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Jay Tyler’s Top 5 AoIP Trends

Thu, 09/19/2019 - 12:09

Radio World’s new ebook “AoIP for 2020” is our biggest to date; find it at radioworld.com/ebooks. This article is one in a series exploring that topic. Author Dee McVicker handles marketing and communications at Wheatstone.

There is far more to AoIP than routing and connecting things. It is because of AoIP that we can pan studio cameras at exactly the right moment or load an entire studio of controls onto a tablet, for example.

Where is this all going?

Jay Tyler

Here are the top five AoIP trends, according to Jay Tyler, Wheatstone’s director of sales, who has been involved in hundreds of studio projects.

Native AoIP across distances. There’s a lot of sharing going on these days, from sharing VOs and bumpers between sister stations and sports venues to putting everything into one main operating center for several stations scattered across a region. Being able to move native IP audio and control across distances is why. The cost savings are significant in terms of staff, infrastructure and workflows, and disaster recovery doesn’t get much better than having your essential operation up in a cloud or in another Zip code while dealing with a disaster situation in the studio.

“We don’t care where music lives,” Tyler said. “We can pull it in or we can control it remotely. We can mix it remotely, send it to your transmitter site, bypass the studios, whatever you want us to do, we can now do it using a combination of AoIP logic controls, codecs and connectivity.”

Native IP for phone-ins, too. Connecting VoIP phones directly into the AoIP network without hybrids or stepping through analog-digital conversions means you can do so much more than just route one or two mic feeds down the phone line. You can split feeds, set up multiple sends, customize talkbacks, routing and conference feeds — all possible now that VoIP phones can connect directly into the native IP audio environment.

SNMP everything. “Everyone wants to know what everything is doing, and they’re doing it with SNMP,” he said. SNMP is a set of standards used for monitoring and managing data from servers, printers, hubs and switches. AoIP networks and devices that are SNMP-enabled have MIB files that define relevant data points for monitoring bitrates, temperatures, signal flow and other network details.

For example, WheatNet-IP BLADE I/O units have MIB files with data points for monitoring as well as alerting if a particular port is dropping packets or if a device is heating up and about to fail. In addition to devices containing MIB files, an SNMP browser or management tool is needed for managing networks.

Virtual interfaces into the network. UIs into the IP audio network are taking many forms today, from signal monitoring and switching control panels to news desks complete with talkback button, metering and weather, sports and stock market feeds. Meanwhile, according to Tyler, standalone virtual mixing consoles such as Wheatstone’s Glass LXE are popular in mid-market production rooms because they’re affordable to set up and use, and extremely serviceable for today’s production needs. With native audio IP able to cross distances as mentioned earlier, we can now tap into and control signal streams inside or outside a facility from any user interface available, whether it’s a multi-touch flatscreen or a mobile phone.

AES67 Everywhere. AES67 is no longer an afterthought. This audio transport standard is becoming an important part of the AoIP landscape as we move more and more audio between network systems. Also up and coming are complementary standards based on NMOS and AES70, which promise to add discovery, control and connection management to the interoperability mix.

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

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Using Digital Radio to Boost Listening Figures and Revenues

Thu, 09/19/2019 - 02:00

AMSTERDAM — The WorldDAB conference “Radio Distribution Strategies for a Connect World” focused on new and innovative ways to reach and attract audiences in a connected world.

The speakers’ panel at the WorldDAB session during IBC2019. (L to R) Patrick Hannon, Graham Dixon, Michael McEwen, Jørn Jensen, Simon Mason, Andrew Murphy, Jordi Gimenez and Jacqueline Bierhorst.

During the event, Jørn Jensen, senior adviser at NRK, highlighted how the advent of digital radio reversed the trend of radio listening figures in Norway. For years the overall listening values had been slightly decreasing, similar to what was happening in the rest of Europe.

In 2019, after the completion of the FM switchoff, the listening figures began to rise again, he explained. Clearly, the need to replace a legacy radio receiver with a new, digital-capable one did not scare Norwegians, driving them to leave radio behind and massively embrace alternative audio platforms.

NOT MAINSTREAM

“DAB gave Norwegian listeners a much wider choice,” said Jensen. “Apart from moving from three to 15 national radio channels, 35% of all radio listening is now to ‘digital only’ stations, which previously did not exist.”

Norwegian broadcasters were able to design new stations for smaller target groups outside the mainstream market. The NRK station P1+ (targeting listeners over 55), for example, rose to 6th position during its first week on air.

Jørn Jensen said listeners figures rose in Norway after the FM switch-off.

Also, radio commercial revenues can benefit from the digital radio adoption. Even if the United Kingdom experienced a false start with DAB, after 2010 digital radio definitely had a stable comeback there, and now the U.K. is a leading market for DAB.

Overall radio commercial revenue (including FM) followed the rising trend of digital radio popularity. Patrick Hannon, WorldDAB president, emphasized that overall commercial revenues climbed up by 24% from 2014 to 2018.

NATIONAL BRANDS

Patrick Hannon, WorldDAB president, gives a keynote speech and wraps up the session.

“Commercial broadcasters usually see more competition and more costs in the

DAB market,” Hannon said. “But DAB gave them the opportunity to establish national brands, which are transforming the perception of commercial radio in the U.K.” In his opinion, national brands are at the heart of the revenue growth.

The WorldDAB session also focused on the need for broadcast digital radio to secure its place through a fluid distribution mix of the advanced markets are now experiencing all around the world.

The session’s speaker panel also included Graham Dixon, head of radio at the EBU); Michael McEwen, director general for NABA; Simon Mason, head of broadcast radio technology at Arqiva, Andrew Murphy, lead research engineer at BBC R&D; Jordi Gimenez, project leader 5G at Institut für Rundfunktechnik; and Jacqueline Bierhorst, on behalf of Radioplayer Worldwide.

[Read: AoIP, Cloud and Digital Radio in Focus at IBC]

All the speakers agreed that a multiplatform digital radio strategy is necessary to preserve the value proposition of radio in a connected and evolving world.

“We have to maintain trustability and relevance — our content has no value, unless people are using it,” Jørn Jensen concluded.

The post Using Digital Radio to Boost Listening Figures and Revenues appeared first on Radio World.

The FM Class C4 Proposal: The Latest

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 19:05
Matthew Wesolowski

The author is CEO of SSR Communications, owner of WYAB(FM) in central Mississippi.

A proceeding currently before the Federal Communications Commission to provide eligible Zone II Class A commercial FM broadcasters an opportunity to upgrade from 6 kilowatts to 12 kilowatts has not attracted a great number of headlines this year, but that has not prevented the FM Class C4 proposal from making some significant strides as of late.

Most noteworthy, the Class C4 FM idea has attracted some powerful allies. In January, the proposal won the backing of the Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, sitting chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Congressional body that maintains direct oversight over the FCC. Sen. Wicker noted that the power increase could be of particular benefit to “small and rural radio stations” in a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. In his February, 2019 reply, Chairman Pai agreed by saying that the FM Class C4 option “could be especially important for small, minority-owned stations that currently cannot serve their entire communities.”

Sen. Wicker now joins the list of approximately 130 small broadcasters who filed comments in full support during the FM Class C4 Notice of Inquiry (MB 18-184, FCC 18-69) filing windows in September, 2018. Several years prior, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai first advocated for the new station class in September, 2016 at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Nashville, Tenn., and going back further, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) supported the effort in 2013 when it helped author the original proposal.

[Read: Where Things Stand for FM Class C4: the Waiver Route]

Predictably, a turf war has erupted between the small broadcasters that the FM Class C4 proposal would benefit, and larger license holders who generally control the biggest signals in any given market. The National Association of Broadcasters did not support the introduction of a new station class, which is unsurprising, as that same organization vehemently opposed the creation of the FM Class C0 allotment type some 20 years earlier. Although larger companies stopped short of endorsing the idea fully, some nationwide broadcasters did come out in support of the FM Class C4 concept, including Educational Media Foundation, while iHeartMedia did not oppose the new station class in its comments.

The current sticking point in the FM Class C4 proceeding appears to stem from a component of the proposal that would give certain underbuilt Section 73.207-licensed stations a Section 73.215 designation, provided that the affected station has operated under its maximum antenna height, power level, or equivalent thereof, for a period of ten years or more. Under the current FCC rules, a neighboring station looking to upgrade that is adjacent to an underbuilt Section 73.207-licensed station must treat that station as if it were fully built out, whereas a Section 73.215 station can be protected assuming its actual antenna height and power level.

