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How to Get Rid of That Mouse in the House

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 11:40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Bisset has spent 50 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles western U.S. radio sales for the Telos Alliance. He holds CPBE certification with the Society of Broadcast Engineers and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.

The post How to Get Rid of That Mouse in the House appeared first on Radio World.

From IBC: Tieline Unveils Gateway Multichannel IP Codec

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 09:11

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

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

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

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

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

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

HD Radio Trial Set to Begin in India

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 08:19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post HD Radio Trial Set to Begin in India appeared first on Radio World.

In the Matter of Promoting Diversification in the Broadcasting Services

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00
Order extending filing window and deadline for filing of FCC Form 323 and 323-E


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00

Broadcast Actions

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00

Podcast #211 – Surveying Community Radio’s Deep Archives

Radio Survivor - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 19:43

More than 600 community radio recordings from 1965 – 1986 are archived at the University of Maryland. These tapes were shared through a program exchange operated by the National Federation of Community broadcasters. The breadth of programming contained in these programs is remarkable, and underscores the still-active mission of the NFCB to support and promote the participation of women and people of color at all levels of non-commercial broadcasting.

Laura Schnitker is the curator of the Broadcast Archives at the University of Maryland, joining the show to tell us more about this special archive of programming, highlighting some of the gems in the collection.

This episode of the program was recorded and originally aired in September of 2018 and is being rebroadcast this week. The original episode number was 158

Show Notes:

The post Podcast #211 – Surveying Community Radio’s Deep Archives appeared first on Radio Survivor.

KRK Rokit G4 Monitors Keep It Clean

Radio World - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 12:31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rokit 5 G4 and Rokit 8 G4

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

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

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

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

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

AoIP, Cloud and Digital Radio in Focus at IBC

Radio World - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 04:10

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

Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Center is home to IBC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Bureau Grants Google Fiber's Amended Petition for Limited Waiver of Accessible User Interfaces Requirements

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 20:00
Media Bureau Grants Google Fiber's Request for Limited Waiver of Accessible User Interfaces Rules

Broadcast Actions

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 20:00

In the Matter of the Applications of Tribune Media Company (Transferor) and Nexstar Media Group, Inc. (Transferee) et al

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 20:00
FCC adopts Order granting consent to the transfer of control of Tribune Media Company licensee subsidiaries to Nexstar Media Group, Inc., and granting divestiture and other related applications

Smart Speakers in the Car: Challenge or Opportunity?

Radio World - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 18:36

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

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

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

[Read: Smart Speakers Grow in Importance]

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

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

Source: NuVoodo Ratings Prospects Study 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radio Station Visit #160: KCR at San Diego State University

Radio Survivor - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 18:07

During my full day of radio station tours in the San Diego area in June, 2019, I visited college radio station KCR at San Diego State University. On a sprawling campus with a student population of more than 36,000, the station was a bit tricky to find. After a few missed turns, I parked atop an 8-floor garage and made my way the KCR studio in the school’s Communication building.

San Diego State University. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

KCR’s General Manager Ahmad Dixon greeted me, giving me the grand tour of the main KCR studio and also led me on a quick jaunt to see a satellite building that serves as a production studio and social hub for the station.

Sign for college radio station KCR’s live studio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Dating back to 1969, KCR is in the midst of its 50th anniversary celebrations this year. KCR has never had an FCC-licensed over-the-air terrestrial signal; but it does have a very interesting, interrelated relationship with a long-time public radio station on campus.

Back of KCR T-shirt. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Radio activity began in 1960 at the then-named San Diego State College, when educational radio station KEBS launched as part of the school’s speech department. A 2009 obituary for founder Ken Jones, recounts that,

Jones was the brain behind KEBS-FM (Educational Broadcasting in San Diego) which later became KPBS. It was the first radio station licensed to a California State University campus. In the mid-1950s, as a speech communications professor at San Diego State College (now SDSU), Jones began his work toward starting an educational radio station on campus. KEBS began broadcasting on Sept. 12, 1960 from the Speech Arts Building. The original schedule was only two-and-a-half hours, five days a week.”

Retro KCR College Radio photo on T-shirt. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Although students were involved in educational radio station KEBS, it was not a student envisioned or student-led program, which ultimately prompted the eventual founding of student radio station KCR. On the KCR Alumni website, Jerry Zullo shares the story of how KCR came to be:

The story starts in 1966.  At that time, Radio-TV majors (later called Telecommunications & Film) were required to complete a Senior Project in order to graduate.  A student named Martin Gienke decided to do a feasibility study, complete with recommendations, on setting up a student radio station at San Diego State…

At that time, KEBS-FM (later KPBS-FM) was considered a ‘student station;’ that is, it was operated by students who were forced to work there as part of their Radio-TV curriculum.  KEBS broadcast with 780 watts with an antenna on the roof of the Speech Arts Building. We were on the air Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., playing classical music and boring taped ‘educational’ programs.  Hardly anybody’s real idea of a student station.

