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IBC Sneak Peek: Tieline Launches TieLink Traversal Server

Radio World - Tue, 07/30/2019 - 03:58

Tieline will launch the new TieLink traversal server at IBC2019.

Designed to facilitate simple codec discovery, NAT traversal, and connections throughout an entire network, TieLink, suitable for large networks or small stations, simplifies IP network configuration with Tieline codecs.

According to the company, TieLink is a secure, independently hosted global server network, with multiple global backups. It centralizes Tieline codec contact list management and provides self-discovery of codecs within customized “call-groups.” Users can view the online or offline status of all codecs in a group and whether it is connected or disconnected. It also provides NAT traversal to simplify connections.

[Get your product info in front of show attendees by nominating it for a IBC2019 Best of Show Award]

TieLink operates over most wired and wireless IP networks. Plus, adds Tieline, it’s as simple as making a phone call to get connected. It is free to use with all ViA, Genie and Merlin codecs and TieLink Traversal Server licenses can be purchased for Bridge-IT and Bridge-IT XTRA codecs.

What’s more, when combined with the Cloud Codec Controller, which is designed to manage an entire fleet of Tieline codecs remotely, engineers can configure, connect and monitor all remote codecs from the studio more easily than ever before.

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The company will demonstrate TieLink and the Cloud Codec Controller on its booth during the show.

IBC Stand: 8.E74

Info: www.tieline.com

The post IBC Sneak Peek: Tieline Launches TieLink Traversal Server appeared first on Radio World.

Broadcast Actions

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Pleadings

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Sirius XM Gets EAS Technical Waiver on Four Channels

Radio World - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 20:14

Sirius XM has obtained a waiver from the FCC to use compression technology on four of its audio channels, even though this means EAS header codes on those channels won’t activate downstream decoders monitoring such alert transmissions. But the FCC says the waiver will do no harm.

The commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau granted the waiver to Sirius XM to authorize transmission of certain truncated Emergency Alert System alert data on its four Instant Traffic, Weather and Alert channels.

[Read: Stations Prep for National EAS Test]

The commission said the waiver will have no impact on the EAS’s functionality or operations, in part because no EAS participant is currently authorized to monitor those channels, and because keeping even compressed EAS alerts on the Instant Traffic, Weather and Alert channels serves the public interest.

The ruling is a technical and legalistic one that will be of interest mostly to alerting experts and engineers who follow the nuances of EAS infrastructure. But for them it’s fun reading, including the footnotes. Find it here.

“National EAS alerts will continue to be transmitted over all of Sirius XM’s channels, including the four Instant Traffic, Weather and Alert channels using compression, and will be audible to Sirius XM’s subscribers (and nonsubscribers on its non-subscriber channels),” the commission emphasized, adding that the satellite system will continue to serve as a PEP station, initiating national EAS alerts encoded pursuant to the EAS Protocol on its other channels, including free preview channels that are authorized as monitoring sources for alerts.

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The post Sirius XM Gets EAS Technical Waiver on Four Channels appeared first on Radio World.

Alford Antenna at AES Show

Radio World - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 17:44

Attendees of the upcoming AES show in New York will have a special treat — on display will be an element from the “Alford Antenna,” a pioneering master antenna which ringed the observation deck near the top of the Empire State Building from 1965 until April this year.

[Read: Empire State Building to Celebrate Antenna’s 50th Anniversary]

The element has been donated to the AES.

An element of the Empire State Building’s Alford Antenna like this one will be on display at AES New York 2019.

“The Alford Antenna is an important part of what made broadcasting as we know it today possible, and the Empire State Building is excited to share this special piece of history with the Audio Engineering Society,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust.

[Read: Under a Cocoon, ESB Plans for New FM Era]

A release explains the significance of the antenna, designed by Andrew Alford: “When the Alford master FM antenna was installed around the 102nd-floor observation deck of the Empire State Building in 1965, it was a revolutionary development in broadcast technology. Instead of operating at lower power from various rooftops and hilltops around the city, for the first time multiple FM stations could operate at full power from a single shared antenna system atop what was then the tallest building in the U.S., carrying the signals of more than a dozen top New York radio stations to tens of millions of listeners in the tristate area.”

The AES New York 2019 show runs Oct. 16–19 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.

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Future, the Parent Company of Radio World, Acquires SmartBrief

Radio World - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 12:45

Future plc will acquire SmartBrief, expanding Future’s presence in the United States and in business-to-business media.

