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IBC Sneak Peek: Axia Debuts Quasar

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 12:00

Making its debut at IBC, Axia Audio’s new Quasar console/control surface takes advantage of the flexibility afforded by IP networking and touchscreens.

Like many cutting edge consoles, Quasar relies upon an IP link, in this case Livewire, to an engine — acting more as a control surface. Much of this surface is occupied by an embedded central touchscreen. Physical faders flanking the screen are themselves surrounded by color OLEDs providing information and customizable functionality.

It will be available in sizes from 4 to 28 touch-sensitive, motorized faders per frame, with support for up to 64 faders in multiple linked frames. Frames can be flush-mounted.

Quasar can access and control inputs, hybrids, codecs and processing, etc., via Livewire, In addition it can be remote controlled via HTML5-compatible devices.

Quasar is powered by the all-new Quasar Engine, with 64 stereo channels, four-band fully parametric EQ, powerful dynamics processing and automixer on every channel, four program buses and eight auxiliary buses.

Axia says that Quasar was “designed based on extensive global customer feedback and ergonomic studies.”

IBC Stand: 8.D47

Info: www.telosalliance.com

The post IBC Sneak Peek: Axia Debuts Quasar appeared first on Radio World.

Wheatstone Spotlights X5 FM Audio Processor

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 07:55

Wheatstone is showing its newly developed X5 FM audio processor front and center, which offers a slew of new technologies to help with dynamics control, pre-emphasis management and more.

These new technologies include the Limitless FM peak control that reconstructs audio after pre-emphasis has been applied for a cleaner and clearer high end. There’s also the X5’s Unified Processing technology that allows the processor to share critical information between all processing stages; it also features a redesigned limiter that works directly with the unit’s Limitless Clipper.

Additional features include the Live Logger to document X5 settings and activities; a redesigned bass processor and enhancement controls in the iAGC to safely equalize audio; an optional MPX SyncLink receiver that can work away from the studio and manage multiple HD and FM audio streams; and AES insert ports via a PPMport, allows users to insert ratings encoders into the processing system instead of placing it in front of the processor.

Previous features that have been updated in the new X5 model, like the Multipath Mitigation algorithm, composite processing system with selectable look ahead limiting or clipping, baseband192 composite AES connectivity and a full set of analysis displays.

IBC Stand: 8.C91

Info: wheatstone.com

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The post Wheatstone Spotlights X5 FM Audio Processor appeared first on Radio World.

Where Did Those Applications Go? Check the LMS

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 14:34

As part of its ongoing efforts to update its own application filing system, the Federal Communications Commission has transitioned a series of online applications from one database to another.

Starting Sept. 25, several applications will be transferred by the Media Bureau from the CDBS database to the LMS online electronic filing system. Seven application forms in total will be moved over, such as the construction permit application for commercial FM radio stations and the application requesting authority to construct/make changes to an FM translator station. See the complete list here.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to log into LMS using an FCC Registration Number  (FRN) and associated FRN password because — unlike the CDBS system — all filings in LMS are tied to a facility’s FRN. Also keep in mind that if a facility had multiple FRNs in the old CDBS system, a licensee will be asked to formally select one and only one of those FRNs the very first time they log into LMS.

The CDBS database will also no longer be the home for those looking to create a pleading or leave a comment. Instead, comments concerning applications filed using LMS must be filed using the LMS system.

The Media Bureau plans to transition more applications from LMS on an ongoing basis, the FCC said.

For assistance, contact the commission at 877-480-3201 (Option 2) or submit a request online here.

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The post Where Did Those Applications Go? Check the LMS appeared first on Radio World.

Remote Controls Have a History All Their Own

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 10:00

If you were to name a piece of broadcast equipment that is neglected, forgotten or taken for granted, the transmitter remote control would probably be high on the list. Nevertheless, remote controls have their own history, technological breakthroughs, pioneers and industry leaders.

The Moseley PBR-30 manual included this image detailing the lubrication points of stepping relays. Blended oil, watch oil and graphite oil were used at different points.

From the earliest days of broadcasting, many stations had a remote transmitter site, and FCC regulations of the day stipulated that an engineer with a First Class license be on duty at the transmitter during hours of operation. Their duties were to keep the transmitter log, taking required meter readings every 30 minutes, as well as maintaining the transmitter parameters within FCC regulations. That meant keeping power output within in a plus 5 and minus 10% window, carrier frequency +/- 20 cycles, and modulation between 85 and 100%. These are things we take for granted today, but they required continuous scrutiny in the early days of broadcasting.

Those early transmitters were prone to frequent breakdowns. Electronic components of the day were not that reliable, particularly when high voltage and RF were involved. An engineer had to be on site to make timely repairs.

With advances in technology, transmitters became more reliable. The FCC regulations remained in place, however, and the transmitter engineer’s unofficial duties often were extended to include bench repairs and maintenance of equipment, rewinding carts and dubbing agency spots.

FCC ACTION

Gradually, the driving forces for remote control of broadcast transmitters mounted, and change was in the air. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Harold Hallikainen, engineer for manufacturer QSC LLC, said the FCC’s rollout of remote control authorization spread slowly across the broadcast spectrum.

“In 1950, the FCC proposed authorizing remote control of Class D NCE FM stations, which had a power output of 10 watts or less. The foundations of subsequent rules can be seen in this first proposal,” he said. “Control circuit faults could not activate the transmitter, and any faults causing loss of on/off control would shut down the transmitter. No telemetry was specified. Since all comments were in favor, the rules were adopted.

“In 1952, the FCC discussed the possibility of remote control of non-directional AM stations and FM stations, both at or below 10 kW,” he continued. “The complicating factor of emergency frequency changes to comply with Conelrad requirements was also debated.”

In 1953, this authorization was granted. “Following a prolonged comment period, the commission authorized remote control of high-power and directional radio station in 1957. Television had to wait even longer. UHF stations were authorized in 1963, VHF in 1971.”

Radio broadcasting has long borrowed hardware and technology from the phone company. When engineers began to envision how a transmitter remote control would work, stepping relays were the logical choice. As the foundation of the rotary-dial telephone system, a stepping relay was basically a pulse-driven, multiple pole 1 x 10 switching matrix.

As manufacturers designed the first remote controls in the mid-1950s, basic elements began to emerge: a studio and transmitter unit, each with a four-pole stepping relay. One pole was for metering +, one for metering –, a third for raise functions and the fourth for lower functions.

Connection between the studio and transmitter units was by two phone lines, each with DC continuity. One was for metering, the other control. Both wires in the control pair worked against ground in a “simplex” arrangement, providing two independent control circuits. A DC voltage generated at the studio usually held in a relay at the transmitter side that controlled plate on/off, fulfilling the FCC requirement for fail safe.

All these systems had calibration pots on the transmitter side for each channel. When the engineer made the FCC-required weekly calibration of the remote control, he would call the studio and the operator would give the local meter readings. The engineer would adjust the calibration pots so the remote meters agreed with the transmitter readings. There was also a single calibration control on the remote unit, which was used to compensate for changes in loop resistance of the phone line, which varied as a function of temperature and humidity.

AUDIO TONES

One of the pioneers in remote control systems was the Rust Industrial Co. Inc. of Manchester, N.H. Founded in 1954 by W.F. Rust Jr., it also introduced a strip chart recorder for transmitter logging in 1958 and its advanced AUTOLOG product line in 1964. The company moved to Cambridge, Mass., and later Everett, Mass.; it appears to have gone out of business in 1974.

The Gates RDC-10AC is typical of first-generation remote controls, with 10 metering/control channels accessed by stepping relays in the studio and transmitter units. Two phone lines with DC continuity were required for control and metering.

Gates also got in the game early with its popular RDC-10AC, as well as the long-forgotten RCM-20, which worked with audio tones rather than DC voltages, an innovative approach in 1955.

A 10-channel remote control was adequate to control two transmitters, but when large directional arrays were involved, or later, television transmitters, something more robust was called for. Gates introduced the RDC-200, which added three more stepping relays to provide 39 channels, and used a rotary telephone dial to access them. Other manufacturers developed similar offerings.

With some refinements to the metering and control circuits, this stepping relay infrastructure would be integral to most remote control systems for the next 20 years. These relays were not without their issues, however. The combination of rapidly turning the selector switch and a high-capacity phone line could cause the studio and transmitter steppers to get out of sync, resulting in erroneous readings. Stepping relays also required regular maintenance for reliable operation. That included lubricating wiper contacts and moving parts.

