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How Radio Can Usher in the Next Era With Innovation

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 13:58

The author of this commentary is CEO of Play MPE.

Fred Vandenberg

Radio continues to thrive and grow in spite of decades-old predictions of decline. It remains (by far) the single most common way to hear a song. Predicting the future for radio comes with challenges as the digital age of music evolves. As the industry changes from the historical view of terrestrial radio broadcasts to a broader view that includes online streaming, radio will continue to thrive, so long as radio programmers, promoters and other behind-the-scenes curators find the right tech tools to enhance their product and boost their efficiency.

Station listenership is growing and moving to new devices. According to Nielsen’s 2019 mid-year report, there were 7 million more weekly radio listeners in the U.S. than there were in 2016. Terrestrial broadcast is only part of the growth, as one of the most frequent use of a smart speaker is to stream a favorite FM station.


This is not to say that listeners’ habits aren’t shifting dramatically, because they are. These shifts and the change in expectations that go with them should give anyone pause. Radio professionals will need to find new and innovative ways of getting access to a broader range of content, more quickly, if they wish to compete with rising mediums such as streaming.

Identifying these technological solutions can empower radio professionals to make a positive push towards innovation. The concrete details of this push feel less than revolutionary, but promise to have a vital impact on the way radio programmers can work.

Professionals need the means to find new, appropriate music, anywhere, from any device, at any time. Bringing key tools to mobile, for example, should be an industry priority. Listening to, saving and sharing with colleagues should be easy. The music should be at the center, with technology simply serving to surface new tracks and make them easy to manage.

There are additional important layers that will be ever more essential to decisionmaking for radio teams, and they all involve data of some sort.

This may be contextual assets and information, images, videos, lyrics and other helpful materials that add to the tracks themselves. This data may include analytics and other guides that help a radio pro assess a track’s potential for exciting their audiences and working in their format. In short, the more data radio professionals have access to, the easier it will be for them to evolve with the current shift in expectations. Gaining a deeper understanding of how consumers engage with the music they hear will be key to leading the innovation needed to stay relevant.

The more seamless and accurate our tech tools are behind the scenes, the better radio will fare. It will be able to change and live on, without losing what it does so perfectly: present great music, with a touch of a button, in places and at times when listening is prized most.

Play MPE is a music promotion and delivery service that “connects content from the world’s largest major and independent labels, artists, promoters and managers to thousands of music’s top tastemakers and curators.”

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The post How Radio Can Usher in the Next Era With Innovation appeared first on Radio World.

ASBU To Host DAB+ Workshop in Tunisia

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 03:39

The Arab States Broadcasting Union has announced that it will host a joint workshop with WorldDAB at its headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia, that will focus on the opportunities DAB+ brings to radio, manufacturing, retail and automotive sectors. Specifically, topics will include how DAB+ is currently deployed in Tunisia and businesses can benefit from its growing market.

Members of the Tunisian Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Commerce, the National Broadcast Network Operator in Tunisia, Office National de Telediffusion, as well as representatives from the audio visual regulators, retailers, receivers, car manufacturers and ASBU directors.

This is the second workshop that has been hosted in Tunis this year on the DAB+ that followed the launch of regular DAB+ services in June—the first phase implemented the national multiplex that covers 51% of the country’s inhabitants, while the second phase will boost that number to 75% by the start of 2020. The multiplex hosts 18 DAB+ stations.

“WorldDAB is committed to assisting broadcasters and regulators in the MENA region, sharing best practices and key learnings from existing and established DAB+ markets, and helping manufacturers and retailers to realize the business opportunities and potential of DAB+ digital radio,” said Bernie O’Neill, WorldDAB project director.

The workshop, titled “Promoting DAB+ Services and Receivers,” will take place on Oct 10 at the ASBU headquarters. More information is available here.

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The post ASBU To Host DAB+ Workshop in Tunisia appeared first on Radio World.

VRT Rolls Out Light Remote Radio Studio

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 00:00

BRUSSELS — Public broadcaster VRT’s Labo Radio is now using its first “Light Remote Radio Studio” for Studio Brussel and Radio 1 broadcasts.

Studio Brussel presenter Stijn Vlaeminck (center) controls the VRT main studio from his living room, together with Studio Brussel engineer Wim Reyniers (L) and Labo Radio engineer Geert Cantens (R).

The broadcaster first tested the new mobile studio with MNM presenter Peter Van de Veire, when he hosted the “Ochtendshow” (“Morning Show”) from New York. It then carried out a second trial for the “Bij Vlaeminck” (“At Vlaeminck’s”) Studio Brussel program, where DJ Stijn Vlaeminck produced the show from his living room.

Labo Radio is VRT’s radio “taskforce” for all of the station’s hardware and software systems used for radio production. In close collaboration with DJs, reporters and music programmers, Labo Radio is continuously developing solutions with a goal of helping radio staff produce creative content.

The Light Remote Radio Studio uses Peplink Pepwave MAX HD4.

The Labo Radio team is also involved with the design and implementation of VRT’s next generation of radio studios for the broadcaster’s future headquarters, which are expected to be ready in 2021. By means of “proof of concepts,” Labo Radio, together with the on-air department, is aiming to make the future radio studio more user-friendly and flexible through the use of new technology.

“The main idea behind the Light Remote Radio Studio concept is that for outside broadcasts, we only take the ‘remote control’ to the location,” explained Tom Hantson, VRT radio system expert and driving force behind the concept. “Audio sources like telephone, music, jingles or commercials remain in VRT’s main broadcast center, the presenter’s microphone signal and control of the audio sources are on location.”

The new concept consists of standard broadcast equipment like a DHD 52/MX console, a laptop controlling a Dalet Plus playout system, a Broadcast Bionics Bionic Studio telephone system, four Shure Beta 87 microphones or four Sennheiser HME headsets.

