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Radio Events: Bigger (and More Important) Than Ever

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 11:03
Von Freeman, Matt Schultz of Cage the Elephant and Zach Carothers of Portugal. The Man

As radio companies look to develop new ideas, one original source of “non-traditional revenue” faces challenges but is going strong. Concerts and events are often vital to radio’s bottom line, sometimes referred to as a station’s “13th month.” 

Von Freeman has created profitable — and legendary — events for radio throughout his career, including at KIIS(FM) Los Angeles and now as director of marketing, new business and events for Entercom of south Florida. 

“They are all like my children,” he says. “Some grow up and move on to other parents, but still each has a place in my heart.” One of his new events for Entercom, the Riptide Music Festival, has quickly made a name for itself in south Florida. 

In Freeman’s opinion, the bigger the brand, the bigger the party. At KIIS, a monster-sized station known for huge personalities like Rick Dees and then Ryan Seacrest, Freeman brought their existing outdoor festival to even larger venues — more seats, bigger stars and lots of sponsorship integrations. But it needed an exciting new name, too. 

[GMs: Now Is the Time to Buy Stations]

So Freeman thought back to the first concert festival he attended as a kid. Rebellious rock star Ted Nugent shot a double-barreled shotgun guitar on stage and screamed, “All right, you mother f’ers, Wango Tango!” Years later, “KIIS FM’s Wango Tango” was born. 

Danny Wimmer, Michael Lang and Gary Spivack

In the years since, concert festivals — some produced by radio stations, some not — have become big business. Tickets to the most famous of them all, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival near Palm Springs, Calif., start at a whopping $429 each. But even more revenue can be generated by the food and beverage sales, merchandise, sideshow experiences and of course, sponsorships. 

Finding sponsors that do more than just plaster logos everywhere, actually contributing to the event-goer’s experience, is the goal.

FINGER LICKIN’ DJ?

iHeartMedia SVP of Programming Alex Tear happened to be in attendance at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival recently when KFC’s “Colonel Sanders” mascot ascended on stage to perform as a DJ. 

“Almost instantly, the crowd became confused. It was as if their bodies went from being fully energized to unplugged,” says Tear. In their attempt to integrate the brand into the festival in a tongue-in-cheek way, Tear reports that KFC created “anger and resentment” instead.

Tear wonders if the Colonel’s stage appearance would have been better received by answering the age-old question, “What’s in it for me?!” He suggests KFC might have offered attendees free samples, a texting contest and coupons, or VIP seat upgrades. 

Alex Tear

Many also experienced the stunt via social media. One Twitter photo of The Colonel generated 1.59 million views. “KFC is the only sponsor from Ultra that I’ve heard anyone talk about,” points out Freeman. “Getting people to mention fried chicken in the same sentence as one of the coolest festivals on earth isn’t easy.”

Working with sponsors that fit the audience and vibe of the festival is key, according to Gary Spivack, EVP of Danny Wimmer Presents. “We want them to be strategically engaged in every aspect of the event, from the initial announcement until the last attendee leaves — and in the social media afterward. We look for true partners as sponsors.”

Spivack warns radio stations that — with so many competing music festivals — they must treat music acts like partners also. “Radio stations have to pay an artist what they’re worth,” rather than expect to book them cheap in appreciation for adding a single to the playlist. “Artist managers are seeking promoters who can offer true investment for the long haul.” 

[Marketing Your Station in 2019]

Of course, concerts aren’t the only revenue-producing events that radio stations produce. Despite heavy rain, 22,000 recently attended the 34th Annual KISS Country Chili Cookoff in Pembroke Pines, Fla. “If you have an AC, country or CHR format, the kids and family expos can be fun for everybody and highly profitable,” says Freeman. “Also, fantasy football camps give sports radio listeners an opportunity to come meet our personalities and get their advice on which players to ‘draft.’”

Whatever the event, Tear says to “do it with purpose. Devise a plan that is a win for your entire team — generating ratings, revenue and strengthening your brand.” 

In 2019 and beyond, event-goers have plenty of choices for their entertainment dollar. That’s why Spivack predicts a thinning of the herd. “The days of just plopping up a couple of stages and selling stale beer and corn dogs are well behind us. Only the best events will survive.”

As a radio programmer and consultant, Dave Beasing found innovative ways to integrate brands into station content. Now he’s CEO of Sound That Brands, a podcast studio that produces content for national brands.

The post Radio Events: Bigger (and More Important) Than Ever appeared first on Radio World.

AEQ Netboxes Provide Access to IP

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 15:48

LISBON, Portugal — Last May, AEQ provided training sessions on Dante AoIP networks in Lisbon,  Portugal. Since 2016 TSF Radio News has been users of many AEQ Dante-based devices, including a BC2000D router, audio mixing consoles, intercom systems, Netbox 32, Netbox 8 and Netbox 4 AoIP interfaces, etc.

I dropped by to say hello and take the chance to refresh my skills in Audinate’s Dante technology. My curiosity was drawn to a new device called Netbox DSP. The representatives from AEQ explained to me what it does, and I committed to evaluate it in a real test environment. I am happy to work with AEQ; they are always open to my contributions and try to adapt their products to our needs whenever possible.

Netbox DSP is a mixing, distributing and processing audio router. Its most innovative feature is the absence of direct audio inputs and outputs. It is able to receive audio from the Dante or AES67 network and then return it, mixed and processed, to be used in other devices or subsystems.

[Tank FM Transitions to AoIP With AEQ]

It has a basic front panel since control is entirely performed from a software application. The only features are two power indicators for the redundant power supplies, activity LEDs for the primary and secondary Dante networks and, lastly, a red error indicator.

At the back there are AC power supply sockets, Dante AoIP primary and secondary connectors, a fan and four GPIO connectors. When I asked about this fan, AEQ answered that it only starts when the unit is at risk of overheating and that its speed depends on the temperature inside the device.

[AEQ Designs Remote Network Controllers]

The utility of GPIO signals in AEQ Dante devices offers the possibility of transporting them across the network. For example, I can close a contact in the mixing console (GPIO) and this triggers a macro in the audio matrix in order to perform the required crosspoints to put the studio on-air, for instance. At the same time, I can turn on an indicator that informs the operator in the central control which studio is on air.

The unit that I tested was able to mix and route 96 audio channels, but AEQ has versions managing between 64 and 160 input/output audio channels.

It is all controlled from Netbox RTC software, which allows the user to open different work window instances in order to customize the viewing of the different router devices and which lines to control.

The NetBox DSP has great processing capabilities, which can apply to up to 64 audio channels. These include high-pass filters, low-pass filters, band-pass filters, four-band parametric equalizers, compressors, expanders, limiters, noise gate,  delay (up to 10 seconds), audio silence alarm or level metering and test signal generation.

The AEQ Netbox DSP is a unique product in the Dante universe, it offers excellent features with a very limited price. We especially like the high processing capabilities that are included with the unit, and how easy it is to integrate GPIO commands in our IP network using Dante or AES67.

For information, contact Peter Howarth at AEQ Broadcast International in Florida at 1-800-728-0536 or visit www.aeqbroadcast.com.

The post AEQ Netboxes Provide Access to IP appeared first on Radio World.

Radio TechCon Readies for 2019 Event

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 11:58

Radio TechCon 2019 is set to take place at IET London: Savoy Place on Monday, Nov. 25.

Designed for “broadcast engineers, technologists and anyone with an interest in radio, audio, technology and engineering,” organizers say the event will offer a “deep dive” into the technical challenges and opportunities facing the radio and audio industry. It’ll also celebrate technical achievements, ensuring that it remains as accessible as possible to all.