Moseley Associates was one of the first companies to embrace digital techniques in the design of remote controls. Its PBR-15 and -30, introduced in 1970, eliminated the stepping relay from the studio end. In place of the traditional 10-position rotary switch for channel selection was a ganged 16-position (on the PRB-15) push button switch. Binary numbers were generated by the push button assembly. They were then encoded to the stepper drive generator.

Control functions were handled by a 920 Hz audio signal that was briefly interrupted to send pulses to the stepping relay at the transmitter. Different tones were added to the 920 Hz for raise and lower. Metering signals were generated by applying the sample signal to a voltage controlled oscillator.

Introduced in 1975, the Moseley TRC-15 used digital techniques to eliminate stepping relays.

The successor to Moseley’s PBR-15 was the TRC-15, introduced in 1975. The PBR and TRC looked identical, but the TRC performed all control functions using frequency-shift keying technology. It also eliminated the troublesome stepping relay from the transmitter end. A control demodulator with SN74154 decoders and 7404 hex inverters connected to an individual relay for each of the 15 channels.

NEW OPTIONS

These Moseleys and other audio-based control systems had the advantage of needing only one phone line, resulting in an immediate reduction in operating costs. But there were far more important benefits to these new systems.

Once audible or subaudible tones were used for control and metering, several options became available for interconnecting the studio and transmitter units. In addition to traditional phone lines, there was the possibility of audible control over internal 110 kHz subcarrier generator and demodulator. Usually these signals rode from the studio to transmitter piggyback on the STL link. Subaudible metering returns in the 20–30 Hz range could be accomplished on FM stations via an SCA channel, which could also be used for background music or other programming. For AM operations, the subaudible metering signal was returned on the AM carrier. Modulation of the subaudible tones was set to around 5%.

Gradually, Moseley gave remote control circuitry a complete makeover, using TTL logic circuits, voltage controlled oscillators and other digital techniques. The one remaining weak link was the analog panel meter. Offset and gain drift were constant. Checking the zero set and CAL adjustments before taking a set of readings was mandatory. The analog meter precluded using the Moseley for any of the automated control and metering systems that were beginning to emerge. Also, the numerous scales on the meter could be confusing to non-technical operators.

In 1977, the Moseley TRC-15 and PBR-30 remote controls finally got digital panel meters. But they didn’t come from Moseley, rather from a small startup company just down the road from the remote control manufacturer.

Harold Hallikainen’s company, Hallikainen & Friends, developed the TEL 171 to meet this need. The genesis of the TEL 171 was really an FCC inspection at a station where Hallikainen was chief engineer.

Hallikainen & Friends’ TEL 171 gave the Moseley TRC-15 remote controls a digital panel meter and enabled remote control of a transmitter via the DB-25 connector.

“The inspector dropped our Bauer 707 from 1 kW to 250 W, and asked the operator for the readings,” he said. “The operator read the wrong scale and gave the 1 kW readings, since everything doubled going from 250 W to 1 kW. This incident, the difficulty of calibration and misplaced decimal points were the things that inspired me to design the TEL 171.”

He adds, “It originally did not have a display at the transmitter site. KCBS said they’d buy one if  we could make that happen. There was not enough power available to run an LED display off of the floating power supply. Around that time, the DF 411 chip was introduced. That made it easy to drive an LCD, so that was used for the transmitter display.” Hallikainen doesn’t recall exact numbers but estimates that a few thousand TEL 171s were sold.

The TEL 171 could be more than a digital display option. A DB-25 connector located below the display made available binary-coded channel select lines, raise-lower functions and the multiplexed BCD reading. Bill Bordeaux of Interstellar Engineering designed the ITO-177 (Intelligent Transmitter Operator). It plugged into a Commodore 64, and made the TRC-15A/TEL-171 controllable via BASIC programming.

SMOOTH UX

Other manufacturers were bringing digital to their remote controls, and had a different approach than Moseley. TFT introduced the model 7601 in 1982. It used FSK modems on each end. The Harris 9100 fully embraced the then-new FCC ATS rules enabling unattended operations. The emphasis was shifted from remote control of transmitters to facilities control. The logging software included trend analysis, enabling users to locate problems areas and anticipate failures.

Throughout the 1970s, Moseley had been the innovator in remote control technology and had the high end of the remote market to itself. When Gentner came on the scene, it changed the game with its VRC-1000.

Utilizing the DTMF tones from a phone, along with speech synthesis, Gentner eliminated the studio side of the remote control. All that was needed was to dial the site, enter the password and follow the menu options. It also meant the transmitter could be controlled from anywhere. The issue of how to accomplish the fail safe was resolved with a silence sensor. The concept of telephone access was developed by John Leonard of Moseley, who later sold the design to Gentner.

Microprocessors arrived in the early 1970s, powering the first generation of personal computers. Soon, they were being embedded in various electronic devices.

In 1980, Moseley introduced the MRC-1, the first microprocessor-based remote control, using an 8-bit Motorola 6802. It comprised one control terminal and up to nine remote terminals. Each remote site had 32 channels available. Alarm parameters could be created for each channel, and an automatic logging option enabled regular printout of transmitter logs. A CRT option duplicated all the functions of the MRC-1 control panel, and could simultaneously display data from all 32 channels at one site.

The Burk Technology ARC Plus Touch is an IP-based remote control that uses a combination of distributed I/O connections and an integrated SNMP manager. Up to 256 channels of metering, status and control are possible.

The coming of the internet was another game-changer for remote control technology. But as Peter Burk, president of Burk Technologies recalls, the rollout was rather protracted.

“In the early days of the internet, it could be difficult to get a connection to a remote transmitter site. Two solutions emerged, an Intraplex connection, or alternatives such as cellular modems, licensed and unlicensed wireless and satellite.”

Burk’s first internet-based remote control was the ARC-16, which was able to control multiple transmitter sites. Even more impressively at the time, the system enabled site-to-site control.

As with much of broadcast technology, the cutting edge for remote controls largely has shifted away from circuit cards in rack-mounted boxes to software running on PCs. Burk’s Auto Pilot enables multi-site, PC-based facilities management for Burk remote controls. The interface is customizable, and reports can be tailored. They can be printed automatically or emailed as a PDF to station personnel. AutoPilot includes network management functionality, bridging the gap between broadcast and IT by including SNMP and ping with traditional I/O.

AutoPilot with Warp Engine provides a customized real-time view of the entire broadcast plant, monitoring up to hundreds of sites at the same time from one PC, using minimal bandwidth.

The remote control segment has always been specialized. Ask an equipment dealer today and they’ll tell you about options from companies like Burk, Davicom, WorldCast Systems, Broadcast Tools, Broadcast Devices, Sine Systems and CircuitWerkes.

So what’s in the future for broadcast remote controls? Right now, the greatest force driving innovation seems to be artificial intelligence, although Peter Burk prefers the term machine learning.

“Our goal is to look at the wealth of data that is now available at a transmitter site and deliver predictive analytics. For example, assume your transmission line has developed a small leak, but the nitrogen tanks are keeping up with it. If you check the pressure, it will be OK. If the sensors are tracking the flow, however, they will see an increase. In this case, we would want the software to give you an alert to check the system before the nitrogen runs out and you have an emergency.”

Another trend is to understand that the remote control is now a part of the Internet of Things; equipment users and designers plan accordingly.

“One of the challenges is that IoT generates an enormous amount of information, and we need to find a better way to reduce this data down to actionable information,” he said.

Burk adds that human access to the IoT raises some interesting challenges. “Alexa and other smart speaker technologies bring with them the promise of the voice-activated Internet, as well as  the challenge of building seamless interfaces. At the same time, accessing IoT via the screen of mobile devices is exploding, and the need for a smooth UX or user experience is paramount.”

Tom Vernon is a longtime contributor to Radio World. Comment on this or any story. Email radioworld@futurenet.com with “Letter to the Editor” in the subject field.

The post Remote Controls Have a History All Their Own appeared first on Radio World.

North Korea Resumes DRM Broadcasts

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 00:00

North Korea has returned to digital radio broadcasting after an absence of nearly two years.

The latest Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) shortwave transmissions began mid August. The country has had periodic DRM broadcasts for many years.

A screenshot showing North Korea using a Dream DRM transmitter modulator. Credit: Hans Johnson

It appears unclear at this time however whether the current series of transmissions will soon end or be the start of a regular service.

Thus far, all of the latest test transmissions have taken place on 3560 kHz, which is actually allocated for amateur radio use.

According to radio enthusiasts in the region, the signal has been clear and very audible.

In 2012, 2016, and 2017, the country’s international service, The Voice of Korea, trialed DRM.

Those tests involved a professional grade DRM modulator, which identified itself as being from the Engineering Research Center of Digital Audio and Video (ECDAV) at the Communications University of China in Beijing.