“VRT engineers developed this remote technology,” said Christophe Delplace, head of VRT Radio Support.

Tom Hantson (center) and Pieter De Coster (R) explain how the Light Remote Radio works to VRT CTO Stijn Lehaen (L).

“DHD already featured a ‘control link’ to control multiple cores with one console, or to split faders on a console over one or more remote users. The New York experiment allowed us to test this long-distance, and it proved successful,” Hantson added.

The Light Remote Radio Studio makes use of a dedicated IP VPN tunnel using Peplink Pepwave MAX HD4 router. “The big challenge was delay and jitter using the IP connection,” said VRT Radio System Engineer Pieter De Coster.

“Too much delay would have been disastrous for the on-air result. We achieved good results with a buffer in the VPN tunnel, but it had to be feasible for the presenter. In the case of New York, Van de Veire is an experienced DJ and he reported positive results with the solution.”

The current final version of the Light Remote Radio Studio includes a feature that allows the presenter to fine-tune the delay from the outside broadcast location, synchronizing the antenna output signal with the DJ’s headset. “It all comes down to establishing a balance between user-friendliness and the extra possibilities offered by this technology,” said Delplace.

“In case of an issue such as signal loss, the engineer in VRT’s broadcast center gets an acoustic warning signal and can take control,” added Hantson and De Coster.

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With a second Light Remote Radio Studio in production, outside broadcasts require less staff and logistics. Does this mean the end of OB-vans for the broadcaster?

“We face increasing demand for on-site broadcasts,” said Delplace. “In the past, we had to drive an OB-van or a truck with 10 flight-cases to the location, and two engineers for 12 hours for a standard production. The Light Remote Radio Studio is shipped in two compact flight-cases with one engineer, cutting the amount of resources and support required to about 60%. This allows us to answer increasing demand without increasing staff.”

In September, VRT’s Radio 2 will begin using the Light Remote Radio Studio for its Saturday morning show “Start je Dag” (“Kick off your day”), hosted by Kim Debrie. VRT’s Studio Brussel will also implement the solution on Fridays for an eight-hour radio broadcast from SME (mall medium enterprises) throughout Flanders, offering “music at work.”

The post VRT Rolls Out Light Remote Radio Studio appeared first on Radio World.

NAB’s Pilot Announces Spring 2020 Internship Grant Winners

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 19:07

Four NAB members have been selected by Pilot as the recipients of grants designed to fund paid engineering or media technology internships in the spring of 2020. They are stations are WISR(AM)/WBUT(AM)/WLER(FM), Butler County Radio Network in Butler, Pa.; KNXV(TV), Scripps Media Inc. in Phoenix; WNKY(TV), Marquee Broadcasting in Bowling Green, Ky.; and WKAR(AM/FM/TV), Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

[Read: NAB’s Pilot Seeking Proposals For AI-Inspired Innovation Challenge]

The program, which began this past spring, is in partnership with the NABLF to help grow technical and engineering talent. The recipients are NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media technology internships. Also as part of the program, NAB provides resources to help identify and support interns, including having them attend the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas.

“Pilot and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology,” said Sam Matheny, NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer.

Since it was initiated, the program has provided technology internship grants to 13 organizations.

For more information on the program, visit

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Station Trading Is at Three-Year Low

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 15:32

The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. broadcast industry is slow.

According to Kagan, a research group of S&P Global Market Intelligence, U.S. broadcast station M&A volume was $215.1 million in the third quarter of 2019, the lowest quarterly volume since late 2016.

“In the radio business, the largest deal of the quarter took place in New York, where Emmis Communications Corp. partnered with investment firm Standard General L.P. and founded a new public company, Mediaco Holding, which will own and operate Emmis FM stations WBLS and WQHT,” the company noted. “Standard General will pay $91.5 million in cash and a $5 million note receivable to Emmis, while Emmis will have a 23.7% minority stake in the new company.”

Radio station deal volume in millions, as of Sept. 30, 2019

The second-largest radio deal was Stephens Media Group’s acquisition of Mapleton Communications, which agreed to sell its 29 FM and eight AM stations, together with a number of boosters and translators, for $21 million.

Another notable sale, done in two parts, was 12 AM stations and seven FM translators from Salem Media Group to Starboard Media Foundation, the parent company of Immaculate Heart Media, for $16.9 million.

In the TV sector, the only major deal of the quarter was the announced sale of KMBH(DT) in Harlingen, Texas, from MBTV Texas Valley LLC to Entravision Communications Corporation for $2.9 million.

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User Report: WideOrbit App Puts Remotes in Charge

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:00

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Jim Pattison Broadcasting operates 47 radio stations in four Canadian provinces. Twenty-two of our stations use WideOrbit Automation for Radio Version 4.0. One of the main benefits of WideOrbit V4 is AFR Mobile, an iPhone and iPad app that allows full control of WideOrbit from anywhere.

AFR Mobile gives our users full control of the on-air product, including the ability to start and stop events, play hotkeys, make changes to the playlist and record new audio files. But for most of our users, the voice-tracking function is the most useful.

Like most broadcasters today, our on-air talent is responsible for recording voice tracks for our stations in our other markets. We have found that AFR Mobile is faster and easier to use than other voice-tracking solutions, including WideOrbit’s Distant City Voice Tracker. We have purchased 14 iPads for use by our staff to record voice tracks, and we have installed iPad holders in our production studios to hold the iPads. The iPads are integrated with Axia Livewire network for the best audio quality, and connect to our Wi-Fi for connectivity to our LAN. The DJ can quickly connect to the remote station and record all of the voice tracks for their shift.

We also have one remote DJ that records voice tracks from their home studio. We supplied this DJ with an iPad that connects to our infrastructure via our VPN over an LTE  cellular network connection. Voice-tracking works great even when used with only a cellular connection.

