorporating on an ever-increasing basis.

If you don’t at least have your station logo on the HD graphics, the display will usually put up some default graphic like a radio tower along with the frequency. We not only wanted to have the station logos plus sponsorship logos, but album artwork as well.

We chose to use Center Stage RDS from Arctic Palm as our middleware for this application. We had heard that it was the software with the most flexibility. It turns out that Artic Palm was also purchased by DTS, which eventually became owner of iBiquity (Xperi). This is definitely a plus, since we would be able to work with support that knows the middleware through the end product in the importer, exporter and exgine.

For album art, we used the NextRadio TagStation service. This worked by sending your artist and title information to TagStation, which they used to display album art on the NextRadio app, and then they sent it back to your middleware, which eventually displayed the album art on the HD Radio.

GOODBYE, TAGSTATION

This was all working fine until last October, when we heard that TagStation was probably going to discontinue the service soon due to lack of financial support. That left us wondering where this technology was headed. I immediately emailed support at Xperi to see if they had a plan to replace this service. The word was that they were working on it.

Then, in the middle of December, TagStation officially announced that album art service would stop. Again, the word from Xperi support was that they were working on a solution. So at that point, we were without album art.

At that time, both stations had a year-long sponsor whose logo would appear on the dashboard whenever album art would not display. Obviously, this sponsor was now on the dashboard 24/7. This probably sounds favorable to the advertiser, but in my opinion, it is probably better not to have a static logo up constantly, because eventually to the viewer/listener, it just blends into the background. I feel it is a much better atmosphere for the advertiser where there is a dynamic experience that causes the advertiser artwork to stand out.

In early January, we got word that Arctic Palm was coming out with an update to the Center Stage middleware that would include album art with their service called The Connected Car. This is interesting because I always thought of the “connected car” implying that the car was connected to the internet. In this instance, for HD Radio graphics, there is no internet required. I guess you could make the case there was an indirect connection from the internet through the radio station’s digital data stream.

In order to get the new update for the Center Stage software, we had to update our support license. This is a nice way of saying we had to pay for support again. Once we did that, we updated the software and entered the login credentials for The Connected Car service, and we had the album art displaying again.

At first, the artwork display seemed very sporadic. Perhaps, this was due to Arctic Palm still building their database of artwork, or maybe it took a while to meet demand of the station sending the artist and title information for that artwork to become a part of their database. Whatever the case, I have seen an increase in the amount of songs that have the album art accompanying them on the display.

It appears to work the same way as TagStation in that the middleware sends the artist and title to The Connected Car, and then the album art is sent back for display. The one thing that I noticed that is different between the two services is that The Connected Car stores the album art for a much longer period than TagStation used to do.

Formerly, the associated JMSAC — the Multiport Sync and Async Client used to communicate between the importer and middleware — had a folder on the middleware computer called “Work.” In that folder, you would find the station logo, sponsor logo and artwork for upcoming songs. Once used, the song artwork would be deleted. The Connected Car update now uses a folder with the station call sign and the word “art” for folder name. For instance, one of our folders is named WPWX ART.

The difference I noted is that the Album Art persists much longer than before. Instead of graphics being deleted after their time is done, the software is storing them for later display. For how long, I haven’t figured out yet. But it seems smart to me that they have it ready to go. It probably places less demand on the bandwidth that Xperi has to maintain for all the stations to which it is sending artwork. I would guess server infrastructure would be less under this scenario as well, if the middleware for each station looks to find the artwork first on the local folder.

Finally, this probably makes it quicker for the process of sending the artwork from the middleware to JMSAC, importer, exporter, exgine and then the consumer’s HD Radio receiver. This all has to happen before the song actually plays on the radio. The HD Radio actually stores the upcoming artwork in its memory and then displays it when it gets the command from the exgine to display. The bandwidth that is used in the HD signal is not that great. So, anything that makes this process faster will make the artwork get there on time.

We were without album art for a little more than a month at Crawford-Chicago; it’s good to have it back. I think it is imperative for terrestrial radio to have a sharp-looking display on the center point of the dashboard. There is and will be an ever-increasing competition for this important part of new vehicles.

Rick Sewell is engineering manager at Crawford Broadcasting Company in Chicago.

Comment on this or any story. Write to radioworld@futurenet.com.

The post The Artist Experience in the Post-TagStation Era appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Sneak Peek: Lawo Debuts Power Core MAX

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 12:00

Lawo Power Core MAX, debuting worldwide at IBC2019, is a new version of the Power Core AoIP mixing engine that can support multiple physical or virtual mixing surfaces — two, three, or even four mixing interfaces per engine, depending on mixing requirements.