The practice of treating underbuilt stations as if they were fully constructed can have large implications for smaller adjacent stations wanting to upgrade in power or situate their antenna sites more favorably. For example, a full FM Class C1 station is able to broadcast with 100 kilowatts of power from an antenna height above average terrain of 299 meters. If that station were to have an antenna height of only 200 meters above average terrain, then its primary service contour would be about 5 miles short of what a fully built FM Class C1 facility could reach. Any competing neighboring station looking to upgrade is compelled to protect that underbuilt station for five extra miles of coverage that it does not (or if underbuilt for more than 10 years, likely will not ever) serve.

In August, 2019, SSR Communications Inc., which co-authored the FM Class C4 petition with MMTC, presented a revised version of the Section 73.215 aspect of the proposal to the FCC’s Audio Division. The amended plan would still call for redesignation of certain underbuilt Section 73.207 licensed stations as Section 73.215 authorizations, but would also provide a 3 dB protective “buffer zone” to allow the affected stations an opportunity to relocate or build out more fully in the future. The buffer zone would create a protective bubble around underbuilt stations, usually amounting to anywhere from 3 to7 miles, depending on how severely underpowered or under-height the affected station may be.

This 3 dB buffer zone “compromise” would resolve the controversial aspects of the FM Class C4 proposal and should allow the proposal to advance. The buffer eliminates almost all scenarios in which an affected reclassified Section 73.215 facility could be hemmed in and blocked from making future service improvements or tower relocations. It would also disincentivize the Section 73.215 conference procedure for stations seeking such towards neighboring underbuilt Section 73.207 facilities in almost all cases, except for those involving Section 73.207 stations that are the most decidedly underbuilt with respect to their class. Indirectly, the buffer prevents almost any scenario in which a secondary service could be affected by the Section 73.215 component of the FM Class C4 idea.

Meanwhile, an alternative waiver-based path towards a FM Class C4 equivalent facility may also soon exist. In July, 2018, WRTM(FM) 100.5 MHz asked the Federal Communications Commission to consider allowing the station to double in power from 6 kilowatts to 12 kilowatts. If granted, the WRTM waiver application would establish new precedent and provide certain Class A FM stations an opportunity to enjoy an improvement in coverage.

Unlike the FM Class C4 proposal, the WRTM application (BPH-20180716AAC) suggests that, in order to double in power, a Class A FM licensee should guarantee that its upgraded signal would not impact vital LPFM and FM translator services. Also departing from the Class C4 FM proceeding is the idea that a neighboring Section 73.207-licensed station could still be reclassified as a Section 73.215 facility if it is not built out fully, but only if that station has been operating below its antenna height or maximum power level for a period of 30 years (the FM Class C4 proposal states that a 10-year window is appropriate). The WRTM filing backs this argument by saying, “No zoning problem, FAA issue, or cost consideration could not be resolved within 30 years if the desire is truly there to build out fully.”

Whether moving forward “as is,” as an amended proposal with a 3 dB buffer zone consideration, as a waiver-based procedure for eligible stations, or something else altogether, what will happen next in the FM Class C4 proceeding is anyone’s guess. What is clear is, however, is that hundreds of FM Class A stations would be able to double in power and would gladly do so if given such an opportunity. With support in high places, it seems as if a breakthrough is just around the corner, and it could be sooner than later that the FM Class C4 idea moves from concept to reality.

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The post The FM Class C4 Proposal: The Latest appeared first on Radio World.

Small AM Station Hit With Violation Notice Over Tower and Station ID

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 17:06

A recent visit to the small agricultural town of Hughson, Calif., led Enforcement Bureau staff to note that one Spanish-language station was in alleged violation when it came to lighting and painting its tower/antenna and noting on-air proper station identification.

The agent noted that on more than one occasion, there was no station identification announcement at the hour for KLOC(AM) 1390 kHz, which is licensed by La Favorita Radio Network. FCC rules say that broadcast station identification announcements shall be made hourly and as close to the hour as feasible.

[Read: FCC Pulls License of Alabama Station a Second Time]

The agent also noted several alleged tower and antenna issues, including irregular painting on an antenna installation, inadequate lighting, failure to notify the commission about inoperable lighting and faded painting.

The FCC Rules lay out specific requirements when it comes to painting and lighting towers and antennas — even relying on a paint tolerance chart created by the Federal Aviation Administration and given the heavy name of an In-Service Aviation Orange Tolerance Chart. FCC Rules also say that antenna structures should be cleaned and repainted as often as necessary to maintain good visibility.

So, too, are the FCC rules clear on tower lighting. A tower must be painted for visibility during daytime; during the night, a series of top flashing red obstruction lights and midpoint sidelights must be lit and operational. When those lights are not operating for some reason, the owner of the antenna structure has to report the problem to the FAA unless the lights are corrected within a 30-minute time frame. That notice — called an FAA Notice to Airmen — hadn’t yet been filed by the station, the Enforcement Bureau said.

The FCC has given La Favorita 20 days to submit a written statement explaining the violations and to clarify what action will be taken from here. The commission said it may take further action if warranted, including issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture.

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FCC: The Time to Request Repack Reimbursements Starts Now

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 16:36

When it comes to requesting a reimbursement for repack-related expenses, the clock starts now.

Low-power TV, translator and FM radio stations have a pool of $150 million from which to request funds after the Federal Communications Commission voted in March to allocate additional funding for those adversely impacted by the post-incentive auction TV station repack. The FCC Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau have since outlined procedures for reimbursing those left out of the first round of funding from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund.

The first step, according to a webinar hosted by Hillary DeNigro, deputy chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force, is to get a reimbursement form filed in the LMS database (known as FCC Form 2100, Schedule 300). The deadline for that filing is Oct. 15. That form includes an eligibility section as well as a broadcaster relocation reimbursement estimates section.

[Read: Where Did Those Applications Go? Check the LMS]

Next up: file a banking form (Form 1876) in the CORES incentive action financial module database to clarify where funds should be sent.

In the webinar, attorneys and specialists from the FCC walked listeners through the eligibility requirements charts for this process, noting that are unique and separate rules for LPTVs, translators and FM stations when it comes to eligibility.

See the charts for eligibility requirements for both LPTV/TV translator stations and FM stations.

But DeNigro stressed stations should not wait to receive feedback on whether or not they are eligible for stations to start submitting expenses. “You should not wait to receive feedback on eligibility,” she said. “We encourage you to not wait but to [go ahead and] submit the forms because we are reviewing materials as we receive them.”

How much can a station expect to receive? That will be dependent a number of factors, DeNigro said, including the number of stations that file, the aggregate dollar value of verified estimates received by the commission, and the amount available for reimbursement based on that category of stations.

Payments will be made on a rolling basis; so get your invoices in, she said. “You don’t need to until you have everything together before you submit payment.”

Once a station’s move is finalized and all expenses have been accounted for, a final form 399 is needed to let the commission know that you’re closing out your account. The deadline for those forms is July 3, 2023.

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How to Get Rid of That Mouse in the House

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 11:40

“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

Component old age is not the only cause of equipment failures. Another, more disgusting, one is vermin infestation, which will become common again now that cooler weather is upon much of the nation.

If you haven’t taken steps to place bait traps and moth balls around your remote transmitter site, now is the time. All sorts of animals are attracted to the warmth of your transmitter building; and they will quickly set up home, sometimes in or on your equipment. See Fig. 1.

Fig. 1: DA parameters out? No, the antenna monitor was being used as a mouse outhouse. The top vents on the monitor served to channel liquid inside, destroying printed circuit boards.

Stop the problem before it begins. Rodents like to travel along walls; place your glue or bait traps there to snag them before they get into your equipment racks.

Little black mouse droppings on the floor of the building or enclosure are a signal for action. If you find that your site has been infested, protect yourself while removing nest and droppings. Wear gloves, a gown and above all a mask to avoid breathing hazardous airborne pathogens.

Fig. 2: A useful resource can be found at www.bestwaytogetridofmouseinhouse.com/mouse-infestation/#risks.

John Wells has written a useful tutorial on illnesses spread by rodents and offers useful tips to ensure their removal. The URL is in the caption for Fig. 2. YouTube also has a number of videos; search “removing mouse infestation” for tips.