In addition to voice-tracking, we have used AFR Mobile for remote broadcasts. Earlier this year, during the opening of a new children’s hospital, we used AFR Mobile to record drop-ins from the hospital. AFR Mobile uploaded the drop-ins to one of our local stations for broadcast, and WideOrbit’s Friendship Server automatically distributed the drop-ins to our other markets for broadcast. This works well but we found that we had to test our audio levels before the broadcast. This was because AFR Mobile does not normalize audio after recording. A useful  improvement to AFR Mobile would be the ability to normalize audio after recording.

Now that our users are comfortable with AFR Mobile, we have also used AFR Mobile for five live remote broadcasts without a board operator. The DJ uses hotkeys on AFR Mobile  to turn their microphone on and off.  In the next month, we plan to adapt this work methodology for a mobile studio for use in remote broadcasts. Our goal is to give the DJ the same experience in the remote studio as in the main studio, with a Tieline audio link, virtual Axia faders, and AFR Mobile.

Installation of AFR Mobile is easy. The app is available as a free download and it connects to our infrastructure via our own VPN, so we have control of who can connect to our system. If one of our AFR Mobile users leaves their job, we can disable their access to our automation system simply by disabling their VPN connection.

We have shared some feedback with WideOrbit about improvements that could be made to AFR Mobile, In addition to normalization, our users have found that the dark colors of AFR Mobile are difficult to see in bright sunlight, so a “bright” mode would be helpful.

For information, contact WideOrbit in California at 1-415-675-6700, Option 2, or visit

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RFmondial Launches Multiplexed DRM for FM Band

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 09:09

RFmondial has added a new member to its line of LV-series of DRM modulators and exciters with an advanced multiplexed DRM modulation designed specifically for the FM band.

This new DRM system allows for the parallel generation and transmission of up to six pure digital DRM channels, or in combined analog and digital “simulcast” mode, on one traditional analog FM channel or up to four DRM channels.

Stefan Galler, managing director of RFmondial, said the new DRM modulators give “the ability to freely mix and combine analog and multiple digital DRM signals, in adjacent channels, with individually varying power levels, supporting single frequency networks, allows broadcasters, network regulators and frequency planners a new dimension of possibilities for planning and operation of digital radio networks.”

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The post RFmondial Launches Multiplexed DRM for FM Band appeared first on Radio World.

NAB Believes FCC’s EEO Rules Can Be “Streamlined”

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 19:32

In recently filed comments on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on EEO Compliance and Enforcement, the NAB suggests a new method for promoting diversity in the broadcast industry instead of reworked or increased rules and regulations, which the organization says are overly burdensome on broadcasters.

Claiming that broadcasters already take appropriate actions toward promoting diversity in the industry because of the benefits it inherently provides both their business and communities they serve, NAB criticized the current rules, saying that they “push the outer limits of constitutionality,” put significant burdens of time and expenses on stations to fill out required paperwork and claiming that data from the last 17 years say that the regulations are effective as possible.

[Read: EEO Supporters Oppose Any Big Change in Threshold]

NAB thinks a new, streamlined process could be beneficial for diversity efforts and on what is expected of broadcasters.

“Instead of taking the easy, familiar path of focusing on additional rules and regulations, the commission should center its efforts on two areas in particular,” the statement reads. “First, the commission should take pro-active, concrete steps that will actually increase employment diversity,” like raising public awareness for equal employment opportunities, expand industry education and facilitate connections among job applicants and employers. “Second, the commission should take steps to reduce unnecessary burdens on broadcasters, especially small stations,” specifically citing audits on stations regarding EEO rules.

“Rather than writing new rules, the commission should join the NAB in rolling up our sleeves and making a real dent in the challenges broadcasters face in hiring the most diverse workforce possible.”

The FCC was required by the federal court in its upcoming quadrennial review of media ownership rules to consider the impact of its policies on broadcast diversity. Related, the U.S. Third Circuit Court recently vacated earlier deregulation efforts dealing with media ownership diversity by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, saying the commission failed to adequately gauge the impact.

Read the full comments from NAB here.

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User Report: Radio Workflow Provides Dividends to Regional Media

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 19:19

DAVENPORT, IOWA — Regional Media partnered with Radio Workflow in September 2018. Throughout our first year, we have improved our productivity in sales and budgetary goals, team collaboration and overall success of our 14 radio stations.

We were presented with this new, fast-growing Consumer Relationship Management System, and it was easy to get acquainted with. It is an easy, simple to use system. Through detailed, well-instructed demos and tutorials from Radio Workflow, my team and I were able to learn how the system worked in order to get the most out of its features.

Radio Workflow has a 24-hour support team available to answer our questions and adjust anything in our system to suit our needs. They do a great job ensuring our knowledge of the system and providing different tips on how to optimize our use of it.

Before partnering with Radio Workflow, we used another system for our sales, keeping track of our accounts, production, etc. My team at Regional Media is able to merge our accounts and documents easily with Radio Workflow. We can view a list of all of our accounts and organize them based on seasonal businesses, current clients of ours, along with prospective business. Radio Workflow allows us to keep better track of our progress and set/achieve monthly goals throughout the entire company.

Regional Media works with our clients to ensure they are getting the most out of their advertising with our radio stations; and Radio Workflow gives us the tools to do this efficiently and professionally. Through their digital proposals and contracts, our advertising campaigns are broken down concisely for our clients to review with multiple options, choose what suits them best, convert everything to a contract and sign, all from any web browser on any computer. My team along with our clients enjoy how accessible this cloud-based system is. We have increased our closing ratio, increased our client return and earned more new businesses since partnering with Radio Workflow.