Power Core has 96 available DSP channels, 80 summing busses, an internal 1,920*1,920 routing matrix, plus 128 dual-redundant MADI channels and 128 AES67 / Ravenna channels, standard.

Operators can use the eight rear-channel I/O expansion slots to accommodate more analog, digital, AES67 and Dante audio signals. There’s also ST2022-7 Seamless Protection Switching for dual-redundant AoIP network connections, and ST2110-30 compliance for seamless interoperability of audio and video equipment in combined radio / TV broadcast plants.

Lawo says that these capabilities, plus the ability to connect to as many as four independent Ruby mixing surfaces, makes Power Core MAX perfect for large multi-studio projects. In addition, broadcasters with medium-size or smaller facilities can use it as an I/O gateway and mixing engine for an entire radio station.

IBC Stand: 8.B50

Info:  www.lawo.com

 

The post IBC Sneak Peek: Lawo Debuts Power Core MAX appeared first on Radio World.

ConnectedTravel Seeks a Radio Connection

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 09:43

ConnectedTravel is a company that caught the radio industry’s attention this spring when it announced agreements with station clusters in San Diego and Las Vegas to promote its HyperDrive Rewards mobile app to listeners. But the firm’s vision goes beyond apps as it seeks to find a place, along with radio broadcasters, in the fast-evolving connected car environment, for instance through a partnership with Honda.

Founded in 2016, ConnectedTravel puts technology right up front in its marketing. It says it offers cloud-based platform services that use artificial intelligence and machine learning, data fusion, behavior science and gamification technology to “capture, understand and drive consumers’ day-to-day mobile activities.” 

Bryan Biniak

Radio World asked Bryan Biniak, founder and CEO of ConnectedTravel, to explain how this relates to radio.

Radio World: ConnectedTravel offers what it describes as a “driver and passenger location-based application services platform and business that serves the automotive ecosystem on a SaaS basis.” Briefly, why should radio entities be interested?

Bryan Biniak: ConnectedTravel’s platform is enabling auto OEMs to make radio FM broadcast, streaming and podcast programming actionable, transactable and attributable. Drivers and passengers can engage in programming and advertising by voice when they are driving, enabling them to instantly buy what they hear, which fundamentally changes the commercial opportunity for advertisers in vehicles.

RW: Reading about your company in media coverage, a word that jumps out at me most is “gamify.” Why would gamification matter to radio executives and technology managers reading this?

The HyperDrive application discussed in the article challenges drivers to not speed, not use their phone while driving, reduce hard braking, leave early or on time for driving routines and to use the app every day. “We have connected this to the radio audience and are working to establish a direct connection between drivers and listeners to gamifying listening, engagement and the retail funnel,” Bryan Biniak said.

Biniak: ConnectedTravel built a points-and-rewards solution that is utilized by auto insurance companies to gamify driving, turning safe, undistracted driving into a game. The application, HyperDrive, challenges drivers to not speed, not use their phone while driving, reduce hard braking, leaving early or on time for driving routines and most importantly to use the app every day. 

We have connected this to the radio audience and are working to establish a direct connection between drivers and listeners to gamifying listening, engagement and the retail funnel.

RW: Tell us about your partnership with Honda and how you envision this affecting the radio industry.

Biniak: ConnectedTravel built an infotainment, commerce, advertising and rewards platform for Honda and Acura vehicles that it will operate on behalf of Honda. This includes working with content partners, application developers, retailers, advertisers and brands to provide compelling, engaging and profitable services to drivers and riders. 

This includes enhancing the radio experience in vehicles, making it measurable, actionable and transactable. It also includes influencing the next generation of programming and advertising in the car as it becomes contextually personalizable for each and every trip. When a driver can buy what they hear by voice in real time without taking their hands off the wheel, the fundamentals of radio change exponentially.

RW: What features or benefits does Honda Dream Drive offer to drivers?

Biniak: For the driver, we bring a voice UI and payments to radio, enabling them to safely and conveniently engage what has been a passive, linear medium to date. 

For the passenger, they have the ability to control the tuner, audio sources and channels from their smart device and not have to rely on the driver.

RW: Forbes reported in January that Honda said “nothing was definite, including production years.” Can you update us on the status of the relationship?

Biniak: We have started the final step before production, which is commercial testing with consumers and Honda employees.

RW: When you talk with radio organizations, what action or commitment are you looking for from them?

