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Stations Prep for National EAS Test

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 13:16

The next national EAS test is coming up in two weeks The date was set earlier, as we’ve reported; and now FEMA and the FCC are highlighting it in public announcements.

This year’s test focuses on national alerting in the absence of internet.

The nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 7. It will be sent to radio and television stations beginning at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

[Read: Next Nationwide Emergency Test Set for August 2019]

“The test is being conducted through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System,” the FCC stated. “This year, the test message will originate from designated radio stations, known as Primary Entry Point stations, which participate in a component of IPAWS called the National Public Warning System. All other radio and television stations, cable, wireline service providers and direct broadcast satellite service providers should subsequently receive and broadcast the test message.”

[EAS Test Reporting System Now Accepting 2019 Filings]

It noted that this test will not include a message on cell phones via Wireless Emergency Alerts.

“This year’s test will evaluate the readiness of the national alerting capability in the absence of internet connectivity. The test will be approximately one minute long, have a limited impact on the public with only minor interruption of radio and television programs, and will be similar to regular monthly EAS tests. Both the audio message and text crawl should be accessible to people with disabilities.”

Stations must report how it went to the commission by filing ETRS Form Two on the day of the event, by midnight Eastern time; and then post-test data is due via Form Three by Sept. 23. Those forms become available in the commission’s online system at the time of the test. Filers can access it through the FCC website using their registered FCC username associated with their FCC registration numbers.

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The post Stations Prep for National EAS Test appeared first on Radio World.

Audio Market “In Midst of Radical Transition,” IABM Finds

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 13:06

In the world of audio, we can expect virtualization and the automation of workflows to be a bigger focus in years to come.

This is one of the conclusions of a report from IABM, an international trade association for suppliers of broadcast and media technology. It is the first time the association has put out standalone report about the audio sector.

The report is for its members, but the association released a summary of highlights. Quoting directly from IABM:

  • Audio — as with video — is transitioning to IP to leverage its potential benefits in terms of efficiency, flexibility, remote production and immersive audio;
  • To date, deployment of AoIP has been slow, with a hybrid approach being favored;
  • AES67 is seen as a positive development;
  • Multiple standards continue to be used in the audio industry;
  • Virtualization and automation of workflows were identified as a major focus for the future;
  • Immersive audio is still very much in its infancy in most sectors;
  • Drive for simpler and more cost-effective products as budgets continue to be squeezed;
  • Rise of streaming platforms and content investment impacting technology development;
  • In contrast, television and radio broadcasters’ budgets are being squeezed, leading to a sharp focus on efficiency.

IABM said the report shows that efficiency is “an ever more important driver in the audio sector — doing more with less, together with a requirement for technology that is easier to use for less skilled operators. The push for efficiency is driving a shift to virtual consoles, with remote production features also becoming increasingly important for the same reason.”

It quoted Lorenzo Zanni, the association’s head of insight and analysis, saying the need for increased efficiency, combined with changing skillsets at customer organizations, are the biggest drivers in the audio business. He said that increased programming investment and the proliferation of distribution platforms used by organizations, including radio stations, makes efficiency even more important. “Rising requirements, flat budgets, and technology developments have also driven pricing down, but the requirement for highest quality audio remains.”

IABM said it based this report on public and private financial data of audio technology buyers, such as radio stations; interviews with audio technology businesses; survey evidence; and secondary sources such as news, announcement and earnings calls.

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Future Announces U.S. Launch Of The Video Show

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:17

International media group and leading digital publisher Future PLC has announced the U.S. launch of The Video Show, to be held Dec. 4–5, 2019 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. Future PLC is the parent company of TV Technology, Creative Planet Network, B&C, Multichannel News and other major media technology B2B brands.

As the Mid-Atlantic region’s biggest event for video professionals and enthusiasts, The Video Show encompasses every aspect of video and content creation, showcasing a multitude of brands alongside a dedicated program of seminars, live demos and masterclasses through eight premium groupings called “Studios.”

The inaugural U.S. event follows the successful launch of The Video Show in the U.K.. It debuted earlier this year in March in conjunction with The Photography Show at The NEC in Birmingham, England. That event drew 32,000 visitors and 300+ brands, including top industry names like Blackmagic Design, Canon, Nikon, Sennheiser and others.

Aimed at attracting attendees from a broad range of industries including production, broadcast, streaming, online/mobile media, events, newsgathering, government, education, AV and more, The Video Show will allow enthusiasts and professionals alike to get their hands on the latest gear, try out new techniques, and learn about different aspects of videography from some of the best names in the industry.

Participants can expect to see dozens of sessions across multiple tracks in The Video Show’s eight premium Studios, each delivering its own unique content including panel discussions, tutorials, keynote addresses and presentations delivered by experts in their fields, including:

  • Independent Filmmaking
  • Live Streaming
  • Sports Production
  • Nature & Wildlife Documentary Production
  • Mobile Newsgathering
  • Corporate Communications & Internal Video
  • Weddings and Live Events
  • The Editing Suite
  • Military, Government & Publicly Funded Video
  • Podcasting
  • Audio Visual
  • 360 Video and Virtual Reality
  • Social Video
  • The Future of Video
  • Production in Washington, D.C.
  • The Business of Video
  • Video Production Essentials

“We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing The Video Show to the United States,” said Jonny Sullens, head of events, Future. “Following on the success of the U.K. event earlier this year, we’re confident that The Video Show will become a must-attend video expo and conference for Washington, D.C. and Mid-Atlantic region video professionals and enthusiasts, as well many other visual storytellers, so they can remain at the top of their game.”

“In today’s rapidly evolving video production landscape, we’re excited to offer professional videographers a chance to get up close and personal with the best in the business,” said The Video Show Conference Director Cristina Clapp. “With eight specialized Studios of premium content focused on independent filmmaking, streaming, live events, sports production, web and mobile video, and the future of video and beyond, The Video Show has something for everyone.”

Register now at https://www.thevideoshow.com/begin to save $25 and secure Early Bird rates for The Video Show’s eight premium Studios. Registration for The Video Show is free through Dec. 3, allowing access to the 80+ exhibitors on the show floor. Early Bird rates for premium Studio content are half-price: $24.50 for a one-day Studio Access Pass and $37.50 for a two-day Studio Access Pass. At the door Dec. 4–5, registration for The Video Show goes up to $25, with one-day Studio Passes available for an additional $45 and two-day Studio Passes available for $75.

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The post Future Announces U.S. Launch Of The Video Show appeared first on Radio World.

Pai Seeks to Modernize FCC Processes With New Proposals

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 11:36

In his effort to continue the modernization and streamlining of the FCC’s process, the commission’s Chairman Ajit Pai has developed a new pair of proposals.

The first proposal would continue the FCC’s efforts to move to electronic filing and correspondence in an effort to reduce its use of paper by fully transitioning the Universal Licensing System to an electronic format. Pai’s second proposal is meant to expedite hearing processes by expanding the use of written hearings.