In addition to its customer relationship management elements, Radio Workflow is notable for its production features and traffic merging capabilities. Using Radio Workflow in production removes the possibility for error and allows us to work more efficiently with our production team. We input all of our production orders in one place, including our scripts, any necessary media and additional files, along with instructions for what needs to be included in the production order. Our production team accesses all of this, produces the spot and provides our sales team with finalized projects in Radio Workflow.

We keep better track of the spots we have running, when they will expire, and what still needs to be completed. Radio Workflow keeps our entire team in-sync from production to sales and management with lower probability for human error as everything is at our fingertips through its cloud-based format.

Radio Workflow will soon release their own traffic system and we will integrate that, allowing us access to everything we need under one domain. We look forward to continuing our partnership with them.

For information, contact Robert Maschio at Radio Workflow at 1-855-973-1145 or visit

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“We Are Accountable as Broadcasters”

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 11:53

The author is an Earle K. Moore Fellow at the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council.

Jamila Flomo

According to a 2011 Census Bureau report, 21 percent of the U.S population speaks a language other than English at home. Yet many of these individuals find themselves at a profound disadvantage when emergencies strike because very few of America’s radio stations routinely transmit emergency information in widely spoken languages other than English.

Notably and infamously, in August 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, close to 100,000 Spanish-speaking individuals were left with no radio lifeline after the only Spanish language station in New Orleans was knocked off the air.

To date, the FCC has no multilingual emergency broadcasting requirements. “It means that if you speak only Spanish, and a hurricane hits, you are on your own,” said Brent Wilkes, the former CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supports extending alerting to the non-English speaking populations, stations have the choice to provide emergency information only in English.

America has no national language, so it is imperative that the broadcast marketplace ensure that those who do not speak English still receive life-saving information during emergencies.


The idea of requiring EAS in languages other than English is not a new concept and can work if each local area has a “designated hitter” selected in advance to broadcast in languages other than English. The concept is based on the U.S. Army’s training of platoons: If a soldier goes down when the platoon is taking a hill, another soldier takes his or her place, and the job still gets done.

In 2018, this idea worked when three radio station groups voluntarily cooperated to provide vital information to Spanish-speaking residents to communities threatened by Hurricane Florence. At the request of MMTC and LULAC, Miami-based Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) voiced and transmitted Spanish-language alerts for Cumulus Media and Dick Broadcasting, which serve Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.

The execution of the process was quite simple. According to Dick Broadcasting’s Aaron Wilborn, “Broadcasters can pick up the phone and in two hours it can be broadcast, put on the air and done.”

These broadcasters made it possible for 22,000 Hispanic residents in Myrtle Beach and 21,000 Hispanic residents in Hilton Head to receive information about health care issues, avoiding injury, shelters and where to find missing bodies after the hurricane hit. The initiative worked because “[w]e are accountable as broadcasters and license holders,” said Jesus Salas of Spanish Broadcasting System, the largest Hispanic owned media company in the United States.

“These companies are an example to other broadcasters of the essential services that they should provide to the public they serve in times of disaster,” said MMTC President Maurita Coley. “America’s broadcasters should engage now, in this hurricane season, to save the lives of everyone, no matter what languages they speak.”

Got an opinion on an issue of importance regarding radio technology, management or regulation? Email

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DJ-Run Internet Radio Station Thriving

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 02:00

OTTAWA, Ontario — On Nov. 10, 2014, DJ John “Milky” Mielke and his fellow on-air talent at Ottawa’s CKKL(FM) — BOB-FM — were unexpectedly laid off when CKKL changed its format from’70-’80-’90s pop to new country. In response, Mielke launched his own internet radio station BlastThe from his basement studio. RWI covered his efforts in 2015: Radio Station Not Required.

John Mielke behind the mic at in his Ottawa home. Credit:

Today, (aka “BTR” to its many fans) continues to stream Milky’s live show 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., plus content from other contributors who have joined BTR’s roster and automated music playout 24/7. It all originates from his house in suburban Ottawa, Canada.

“When we started it was just me on the air,” said Mielke. “But as things have progressed we’ve been able to add other on-air shows. Veteran broadcaster Brian Kelly was the very first to reach out to us wanting to participate. He voices tracks six hours both Saturday and Sundays now.”

Also playing on BTR are podcasts from a number of former Canadian radio DJs such as Jesse and Jenna, Scotty Mars, and Jeunesse; plus weekday sports reports from Bruce Barker. Many of these are recorded in BTR’s “Podcastle;” a studio put together in Mielke’s dining room.

The studio at Credit:

“We’re working with a number of local clients to develop podcasts for them,” Mielke said. “Some of that programming is also sourced for on-air broadcast, and I’ve just started hosting a weekend countdown show that airs Saturdays and Sundays.”


Since launching in 2015, BTR’s audio stream has racked up almost 600,000 “Listens” (unique streaming sessions), and built a fiercely loyal fan base in Ottawa and around the world.

“Initially we started off on one streaming platform — making it very easy to see just who was listening and when,” said Mielke. “Over the years we’ve added other audio streams in order to serve our audience via our phone app, smart speakers, and most recently an in-studio video feed.”

To build its brand awareness among Ottawa radio listeners, Mielke takes BTR on location whenever he can.

The “Podcastle,” a podcasting studio created in Mielke’s dining room. Credit:

“We co-host an annual Superhero Breakfast where families are invited to a local restaurant to have pancakes with their favorite superheros,” Mielke said. “I emcee countless events. Every Christmas several of us install Christmas lights in exchange for a donation to a local crisis line, and we solicit donations on Taffy Lane [a street in Ottawa where every house is decorated] over the course of two weekends. Plus we make bumper stickers and magnets available at various locations as well.”

“Our fans are our biggest form of advertising, really,” he added. “They take it upon themselves to do things like put on computers on the sales floor of the local Best Buy, or on cellphones at various mobile retailers. They also send me countless photos of them having spelled out BTR or even BlastTheRadio with monogrammed coffee mugs and towels they’ve found at stores.”