Biniak: Honda and ConnectedTravel are focused on collaborating with radio organizations that are willing to roll up their sleeves, lead the market and collaborate to develop, deploy, test and commercialize these next-generation services. 

RW: A lot of people agree that “voice” is crucial to the car ecosystem, but can you specify what “voice” means to you, exactly, and again why radio should care?

Biniak: To date, distracted driving concerns and laws have prevented radio from providing an engagement interface that makes it competitive with online and mobile devices. Voice bridges that moat and provides an interactive interface into programming and the drive is then measurable in real time.   

RW: You have an app project called HyperDrive Rewards, and said Beasley Media in Las Vegas and Local Media in San Diego are involved. How does it work to discourage distracted driving?

Biniak: HyperDrive is an iOS and Android application that consumers download to their smartphone. The application learns about consumers’ daily driving habits including when, where and why users speed, their phone handling while driving, hard braking incidents and more. It then dynamically offers AI-based challenges to users in order to help them sustainably change their behaviors, making safe driving a part of their daily routines. 

We are able to see in real time the impact of the experience while consumers are driving their vehicles. The points they received for improving their driving can be redeemed with other rewards programs, or directly for free and discounted services at local and online retailers. These retailers include Walmart, Target, AMC Theaters, Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Burger King and Home Depot.

RW: In your own career you worked in the in-car media space at Nokia. What did you learn there that is informing your involvement with ConnectedTravel?

Biniak: In 2011, my team built a mixed reality game for cars with DreamWorks Animation call Dragons Adventure World Explorer that leveraged telematics data from vehicles, telemetry data from phones and mapping data from HERE, which Nokia owned. This was our first experience with building application services for vehicles.

Additionally, I was responsible for Nokia’s global developer ecosystem including the Nokia App Store in 190 countries, application and content development for the 1.5 billion consumer features and smartphones that were in the market and helping to drive commercial success for the companies developing applications for Nokia devices. 

In many respects, the emerging connected vehicle marketplace is very similar in that we need to develop compelling, profitable applications and services for drivers and passengers to drive new revenue streams for auto OEMs beyond what we called, in the mobile phone world, “hardware.”

RW: Speaking about the connected car more generally, what role do you see for radio organizations in a 5G, fully connected future in the car?

Biniak: The opportunity for radio is truly dependent upon whether or not they want to be the driver or the passenger in the future. 

Today, radio owns the relationship between advertisers, drivers and passengers in the vehicle. Voice, payments, applications, ATSC3.0, etc. will bring a whole new world of opportunities and experiences into the vehicle cabin and thus consumer choices. Owning drivers’ time, attention, money and data will become increasingly more important and competitive. 

In addition, movie studios, TV networks, game publishers, sports leagues, travel companies, event producers, restaurants, news producers, social networks and retailers will all be looking to become the daily commute companion. The question radio organizations must ask themselves is what will be their role in this new world and where in the food chain will they play. 

Will radio continue to own the vehicle ad platform and make it extensible to new players, or will they concede the car to someone else and then sit on their platform? One must also keep in mind that the definition of an ad will change once they become actionable and transactable.

RW: Since you started talking about ConnectedTravel to the industry, what you learned about radio that surprised you?

Biniak: We have been pleasantly surprised by how nice people are in the radio industry. It’s like a small town where everyone knows each other, is passionate about and looks after the town and each other, and works tirelessly to address the changes taking place in the world around them. 

We have learned that despite common motivations, the challenges are complex. Particularly when the broadcasters aren’t industry partners but commercial competitors fighting for listeners’ ears, times and advertiser dollars. 

RW: What else should we know?

Biniak: Data will bring incredible insight to the radio industry. It will also bring transparency and accountability that fundamentally changes the expectations advertisers have for stations. The industry won’t be analyzing 30-day-old listening data. They will be looking at data in real time, and they will access to listeners that will enable them to change and manage the future. There will be the equivalent of a Bloomberg trading terminal for vehicles, drivers and passengers and, like sophisticated hedge funds, algorithms that will change the market in milliseconds. 

The relationship between a station and their listeners will be more important than ever. The value of extending, expanding and deepening that relationship will provide the highest ROI.

When Nokia sold to Microsoft for $8 billion, there were 1.5 billion people on the planet that owned a Nokia phone. Nokia did not have a day-to-day, engaged relationship with those consumers because it sold phones to mobile operators, retailers and distributors versus consumers. Subsequently, Microsoft gave Nokia $0 value for those consumers in the purchase prices. To put it in perspective, WhatsApp sold to Facebook for $22 billion with 450 million subscribers who used their app an average of 29 minutes a day for messaging — 250 million of them on a Nokia phone.

