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Inside the December issue of Radio World International

Radio World - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 08:27

Soundware Norway ran a live radio broadcast using the touchscreen monitor inside a Tesla 3 electric car. In the Tesla parked outside the firm’s Oslo headquarters, Soundware Sales Manager Ketil Morstøl managed a mock live broadcast using the Tesla 3’s web browser, which accessed the web via the car’s built-in LTE wireless modem.

The “broadCARst” project aimed to demonstrate that physical radio stations are no longer necessary. Read about this and more in the December issue of Radio World International.

GUEST COMMENTARY 

What Exactly Happened to Ampegon?

The company provides an update on recent changes.

INNOVATION

Project MARCONI Brings Stations Closer to Listeners

EU-backed program aims to automate and increase listener engagement.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

NXP and DRM Hold First India Infotainment Forum

Podcasts, On-Demand Challenge Traditional Radio

Buyer’s Guide: Streaming Radio, Podcasting, Online Content Delivery 

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

College Radio Watch: CMJ to Return in 2020 and More News

Radio Survivor - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 06:54

As we approach the end of 2019, I’m starting to reflect back on not only the year in college radio, but also the decade in college radio. While 2009 doesn’t seem like all that long ago, some major changes have occurred in the radio and technology landscapes, which have had implications for student radio.

Beginning in the late 1970s, CMJ was a major part of the college radio scene for nearly 40 years, with publications, conferences, music festivals, and long-time college radio charts. When CMJ petered out circa 2015-2016, it was a sad and notable loss for college radio. Lawsuits were filed for unpaid wages and in fall, 2018 the CMJ trademarks went up for auction. According to the auction website, “The CMJ Music Marathon was an institution of the New York music scene for 35 years.  The buyer of these four CMJ Trademarks will be buying an iconic brand name in the music world.”

Yesterday, I was surprised to learn that a new CMJ is returning in 2020. As of this week, it would appear that there is a new owner of the CMJ trademarks, as they have been posting on the CMJ Twitter account (which had been stagnant since late June, 2016) and have set up a preliminary website. Yesterday’s initial CMJ tweet reads, “After a long break, CMJ is under new management and re-launching in 2020. More news soon. http://cmj.com info@cmj.com.” Folks on social media replied with their frustrations about CMJ employees not getting paid, tales of subscribers who lost out, and other grievances. The response: “We understand that totally justified unhappiness. This is a brand new company, with no connection to the former regime(s). We are working on ideas to try to right those wrongs however.”

While there are few details about the new CMJ owners and what their specific plans are, they’ve indicated that the CMJ music events may be returning in 2020. Pitchfork reports, “…the organizers told Pitchfork that former CMJ CEO Adam Klein is no longer involved with the company. (Last year, Klein was ordered by a judge to pay over half a million dollars to former employees that filed a collective lawsuit against him in 2016 for unpaid wages and other damages.)”

While CMJ’s publications, charts, and events were college radio staples for decades; various groups have launched new endeavors to fill those niches. North American College and Community Radio Chart (NACC Chart), Muzooka, RadioFX, and Spinitron are among those who have created radio charting alternatives.

As a college radio historian, I’m particularly interested in learning if the new CMJ owners have access to the decades-worth of print and online publications from CMJ’s past. @lowmediumhi asks on Twitter, “Does this mean there’s a chance we could get an online archive of all the past issues of New Music Report? Virtually every other broadcasting trade is online somewhere and this would be a valuable resource to media historians.” CMJ replied, “Great question and we have been talking about whether there is a way to do that. We are different people from before, but we would like to be able to make it happen.”

We’ve reached out to the new CMJ and will keep readers posted as we learn more about their plans for the future of the CMJ brand.