BTR’s new voice announcing booth was built inside a repurposed personal sauna. Credit:

Like the commercial radio station Mielke used to work at, is a money-making venture. Given that BTR is very much a one-man-band, “ad sales are the big challenge as I’m busy hosting a daily show, uploading content, producing podcasts and producing station imaging; plus I have other businesses that I run,” he said. “The sponsors we do have are people who have come to us through — mostly — word of mouth.”

“I’m very lucky in that I run a successful web enterprise that services conventional radio ( that provides me with an income,” Mielke continued. “I do some voice work for local clients as well as a few international ones. Most recently I was signed-on to be the voice of ABC Local Radio Networks’ New Country format.”

Challenges aside, Mielke loves being the voice of, and doesn’t regret leaving on-air work behind.

“Online is the most freedom I’ve ever had in a 30-plus year radio career! “ he said. “I can’t think of anything more exciting than being at the forefront of what is going to carry the medium I love so far forward.”

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Have You Bought Your Last Tube?

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 17:57

If you’re running an older tube transmitter, you might have had the thought: Should you continue buying tubes or would you be better off with a new transmitter? It’s a question that still faces many broadcast managers. Radio World’s September ebook explores the topic.

What factors should be weighed when making this important ROI decision? Are tube transmitters more rugged and forgiving? How much more efficient are solid-state designs? How do tube and solid-state compare in terms of failure modes, frequency agility and ongoing maintenance costs? What is the expected life of a tube today? And what else should engineers know about the costs of ongoing tube operation?

In two articles, longtime Radio World contributor Michael LeClair and Nautel’s Jeff Welton, winner of multiple engineering awards, took on this topic. Read it here.


The post Have You Bought Your Last Tube? appeared first on Radio World.

Inside the September 25th Issue of Radio World

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 17:05

Build your own EAS receive antenna … Peruse the program of the Broadcast Technology Symposium … Learn about efforts to expand World Radio Day awareness in the United States … And see what the former offices of USA Digital Radio looked like after a gas explosion.

“We Are Accountable as Broadcasters”

Jamila Flomo makes the case for multilingual emergency broadcasting.

Seeking Enlightenment About Lightning Protection?

Jeff Welton, chosen SBE’s educator of the year in 2018, talks about best practices for preparing your transmitter site.



The post Inside the September 25th Issue of Radio World appeared first on Radio World.

2019 Marconi Award Winners Saluted

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 13:55

One of the highlights of the annual Radio Show is the announcement of the winners of the NAB Marconi Awards, which are awarded to radio stations and on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio. The award, named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi and established in 1989, honors both the public faces and the behind-the-scenes operators, from the best radio personality of the year to the best college station of the year.

For the first time in 2019, the awards also recognized the best radio podcast in the nation.

Winners came from across the country. From the northwest, the NAB recognized KIRO(FM) in Seattle as news/talk station of the year. From all the way to the southeast, the NAB honored WHQT(FM) in Hollywood, Fla., as urban station of the year.

[Read: Live From the Radio Show]

Small- and mid-market stations are routinely honored alongside their larger-market brethren. This year the NAB honored KIPR(FM) in Little Rock, Ark., as medium market station of the year as well as KWYO(AM) in Sheridan, Wyo., as small market station of the year.

The award is a long time coming for KWYO, which signed on the air in July 1934, making it Sheridan’s first radio station and the second oldest radio station in Wyoming. More than eight decades ago, KWYO began operation with a stack of 2,000 phonograph records that ranged from grand opera to jazz. The station now plays a classic country format.

Familiar big-market radio personalities also made the winners list: Ryan Seacrest was named network/syndicated personality of the year. Familiar big-market stations also were honored, including newser WTOP(FM) in Washington.

The Boston market also had its due this year when the duo Felger & Massarotti of WBZ(FM) were named major market personalities of the year. WBZ was also honored as sports station of the year.

The growing importance of podcasts were also celebrated. The NAB named WCCO(AM)’s “Denied Justice” as the year’s best radio podcast. The program was created in collaboration with the Star-Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis and was based on a series of uninvestigated rape cases.

In an article on the WCCO radio website, podcast creator Jordan Green said that “every time I called those women to get their stories for the podcast, we could sense that they were opening up a vein to bleed the worst day of their life … [in the hopes] that they could change what happened to the next girl, or the next boy. And they did change it. Let me tell you, the laws of Minnesota are changing.”

Following the initial airing of the podcasts, WCCO said that the Minnesota attorney general convened a sexual assault investigative task force to make recommendations for changes in state law.

The Marconi finalists were selected by a task force of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. Radio personalities and previous Marconi Award winners returned to the 2019 Radio Show to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the award. Emcees and presenters throughout the event included Delilah, Rickey Smiley along with Tom and Kristi of “The Bob and Tom Show.”

2019 NAB Marconi Radio Award Recipients:
Legendary Station of the Year — KRTH(FM), Los Angeles
Legendary Station Manager of the Year — Dan Seeman, Hubbard Twin Cities and
Hubbard North, St. Paul, Minn.
Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year — Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks
Major Market Personality of the Year — Felger & Massarotti, WBZ(FM), Boston
Large Market Personality of the Year — Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP(FM), St. Paul, Minn.
Medium Market Personality of the Year — Mike Street, WBTJ(FM), Richmond, Va.
Small Market Personality of the Year — Scotty and Catryna, KCLR(FM), Columbia, Mo.
Major Market Station of the Year — WTOP(FM), Washington
Large Market Station of the Year — KSTP(FM), St. Paul, Minn.
Medium Market Station of the Year — KIPR(FM), Little Rock, Ark.
Small Market Station of the Year — KWYO(AM), Sheridan, Wyo.
AC Station of the Year — KRWM(FM), Bellevue, Wash.
Best Radio Podcast of the Year — “Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO(AM), Minneapolis
CHR Station of the Year — KRBE(FM), Houston
Classic Hits Station of the Year — WMGK(FM), Philadelphia
College Station of the Year — WRHU(FM), Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
Country Station of the Year — KYGO(FM), Denver
News/Talk Station of the Year  — KIRO(FM), Seattle
Religious Station of the Year — KKFS(FM), Sacramento, Calif.
Rock Station of the Year — WRIF(FM), Detroit
Spanish Station of the Year — KLOL(FM), Houston
Sports Station of the Year — WBZ(FM), Boston
Urban Station of the Year — WHQT(FM), Hollywood, Fla.

