Cox Enterprises isn’t leaving the radio business completely, just yet … but …
The Atlanta-based multimedia conglomerate has announced that it is essentially selling its radio station portfolio, along with the CoxReps and Gamut advertising businesses to Apollo Global Management. According to a release, Cox Enterprises will maintain a minority stake in the Apollo-controlled company that will take over the properties. This new formation will be called, perhaps confusingly at first, Cox Media Group.
At stake is over 60 radio stations in 11 markets, including legacy station WSB(AM) in Atlanta, started by Cox property, the Atlanta Journal, in 1922. CoxReps is a leading national advertising rep firm.
The acquiring entity, also known as Terrier Media, is the same Apollo Global Management operation formed to hold Cox’s TV stations and Ohio radio stations and newspapers, sold (pending regulatory approval) in February.
In a release Cox Enterprises President and CEO Alex Taylor said “We are happy our Cox Radio and national ad platforms will continue to be operated with our television group.” He added, “Keeping these media businesses together gives us even more confidence in the future success of the new company. We have spent many years fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation across these businesses and are pleased to see that work will continue.”
From the Apollo perch, David Sambur, Chairman of the buyer and Senior Partner of Apollo Global Management said, “Cox has deep roots in the media industry and has stood for the highest quality in local journalism for the past 120 years. As we shepherd these businesses into the future, we are committed to investing in high-quality programming and fostering innovation in local media.”
The transaction is subject to approval from regulatory authorities. Furthermore, to complete the deal two radio stations will have to be divested, WPYO(FM) in Orlando, Fla., and WSUN(FM) in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
Interface manufacturer RME has created an all-in-one podcast audio bundle, the new Babyface Pro/Audio-Technica Podcast Bundle.
The selection brings together RME’s Babyface Pro audio interface and TotalMix FX mixing software with Audio-Technica’s BP40 Condenser Microphone. Also included is an On-Stage Clamp Desktop Boom Mic Stand and a Podcast Engineering School educational course.
At the heart of the bundle is RME’s Babyface Pro, an interface with multiple ins/outs allowing for a variety of podcast setups — two mic preamps, two headphone outputs for simple host/guest monitoring and the ability to configure a mix-minus as separate audio sources. The unit also allows independent adjustment of sound settings for every source, individual headphone mixes for up to six guests and compatibility with any recording software as well as Mac, Windows and iOS.
The Babyface Pro comes with a free TotalMix FX Remote iPad app which allows users to configure the mix-minus setup as separate audio sources, so podcasters can control what guests and listeners hear with no additional cables, mixer or hardware. Users can also mix multiple software applications simultaneously for adding music beds, sound effects and other audio clips to a podcast.
RME has partnered with Audio-Technica to include the company’s BP40 Condenser Microphone. Optimized for broadcast applications, the A-T BP40 offers a humbucking voice coil to prevent unwanted interference. An On-Stage Clamp Desktop Boom Mic Stand, as is a 10-foot microphone cable.
The final piece of the bundle is a Podcast Engineering School Educational Course, an online course providing an overview of the podcast production workflow using a Babyface Pro. The course covers setting up a Babyface Pro, production scenarios and tips, recording online guests, and post-production tips.
The Babyface Pro/Audio-Technica Podcast Bundle runs $1,299.
The author is communications manager for WorldDAB.
LONDON — As DAB+ continues to establish itself as the future platform for radio across Europe, focus is now shifting to developing the DAB+ experience in the car.Aris Erdogdu
On one hand, drivers expect radio to be a seamless experience offering good performance, more — and more tailored — content, relevant information and as little distraction as possible. On the other hand, car manufacturers want a radio performance that exceeds FM, is able to display information on the screen, and does not put the driver at risk.
On June 20, WorldDAB Automotive 2019 brought together experts from the broadcasting and automotive industries to discuss how they are working together to further improve the in-car digital radio experience.
Speaking at the conference held in Turin, Italy, WorldDAB Automotive Working Group (AWG) chair Laurence Harrison, highlighted some of the work the AWG has been doing on various fronts to further develop DAB+ in the car and build long-term collaborations between broadcasters and car manufacturers.Laurence Harrison is chair of the WorldDAB Automotive Working Group.