 

***

 

Broadcast engineer Tom Norman read with interest our discussion about Frank Hertel’s experience with electrolytic capacitors in an FM exciter. It brought back memories that may be useful for other readers.

Tom remembered an instance in which a remote control system failed. His tests couldn’t produce a reason, but its operation remained horribly intermittent. Tom decided to station himself at the transmitter site until he could figure out what was wrong.

He started with the usual, checking power supply voltages using a VOM. No issues. He checked the same power supply rails with the ’scope. Still nothing wrong.

At one point in the circuit, one of the power supply voltages was further regulated using a three-terminal regulator. Scoping the output of that regulator, he hit the regulator with freeze mist. The tiny amount of ripple disappeared. Tom is not sure what possessed him to check the input terminal of the regulator, but when he did he saw significant ripple. Why was there more ripple on the input of this chip than was present at the output of the regulated power supply feeding it? He froze the chip again and it calmed down.

Tom replaced the chip. No difference. That’s when he considered what was attached to the input and output terminals of the chip. You guessed it: There was a small electrolytic on the input. Tom replaced it. The power supply calmed down, but he still had erratic behavior from the remote control unit.

Tom’s next step was to freeze mist all the active components. He was about to freeze a 741 Op Amp but inadvertently touched it with the little straw from the nozzle of the can of mist. The remote control unit went from erratic to totally dead. He poked the Op Amp again, no difference. He froze it. Back to erratic operation. Tom replaced the Op Amp. Operation was still erratic. Checking the schematic, he noted power supply bypass electrolytic capacitors on the power supply pins. Tom replaced those capacitors. Still erratic.

Pulling out what little was left of hair, he removed the Op Amp and stuffed in a fresh one. Problem solved.

This all took place shortly after a huge electrical storm during which Tom had witnessed multiple direct strikes to the tower.

Although not certain, Tom sees two issues here. One is that lightning can affect components deep inside a circuit, where normally you’d expect them to be safe and sound. His guess is that the electrolytics, being old, failed due to the exacerbating influence of the lightning. Then, for reasons he cannot fathom, one or the other of the Op Amp’s power supply bypass capacitors became inductive and caused oscillations whose peak voltages exceeded the limits of the 741 Op Amp, thus frying it. Although this is speculation, it reminds us that electrolytics should be replaced every seven years or so.

Tom also recalls that as a station engineer, when he found Mallory-brand electrolytic capacitors in a piece of equipment, he would shotgun all of them. He said he’d had so much difficulty with Mallory electrolytic capacitors that he specified that new equipment must not contain any electrolytic capacitors of that manufacture.

Tom writes that he still carries this prejudice, even while acknowledging that things may have changed since then. He doesn’t do much bench work now, but from time to time he will design little circuits for use in his home environment, and when he orders capacitors, he selects another manufacturer — which is funny, because Tom has never had a Mallory Sonalert fail.

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

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 certification with the Society of Broadcast Engineers and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.

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From IBC: Tieline Unveils Gateway Multichannel IP Codec

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 09:11

At IBC2019, Tieline unveiled the new Gateway IP audio codec, which the company says, is a compact and powerful multichannel IP audio transport solution for radio broadcasters. The Gateway streams up to 16 IP audio channels with support for AES67, AES3 and analog I/O as standard.

Featuring Tieline’s SmartStream PLUS redundant streaming and Fuse-IP data aggregation technologies, Tieline promises the Gateway will “herald a new era in multichannel IP codec streaming.”

Tieline Gateway is suitable for STL, SSL and audio distribution applications, as well as managing multiple incoming remotes at the studio. The compact unit is interoperable with all Tieline IP codecs and compatible over SIP with all EBU N/ACIP Tech 3326 and 3368 compliant codecs and devices.

“The new Gateway codec delivers up to 16 mono channels or eight stereo streams of IP audio in 1RU to increase efficiency and reduce rack space requirements,” said Charlie Gawley, Tieline’s VP Sales APAC/EMEA. “The Tieline Gateway interfaces with legacy analog and AES/EBU sources, as well as newer broadcast plants with AES67 IP audio infrastructure. An optional WheatNet-IP interface will also be also available.”

Configurable through an embedded HTML5 Toolbox Web-GUI interface, the Gateway can also interface with the TieLink Traversal Server for simpler connections and is fully controllable using Tieline’s Cloud Codec Controller.

The post From IBC: Tieline Unveils Gateway Multichannel IP Codec appeared first on Radio World.

HD Radio Trial Set to Begin in India

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 08:19

Joe D’Angelo, senior vice president of broadcast radio at Xperi, announced during the Xperi HD Radio market update held on the Nautel booth at IBC that HD Radio tests for FM will begin in New Delhi shortly.

Joe D’Angelo announced plans for HD Radio tests in India during a speech on the Nautel booth at IBC.

“We worked with Nautel to get the authorization required to install a test station in Delhi,” D’Angelo said. “We expect to start on-air trialing within a couple of weeks and continue into next year.”

The FM station will broadcast an HD Radio multicast hosting up to four HD signals. According to D’Angelo, in India there is a remarkable interest in second- and third-language programming, mainly due to the large number of languages spoken throughout the country.

The HD Radio test will demonstrate the entire feature set of the digital radio standard, such as dynamic visual content, station logos and emergency alerts services.

“We will run the trial using standard broadcast equipment from Nautel with the same configuration adopted in the United States, as well as with standard commercial receivers, including the first HD Radio-capable cellphone, named BeatBoy,” D’Angelo explained.

[Read: AoIP, Cloud and Digital Radio in Focus at IBC] 

He added that many of the vehicles shipped to India are equipped with the same HD Radio receiver they feature in the U.S. So, even if it’s disabled by default, local dealers can easily activate it. This means thousands of vehicles will potentially be able to receive India’s first HD radio broadcasts once the service begins.

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KRK Rokit G4 Monitors Keep It Clean

Tue, 09/17/2019 - 12:31

KRK’s popular and affordable Rokit line of near-field studio monitors has now reached its fourth generation, replacing the G3 models and ushering in a significant redesign. The new lineup includes three two-way models, the Rokit 5 G4 (5-inch woofer), Rokit 7 G4 (7-inch woofer), Rokit 8 G4 (8-inch woofer), and the three-way Rokit 10-3 G4 (10-inch woofer). The 4-inch and 6-inch models in previous lineups have been dropped from the line, while the company has added the 7-inch version.

The Rokit 8 G4, like the other monitors in the series, has matching Kevlar woofers and tweeters.

For this review, KRK sent me a pair of both the Rokit 8 G4 and Rokit 5 G4, so we’ll focus on those.

The G4 models are physically similar to their G3 predecessors. The black composite cabinets are close in height, width and depth to the models they’re replacing. The monitors themselves are lighter, however, thanks in part to redesigned Class D power amps that are smaller and lighter. The total weight of a Rokit 5 G4 monitor is about one pound less than the Rokit 5 G3. The Rokit 8 G4 is about four pounds less than the Rokit 8 G3.

Another significant difference is the composition of the woofers, which are now made of Kevlar instead of the glass Aramid composite of the G3 Series. The G4 tweeters are also Kevlar. According to KRK, the Kevlar not only reduces distortion but offers superior damping capabilities and is more resistant to resonances and ringing.

Like the G3, the G4 monitors are front-ported. However, KRK enlarged the ports and made them wider and taller. The company describes the new ports as being “scientifically tuned.” I had to chuckle when I read that, because what else would you use besides science to tune a speaker port? All kidding aside, the point they’re trying to make is that they used their expertise in speaker development to design the port and other physical characteristics of the monitors to work harmoniously and create the best-sounding result.

The G4 monitors feature isoacoustic pads on the bottom panel, just like on the G3 line. These are designed to help decouple the monitors by reducing the transfer of vibrations from the cabinet into your desk or monitor stands. Though not as thick as dedicated third-party monitor pads, they definitely help and are a nice extra.

DISPLAY OF PLENTY

Other than the larger ports and tweeters now in the familiar KRK yellow (the tweeters on the G3s were black), the G4 monitors don’t look all that different from the front compared to their predecessors. On the back panel, however, you’ll find some pretty significant differences.