“By transitioning more records and communications from paper to electronic format, we can save money and increase our efficiency,” said Pai. “And by streamlining our hearing rules, we can resolve disputes more quickly, which will benefit the private sector as well as the commission. I hope that my colleagues will join me in supporting these good-government initiatives.”

No timetable was given for these proposals to be accepted.

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The post Pai Seeks to Modernize FCC Processes With New Proposals appeared first on Radio World.

Georgia Association of Broadcasters Announce 2019 Engineering Award Winners

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 11:29

The recipients for the Georgia Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Angelo Ditty-Frank McLemore Engineering Award have been revealed: James Gay, Tom Giglio and Bob Hellbush.

Gay is the vice president of engineering for iHeartMedia. Giglio is the vice president of engineering for Lincoln Financial Media. Hellbush is currently an independent contract, but previously worked as a senior engineer for Cox Media Group.

According to GAB, all three of the 2019 recipients have spent more than 20 years as a broadcast engineer, with the majority of their careers spent in Georgia. Each has also shown “professionalism among colleagues and willingness to help other engineers in support of the industry,” as the announcement describes.

The Angelo Ditty-Frank McLemore Award will be presented to Gay, Giglio and Hellbush during GAB’s annual GABCON conference on Sept. 28.

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Solving Workflow Challenges with Cloud-based Safety Net

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 10:57

When you’re running 250 radio stations from nearly a dozen locations nationwide, having the right automation system matters especially in times of disaster. SiriusXM set out to settle on one automation system with the tools needed to realize increased workflow efficiencies while protecting its air products at its Washington, D.C., and New York-based operations as well as its satellite stations.

This white paper explores how SiriusXM is leveraging RCS’s Zetta automation software and its site replication capability in the new Zetta Cloud to address the challenges that faced the broadcaster.

Discover how:

  • problems preventing the full potential of multi-site collaboration were eliminated
  • local producers gained greater access to metadata for their assets
  • streamlining workflow across multiple sites increased the power of replication
  • the cloud-based solution continues operations remotely without need for disaster recovery facilities

Click here to download the full white paper.

The post Solving Workflow Challenges with Cloud-based Safety Net appeared first on Radio World.

Set Expectations With Advertisers

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 10:36
GettyImages/Molnia_RF

Like many Radio World readers, I do a lot of work in both traditional radio and digital media, where nearly everything can be measured. When a program concludes, most advertisers want to know the final metric results or key performance indicators. 

Anyone who presents media metrics regularly has learned that most people don’t actually know basic definitions or have the necessary context to draw actionable conclusions. 

So what’s a media person to do? Here are two suggestions: 

  1. To prevent unhappy clients at the conclusion of a media campaign, you should agree on expectations at the very start. This discussion and subsequent negotiation is as important as getting the sales order. Why? Because it greatly increases the chances of return business, instead of one and done.
  2. Learn as much as you can about radio ratings and digital metrics in order to make sense of them. This starts with defining which metrics are important. This learning curve requires practice and even tests to ensure that your sales reps can walk the walk and not just fake it till they make it. 

Agreeing on outcome expectations seems elementary, yet I find that people generally are surprised when I bring it up as the first topic — even before we discuss budget, creative execution or placement. Understanding what clients are attempting to accomplish, or are even willing to accept as an outcome, is tremendously useful in delivering a happy ending. 

Perhaps your client won’t even care about media metrics; they may care only about immediate cash register results … and if short-term efforts to move goods or sell services is all that matters, it totally affects the creative you run and the length of the advertising schedule. 

If you’re not following, here’s a simple example from my very distant past. 

LUCKY LAPIDUS

I was doing a live two-hour remote from a car dealership. (Remember those?) It was raining. It was dark. I was young and naïvely asked the manager how many cars he expected to sell. He was sure that by the time I was off the air, he would have sold at least two cars, covering the cost of the remote and securing reasonable profit. 

I was concerned. My first thought was that I was talking with one crazy car guy, and my second was wondering if the sales rep from my station had discussed this expectation with him. 

However, I did have one weapon in my arsenal: lots of free food. Turns out he sold four cars. Call it dumb luck — or the most amazing remote I’d ever orchestrated. Either way, it would have been much better to have set that expectation prior to execution. 

WORKING WITH SEASONED SPONSORS

Fortunately, most advertisers do not expect to measure a campaign based on direct sales action. Seasoned sponsors realize that building a brand takes time and investment. The advertiser or their agency will likely care about metrics — even if they require repeated explanation. 

Think agencies always understand metrics? Think again. A lot of people fake it. 

[Nostalgia for the Good Ol’ Days]

Fortunately, this isn’t rocket science. There are many resources online, and there are lots of consultants who can provide training. 

A fun place to start is studying SMART criteria. This is an acronym often attributed to George Doran and developed by management guru Peter Drucker. It standards for: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-related. 

Don’t confuse goals with key performance indicators. They are not the same thing! A goal is what you’re attempting to achieve. The KPI can inform your decision about whether or not you’re on track to achieve that goal.

My goal was to start you thinking about setting expectations up front and openly discussing results/metrics. Hopefully, I was successful. If not, well… I’m glad I haven’t forgotten how to do radio remotes from car dealerships! 

Mark Lapidus is a longtime contributor to Radio World. Email him with comments or your own promo successes at marklapidus1@gmail.com.

The post Set Expectations With Advertisers appeared first on Radio World.

Radio’s Essential Role in Asia

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 03:00
Pictured at Radio Days Europe at the Convention Centre Dublin, Ireland. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

The author is founder and project manager for Radiodays Europe and Asia.

STOCKHOLM — Radio is part of the lives of people around the world. In Asia this can amount to where hundreds of millions of listeners who tune in every day. Radio is a strong, inexpensive and effective medium to reach mass audiences.

Many of the challenges facing traditional radio elsewhere in the world are about to hit Asia. These include the expansion of music streaming services and ad investments being divided among other platforms such as social media. But the structure and maturity of the region’s radio industry differs a lot.

LANDSCAPE

Private radio is fairly new to many countries in Asia. India is one such example, where programs are mainly music-based and stations are still developing their brands and formats. Also, there is little standardization in tracking listening habits in many Asian countries and many groups tend to rely on their own figures. This leads to confusion for agencies that want to know what radio can deliver.

Public-service media is often closely monitored and controlled by government. But entertainment, music and sports offer broadcasters the potential to build strong radio brands they can further expand into social media, events and other activities. Something many are now exploring.

There are also new, more speech-based stations, such as business stations in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. A particular strength for radio is its closeness to its audience, in many countries manifested by stations broadcasting in the various local languages. This is also true for community radio, which are vibrant and widespread in parts of Asia, especially India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

[Love Radio Finds Niche in Shanghai]

Radio plays an important role when natural disasters strike, frequently making the difference between life and death for millions of people. It’s often the only way of conveying information, be it earthquakes in Nepal, storms in the Philippines or tsunamis in Japan.

Radio´s easiness to use is an asset, but radio sets in homes are not as common as you might expect. FM radio saw a rise in listenership in India when nearly everyone had a mobile phone with built-in FM receivers. But today with new mobile phones coming into the market without FM, there is a new challenge. Will internet audio in phones lead the way to podcasting, as in the west? Or will Spotify and music streaming´s personalized offers replace traditional radio listening?