The post ConnectedTravel Seeks a Radio Connection appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Sneak Peek: WorldCast APT Mobile SureStreamer Eases Remote Tasks

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 00:00

The WorldCast APT Mobile SureStreamer technology is a new Mobile Network Access solution designed specifically for live remotes and OBs.

According to WorldCast Systems, the solution, which leverages SureStream, promises “flawless content distribution and reduces operating costs” by distributing content over 3G/4G public internet links rather than ISDN, MPLS or satellite. The technology works with most portable codec brands to deliver  uninterrupted radio and video directly from the field.

Other advantages include zero-field configuration, low latency with the TCP-free signal chain and zero drop-outs. What’s more, it’s easy-to-carry with its lightweight shoulder bag.

WorldCast Systems says they have carried out multiple field testing of the solution’s different applications for sports broadcasters, remote desktops, and journalists at major events, and that it has proven reliable. As stated by Conor Ewings, Broadcast Engineer at Bauer Media in Northern Ireland, the solution “has been a game-changer for [his station]” and the “latency it gives is beyond expectations…rock-solid at 60ms and not a single packet has been dropped.”

IBC Stand: 8.C58
Info: www.worldcastsystems.com

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The post IBC Sneak Peek: WorldCast APT Mobile SureStreamer Eases Remote Tasks appeared first on Radio World.

Inside the August issue of Radio World International

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 00:00

Led by the BBC World Service, many international broadcasters saved money by moving from high power shortwave radio transmissions to the web. But what exactly is the internet’s impact on international radio? James Careless studies this question and more in the August issue of Radio World International.

GUEST COMMENTARY

Radio’s Essential Role in Asia

Radiodays Asia, held in Kuala Lumpur, addresses challenges and potential for radio in the region

SUMMER OF PRODUCTS

Beat the Heat With New, Cool Products

Check out the first installment of broadcast goodies in this gallery

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

GatesAir Acquires ONEtastic

Buyer’s Guide: Consoles, Mixers & Routers 

Russia Studies DRM in the FM Band

The post Inside the August issue of Radio World International appeared first on Radio World.

Community Broadcaster: Peace, Love, Radio

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 20:25

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

On Aug. 15, the United States will remember the anniversary of Woodstock, the legendary music festival that captured the idealism of a period in American history. Though nearly three generations ago, Woodstock cuts one of the most distinctive profiles in the minds of music fans. For community radio, this is a moment not only for audiences to remember Woodstock, but to tap into people’s appreciation for radio, too.

The Woodstock Music & Art Fair has been represented in theatrical releases and documentary films virtually from the days it happened, Aug. 15–17, 1969. The event garnered back then as much attention for the introduction of hippie culture to the mainstream as it did for the music performers who played the concert. “Free love,” drug use, Vietnam War protest and naked dancing were conveyed in many American homes for the first time. And then there was the music. From Jimi Hendrix’s incendiary stage presence to Janis Joplin to the Grateful Dead to Jefferson Airplane and dozens of now-legendary rock acts, Woodstock will forever be associated as a festival where an insurgent youth movement made its presence felt.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: EAS Test Time]

Moments like Woodstock were a new phenomenon for popular culture then. Bear in mind that the Beatles had ascended not so many years before. Color television had only gained popularity with the broadcast of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in September, 1961. And as the country faced dilemmas such as the Vietnam War and resistance to the Civil Rights Movement, Woodstock became a symbol of the decline of Western civilization or was a welcome respite from the clashes facing America. No matter your political viewpoint, though, Woodstock is undeniably a conversation starter and a perfect companion for radio.

A host of television channels are, of course, revisiting the Woodstock festival’s striking visuals, in many cases as part of a remembrance of the year 1969, which saw a host of American firsts including the Apollo 11 moon landing. Audiophiles should not let TV folks have all the fun. Community radio and public radio stations have arguably had a long relationship with audiences curious about history. The year of 2019 is easily a year for history. In addition, Woodstock’s fascinating mix of politics, music and youth makes it well-suited to stations.

Yours will not be the only radio station involved in Woodstock recognition. Here are a few noncommercial radio stations saluting the spirit of 1969.

WXPN will revisit Woodstock with an exclusive broadcast that includes all of the festival’s archived audio, from the music performances to the stage announcements to recordings of rain delays. And the best part? The Philadelphia noncommercial broadcaster will air the special at the same time of the performances themselves. For the unaware, Woodstock’s stage concerts were an all-night affair; bands such as Creedence Clearwater Revival and Sly and the Family Stone were jamming at 3 in the morning. If that isn’t your hour these days, or has never really been your hour, now is your chance to enjoy a slice of history with your coffee.