The one-day conference will feature a mixture of speakers from across audio and technical disciplines as well as mini “how-to” master classes and case studies.

In addition, Radio TechCon organizers have announced that they are launching a Radio Technology Masterclass in collaboration with Broadcast Bionics and IET Multimedia Communications Network. This will be a day of practical training for newcomers to broadcast engineering.

[Read : U.K. Radio Review May Herald End of FM]

The event, taking place Friday July 12 at IET London: Savoy Place, targets newcomers to broadcast engineering and those looking to learn more about career options involving radio technology and engineering.

“We are really excited to be running the Radio Technology Masterclass,” says Aradhna Tayal, from TBC Media Ltd. “The industry has really pulled together and we have sessions being run by experts from the BBC, Bauher, Global, Arqiva and Ofcom to name a few.”

Organizers say the The Radio Technology Masterclass will feature a mix of talks on the theory of broadcasting — covering how to build and kit out a studio, internal signal distribution, transmission and internet broadcasting and coding — combined with practical, hands-on activities.

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The post Radio TechCon Readies for 2019 Event appeared first on Radio World.

NRG’s Quass to Be Saluted at Radio Show

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 11:15

NRG Media Chairman and CEO Mary Quass will receive the National Radio Award at the Radio Show, Sept. 25.

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said, “We are pleased to honor Mary Quass for her many achievements and impact on radio. … She is a true catalyst in our industry who exemplifies the meaning of the National Radio Award through her leadership, integrity and success.”

[Read: Radio Show Adds Gary Vee and Anderson to Line Up]

Quass started in radio in 1977 as an account executive. She became a station owner in 1998, forming Quass Broadcasting Co.

Over the decades she has been named Broadcaster of the Year from the Iowa Broadcasters Association in 1994 and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2014, she was honored by the Broadcasters Foundation of America with the Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award for her contributions to the broadcasting industry and community at large.

Quass has also received The Mentoring and Inspiring Women Radio Group Frances Preston Trailblazer Award for her leadership and success in the media industry.

The 2019 Radio Show, produced by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau, will be held September 24–26 in Dallas.

[Subscribe to our newsletter and get it delivered right to your inbox.]

 

The post NRG’s Quass to Be Saluted at Radio Show appeared first on Radio World.

Love Radio Finds Niche in Shanghai

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 03:33

SHANGHAI — Located on China’s Pacific coast, Shanghai is the country’s biggest city with a population exceeding 26 million people; three times that of New York City (8.55 million). It is also a city that loves its music, and no radio station captures that idea more than Love Radio 103.7 FM.

Ming Zhang recording a show at the Love Radio studio. All photos courtesy of SMG Radio.

Launched by the Chinese government’s Shanghai Media Group (SMG) on Aug. 8, 2005, this 24-hour advertiser-supported station plays “local Hong Kong/Taiwan/Mainland music, as well as some international favorites from the ’80s and ’90s and a bit of the 2000s,” explained Love Radio DJ Ming Zhang, who broadcasts on the station under the name ‘David.’ Love Radio’s listeners are males and females 30 to 55 years old, who are “mainly intellectuals” with “above average income,” he said. “Their preference is for more ballads and love songs.”

INSIDE LOVE RADIO

Love Radio is one of 13 Shanghai radio stations operated by SMG Radio; a large media group under the SMG managerial umbrella. SMG Radio “is a large media group concerned with broadcasting radio programs and running all the business including exploiting resources that are related to broadcasting business,” said Zhang.

SMG Radio’s other stations include Shanghai Traffic Radio, East Urban Radio, Pop Music Radio (101.7 FM), KFM (98.1 FM), Classic 947, Traditional Opera Radio and Audible Fiction Radio.

The “Love Radio” brand reflects the positive feelings that the station’s music format aims to inspire in its listeners. “Love is a wonderful thing, it unites people all over,” Zhang said. “Being loved by others gives you strength and power, Love Radio wants to play that role through music.”

The 2018 King of Karaoke Competition with Ming Zhang as host.

Love Radio’s broadcast studios are located at No. 1376 Hongqiao Road in Shanghai. The station has 14 DJs working around the clock, and produces four major weekday programs in addition to its other programming.

These are the 7–10 a.m. morning show (hosted by Zhang under the name “Morning Discovery”); the 11 a.m.–2 p.m. lunchtime show; the 4–7 p.m. drive time show; and the 7–10 p.m. Love Radio chart show.

“Our signal is sent via Shanghai Oriental TV Tower, with its height reaching 468 meters,” Zhang told RWI. “The FM transmitting antenna is 320 meters in height. Love Radio’s transmitting strength is 10 kW.”

As for the station’s Shanghai market share? “Love is the No.1 music format radio [station] among the mobile population,” said Zhang. “For the overall rating, it ranks at No. 2 after FM 101.7. Since the market share of SMG Radio is over 98% of the whole, Love Radio’s market share is approximately over 20% among the target listeners (30- to 55-age bracket).”

A LOOK AT MING ZHANG

In Western broadcasting, education isn’t always a top priority for radio DJs. But the same is apparently not true in China; at least where Zhang is concerned. According to his resume, Zhang graduated from Shanghai’s Fudan University; ranked number 159 by “US News & Global Report” in its list of the Best Global Universities. Due to Zhang’s academic achievements in linguistics and foreign literature, he was quickly recruited to work for the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office after graduation.

Ming Zhang’s listeners join him in studio for a live Love Radio broadcast.

However, it was Zhang’s love of western pop music that saw him become a columnist for “Audio & Video World,” the earliest music magazine published in China after the implementation of the country’s “opening-up” policy in the 1980s. By 1993, Zhang was a guest host on the weekly radio program “Pop Music’s Friend.” This experience spurred him to leave the Foreign Affairs Office for a full-time music DJ position with SMG Radio.

In November 2003, Zhang became host of FM 101.7’s “Tonight At Eight” international pop music program. Three years later, he became Love Radio’s leading morning show host, and presenter of the weekly “Ming Zhang Music Hour” on Saturdays from 9–10 p.m.

Over the years, Zhang has won “Top DJ of The Year” awards three times, along with other honors. He has also been chief commentator for the annual Grammy Awards in Shanghai radio broadcast since 2000; hosting press conferences and meet-and-greet events for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Celine Dion, Maroon 5, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, Linkin Park, Usher and Justin Bieber among others.

From 2015 to 2018, Zhang took part in Europe’s International Radio Festival. As part of this event, he aired the specially-produced “East Meets West” radio series during the morning show for his listeners and those listening in via the IRF.

[Read: China Radio International Recommits to Africa]

“East Meets West … introduces classic pop songs with Shanghainese flavor to the international listeners and also broadcasts the interviews that I made in the hosting countries and plays their music to Chinese listeners,” Zhang explained. “For instance, in my first series, I introduced a traditional Alphorn player I met on Pilatus Mountain in Lucerne, because it is the real Swiss sound that I found in this country.”

RADIO REALITIES IN SHANGHAI

There are certainly many cultural differences between China and the West. But when it comes down to commercial broadcasting, radio is radio — and the issues that SMG Group and Zhang face in attracting listeners mirror those faced by programmers around the globe.

One issue that stands out is the effect of streaming media on radio listenership in Shanghai. “The biggest impact comes from the advertising,” Zhang said. “Many advertisers are starting to use streaming media rather than traditional radio as means to reach people for their product.”

Ming Zhang co-hosting the 2018 Love Radio Music Awards (second from right).