There is a fast growing podcasting scene in India. However, podcasting has not yet really taken off much elsewhere in Asia, even if there are exceptions to the rule. For example, an investigative journalism podcast in Korea played an important role in bringing down the former president Park Geun-hye, who was sent to jail for corruption charges. Both community radio and podcasts can play a role in telling other stories, of ordinary people and in new ways, than you usually would hear on the radio.

And what about digital? If digital means terrestrial digital broadcasting, there has been a growing interest with DAB+ trials and spectrum allocation coming into play in several countries, including Thailand and Indonesia. In India, the state broadcaster All India Radio has decided to use the Digital Radio Mondiale standard for digital broadcasting.

THE EVENT

The future of the radio and audio businesses in Asia-Pacific will be the focus of Radiodays Asia, the new conference from the team that produces the Radiodays Europe radio and audio conference. Radiodays Asia will take place being in Kuala Lumpur Aug. 27–28 in collaboration with Asia-Pacific broadcasters and organizations, including Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), Commercial Radio Malaysia, Commercial Radio Australia and the Public Media Alliance.

In addition to welcoming broadcasters from across Asia, the event will also set the stage for industry executives from around the world, including from ABC, Southern Cross Austereo, Nova and Eardrum in Australia, Google U.S., BBC, Virgin UK, Bauer Radio, Radioplayer and Radiocentre in Europe, as well as research companies such as Nielsen, Xtra Insight and GfK.

All media, including radio, is facing increasing obstacles due to fast digital transformation and changing media habits. At the same time, there is a worldwide rise in investment and usage of audio on new platforms, opening up a new dawn for radio and a new golden age of audio.

Radiodays Europe serves as a platform for European broadcasters to discuss and learn about future challenges for radio and audio. Radiodays Asia will deliver the same benefits for Asian radio and audio businesses, with the focus on its vibrant, diverse and progressive radio markets at the inaugural Radiodays Asia 2019.

Our goal is that Radiodays Asia will be a platform from where Asian broadcasters can be inspired to innovate to face the future challenges. A place to learn from the best in the rest of the radio world — and a come to be to understand radio and audio trends in Asia-Pacific, from Korea to Malaysia, from Australia to India.

 

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The post Radio’s Essential Role in Asia appeared first on Radio World.

Interference Compromise Disenfranchises Listeners, LPFM Proponents Say

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 15:17

A group of LPFM advocates, including more than 100 LP stations as well as advocacy groups Common Frequency, Prometheus Radio Project and Media Alliance, say the FCC’s plan to streamline its interference complaint process will negatively affect “any radio listener not living in a single-family home.” 

That’s according to the petition for consideration filed by group, under the name The LPFM Coalition. They filed in response to the commission’s rulemaking amending Part 74 of the rules regarding FM translator interference in FCC 19-40. 

While the FCC says its goal is to “strike a balance,” the coalition believes the results are quite unsatisfactory.

“Listeners would become disenfranchised from their constitutional right to request redress when suffering from interference” because the rule change limits interference complaints to one per building, known as the “One Building / One Complaint” rule.

In a statement on Prometheus Radio’s website, coalition member and WPPM(LP) Philadelphia Station Manager Vanessa Maria Graber stated, “It’s unacceptable that the FCC would ignore complaints from millions of people of color in urban areas and college students who are more likely to live in large apartment buildings. Their right to listen to community and college radio without interference should be prioritized and included in any complaints about encroaching translators.”

[Inside the New Translator Interference Rules]

The coalition also argues that the rule change could undermine the Local Community Radio Act of 2010. Specifically, they say the legislation “mandates efforts to develop community-based low power radio stations to meet the fundamental media needs,” while this change “undermines the efforts to foster hyper-local stations by making spectrum impossible to find in many well-populated areas.”

Another problem, the coalition says, is that the rule change improperly would affect old/existing interference disputes, thereby Administrative Procedure Act, which does not allow “such retroactive rulemaking.”

Read the full petition online here.

The post Interference Compromise Disenfranchises Listeners, LPFM Proponents Say appeared first on Radio World.

Plenty of Gear to Catch: Summer of Products 2019

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 15:00

It’s new equipment season — get your rod and reel ready!

This annual feature is all about new gear that has come onto the market in recent months, especially during spring convention season.

Check out this installment of products.

JBL One Series 104 Monitor

The JBL One Series 104 is a compact powered reference monitor.

Created with an eye towards the needs of on-the-move content creators, One Series 104 monitors sport newly engineered JBL 4.5-inch coaxial drivers, 3/4-inch tweeter, reportedly contoured using the same research that led to the waveguide found in M2, 7-Series, and 3-Series monitors, providing users with a sizable sweet spot for the price point.

JBL 104 Reference monitors include integrated 60 W Class D amplification that, according to JBL, can drive the speakers to 104 dB SPL (peak) without distortion.

Features like a front-panel volume control allow level adjustments without straying from the sweet spot. A front-panel headphone jack automatically mutes the speakers, and dual 1/4-inch balanced and single 1/8-inch unbalanced TRS inputs can accommodate various sources. An optional, protective carrying case will also be available for production on the go.

Info: www.jblpro.com

MusicMaster Pro 7 Scheduling Software

MusicMaster says version 7 of its Pro music scheduling software has new workflow and performance enhancements which will make it more efficient.

Included are deeper search functionality, new styles and customization options, easy database field creation, an enhanced Scheduling Calendar dashboard, a simplified Live365 connector, new library and clock tools, and more.

MusicMaster’s Client-Server, the top-tier option for large broadcasters who wish to manage data and processing in a central location, has new options for setting user and station permissions, importing songs to a station from the Enterprise library, merging duplicate songs, printing reports to Word, PDF or rich text formats and more in the new version 2.2 release.

Info: www.musicmaster.com

CEntrance MicPort Pro 2

Need a an above-average pocket preamp for on-the-go field recording, journalism, videography or podcasting? Check out CEntrance’s reduction of its MicPort Pro portable preamp, the MicPort Pro 2.

Recently teased at the NAMM Show in January, the petite single-input interface is for connecting to digital devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. A release says, “Smaller than a microphone, the interface is lightweight and was designed with frequent travelers in mind.”

It offers 48V phantom power and will connect to Android, iOS, Mac and Windows devices.

There are input, gain and monitor controls. A built-in rechargeable battery can be refreshed through the USB connection. CEntrance says the preamps are the company’s Jasmine preamps.
A Neutrik combo jack also offers a Hi-Z (1/4-inch) input for guitars.

Info: https://centrance.com

DoubleRadius LigoPTP RapidFire 6-N Wireless Bridge

Wireless link equipment manufacturer DoubleRadius is launching a new line of “affordable” point-to-point wireless bridges using the 6 GHz range. 

The weatherproof LigoPTP RapidFire 6-N offers up to 700 Mbps throughput with modulations of up to 256-QAM and 30dBm output power. 