For one thing, instead of separate 1/4-inch balanced and XLR inputs, you now get a combo input. What’s more, KRK no longer includes the third input option from the G3s, an unbalanced RCA input. From my point of view, that’s no great loss. If you want to connect the monitors to the line out of your stereo system, you can always get adapters.

More importantly, the EQ and volume knobs that were on the back of the G3s have been replaced with an LCD display and an encoder knob. The G4s are equipped with DSP Room Tuning EQ, which can be accessed with the encoder, with a visual assist from the display. You also get a range of setup features, which make the G4s more customizable than previous versions.

Pressing the encoder turns on the LCD, and shows a home screen, which features a volume control along a frequency graph that will show any EQ settings you’ve already made. Turning the encoder adjusts the volume, which is represented in the LCD by a slider and a numerical readout making it easy to set precisely (a much better solution than some monitors on the market, which sport analog volume knobs that aren’t detented). Pressing the encoder lets you select the EQ or setup categories.

The EQ section offers five different filter types for customizing the frequency response to your room acoustics. You get four presets plus flat in both the low EQ and high EQ categories. This arrangement makes dialing in adjustments easy, but doesn’t allow you to customize the boosts and cuts or the corner frequencies.

Low Shelf is designed for situations where you have a bass boost due to placing the monitors close to a wall or corner. Its presets include a –3 dB or –2 dB cut at 60 Hz. You also get a low-shelf option that boosts by +2 dB at 60 Hz.

Low Peak is a peak filter that cuts –2 dB at 200 Hz with a wide bandwidth. KRK refers to it as a “desk filter,” because it’s meant to reduce muddiness caused by reflections off of a console or table. There’s also a setting that combines the Low Shelf and Low Peak filters in one.

For cutting or boosting highs, you get both shelving and peak EQs. These include High Shelf, which cuts by –2 dB at 10 kHz. Another combines a high-peak filter cutting –1 dB at 3.5 kHz and high-shelf filter cutting –1 dB at 10 kHz. On the boost side, you get a similar shelf/peak combination, which boosts +1 dB at those same frequencies, plus a high-shelf filter that boosts 2 dB at 10 kHz. The LCD shows a frequency graph for each setting, which gives you a visual representation of the effect of the selected filter.

The setup menu offers adjustment for backlight brightness and contrast for the LCD. You can also choose whether to light the logo on the front of the monitors, factory reset and settings, lock options and the standby function. With standby on, which is the default, the monitors will sleep when they’ve seen no signal for 30 minutes. They wake up automatically when a signal is detected, but it takes several seconds. (When I first encountered a wake-up situation with the monitors, I thought something was wrong with my system, because I hit play and no sound came out. Then it popped on, and I realized that the monitors had been in standby.)

REALITY CHECK

I have been using the Rokit 8 G4 and Rokit 5 G4 monitors in my studio for the last couple of weeks. Because my studio acoustics tend to reduce bass, I ended up setting the EQ to the low shelf +2 dB boost at 60 Hz.

I started just by listening to a lot of different types of musical styles, switching back and forth between the 8-inch and 5-inch — everything from bass-heavy styles like hip-hop and EDM to midrange-heavy rock music to genres with wide frequencies and dynamic ranges such as jazz and orchestral music.

On the 8-inch monitors, the bass sounded full but not flabby. Mids were vibrant, and the highs were plenty bright. They were almost bright enough that I considered cutting them with the EQ, but I decided against that.

The 5-inch models impressed me right off the bat with their bass response. Although they obviously don’t go as deep as the 8-inchers, the bass was present and didn’t feel like it was dropping off the table when I switched to them from the Rokit 8 G4s. They are quite punchy-sounding, too. For example, kick drums cut through nicely. Overall, their frequency response was surprisingly full for 5-inch speakers.

KRK says that the matching Kevlar drivers provide a consistency in imaging, which I found to be the case. The speakers have a wide sweet spot.

The company also claims that new models create less ear fatigue. That’s a harder one to judge, and I didn’t come away with an opinion one way or the other about it.

I monitored with the 8-inch and 5-inch G4s exclusively on a couple of mixes I was working on. One was a rock song with guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, and the other a country-influenced instrumental track with pedal steel, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass and drums.

The back of the G4 speakers have been redesigned and feature an encoder-and-LCD user interface for dialing in EQ and setup changes.

After I mixed the songs, I gave them the old “car test” and also listened on my living room speakers. I was pleased to discover that both mixes translated well. The balances remained accurate from one system to the next, and nothing jumped out as sounding out of whack. The KRKs were clearly performing as designed.

I was definitely impressed with the 5-inch and 8-inch Rokit G4 monitors and would have no problem using either in my studio on a regular basis. I like the sound of the new drivers and the redesigned power amps and cabinets. The LCD/encoder interface and the DSP-based EQ are easy to use and let you precisely match settings between the left and right speakers.

Although I didn’t try out the 7-inch model, it features the same design, so I’m guessing that it will offer similar, accurate sound reproduction. I can’t speak definitively to the Rokit 10-3 G4, because it’s a three-way monitor and therefore a somewhat different animal. That said, based on the upgrades to the two-way models, I have a feeling it, too, will surpass its G3 predecessor in performance.

KRK has raised the prices a little on each model in the series, but the speakers are still quite reasonable and are one of the better monitor values on the market.

PRODUCT CAPSULE

KRK SYSTEMS
Rokit 5 G4 and Rokit 8 G4

Thumbs Up
+ Accurate and consistent sound quality
+ Tight-sounding bass
+ Rokit 5 G4 offers good bass response for its size
+ DSP-based EQ offers plenty of room-tuning options
+ Encoder/LCD interface allows for precise L/R matching
+ Acoustic pads on bottom help with decoupling
+ Good value for the money

Thumbs Down
– Slightly higher prices compared to G3 monitors
– EQs offer preset values only

Prices: Rokit 5 G4 ($179 each);
Rokit 8 G4 ($299 each)

Contact: KRK Systems/Gibson at 1-800-444-2766 or visit www.krksys.com

The post KRK Rokit G4 Monitors Keep It Clean appeared first on Radio World.

AoIP, Cloud and Digital Radio in Focus at IBC

Tue, 09/17/2019 - 04:10

AMSTERDAM — As IBC2019 draws to a close, the giant conference and exhibition once again showed why it describes itself as “the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show”.

Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Center is home to IBC.

Across 15 halls of the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam, almost 60,000 broadcast professionals gathered from around the world to see new products launched and to debate key media topics.

This year’s exhibition saw a focus on AoIP products and cloud-based “radio-as-a-service” solutions. The Telos Alliance used IBC to launch the Axia Quasar sixth-generation AoIP console. Available in sizes from four to 28 faders per frame, with support for up to 64 faders in multiple linked frames, the console is powered by a new native AoIP Quasar Engine.

Ruxandra Obreja, DRM Chairman, speaking on the Gospell stand.

Meanwhile, Broadcast Pix launched RadioPix, an integrated production system for visual radio applications. “We felt it was time to produce a dedicated product for visual radio featuring a complete toolset and a streamlined user experience,” said Tony Mastantuono, product manager for Broadcast Pix. Multiple macros can be assigned to each microphone, which allows the system to select between camera shots to create more dynamic productions.

Elsewhere at the exhibition, Netherlands-based Broadcast Partners showed SmartRadio, a web and cloud-based, radio-as-a-service platform, consisting of newly-developed micro services, running in the cloud. The system comes in modular form, allowing users to scale up or down on a monthly basis.

Finland’s Jutel demonstrated RadioMan 6 Live, which it describes as “a virtual browser-based radio production, editing and playout system, where the audio processing is done in the cloud, so that no specific hardware is needed.” The latest version adds new cloud-based tasks: audio contribution streaming, on-air playout and production mixing in the cloud, along with web-based audio editing without the need for browser add-ons.

Luca La Rosa on the Telos Alliance stand with the new Axia Quasar console.

Xperi’s stand offered a preview of how the new over-the-air in-vehicle Hybrid Radio experience will look with DTS Connected Radio. The system, which is set to launch in 2020 supporting analog, DAB+ and HD Radio, includes real-time broadcast metadata for all programming types, and can also gather new data on how listeners are engaging with broadcast content in the vehicle.

Two events focussed on the development of Digital Radio Mondiale. On Friday, Gospell unveiled five new products that all include DRM technology, including a portable receiver, car adaptor, and a high performance active HF antenna. Then on Saturday, on the Nautel stand, Fraunhofer IIS launched the latest R7 edition of its ContentServer head-end technology for DRM and DAB+.