On a larger scale, “the biggest challenge we are facing right now is how to maintain our target listeners; especially the young generation, since smartphones are often used to enjoy broadcasts over the internet and podcasts,” he said. “People find it much easier to download music than listen to radio shows.”

To counter this impact, SMG Radio has developed its own radio app. It has also launched training courses to improve the professionalism of its radio hosts and editors, and started working more closely with sponsors to produce more effective ads and achieve better commercial placement.

As well, like broadcasters in the West, Love Radio and its SMG Radio partner stations are promoting the human side of radio to its target audiences. “Our music is played with many stories behind it, which cannot be easily obtained through other media,” said Zhang.

A CONTINUED LOVE FOR RADIO

Between his Love Radio work and his many hosting duties, Zhang is a very busy man. Yet his love for pop music and radio remains undimmed.

Celebrating at the 2018 Love Radio Party (Ming Zhang second from left).

“To share my music experiences with my listeners is the most exciting thing,” he said. “Also, being a radio personality gives me a lot of chances to talk to musicians and all music-related people. Through music radio festivals, I can make friends with many of my counterparts in other countries. To me, music is the universal language to connect myself with the world.”

Looking ahead, Zhang expects pop music to continue to guide his life. “My future plan is to publish a book which highlights many of my exciting experiences with musicians and stars from other countries,” he said. Zhang also plans to open his own “music café,” “where all music lovers can enjoy my CD collections and photo gallery.”

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The post Love Radio Finds Niche in Shanghai appeared first on Radio World.

SOP Test

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 16:57
DEVA Broadcast DB4005 FM Radio Modulation Monitor

DEVA Broadcast’s new DB4005 is a third-generation digital FM radio modulation analyzer and monitoring receiver.

The company explains that the system features software-defined radio FM tuner-based signal processing, achieved through “sophisticated” DSP algorithms and that its digital filter precision enables the FM signal to be accurately and repeatedly analyzed with each device.

In addition, says DEVA, the MPX input allows users to monitor external baseband signals, regardless of whether they are from a composite STL receiver/stereo FM encoder, or from an off-air source. “With its incredible processing power, it provides detailed readings of all the multiplex FM signal components, while all measurements are refreshed simultaneously and synchronously,” the company says.

What’s more, the DB4005’s loudness meter can display measurements as defined by both ITU BS.1770-4 and EBU R128 recommendations, thanks to the product’s support of both standards.

This tool, which DEVA says allows operators to monitor up to 50 FM radio stations, supports USB and LAN communication interfaces for remote connection and control. It also provides features such as TCP/IP connectivity, audio streaming, and automatic alerts for operation outside of predefined ITU-R ranges.

Info: www.devabroadcast.com DEVA Broadcast DB4005 FM Radio Modulation Monitor

DEVA Broadcast’s new DB4005 is a third-generation digital FM radio modulation analyzer and monitoring receiver.

The company explains that the system features software-defined radio FM tuner-based signal processing, achieved through “sophisticated” DSP algorithms and that its digital filter precision enables the FM signal to be accurately and repeatedly analyzed with each device.

In addition, says DEVA, the MPX input allows users to monitor external baseband signals, regardless of whether they are from a composite STL receiver/stereo FM encoder, or from an off-air source. “With its incredible processing power, it provides detailed readings of all the multiplex FM signal components, while all measurements are refreshed simultaneously and synchronously,” the company says.

What’s more, the DB4005’s loudness meter can display measurements as defined by both ITU BS.1770-4 and EBU R128 recommendations, thanks to the product’s support of both standards.

This tool, which DEVA says allows operators to monitor up to 50 FM radio stations, supports USB and LAN communication interfaces for remote connection and control. It also provides features such as TCP/IP connectivity, audio streaming, and automatic alerts for operation outside of predefined ITU-R ranges.

Info: www.devabroadcast.com DEVA Broadcast DB4005 FM Radio Modulation Monitor

DEVA Broadcast’s new DB4005 is a third-generation digital FM radio modulation analyzer and monitoring receiver.

The company explains that the system features software-defined radio FM tuner-based signal processing, achieved through “sophisticated” DSP algorithms and that its digital filter precision enables the FM signal to be accurately and repeatedly analyzed with each device.

In addition, says DEVA, the MPX input allows users to monitor external baseband signals, regardless of whether they are from a composite STL receiver/stereo FM encoder, or from an off-air source. “With its incredible processing power, it provides detailed readings of all the multiplex FM signal components, while all measurements are refreshed simultaneously and synchronously,” the company says.

What’s more, the DB4005’s loudness meter can display measurements as defined by both ITU BS.1770-4 and EBU R128 recommendations, thanks to the product’s support of both standards.

This tool, which DEVA says allows operators to monitor up to 50 FM radio stations, supports USB and LAN communication interfaces for remote connection and control. It also provides features such as TCP/IP connectivity, audio streaming, and automatic alerts for operation outside of predefined ITU-R ranges.

Info: www.devabroadcast.com DEVA Broadcast DB4005 FM Radio Modulation Monitor

DEVA Broadcast’s new DB4005 is a third-generation digital FM radio modulation analyzer and monitoring receiver.

The company explains that the system features software-defined radio FM tuner-based signal processing, achieved through “sophisticated” DSP algorithms and that its digital filter precision enables the FM signal to be accurately and repeatedly analyzed with each device.

In addition, says DEVA, the MPX input allows users to monitor external baseband signals, regardless of whether they are from a composite STL receiver/stereo FM encoder, or from an off-air source. “With its incredible processing power, it provides detailed readings of all the multiplex FM signal components, while all measurements are refreshed simultaneously and synchronously,” the company says.

What’s more, the DB4005’s loudness meter can display measurements as defined by both ITU BS.1770-4 and EBU R128 recommendations, thanks to the product’s support of both standards.

This tool, which DEVA says allows operators to monitor up to 50 FM radio stations, supports USB and LAN communication interfaces for remote connection and control. It also provides features such as TCP/IP connectivity, audio streaming, and automatic alerts for operation outside of predefined ITU-R ranges.

Info: www.devabroadcast.com

The post SOP Test appeared first on Radio World.

FCC Accepting Late Filings of ETRS Form One

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 14:05

Broadcasters who may not have met last week’s July 3 deadline for filing their ETRS Form One for the upcoming nationwide National Periodic Test of the emergency alert system are still able to file late, though the FCC’s ETRS team said in an email correspondence that any late filings “should be done right away.”

All EAS participants are required to renew their identifying information annually via the ETRS Form One, with a separate filing for each EAS decoder, encoder or units that combine decoder and encoder functions.

[Read: Wilkins on Prepping for Next EAS NPT]

The nationwide EAS test is set for Aug. 7. On that day, participants will also be required to file ETRS Form Two, which covers day of test information, by 11:59 p.m. ET. ETRS Form Three, covering post-test data will be due by Sept. 23. ETRS Forms Two and Three will become available at the time of the nationwide test.

Filers can access ETRS through the FCC website and must use their registered FCC username associated with the FCC registration numbers. Updates or corrections to the form can be performed 30 days after submission.

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The post FCC Accepting Late Filings of ETRS Form One appeared first on Radio World.

Audinate Launches Dante-as-Software Products

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 12:14

Digital audio network specialist Audinate has introduced two new software-based Dante products — Dante Embedded Platform, which runs on Linux for x86 and ARM processors, and the Dante Application Library, which allows software developers to integrate Dante functionality directly into Windows and Mac applications.

These new software-based solutions give manufacturers and developers the ability to deploy Dante into products where it wasn’t previously feasible, in ways that weren’t previously possible. Dante can now be deployed in products where either the price point or form-factor made integrating dedicated Dante hardware challenging.