The unit is designed for set-and-forget operation. Or it can be remotely controlled via PC or phone/tablet app. An onboard 2.4 GHz radio allows for wireless control while dual Gigabit Ethernet network connections. One of the ports supports power over Ethernet. There’s also an onboard surge protector.

Info: www.ligowave.com

AudioScience Hono AVB VSC Basic

Sound card specialist AudioScience describes the Hono VSC Basic as a low-cost version that does not sacrifice I/O. It has 64 x 64 AVB channels, 8 x 8 AVB streams and works with WDM or ASIO, allowing its use with computer-based audio processing applications. Stream-wise it will stream formats of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 channels.

With support for the IEEE 1722.1 Discovery and Control protocol, the VSC Basic can be configured using AudioScience’s Hono AVB Controller or third-party AVB controllers. It is 64-bit Windows-compatible and can run on Intel i210 Gigabit AVB Ethernet

AudioScience Product Sales Manager Nicole Santiago said,  “The VSC Basic is anything but basic. This VSC still provides the same quality audio as the Hono AVB VSC with 64 channels in and 64 channels out at a more cost-effective price point for our customers.

Info: www.audioscience.com

 

The post Plenty of Gear to Catch: Summer of Products 2019 appeared first on Radio World.

FCC Media Bureau Upholds Its AM Revitalization Translator Policies

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 12:22

Is the FCC correctly balancing the interests of AM owners who want FM translators, with the interests of those who want the spectrum for LPFM stations?

The Media Bureau believes the commission does strike the right balance. And it has just issued a ruling in a California case that articulates its thinking, upholding how the commission conducted two AM translator filing windows.

This ruling is signed by the chief of the Audio Division Albert Shuldiner, no doubt aware that his words will be scrutinized by participants in what has become a wider debate over preferences for “translators vs. LPFMs.”

In this case, Shuldiner rejected an attempt by an LPFM proponent to deny iHeartMedia a translator for an AM station in Modesto, Calif. iHeart — doing business as Capstar TX — applied for a translator on 107.5 for AM station KFIV, which airs a news talk format. But Justin Howze filed an objection, arguing that the application would displace “one of two viable open LPFM channels” in Modesto, thus violating the Local Community Radio Act of 2010. He also said that because the iHeart subsidiary was in bankruptcy at the time, it lacked financial resources to build a new translator and so the public interest argued against the application.

iHeart replied that in essence, Howze’s main gripe was not with its application but with the entire translator auction process set out in the AM revitalization initiative. But the company said it had followed correct procedures in the auction, and that nothing about its Chapter 11 reorganization plan prevented it from conducting business.

[Inside the New Translator Interference Rules]

Now, in ruling against Howze, Shuldiner spends most of his words exploring the argument that the application violated the spirit of the LCRA by proposing a new translator in a market where there are more translators than LPFMs — a question that could have ramifications in other markets.

He wrote that the FCC’s translator process for AM licensees was designed to “strike a balance between the stated goals of the AM Revitalization proceeding and the need to preserve spectrum for future applicants.” Citing one data point, he said that not more than about 1,700 new cross-service FM translators could be granted under the rules of the Auction 99 and 100 filing windows, about 37 percent of the theoretical maximum, a balance he found reasonable. Howze had wanted the commission to use different, more stringent procedures that were adopted for the bigger, earlier translator Auction 83, but Shuldiner rejected that argument.

Further, he continued, nothing in the law requires the FCC to do a market-by-market evaluation of secondary spectrum availability or prohibits the further award of FM translator CPs in markets where translators outnumber LPFMs. “It requires only that the commission ensure that licensing opportunities are available for all secondary services, that its licensing decisions are made based on the needs of the local community, and that all secondary services remain equal in status (not number) and secondary to full-service FM stations,” Shuldiner wrote in the Media Bureau ruling.

Read the ruling here: DA-19-670A1.docx

The translator has now been granted a construction permit under call sign K298DG.

The post FCC Media Bureau Upholds Its AM Revitalization Translator Policies appeared first on Radio World.

Community Broadcaster: A New Day

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 19:20

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

How can community media better represent the diverse voices in its communities? It is an existential question that organizations have struggled with for years. New efforts, however, may push answers closer to reality.

In the early 1980s, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters hosted the first conference for producers of color in radio. It, as well as all the efforts since, was guided by the ideal of creating equity in community media institutions. Many more groups and individuals over the years have sought to create a more inclusive space, and for public media organizations to more fully represent their communities.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Turning Off Access]

A few encouraging developments the last few weeks include:

Recently the POC Audio Directory launched, offering a listing for people of color in the media space to network and find work. The directory emerged in part after Phoebe Wang’s Third Coast awards ceremony speech, where she offered a critique of the media industry, including, “It’s really incredibly disappointing and sad to me that so much value is placed on credentials in this industry. And so little value is placed on how those credentials are achieved.”

The directory represents an important first step to address a tremendous contradiction in the noncommercial media ecosystem particularly. Many well-intentioned organizations want to be more inclusive, but may not fulfill that promise. That disconnect can come in the form of ineffective hiring practices or failing to be aware of diverse voices within and without one’s existing networks. The POC Audio Directory is a welcome effort to create visibility and opportunity.

Earlier this month, the Alliance for Community Media’s Inclusion, Engagement and Equity Caucus welcomed longtime journalist Ifanyi Bell to the ACM national conference. It is yet another among a long line of efforts to draw out a conversation on inclusion among divergent cities and towns with public, education and government broadcast licensees. As a variety of pressures ratchet up the need for greater local involvement, ACM and PEG stations are centering the diversity dialogue as never before.

Elsewhere, other media organizations are expanding their connections in creative ways. Take BirdNote. The ecology-oriented radio interstitial is tapping into schools, where the new, multicultural generation is coming up, to share radio content and its educational mission. BirdNote’s Next Generation grant program helps educators teach young people about birds, nature and more. It is a powerful way to engage students in something relevant to them – what kid is not fascinated by animals, after all – while simultaneously imparting a love for noncommercial media. BirdNote’s focus on and willingness to invest to teaching young people is inspiring as it is valuable.

In a similar vein, All Classical Portland kicked off a music stream aimed specifically at kids. “Although we are a classical music station and are excited to bring that music into children’s lives, it won’t all be classical,” Sarah Zwinklis told Current. “It’s really about exposure to other cultures, being aware of what’s happening outside of your community and hearing music in different languages.”

Terrestrial stations elsewhere are stepping up to link with new audiences. In late June, Denver community radio station KUVO launched The Drop, part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s initiative intended to foster audience growth. Using an urban alternative format on its HD2 channel, KUVO is expanding beyond its traditional jazz format. “We want to put radio and the subsequent music choice back in the people’s hands,” The Drop’s content and program director Nikki Swarn is quoted in Westword. “There is a need to build with our community a station that reflects the eclectic music values and tastes of this new Colorado. The Drop is that station; it is built by the community for the community. We are excited to create a movement that is inclusive, exciting, dynamic and fresh. Plus, there’s nothing like shaking things up.”