At the IBC conference running alongside the exhibition, Monday morning saw a WorldDAB session on “Radio Distribution Strategies for a Connected World,” led by Patrick Hannon, the organisation’s president. It explored broadcast digital radio’s place in the distribution mix, including a case study of Norway’s multi-platform strategy, and reports from recent broadcast 5G trials in the U.K. and Germany.

IBC also saw Rise, the advocate group for gender diversity within the broadcast manufacturing and services sector, announce the winners of its new Rise Awards. Woman of The Year was Morwen Williams, Head of UK Operations for BBC News, and recently also appointed chair of the World Broadcasting Unions’ International Media Connectivity Group.

The post AoIP, Cloud and Digital Radio in Focus at IBC appeared first on Radio World.

Smart Speakers in the Car: Challenge or Opportunity?

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 18:36

Listen up when it comes to smart speakers. Because that’s the way a growing number of U.S. consumers are now getting their music and news.

A new study released by the media marketing company NuVoodoo Media Service found that not only are smart speakers continuing to gain a foothold in the market but are now found in a majority of U.S. households — including future iterations that will make their way to the car.

The study (called NuVoodo Ratings Prospects Study 14) found that as of June 2019, 51% of surveyed consumers aged 14–54 across all PPM markets reported at least one smart speaker in their homes, an 8% increase in smart speaker penetration since January 2019.

[Read: Smart Speakers Grow in Importance]

The survey asked respondents to describe how they listen to their smart speakers and found that 42% of respondents said they use the speakers to listen to FM radio, up 3% over a six-month period from January to June 2019. FM radio was listened as the most-listened-to medium of the bunch.

Following close behind was Spotify — 36% of respondents said they have used their smart speaker to listen to that streaming service — followed by Amazon Music (32%), Pandora (28%), audio books (27%), AM radio (19%) and podcasts (16%). In in all seven of those categories, the survey found an increase in consumption from January 2019 to June 2019.

Source: NuVoodo Ratings Prospects Study 14

While there are lots of things you can use smart speakers to do — from ordering online to checking the weather — “They’re called smart speakers, so lots of people use them to listen to things,” said Leigh Jacobs, executive vice president of research insights for NuVoodoo Media Services, noting that percentages are up for every listening category.

“And now smart speaker technology is coming to the car,” she said, alluding to the introduction of the Echo Auto, an aftermarket solution designed to bring the Alexa smart speaker to automobiles. The solution is only being sold to consumers on an invitation-only basis. But automakers are paying attention. Several auto brands tracked by the research and advisory company Gartner in a 2018 auto report noted that they planned to integrate an Amazon smart speaker system into future cars.

“With Alexa in the car, the barrier to selecting FM/AM vs. Spotify vs. podcasts and/or audiobooks is gone,” said Carolyn Gilbert, president and chief executive officer of NuVoodoo Media Services. “If you think of it, it’s usually an easy matter to get Alexa to play what you want. That dynamic presents radio with a real challenge or an incredible opportunity, depending upon what stations choose to do about it.“

The issue will be up for further discussion as part of a NuVoodoo Fall webinar series based on the company’s most recent  ratings prospect survey. The NuVoodoo Fall 2019 Contesting and Marketing Guide will look at issues surrounding contests, promotions and marketing. The next webinar will be Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. ET. Radio professionals can reserve a spot  at www.nuvoodoo.com/webinars.

The new study was fielded in June and represents the opinions of more than 3,000 respondents ages 14-54 from across all PPM markets.

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The post Smart Speakers in the Car: Challenge or Opportunity? appeared first on Radio World.

Radio Show Features “Tech Tuesday”

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:55

A day devoted to technology-oriented sessions is a new feature of the Radio Show coming up in Dallas. That’s one of the efforts by the National Association of Broadcasters and Radio Advertising Bureau to freshen and reimagine their annual event.

Exhibits will be open Wednesday and Thursday of show week.

Show planners announced during the spring NAB Show that the fall show would get a new look and a more casual feel. The conference also puts a more visible emphasis on voice, podcasting, streaming and other technologies in the modern consumer audio ecosystem. Organizers are aiming for “a convergence of all who thrive in the audio and media space.”

Among highlights, veteran broadcaster Mary Quass will be honored. And the broadcast financial community will discuss implications for radio of the current deregulatory environment in Washington.

TECH TUESDAY

Tech Tuesday is free for NAB and RAB members; others pay $199 pre-show, slightly more on site. The day’s content is aimed at engineers, technology professionals and managers involved in radio station operations.

Topics promised include audio-over-IP, RF transmission, visual radio, streaming audio, remote backhaul, audio production and processing, data acquisition and protection, and hybrid radio applications. Tech Tuesday registration includes access to show exhibits, which are open the ensuing two days; there were about 70 registered exhibitors as of late August.

Here are highlights of Tech Tuesday:

Opening and Keynote: 10 a.m. — NAB Radio Engineering Achievement Award recipient Gary Cavell will speak about the importance of technology and of continuing education for engineers. He’ll be introduced by NAB EVP/CTO Sam Matheny.

Edison Research has been doing interviews with younger consumers to learn their attitudes toward radio and audio, with an eye toward improving time spent listening for those demos.

Vender Breakouts: 10:35 a.m. — Attendees can hear from RCS President/CEO Phillippe Generali about the company’s Zetta Cloud Disaster Recovery offering, which the firm calls a “cutting edge safety net” for radio operations; and from Comrex veteran Chris Crump about ensuring reliable transmission of IP audio using the internet.

AM Radio’s All-Digital Future?: 11:20 a.m. — Radio World readers know about the tests and early deployment of digital-only signals on the U.S. AM band. This session brings together several experts including NAB VP of Advanced Engineering David Layer; Hubbard Broadcasting Senior Broadcast Engineer Dave Kolesar, who switched off the analog on WFED(AM) in Frederick, Md.; and Xperi Senior Manager of Broadcast Engineering Russ Mundschenk, recipient of the most recent Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award.

Lunch: 12 noon

Vendor Breakouts: 1:30 to 4:10 p.m. — There are several sets of concurrent presentations during the afternoon hours. They include Dielectric Senior RF Engineer Derek Small exploring the “black magic of filter tuning”; Nautel Sales Manager (Central) Jeff Welton discussing ways to optimize an installation with HD Radio; a presentation by ENCO Systems; GatesAir Product Line Manager Kevin Haider providing a “walkthrough” to understand the differences between Generations 3 and 4 of HD Radio technology; and Telos Alliance Senior Solutions Consultant Kirk Harnack highlighting the latest implementations of IP technology for networked audio and control.

Networking Break: 3 p.m.

“What’s Next in Radio Tech?”: 4:15 p.m. — A panel of industry veterans share insights into where our industry is going. Moderated by Radio World Editor in Chief Paul McLane, the group includes iHeartMedia Strategic Partnerships Group President Michele Laven; New York Public Radio CTO Steve Shultis; RadioDNS Project Director Nick Piggott; Xperi SVP of Radio Joe D’Angelo; and Goldman Engineering Management President Bert Goldman.

Closing Remarks, 5 p.m. — Wrapup by NAB VP of Technology Education and Outreach Skip Pizzi.

Reception, 5 to 6 p.m. — Hosted by NAB’s Sam Matheny and Skip Pizzi.

MORE SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

Here’s a sampler of other notable events.

Pillsbury holds its annual Broadcast Finance event on Tuesday. The theme: “Radio Unleashed: Preparing for a New Regulatory World.” Firm partner Scott Flick moderates a discussion of the opportunities for broadcasters presented by deregulation, like the elimination of the main studio requirement and the FCC’s potential relaxation of local ownership rules.

Flick was quoted by organizers saying, “That the FCC is recognizing radio’s challenges where listeners’ audio alternatives — and the competition for ears and advertisers — have grown exponentially may be as big a game-changer as the new competition itself.”

