The comment made by Mr. James B. Potter in the Aug. 1 Radio World Reader’s Forum regarding driver distraction from new vehicle electronic dashboard designs is well taken and should be on the minds of both auto manufacturers and broadcasters as well. And the front page article in the same issue, “A Peek at Tomorrow’s Car Radios,” exemplifies what is happening to promote driver distraction even further.
If we can recall, the original purpose of the automobile was to provide transportation, which requires full-time attention to operating, not turn the car into a habitat where the driving is low priority and, instead, the driver’s attention is flooded with unrelated and often distracting trivial functions. This was borne out years ago when states started passing laws making it unlawful to have a television set in the vehicle where it was visible to the driver. And with the new LCD dash screens showing all sorts unrelated vehicle data now how does this differentiate from a TV display of years’ past?
Secondarily, I ask the question, is radio driving dashboard technology or is industry driving it? It seems that there is a continual “feature creep” underway by manufacturers to add more “bells and whistles” to a vehicle that the consumer doesn’t necessarily use or even want. This not only adds to the overall cost of the vehicle but, in relation to radio also causes the broadcaster to expend more money in an effort to keep up with what the electronics industry comes up with.
Most of my life and profession has involved electronic design engineering with a brief branch off into the world of broadcast engineering as I neared retirement (which still hasn’t happened). In prior time I had worked for one hardware manufacturer where I had to attend the marketing meetings when developing new products for consumers. In these meetings it was often asked what the company was going to give the consumer, not necessarily what they wanted. Had more consumer focus groups been established they would have found out that simple was more often desired than complicated thereby creating more favorable — and less expensive — products.
Most of us are already aware that distracted driving has become an important issue related to cellphone usage. But how is this going to play out with the addition of large colorful dashboard displays with constantly changing and sometimes complex information? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet started to realize this aspect but I am sure that we will soon start to see these statistics arise as more and more vehicles are equipped with more and more trappings of our unwired civilization.
Wolfram Engineering Inc.
Great Falls, Mt.
Radio World invites industry-oriented commentaries and responses. Send to Radio World.
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IBC2019 is almost here. Between now and then Radio World will conduct several short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the big annual trade show. Gustavo Robles is sales director for AEQ.
Radio World: How has business been for the company since IBC2018?
Gustavo Robles: The last year has been a very positive for the company. We completed many projects in 2018 and have followed path in 2019. Furthermore, we have also signed contracts in new markets such as Papua, Senegal and Costa Rica. As a result, AEQ equipment is now present in more than 95 different countries. In 2019 we are celebrating our 40th anniversary and this is a great reward after many years of international activity. To celebrate our birthday, we modernized our logo and website. We’ll also be celebrating it in Amsterdam with all our friends, partners, customers and distributors who visit us at the annual event.
Radio World: What are you hearing from your customers about their business outlook this year? In what areas should we expect growth or the most interesting projects?
Robles: Not all of the geographical areas we currently work in have the same economic or political situation, nor are they at the same level of development. But as a general guideline, customers are focusing on digital renewal and where possible always seek to have AoIP as a tool for broadcast facilities. We’re increasingly seeing the use of AoIP in projects. This shows how the technology is becoming increasingly popular despite the socio-economic or political situation of a specific country. In addition, most of our projects include integration of our clients’ equipment and systems. We offer a wide range of products, such as mixing consoles, audio codecs, automation systems and intercoms. And whenever the application calls for it, our customers ask us to interconnect and integrate as much equipment as possible. This has been a pleasure for us since it’s an area where our company excels. We produce lots of equipment and we endeavor to integrate our solutions with the highest of standards. This is because we believe this has a huge impact on the overall installation, operation and future growth of our clients’ radio studios.
Radio World: Stepping away from your particular segment, what is your feeling for the overall health of the radio industry?
Robles: It’s clear that the most talked about technologies are always those associated with the world of IP and video, especially OTT, streaming, VOD, 4K and 8K, etc. But since radio’s creation, the medium has always struggled and fought for its space among consumers, and in our opinion it has done so with great success. Evidently, early radio has little to do with current radio, but its essence remains the same: A communicator in front of a microphone with listeners on the other side of the communication channel. Based on that foundation, we have recently added more applications (remote control, internet, podcast, visual radio) to fit the changing needs. But content remains at the heart of the radio. As a business, AEQ has links within the radio and television world. We can tell that the future of radio is relatively strong, as demonstrated by the growing number of radio installations we have completed, and our ever-increasing customer base.