For years, it has felt like the talk about inclusion and equity has been just that: a lot of talk. Interesting talk, certainly, but as past controversies such as at WNYC, WBUR and elsewhere have revealed, seldom demonstrated concretely. But with many producers and community media leading the charge, we may finally be on the cusp of something amazing.

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iHeartMedia Is Officially Back in the Game

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 18:05
Thursday morning, July 18, iHeartMedia returned from the financial graveyard with its relisting on the NASDAQ stock exchange. To make it official a group from iHeartMedia including the company Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman along with COO and CFO Rich Bressler rang the NASDAQ opening bell.

The post iHeartMedia Is Officially Back in the Game appeared first on Radio World.

Seventh Annual Radio Talent Institute Begins Monday

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 17:11

The seventh annual KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute begins Monday and runs through Wednesday, July 31.

Students from five different universities will convene on the campus of the Western Kentucky University to learn the ins and outs of the broadcast industry, with Kentucky Broadcasters Association President Chris Winkle on hand to welcome students.

[Read: Talent Institute Takes to the Trail]

“We have to be proactive and intentional in our efforts to assist students on their journey into broadcasting, culminating with job placement,” Winkle said in a press release prior to the institute.

Instant Sales Training’s Chris Lytle will handle the opening session, followed regional and state radio professionals sharing their own wisdom.

Kentucky Broadcasters Association President Chris Winkle addresses a previous KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute.

Sales and management sessions will be led by NAB Executive Vice President Steve Newberry, as well as CapCity Communications and Seven Mountains Media CEO Kristin Cantrell; Forever Communications President Christine Hillard; Forcht Broadcasting President/CEO Mike Tarter; Heritage Media President/CEO Mark Buckles;

Commonwealth Communications COO Dale Thornhill; and Commonwealth Communications Chief Revenue Officer and Swagger Institute President Derron Steenbergen.

Representatives from other broadcasters, including iHeartMedia and Summit Media, will make appearances during the institute. Attendees will also learn from sportscasters during a tour of the Cumulus Media Nashville studios. Another day will feature live broadcasts from talent from Alpha Media Louisville station WDJX at the institute.

Cromwell Radio Group Nashville President Bud Walters will deliver the closing session.

Also, by the end of the program, the students will be certified as RAB Radio Marketing Professionals by the Radio Advertising Bureau.

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The post Seventh Annual Radio Talent Institute Begins Monday appeared first on Radio World.

Cleanfeed Offers Effective Remote Solution

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 14:31
Cleanfeed

Radio has become more competitive. Several of our broadcasters produce shows from their homes or offices. Up until recently, we have used traditional codec solutions. We have a rack full of different manufacturers’ codecs to provide flexibility, but sometimes the cost to buy and set up broadcasting equipment is too high for some small- to medium-sized businesses to commit to, for a once-a-week broadcast. 

So why not use the power of the computer and virtualization? The key to delighting customers is to provide cost-effective quality solutions. One such offering is Cleanfeed. 

NEW APPROACH

I was looking for a low-latency, great-sounding solution that was simple to use. I came across a Linux program called trx and Cleanfeed, a much-talked about web-based solution that makes scheduling a remote broadcast easy. 

Cleanfeed provides a high-quality remote solution that is cost-effective. If fact, they offer a free version that provides all the functionality needed for a basic remote broadcast.

Mark Hill is the developer of trx and Cleanfeed.  At the spring NAB Show, I had an opportunity to talk to him about the software.

He had wanted to find a way to make it easy to broadcast radio shows on the local college station. He imagined broadcasting from the living room or kitchen of an apartment. The cost of traditional hardware-based solutions made that difficult. This was the inspiration for Cleanfeed.

Cleanfeed is simple to use, is cross-platform and sounds great. It uses the open-source Opus codec and keeps up with any of our other hardware-based equipment. 

At WRDT we had some experience using software-based applications to connect to our codecs. What I didn’t like is that they require the user to install an application on their computer, tablet or other mobile device. 

[CleanFeed.net: Live Remotes on a Budget]

What I like about Cleanfeed is that the remote user does not have to install anything, all they need to do is click on a connect button provided in an email that is sent to them.

The connection starts at the studio, which has a log-in to Cleanfeed. An account can be created at https://cleanfeed.net

Once logged on, the studio puts together a connection request which includes the name and email address of the remote user. Cleanfeed also allows multiple connections.

We had a new broadcaster interested in producing a show from their office. I spoke with the doctors from the firm and they were willing to try the new solution out.

THE OFFICE

Dr. Morgan Crawley from Upper Cervical Spine Centers of Michigan worked with me to set things up. We began by seeing how well an off-the-shelf USB microphone would perform through a Cleanfeed connection. A Blue Snowball iCE microphone was chosen for the first test.

Dr. Morgan Crawley tests the Cleanfeed remote connection for her program.

The setup was easy. The microphone was detected automatically through a Windows 10 computer. In a few minutes we were up and running.

Dr. Crawley wanted to take calls during her show and we were able to test mix-minus and talkback. All worked very well. 

For our next test we added another doctor. To make it interesting, we used her iPhone. Both doctors were able to hear each other and could hear the caller and producer in the studio. We have been airing their show for several months without issue. This configuration is so easy to use, and flexible. 

We decided to expand our use of Cleanfeed for other broadcasters. The “Pro” version provides more functionality to select additional inputs, to limit connections to a specific time limit, and offers multitrack recording.

We also experimented with various configuration such as using multiple USB microphones through VB Audio’s virtual soft mixer.

The software-based mixer worked well other than the amount of latency it adds to the local monitoring. The nice feature of using this mixer is the ability to mix in other applications such as Skype locally.

[Cleanfeed Adds Podcast Features to Broadcast Service]

Since the mixer has multiple busses, you can set up a local mix-minus and even play and record audio through its easy-to-use recorder. I like the added touch of using a cassette as the image for the recorder. The mixer also offers gating, compression and equalization on each input.  

We will be adding a daily talk show that will be produced offsite and requires a two-microphone setup. In tests the latency for local monitoring on the software mixer was too much for our talent to do an hour-long show.

So we turned to a PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 interface for the show. It has zero latency on local monitoring along with a local monitor mix control that makes setting the blend between local and remote audio easy. 

We look forward to the broadcasts we will be able to air, and the happy clients being able to accomplish their goal of producing a high-quality broadcast for an affordable price.

The author is Director of engineering for Z883 in Orlando.

FROM THE FIELD

From the Field articles illustrate accepted best practices as well as new experiments in radio broadcast production. If you have an interesting or unique story let us know about it. Write to Gear & Technology Editor Brett Moss.

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NAB Announces New Marconi Categories, 2019 Finalists

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 14:00

The National Association of Broadcasters has released a list of the stations and personalities who made the cut as finalists for the 2019 NAB Marconi Radio Awards.

The prestigious broadcast award program has added two new categories “Legendary Manager of the Year” and “Best Radio Station Podcast” and also rechristened the “Noncommercial Station of the Year;” the category’s new name is “Best College Radio Station of the Year.”