Future is based in the U.K. and describes itself as a global platform for specialist media. In 2018 it launched an effort to be a bigger presence in B2B as well as grow its U.S. footprint when it acquired NewBay Media, titles of which included Radio World and sibling publications, such as TV Technology and Broadcasting & Cable.

Now, Future told investors, the SmartBrief acquisition enhances its proprietary technology stack through the addition of automated email marketing and more than triples its B2B subscriber database.

The acquisition is expected to be completed this week.

“Future is dedicated to building specialist brands, and SmartBrief complements their global B2B portfolio with highly relevant and credible newsletter content,” Future stated in the announcement.

The total price of the deal is up to $65 million, depending in part on subsequent performance, according to an investment summary. The initial cost is $32.2 million cash plus $12.8 million in shares. The majority of SmartBrief’s current shares is owned by three founders, one of whom, Rick Stamberger, is active in the business as CEO; Future said he will remain with SmartBrief. The other founders were Dan O’Brien and Tom Wheeler. Zillah Byng-Thorne is CEO of Future.

SmartBrief, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a digital media publisher of targeted business news and information by industry. It produces news products for trade associations, professional societies and corporations. It is familiar to many in broadcasting as publisher of NAB SmartBrief in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters.

In making the acquisition, Future noted that SmartBrief owns a database of 5.8 million subscribers “made up of senior executives, thought leaders and industry professionals,” and that it creates and distributes more than 250 digital newsletters.

The post Future, the Parent Company of Radio World, Acquires SmartBrief appeared first on Radio World.

UX Clash in the Dash

Radio World - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 09:28

The in-vehicle user experience group at consulting firm Strategy Analytics recently surveyed consumers in six major countries about their use of audio infotainment sources in the car. Among its headlines was that “radio usage is in fast decline across the U.S., Europe and China, even though in the West it still remains important for some key consumer segments.”

Radio World invited Roger Lanctot, the company’s associate director in the Global Automotive Practice, to comment about that conclusion, other results of the study and their implications for the radio industry.

Roger Lanctot writes, “Both Google and Apple are themselves groping for the ideal user interface.”

The ongoing and intensifying struggle for control of in-vehicle dashboard displays between projected smartphone content and embedded terrestrial radio sources (and satellite, in the U.S.) has taken on an East vs. West tinge with a demographic edge. 

U.S. and E.U. listeners continue to support broadcast radio sources, while drivers in China are shifting en masse to smartphone-based listening of streaming or owned content while driving.

At stake is determining what the dominant source of content in the car will be over the long term and, eventually, in automated or shared transportation scenarios. Surveying consumers across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy and China, Strategy Analytics found that after several years of explosive interest, consumer appetite for smartphone mirroring systems has finally levelled off.

As more mirroring systems come to market in high-volume cars, and more non-early-adopting segments are exposed to them, their limitations are becoming apparent. Despite this, most embedded systems still do not provide better user experiences than these mirrored systems, according to Strategy Analytics researchers.

FINDINGS

The key findings of the Strategy Analytics study include:

  • Radio usage is in fast decline across the U.S., Europe and China, even though in the West it still remains important for some key consumer segments;
  • Car owners are sending mixed signals on the next-best “must have” after radio. Flat user interfaces that allow easy access to all audio/media sources will be more important than ever for the next model turn;
  • In the search for a successor to the CD player, streaming media has shown a remarkable surge in usage and interest, relative to owned media on portable devices;
  • Not surprisingly, older demographic segments continue to lean toward broadcast radio content, while younger populations prefer streaming or owned media.

The reason this matters so much to broadcasters and carmakers is the reality that as much as 50% of radio listening today occurs in cars. Understanding the in-car experience of radio listening or, rather, all listening is essential to understanding how consumers are interacting with content sources in an increasingly connected world.

Strategy Analytics finds that in terms of daily in-car use, streaming music services and portable owned music have overtaken AM/FM radio in China. In Western markets, AM/FM radio is still the most-used in-car source, though in the U.S., satellite radio and streaming music are relatively close behind.

 

According to the study, “Radio still rules, but car owners are sending mixed signals on the next-best ‘must have.’”

Google with its Android Auto smartphone streaming platform for use in cars and Apple’s CarPlay are seeing rapid uptake in the market with availability rapidly approaching saturation in the U.S. and E.U.

While this is occurring, digital radio is seeing its own robust rollout in the U.S. and a long overdue uptake — country by country — in Europe. Combining all of these trends means that carmakers have their work cut out for them facilitating access to new content sources with little or no historic guidance in the distraction-laden automotive environment.