More College Radio News College Radio Regulations Station and Staff Profiles Programming, Radio Drama, Podcasts Events Infrastructure, Funding, Endowed Scholarship Music Industry and College Radio Technology Radio Culture Awards and Accolades Alumni

The post College Radio Watch: CMJ to Return in 2020 and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Carolina Radio Group, Inc., Application for License to Cover W225DF, Raleigh, North Carolina

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 20:00
Media Bureau issues proposed forfeiture to Carolina Radio Group, Inc., in the amount of $2,000 for failure to notify FCC of change to W225DF's primary station and failure to submit technical need showing

Actions

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Univision Holdings, Inc. and Grupo Televisa S.A.B., Petition for Declaratory Ruling

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 20:00
This declaratory ruling permits aggregate foreign equity and voting interest in Univision to exceed 25% and to increase up to and including 70%

Applications

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Broadcast Actions

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Pleadings

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FCC Takes Your Questions on AM All-Digital

Radio World - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 13:36
Getty Images/Caiaimage/Rana Dias

The FCC tentatively plans to allow AM stations in the United States to convert their transmissions to all-digital on a voluntary basis, using the MA3 mode of HD Radio. The five commissioners in November unanimously approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes technical standards for all-digital AMs, including adoption of the NRSC-5-D Standard, and asks for comment on the impact of all-digital operations on analog stations and listeners. 

The proceeding was prompted by a petition in March from Bryan Broadcasting Corp., as RW has reported.

MANY QUESTIONS

Below are highlights of the 33-page NPRM. At press time the final text had not been published, but details had been published before the FCC vote and were not expected to change in substance:

The NPRM opens with background about the state of AM and its various challenges; the benefits of digital transmission; and the history of in-band on-channel technology including the hybrid (MA1) service mode. 

It then described technical testing by NAB Labs (now Pilot), noting that field testing found that all-digital transmission resulted in a clearer, more robust signal, with greater daytime coverage than a hybrid signal, but that lab testing raised concerns about possible co-channel interference and the ability of all-digital signals using standard transmission equipment to stay within the HD Radio emissions mask.

The NPRM then detailed the experience of Hubbard Radio’s WWFD(AM) in Frederick, Md., which operates MA3 full-time under an experimental license. It noted that Hubbard experienced significant improvement in audio quality and signal robustness in the all-digital mode, but that its facilities first had to undergo considerable upgrades, and that the station continues to experience transmission issues that limit all-digital capabilities, such as the ability to transmit song and artist visual metadata.

The FCC then set out a list of areas it wants to hear comments about. 

Regarding the predicted benefits of all-digital AM broadcasting, it asks dozens of questions about improved audio quality, auxiliary data, improved useable signal coverage, increased programming choices (such as music) and energy and spectrum efficiency. 

It also asked for comment on potential interference, including adjacent-channel, co-channel, digital-to-digital and nighttime interference. 

[Dave Kolesar recognized for converting WWFD(AM) to full-time, all-digital transmission]

It set out proposed operating standards, including power limits, emissions mask requirements, a new carrier frequency tolerance standard, a notification requirement for stations converting to all-digital and EAS requirements, and asked for comments on all of that.

It further wants to know about the costs of conversion for AM licensees, the readiness of the public to transition to all-digital reception and the rule changes needed to implement the proposal.

SOME SPECIFICS

Specifically about the potential benefits, the FCC tentatively concluded that all-digital operation would improve the audio quality of AM broadcasts. “Compared to hybrid mode, all of the modulated transmitter power is dedicated to the digital carriers, in theory resulting in a significantly more robust reception even in the presence of a stronger analog co-channel signal.” 

But it listed some qualifications — for instance, that NAB Labs had reported some interference from bridges and power lines that caused the all-digital signal to drop out, and one instance of apparent nighttime interference to all-digital reception from first-adjacent stations operating in hybrid mode. 

So it asked for input on numerous questions around signal quality, such as whether all-digital operation would provide listenable signals at relatively low signal strength levels or at the outer listenable fringes of the all-digital signal coverage, particularly where a co-channel signal is encountered. It asked about the reception capability of digital receivers over analog, as well as the impact of power lines and other potential noise sources.

Regarding the work by NAB Labs work and the reports from WWFD, the FCC said that this research “confirms the overall value and feasibility of all-digital broadcasting” but noted that those results have not been evaluated by the National Radio Systems Committee. And it asked whether certain areas need more research, including RF mask compliance, the effects of noise on all-digital coverage area and potential co-channel and adjacent-channel interference.