Without further ado…

LEGENDARY STATION OF THE YEAR

KCBS(AM), San Francisco

KNX(AM), Los Angeles 

KRTH(FM), Los Angeles

WBAL(AM), Baltimore 

WBAP(AM), Dallas

LEGENDARY MANAGER OF THE YEAR 

Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas

Charlie Morgan, WQHT(FM), WBLS(FM) and WLIB(AM), New York

Dan Seeman, Hubbard Twin Cities and Hubbard North, St. Paul 

Mark Anderson, WBZZ(FM) and WDSY(FM), Pittsburgh

Nick Martin, Big River Broadcasting, Florence, Ala.

NETWORK/SYNDICATED PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 

Bob Lacey & Sheri Lynch, Now Media 

Elvis Duran, Premiere Networks 

Rickey Smiley, Reach Media, Inc. 

Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Networks 

Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks 

MAJOR MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 

Ebro Darden, WQHT(FM), New York

Ellen K, KOST(FM)/KBIG(FM), Los Angeles

Felger & Massarotti, WBZ(FM), Boston

Preston & Steve, WMMR(FM), Philadelphia

The Musers, KTCK(AM), Dallas

LARGE MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 

Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP(FM), St. Paul

Jack Harris, WFLA(AM), Tampa, Fla. 

Mercedes Martinez, KMXB(FM), Las Vegas, Nev.

Mike Calta, WHPT(FM), St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mojo, WKQI(FM), Detroit

MEDIUM MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 

Brent Lane, WYCT(FM), Pensacola, Fla.

Buzz Jackson, KIIM(FM), Tucson

Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX(FM), Tyler, Texas

Jeff and Amanda, WKRZ(FM), Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Mike Street, WBTJ(FM), Richmond

SMALL MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 

Brent Carl Fleshman, WHUB(FM), Cookeville, Tenn.

Chris and Rosie, WUSQ(FM), Winchester, Va.

Glenner Anderson, KXLR(FM), Fairbanks, Alaska

Scotty and Catryna, KCLR(FM), Columbia, Mo.

Shags & Trevor, KCMG(FM), Columbia, Mo.

MAJOR MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR 

KIIS(FM), Los Angeles

WKYS(FM), Washington

WTOP(FM), Washington

WWPR(FM), New York

WYCD(FM), Detroit 

LARGE MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR 

KOA(AM), Denver

KSTP(FM), St. Paul 

KQMV(FM), Bellevue, Wash. 

WMTX(FM), Tampa, Fla.

WXTB(FM), Tampa, Fla.

MEDIUM MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR 

KIPR(FM), Little Rock

KRMG(FM), Tulsa, Ola. 

WHKO(FM), Dayton, Ohio 

WKHK(FM), Richmond 

WSSL(FM), Greenville, S.C. 

SMALL MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR 

KFGO(AM), Fargo, N.D. 

KROX(AM), Crookston, Minn. 

KWYO(AM), Sheridan, Wy. 

WNDH(FM), North Canton, Ohio

WXLP(FM), Davenport, Iowa 

BEST RADIO PODCAST OF THE YEAR 

“Behind the Song,” WDRV(FM), Chicago

“Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO(AM), Minneapolis

“Garage Logic,” Hubbard Radio, St. Paul

“On the Table,” NET, Lincoln, Neb.

“What Had Happened Was,” WHIO(FM), Dayton, Ohio

AC STATION OF THE YEAR 

KODA(FM), Houston, TX

KRWM(FM), Bellevue, Wash.

WBZZ(FM), Pittsburgh

WMAG(FM), Greensboro, N.C.

WSHE(FM), Chicago

CHR STATION OF THE YEAR 

KRBE(FM), Houston, Texas

KTXY(FM), Columbia, Mo

WKZL(FM), Greensboro, N.C. 

WQHT(FM), New York

WWPW(FM), Atlanta 

CLASSIC HITS STATION OF THE YEAR 

WMGK(FM), Philadelphia

WMJI(FM), Cleveland, Ohio 

WMMO(FM), Orlando, Fla.

WOGL(FM), Philadelphia 

WXGL(FM), St. Petersburg, Fla. 

COLLEGE RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR 

WHPC(FM), Nassau Community College, Garden City, N.Y. 

WMSC(FM), Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J. 

WRCC(FM), Rider University, Lawrenceville, N.J. 

WRHU(FM), Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y. 

WSOU(FM), Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J. 

COUNTRY STATION OF THE YEAR 

KILT(FM), Houston

KSCS(FM), Dallas 

KUBL(FM), Salt Lake City

KYGO(FM), Denver

WQHK(FM), Fort Wayne, Ind.

NEWS/TALK STATION OF THE YEAR 

KIRO(FM), Seattle

KTMY(FM), St. Paul

WDBO(FM), Orlando, Fla. 

WINS(AM), New York 

WKXW(FM), Trenton, N.J. 

RELIGIOUS STATION OF THE YEAR 

KKFS(FM), Sacramento

KKJM(FM), St. Cloud, Minn. 

KNWI(FM), West Des Moines, Iowa 

KPWJ(FM), College Station, Texas

WRVL(FM), Lynchburg, Va.

ROCK STATION OF THE YEAR 

KISS(FM), San Antonio, Texas

WCSX(FM), Detroit

WIYY(FM), Baltimore

WPLR(FM), New Haven, Conn. 

WRIF(FM), Detroit

SPANISH STATION OF THE YEAR 

KLNZ(FM), Los Angeles

KLOL(FM), Houston

KLZT(FM), Austin, Texas

WOJO(FM), San Diego, Calif

WYUU(FM), Tampa, Fla.

SPORTS STATION OF THE YEAR

KFXN(FM), Minneapolis

WBZ(FM), Boston

WIP(FM), Philadelphia

WKRK(FM), Cleveland

WXYT(FM), Detroit

URBAN STATION OF THE YEAR 

KBLX(FM), San Francisco

WBLS(FM), New York

WGCI(FM), Chicago

WHQT(FM), Hollywood, Fla.

WPEG(FM), Charlotte

The winners will be recognized Sept. 26 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show, held during the Radio Show in Dallas.

The post NAB Announces New Marconi Categories, 2019 Finalists appeared first on Radio World.

Sage Alerting Releases Update

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 13:30

Sage Alerting Systems has announced a free firmware update for its ENDEC model 3644.

Firmware Version 36-44 “addresses a changed requirement in the FCC EAS rules, Part 11.33(a)(10), which affects how the valid time frame of an alert is determined.” That modifies the current method of frame validation, according to the company.

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

The company adds, “This release does not affect the ENDEC’s reception and relay of the scheduled Aug. 7, 2019 National Periodic Test. Whether your ENDEC is running version 89-30, 89-32, or this new version 89-34, your ENDEC will relay the NPT.”

Go here for more information or to download the update.

Perhaps larger than this specific update is a notice from Sage of an upcoming September update that will address changes to the IPAWS server. That update will be a paid update. More information on that coming.

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The post Sage Alerting Releases Update appeared first on Radio World.