Radio World: AEQ has been active in the manufacture of broadcast studio gear for 40 years. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing users in this segment right now?
Robles: System integration, particularly with the most recent generation of radio gear that uses advanced IP technology. For the digital part, it seems that AES3 is a standard nobody discusses, or MADi fiber optics like AES10. But in the IP world there are still many names and acronyms that appear to confuse end users. And, many questions remain. Proprietary Solutions? Open standards? which will be imposed? Are the seconds mature? Is it worth moving toward relative technological uncertainty with this IP mode, or is it necessary to wait a little longer? Our commitment is clear and we demonstrate this with each project, IP technology has arrived and it will stay as it provides better performance, greater simplicity of installation, increased flexibility of operation. And more of this type of equipment is available on the market each day. There is still a long way to go, but at AEQ we believe that no major radio project today should consider moving forward without having the IP part as its core.
Radio World: What new goodies will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit your booth?
Robles: This year on stand 8.C55 we’ll feature our new AEQ ATRIUM large digital audio console and our XPLORER wireless intercom beltpack. Both of these will be shown for the first time at the European exhibition and will be fully operational at the disposal of visitors who want to explore and use them. Also, on Sunday at 3 p.m. we’ll have our typical Spanish party at our booth, where we’ll have Spanish music, wine and Spanish food. We usually have about 100 attendees but there is always room for more!
Radio World: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at IBC2019?
Robles: In the world of radio we think that’ll be the convergence of many proprietary AoIP technologies finally present on the market. AES67 is one clear and unequivocal path forward. Another trend is that of visual radio. It’s increasingly clear that more stations want to add the visual aspect to radio. Finally, for the communications segment, we believe that the arrival of 5G will be an essential new change in the way we understand outdoor radio. For TV, from our humble point of view and with the reference of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the horizon, we believe that 8K and immersive sound will be a hot topic.
Radio World: How do your sales and marketing efforts differ from region to region?
Robles: Currently AEQ products can be found in more than 95 different countries through our own offices in Europe, America and Asia, or through our 145 dealers and distributors. There is no unique way to publicize our news or reach customers and projects. In general, we place a lot of importance on our physical presence at shows like NAB, IBC, BroadcastAsia and CABSAT. To give you an idea, last year 2018 we participated in 23 events! We also think it’s important to have a presence in broadcast trade publications and platforms and we also publish or own newsletter. In addition, social networks are extremely important for us, as is WhatsApp and skype. However, there is nothing like being on the ground to meet and discuss with our clients and partners face to face. This allows them to discover our new products and upgrades and to study the various possibilities for collaboration.
Radio World: Will you be attending any sessions or looking forward to any events?
Robles: Of course, IBC is the most important conference in European broadcast industry and one of the most important worldwide. It’s a spectacular meeting point for all the actors in this industry — manufacturers, integrators, broadcasters, consultants, distributors, etc. Obviously, for a manufacturer of broadcast gear, like us, the first objective of the event is to be able to see all our partners and analyze our competition in person as many new projects are usually announced. But I always block a couple days or at least a whole morning to attend conferences at the RAI convention center or post-show events in the city. It’s a very good opportunity to know where the sector is going for both our customers and our competitors.
Radio World: You’re a show veteran, how has the show changed since your first visit?
Robles: The informatics and broadcast at the beginning of my professional career were very different from today. Now they are now fully integrated whereas this wasn’t the case before. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find any application, client, or product where both fields are not integrated. This has greatly enriched the sector and offers great opportunities for future growth and development. What will be coming our way this time around? As always at the IBC there is something that surprises me and in the long run it can evolve into a major trend. So, we always walk in with open minds and eyes to spot these potential future developments. Also, the exhibition seems to expand each year with the organizers adding more halls to the show floor.
Radio World: What’s your favorite thing about this show?
Robles: I live near the AEQ headquarters in Madrid so attending an exhibition in the Netherlands (compared to other broadcast shows in destinations like Las Vegas for example) makes me feel like I’m almost at home, specially with no jetlag. But… I must admit that for someone like me quite Mediterranean, the climate is not always ideal. Having said that, Amsterdam is an excellent host city that has always welcomes IBC delegates, and the RAI is a very good convention center.
DB Elettronica’s Mozart new DDS EVO line of compact FM transmitters features Direct Digital Synthesis technology.