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The post 2019 Marconi Award Winners Saluted appeared first on Radio World.

FCC Looking to Modernize Local Public Notice Rule

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 19:53

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to create a standardized set of rules when it comes to the listing of local public notices by broadcast applicants.

In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) released at its September Open Meeting, the FCC proposed updating the current rule that says TV and radio broadcast applicants must give public notice to the local communities they serve when filing certain applications. The current rule requires applicants to provide written notice in a local newspaper or broadcast on-air messages that announce the filing of an application (or in some cases, to do both).

But because the notice requirements differ based on the type of applicant, station and application, the FCC said that the rules have become “needlessly complex.” Plus, given the ubiquity of online information sources coupled with the elimination of the main studio rule, and the transition from physical to online public inspection files, the current rules have become “anachronistic,” the commission said.

As a result, the FNPRM is proposing to modernize and simplify the public notice requirements, reducing the costs and burdens of the existing procedures, and making it easier for the public to participate in the licensing process.

“I remain strongly supportive of the merits of removing the newspaper publication requirement and other reforms and seek to move the item to final order expeditiously,” said FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly. But he said that any final proposal that supports what O’Rielly calls “burdensome information disclosures, additional script language or litigation traps for stations in the form of compliance burdens” will find O’Rielly in opposition.

In all, the FNPRM proposes to:

  • Replace the current newspaper publication requirement with a written public notice posted online on a publicly accessible website that includes a direct link to the broadcast application in question;
  • Simplify and standardize the public notice requirements for on-air announcements;
  • Clarify the local public notice obligations of international broadcast stations and low-power FM stations; and
  • Update the commission’s rules concerning public notice for stations designated for evidentiary hearings.

All four commissioners and the chairman approved the notice of proposed rulemaking. The FNPRM will be accepting comments in the ECFS database using Media Bureau Docket numbers 05-6, 17-105, 17-264.

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The post FCC Looking to Modernize Local Public Notice Rule appeared first on Radio World.

Ennes Educational Trust Scholarship Recipients Announced

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 19:44

The Society of Broadcast Engineers has announced the recipients of The Harold E. Ennes Scholarship, Robert D. Greenberg Scholarship and John H. Battison Founder’s Scholarship and the Youth Scholarship.

These are awarded to individuals interested in continuing or beginning their education in broadcast engineering and technology. The Youth Scholarship is specifically for a graduating high school senior interested in broadcast engineering as a career.

SBE President Jim Leifer, CPBE, said, “Education is still one of the prime efforts of the SBE. These four rising engineering talents have earned their educational awards through the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust, and it’s an honor for us to help them achieve their educational goals in broadcast engineering.”

Harold E. Ennes Scholarship recipient is Nicholas Church of Rhinelander, Wis. In May 2019, Church began working as the director of operations and technology at WXPR(FM), a public radio station in Rhinelander. After earning his SBE Certified Radio Operator, he began his broadcast education towards achieving the SBE Certified Broadcast Technologist and Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist certifications. He has a B.A. in music with a management studies concentration from St. Olaf College and is drawn to technology including amateur radio, microcontrollers, programming and creating efficiency through automation, according to a release from the SBE. After earning his SBE Certified Radio Operator, Church began his broadcast education towards achieving the SBE Certified Broadcast Technologist and Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist certifications.

Robert Greenberg Scholarship is Chris Gamelin of Middletown, Ct.. His interest in broadcasting began when he was 12. He learned how radio worked and started his own internet radio station and collected money to build a professional studio. According to a release, he has improved his radio skills at WNHU(FM), the University of New Haven and WQUN(AM) at Quinnipiac University. He is currently a student at the University of New Haven, hoping to finish his part-time schooling soon. Gamelin has also worked as an assistant engineer at Entercom, and is now a maintenance technician at WFSB(TV). He has learned to operate UAVs.

John H. Battison SBE Founder’s Scholarship has been awarded to Sadie Levy. She recently graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she worked on various school productions as a Digital Media Dept. intern. Additionally, she was awarded scholarships to study digital electronics in pre-college programs at both The Cooper Union and New York University. This past summer, she completed a media internship in a New York City government office. According to an SBE release, these opportunities made her realize that she would love to contribute to the field of recording and new media. She plans to major in electrical engineering, with an interest in media production, at Northeastern University in Boston.

Andrew Marcus Heller of Two Rivers, Wis., received the Youth Scholarship. His father owns two AM radio stations. Andrew was the first person to turn on WTRW’s solid-state transmitter at age three, and then again, WGBW’s 12 kW transmitter at Denmark, Wis., at 11 years old. He has been involved in his high school audio/video efforts. With a 3.9 grade point average in his senior year, he was accepted to the science and engineering program at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.

Each scholarship worth $1,500

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The post Ennes Educational Trust Scholarship Recipients Announced appeared first on Radio World.

Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic Preview: Podcasting

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 16:38

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic, Oct. 15–17, is a highly anticipated annual event for radio broadcasters. Like a miniature NAB Show it offers a wealth of information from a show floor along with useful sessions. Radio World is previewing several of those upcoming sessions.