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

Dante as software also provides more flexibility, with the potential to enable new capabilities like Dante being deployed retroactively to products already in the field, the ability to add new features and functions to products on the fly, and the possibility for manufacturers, integrators or customers to configure the number of Dante channels they want for a particular application.

Audinate introduced these new software products in conjunction with several lead customers at the recent Infocomm show.

QSC will begin to deploy the Dante Embedded Platform within the Q-SYS Ecosystem to enable native software-based Dante audio channels. The effort is part of the strategic partnership between the two companies announced earlier this year.

Zoom Video Communications Inc. has teamed up with Audinate to integrate the Dante Application Library into its Zoom Rooms application for video meetings.

Audinate announced a reference design with Analog Devices (ADI) for Dante Embedded Platform on the ADSP-SC589 DSP + ARM processor.

Lee Ellison, CEO of Audinate, comments, “This is an inflection point in the AV industry. The decreasing costs, increasing computational power and improved flexibility of the software approach will enable manufacturers and developers to deploy Dante into a plethora of next generation AV products. The option to go with a software-based implementation will enable OEMs to add Dante functionality to existing products without a major redesign and will drive further growth for networked Dante endpoints.”

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The post Audinate Launches Dante-as-Software Products appeared first on Radio World.

Loose Electrical Connections Spell System Failure

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 11:32
Fig. 1: Heat from loose wiring connections points to the source of the failure. The blackened plug is a clue.

One of the many maintenance actions we’ve emphasized over the years is that of creating tight electrical connections. 

A contract engineer wrote in to explain how a Crown FM-2K went off the air. The remote control showed that all other readings were OK, and the three-phase backup transmitter in the building was fine. 

At least the station was still on the air! But an 85-mile trip to the transmitter site was necessary.

Once at the site, the engineer needed to do a little bit of sleuthing to find the problem. He began by tracing the AC power feed. The breaker was OK and measured voltage. It was not until he removed the power plug that he noticed the problem (Fig. 1). 

Fig. 2: The outside of the electrical junction box looks fine.

Disassembling the junction box made it apparent that the screw terminal connections had been only marginally tightened. In the few years that the station had been on the air, the connection heated and oxidized until the resistance became high enough to finish it off.

Once the junction box (seen in Fig. 2) was opened, it was apparent that the electrician who installed the outlet wasn’t accustomed to working with stranded wire. Fig. 3 shows how the connections heated and eventually failed. 

Fig. 3: But when screw terminals aren’t tightened firmly, heat and oxidation can cause an off-air failure.

Another licensed electrician subsequently showed our engineer that when working with stranded wire, you should first tighten the connection, but then loosen it and re-tighten it. This process allows all the strands of the wire to deform and settle in a more compact manner. 

Over the years, this tip has served him well.

***

The problem of overheating and the failures it can cause can be diagnosed using a relatively inexpensive infrared detector/camera. There are a number of expensive standalone IR models, but if you’re shopping in the $200-$300 price range, you may want to consider a smartphone solution. 

Manufactured by FLIR or SEEK Thermal, these smartphone accessories are available from Amazon. 

They display temperature on the smartphone screen using a color gradient. Blue images are cool; yellow, orange or red indicate increased heat. 

Imagine being able not only to spot loose outlet wiring or circuit breakers about ready to fail, but also to identify loose coil clips or overheated capacitors in an AM array or loose elbow connections or junctions inside rigid transmission line.

Contract engineers may want to consider this addition to their arsenal of test equipment, offering analysis to clients for a fee. An annual thermal inspection would be good practice for all stations. And for liability protection, it would be prudent to use a licensed electrician to affect repairs uncovered by your inspection.

Spotting potential heat-related failures before they occur can save thousands of dollars — not only in repairs but in air time lost when a failure occurs in a critical equipment.

***

Every so often we get a neat tip from the folks at Platinum Tools. This company is well known for its Ethernet cabling and testing products. Their most recent release is a compact and handy RJ45 connector tester. 

Ethernet cables, especially the eight-pin variety terminating in RJ45-style connectors, can come in enough varieties to make their termination particularly confusing. The VDV MapMaster 3.0 is ideal for anyone doing a lot of Ethernet cable work. 

In reviewing their website, I discovered it is a wealth of cabling know-how. In addition to a blog and white papers, you’ll find how-to videos on cable prep and wiring subjects.

Fig. 4: Do you know what these are, and how they were used in both radio and TV stations?

One of the neatest finds, however, was information on a free wiring tool. This tool comes with every piece of Cat5/6 cable and can be used to separate the individual wire pairs. What is it? It’s the piece of twisted pair cable jacket that you remove to expose the four pairs prior to terminating! 

Using the “tool” is simple: Just slip it over each individual wire pair, one pair at a time; then as you slide the jacket over the pair, twist it in the opposite direction of the pair’s twist. Keep turning as you pass the sleeve over the pair, all the way down to the cable jacket. 

To improve the performance, the folks at Platinum Tools suggest that you take your scissors and cut the end of the tool’s jacket at a 30-45 degree angle. The angled end makes inserting the wire pair easier.

***

OK young’uns! Take a look at Fig. 4 and let me know if you can identify what these are. There was a time when they were commonplace at nearly all radio and TV stations. (It’s not fair asking anyone over 30!) My email address is below.

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

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

The post Loose Electrical Connections Spell System Failure appeared first on Radio World.

Get Groovy With New Gear: Summer of Products 2019

Sun, 07/07/2019 - 10:52

It’s new equipment season again!

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

Check out the next installment of broadcast goodies.

WorldCast Audemat RDS Encoder

The WorldCast Audemat RDS Encoder is built on the company’s FMB80.

The RDS Encoder carries the expected RDS/RDBS tools (e.g. artist name, song titles, traffic message, EAS, Radiotext, etc.). But looking forward it adds an MPX-over-AES digital audio function. Furthermore, it can insert the encoding directly into the digital chain. It is also compatible with the latest RDS Edition 2018 standards (IEC- 62106-1 :2018 to IEC 62106-6:2018) and upcoming RDS2 standards. WorldCast notes, “RDS2 will allow broadcasters to send more information (such as pictures) through the FM signal by adding three subcarriers to the MPX/composite signal.”

Worldcast Audemat RDS

As a WorldCast product, it is conversant with the company’s ScriptEasy Apps and Manager for programming, control and management. It is fully networkable and remote controllable.

There’s also an onboard tuner for immediate monitoring. WorldCast’s Manager software can be used to operate the RDS Encoder remotely.

Info: www.worldcastsystems.com

Axia Audio iQx Console Axia iQx

The Axia Audio iQx is designed with AoIP in mind, all wrapped in a single package.

Telos Alliance VP of Sales, Support, and Marketing Marty Sacks said, “Axia iQx suddenly opens up the world of AoIP and Axia capabilities to more people by utilizing existing network resources and eliminating the cost of an outboard mix engine.”

It will be available with 8–24 100 mm sealed plastic-conductive faders. It also offers three-band EQ and multifunction soft key per channel. According to the company, the talkback and mix-minus system offers flexible routing for sources. The iQx can be operated remotely via a web interface.

As a Telos Alliance product, there are telco/hybrid options available. In addition, native Livewire+ support makes the iQx compatible with other Telos Alliance equipment on a network. It is also AES67 and SMPTE 2110-30-compatible.

Info: www.telosalliance.com

Nautel NX AM Digital Transmitters Nautel NX

Nautel has an added a nifty feature to its NX AM transmitter line: digital AM transmission.