“Over three days, we’ll play newly reconstructed audio archives of each of Woodstock’s 32 performances, from Richie Havens’ opening set to Jimi Hendrix’s closing one and everything in between, in as close to real time as possible,” the station notes.

The scene in upstate New York for the anniversary of Woodstock is sure to be lively, but do not worry. Community radio station WJFF has got you covered, with hourly traffic and scene update starting Aug. 16 and continuing throughout the weekend.

If you work with a station, now is the time to be part of America’s celebration of the anniversary of Woodstock. There are a range of low-cost, high-impact programming options and local engagement your station can do on short notice. Whether it is an all-vinyl look back at all of the artists who played the sprawling concert, sharing remembrances or just taking Woodstock-inspired requests, what better way to connect with listeners than to share fond memories and outstanding music?

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The post Community Broadcaster: Peace, Love, Radio appeared first on Radio World.

Letter: DRM Offers Advantages Over Hybrid Radio

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 19:16

The author is a broadcast technical author from Australia and has spent a lifetime in training technicians. Radio World welcomes opinion and points of view on important radio broadcast industry issues.

Having read “Hybrid Radio Making Strides,” I have a response. This article says that the receiver will switch to the internet when the HD Radio digital signal is poor. This will happen often for a large proportion of the audience because of the extremely low power of the HD Radio’s digital signal.

If a DRM or DAB+ radio is used instead, the only power limitations are the distance to another broadcaster on the same channel only and the cost of the transmitter. High-power DRM/DAB+ digital transmission eliminates the need to constantly switch to mobile internet. In addition, DRM and DAB+ can instruct the receiver to switch to another transmitter radiating the same program, as well as their ability to have multiple transmitters for single broadcaster for dead spot within the license area. High-power broadcasting produces much more even coverage than the mobile internet which uses many cellphone towers to try and produce even coverage

[Read: Where Is Terrestrial Radio Going?]

In addition, nothing has been said about the delay of the receiver switching between HD Radio and mobile internet and back again — there is a variable time it takes the signal to get to the receiver via the internet. It can require the radio to store an HD Radio signal buffer for multiple seconds while the internet signal is sought out and collected from the broadcast studios. Remember that the internet sound is sent in blocks which can take different paths including the receiver switching between different cellphone towers. As the automobile receiver travels around the relative delay between HD Radio receiver itself and the mobile internet will constantly change. If the same relative delays are not identical sections of sounds will be repeated or omitted.

Netcasting requires a path for each listener to their receiver as well as a return path back to the broadcaster. The return path is virtually unused except for a possible counting of the number of receivers switched to that broadcast, but it cannot tell how many listeners there are nor if they are even awake. The return path needs to also contain the location of the receiver particularly for mobile broadband routing of the signal to appropriate cell tower. All of which is not required in broadcast.

The telco has to buy identical spectrum bandwidth for the forward and the return path as well as using separate cables through the telco network to the broadcaster. To increase the capacity of mobile broadband the telcos are having to resort to 28 GHz 5G. These signals will not go through walls, roofs, and hills, so each building will need a 5G transceiver feeding a Wi-Fi modem. A view of this on broadcasters was described in “Will 5G Be Part of the Broadcasting Future.”

I have not seen a recent cost comparison in the U.S.A. of the price of transmitting a program using the internet for the broadcaster, particularly when there are millions of simultaneous listeners. Here is one made by the EBU for European broadcasters.

The cost of simulcasting of FM analog, adding HD Radio and mobile internet for large numbers of listeners is expensive. Large numbers of HD Radios receivers switching to the mobile internet to overcome the problems of very low-powered digital transmissions will see broadcast accountants asking why the broadcaster is running a transmitter at all. The telcos can then control the cost of delivery of a broadcaster’s program to their listeners.

In an emergency, the cellphone network in the emergency area can be overloaded by people call to find out what’s going on and, in those events, HD Radios switching to mobile broadband will aggravate that situation. An overloaded cellphone system prevents people in imminent danger from calling for help.

DRM-based radios can display maps of the affected areas and an indexed multipage text service for emergency instruction in multiple languages if required. All digital radio standards include a method of waking the radio and speaking an emergency announcement which can remove the need for calling all phones in the emergency area.

The best solution would be to convert all broadcasters to DRM for the lowest cost, highest reliability of delivery. There is no spectral space for DAB+ because those frequencies are used by television in the Americas.

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