Pyongyang Broadcasting Station, a Korean-language service for Koreans living in China, Japan, and South Korea, has been carrying out these latest broadcasts, which appear to implement two DRM modulators.

The image shows North Korea using a professional DRM modulator made by BBEF. Photo credit: Hans Johnson

Based on settings and parameters, the first is the open-source, software-based Dream DRM transmitter.

Developed at Germany’s Darmstadt University some 15 years ago, technicians continue to tweak various parameters, such as bandwidth, as they test and learn about the system.

In spite of its age, the Dream DRM transmitter is compatible with any DRM receiver. North Korea could easily put on multiple DRM transmitters using this free system.

North Korean operators also appear to be using a professional grade DRM modulator, which is most likely from private Chinese manufacturer Beijing Broadcasting Equipment Factory (BBEF). BBEF is best known for selling North Korea a number of shortwave transmitters ranging in power from 20 to 150 kW in 2011.

A professional DRM modulator is more capable than Dream. But North Korea probably cannot manufacturer its own and a single modulator can easily cost many thousands of dollars.

A lot has changed since North Korea last aired DRM broadcasts two years ago. Broadcasters in China and Guam have started regular DRM services and Russia is set to begin a service for Russia Far East.

With so many DRM programs coming on air in the region, North Korea may finally decide to remain on the air for good using the digital radio standard.

The post North Korea Resumes DRM Broadcasts appeared first on Radio World.

Best of Show Up Close: MaxxKonnect Wireless

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 21:07

“Best of Show Up Close” is a series about participants in Radio World’s annual Best of Show at NAB Awards program.

MaxxKonnect nominated the MaxxKonnect Wireless LTE  internet link. MaxxKonnect Wireless acts as reliable link for remote productions or remote sites. It is designed to work right out of the box. MaxxKonnect has negotiated priority service deals with AT&T and Verizon to ensure service throughout most of the country.

We asked MaxxKonnect President and CEO Josh Bohn for more information.

Radio World: What is MaxxKonnect?

Josh Bohn: MaxxKonnect Wireless is prioritized LTE internet service designed for broadcast applications. We work on the Verizon and AT&T networks (T-Mobile is coming soon) which gives us the flexibility to give customers the carrier which works better in their area. Each one of our SIMs comes with priority on the carrier network, plus a true public static IP address, which is crucial for most broadcast applications.

RW: What inspired its creation?

Bohn: Back in 2014, I had a group of stations I was taking care of. I had one station out in the woods, about 14 miles from the nearest cell tower — and two and half hours from my house. The phone company couldn’t even keep a landline into it. So, it would go off the air, someone would call me and say it was off and I’d call the remote. This call was answered by a “this line is currently out of service” message, which was followed by me cussing for a bit, then making the long drive out to the woods. I’d arrive, push Plate ON on the transmitter, cuss at is some more, then drive back. A five-hour round tripper to literally push a button. After about the umpteenth time, I finally said, “There has to be a better way …”

[Read: Best of Show Up Close: Davicom Cortex 320]

We tried a regular LTE wireless modem and SIM into a Cradlepoint router, which is a fairly standard setup. This succeeded in getting an internet connection into the place, albeit with some external antennas. But it still wasn’t very good. And since there wasn’t a static IP — or even a public IP — we had to resort to a PC at the site and LogMeIn for any kind of site control or monitoring. This setup worked, but was clunky. The PC would update and cause problems, or wouldn’t reboot after a power fail, etc., etc. It was during this stage that I started negotiations with the carriers for what would become MaxxKonnect.

Once I was able to successfully negotiate our service with the carriers, we beta tested for over three years before ever introducing the product to the market. I wanted to be 100% confident that this service would be reliable and robust for broadcasters in as many areas as possible. We debuted it at NAB2018 as an aside to our main showing (which flopped, BTW). It caught the eye of Chris Tobin and Kirk Harnack. Since then, our user base has been steadily growing.

RW: What kind of questions did booth visitors ask about MaxxKonnect?

Bohn: The thing we heard the most was, “You can’t do this. This won’t work.” Well, I assure you, yes we can do it — and yes, it does work! People were somewhat skeptical of the priority part of the service, but we’ve got lots of test cases to prove it. Another was, “Well, I can get this from Verizon or AT&T tomorrow.” No, unfortunately you can’t. This service took me years to develop and isn’t available to the average person.

People also asked about the commitment. That’s one of the cool things — there is no commitment! If you get the service, try it and decide for whatever reason you don’t want it anymore, you can cancel! No fees, no arguments, no transferring between 12 departments. Just give us 30 days’ notice and pay your last bill — and that’s it. And we all stay friends. My goal for this was to make it easy for broadcasters to get the connectivity they needed for transmitter sites, remotes, etc.

They also asked about hardware. We do offer hardware from Cradlepoint and Pepwave, depending on your needs. A lot of customers like that they can order a complete package from us. When it arrives, it’s already programmed and setup, so all the customer has to do it take it out of the box, plug it in and — Voila! — they have internet. But, another cool feature is that our service is compatible with basically any LTE data hardware! Whether it’s a Comrex Connect modem, a Tieline modem, a Pantech modem or a Cradlepoint — MaxxKonnect works with it. As long as you can change the APN information to our private and/or semiprivate APN, you can use any hardware. We are currently testing with smart devices (phones, tablets, etc.) for data use with no voice or text/SMS. Preliminary tests show promise for use with audio programs like LuciLive, Skype and others. This would simplify remotes even more for some customers.

We’ve also got a POTS replacement service we’re starting to roll-out called MaxxPhone. It’s a low-cost way to get a POTS line for your remote control via your MaxxKonnect internet connection.

RW: Who would use MaxxKonnect?

Bohn: Anyone that needs internet service, basically! MaxxKonnect is usually deployed at remote sites where traditional internet delivery isn’t an option, and for remotes. The priority on the network is key for remotes with large crowds of people. It cuts through all the bandwidth clutter and lets your broadcast continue when 15,000 people show up with their 1.5 devices each. I’ve also got customers who are using it as a backup to their IP radio system at their transmitter sites; others who are using it as an emergency backup at their studios to keep their IP phone systems alive when their main internet fails; and others using it as primary STLs with their favorite hardware codec. A MaxxKonnect is an extremely useful tool to have around your station for all kinds of solve all kinds of connectivity needs!

RW: Why would someone use MaxxKonnect when wireless service is available everywhere?

Bohn: We get asked this a lot. Think of it this way — when you show up to a concert or a fair or a race or whatever, and you try to do something on your phone, what happens? Typically nothing. The cell towers or the venue Wi-Fi is so overloaded with everyone doing Facebook Live, Instagram, etc., that you can’t even load a web page, let alone do a broadcast. The prioritization of the MaxxKonnect service puts your connection on a different part of the carrier network, which bypasses all of the congestion in the public space, and lets you connect to do your broadcast reliably. Now, we can’t guarantee anything 100% — no one can. Internet and carrier anomalies do happen. We’ve had a few places (mostly in extremely rural parts of New England) where the service just won’t work because the carriers never built out the back end. In those cases, the customer just sent their router back and we refunded them. But, the MaxxKonnect service has been successfully used multiple times at major music festivals around the country, as well as concerts, SEC football games, the Regions Tradition golf tournament, major fairs and the Indianapolis 500 (with their 300,000+ attendees.)

RW: How much does MaxxKonnect cost? Is there a service fee?

Bohn: Yes. The monthly cost varies based on the amount of data you expect to need. We can do a 1 GB plan for as low as $56 and go all the way up to 100 GB plans. Our most popular plans are 10 GB. These range from $109 per month to $129 per month, depending on the carrier. Another awesome feature of the MaxxKonnect service is if you hit your “data cap,” nothing happens to your data stream. We won’t throttle you or turn you off. You just get billed for the overage. Broadcasters need reliability and known connectivity, not another headache of wondering if their station or broadcast is going to go off because they exceeded their data cap.

Also, if you purchase multiple plans on the same tier on the same carrier, their data pools together into on big “data bucket.” For example, if you get six 10 GB plans on Verizon for your company or station, you don’t have six individual 10 GB devices which are subject to overages after 10 GB. You’ve actually got 60 GB of total data that can be used across all of the devices. If one device uses 45 GB and the others each use 2 GB, you’re still under your cap. It’s great way to maximize value for a large scale deployment across a company or group.

RW: What does MaxxKonnect consist of?