Why the FCC Should Reject NAB’s FM Proposal

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 13:27

Big radio group owner iHeartMedia supports “targeted reform” of local radio ownership rules in the United States, including eliminating the limits on common ownership of AM stations or, at a minimum, removing AM subcaps. But the company told the FCC that it should reject an “exceedingly aggressive” proposal from the National Association of Broadcasters regarding limits on FM station ownership.

The following are excerpts about the latter from iHeart’s reply comments, filed in May as part of the commission’s quadrennial regulatory review. In sections preceding this excerpt, iHeart argued that the broadcast radio market is the relevant one for determining the need for modifying local radio ownership rules and that the FCC should reject the NAB’s “radical redefinition” of the relevant market. 

The Record, Taken as a Whole, Demonstrates That the NAB’s Overly Aggressive FM Local Radio Ownership Proposal Attempts to Address a Competition Problem Beyond the Relevant Market and Would Be Ineffective in Doing So

The NAB’s proposal to eliminate the local ownership limits on FM stations in all markets below the top 75 and permit common ownership of eight FM stations (up to 10 with Incubator-related waivers) in the top 75 markets is designed to address a competition problem in a market consisting of broadcast radio, non-broadcast audio services such as satellite radio, and digital media platforms such as Facebook and Google. It makes no pretense of attempting to remedy competition problems within the relevant broadcast radio market. … 

iHeart contends that the NAB’s prescription is not a solution for the competitive disparity between AM and FM stations, the only relevant market, but actually worsens that competition problem. Moreover, even assuming for the sake of argument that it might be proper to consider the broader audio ecosystem, there is a disconnect between the NAB’s solution that rests on cost efficiencies and economies of scale flowing from increasing the number of stations under common ownership in a market and what might be sufficient to enable broadcasters to meet the larger competitive challenge posed by digital media giants.

[NAB to FCC: Revise Ownership Rules to Support Radio]

Many commenters share iHeart’s view that the relevant market is broadcast radio and radio broadcasters simply do not compete in the same market as Internet-based platforms such as Facebook and Google. In its comments, NABOB quotes at length from an August 2, 2018, article by Eric Rhoads, a recognized expert in the radio and network radio business, owner, operator and programmer for 30 years, and chairman of Radio Ink: 

“The FCC is made up of very smart people who, hopefully, understand that giving more radio stations is not going to solve the Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat problem. I dare say that ship has sailed and that radio’s ability to compete with the Internet isn’t going to be impacted one ounce by having more stations per owner. … The only similarity between Google/Facebook and radio is that we are all in the advertising business. That’s where it stops. Their approach to advertising is so utterly different that no one is going to spend more in radio because Company A or Company B has more stations.”

In its comments, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council quotes at length from Ronald Gordon and Ed Cherry’s op-ed in the July 25, 2018, edition of Radio World: 

“How would buying an additional four or five stations in a market allow a broadcaster to take on Google or Facebook? Individually, these big tech companies dwarf the annual revenues of the entire radio industry combined. How exactly would gutting the radio ownership rules drive advertising money away from tech and into radio industry’s pocket? To the advertiser, what difference does it make who owns the station? Horizontal deregulation just shuffles the deck in favor of the big guys; it does nothing to improve radio’s ability to compete with big tech.”

[NAB Urges Forward Thinking for Ownership Reform]

Other broadcasters supportive of the NAB proposal make the same point as the NAB that non-broadcast audio and digital platforms compete for audiences and advertising revenue in a fragmented marketplace. They rely heavily on a study by Borrell Associates, “documenting the commanding position of digital advertising giants in today’s local advertising marketplace.” Like the NAB, they conflate the advertising market with the audio services market and even within the advertising market fail to differentiate among the different purposes and inherent capabilities of broadcast radio advertising and digital media advertising. … 

[B]roadcast radio focuses on the top of the advertising funnel, reflecting its strengths in reach and branding. In essence, this strength of broadcast radio reflects the fundamental nature of the medium; it distributes content on a one-to-many basis. Digital media, such as Facebook and Google, are sought by advertisers because they focus on the bottom end of the advertising funnel where the vast amount of individualized data they collect from users gives them direct and often instantaneous impact on a one-to-one basis with prospective purchasers. 

Moreover, digital platforms are the recipients of promotion from broadcast radio, further illustrating their complementary relationship. These fundamental differences between broadcast radio and digital media in advertising utility … are why broadcast radio and digital platforms are not substitutable even from an advertising perspective, much less from a holistic perspective.

[NAB Presses FCC to “Modernize” Radio Ownership Rules]

As so much of the focus of the NAB and its broadcaster supporters is on competition for advertising revenue, one would expect that its justification for lifting the ownership caps would address specifically how its proposal would strengthen broadcasters’ ability to recapture lost advertising revenue to digital competitors. 

Therefore, it is revealing that the BIA Study relied upon so heavily by the NAB to support its contention that radical reform of the ownership limits is necessary to compete for advertising revenue against Google and Facebook does not even attempt to quantify the purported impact of the changes it proposes on broadcast radio advertising revenue: “To err on the conservative side, however, we do not assume in our financial models below any increase in revenue per station resulting from the proposed combinations …”

Although the BIA Study characterizes its reluctance to assess the impact of increased common ownership as “conservative,” it also may be understood as an implicit admission that there is no evidentiary basis for concluding that lifting the ownership limits will enhance the broadcast radio industry’s ability to compete against digital platforms for advertising revenue. 

In fact, power ratio studies performed by iHeart provide further strong evidence that more stations in a cluster does not increase a radio broadcaster’s ability to attract additional advertising revenue in that market. Power ratios are an accepted industry measure of how a radio station is converting its ratings into advertising revenue. 

The power ratio is calculated by dividing a station’s share of the total ad revenue in a market by the station’s overall audience share. The higher the power ratio, the better the station is performing against expectations based upon audience share. For example, a power ratio of 1.0 would indicate that a station is performing consistent with expectations, whereas a station with a power ratio of 0.75 would be underperforming.

[iHeart to FCC on Local Ownership Rules: Do No Harm]

iHeart examined stations it licenses in 29 markets where common ownership of five FM stations is allowed under current law, compared to 25 markets where only four FM stations under common ownership is allowed. In the 29 markets where iHeart licenses five FM stations, the average power ratio decline between the top performing FM station and the least performing FM station was approximately 57%. However, that same measurement in markets where iHeart owns only four FM stations yielded a decline of only 42%. Marketwide, the results suggest a better average power ratio performance where iHeart licenses four stations as opposed to five. In fact, the markets in which iHeart licenses five FM stations exhibited a 0.15 comparative power ratio dilution compared to those markets where only four FM stations are licensed. 

This power ratio study is compelling evidence that adding a sixth, seventh or eighth FM station to a cluster in a top 75 market, as NAB proposes, will do little to nothing to enable radio broadcasters to compete more effectively for advertising dollars. This confirms the long-held view that station rank within a market and pricing are the dominant factors in attracting local advertising dollars, and demonstrates the disconnect between the remedy advocated by the NAB and the competition problem, albeit not in the relevant market, that it seeks to ameliorate. 