Harrison touched on the launch of second version of the User Experience (UX) Design guidelines, which was published in February and are designed to help manufacturers and broadcasters deliver the best digital radio experience in the car.
Based on conversations between the AWG and all the leading automotive manufacturers, the updated guidelines give clearer direction to hybrid radio as providing the best UX in connected cars — particularly when DAB+ is included. The guidelines also give clearer signposting to other research and useful guidance on features such as user interface (UI) design, station logos and other on-screen information.
WorldDAB member Arqiva, which operates DAB networks in the United Kingdom, is conducting tests on the delivery of logos via DAB using Service and Programme Information (SPI) standards and is hoping to build on the success of early results.
Harrison also highlighted the importance of the Test Routes that WorldDAB has now made available. Following work within the WorldDAB Receiver/Antenna Performance Taskforce, and in order to help with DAB testing for cars in different markets, WorldDAB has published test routes from a number of markets in order to help any company producing vehicles, antennas, or equipment to test their products and services on a route showing different conditions for DAB+.
Finally, he also outlined the next phase of the Groups’ work, which will be to identify consumer use cases for digital radio in connected and autonomous cars. Initial use cases have been identified covering personalisation, a seamless experience between devices and platforms, a new UI sing voice and on-demand content, and richer visuals on bigger screens. The AWG will now focus on collaborative actions that can be undertaken to support delivery of these use cases.
Speaking at the conference in Turin, Eugenio La Teana, head of research and development at EuroDAB Italia, emphasized that DAB+ enables the creation of new and innovative content, and can help display useful information such as travel and traffic on screens. To that effect, RTL 102.5 and Autostrade per l’Italia have teamed up to create a digital-only station tailored for the needs of drivers that spend a lot of time in the car. The station, which is live 24/7 throughout the year, provides traffic updates between every other song.
If we are to draw one lesson from WorldDAB Automotive 2019, it’s that DAB+ is making waves both in and out of the car — something that is echoed by the EECC directive introduced by the European Union at the end of 2018, which requires all new car radios sold within the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio by the end of 2020.
DAB+ continues to gain significant ground across the globe, and with the automotive industry on-board, the future of digital radio in the car is looking bright.
The FCC was back in front of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals again, defending its failure to address declines in minority- and women-owned broadcast stations, amongst other failures. In fact, as our guest, University of Minnesota Prof. Christopher Terry, explains, the Commission claims it’s too hard to assess the change in ownership between 1996 and today.
Prof. Terry notes that the Court expressed skepticism of that claim. It’s just another chapter in the agency’s “legacy of failure,” as he calls it, wherein futile attempt followed by futile attempt to further loosen ownership regulations is built upon a faulty foundation of flimsy data. Yet, that doesn’t mean that the current FCC leadership, backed by the broadcast industry, won’t keep trying. We’ve already seen this in the NAB’s proposal to eliminate local radio ownership caps in hundreds of cities, as we reported in episode #196. Prof. Terry sheds additional light on that proposal, and assesses what a recent Supreme Court decision means for public access television.Show Notes:
- Court Listener: Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Prof. Christopher Terry: The FCC’s Legacy of Failure: Failure Then Gives Us More Failure Now
- Podcast #172 – The FCC at the End of 2018, with Prof. Christopher Terry
- Podcast #196 – The Campaign To Keep Local Radio Local
- SCOTUS Blog Opinion Analysis: Court holds that First Amendment does not apply to private operator of public-access channels
- Podcast #166 – The FCC’s Effort To Decimate Community Media
The post Podcast #199 – The FCC Is ‘Flunking Statistics 101’ appeared first on Radio Survivor.
Just in case the FCC has missed the point so far, the National Association of Broadcasters just filed another batch of comments criticizing the commission’s planned hike in regulatory fees for U.S. broadcasters.
“The NPRM imposes a steep increase in radio station regulatory fees disproportionate to other fee payor categories, as well as the increase in the commission’s overall budget,” NAB wrote in its latest filing.
“The proposed radio fees are also based on flawed data.” Nor is the potential harm limited to radio, NAB continued. “The NPRM does not explain significant changes in regulatory fees for both satellite and VHF television stations.”