The panel includes Bill Hendrich, EVP of radio for Cox Media Group; Garret Komjathy, SVP of media and communications for U.S. Bank; Beth Neuhoff, president/CEO of Neuhoff Communications; Susan Patrick, managing partner of Patrick Communications and co-owner of Legend Communications; and David Santrella, president of broadcast media for Salem Media Group. …

Plenty has been said and written about the explosive growth in podcasting; but how does podcasting really fit into the business goals of Radio Show attendees? A Wednesday session “The Podcast Revolution” will include Carter Brokaw, president of iHeartMedia’s digital revenue strategy; Neal Carruth, NPR’s general manager of podcasts; and Oren Rosenbaum, emerging platforms and podcasting agent at United Talent Agency. The moderator is Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network. …

NRG Media Chairman/CEO Mary Quass will receive the National Radio Award during the Wednesday luncheon “2020 and Beyond: Insights from the Top.” Quass formed New Radio Group in 2001, later named NRG Media, which has 45 stations in the Midwest. Her career began in the late 1970s when she worked as an account exec. She purchased her first radio station in 1998, forming Quass Broadcasting Co., which became part of Capstar Broadcasting and, in turn, Clear Channel.

Charlotte Jones Anderson knows something about building a brand as an executive with the Dallas Cowboys.

The luncheon program features a conversation with broadcast leaders Mary Berner of Cumulus Media, David Field of Entercom and Bob Pittman of iHeartMedia about strategies for a constantly shifting audio landscape.

Fred and Paul Jacobs will lead a Wednesday session, “You’re Not Just in the Radio Business Anymore,” to learn from people who have made successful career transformations. Fred launched Jacobs Media in 1983 and is credited with creating the classic rock format. Paul is president of jacapps and VP/GM of Jacobs Media. …

Author Gary Vee says, “Attention is the new currency.”

Charlotte Jones Anderson is executive vice president and chief brand officer of the Dallas Cowboys, and the Radio Show convention is happening in her backyard; she’s a logical speaker to share strategies for “building a world-class brand around the customer experience.” She speaks on Thursday. …

Author Gary Vaynerchuk, aka Gary Vee, will talk Thursday on the topic “Attention Is the New Currency.” He is chairman of communication firm VaynerX and CEO/co-founder of VaynerMedia. …

Thursday also brings a session led by David Fisher on the art of storytelling, for which the media industry has gained fresh appreciation in an era of podcasting, smartphones and smart speakers. Fisher, who began his career writing for Joan Rivers, is the author of more than 80 books and is an accomplished ghostwriter. The session is called “Sound. Voice. Story. Success.” 

Also on Thursday, Edison Research will present research on driving audience engagement and leveraging audio trends. “The Secret to Longer TSL” will be led by Vice President Megan Lazovick and deal with attracting and retaining listeners and best practices to optimize advertising. “Lazovick will also provide exclusive analysis of audio listening trends and content preferences and offer insight on how radio can effectively compete with and embrace other platforms,” organizers said.

They noted that while radio’s reach remains strong across all ages, time spent listening to radio has fallen much faster among younger listeners than older ones, according to Edison. The company has done interviews with young listeners about their attitudes about commercials, audio platforms and radio programs. …

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Marconi Radio Awards. Organizers invited several previous honorees back as emcees and presenters. Delilah, Rickey Smiley and Tom and Kristi of “The Bob and Tom Show” will do the honors.

The show will be held at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

IF YOU GO

Where: Hilton Anatole, Dallas

When: Sept. 24–26

How: radioshowweb.com

How Much: $499 pre-show rate for NAB/RAB members, up to $949 for non-members onsite. See site for packages for groups, students, young professionals, spouses.

EXHIBITOR LIST

Exhibits are open Wednesday Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Listings are as of late August. Check onsite resources for complete list.

ABC Radio                                                                                         211
Adder Technology                                                                             224
AnalyticOwl                                                                                      231
Aptivada                                                                                           210
Benztown/Vipology                                                                          133
Bob and Tom Radio Network                                                            144
Bonneville Distribution                                                                    216
Broadcast Depot                                                                               232
Broadcast Software International                                                     229
Broadcasters General Store                                                              100
Burbio                                                                                               220
Burli Software, Inc.                                                                            248
Calrec Audio Ltd.                                                                               234
Comrex                                                                                              105
Cool Radio Streaming                                                                       146
Dielectric                                                                                           101
DJB Software Inc dba DJBRadio                                                         213
Elenos Group                                                                                     112
ENCO Systems, Inc.                                                                            133
ERI-Electronics Research, Inc.                                                            200
FirstCom Music                                                                                  247
GatesAir                                                                                             125
Jutel Oy                                                                                              219
Libsyn                                                                                                233
LocalIQ                                                                                              153
Logitek Electronic Systems                                                                225
Marketron                                                                                          107
Matrix Solutions                                                                                246
Miller Kaplan                                                                                     217
Moseley Associates, Inc.                                                                     135
MusicMaster                                                                                      238
NAB Member Services                                                                       155
NAB Public Service                                                                            156
NABEF                                                                                               157
Nautel                                                                                                136
Podcast Studio                                                                                  159
Powergold Music Scheduling                                                            244
Premiere Networks                                                                           150
PromoSuite                                                                                       206
Radio Advertising Bureau                                                                 154
RadioDNS                                                                                          151
RadioMax                                                                                          214
RCS                                                                                                    120
Registration                                                                                       158
RF Specialties Group                                                                         227
Rohde & Schwarz                                                                              226
Second Street                                                                                    145
Shively Labs                                                                                      132
Sierra Automated Systems & Eng. Corp.                                             223
SoCast                                                                                                235
SoundExchange                                                                                 205
SoundID                                                                                             201
Specialty Data Systems Inc. (SDS)                                                      245
Streann Media                                                                                   152
SuiteLife Systems/NFB Consulting                                                    202
Sun & Fun Media                                                                              209
TalkRating                                                                                         215
Tieline Technology                                                                            102
vCreative                                                                                           141
Veritone, Inc.                                                                                       243
WAVSTAR, LLC                                                                                    228
Weather Metrics, Inc.                                                                          222
Wedel Software                                                                                   230
Wheatstone Corp.                                                                                204
WideOrbit                                                                                             127
Win-OMT Software                                                                              249
WorldCast Systems                                                                             203
Worldwide Communications Consultants, Inc.                                    218
XPERI/HD Radio/DTS                                                                         113, 138
YEA Networks                                                                                      147
Zipwhip                                                                                                221

The post Radio Show Features “Tech Tuesday” appeared first on Radio World.

Radio World Announces “Best of Show” Awards at IBC2019

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:57

The recipients of the Best of Show Awards at IBC2019 have been announced.

The following products won for Radio World International. Watch for the “Best of Show” Program Guide, including pictures and text about all the nominees, which covers products nominated to Radio World International, TVB Europe and PSN Europe.

Radio World International Best of Show Awards at IBC2019:

  • Broadcast Partners SmartRadio
  • DEVA Broadcast DB4005 FM Modulation Analyzer and Monitoring Receiver
  • GatesAir Intraplex Ascent AoIP Transport Platform
  • Jutel RadioMan 6 Live
  • NeoGroupe NeoWinners Portal
  • The Telos Alliance Axia Quasar AoIP Console
  • Tieline Gateway Multichannel IP Audio Codec
  • Wheatstone StreamBlade
  • WorldCast Systems Audemat DAB Probe
  • Xperi DTS Connected Radio

The post Radio World Announces “Best of Show” Awards at IBC2019 appeared first on Radio World.

From IBC: Wheatstone Enters the Stream

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 04:00

Wheatstone is expanding its Blade offerings with the StreamBlade, a WheatNet-IP appliance that accepts up to eight input steams of native WheatNet-IP audio directly from a soundcard or AoIP driver as well as RTP sources and can output each in four streams; providing up to 32 total streams per device.

Output choices include Opus, AAC and MP3 encoders. The company says it is cloud-ready and compatible with standard CDN and streaming platforms, including Icecast, Wowza and RTP.

The StreamBlade has onboard processing with a six-band parametric EQ, a five-band AGC, a two-band final limiter and a stereo width control.

Wheatstone says that the AGC is designed for streaming. Jeff Keith, senior product development engineer for Wheatstone’s audio processing line explains, “Fast time constants (compression) can add intermod sidebands around a sustained note or bass note, which the codec has to spend bits on instead of the signals that are actually part of the program. That can be bad for any stream, but it’s especially bad for low bit-rate streams that don’t have a lot of data bits to begin with.”

StreamBlade can be configured and managed from a laptop and web browser using WheatNet-IP Navigator software. The box has two Ethernet ports, one for direct connectivity into the WheatNet-IP audio network on one end and another for connectivity into a WAN for streaming to a CDN or other service provider.