The company says this line of transmitters, which is the latest development in DB’s Mozart range, promises users “high audio quality and improved frequency stability in FM broadcasting,” thanks to the integrated DDS technology.
In addition, Mozart DDS EVO FM transmitters and exciters, adds DB, offer optimal SFN integration.
NAB Booth: 8.B46
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Caller One is the new call-in system from Broadcast Bionics.
The all-in-one web-based software solution uses SIP and webRTC to deliver a new hardware-free way of routing calls to air, explains the company.
Designed with smaller studios and podcasters in mind, Caller One delivers up to 12 SIP lines. It can be used on mobile devices, as well as PCs.
Easy-to-use Caller One lets users install and add more workstations as well as screen/control calls via any browser. Other features include management of up to 12 lines; connection using IP audio drivers or a soundcard, caller demographics, call history/call log and call recording.
Broadcast Bionics will also be unveiling other products in its “One” range during IBC2019.
IBC Stand: 8.D71
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Tieline has developed a new Dual Active SIM internal module for the ViA remote codec supporting two active cellular connections.
The company says the module, which is “designed to perform in the most challenging production environments,” supports the use of SIM cards from different Telcos simultaneously for diversity when using Tieline’s SmartStream Plus dual redundant streaming technology. Users can also bond the two SIM cards to create additional bandwidth using a single robust Fuse-IP link.
“The new ViA dual internal modem will deliver more choice to Tieline customers for wireless remote broadcasting,” said Charlie Gawley, VP Sales APAC/EMEA. “The ViA already supports connecting two air cards using USB, however many customers requested an internal module with dual modems to avoid using external dongles. This innovation also means there will be seven different IP interface options from which to choose when going live.”
The ViA lets operators connect over dual Ethernet ports, built-in Wi-Fi (no USB modem required), dual air cards, and now the new module with dual internal modems. Any two interfaces can also be bonded to deliver secure and robust connections from remote locations in challenging environments. The new Dual Active SIM module has four antenna connections to provide antenna diversity for both SIM card connections.
There will be an international and U.S. version of the module to suit different cellular networks.
IBC Stand: 8.E74
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Settlements have been reached between the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and a TV broadcaster, cable networks and a radio broadcaster for misusing the Emergency Alert Systems and Wireless Emergency Alert tones. Combined fines of $600,000 in civil penalties were issued as a result of misuse by ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” Discovery’s “Lone Star Law” and Meruelo Radio Holdings’ KDAY(FM) and KDEY(FM) morning radio shows.
ABC agreed to pay a $395,000 civil penalty for an Oct. 2018 episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” where it used a simulated WEA tone three times during a sketch. AMC paid $104,000 for an episode of “The Walking Dead” that aired in February 2019 and used the EAS tone twice. Discovery paid $68,000 for an episode of “Lone Star Law” that included an actual WEA tone that was captured while filming during Hurricane Harvey. Meruelo Radio Holdings paid $67,000 for a promotion of its two morning shows that included a simulation of EAS tones. All outlets admitted their errors and agreed to a compliance plan.
In addition to these finds, the Enforcement Bureau has released an enforcement advisory to reiterate the existing law that speaks to the misuse of EAS tones and how it can be a public safety concern.
“We remain concerned about the misuse of the EAS codes and EAS and WEA Attention Signals, or simultaneous thereof, to capture audience attention during advertisements; dramatic, entertainment and educational programs; and at any other time that there is no genuine alert, authorized test or authorized PSA about the EAS or WEA that is accompanied by an appropriate disclaimer,” the advisory reads.
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One of community media’s great challenges is finding a way to reduce a station’s expenses while still staying local. Some recent moves by noncommercial outlets are worthy of review.
More nonprofit media organizations this year, than perhaps in recent memory, have announced compacts with other noncommercial media groups. The reasons are complex. Staffing, offices and the myriad operational costs for radio stations are rising each year. In addition, more managers are seeing the value of combining resources with other like-minded organizations. Case in point, the Ohio news coalition involving three public radio stations in the state. Finding friends in the content and engagement realms of radio service, as more leaders are finding, can prove to be beneficial.
From a bottom-line standpoint, these unions are helping address basic questions of functionality. In one instance, Humboldt State University has opted into a short-term operational agreement with another noncommercial broadcaster based out of Sacramento. Another community station in Chico, not far from either, has also joined in. For both, and especially KHSU, where the outlet’s future is unresolved, involving another entity in the day-to-day projects could be attractive while other strategic issues are sorted out.