[A Peek at Tomorrow’s Car Radios]

The confrontation between broadcast, streaming and brought in content comes down to a user interface exercise involving software, operating systems and a substantial toolkit including steering wheel controls, hardware controllers, touch screens, gesture recognition, speech recognition, drop-down menus and digital assistants. Each interface has its strengths for particular applications, which must be correlated to consumer preferences, which vary.

Apple and Google have taken strong stances in seeking to create uniform in-vehicle experiences across the displays of different carmakers. In fact, both companies now have certification control over how their systems are deployed and displayed in cars.

It is almost comical to note that Apple recently shifted its UX toward a more flexible display capable of simultaneously showing navigation and content sources — more along the lines of Android Auto’s look and feel. In the process, Apple signaled its intention to move away from on-screen icons — oriented toward touchscreen use.

Google, meanwhile, cast aside its dynamic Google Now-style interface in favor of a more “old-style” Apple CarPlay icons-on-screen look.  

The clear message for carmakers is that both Google and Apple are themselves groping for the ideal user interface.

TURNING POINT

For carmakers and broadcasters, the onset of digital radio (HD Radio in the U.S. and DAB in Europe) marks an important turning point and an opportunity to redefine the radio experience. European broadcasters are introducing listeners to narrowband content as DAB enables an expanded assortment of broadcast channels. U.S. broadcasters, too, are expanding their broadcast portfolio.

But digital radio enables an additional range of capabilities suited to the new connected listening environment presented by automobiles. Digital radio comes with more metadata identifying stations and artists and enabling search for the first time.

The onset of digital radio has also opened the door to hybrid radio experiences capable of switching between streaming and broadcast sources for the same station. Digital radio also comes with a healthy dose of driving information encompassing everything from traffic and weather to local gas prices.

The key to unlocking the value of digital radio — which is intended to level the playing field with streaming and satellite sources — will be the user experience in the car. Global carmakers today are tasked with determining how to use the array of existing user interfaces and on-screen cues to facilitate a re-engagement of all demographic segments with broadcast content.

The first step forward for carmakers and broadcasters will be integrating broadcast sources with mirrored smartphone systems and digital assistants, such as Alexa. The next step will be to refine the built-in radio interfaces to make exploring the expanding range of broadcast content easier and more fun to use. 

Radio is changing, and carmakers and broadcasters must change with it.

Roger Lanctot is a connected car and mobility services expert with 30 years of technology research and consulting background. He is a frequent blogger at www.linkedin.com/in/rogerclanctot/detail/recent-activity/posts/. He will speak in late August at Radiodays Asia in Kuala Lumpur, see www.radiodaysasia.com.

The post UX Clash in the Dash appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Sneak Peek: WorldCast Ecreso FM 3kW Ensures Efficiency, Redundancy

Radio World - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 03:46

At IBC2019 WorldCast Systems will be showcasing its new flagship FM transmitter, the Ecreso FM 3kW.

The company says the unit is an “advanced solution for broadcasting audio quality and offers the benefits of low operating costs.”

Ecreso FM 3kW is a fully digital transmitter for analog FM housed in a modular 3U chassis design.

According to WorldCast Systems, the Ecreso FM 3kW allows broadcasters to benefit from efficiency of up to 76% thanks to its 6th generation MOSFET and new planar design, built-in redundancy and easy maintenance with hot-swappable parts. In addition, system features include a direct-to-channel digital modulator, dynamic RDS encoder, five-band sound processor, MPX/Composite over AES, and patented Artificial Intelligence for FM radio, SmartFM.

[Get your product info in front of show attendees by nominating it for a IBC2019 Best of Show Award]

With SmartFM, broadcasters enhance the listening experience for the most sensitive content, save 10 to 40% on energy costs, and reduce their CO2 consumption. 

IBC Stand 8.C58
Info: www.worldcastsystems.com

 

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The post IBC Sneak Peek: WorldCast Ecreso FM 3kW Ensures Efficiency, Redundancy appeared first on Radio World.

Summer of Products 2019 Resurfaces

Radio World - Sat, 07/27/2019 - 16:00

It’s new equipment season — get ready!

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

Check out this installment of products.

Lawo Power Core Mixing Engine 

The Power Core was initially introduced as a DSP mixing engine and modular I/O system for Lawo’s Ruby radio consoles, but, the company says, many broadcasters were using the system as a gateway between legacy audio formats and standards-based IP media networks. 