The nation’s state broadcast associations have also been vocal on this issue, as we’ve reported, and the latest NAB filing reiterates their argument over how the commission is calculating “payment units” in the radio industry, which affects the fee schedule significantly.
“NAB simply asks the commission to show its homework by explaining its calculations of the radio regulatory fees, instead of merely issuing a chart of final fees,” it wrote. “It is frustrating that the commission has not seen fit to issue an interim public notice or some other document with additional data that could help inform stakeholders’ responses to the NPRM. Given the apparent inaccuracy of the NPRM’s count of radio station fee payors, and the lack of information and clarity, affected parties are simply unable to provide meaningful input into the regulatory fee process.”
The NAB also warned the FCC to “carefully consider” the potential impact of the proposed changes for certain television stations.
Read the NAB’s latest comments here.
A media professional since 1972, I eventually found myself in south Florida in the new millennium, working as an audio engineer for the Miami Dolphins and the Florida Marlins. A move to central Florida several years later forced me out of the media business and into education, where I have been ever since.
At Dunnellon High School, I teach intensive reading to seniors and AP world history. The reading students who motivated me to create a “reading for radio” program about five years ago.
I had been searching for an incentive to motivate students to improve their technical reading skills and, of all things, a 250-foot radio tower on our campus sparked the process. Although used by the transportation department, I looked into an LPFM license for the school and was encouraged, until I started the budget — no way! As most readers will know and understand, we in education barely have enough money for essentials, not to mention trying to fund a project like that.[Community Broadcaster: College Radio Shows the Way]
But the idea of combining radio with the academic needs of my reading students still seemed like a great concept. Imagine, having a school radio station run by students and then opening the on-air auditions to students who are struggling as readers.A student-produced segment called “That’s a Rap” allows students to record their own raps.
I started researching internet radio, and suddenly this idea had legs. Still, funding would be a challenge, but it would be nothing like the cost of trying to implement an over-the-air presence.
This is where CenturyLink Communications entered the picture. The company sponsors an annual grant competition through its Clarke M. Williams Foundation. These grants are open to public school teachers who blend technology and academics to benefit their students.
It seemed like a perfect fit. However, as a traditional broadcaster, I had a significant learning curve ahead, trying to wrap my head around a new-to-me, method of delivery.
I applied for the grant in the fall of 2015 and received word that I had been successful in April 2016. My first reaction was: “Now that I have the money, you mean I actually have to do this?!”GETTING OFF THE GROUND Principal Wade Martin records one of many messages produced by staff members in support of The Growl.
I spent the entire summer of that year doing the research; and there was plenty of it.
First, investigating what the technical aspects of putting a station on the internet was all about. What, if any, were the government regulations; what licensure was required; how are royalties covered — basically learning how all the pieces fit together.
Next, of course, came a design and a location within the school. The administration came through with an unused office, and I designed the equipment configuration around that space.
Next came a meeting with the school system’s head of IT to explain the project and learn if the infrastructure would support streaming within the school (bandwidth being the potential problem). I explained that we would be sending our outbound signal to a web hosting company for streaming and that our IT requirements were minimal. One potential problem eliminated.
Next, I had to survey and select equipment that would meet our needs at a reasonable cost. I enlisted the help of Guitar Center Pro and found them to be very helpful in the selection process.[College Radio Station Flies Overseas for Remote Broadcast]
Finally, I needed to find a software automation system that would fit our needs and our budget. You probably know that this market has become very active in the last few years, and there are dozens of products to choose from in every price range. I was fortunate to come across a talented young developer in Texas who has created a program called NextKast Pro. The program is sold as a download with program key and is incredibly reasonable and both powerful and flexible.Student singers produce another segment of “Cover It,” during which kids cover popular songs.
The studio is broken into two halves utilizing two Windows-based PCs. One is dedicated to running the NextKast software and is our “broadcast” computer. The other is our “production station,” utilizing an Allen & Heath analog mixer, Shure and AKG studio mics and Audacity editing software for our production needs.
The last piece of the puzzle was our access platform. We have chosen TuneIn Radio utilizing either their mobile app or their internet presence at www.tunein.com.