Nautel head of Marketing John Whyte said, “Although all-digital AM operation currently requires an experimental license, we and others feel that this is an exciting direction for the AM band and Nautel is ready to support broadcasters as they move ahead with their plans.”

Whyte added, “Its digital modes provide the precision needed in the spectral mask as well as the in-band signal quality required for digital features such as User Experience metadata. NX transmitters, combined with our digital-ready importers and exporters such as HD MultiCast+, make it easy for AM stations to adopt digital transmission.”

Info: www.nautel.com

DEVA Broadcast DB4005 FM Radio Modulation Monitor DEVA DB4005

DEVA Broadcast’s new DB4005 is a third-generation digital FM radio modulation analyzer and monitoring receiver.

The company explains that the system features software-defined radio FM tuner-based signal processing, achieved through “sophisticated” DSP algorithms and that its digital filter precision enables the FM signal to be accurately and repeatedly analyzed with each device.

In addition, says DEVA, the MPX input allows users to monitor external baseband signals, regardless of whether they are from a composite STL receiver/stereo FM encoder, or from an off-air source. “With its incredible processing power, it provides detailed readings of all the multiplex FM signal components, while all measurements are refreshed simultaneously and synchronously,” the company says.

What’s more, the DB4005’s loudness meter can display measurements as defined by both ITU BS.1770-4 and EBU R128 recommendations, thanks to the product’s support of both standards.

This tool, which DEVA says allows operators to monitor up to 50 FM radio stations, supports USB and LAN communication interfaces for remote connection and control. It also provides features such as TCP/IP connectivity, audio streaming, and automatic alerts for operation outside of predefined ITU-R ranges.

Info: www.devabroadcast.com

 

[Read more about new products here.]

 

The post Get Groovy With New Gear: Summer of Products 2019 appeared first on Radio World.

Community Broadcaster: Northern Discomfort

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 17:22

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

Alaska became the latest battleground for funding noncommercial media this past week after Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed an appropriations bill approved by state lawmakers. It is among many moves that are set to make the governor an unpopular figure, and this one affects state media immensely.

On July 1, Dunleavy vetoed nearly 200 line items in the budget, scratching $400 million in costs in a bid to stem the deficit. The biggest of these was $130 million for state universities. He has pledged to cut more from Medicaid, education and the state’s ferry system next year.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Be Like Ghostface Killah]

“For years, for decades, Alaska’s government side of the economy has been pretty big. It’s going to be smaller. But that doesn’t mean Alaska’s best days are behind us. Quite the contrary, I think Alaska’s best days are ahead of us,” Dunleavy is quoted by Alaska Public Media.

Legislators pledged to meet July 8 in an attempt to override the veto, but it is expected to be unsuccessful, given 45 of the state’s 60 representatives and senators would have to agree with an override.

Current laid out the grim outlook for the state’s noncommercial broadcasters, who saw their full allotment of $2.7 million — $2 million of which went to radio — wiped out by the governor. In the short term, staff cuts, programming reductions and more are likely. In later years, the impact will surely be felt across organizations in significant ways.

Why does this matter?

Alaska has so many open areas of wilderness and rural communities where radio remains an important infrastructure pipeline. Ensuring there is state investment in this key piece of education and emergency preparedness capacity is essential for Alaskans. The Alaska Broadcasters Association has raised concerns how Dunleavy’s veto, consistent with a spring budget in which he argued for identical cuts, could heavily affect rural stations.

On KCAW’s website, General Manager Becky Meiers says that station alone will lose some 18% of funding, resulting in potential layoffs and cuts. What that practically means for Alaskans and every American who needs to be informed about the affairs in one of our nation’s most critical regions is that the services they enjoy will be diminished.

Statistically, the portion for broadcasters is miniscule, but what stations like KCAW and its compatriots at CoastAlaska turn that support into is remarkable. From preservation of the state’s indigenous culture to award-winning journalism to local arts, Alaska noncommercial broadcasters provide some of the most unique, innovative services available in the United States. While I trust that the many outstanding public media professionals in the state can generate the needed funds to keep their dynamic services going, this current crisis does not need to be this way.

Dunleavy is one of many politicians who suggest a patchwork of foundation money and business partnerships will keep the ship afloat. “With access to grants, federal funding, or other innovative sources of funding, we believe [media] will continue to provide services to Alaskans and will prioritize its services so it reaches the Alaskan communities that most need news and information,” according to an unsigned press briefing noted by Current. However, this insistence is frankly divorced from reality.

As any nonprofit leader can tell you, what foundations and funders are asking about almost universally is impact. For Alaska, with its small potential reach generally, making that case is not easy. To give you some perspective, the city of Indianapolis is literally 100,000 people bigger than the entire state of Alaska. It’s safe to say that some Alaskan communities have more otters than people. What the governor bases the notion that grants will save Alaska public radio and television is a mystery.

Dunleavy’s backers say emergency preparedness is better served through mobile phones than broadcast. Yet there’s a reason why the Federal Communications Commission is doing its upcoming test of the Emergency Alert System removed from digital channels. If, during an emergency, cell and internet service is lost, broadcast noncommercial radio remains crucial. In towns where cellular and internet service can be inconsistent, radio’s ability to provide such an alert may be the difference between life and death.

One can hope the citizens of Alaska and lawmakers make it clear to the governor how essential public and community broadcasting is to the state. These stations ask for so little, but give so much to their communities.

[Subscribe to our newsletter and get it delivered right to your inbox.]

 

 

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Inside the July issue of Radio World International

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 09:51

Located on China’s Pacific coast, Shanghai is the country’s biggest city with a population exceeding 26 million people; three times that of New York City (8.55 million). It is also a city that loves its music, and no radio station captures that idea more than Love Radio 103.7 FM. The station, on air since 2005 and targeting 30- to 55-year olds, claims first position in the city as music format radio station among the mobile population, and second in the overall ranking. Discover the station’s strategy and more in the July issue of Radio World International.

LIVE EVENT COVERAGE

How to Cover Live Events Successfully
Here are some ways to ensure effective linking of all sites in an expanded network.

SIMULCASTING

What’s Your Simulcasting Strategy?

Broadcasting simultaneously in digital and analog can either enhance or stifle your station.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

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

Big Sound, Small Package

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 09:20

LOS ANGELES — An eight-foot table isn’t the most elegant studio, but Mike Dooley knows how to get a lot out of a little — in terms of his workspace and his audio equipment. 

Dooley is the lead engineer for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers’ home radio broadcasts, covering more than 40 regular and preseason games, and possibly post-season. For each game, he shares that table in the Staples Center with five audio positions for hosts and guests. To make his broadcast set-up easier, faster and more compact, Dooley uses the Yamaha TF1 digital mixing console.

“A challenging element of sports broadcasts, especially basketball where you’re always on-site in the arena, is space is extremely limited,” Dooley said. “The less space I take up, without sacrificing any audio quality, means there’s more space for the other guys to prepare notes and conduct interviews.”

FOOTPRINT

The compact and portable TF1 gives Dooley that balance of performance and footprint. The Lakers’ home radio broadcasts, including pre- and post-game shows, originate onsite in the arena and air on KSPN(AM) 710 ESPN in Los Angeles and on the Lakers’ broadcast network of 11 radio stations from New Mexico to Hawaii.

“Throughout each game broadcast, I’m responsible for play-by-play, color commentator, producer, stats and guests, so I need to be ready for anything. Plus, I have to manage wireless and have compression limiter control, along with the mixing.” 

Dooley started using the Yamaha TF1 console in January and has since cut his preproduction time in half while streamlining his audio workflow. The TFI console’s multiple aux outputs give him enough flexibility for each broadcast. 