This was possible because “The ST2110-30 standard ensures seamless interoperability of audio and video equipment in combined radio/TV broadcast plants,” it said in a release.

New features recently added to Power Core include: Dante card with dual-redundant ports and sample rate conversion; dual-redundant front-panel SFP ports for AoIP;  choice of optical or copper network connections;  ST2022-7 seamless protection switching; and twin active links to guard against audio loss.

Expandable, Power Core lets clients add more capacity with eight rear-panel card slots, which allow “a la carte” addition of analog, AES3, MADI and Dante interfaces, and the Studio I/O card that provides mic inputs and headphone and monitor outputs, the company says.

Info: www.lawo.com

Summit Technology SideCAR Logger

SideCAR, developed by Summit Technology Group, is a software-based logger. 

The company says that it, “designed SideCAR with a station’s engineering and management teams in mind to provide a means of regulatory compliance logging.” Besides compliance duties, Summit President Paul Stewart says, “Reporters and producers were using the product to create best-of-show airchecks, podcasts, or simply upload a select piece of audio to their website.”

SideCAR uses ENCO’s enCaption speech-to-text engine and its performance should be near real-time, according to the company.

The company adds that it should integrate with AoIP equipment of many, if not most, manufacturers. It is also compatible with automation systems. SideCAR is scalable from a single station to networks.

Info: www.summittechgroup.com

Solid State Logic SiX Mixer

The Solid State Logic SiX is described as “a condensed professional console for use in the studio, post-production, on stage and for podcasting,” SiX packs some big desk features into a package small enough to fit into a backpack. It could find a home with radio production studios looking for high-quality audio production.

SiX offers two recording channels with SSL’s SuperAnalogue mic preamps, a one-knob version of the classic SSL Channel Compressor, a new two-band Channel EQ, inserts and 100 mm faders.

There is a two-knob version of the SSL’s G-Series Bus Compressor on the main mix bus and the company’s Listen Mic Compressor on the talkback. In mixdown mode, the unit can also serve as a 12-channel summing system.

Niall Feldman, SSL director of new products, noted, “The big challenge then was how to deliver those values and features in a compact product. Working with a great team and focusing on audio quality, workflow and flexibility, the resultant SiX mixer is one our proudest achievements.”

“SiX is everything an SSL console should be, but at a price point that makes the SSL audio pedigree more accessible,” opined James Gordon, CEO of Audiotonix, the company that owns SSL. “When Fusion launched last year, we hinted it was the start of a new line of studio offerings and SiX is step two of that commitment.”

Info: www.solidstatelogic.com

Point Source CO2 Confidence Microphones

Tested on live stage, the CO2 Confidence Collection microphones from Point Source Audio are dual-element wireless microphone with a number of features for broadcast use.

Besides redundant dual elements, they are IP 57 waterproof-rated with a nearly “unbreakable” that can be rotated almost 360 degrees — all featured in a slimline design. The omnidirectional waterproof elements are 3 mm and matched feature precisely matched elements to a near identical ±0.5 dB difference, according to the company. They can be nested to appear as a single element.

They are available in headset, lavalier and ear-mount and in black, beige and brown. Connections to wireless hardware are made with the company’s locking X-Connectors.

Info: www.point-sourceaudio.com

Arrakis Systems DARC Surface 12

The DARC Surface 12, from Arrakis Systems, is a 12-fader control surface.

It is designed to work with Arrakis’ DARC Virtual Console controller software and an AoIP network. It is Dante- and AES67-compatible.

Included is an LED meter bridge. Small OLEDs are used for channel displays and LED switches for switches. Faders are conductive plastic.

There are two output busses. Arrakis’ Simple IP AoIP I/O hardware package is available for the DARC Surface 12 though it will work with most any AoIP hardware.

Info: http://arrakis-systems.com

Digigram Iqoya Talk Codec 

The Digigram Iqoya Talk is a portable IP audio codec for remote live operation, featuring a smartphone-like user interface allowing remote reporters to perform key actions in just two clicks. Operators can manage live reporting or commentaries with studio-quality interviews for up to four journalists and guests. The company adds that the user interface is designed for journalists not engineers.

Digigram says that the Iqoya Talk comes as a part of a comprehensive package, including studio and OB van applications, a range of four rackmountable IP audio codecs, or the company’s flagship multichannel audio IP codec for a large number of streams.

It also features a smartphone application and accessories for mobility; a web codec solution to connect a guest from anywhere, anytime; a suite of web applications to allow technicians to control and manage the entire fleet of codecs; and a secured infrastructure that enables interconnectivity between all the IP codecs.