Bohn: MaxxKonnect is a service primarily. You must get the MaxxKonnect SIM from Bohn Broadcast — you can’t get this directly from the carriers. MaxxKonnect becomes your ISP. You need some type of compatible hardware — which can be provided by the customer or by us. And that’s really it. It’s very simple from a deployment standpoint.

RW: Is there a 5G version in the works?

Bohn: Most likely, yes. We are currently able to achieve the reliability that we need using the existing 4G LTE technology. However, as 5G continues to roll out, our service will continue to evolve to utilize new technology to maintain our necessary level of reliability.

The Future Best of Show Awards program honors and helps promote outstanding new products exhibited at industry conventions like the spring NAB Show. Exhibitors pay a fee to enter; not all entries win. Watch for more coverage of participating products soon. To learn about all of the nominees and winners, read the 2019 Best of Show Program Guide.

The post Best of Show Up Close: MaxxKonnect Wireless appeared first on Radio World.

From the Archives: Rebuilding Radio Stations Despite the Rubble – Post 9/11

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 17:28

This informative piece ran in Radio a year after the 9/11 collapse of the World Trade Center towers and the broadcast facility located there.

With tremendous height and clear coverage of Manhattan, the World Trade Center towers were home to four FM radio transmitters. On Sept. 11, 2001, WKCR, WKTU, WNYC and WPAT were not only faced with the difficulties inherent in covering news from a city under attack, but also they lost their transmission capabilities and equipment, just when they were most needed. Twelve months after the World Trade Center collapse, none of the stations have fully recovered.

Backup plans

The terrorist attacks have forced New York stations to re-examine their emergency plans. There is now more variety in the mix of New York City backup locations and fully redundant transmission systems. For the four World Trade Center FM stations, emergency plans no longer mean simply a low-power transmitter for equipment failures. Backup systems were not considered of high importance before September, but “now you’re criminally negligent if you don’t have backup systems in place,” said WPAT Chief Engineer Mike Toko.

When WNYC constructed its original transmission systems, the cost of a full-power backup system was considered excessive for its needs. “Who thought that the World Trade Center was going to collapse? That tells you anything can happen and you have to weigh the ‘what if’ scenarios against real world costs,” WNYC Chief Engineer Steve Shultis said. For some stations, the cost of an extended outage may weigh more than the initial outlay on a backup location. “You spend a million dollars to build a backup system but what’s the ROI? For us the site has more than paid for itself,” said Josh Hadden, Clear Channel’s New York director of engineering.

The full economic consequences of the damage from Sept. 11 may never be known, but New York broadcasters lost significant revenue while they were off the air, in addition to transmission equipment. Long-term solutions may be years in the making, but a review of station emergency preparedness plans should be something every station undertakes regularly.

The site at 4 Times Square was built as Clear Channel’s backup facility. It is now the main site for WKTU.

Photo by John Lyons WKTU, 103.5 FM

Clear Channel’s WKTU was the first of the affected stations to return to the air. It also was the only one of the four stations with a backup system located elsewhere. The World Trade Center was the site of numerous television transmissions. Between 1999 and 2001, construction and testing of the DTV antenna system on the towers meant regular disruptions for radio broadcasters. To cope with the ongoing outages, Clear Channel built a backup transmission system in Times Square. “When the TV stations at the World Trade Center were upgrading their DTV projects, we used Times Square every night,” said Josh Hadden, director of engineering, Clear Channel New York. “That meant we were best positioned of all the FMs, of the stations on the World Trade Center, in that we already had a backup site in Manhattan.” Within minutes of the collapse, WKTU was able to switch to the backup site, covering 80% of ERP at 8 kW.

Within the week, WKTU requested and received an STA from the FCC for upgraded power from its backup site. The station now operates at 17 kW at Times Square. While WKTU plans to keep the Times Square site as a backup, it has filed an application with the FCC for a master antenna license at the Empire State Building. Hadden hopes to receive the license this year but spacing issues with a Class A station on Long Island could delay the approval. The FCC is requiring all the stations from the World Trade Center to follow normal application procedures.

Harris supplied the temporary transmitter that WKCR used from the roof of a campus dorm.

Photo by Wayne Gignac. WKCR, 89.9 FM

Next to return to the air was Columbia University’s WKCR. When the towers collapsed, WKCR lost its primary and backup systems. Shortly after the disaster, Station Engineer Rich Koziol ordered an emergency package from Harris for WKCR and arranged similar orders for WPAT and WNYC. The 1 kW Quest transmitter was installed on the roof of a campus dorm by Sept. 13. Unfortunately, the station now reaches only 9 percent of its original audience.

For five years, WKCR had operated out of nearby Riverside Church. In September 2001, the station planned to move back to the Columbia University campus into a brand new digital studio. “We spent a half million dollars [on the studios] and had planned fund raising for Sept. 28 but with 9% power couldn’t do it, so now we owe the university,” said Koziol.

WKCR received insurance funding and a government grant to build a new transmitter site, but it is still trying to negotiate an alternative location for the station. “The best site right now is Empire, but everyone is trying to get there,” said Koziol, “there is no electrical, no room and the mast is full, so we chose not to do Empire, as we were such a small player.”

There is a mast on the tower of Riverside Church, where WKCR formerly had its studios. Originally used by WRVR, the church antenna was abandoned many years ago and Koziol is hopeful the FCC will grant temporary authority for WKCR to transmit from the site. “With 26 stations we could interfere with in the educational band, any move requires a major review of short spacing,” said Koziol. A study of the impact of the move to Riverside has been sent to the FCC and WKCR is waiting on the results. After FCC approvals are received, the station expects to be running from the church mast within 40 days.

The WPAT installation at Times Square is also used by sister station WSKQ.

Photo by John Lyons WPAT 93.1 FM

Spanish-language broadcaster WPAT erected a 1 kW transmitter at the Empire State Building after losing its primary and backup equipment at the World Trade Center. “We were down for 59 hours and 48 minutes, not that I was counting,” said Chief Engineer Mike Toko. Though lower in height, and with less power at the Empire State Building, WPAT was still able to reach 75% of its audience.

Once emergency transmissions had been established at the Empire State Building, WPAT began constructing an alternate site in Times Square. “At Times Square we have 90% coverage, we’ve only been on a couple of months but it’s looking good and sounding good,” said Toko. During the next six months, the station plans to construct a full-power main site at the Empire State Building and use Times Square as a backup.

WNYC installed a full-power facility at Times Square.

Photo courtesy of WNYC WNYC 93.9 FM

The last of the four FMs to return to the air was WNYC. Immediately after the collapse of the World Trade Center, WNYC worked to maintain transmission on its AM facility in New Jersey. Once the AM signal was stabilized, WNYC began restoring its FM signal, placing a 1 kW signal at the Empire State Building. “Empire was a shock,” said Chief Engineer Steve Shultis. “With low power at Empire we got the whole east side back, which we had lost 15 years ago when we moved to the World Trade Center. We had so much shadow [from the World Trade Center site] that even the 1 kW [on the Empire State Building] was an improvement.”

WNYC spent the next six months building a full-power facility in Times Square. “Times Square was quicker for full power because the combiner system was plug and play, it just took a couple overnights to install,” Shultis said. Now in the process of building a full-power facility at the Empire State Building, the station soon expects to have a full-power main facility at the Empire State Building and a full-power backup at Times Square. Shultis said, “My goal is 9/11 this year, as that would be a fitting ending to that calendar cycle.”

Stephanie Snyder is an independent streaming media consultant.

Timeline
Sept. 11, 2001

  • WKCR, WPAT, WNYC and WKTU lose transmitters and backup systems on World Trade Center;
  • WKTU returns to air from backup transmitter in Times Square;
  • Harris ships three transmitters and ERI ships three antennas to WKCR, WPAT and WNYC;
  • WNYC(FM) simulcasts on AM transmitter in New Jersey and on WNYE(FM).

Sept. 13, 2001

  • Transmitters arrive from Harris.
  • WKCR returns to air using 1 kW antenna on roof of dorm at Columbia University.

Sept. 14, 2001

  • WPAT returns to air with 1 kW antenna on Empire State Building.

Sept. 16, 2001

  • WNYC returns to air on 1 kW antenna on Empire State Building.

The post From the Archives: Rebuilding Radio Stations Despite the Rubble – Post 9/11 appeared first on Radio World.

Nautel Names Joe Cheong Asia Pacific Sales Manager

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 14:00

Nautel has announced the hiring of Joe Cheong to serve as its new regional sales manager for the Asia Pacific region.

Joe Cheong

Cheong joins Nautel having most recently served as the deputy director of the Communications Engineering Business Unit for NCS in Singapore. Previous experience also includes management positions at Infowave and CET Technologies (now ST Electronics).