Martin roped me into the project.  He’d do the study, and then my Senior Project would be to get the station on the air.  The ideal solution would have been to take over KEBS and turn it into a real student station, but after discussion with faculty we knew that wasn’t going to happen.”

In KCR engineering room. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

I was especially intrigued to read that in the 1960s, Martin Gienke and Jerry Zullo embarked on tours of “every college radio station in California.” Zullo explains:

We did interviews, found out what worked, what didn’t work, how the stations were set up, formats, funding, pitfalls to be careful of, etc.  In the end, we ended up with a report about three inches thick. The final recommendation was to make San Diego State’s student station a carrier current station, using electrical wiring in the buildings to carry the signal.”

Vinyl records at college radio station KCR in 2019. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

A few years later, in 1969, the dreams of a student-run carrier current station were realized, with transmitters in dorms all over campus and the AM broadcasts even leaking into the nearby community. Zullo writes,

We started engineering tests and found that not only did we cover all the dorms, but the signal sort of leaked (kind of on purpose) and we covered the entire campus.  In fact, if you were driving, you could listen to KCR on Interstate 8 between San Diego Stadium and College Avenue.  On Montezuma Road and over to El Cajon Boulevard, you could hear the station from about 54th Street to 63rd Street.”

1981 KCR airplay survey. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Meanwhile, educational radio station KEBS-FM transitioned to a public radio station and was one of the charter members of NPR, even changing its call letters to KPBS in 1970.

Posters and photos on wall at KCR College Radio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Today, KCR still has an AM signal, broadcasting at 1610 AM for about a mile around campus (the AM location has changed over the years) and can also be heard on Cox Cable. Most listeners tune in to the station’s internet stream, however. Additionally, KCR has a strong video presence, with web cameras in the studio and a thriving YouTube channel.

Vintage ad for KCR’s cable signals. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

I began my tour in KCR’s on-air studio in the Communication building. General Manager Ahmad Dixon pointed out various highlights, including the brand new, bright red fabric soundproofing material lining the walls. The station was DJ-less during the visit and “QC” (aka quality control) was playing in place of a live human. Curated by the music director, QC is the name for the mix of music, including indie and local material, that runs on automation.

KCR College Radio studio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Student-run live shows at KCR are “totally freeform,” according to Dixon. While DJs have creative license to play what they’d like from the station’s library or from their own collections, they are encouraged to play “odd, esoteric, non-mainstream” material, Dixon explained. The station also airs a mix of talk shows and sports programming (with a “hyperfocus” on San Diego State sports).

KCR College Radio’s live studio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

A talk show fanatic, Dixon joined KCR as a freshman (he’s a senior in Fall 2019) and relished the opportunities to experiment on the air. He reminisced a bit, telling me that he’d spun Kids Bop records, played vinyl backwards, and improvised a song while on-air.

KCR College Radio General Manager Ahmad Dixon in the studio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

These days it’s a bit more challenging to play vinyl on KCR, although some DJs bring in their own turntables to do so. The station still has an extensive vinyl collection, housed in lockers along with some older CDs.

CDs at KCR. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Interestingly, KCR has two distinct locations on campus- the main studio in the Communications building and an additional studio across campus. As Dixon led me to the second space, he explained that the station has been wanting to beef up its podcasting efforts and the additional production-focused studio is helping with that.

KCR On Demand podcast request form. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

KCR was able to take over an unused Daily Aztec student newspaper office when the publication reduced its space in the building. Today, it serves as an office, hang-out space and production facility for KCR. The main room is spacious, with seating, desks, computers, filing cabinets, and lots of historical items, including photos, and old KCR publications. Behind a door is a studio stocked with audio equipment.

Old decorated boombox at KCR. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

With about 150 members of KCR, the station is busy both on-air and off-air, with radio shows, an active blog, and video content. In the past it also produced a magazine called “Dead Air,” which I caught glimpses of on the station’s walls.

“Dead Air” magazine at KCR. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

It was gratifying to see that KCR has an active alumni network documenting the station’s 50 year history. Its alumni page is full of goodies, including scans of archival photos, program guides, vintage ephemera, and audio. Alumni still grace the KCR airwaves; with one DJ, Joe Shrin, a 40+ year veteran of the station. At KCR since 1976, he’s said to be the show host who has been there the longest.

KCR College Radio studio in 2019. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Thanks so much to Ahmad Dixon for the summer tour of KCR! This is my 160th radio station tour report and my 105th college radio station tour. Read all of my radio station visits in numerical order or by station type in our archives. I also share tidbits about my San Diego-area college radio travels on Radio Survivor Podcast #202.

The post Radio Station Visit #160: KCR at San Diego State University appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Radio Show Features “Tech Tuesday”

Radio World - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:55

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

Exhibits will be open Wednesday and Thursday of show week.

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

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


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

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

Here are highlights of Tech Tuesday:

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

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

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

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

Lunch: 12 noon

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

Networking Break: 3 p.m.

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

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

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


Here’s a sampler of other notable events.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Where: Hilton Anatole, Dallas

When: Sept. 24–26

How: radioshowweb.com

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


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

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

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