IBC Stand: 8.C91

Info: www.wheatstone.com  

 

The post From IBC: Wheatstone Enters the Stream appeared first on Radio World.

Fraunhofer IIS Releases ContentServer R7 for DAB+, DRM

Sat, 09/14/2019 - 12:00

Fraunhofer IIS’ newest available product is the latest version of its ContentServer head-end technology for DAB+ and DRM digital radio, the ContentServer R7. The recently released R7 is designed to assist with getting audio content and data services on air, while also utilizing the latest standard upgrades and new productivity features.

Some of the new features available via the ContentServer R7 include the automatic Audio Loudness Normalization and Monitoring and additional IP-based Audio Streaming Source Interfaces. This loudness normalization feature is based on Fraunhofer Sonamic technology and is supported by the unit’s internal audio encoders or attenuates the incoming audio to obtain and maintain the target loudness level per Loudness Units relative to Full Scale.

Of the additional IP-based audio sources, the inputs now comprise Livewire/Ravenna/AES67-based raw audio streams and consumer-type Icecast/SHOUTcast streams. The ContentServer can also be used as an end point for RTP-based audio bridges to accept uncompressed or compressed audio streams without external devices. There’s also support for audio level monitoring, audio source remote listening through HTML5 browsers and silence/clipping detection.

Additional functionalities for the ContentServer R7 include an interactive graphical system status overview; EWF with CAP import; JSON/XML RPC management and data interfaces; audio cross-redundancy; EDI Switch for DAB; localized multiplex output; automatic creation of playlists as Journaline pages; DAB V2.1.1 compliance; and stream monitoring.

ContentServer R7 is available as part of Fraunhofer’s OEM partners products.

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From IBC: Tieline Highlights Cloud Codec Controller

Sat, 09/14/2019 - 04:00

Tieline is highlighting the Cloud Codec Controller software tool at IBC2019. The solution lets engineers configure, connect and monitor an entire fleet of remote Tieline codecs from the studio.

Able to immediately detect the presence of a Tieline codec or device running the Report-IT Enterprise, Tieline says the Cloud Codec Controller delivers real-time online/offline status of supported codecs and users logged into Report-IT Enterprise. It also monitors connection status, link quality and audio levels, manages remote adjustments of audio levels, and can remotely dial and hang-up remote codec connections from the studio.

The Cloud Codec Controller also permits station staff to monitor and control their entire network of IP codecs, select and load programs and view and manage alarms. In addition, the solution lets operators launch the HTML Toolbox web-GUI to access all codec controls, mixer and router settings, program editing and creation.

The company offers two versions of licensing for the Cloud Codec Controller:

  • A Private Network License for the monitoring and management of an unlimited number of codecs over a private network for a one-time fee.
  • A Public Internet License for the monitoring and management of codecs over the public internet using Codec Client Licenses available as an annual subscription in packs of 10. This license also includes the features of a Private Network License.

Tieline adds that the new Controller also offers users control of Report-IT. In the studio the system can remotely connect and disconnect the Tieline Report-IT Enterprise app, start and stop recordings, monitor and adjust input and record levels, lock and unlock controls, as well as observe link quality.

IBC Stand: 8.E74

Info: www.tieline.com

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National VOA Museum of Broadcasting Plans Anniversary Party

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 15:29
Joe Molter

The author is president of the West Chester Amateur Radio Association (WCARA), a division of the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting dedicated to advancing the amateur radio hobby. He’s also a volunteer-at-large at the museum. His call sign is N81DA.

Her six massive transmitters may be quiet, but she is far from silent.

Amateur radio operators routinely talk to the world from station WC8VOA in West Chester, Ohio, located about 25 miles north of Cincinnati. This former VOA relay station is now the National VOA Museum of Broadcasting with collections from the Gray History of Wireless Museum; Powel Crosley Jr., and Cincinnati radio and TV broadcasting history; and the Voice of America. Next week the museum celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Bethany Station Saturday, Sept. 21, with a fundraiser to make the first floor of the museum accessible for people for all abilities.

The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting is open every weekend from 1 to 4 p.m. Tours are given continuously on weekend afternoons by knowledgeable docents. It houses the Bethany station’s last control room and one of the remaining 250 kW Collins shortwave transmitters.

You can sit at the massive audio console that controlled the six shortwave transmitters and literally take a tour inside one of the Collins transmitters. You can view the massive switch gear, built during World War II, which changed Bethany’s 24 rhombic antennas to its six transmitters.

At one time Bethany Station covered a square mile of property that was once farmland. Today the museum sits on 14 acres and the antennas are gone, but with surrounding park acreage, you get a sense of the massive scale the site covered with towers and the miles of transmission lines and antenna wire.

The museum houses a large collection of radios from the early part of the twentieth century, including names such as Hallicrafters, National, Drake and Collins. A large collection of Drake amateur radio products is always a must-see by visiting radio enthusiasts and ham radio operators.

Drake radios were produced nearby in Miamisburg, Ohio. An area dedicated to the Crosley Corp. shows off many of the Crosley brothers’ radio, TV and household products that were manufactured in Cincinnati. Crosley contributed heavily to the war effort during World War II, with the production of tens of thousands of portable radios for the U.S. Army and millions of proximity fuses for antiaircraft ordinance.

Not only did Crosley develop radios, but content as well, with its on-air radio station WLW, which still broadcasts today on 700 AM. WLW transmits from its original site and the large Blaw-Knox tower can be seen from the VOA museum. The museum contains the original 50 W AM transmitter that WLW started with in 1922.

Bethany VOA Towers at Sunset. Photo Andrew Albrecht

WLW was the only U.S. station allowed to operate at 500,000 watts of power during the 1930s. The collection includes a bright red Crosley Hot Shot sports car, too. Crosley Corp. developed a number of vehicles during the late 1930s and resumed production after World War II until shutting down in 1952.

An additional area of the museum houses artifacts and memorabilia from the early era of Cincinnati radio and TV broadcasting. The Cincinnati Media Heritage section includes many of the celebrities who got their start at WLW and other local broadcasting outlets. These WLW radio stars — many of whom transitioned from radio to TV—include Rod Serling of “Twilight Zone” fame; sisters Rosemary and Betty Clooney; Eddie Albert; Doris Day; The Mills Brothers; and Ruth Lyons.

Housed in three of Bethany’s old transmitter vaults, the history of broadcasting section showcases the talent and equipment that made Cincinnati an early nursery for radio and television entertainment. Artifacts include equipment from a 1930s radio station; a 1950s AM station, including disc jockey’s audio console and turntables; and a 1,000 W transmitter. A very early and massive RCA Victor color television camera is on display, along with other television and video equipment.

Our amateur radio station is operated under FCC license WC8VOA and is manned by the West Chester Amateur Radio Association. The station has seven operating positions equipped with modern and vintage amateur radio gear. Antennas cover the radio spectrum from two meters down to 160 meters. The former VOA receiving satellite dish has been converted to 10 GHz transmit and receive capabilities for EME (Earth Moon Earth) bounce. Signals are sent to the moon and the dish used as a passive satellite to communicate with other amateur radio operators.

The club participates in radio contests, portable operations and local STEM events. It averages some 6,000 contacts per year, covering modes of voice and digital and CW. The club also operates two FM repeaters on two meters and 440 MHz.

Operators are in the shack every weekend and hold an open house every Wednesday night for radio enthusiasts and those interested in obtaining a ham radio license. Our WC8VOA call sign is recognized by many of our fellow radio amateurs around the world. We have made contacts from all seven continents and hundreds of countries.

Radio is still an important part of our lives; whether it is listening to AM, FM or satellite services, radio remains a viable source of our news and entertainment.

Voice of America broadcasts were never intended for Americans. They were targeted to people living in oppressed countries where media was censored with the intention to change people’s minds by providing sourced and accurate news. In fact, the VOA Charter (Public Law 94-350), which was passed in 1976, during from the Pres. Gerald Ford administration, states that VOA news will be” accurate, objective, and comprehensive.” It will also “represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.” Lastly, the VOA is mandated to “present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.”

VOA news and feature stories are still broadcast and transmitted today to more than 275 million people weekly in 40+ languages in nearly 100 countries. VOA programs are delivered on multiple platforms, including radio, television, web and mobile via a network of more than 3,000 media outlets worldwide.