Having failed to link its proposed remedy directly to enhanced ability to attract advertising dollars, the NAB falls back on the contention that allowing more consolidation will create cost efficiencies and economies of scale that will free up more resources to compete with non-broadcast media and digital platforms. Yet, even here the BIA Study upon which the NAB relies suffers from obvious inadequacies. 

[19 Ways to Make the FCC Rules Better]

For example, it fails to consider the costs necessarily incurred in the acquisition of new stations and their integration into existing operations. Based on its extensive experience, iHeart is very familiar with such expenses, including legal fees, due diligence and financing. Such costs also could include new construction or expansion of facilities, additional management personnel, and relocation and moving expenses. Such omissions from the net impact of consolidation are equivalent to a balance sheet showing only assets and no liabilities. They overstate the net benefits of the efficiencies and economies of scale that would flow from increasing the limits on FM stations or eliminating them altogether.

The BIA Study examines the extent to which AM stations are at a significant, indeed, distressing competitive disadvantage relative to FM stations. Its conclusions mirror those reached by iHeart. The BIA Study also recognizes that FM stations constrained by the current local radio ownership rules are far more numerous than AM stations and therefore the effect of eliminating or significantly relaxing those rules likely will be disproportionately felt in the FM band. However, the BIA Study fails to analyze the differential ramifications of that outcome. Had it done so, it should have concluded, as has iHeart and other commenters, most notably Salem Media Group and Crawford Broadcasting Company, that the NAB’s proposal regarding FM stations would lead to a further weakening of the AM band and the possibility of mass migration from AM to FM. 

Adoption of the Overly Aggressive NAB Proposal for FM Stations Would Harm Competition in the Relevant Broadcast Radio Market and Would Not Be in the Public Interest

Many commenters express profound concern about the negative effect of adoption of the NAB proposal on the public interest. A subset of these commenters join iHeart in focusing on the harm to AM radio stations and the consequent harm to competition in the broadcast radio market, localism and diversity were the NAB proposal on FM station ownership reform accepted by the commission.

Salem Media Group, the nation’s largest religious broadcast radio group, opposes any deregulation of local radio ownership limits. Its rationale focuses squarely on the likely harmful impact on AM stations: 

“Salem believes that a devaluation of the AM band could result if the commission were to deregulate subcap limits. This is because the possible resulting migration of leading radio brands to the FM band could accelerate a departure of the AM audience. Moreover, because the AM signal is far more amenable to wide area coverage, a policy decision that encourages station owners to consolidate their holdings in the FM band could leave many listeners disenfranchised, potentially eradicate certain formats, and increase risk in times of crisis.” 

Salem’s comments delve into multiple major markets where sharp shifts in audience listening away from leading AM stations to sister FM stations have occurred. Salem describes the implications: 

“If the AM band continues to be a ‘less traveled’ destination for listeners, diminishment would certainly result for popular AM brands. Should this occur, the AM band, instead of being a treasury of quality news and religious talk, sports and ethnic programming, will lose its audience appeal. The final result could be an asset devaluation of companies with sizeable AM radio station ownership.” 

[NAB Argues for “Economies of Scale”]

Crawford Broadcasting Company articulates the same deep concern about the ramifications of removal of the FM subcaps on AM stations. Crawford observes that

“[I]t is only the existing subcaps holding some licensees back from acquiring many more FM signals. We have no doubt that if the subcaps are removed, existing independently-owned FM stations will in short order be sold to larger groups that will move lucrative talk formats from existing AM outlets to those FM stations.” 

Crawford then describes the foreseeable, indeed, probable consequences: 

“The result will be much to the detriment of AM radio. With a drop in demand and an increase in supply, the value of AM stations will significantly drop, in many cases to less than the value of the land on which their antenna sites are built. That will in turn lead to stations going dark. In short, we believe that removal or easing of FM subcaps will do far more harm to AM radio than all the good the commission has so far achieved in its AM revitalization efforts. This will be a tremendous loss, one that could well start the short countdown to the end of AM radio as a viable medium.” 

In reply comments, Crawford reiterates these concerns, explicitly agreeing with iHeart about the risk of harm to AM radio that likely would result from adoption of the NAB proposal regarding ownership limits on FM stations. 

[Associations Tell FCC Its Numbers Are Messed Up]

The MMTC also embraced the views of iHeart regarding the potentially devastating impact that adoption of the NAB’s proposal regarding FM ownership could have on AM stations. Quoting from the writings of African American broadcaster, Glenn Cherry, and Latino broadcaster, Ronald Gordon, the MMTC explained that greater FM common ownership would eviscerate “AM station asset value and marketability, and even repair-ability.” 

In sum, there is abundant support in the record of this proceeding for the position expressed at length in iHeart’s comments that the risk of harm to AM radio and all of its public interest benefits, specifically advancing localism, diversity and national security, militate against adoption of the NAB’s overly aggressive proposal regarding FM ownership limits.

Read iHeartMedia’s full filing at https://tinyurl.com/rw-iheart. Comment on this or any story. Email radioworld@futurenet.com.

The post Why the FCC Should Reject NAB’s FM Proposal appeared first on Radio World.

Inovonics’ New Kids

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 14:45

 

To use the English phraseology, “The INOmini is dead. Long live the INOmini!”

Inovonics has announced that it has completed a transition to the new INOmini line of monitor/receivers.

The company points to recently introduced models: 661 (DAB+), 673 (FM), 674 (AM), 676 (NOAA), and 679 (HD Radio — pictured) with new or improved features such as larger LCD displays, red alarm messages, independently adjustable analog and digital audio outputs, additional metrics and field upgradable firmware via USB.

According to INOvonics preceding INOmini models 633, 634, 636, 639, 660 are no longer available.

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The post Inovonics’ New Kids appeared first on Radio World.

Inside the July 17th Issue of RW

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 12:13

Legal experts Dan Kirkpatrick and Keenan Adamchak dig into the newly updated translator interference rules. Our Summer of Products coverage continues, and Gary Kline shares some questions to consider when planning your use of codecs. Plus, read advice for making smart use of Cleanfeed. And iHeart explains why the FCC should reject the NAB’s FM ownership proposal.

REGULATION
SBE Keeps Eye Out for Spectrum Turbulence

The Society of Broadcast Engineers is keeping tabs on a number of spectrum issues facing radio. The FCC earlier this year adopted new FM translator interference rules and streamlined the complaint process, but other concerns remain including pirate radio, EAS compliance, ambient noise in the AM band, the C-band versus 5G, and what the SBE perceives to be FCC compliance abandonment.

RF APPLICATIONS
Hooked on Startups, He Invented Infocast

Learn about Bill Von Meister, who along with two engineers devised an information network based on “piggybacking” digital data on FM radio broadcasts using a single sideband. The system, which von Meister named Infocast, could broadcast data up to the limit of an FM broadcast (about 75 miles).

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

The post Inside the July 17th Issue of RW appeared first on Radio World.

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