“I have five announcer positions that like personalized mixes and the analog board I was using had run out of room,” Dooley said. “With the TF1, I can customize mixes, giving each person their own mix and levels. Being able to EQ everything separately with total control over compression on every channel and outputs and inputs has been wonderful.”

He continued, “I’ve been a Yamaha user for more than a decade on other projects, and I recently converted my audio infrastructure to newer Yamaha products, including CL3 and CL5 series mixers. The Dante connectivity between each makes set-up and operation simple. Now everything is in the Yamaha world, familiar, easy to use and with the expandability needed.”

[RevoLabs Gets Name Change]

He added that the console’s Dante interface lets him connect to the announcer boxes using a single CAT-5 cable to each, another factor contributing to reduced set-up time. “The sound is superb without having to use the standard microphone cable involved with an analog board.”

Dooley also takes advantage of the Dugan Automixer for his announcer’s microphone channels. 

“Our broadcast position is right in the middle of the crowd, about 15 rows up from the floor. The Dugan software that shipped with Firmware Update 3.5 for the TF1 console is extremely helpful in keeping the crowd noise bleeding in the microphones down to a minimum, allowing me to add what I need via crowd mics instead of fighting with it during the play-by-play. It also helps make our post-game interviews with players on the court sound fantastic.”

The mixer’s all-in-one design makes transporting his equipment easier.

“I previously had an outboard compression limiter that was heavy and took up a lot of space,” he said. “The TF1 console’s onboard compression was appealing, packing all the functions I need into one unit and letting me do more than I could before, easily and with higher quality results.”

For information, contact John Schauer at Yamaha Corp. of America in California at 1-714-522-9011 or visit https://usa.yamaha.com.

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Ignore the Sound of Streaming at Your Own Peril

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 11:06
Getty Images/RichVintage

How many times does your radio station run a liner that says, “Find us on the app,” or “Listen on your computer at work”? Now, how often have you put yourself in the position of an online listener? 

It is true that, even in this connected age, most radio listeners are pulling their signals off the tower and into a radio. But a look at the ratings books tells us that a growing number of listeners are online. In New York, WFAN’s stream has maintained a 0.3 share 6+ over the last four months. KFI in Los Angeles saw its online stream rise to a 0.8 in May, topping 14 over-the-air signals. Add KFI’s OTA and streaming numbers together, and that AM news-talker is number four in the number two market. Chicago has one stream in the book, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose has two, and Dallas-Fort Worth has five.

[EAS Is Still Relevant as WEA Works Out Kinks]

This is a sign of the future. I often ask my college students to track a week of media consumption. When I started, the replies were the multiplatform mix you would expect. No more. This spring’s class was almost universally consuming media through their smartphones, and that was at one of the nation’s leading schools of journalism and mass communication. 

Listeners expect what they hear on the stream to match what they hear on the radio. But for a variety of technical and sales reasons, there can be a major difference between the two. Some of those differences result in programming that would sound unacceptable, but it may seem no one in authority is listening. 

Several years ago, I was introduced to the internet radio: a unit that looks like a tabletop radio but has a Reciva or similar chip that acts like a web browser for audio streams. I also have three radio apps on my smartphone. I spend many hours listening to streams from anywhere English is spoken. Too often, what I hear makes me cringe. 

As an insider, I am patient and willing to put up with the occasional problem. But to a regular listener, some of what I hear would send me elsewhere. I would challenge a general manager, sales manager or program director to spend a week listening only to the streaming side of their stations. What they hear may be surprising (and not in a good way).

STREAMING: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Any real estate agent will tell you about the importance of curb appeal, the first-glance look at a property that can make or break a sale. Your online stream may open with pre-roll message. Its length matters, especially since it is something listeners do not get when turning on their radio.

There are two ways stations can stream: just putting the entire program online as it appears off the tower. Or with a separate set of commercials for online listeners. 

That second category can be further broken down to listeners who get spots for local advertisers while listening to an out-of-market station. (It can be a bit disorienting to hear an ad for a Phoenix furniture store on the stream of a Cleveland radio station.) 

That first option is the easiest to do and the one with the least obstacles. However, it is obvious that some stations send the programming to the stream early in the audio chain. If the stream is not split after the processing, the station may sound different. 

CHALLENGES

There are several challenges when the online and on-air commercials are separate:

  • Timing: Sometimes a :30 is not a :30 and a :60 is not a :60. The online stopset plays out, then returns to the on-air program with the last few seconds of another commercial playing. 
  • Fill: When the CBS stations (prior to the Entercom acquisition) did not have an online commercial to run, listeners were treated to 30- to 120-seconds of a music bed and an announcer saying programming would return shortly. There is another group that covers with PSAs, but I have heard the same spot run back-to-back, or twice in the same break. 
  • Clash: This is what happens when the online automation and the on-air automation are not in sync. The on-air listeners hear a network newscast followed by a local update, a spot, and then traffic. The online listeners get the network newscast, a spot, the local update joined-in-progress, then the spot and traffic. 
  • Replacement: Some news-talk stations that have local newscasts and traffic reports replace them with spots in the online stream. Local listeners will notice the missing elements. Out-of-market listeners may be seeking to hear news from home or get an update on a breaking story directly from people in the market. 
  • Repetition: If a station has a dearth of online sponsors, that means fewer spots to schedule. If the advertiser has a rotation of one or two commercials, how often those ads repeat can quickly become obvious.
  • Traffic: Your traffic team likely plays close attention to when on-air commercial runs are supposed to start and stop. Do they give the same attention to online scheduling? I was hearing the same ad for a Mother’s Day event well into June. 
[Curran: Trade Deal Could Have Major Impact on Radio Industry]

As more listeners live their lives online, there are potentially millions of reasons to consider the online stream equally as important as the OTA signal. Program directors give a lot of thought to ways to increase TSL. Any of these six problems could be a tune-out factor for online listeners. That is something no station can afford. 

Kevin Curran holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College. His research interests include broadcast history and media management. He teaches at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School and College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Grand Canyon University and Paradise Valley Community College.

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

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Inside the July 3 Issue of RW

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 14:09

It’s new equipment season again! The annual “Summer of Products” feature is all about new gear that has come onto the market in recent months. Here and in the next several issues we feature equipment that caught our eye. Also, check out our Buyer’s Guide to consoles, mixers and routers in this issue.

 

TECHNOLOGY
Hybrid Radio Making Strides

The promise of “hybrid” radio technology has yet to be realized, but while 2019 may not be a breakout year, participants say significant milestones are being met. The term hybrid radio refers to platforms to provide a seamless combination of broadcast radio and internet technologies.

APPRECIATION
Strickland Taught the Industry About RF Safety

When it came to teaching engineers about RF safety, few could hold a candle — or an RF monitor — to Richard Strickland. During his long career, Strickland instructed thousands on topics related to RF radiation safety and compliance. He died in 2018 at age 73, following a long battle with cancer.

 

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

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Finding the Path at Medialaan

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 10:51

NAZARETH, Belgium — I have been passionate about music, video and IT from an early age, and in the last three years working at TVV Sound Project, I have been fortunate enough to be able to use this passion in my work. What I love most about working in the broadcast industry is being part of a company that can deliver a total package to our clients. 

A customer comes to us with a dream, a vision about how their radio station should look and function and we have the ability to work everything out for them and bring it to life. This can range from designing their radio studio in a 3D model, designing custom HTML pages for controlling the studio, to designing logos and website with integration of the studio (metadata, visual radio, request, social media, etc.) The possibilities are almost unlimited with the resources we already have today. 