[Read: Nautel Displays Latest MW, FM Transmitters]

“We are pleased to welcome Joe to the Nautel team,” said Kevin Rodgers, Nautel’s CEO. “His background in communications, electronics and system integration will be an asset to our many partners in the region as we continue to support growing broadcast needs in the area.”

Cheong will be based in Singapore.

The post Nautel Names Joe Cheong Asia Pacific Sales Manager appeared first on Radio World.

Stitcher’s Flexible New Facility in Manhattan

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 12:00

Podcast network Stitcher recently moved into its new headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, building out a 2,000-square-foot production complex comprising three studios, two edit rooms and two isolation booths designed in concert with WSDG Walters-Storyk Design Group. The new facilities have been outfitted to accommodate Stitcher’s typical workflow, which can often involve collaboration between talent, producers and engineers at the company’s offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Studio C at Stitcher Studios

Romina Larregina, partner, director of production at WSDG, reports that her biggest challenge was ensuring consistency between the new studio spaces. “One of the things that Stitcher looked for was identical sound in every room. That was challenging, to make sure that the reverb time was the same in all the studios, even though the shapes, sizes and volumes were different,” she says.

The floating floor, room-within-a-room design provides critical isolation for speech recording, both from the potentially noisy neighborhood, where the company occupies an entire floor in a building overlooking Bryant Park, as well as between studios. To achieve consistent responses within each space, WSDG implemented custom low-frequency absorption, soffits, ceiling treatment and corner treatments to target specific frequencies, says Larregina. WSDG installed RPG’s hybrid BAD diffusion/absorption panels at the listening position in each control room, she adds.

John DeLore, senior production manager

According to John DeLore, senior production manager at Stitcher’s New York office, the choices of audio technology at the new facility were a combination of recommendations from Larregina and the WSDG staff and from Stitcher’s Los Angeles and New York teams. Key to the company’s content creation workflow is a Dropbox scheme implemented by Dave Seidel, Stitcher lead systems engineer, he says.

Every studio is hooked up to an SNS (Studio Network Solutions) EVO shared storage server hosting Dropbox, DeLore explains. Those Dropbox folders are synchronized everywhere within Stitcher’s network, enabling engineers, producers, hosts and other contributors to collaborate from multiple locations, handing off and updating audio files as work progresses.

While the Stitcher app is one of the preeminent podcast listening platforms — it has been described as the most popular alternative to the default Apple podcast app — Stitcher is also a content network with a large catalog of original programming. Much more than simply spoken word, Stitcher Premium shows such as “Wolverine: The Long Night,” Marvel’s first scripted podcast, and “Stranglers,” a documentary series about the Boston Strangler that DeLore produced, feature layers of sound design and custom music, produced in-house.

“Our belief here is that the future of the medium will mirror TV and film,” says DeLore. “As the marketplace becomes more and more crowded with content, attention to technical and artistic details will be a big part of creating content that stands apart from the rest.”

Voice recording may take place in one room, editing in another and mixing in yet another, so certain pieces of gear are standardized at the new facility and between Stitcher locations. Each of the new control rooms features an Allen & Heath Qu-16 console, the desk of choice at the L.A. facility, DeLore reports. “It has a good reputation, good sound, it’s solidly built and doesn’t crash. We love that it’s got the Qu-Drive function; we can hook up a drive and do a multitrack backup in parallel with Pro Tools,” he says.

Microphones throughout are Shure SM7B dynamics, paired with Cloud Cloudlifter CL-4 mic activators to enhance and boost the signal level going into Pro Tools, without noise or artifacts, says DeLore. “It’s a flat mic, really clear, with no coloration. We have other mics in our closet in case somebody wants to come in and use a U 87 or an RE20.”

Each of the three studio control rooms and the two edit bays also include a pair of arm-mounted SM7s, he says, for added flexibility. Mimicking the company’s West Coast Earwolf studio setup, “The engineer can be on-mic from the control room” if desired, he says. “And if the interviewer wants to engineer, we have mics in the room.”

Conversely, computer screens enable remote operation of Pro Tools from the recording spaces. “The Allen & Heath boards have Bluetooth remote capabilities from a tablet, so we’ve also experimented with that,” says DeLore.

About 75% of sessions involve just a host and a guest, he says, in person or on the phone (the studios are equipped with Telos Hx series telephone hybrid units). For that reason, the control rooms offer two channels of AEA RPQ2 mic preamps. “It’s giving us a little extra juice and a little extra color and warmth,” he says.

All the recording facilities in Stitcher’s new headquarters, including Studio A’s control room, seen here, were designed by Walters-Storyk Design Group.

Studio A, a larger space that incorporates an isolation booth and a sound lock, is multiuse. “It’s designed for large ensemble recordings, for original podcast score recording and for doing a live music podcast, hopefully; nobody has cracked that code yet, but it’s going to happen and I’m sure we’ll be in that space.”

Control room A houses an A&H Qu-32, for its extra inputs, and additional outboard, including a Grace Design m103 channel strip. “Whether you’re recording a voice for a spoken word podcast or a musical lead vocalist, we wanted Studio A to have some boutique options in the mic pre department.”

Additional processing for music production includes a Warm Audio Tone Beast, a Foote Control Systems P3S stereo compressor and a Lexicon MX400 reverb. “Lexicon is great and we’re all familiar with it,” says DeLore, whose background includes time working at Right Track Recording in Manhattan, as well as Gimlet Media and WNYC Radio. Since launching the facility, Stitcher has added a Boston upright piano, a drum kit and an Ampeg bass amp, he also reports.

Edit room in Stitcher’s Manhattan office

Monitoring in the studios and edit rooms, on Larregina’s recommendation, includes Neumann KH 120 two-way speakers, while the A Room additionally features a pair of three-way Neumann KH 310 monitors. “At the point of ingest, we’re just listening to voice,” says DeLore, “so we need to be able to hear everything at a good listening volume, and the Neumann is a clean speaker. The 310s are designed to provide a wider sweet spot, which is ideal for podcasts which can have production teams of four to five people who need to all sit in the studio and be able to hear the same mix.” A PreSonus Monitor Station V2 manages source selection and speaker level control in every room.

The studios and control rooms feature Sennheiser headphones. “Sennheiser are the official headphones of Stitcher. As part of that partnership, we also stocked our mic closet with a nice selection of Sennheiser and Neumann microphones.”

In addition to the studios and edit rooms are a pair of iso booths where producers can escape for a mix or playback session. Summing up the entire facility, DeLore notes, “Everything is set up with as much flexibility as we could build into it.”

The post Stitcher’s Flexible New Facility in Manhattan appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Sneak Peek: Tieline Unveils Gateway Multichannel IP Codec

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 02:00

At IBC2019, Tieline will unveil 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.

IBC Stand: 8.E74

Info: www.tieline.com

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

NAB Buys New Building For $62.8 Million

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 18:09

The National Association of Broadcasters has completed another step in its process of moving its headquarters closer to Capitol Hill and the thriving Washington neighborhood near Nationals Park baseball stadium and the developing waterfront Wharf area.

But there is still some uncertainty about whether the move will bring it much closer to the Federal Communications Commission’s headquarters, which may be moving, too.

On Monday, papers were filed at the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds showing that 1M Properties LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of NAB) has acquired the 130,000-square-foot building, which is located at 1 M St. SE, for $62.76 million (about $483 per square foot).

[Read: NAB Sells Dupont Circle HQ]

An NAB spokesperson confirmed that the transaction was consummated now because the contractor Monument Realty has completed its work on the building. The interior architecture firm will now handle construction of office spaces, with an eye toward moving into the building in early 2020. The transaction has been in progress for more than four years.

NAB sold its current building near the Dupont Circle area in Washington in March 2018 for $31.6 million, and has leased it since then while awaiting completion of its new headquarters. The new structure has nearly twice the space of NAB’s 50-year old iconic curved building at 1771 N St. NW. For many decades, the NAB offices were about four blocks away from the Federal Communications Commission, until the agency moved in 1997 (after a long controversial delay) to The Portals complex in southwest D.C.

NAB’s new headquarters will put it closer to Capitol Hill and also closer to agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the current FCC offices, although there has been speculation for several years that the FCC is seeking to move from its Portals venue. The FCC has considered a move into a new building just north of the Capitol in a neighborhood called “Swampoodle,” which is the home of several other federal agencies and National Public Radio, among others. The General Services Administration will be involved in any FCC move, and such action appears to be facing the long delays that preceded its 1997 relocation.

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The post NAB Buys New Building For $62.8 Million appeared first on Radio World.