Craig Bowman is senior vice president, Broadcast Technology, for Futuri Media. He’s going to preach the podcasting gospel that will help broadcasters maximize brand ID and revenue opportunities, in “Maximizing Your Content ROI With Podcasting,” Oct. 15, 1 p.m.

Radio World: Is it safe to say that “Podcasting” is the word of 2019 for radio broadcasters?
Craig Bowman: It’s definitely the word of 2019, but that’s not to say that it’s a fad. Podcasting has become a term so generic that it’s become synonymous with any spoken word, on-demand audio content. In fact, a huge study Futuri did with the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications found that 70% of people who say they listen to podcasts do so on YouTube, which doesn’t support what traditionalists refer to as podcasts.

RW: At first glance podcasting might seem to be a rival or threat to radio broadcasters. Is it?
Bowman: Podcasts are only a threat to radio broadcasters who don’t get in the game. Radio broadcasters know great audio, so it makes perfect sense for broadcasters to embrace podcasting. Podcasts are a great opportunity for radio to time-shift their content so that listeners can interact with it on their terms, as-well-as a vehicle to allow their talent to be more personal with the audience. Podcasts allow your talent to share their hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. and better connect with your existing audience without sticking to your on-air clock. Discovery of this content then leads to more listeners to the daily broadcast. Creating a personal connection for your brand and personalities with your listeners is key to your success.

RW: How can a broadcaster/station owner take advantage of podcasting for their own benefit?
Bowman: Using podcasts to distribute longer-form, brand-appropriate content than you may be comfortable airing on your station. You could, as an example, podcast an entire city council meeting using chapter markers to allow listeners to skip to the subject of interest. Podcast full-length interviews with artists, programs about local interests, etc. To flash back to “the day” you could publish a podcast to your smart device every morning with school lunches, is there an assembly at school, and every parent’s nightmare, “Today is Picture Day.” Podcasting creates an outlet for all of the radio elements which have come to be known as clutter.

RW: Can podcasts be profitable for the broadcaster?
Bowman: Yes. Preroll, dynamic midroll, live reads, etc. It’s important to keep in mind that the revenue in this space may not match what you get for your terrestrial efforts today, but it will certainly grow and is worth your attention. And branded content, when done well, can be huge. Go to that auto dealership with one of your younger personalities and pitch a series on buying your first car — what to look for, how to get financing, how to maintain it after purchase, etc. The personal connection between a podcaster and a listener makes this a prime (and by that I mean rate) opportunity for live endorsements!

RW: Is there more to podcasting than the obvious/what is the on-demand ecosystem?
Bowman: There is, unquestionably, a market for on-demand audio — not just original podcast content that you don’t broadcast on-air, but by making great broadcast available in an on-demand, time-shifted fashion so listeners can access it even if they weren’t able to catch it live, or if they want to hear it again. Radio is entering the same renaissance that television did a long time ago when the DVR started to get market penetration. People wanted their TV content available to watch when they were ready to watch it, not when TV stations insisted on playing it. Repurposing audio not only gives your audience a choice when they consume your content but with PPM encoded audio a station can receive credit to the original broadcast if listened to within 24 hours! As mentioned before, pushing your content to as many locations as possible increases the discoverability of your brand beyond the scan button or the billboard.

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The post Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic Preview: Podcasting appeared first on Radio World.

Community Broadcaster: Just Give

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 13:50

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

With noncommercial radio station pledge season in full effect, these delightful media organizations are pulling out all the stops to get you to donate. There are socks aplenty available as thank you gifts for your gift. Would a warm hat motivate you to give? How about a candle that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker? Your local station has concert tickets, books and any number of incentives to get you to pick up the phone or go online.

Typically, a donation to your local station will get you one of the fancier premiums when you give $10 per month on up. All well and good if you are a longtime listener or someone used to the noncommercial radio pledge drive. But what if all this is new to you, or you’re worried about making that big of a gift? The lingering concern among many stations is that these numbers as we know them might turn away first-time donors.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Acting on Equity]

What if your community radio station tried something altogether different?

For stations constantly on the hunt for financial support, messing with established protocols might seem improbable. However, this is precisely the bet a group of stations are placing, with the help of one of their stations’ most recognizable names.

Ira Glass is known around the world as the host of “This American Life,” a radio sensation for decades. Glass is also a fixture during radio on-air fundraising. He’s done some of the most legendary and successful pledge drives, including telling listeners they don’t need to donate and calling up people who don’t donate, who are turned in by family and friends. Here is a sampling of some of these humorous spots from years past.

This year, Glass has come back with the most surprising of suggestions: just give $1.

Radio fundraising types may find that number a little shocking, especially when you discover it comes with streaming thank-you gifts. But credit Glass and almost two dozen stations with the temerity to spark a conversation with new donors. This level is a clever way of introducing them to what is referred to in the noncommercial radio space as a sustaining membership.

The aging of noncommercial radio’s base and the need for fresh members is an ongoing issue nationwide. Glass is one of many people thinking deeply about what inspires people to give, and how do stations make the giving process as easy and welcoming as possible to those reluctant to make a larger commitment. This latest experiment is an effort to win new donors, particularly those accustomed to giving-by-text and making small gifts in the digital era. In this effort, these new members will receive in the coming months emails written by Glass himself, encouraging them to take their $1-per-month donations up higher.

Many community radio stations have tried these sorts of initiatives. Do they work? Time will tell if this one knocks it out of the park, though having Ira Glass on your side is a huge boost.

Even if your station doesn’t have a heavy hitter like Glass to help, this kind of model could be tried near you. Or maybe it is a little too risky. Getting $12 annually could hurt some stations, surely. However, one thing is certain: your station cannot afford to not try bold moves to bring in new donors. Your station and its unique local programming depend on future generations.