Info: www.digigram.com

V-Soft Probe 5 RF Signal Propagation Measurement Program

This latest version of Probe will now process at 64 bits. That should increase its calculating power to take advantage of computer RAM greater than 2 GB.

The company says that users can configure every aspect of Probe 5’s maps including down to the street level to provide high detail. It also says that features such as, highway colors, line-thickness, road markers, city names, lake and ocean colors, font names and sizes are fully selectable. It features USGS topographic maps.

The program now includes “industry standard” NSMA OHLOSS propagation algorithm. Incumbent propagation methods include: Other propagation methods are standard FCC, Longley-Rice, Okumura/Hata/Davidson and COST-231/Hata, point-to-point path profile analysis, line of sight/shadow, the FCC’s PTP and PTP2 methods and ILLR Satellite Home Viewers Act.

Info: www.v-soft.com

The post Summer of Products 2019 Resurfaces appeared first on Radio World.

AM Levied Forfeiture of $25,000 Following Procedural “Shenanigans”

Radio World - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 22:10

A 2016 FCC forfeiture charge of $25,000 for not properly maintaining and lighting two antenna structures against Pentecostal Temple Development Corp., the licensee for AM station WGBN in Lincoln Borough, Pa., has been made official as a result of what FCC describes as “procedurally deficient shenanigans” in a forfeiture order filed on July 23.

Following the originally proposed fine on Dec. 30, 2016, for violating section 303(q) of the Communications Act of 1934 — relating to the station’s tower lighting issues — Pentecostal Temple would have recurring filing errors in the procedures and possible payment of the fine. According to the commission’s account, the company failed to file a proper response to the original notice and failed to send copies of its Petition for Reconsideration of Notice to the FCC as instructed, resulting in neither documents being processed and returned to Pentecostal Temple.

The licensee also had issues when it came to setting up planned installment payments for the fine, failing to send it to the FCC’s chief financial officer, the commission said. While it was eventually forwarded to the CFO, an installment plan was never executed.

In addition, no response to the Notice to the Bureau was filed, as Pentecostal Temple mistakenly filed to the Office of Managing Director. The FCC notes, however, that even if it had been addressed appropriately, the filing still came after the 30-day window originally established.

These missteps led to the FCC to affirm the $25,000 fine against Pentecostal Temple, which it has 30 days to pay. If not paid within that time, the case may be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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The post AM Levied Forfeiture of $25,000 Following Procedural “Shenanigans” appeared first on Radio World.

Applications

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 22:00
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Pleadings

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 22:00
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Actions

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FCC Media Bureau News Items - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 22:00
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Letters: AM Doesn’t Have to Go Away

Radio World - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 21:41

Jon Yinger and Dan Ramos have both predicted the AM radio band will be sunset by the FCC. I would hope that they are wrong. AM radio is still a viable method off reaching out to a broad area of the country.

Here on California’s Central Coast clear channel stations can be heard from San Francisco and Los Angeles. From 25 kW KNZR in Bakersfield to 50 kW KMJ, KFIG and even 5 kW KGST in Fresno come in with listenable signals albeit with some background noise.

[Read: Where Is Terrestrial Radio Going?]

Night-time the listening range can extend to several surrounding states. These stations, especially the 50 kW operators provide continuous signals while driving long distances. In times of an emergency like widespread power outages they could be the only information source available.

During a two-county power outage a couple of years ago the only source in information came from KNX in Los Angeles. All the local stations were off the air. Cellphones were limited to text messaging and for five hours we sat by candlelight not knowing what was going on. Fortunately the local hams started relaying information and after almost two hours KNX reporters finally had reports from PG&E.

[Read: Readers Respond to Yinger]

I don’t think AM radio should go away. I think the local low-wattage operators should fold up shop. They don’t appear to be good stewards of broadcasting. Many times they are off the air or they have a carrier but no modulation for hours at a time. One weekend a station’s automation hung up and aside from a backfeed of news from the network on the hour there was no program material or station ID for two days until I called them on Monday morning, when the receptionist arrived. No one was monitoring the operation and no live answering service.

This kind of stuff goes on all the time. Why bother taking up space? We need to give the big stations more power and encourage the low-budget operators to leave the band.

Jan Lipski

Lompoc, Calif.

Radio World invites industry-oriented commentaries and responses. Send to Radio World.

 

The post Letters: AM Doesn’t Have to Go Away appeared first on Radio World.

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