FCC Pulls License of Alabama Station a Second Time

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 15:04

A small Alabama radio station has lost its license for failure to pay late regulatory fees to the FCC.

WGEA(AM), licensed to Shelley Broadcasting Co., is located in Geneva, Ala. Its license was for operation at 1150 kHz, with 1 kW daytime power. This license in fact had been revoked in 2017 and the station apparently has been off the air since, though the FCC briefly reinstated it this summer while the legal case was playing out.

Revocations are rare and considered a big deal; and this new order was signed by the chief of the Media Bureau as well as the managing director of the commission. According to the FCC, WGEA owed regulatory fees for every fiscal year from 2008 to 2016. The commission said it sent earlier letters demanding payment of the debt and said SBC did not respond or pay.

[Read WGEA’s appeal letter to the FCC.]

This June, it issued an order requiring SBC to pay, show cause why it could not, or face revocation for good. The company then told the FCC that it had not paid because the IRS had withheld a sizable refund owed to SBC’s president and his wife since 1987. According to a post on the station’s still-active website, the amount due to them is $2 million.

But the commission now has ruled that the station provided no documentary evidence that SBC itself is financially unable to pay the regulatory fee debt. “In failing to provide the required documentation, SBC has not met its burden of showing extraordinary and compelling circumstances outweighing the public interest to justify a waiver of its outstanding regulatory fee obligations.”

So the commission pulled the license and rejected the station’s renewal application. And, by the way, “We note that this Revocation Order does not relieve SBC of its obligation to pay any debt, including any regulatory fee, or any other financial obligation that is owed or may in the future be owed to the commission.

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The post FCC Pulls License of Alabama Station a Second Time appeared first on Radio World.

Katz Launches Programmatic Division for Digital Audio

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 12:32

Katz Media, “the nation’s largest media representation company” and part of iHeartMedia, has launched a programmatic sales division for digital audio.

The company calls it Audiology by Katz. “The new division and its programmatic digital audio marketplace was built with the mission to help advertisers and agencies leverage the power of audio to connect with consumers,” it stated. The effort will be headed by David Krulewich, senior VP of programmatic sales for Katz Digital; he reports to Scott Porretti.

The company says Audiology by Katz aims to provide “audio expertise in the programmatic space as well as access to a scalable, premium and brand-safe digital audio marketplace. With programmatic inventory across 120+ connected devices and smart speakers; Audiology is integrated with top Demand Side Platforms and is available in both self-service and managed-service capacities.”

Poretti said digital audio is “now the number one form of mobile media consumption.”

Audiology itself was created in 2017 to “educate the programmatic buying community and fill the digital audio gap in programmatic media plans.”

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NPR Distribution Offers Emergency Kits

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 12:09

The author of this commentary is manager of communications and outreach for NPR Distribution.

Mike Friedman

Over the past few years, disastrous storms and wildfires have crippled public radio stations and taken them off the air in New Jersey, Puerto Rico, California and many other locations. At the same time, the forthcoming FCC repack and the constant threat of obtrusive construction projects leave many stations fearful that events beyond their control could impact and disrupt their broadcasts.

Fortunately, NPR Distribution, which manages the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS), has created a solution to help stations plan ahead and protect themselves and their broadcast operations.

The PRSS Station Emergency Kit is a suite of emergency backup transmitter kits and portable studio systems that can be used by public radio stations in the event their on-air operations are disrupted by natural disasters, construction activities or other potential threats. The emergency kits are the product of a collaboration with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which provided the necessary funding, and comprise emergency transmitter, antenna and studio kits.

“One of our mandates is to deliver best-in-class technologies, business practices and support to help public radio stations reach their audiences, and these emergency kits are a unique and important way to provide assistance when it’s needed most,” said Michael Beach, vice president of NPR Distribution. “Station managers do themselves a favor when they plan in advance for technical contingencies, and we’re happy to offer another tool they can rely on in the event of a disaster or if they see one looming on the horizon.”

MODEST FEE

With funding from the CPB, NPR Distribution created, assembled and tested the kits with an eye toward making them available for a modest fee to stations on a temporary basis until their broadcast infrastructure is restored. The transmitter kit costs $275 for the first month and $550 for each subsequent month. The antenna kit fees are $100/$200 and the studio kit fees are $200/$400. Stations cover shipping.

Dale Williams helps set up the antenna.

NPR Distribution, which kicked off the project by developing three emergency transmitter and antenna kits and two emergency studio kits, will also be in charge of shipping the kits out to stations that submit a request and to maintaining them when they have been sent back.

A key component of the kits’ development involved field testing the kits at two stations in Virginia, namely WVTF in Roanoke and WCVE in Richmond.

“We made certain the stereo pilot worked, we accessed the transmitter remotely via the internet and then drove within a few miles of the site to evaluate coverage, which we found to be about four to six miles,” said Mike Friedman, RF engineer for WCVE, which is owned by VPM.

“The antenna is very simple to assemble. For the mast assembly, you will find everything you need, and the entire process probably took us a total of 30 minutes to erect.”

Friedman added that one person could set up each of the kits, though he said it eases the situation considerably to have a colleague help, particularly with the 30-foot antenna mast.

The antenna set up by WCVE

Asked if the kits as tested would provide a viable alternative if his station went off the air, Friedman replied, “Absolutely. It’s wonderful for NPR Distribution to offer an emergency broadcast alternative so that we can continue to serve our communities. In the event of a disaster at your transmitter site, you have to do what it takes to get back on the air. NPR is providing a bundled solution and the only question is what exactly do you need, given your situation.”

According to NPR Distribution’s policies on the kits, stations desiring to use a kit must contact the PRSS Help Desk with the dates needed, whether the need is immediate or one planned for several months in the future. They will have the option to use the kits for up to 90 days and may renew the contract if needed. Stations will be required to contact NPR Distribution, before the date when they originally agreed to return the kits, if they wish to extend the duration of their contract for the kits.

NPR Distribution has been striving to anticipate and address challenges faced by public radio stations before they occur. This is evident in its Public Radio Engineering Certification initiative, which seeks to help create the next generation of technical leaders in the industry, as well as the Future System initiative and its emphasis on a next-generation hybrid system of satellite and terrestrial content distribution.

More information on the station emergency kits, including pricing and how to order them, is available at http://prss.org/station-kit.

WHAT’S IN THE KITS

Emergency Transmitter Kit
Three emergency transmitter kits will be available. Each transmitter is air-cooled and runs on 120-volt, 60 Hz AC power using local power or a generator. Each kit will consist of the following:

● One Nautel NHB-VS300 300-watt FM transmitter with internal frequency agile exciter, which supports 87.5 to 108 MHz and integrated audio processor
● One INOmini 638 FM receiver for “off-air” monitoring with level meters
● One Furman Power Conditioner PL-Plus-C
● One 12’ N-N jumper cable
● Two 25’ Ethernet cables
● Three 30’ XLR cables
● One Pelican heavy-duty rack case

In addition, by request NPR Distribution can also provide a 1-5/8” to N adaptor or a 3-1/8” to N adaptor for connecting into an existing line and antenna

Emergency Antenna Kit
Three antenna kits will be available to the system that consist of:

● One Allen Dick Band II Broadband FM antenna
● One 75’ flexible transmission line
● One 30’ portable BlueSky mast with guy ropes

Emergency Studio Kit
Two emergency studio kits have also been developed, with each containing the following:

● One RODECaster Pro audio mixer and recorder
● Three Shure SM58S dynamic microphones
● Three Shure desktop microphone stands
● Three pairs of Audio-Technica ATHMx-40 headphones
● All necessary cables and adaptors
● Pelican road case with foam insert

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IBC Exhibitor Viewpoint: Frank Foti and Tom Swidarski, The Telos Alliance

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 07:42

IBC2019 is almost here. Between now and then Radio World will conduct several short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the big annual trade show. Frank Foti is the founder of Omnia Audio, now a part of the Telos Alliance and is executive chairman of The Telos Alliance; Tom Swidarski is CEO of the Telos Alliance.

Radio World: How has business been for the company since last year’s IBC Show?

Frank Foti: Business has been up for us across the entire portfolio. AoIP continues to grow as it migrates deeper into other sections of broadcast, especially television.

Tom Swidarski:  Broadcasters who have held out are starting to realize that there is no time like the present to convert to IP infrastructure. We invented broadcast AoIP, so we’ve got the most mature technology available on the market today, and the biggest names in broadcast trust us. This drives business. Our successes are also attributable to the increased alignment in our sales, marketing and product development teams. We’ve debuted a new product introduction process that decreases our time to market and we’ve standardized the manufacturing process. The result is a nimbleness that lets us both lead the industry in innovation and respond quickly to the evolving audio landscape. You’ll see that evidenced by the amount of new product introductions to the international market at IBC this year.