[Medialaan Renovates Qmusic and Joe Facilities]

Recently, we had the opportunity to work on such a project for Qmusic and Joe from the DPG media group. TVV has a longstanding relationship with Medialaan, and they had been using the Omnia.11 for audio processing for several years. They came to us looking to upgrade their facility by installing 11 new Omnia.9s, complete with all the trimmings of an AoIP environment. These Omnia.9s now handle all the audio processing of Joe FM and Qmusic (as well as all other channels on DAB+). We also installed five Telos Alliance Z/IPStream R/2s to handle all the station’s streams and a lot of xNodes to convert analog/digital I/O to AES67 or to be able to route and control other AES67 sources with Pathfinder. In addition, they also installed two Telos VX Engines as part of a brand new VX phone system.

All of these upgrades are monitored and controlled by two Axia Pathfinder Core PRO units. Pathfinder is being used in this facility for level detection for all FM and DAB+ channels through an HTML5 page with an overview of all channels with metering and status. If there are any errors or problems, there is a clear indication as well as instant notification through mailing. In addition they are also using an HTML5 page with maintenance buttons to adjust the Omnia.9 source (secondary source or internal player). 

We always choose Telos Alliance products because we know from experience that these are the highest performance products on the market. We have replacements for all our units that are in service, but we’ve noted in practice that these must be used very rarely. 

[Qmusic and Joe To Begin DAB+ Broadcasts]

During the project, it was noted that an aspect of the Omnia.9 did not fully meet customer requirements. If the internal player of the Omnia.9 was activated, it started to play from the last position in the song. We reported this to Telos Support and immediately received an answer as to what they needed to add/change to meet these customer requirements. After a few days there was already an update with the solution. Now you can have the choice to have the emergency player play a song from the beginning of a track, just like the customer requested. 

Broadcast is a sector that does not stand still. The evolution from analog to digital is inevitable and cloud-based systems are just around the corner. Innovative devices such as Pathfinder that can also be run as a server application are just one of the many examples of why I’m excited to see what tomorrow can bring, and what the future of broadcast will be. 

For information, contact Cam Eicher at the Telos Alliance in Ohio at 1-216-241-7225 or visit www.telosalliance.com.

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DAB+ Deployment in France Progresses

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 10:36

PARIS — DAB+ deployment in France is taking steps that are making it, slowly but surely, the platform of choice for radio across the country.

Jean-Marc Dubreuil

Following initial launches in Paris, Nice and Marseille in 2014, and significant milestones achieved in 2018 (including launches in Lille, Lyon and Strasbourg areas), France is gearing up to launch DAB+ in Nantes and Rouen in the second part of 2019, while all eyes are already turning to 2020.

Looking back at the first half of 2019, one could mistakenly think that very little has happened on the DAB+ front, particularly when compared with 2018 [1], or to what 2020 has in store. “Au contraire.”

EXPANSION

On July 4 July, Nantes, a city that has always been at the forefront of DAB+ (home to a very active commercial and community radio network, and one of the first cities in France to trial the technology), will officially launch DAB+, with 41 radio stations going on air via DAB+.

A combination of new programs, which could not broadcast in FM, and of simulcast, some radios extending their broadcast coverage thanks to DAB+, will be available to listeners in the region, the most eager of which jumped on the digital bandwagon during the early testing phases. The official launch of DAB+ in Rouen, to the northwest of Paris, will follow suit right after the summer break.

[Read: WorldDAB Automotive 2019 Studies DAB+ in the Dash]

 Many other metropolitan areas are also preparing for the arrival of DAB+ in 2020 — in July 2018, the French regulator CSA launched 15 calls for applications [2] (28 multiplexes in total) targeted at some of the most densely populated areas across the country.

Each multiplex in France can carry 13 programs. All 28 allotments have been awarded and are full, meaning an additional 364 DAB+ programs will go live on DAB+ throughout France in 2020. Regional, community and public service radios are now preparing the infrastructure.

They will start in 2020 along with the coverage of Bordeaux, Toulouse and surrounding cities (again, a clean sweep, with each of the six planned multiplex being full – 78 programs). The success of the application has a side effect: this will ease the economical equation for the radios that are part of the journey.

This summer of 2019, the pace will not abate, as more stations will have the opportunity to acquire DAB+ licences, with 15 calls for applications due to be opened. The idea is to propose DAB+ to a continuously larger proportion of the French population by 2021[3].

Last but not least, 18 national commercial radios, along with six programs of the public service [4], are getting together to lay the groundwork for the two national multiplexes that will ultimately cover the highways and main road networks in France.

The 24 stations were authorized by the regulator on 24 April 2019. Two multiplex operators (one for each multiplex of 12 radios) were proposed back to the regulator for authorization before the 24 June deadline. The same editors are also contemplating a coordinated communication strategy for the end user.

This picture would not be complete if we were not covering the equipment manufacturers’ readiness. While most of EU member states are in the process of transposing article 113 of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) by December 2020, French law [5] is already one step ahead. Since late December 2018, more than 20% of the French population [6] is covered by a digital terrestrial radio broadcast, which triggered the French receiver law, requiring — by mid 2020 at the latest – all new receivers (standalone or in a new car), to be equipped with DAB+. Distributors, manufacturers and the wider industry are now planning for this important transition in France, which accounts for over 5 million new receiver sales each year.

2019 is not just another year for DAB+ in France — as demonstrated by the launch of DAB+ in Nantes, it is a pivotal period for broadcasters to deploy DAB+, and offer more choice to continuously wider pool of listeners.

For the receiver manufacturer and car industries, it is a transition period that will allow to plan the production of receivers in 2020 and beyond and make the most of the opportunities offered by DAB+.

For the industry at large, collaboration will be the keyword to prepare and synchronize a much needed communication campaigns that will help educate the only person that matters — the listener.

[1] https://worlddabeureka.org/2019/01/10/radio-in-france-headed-towards-a-digital-future/

[2] Bayonne, La Rochelle, Pau, Besançon, Dijon, Annecy, Annemasse, Chambéry, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne, Avignon, Toulon, Orléans, Poitiers, Tours

[3] Amiens, Angers, Brest, Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Mans, Limoges, Metz, Montpellier, Nancy, Nîmes, Perpignan, Reims, Troyes et Rennes.

[4] France Inter, France Culture, France Info, France Musique, FIP et Mouv’ ; Fun Radio, RTL, RTL2 ; Chérie, Nostalgie, NRJ, Rire et Chansons ; Europe 1, RFM, Virgin Radio ; BFM Business, BFM Radio (new), RMC ; Air Zen (new) ; Latina, M Radio, Radio Classique, Skyrock

[5] https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000248397

[6] https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037856950&categorieLien=id

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WorldCast Enhances Audemat DAB Probe

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 09:54

WorldCast Systems has enriched its Audemat DAB Probe for monitoring DAB, DAB+ and DMB radio applications.

Designed to monitor DAB signal quality and service continuity at the transmitter site or in a coverage area, the Audemat DAB Probe enables remote monitoring of a set list of channels. It allows users to verify the conformity of their DAB network with both legislation and their broadcasting needs.

[Read: What’s New With RDS2]

Installed in SFN or MFN networks, the solution features a web interface, alarm notification by email or SNMP traps, and is equipped with telemetry board via ScriptEasy and audio output connectors.

According to the company, the software tools provide a deep signal and content analysis with impulse response representation, TII, audio or ETI recording. What’s more, adds WorldCast, the unit is designed for optimal monitoring of the user experience (QoE) and includes visual slideshows, dynamic label and services (DLS) display to enable users to hear and see in real-time the same content as their audience of listeners.