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The post Community Broadcaster: Just Give appeared first on Radio World.

World Radio Day Organizers Raise U.S. Profile

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 12:17

“Since its origins, radio has been shown to be the most useful medium of social communication for humanity.”

Jorge Álvarez

So states the home page of World Radio Day, celebrated in February of each year. An offshoot, the Academy of Radio Arts & Sciences of America, seeks to raise awareness of World Radio Day in the United States.

Radio World asked Jorge Álvarez, president of the Spanish Academy of Radio, about the effort.

Radio World: What is the history of World Radio Day and why was it created?
Jorge Álvarez: It began when I realized that the United Nations had established World Television Day and World Press Freedom Day, but that there was not a World Radio Day.

I sent a letter to the director general of UNESCO, Kōichirōō Matsuura, in January 2008, requesting the establishment of World Radio Day. The response from UNESCO was positive, indicating that the government of Spain would have to make the formal proposal.

So the Spanish Academy of Radio collaborated with the Permanent Delegation of Spain to UNESCO, for three years, to prepare a proposal to be presented at the 187th Session of the UNESCO Executive Committee in Paris in September 2011.

Initially, we choose October 30 as World Radio Day as a tribute to the famous radio broadcast of 1938, “The War of the Worlds,” which had the support of a large number of radio broadcasting associations of the five continents. However, after an intense debate of the 58 countries represented in the executive board of UNESCO, the date chosen was February 13, the anniversary of the birth of United Nations Radio in 1946.

In November 2011, the General Conference of UNESCO, formed by 96 member states, finally proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day. In 2012, the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations endorsed this proclamation, thanks to the proposal of the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations, with the collaboration of the Spanish Radio Academy.

RW: What role does the academy play?
Álvarez: The Spanish Academy of Radio was the promoter of the World Radio Day initiative and made a great effort for more than three years collecting support from radio stations around the world and from the different permanent delegations at the UNESCO executive board, to get the vote in favor of the establishment of World Radio Day.

In addition, the academy took the initiative to create the International Committee of World Radio Day, formed by the most important international organizations of broadcasting of the five continents. We’re honored that ITU is represented too.

For more information and to download free photos and documents, you can visit and

Officials gather for a UNESCO World Radio Day meeting in Paris in 2017.

RW: And what is the purpose of the World Radio Day Committee?
Álvarez: Shortly after UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day, the Spanish Radio Academy created the World Radio Day Committee, which held its first official meeting on Sept. 11 in Madrid at the International Press Center. One year later, the committee hosted another meeting in Madrid with the participation of UNESCO’s General Director of Communication, Janis Karklins. In 2013, the committee along with 16 organizations met in Paris at Radio France Headquarters.

The purpose of this committee is to collaborate with UNESCO every year on the organization of the World Radio Day celebrations, proposing the slogan of celebration and the various activities to be developed. Usually, this committee meets twice a year at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. I was the first president of this committee; since 2014, the it is coordinated by Giacomo Mazzone, director of institutional relations of the European Broadcasting Union.

RW: Describe the effort to develop awareness of World Radio Day in the United States.
Álvarez: The academy considers it very important to promote events to celebrate World Radio Day in the United States.

Each year the official WRD website,, incorporates a world map where is possible to record the celebrations and events planned by radio stations and institutions. We realized that the United States recorded few events and so the academy wanted to start a promotion in this country, especially when radio stations in the Spanish language are increasingly important.

In 2018 the Academy awarded the WRD prize to radio station WURN, “Actualidad 1040 AM” in Miami, Florida. The prize is sponsored by international equipment manufacturer AEQ. This was the most important World Radio Day event held in the U.S. that year.

RW: You recently presented the World Radio Day Award to the National Association of Broadcasters.
Álvarez: The NAB was one of the broadcasting organizations that supported the academy in its proposal to UNESCO to establish World Radio Day. In February I visited NAB headquarters in Washington, along with with my communication director Fátima Estramiana, to present the award to Sen. Gordon Smith. The event was attended as well by the ambassador of Spain in Washington, Mr. Santiago Cabanas.

Jorge Álvarez presented the World Radio Day Award to NAB and its President/CEO Gordon Smith in February.

RW: What actions would you like American radio organizations to take in the future? What else should we know?
Álvarez: I would like radio organizations and any radio professional to join the Academy of Radio Arts & Sciences to work closely together in the World Radio Day celebrations in the United States. For more information you can visit the website,

At this time, the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences is forming a jury of radio professionals to award the World Radio Day Award 2020 on Feb. 13; the jury is being coordinated by Frank Montero, a prestigious communications attorney based in Washington. Prospective judges are encouraged to apply by emailing


The 19 members of the WRD Committee are the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU); Association of European Radios (AER); Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD); World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC); Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU); African Union of Broadcasting (AUB/UAR); Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC); Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU); Permanent Conference of Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators (COPEAM); European Broadcasting Union (EBU/UER); Egta; International Association of Broadcasting (IAB); Islamic Broadcasting Union (IBU); International Telecommunication Union (ITU); International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF); Public Media Alliance (PMA); Spanish Radio Academy; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); International Radio and Television Union (URTI).

The post World Radio Day Organizers Raise U.S. Profile appeared first on Radio World.

BMW Vehicles Now Feature RadioDNS

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 09:52

BMW cars have a brand new feature available to drivers in Europe and North America, the Service and Program Information standard from RadioDNS.

The standard is being used in BMW’s vehicles to gather station logos directly from radio stations to keep dashboards updated.

The logos are updated over IP for FM stations, updated over DAB EPG for DAB services.

[Read: In-car Updates From Radioplayer, BBC Sounds]

BMW joins Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche to include the standards. For radio stations to be able to participate in this service, they need to publish their metadata to RadioDNS’ standards. To do that, visit RadioDNS’ website.

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