The combining of core operational endeavors is an emerging trend. In April, Illinois stations WGLT and WCBU struck up a programming and infrastructure agreement that began June 1. Through it, the stations would retain their call letters, formats and local presence. However, a host of personnel and news capacity would be merged under WGLT.
Noncommercial television and radio in Massachusetts made a similar deal the same month. Managers at the stations said this was less an effort to cut costs and was more intended to pool resources to be more competitive on the content side of their respective work.
Such collaborations are becoming more common. KPCC launching a new version of LAist, WNET taking over another online product, NJ Spotlight, and many more examples seem to be the way of the world at the moment.
Community radio has no shortage of statewide alliances, such as Ampers in Minnesota and Rocky Mountain Community Radio in Colorado. However, the sort of partnerships now on the rise in noncommercial media are foreign to most community stations. Why? The reasons such partnerships have not happened much in community media are as complicated as why larger public media organizations choose to go this route. Sometimes there are localism or job concerns. Sometimes there are worries about optics. As financial pressures and audience demands grow more persistent, though, such conversations are certain to happen more – albeit quietly — at community radio stations across the United States.
There are a variety of considerations to weigh in on if your station is looking to partner with another community radio station to share your resources. In some cases, the financial investment may be different, depending on each station’s size. If the collaborations will merge roles both stations have, there’s the thorny question of where reassignments can happen and, if shuffling is untenable, where reductions may occur. And, if your local partnership is aimed at combining your strengths to grow in new areas, your station may want to understand how the envisioned expansion will affect each partner, where costs are divided up, and where new people, if hires are part of the plan, will be located.
Of course, at community radio stations where resistance to such cooperation may linger, concern for how these conglomerations could affect the tenor and tone of an area station are absolutely fair. Any shared efforts have to center a station’s local interests and sound. Editorial autonomy and many conversations about shared values are a must among partner stations. Such endeavors are not easy, which could also explain why community radio has not taken much to them at this point. Turnover and resources are likely part of the reason, too.
Whether a sharing partnership is the right move for your community radio station, or if it is not, these sorts of models are changing the way audiences and organizations see collaboration. Innovations in this area may be important for your station to watch.
GatesAir is highlighting its expanded range of DAB Radio transmitters and solutions resulting from the company’s recent acquisition of ONEtastic, known forward as GatesAir S.r.l. The expanded portfolio is anchored by MultiD, a multicarrier DAB transmitter; and a new liquid-cooled VHF range to serve all DAB power levels.
MultiD brings three DAB transmitters together into a compact 1RU chassis, which the company says, “is a unique design attribute that reduces space and equipment costs.” The design, GatesAir explains, removes the need for external RF combining, and instead generates and re-transmits all three channels through a single amplifier.
The multi-carrier modulation built into the transmitter supports both adjacent and non-adjacent frequencies, providing a solution for DAB networks of any size. At the show, GatesAir will exhibit the transmitter with a special spectrum analyzer to demonstrate the modulation carriers.
In addition, GatesAir will show a liquid-cooled VHF Band III power amplifier from its new Maxiva VLXTE range of liquid-cooled transmitters. Starting at 80 W, all VLXTE transmitters cover DAB/DAB+ frequencies from 170–240 MHz, with no jumpers or tuning required. The VLXTE transmitter design leverages a single-band PA module to cover all Band III frequencies. The transmitter’s modular design provides card inputs for ETI (coaxial) and EDI (IP) distribution across DAB networks.
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The Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau Announce Procedures for Submitting Financial Information Required for Disbursement of Reimbursement Payments
The Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau Announce Reimbursement Form Availability and Filing Deadline and Procedures for Reimbursement of Low Power TV, TV Translator, and FM Stations
With mergers, acquisitions and millions of dollars changing hands, podcasts continue to be in the news. But just when it seems like well-funded networks are edging out the indies, Paul and Eric are here to assure community and college broadcasters and independent podcasters that there is growing opportunity for them, too.Show Notes:
- Paul on The Wolf Den Podcast
- The Verge: iHeartMedia will start airing its own podcasts on over 200 of its radio stations every Sunday
- That NY Times articles that podcasters hated so much: Have We Hit Peak Podcast?
- Podcast #98 – Celebrating ‘Small’ Podcasts
- Podcast #195: Telepathy and Radio Mind
- Podcast #178 – Irish Pirate Radio Archive