Broadcasts have aired continually for more than 75 years, along with sister stations of Radio Free Europe; Radio Liberty; Radio Free Asia; and Radio Marti.

Here is the crux of the matter for all of us at the VOA museum: Once Bethany Station began operation during mid-World War II, an infuriated Adolf Hitler was quoted as saying on one of his radio broadcasts to never listen to those “Cincinnati Liars.” We’re proud to be part of the VOA heritage we are entrusted with and even more proud to be related to those “liars” from Cincinnati.

VOA Bethany in Fog

But while we’re proud of our heritage, I must be honest. The museum is housed in an aging, uninsulated, 75-year-old building that constantly needs repairs. We receive no federal funding and this is our big fundraising push for the year. Our workforce of docents, conservators and maintenance crews are all unpaid volunteers. And many of our volunteers come from our local radio club, the West Chester Amateur Radio Association.

Please help us out with a donation; better yet, plan a long weekend vacation and come on out to West Chester for our Sept. 21 fundraiser! We include a friendly community of shortwave radio aficionados always eager to make more friends. We’ll have on hand auction and silent auction items; dinner-by-the-bite; museum tours; and a table-to-table Trivial Pursuit game, all with the relaxing strains of jazz in the background.

For information on the museum and how you can help with donations, visit our website. Please purchase tickets or donate today. If you’re interested in our amateur radio group, additional information is at West Chester Amateur Radio Association website.

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The post National VOA Museum of Broadcasting Plans Anniversary Party appeared first on Radio World.

Community Broadcaster: Community Radio Needs You

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 14:51

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

You can feel that crispness in the air. However, it is not just autumn. This time of year also brings the start of on-air fundraising season for community and noncommercial radio.

If you are a donor to or listener of your local community radio station, there is a good chance you are already aware of your area outlet’s endeavors. Check social media and you are likely to see an appeal to contribute today. When you tune in, you may hear a brief spot seeking phone volunteers or assistance with the pledge drive. Or maybe you even got a letter in the mail, reminding you of all the wonderful programming you enjoy and why your donation matters so much.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Rain Down Reporting]

If you are not a regular community media consumer, you’ve probably heard of pledge drives at least. From parodies to tote bag references, noncommercial radio and television fundraising is just part of the media fabric. Even while there may be a disconnect as to why it is done, you just won’t find many people who have never heard of pledge drive, even if they have not given during one.

This season, the-Why-You-Should-Give is very important.

With all the conversation around news deserts, community radio nationwide fulfills a valuable role in the civic life of cities and towns everywhere. Music, arts, news, ideas and culture all find a place on community media in service to the greater mission of education. Your local station can only do this with your financial contributions.

Every state in the next 18 months will see major races for local, state and federal office as well as a list of referenda that may reshape communities for years to come. Community radio is there, providing coverage of, and sometimes hosting, candidate debates. Stations team up with city leaders for voter education and registration. These outlets cover the issues that matter to voters. Yet the coverage struggles to happen without listener support.

And lastly, community media creates opportunity in the local economy. Whether it may be through sharing a local music scene, collaborating with local businesses or making a city a better, more interesting place to live, stations create jobs, spur industry and enhance the quality of life everywhere. Think about it. When you think of Seattle, you probably are reminded of its iconic radio stations. When a fledging music scene is taking off, community radio may be the first place local bands and live event dates get heard. And surely no discerning music fan would ever deny that taste-making radio raises a town’s hip factor. Tis word of mouth means visitors, good word-of-mouth, and ultimately dollars locally.

Every community radio station needs financial support. A recent National Federation of Community Broadcasters survey indicates many community radio stations work with thin margins. This includes many having a small staff and few reserves. Given how far these mighty stations stretch dollars, the fact so many stations provide communities such unique programming and bold coverage is a minor miracle, frankly. However, the deep regard many community stations have for audience donations should hint at how much appreciate your help.

On-air fundraising is a time when listeners like you can ensure the voices you value and media you hope for in our vibrant democracy can have greater resonance. There is no better time than this lovely fall to be a first-time or repeat donor to a community radio station.

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About the EBU Media Technology Pyramid

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 14:39

In Croatia in June, the World Broadcasting Unions’ Technical Committee supported the completion of standards associated with the European Broadcasting Union’s Technology Pyramid for Media Nodes.

“Broadcasters planning the move to new IP production facilities for television or radio should engage manufacturers with the Technology Pyramid for Media Nodes and ascertain their degree of compliance,” said Michael McEwen, head of the WBU Secretariat. “Further, the missing standards need to be completed as soon as possible so that broadcasters can make the important migration to IP with the required assurance.”

While the pyramid has clear relevance to the television industry, we share it because of the interest radio broadcasters have in the ongoing development of media IP. Radio World invited John C. Lee, P. Eng., chairman of the North American Broadcasters Association and World Broadcasting Union Technical Committees, to provide the background.

Click to Enlarge

In order to achieve the speeds and bandwidths of next-generation television systems, broadcasters are migrating from HD-SDI to IP-based technologies. In December 2017, SMPTE published the ST-2110 set of standards addressing “Professional Media over Managed IP Networks” to support this migration. This set of standards addresses precision system timing (PTP), video essence, audio, ancillary data, etc., in an IP environment.

In December 2018, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) published the “Technology Pyramid for Media Nodes” (EBU Tech 3371). This pyramid includes all the necessary elements to design, build and operate a fully operational, interoperable, fully plug-and-play SMPTE ST-2110-based, live IP production facility. The EBU Pyramid includes all the needed protocols for timing and synchronization, configuration and monitoring, discovery and connection, media transport and security. It can be viewed as a broadcaster’s set of user requirements for a fully functional live IP production facility.

Along with SMPTE, other organizations have worked diligently to complete the various required protocols —  namely the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) and the Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM). AMWA first produced Networked Media Open Specification (NMOS) IS-04 addressing “Discovery and Registration.” IS-04 systems are intended to enable “zero-configuration” deployments, reducing the necessity to spend time manually configuring equipment before connection to the network. AMWA’s IS-05 addresses “Device Connection Management” which permits a control device to tell a receiver the stream it is supposed to take at any given time, a function analogous to routing.

JT-NM was tasked with addressing how all these standards and protocols (ST-2110, IS-04, IS-05, PTP, etc.) could fit together to build a complete live IP production system. TR-1001-1, entitled “System Environment and Device Behaviors for SMPTE ST-2100 Devices in Engineered Networks — Networks, Registration and Connection Management,” is the JT-NM’s first such technical recommendation and it aims to simplify the installation and configuration of SMPTE ST 2110-based facilities.

As more and more broadcasters begin to implement IP technologies in their production facilities, it is critically important that vendors address and implement all published standards and specifications in their shipped products. This will greatly alleviate the implementation challenges broadcasters will face. To this end, in April of this year, the EBU published R152 entitled “Strategy for the Adoption of an NMOS Open Discovery and Connection Protocol” to accelerate market adoption of these protocols.

In short, the EBU “Technology Pyramid for Media Nodes” describes a comprehensive IP ecosystem of protocols that empowers the design, implementation and operation of fully-IP production facilities.

The World Broadcasting Unions is the coordinating body for broadcasting unions that represent broadcaster networks across the globe. It was established in 1992. The North American Broadcasters Association acts as secretariat for the WBU. The unions that belong are the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, the Arab States Broadcasting Union, the  African Union of Broadcasting, the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, the European Broadcasting Union, the International Association of Broadcasting and the North American Broadcasters Association.

The post About the EBU Media Technology Pyramid appeared first on Radio World.

From IBC: Gospell Unveils New Products Featuring DRM

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 14:00

Gospell’s IBC2019 is focused on unveiling five new products that all include DRM technology.

During a presentation at stand 3.C67 called “The Gospell Receiver—End to End Solution for Your Needs,” hosted by the DRM Consortium, Gospell debuted the products that are designed to be applicable to both the consumer and industry markets.

The products are the GR-22 portable DRM/AM/FM receiver; GR-227 DRM car adapter; GR-301 DRM/AM/FM monitoring receiver; GR-310 audio broadcasting monitoring platform; and the GR-AT3 high performance active HF antenna.

Gospell also discussed developments of digital radio in China during the presentation.

IBC Stand: 3.C67
Info: en.gospell.com

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