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

Foti: Well, it’s a multipronged dialog really. On one hand, we’re reconnecting with companies who reorganized for various business reasons. And on the other hand, we’re in deep discussions about platform migration and paradigm shifts. It’s exciting, and what we once saw as potential is now reality. For growth, the action is network and cloud-based.

Swidarski: Another challenge is the fierce competition for the ear. Our clients have to be wherever their customers are and embrace the ways in which their listeners consume content. They have to be ready to change course on a dime, and are realizing the advantage of being able to choose products from various vendors to “roll their own” systems. This underscores the critical importance of interoperability and manufacturer as a partner. For our part, we’re helping clients through these transitions by moving toward software, automated solutions, and virtualization.

RW:  Within the last year or so the two large station ownership groups have emerged from bankruptcy. Are you seeing any increase in equipment sales or interest? What is your feeling for the overall health of the radio industry?  

Foti: We sure do live in interesting times! It’s a good step forward when those companies are able to emerge from their challenges, and kudos to their teams for doing so. That’s not easy work. Those companies’ interest in our offerings was always there, and now we’re fortunately catching up on the business side with them. As for the health of the radio industry, we know it has a pulse!

Swidarski: The term “radio” used to be reserved for analog, terrestrial, over-the-air delivery. That model is still valid, alive, and well, but radio is evolving and diversifying into digital terrestrial delivery, streaming, and on-demand content. The popularity of smart speakers — the new table radio — is testament to this, as is the continued increase in podcast listenership. The good news is that radio is going through a renaissance, and the demand for audio content has never been higher. Our customers are producing quality and a large quantity of content like never before, and they are looking to companies that understand their evolving needs and pain points and who respond to them with innovative solutions. The broadcasters with the best tools and the most forward-thinking strategies and facilities are going to prosper.

RW:  You’ve been active in the equipment manufacturing market for years. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing manufacturers right now? Does the trade row between the United States and China greatly affect you?

Foti: The goofiness between the U.S. and China has had a bit of impact. It’s unfortunate to see the leaders of these great nations act so childishly. (We sure could use Tony Soprano here.) Actually, there’s always some challenge in our world — components have life cycles that end, manufacturing schedules change, research/development can be a wildcard, and day-to-day business is as dynamic as an audio processor. We are used to being flexible and responsive enough to react to these challenges quickly and directly, leaving things for the most part, business as usual.

RW: What new goodies will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit your stand?

Swidarski: In Stand 8.D47 we’re again focusing on solutions rather than products, and thinking of customers as partners. Content is content, despite delivery method (whether it’s a podcast, radio, TV, or streaming), and our goal at TA is to inspire broadcasters to create the most exciting audio experiences imaginable.

 Foti: Well, if I told you, I’d have to kill you. There is indeed some stellar news that will be revealed on Day One of the show from Axia at our press conference. In addition to that, we’ll have the new Omnia MPX Node running in the stand. It’s the first hardware implementation that carries FM-Stereo MPX over IP at a bitrate as low as 320 kbps. We’ll have tons of new TV products, as well as a host of cool stuff for the growing Infinity IP Intercom platform, including Infinity Link site-to-site connectivity. It’s going to be a big show for us!

RW: Going by the interest on our website, AoIP technology is on the top of the list for product acquisition and upgrades. Is that something you are seeing and if so, how are you addressing that?

Foti: What you’re seeing in interest is on point. It is the hot topic. For those not working in the IP ecosphere, their days could be numbered.

Swidarski: Having brought this technology to the broadcast market, The Telos Alliance always has and will continue to be AoIP’s biggest champion. It’s one of our key pillars.

RW: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2019 IBC Show?

Foti: Cloud, IP and web-based applications and products.

Swidarski: That’s right. The march towards virtualization in the broadcast industry continues each year with automation systems, call management software, and streaming processing offered with great flexibility. Virtualization is particularly possible with the wide adoption of audio over IP. Because AoIP converts audio signals into IP packets, it’s perfectly suited for routing and processing within virtual environments. Our own march to virtualization comes in the form of what we call the “Hyperstudio Experience,” which will be demoed in our booth again this year. We have virtualized streaming processors, AoIP AES67 audio drivers, phone hybrids, automation and control logic systems, remote control and mixing applications, and entire mix engines that could be used as a single Virtual Radio Production System. This could be deployed on a local server, external server, or used in conjunction with the cloud, creating a production environment that is scalable, adaptable, flexible, and future-proof while enjoying all of the sonic benefits that its rackmount counterparts are so well known for. Within a business model that makes it affordable by organizations large and small.

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

Foti: We always look forward to the reaction of our clients as we share new offerings, but also like to lead with education. We’ll participate in the IP Showcase, where Martin Dyster will be leading “Reinventing Intercom with SMPTE 2210-30” on Sept. 14 at 2:30. Greg Shay will also be talking about “Investigating Media Over IP Multicast Hurdles in Containerized Platforms” on Sept. 15 at 3:30. We look forward to catching up with everyone at our press conference and reception on Sept. 13, 4:00 at stand 8.D47. Drinks and snacks will be at the ready after a long day on the show floor!

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

Foti: IBC, like NAB, is a fraternity. A place to connect, network, share and gather information, and enjoy the comradery of those in our industry. In that regard, not much has changed, aside from those who’ve moved on or changed positions.

Swidarski: I agree. I’ve been in the industry a couple of years now, and I’m continually impressed with the spirit of the broadcast industry.

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The post IBC Exhibitor Viewpoint: Frank Foti and Tom Swidarski, The Telos Alliance appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Sneak Peek: GatesAir Adds Intraplex Features

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 07:15

GatesAir is adding a video feature to its Intraplex Ascent IP audio multistream transport platform. The Ascent SRT Gateway, “SRT” for Secure Reliable Transport,” will transport any real-time video protocol, the company says.

It also has GatesAir’s Dynamic Stream Splicing which utilizes a secondary stream for signal reception assurance against errors or packet dropouts.

GatesAir VP and GM for the Intraplex Product Group Keyur Parikh explained, “Since our new Ascent SRT Gateway application supports stream splicing, we can effectively reduce latency for SRT retransmission, and optimize network redundancy for video distribution. … “This is especially useful for our customers who are distributing real-time video and audio over microwave, fiber and IP connections, and transporting those high-bandwidth streams to multiple studios or transmitter sites.”

He adds, “The Ascent SRT Gateway application scales very seamlessly with its multi-core hardware platform, opening a broad diversity of media transport applications to support national TV or radio networks.”

IBC Stand: 8.D60

Info: www.gatesair.com

The post IBC Sneak Peek: GatesAir Adds Intraplex Features appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Exhibitor Viewpoint: Frank Foti and Tom Swidarski, The Telos Alliance

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 04:00

IBC2019 is almost here. Between now and then Radio World will conduct several short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the big annual trade show. Frank Foti is the founder of Omnia Audio, now a part of the Telos Alliance and is executive chairman of the Telos Alliance; Tom Swidarski is CEO of the Telos Alliance.

Frank Foti

Radio World: How has business been for the company since last year’s IBC Show?

Frank Foti: Business has been up for us across the entire portfolio. AoIP continues to grow as it migrates deeper into other sections of broadcast, especially television.

Tom Swidarski:  Broadcasters who have held out are starting to realize that there is no time like the present to convert to IP infrastructure. We invented broadcast AoIP, so we’ve got the most mature technology available on the market today, and the biggest names in broadcast trust us. This drives business. Our successes are also attributable to the increased alignment in our sales, marketing and product development teams. We’ve debuted a new product introduction process that decreases our time to market and we’ve standardized the manufacturing process. The result is a nimbleness that lets us both lead the industry in innovation and respond quickly to the evolving audio landscape. You’ll see that evidenced by the amount of new product introductions to the international market at IBC this year.

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

Foti: Well, it’s a multipronged dialog really. On one hand, we’re reconnecting with companies who reorganized for various business reasons. And on the other hand, we’re in deep discussions about platform migration and paradigm shifts. It’s exciting, and what we once saw as potential is now reality. For growth, the action is network and cloud-based.

Swidarski: Another challenge is the fierce competition for the ear. Our clients have to be wherever their customers are and embrace the ways in which their listeners consume content. They have to be ready to change course on a dime, and are realizing the advantage of being able to choose products from various vendors to “roll their own” systems. This underscores the critical importance of interoperability and manufacturer as a partner. For our part, we’re helping clients through these transitions by moving toward software, automated solutions, and virtualization.