At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, students first were recruited to join “The Growl” (We are the Dunnellon Tigers, hence the name). Our goal was to get on the air prior to Christmas break. On Dec. 13, 2016, “The Growl” went live for the first time and has been on 24/7 since. Our format is eclectic as we attempt to provide both music of all genres and some very creative original student programming (written, produced and performed by our students).
For information contact Barry Carrus at firstname.lastname@example.org. Radio World welcomes stories about the creation and building of your radio station or media facility. Email email@example.com.
LONDON — Shutting down the United Kingdom’s FM Radio broadcasts may be the real purpose of the U.K. radio review, which starts soon and is scheduled to conclude sometime in mid-2020.Margot James is Minister for the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Credit: UK government official photo
Announced by Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) minister Margot James at the annual U.K. Radio Festival on May 13, 2019, the review’s official rationale “is to look at the ways people listen to the radio in the digital age,” said Paul Chantler. He is a radio programming consultant and co-owner of the Fix Radio DAB station in London, who heard James speak at the festival. “In reality, the government are responding to pressure from the big radio groups to turn off FM to allow them to focus on digital broadcasting platforms,” Chantler told RWI.
Minister James made no statements about shutting down FM nor any other forms of U.K. analog radio broadcasting. But she did tell festival attendees that “Digital radio now accounts for more than 52% of all U.K. radio listening and we need a legislative structure that reflects this change, and gives us flexibility to deal with the change that lies ahead.” James added that the parties to be consulted during the radio review include the BBC and commercial radio broadcasters, radio manufacturers, the car industry and others in the radio supply chain.
With U.K. radio moving strongly into the digital realm — not just over the air, but also via smartphones and web-connected “smart speakers” — having the review now makes sense, according to John Evington, a partner at The Radio People consultancy and low-cost DAB solutions provider Viamux.John Evington is partner at The Radio People consultancy and low-cost DAB solutions provider Viamux. Photo courtesy of John Evington
“There needs to be a clear strategy for radio as the lines between traditional linear radio, streaming services and podcasting become increasingly blurred,” said Evington. Reflecting on the likely topics to be raised during the radio review, “the focus will inevitably be on platforms and delivery and the technological advances that are likely to impact on the listener experience.”
For his part, Chantler believes that a complete “switchover” from FM to DAB — rather than the FM/DAB simulcasts taking place today — will dominate the radio review discussions; driven by Britain’s big radio groups.
“The reason there is so much pressure from the big groups for a switchover is that for many years, radio companies have been financing dual transmission on both FM and DAB,” Chantler explained. “This is extremely expensive. Now that DAB radio covers 90% of the U.K. and listening via digital platforms accounts for 52% of all listening, the government feels that now is the time to consider ‘forcing’ a full migration to digital radio.”Paul Chantler is radio programming consultant and co-owner of Fix Radio DAB station in London. Photo courtesy of Paul Chantler
Chantler predicts that the U.K. radio review will set a date for turning off British FM broadcasting, and that this shutdown “will probably happen in 2022–2023.”
He is not in favor of this option: “My own view is that there is still a place for FM radio alongside digital,” Chantler added. “Although there are some small-scale opportunities for smaller community and niche stations to cost-effectively transmit on DAB, I still think some use could be made of FM for small non-profit stations.”
Evington agrees. “I believe that FM needs to remain for at least another 10 years,” he said. “However, there are some interesting scenarios that could be developed during that time. For example, we would like to see a phased digital migration for BBC national services beginning with Radio 3, which still occupies a large portion of prime bandwidth despite a listening share of just 1.2%. This would free-up space for a range of new commercial services benefitting the consumer and the exchequer.”
One thing appears certain: “Most people in the industry have been expecting this review for a long time and welcome it,” said Chantler.
“Certainly, if the big groups get their way and a date is set for an FM switchoff, they will be able to save money by only broadcasting on DAB. They have been preparing for this for many years with the creation of big, well-branded national stations such as Heart, Capital and LBC (owned by Global) and Magic, Kiss and the Hits Network (owned by Bauer). Earlier this year, Wireless Group/News UK (the third biggest player in U.K. radio) invested heavily in revamping Virgin Radio — which is a national DAB-only station — by recruiting BBC Radio 2’s star DJ Chris Evans.”