Improvements to the Audemat DAB Probe include the decoding of FIG tables for a more detailed analysis of the streaming content received; and the display of real audio and PAD bit rates, so broadcasters can visualize the real audio quality and have the possibility to listen to radio remotely using native codecs (MP2 or AAC+) or with an MP3 compression of 8kbps to 320 kbps.

In addition, an optional card for ETI output is now available for a connection to analysis equipment or recordings. And the management of telemetry I/Os to monitor and control the on-site measurement equipment or probes is possible.

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Company Hopes to Make “Magic” for Radio

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 09:43
Clip Interactive believes a meaningful number of U.S. radio listeners would be willing to pay $12 each month to hear ad-free local on-demand radio.

It’s not too late for radio broadcasters to get a piece of the subscription audio pie. So says streaming audio technology company Clip Interactive, which wants to build a business by helping radio do just that.

“The current combined U.S. subscription revenues of Apple Music, Pandora, SiriusXM and Spotify are worth $11.5 billion annually,” said Bill Freund of Clip Interactive this spring. Had U.S. radio developed its own on-demand subscription streaming audio service a decade or more ago, Freund added, they could have grabbed a big slice of that. 

“Such a service could include commercial-free content, plus all of the personalities, local information, sports and all the other entertainment that broadcast radio provides,” he said. “They could have really leveraged this space and made money from it.”

The opportunity to make money from ad-free/on-demand subscription audio is not lost, as far as Clip Interactive is concerned. The Colorado-based company has developed a paid radio streaming app called Magic. What Freund calls a “technology demonstration app” was released to some broadcasters the final week of June. 

The company believes at least 10 to 15% of radio listeners are willing to pay $12 each month to hear ad-free local radio. According to Freund, even that is a conservative estimate. 

“Actually 32% of 2,000 listeners surveyed in a Harris Poll said they’d be willing to pay $12 a month for commercial-free on-demand broadcast radio streaming,” he said. This breaks down as 45% of SiriusXM, 43% of internet radio listeners and 29% of AM/FM listeners. 

$12 PER MONTH

It would be expensive for individual broadcasters and even radio groups to develop their own subscription radio services. But using a Magic-style app, Clip says, listeners could replace on-air commercials with favorite songs/talk segments, request local traffic and weather on demand, and yet stay synchronized to a station’s on-air transmission, whether listening directly through their smartphones or smart speakers or in the car. 

This is why Clip wants to aggregate all U.S. radio streams onto the Magic platform, a significant difference from iHeartRadio’s offering that only aggregates iHeartMedia streams and podcasts. 

Bill Freund

Freund explains, “It is really like the radio dial for all existing stations, only without commercials.” Freund also highlighted the simplicity of the Magic user interface, which will utilize voice controls to skip and request content. Finally, Freund says that the commercials will not just be skipped but will be “covered by new content,” such as other radio segments, music discovery created by program directors, podcast clips or perhaps even user-generated audio.

[From 2015 — Clip Interactive Launches Independent Broadcaster Program]

The company will handle the heavy lifting involved with ad/song substitution and skipping, on-demand content requests and stream synchronization. The mixing would be handled by Magic’s artificial intelligence, which would act as a curator/DJ to ensure smooth transitions. The Magic AI would also keep tabs on each user’s content choices, to suggest song/genre choices to them.   

“Say the user was listening to their local Cumulus CHR station, and that station went into a commercial set,” said Freund. “Our AI could be programmed to switch the user to another Cumulus station in the same genre, seamlessly switching them back to the local station once the commercial set was over.”

The bottom line for Magic subscribers would be ad-free broadcast radio that they could let run uninterrupted or control at will using voice commands. Either way, the commercial sets that many listeners find irritating would be a thing of the past, at a cost of $12/month.

BUSINESS CASE

The fact that some of radio’s listeners would now be tuned into Magic rather than over-the-air broadcasts would not substantially affect radio’s OTA advertising revenues, Freund contends, but would give these stations access to subscription revenues that didn’t exist before.

How much money each station could make would depend on how many subscribers on the Magic platform select their audio streams, and for how long. This is due to the business structure of the Magic platform: All of the subscriber revenues are combined into a pool, whose net is split between Clip Interactive and its member stations.

For its portion of the take, the company will handle all aspects of the Magic playout platform, including paying royalties and all other fees on the broadcasters’ behalf. The Magic platform makes it possible for broadcasters to earn revenues from subscription radio without doing anything beyond providing a stream to the company.

Clip Interactive is promoting its Magic platform to U.S. broadcasters and sponsored a session at the recent NAB Show to spread the word. The message Freund wants to get across to broadcasters: “Magic would allow them to get a share of the subscription audio market, without having to do anything on their part.” With $11.5 billion in play annually, is it a business case worth considering? Freund says it’s currently working on a Nasdaq initial public offering slated for September, concurrent with the release of an alpha pilot of Magic, during which the company plans to work with its first partner broadcaster. Later in 2019, Magic’s beta version will be released, and Freund says the company “hope[s] to expand to any broadcaster who is interested.”

ABOUT CLIP INTERACTIVE

According to its website, Clip Interactive develops “technologies that identify, unitize and deliver audio content to consumers so they can listen to what they want, when they want.” Among its offerings, Clip coordinates placement of digital ads with on-air ads using machine learning algorithms; and it aims to offer “a comprehensive marketing technology platform that can target and measure like digital.” 

The firm was founded by Jeff Thramann. Michael Lawless is CEO. In early 2018, Clip Interactive announced it hoped eventually to become a public company.  

Bill Freund is EVP and chief business development officer as well as an equity partner. He is perhaps most familiar to the industry as co-founder of Triton Digital. He has also worked at Podcast One, Westwood One, Katz Media Group and AM/FM-Chancellor, and he founded a capital advisory company. 

The post Company Hopes to Make “Magic” for Radio appeared first on Radio World.

FCC Puts SiriusXM EAS Testing on Par With DBS

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 19:55

The frequency and breadth of EAS alert testing on SiriusXM radio will change following an FCC order. The commission decided that Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) and Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) services are sufficiently similar in function and technology that their testing requirements should match.

Specifically, the new testing requirements require SiriusXM to log receipt of weekly test of EAS alerts and to transmit a monthly test on 10% of all of its channels, varying which channels are tested month to month so all channels are tested throughout the year.

This change has its roots in an EAS First Report and Order filed in 2005 that extended EAS alert testing requirements for satellite radio. SiriusXM filed a petition that same year, arguing that proposed requirements for weekly and monthly EAS tests on all of its channels would “mislead subscribers to believe that satellite radio operators transmit state and local EAS alerts on all channels,” rather than just on previously identified XM Instant Traffic, Weather & Alert channels. Sirius instead asked that those monthly and weekly tests only occur on the traffic, weather and alert channels.

Sirius later made an ex parte filing in 2014 arguing that circumstances had changed since its petition, and that the EAS testing rules for SDARS providers should be similar to that of DBS. It said the weekly and monthly tests had “imposed an excessive, disproportionate and unnecessary burden on SiriusXM and its subscribers.” It also cited that its breaks are not uniform across all of its channels, making it difficult to naturally insert a time for a wide-ranging test.

Following additional filings and public notices in 2017 and 2018, the FCC has concluded that it is appropriate to make SDARS rules for EAS testing comparable to those for DBS and in the public interest.

Read the full FCC order here.

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The post FCC Puts SiriusXM EAS Testing on Par With DBS appeared first on Radio World.

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