RW:  Within the last year or so the two large station ownership groups have emerged from bankruptcy. Are you seeing any increase in equipment sales or interest? What is your feeling for the overall health of the radio industry?  

Foti: We sure do live in interesting times! It’s a good step forward when those companies are able to emerge from their challenges, and kudos to their teams for doing so. That’s not easy work. Those companies’ interest in our offerings was always there, and now we’re fortunately catching up on the business side with them. As for the health of the radio industry, we know it has a pulse!

Swidarski: The term “radio” used to be reserved for analog, terrestrial, over-the-air delivery. That model is still valid, alive, and well, but radio is evolving and diversifying into digital terrestrial delivery, streaming, and on-demand content. The popularity of smart speakers — the new table radio — is testament to this, as is the continued increase in podcast listenership. The good news is that radio is going through a renaissance, and the demand for audio content has never been higher. Our customers are producing quality and a large quantity of content like never before, and they are looking to companies that understand their evolving needs and pain points and who respond to them with innovative solutions. The broadcasters with the best tools and the most forward-thinking strategies and facilities are going to prosper.

RW:  You’ve been active in the equipment manufacturing market for years. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing manufacturers right now? Does the trade row between the United States and China greatly affect you?

Foti: The goofiness between the U.S. and China has had a bit of impact. It’s unfortunate to see the leaders of these great nations act so childishly. (We sure could use Tony Soprano here.) Actually, there’s always some challenge in our world — components have life cycles that end, manufacturing schedules change, research/development can be a wildcard, and day-to-day business is as dynamic as an audio processor. We are used to being flexible and responsive enough to react to these challenges quickly and directly, leaving things for the most part, business as usual.

RW: What new goodies will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit your stand?

Swidarski: In Stand 8.D47 we’re again focusing on solutions rather than products, and thinking of customers as partners. Content is content, despite delivery method (whether it’s a podcast, radio, TV, or streaming), and our goal at TA is to inspire broadcasters to create the most exciting audio experiences imaginable.

Foti: Well, if I told you, I’d have to kill you. There is indeed some stellar news that will be revealed on Day One of the show from Axia at our press conference. In addition to that, we’ll have the new Omnia MPX Node running in the stand. It’s the first hardware implementation that carries FM-Stereo MPX over IP at a bitrate as low as 320 kbps. We’ll have tons of new TV products, as well as a host of cool stuff for the growing Infinity IP Intercom platform, including Infinity Link site-to-site connectivity. It’s going to be a big show for us!

RW: Going by the interest on our website, AoIP technology is on the top of the list for product acquisition and upgrades. Is that something you are seeing and if so, how are you addressing that?

Foti: What you’re seeing in interest is on point. It is the hot topic. For those not working in the IP ecosphere, their days could be numbered.

Swidarski: Having brought this technology to the broadcast market, The Telos Alliance always has and will continue to be AoIP’s biggest champion. It’s one of our key pillars.

RW: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2019 IBC Show?

Foti: Cloud, IP and web-based applications and products.

Swidarski: That’s right. The march towards virtualization in the broadcast industry continues each year with automation systems, call management software, and streaming processing offered with great flexibility. Virtualization is particularly possible with the wide adoption of audio over IP. Because AoIP converts audio signals into IP packets, it’s perfectly suited for routing and processing within virtual environments. Our own march to virtualization comes in the form of what we call the “Hyperstudio Experience,” which will be demoed in our booth again this year. We have virtualized streaming processors, AoIP AES67 audio drivers, phone hybrids, automation and control logic systems, remote control and mixing applications, and entire mix engines that could be used as a single Virtual Radio Production System. This could be deployed on a local server, external server, or used in conjunction with the cloud, creating a production environment that is scalable, adaptable, flexible, and future-proof while enjoying all of the sonic benefits that its rackmount counterparts are so well known for. Within a business model that makes it affordable by organizations large and small.

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

Foti: We always look forward to the reaction of our clients as we share new offerings, but also like to lead with education. We’ll participate in the IP Showcase, where Martin Dyster will be leading “Reinventing Intercom with SMPTE 2210-30” on Sept. 14 at 2:30. Greg Shay will also be talking about “Investigating Media Over IP Multicast Hurdles in Containerized Platforms” on Sept. 15 at 3:30. We look forward to catching up with everyone at our press conference and reception on Sept. 13, 4:00 at stand 8.D47. Drinks and snacks will be at the ready after a long day on the show floor!

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

Foti: IBC, like NAB, is a fraternity. A place to connect, network, share and gather information, and enjoy the comradery of those in our industry. In that regard, not much has changed, aside from those who’ve moved on or changed positions.

Swidarski: I agree. I’ve been in the industry a couple of years now, and I’m continually impressed with the spirit of the broadcast industry.

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IBC Sneak Peek: MultiCAM Priortizes Live Assistance

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 02:00

Among the products that MultiCAM Systems is set to demonstrate at IBC2019 is its Multicam Server Box and Multicam Assist platform.

The Server Box has been updated to support ISO recording that allows operators to record individual sources as well as the live program. Graphics can also be added on top of the recorded materials.

The Multicam Assist, meanwhile, features an intuitive interface to manage content data and to operate the Scenes. There is also a second screen module available for operators and an import data section to automate the filling of content data.

Multicam artificial intelligence makes both of these products capable of being fully automated.

IBC Stand: 12.E56

 Info: www.multicam-systems.com

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Industry Professionals Head to Amsterdam for IBC2019

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 00:30

AMSTERDAM Radio engineers and managers from around the world will once again be making the annual autumn trip to Amsterdam for IBC2019, which bills itself as “the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show.”

The statistics for the five-day event convey its scale the exhibition covers 15 halls and hosts over 1,700 exhibitors spanning the broadcast industry. The accompanying conference features more than 400 speakers. In total, 2018’s event saw approximately 55,000 people from some 150 countries pass through the doors of Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Center.

This year’s IBC Conference is themed “Consumers First: A New Era in Media,” with keynote speakers examining the current state of the industry and sharing their visions for the future. These include Max Amordeluso, EU lead evangelist for Amazon Alexa; Cécile Frot-Coutaz, head of EMEA at YouTube; and Arnaud de Puyfontaine, chairman of Vivendi, the parent company of Universal Music Group and Canal+ Group.

Radio is well-represented. WorldDAB hosts a conference session on Monday morning, entitled “Radio distribution strategies for a connected world.” The panel will explore radio’s migration to digital and look at broadcast digital radio’s place in the distribution mix. It will offer recommendations and advice on how broadcasters can assess all digital distribution platforms, to make informed investment choices today and to safeguard broadcast radio for tomorrow.

“Our focus at this year’s IBC is to help broadcasters understand the opportunities and challenges of digitizing radio across all platforms,” explains Bernie O’Neill, project director for WorldDAB. “We’ll give them the facts and information needed to develop an informed radio distribution strategy that will balance the budget as well as safeguard their audience and business models.”

Meanwhile, a Saturday morning “Tech Talk” at the Conference will explore voice interfaces that deliver interactive personalized radio, a cloud-based live production and playout system, controlled straight from a browser, as well as tools to help stations respond to an ever-demanding, interactive audience.

The Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium also has two sessions, themed “DRM Smart Radio For All,” looking at the practical implementation of DRM in various parts of the world. Friday’s event features the Gospell receiver, while on Saturday, Nautel hosts a session on the latest DRM implementation news on its booth.

[Read: Elber Showcases Latest Gear]

At the exhibition, as in previous years, radio suppliers are mainly centered in Hall 8, though there’s always plenty of interest across other halls. This year’s exhibitors include GatesAir, Inovonics, On-Hertz, The Telos Alliance, WaveArt, WorldCast Systems and Wheatstone Corp., plus other leaders such as DEVA, Digigram, 2wcom, WinMedia, Tieline RCS, Broadcast Bionics and transmission provider Arqiva.

IBC 2019 runs from Sept. 13–17, at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam.

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NABLF Launches Training for First-Time Managers

Mon, 09/09/2019 - 18:31

The NAB Leadership Foundation launched an online education series for first-time radio and television station managers as they transition from individual contributor to experienced team leader.
The First Time Manager Series uses interactive sessions and offers online resources to help bridge the gaps in management training for new supervisors. It teaches them to communicate, delegate and motivate more effectively.

“The NAB Leadership Foundation noticed a gap in training for new managers and responded by developing this program to provide the tools and resources necessary to help them succeed,” said Michelle Duke, NAB Leadership Foundation president.

The five-part curriculum covers managerial responsibilities through guided role-play, applicable practice exercises and self-audits.

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