[Read our ebook: Digital Radio Developments]

The NPRM then digs into other areas over 33 pages. Here’s just a sampling:

Auxiliary data — Backers say all-digital will let AMs provide services like stereo audio, song and artist ID, and emergency notifications with text and images. The FCC asked, among other things, whether it should allow flexibility regarding the use of additional channel capacity as it does with hybrid stations, and specifically whether there’s potential in the AM service for future multicast channels.

Signal coverage — Do people agree with the FCC that based on available evidence, an all-digital signal offers the potential of greater useable signal coverage than analog or hybrid? The commission also asked whether it should monitor that a station’s digital coverage corresponds to its previous analog coverage, and if not, what it should do.

Energy efficiency — Will all-digital operation offer greater energy efficiency and utility cost savings for AM broadcasters? 

Spectrum efficiency — Will all-digital operation help realize the full potential of digital technology for spectrum efficiency? What are the implications of using current 20 kHz AM channel assignments in all-digital mode?

Interference — The NPRM’s many questions around interference include whether the existing framework for interference protection is sufficient, or whether there are concerns unique to all-digital that should be accounted for in rules governing groundwave and skywave protection of AM stations. 

Will all-digital cause interference to co- and adjacent-channel analog stations? Shouldn’t all-digital present fewer interference concerns than hybrid mode? 

Is the FCC right in thinking that co-channel interference is more of a concern than adjacent-channel? What does the industry think of existing research about the potential impact of all-digital signals on co-channel analog stations, in and outside their protected contours?

[Letter: Digital Radio vs. 5G]

The FCC noted that when it first authorized nighttime operation for AM stations, it had stated that “the benefits of full-time IBOC operation by AM stations outweigh the slightly increased risk of interference …” The FCC asked whether that earlier reasoning applies to the potential for co-channel interference as a result of all-digital operation.

How might the likelihood of co-channel interference from all-digital stations be minimized; and how should the FCC resolve impermissible interference if it occurs?

What about digital-to-digital interference? Is it true that if all AM stations were digital, co-channel interference would be less, thus potentially increasing groundwave coverage for a given power level and carrier frequency? If the all-digital mode increases the power and bandwidth occupancy of the digital carriers, how might this affect adjacent-channel digital transmissions? What would be the impact of all-digital stations on hybrid ones? 

Nighttime operations — Should the FCC allow AM all-digital at night, given that propagation characteristics vary markedly between daytime and nighttime? How would all-digital affect potential interference caused by skywave propagation? What additional study and testing might be needed?

Receivers and consumers — Are consumers ready? Is 55 million HD Radio-equipped cars a sufficient number? Are non-car receivers readily available and affordable? How many HD Radio receivers sold in the past are still in operation? 

[Symposium Examines Changing Radio Landscape]

The FCC also wants to know about the impact of all-digital on listeners with analog-only receivers. “What is the estimated size of this audience, and their estimated frequency of use of such receivers? In a market with very few stations, a single station’s conversion to all-digital could reduce options for analog-only listeners.” Should the FCC require a station converting to all-digital to show that it is not the only full-service aural service within its community of license county? Would preserving the long-term economic viability of an AM station and the public benefit of improved service to some listeners justify the present-day loss of service to other listeners? Should the FCC require a converting station to notify its listeners, and in what way?

The NPRM also includes discussion about operating rules; emissions mask compliance (with the FCC noting that “the NRSC has not evaluated it and NAB Labs testing indicated that all-digital stations might have difficulty complying with it”); how signal power should be measured; what carrier frequency tolerance standard to adopt; the impact on EAS and TIS/HAR operations; the likely costs to station of converting; and other factors that might encourage more widespread adoption of all-digital broadcasting within the AM service.

The final NPRM text had not been published at press time, and comment deadlines were not yet set. The first deadline would be in or after late January. Search for “All-Digital AM Broadcasting Revitalization of the AM Radio Service” in MB Dockets No. 19-311 and 13-249.

The post FCC Takes Your Questions on AM All-Digital appeared first on Radio World.

Pleadings

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Broadcast Actions

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Actions

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Applications

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Mr. Justin Howze and Marissa C. Repp, Esq

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 20:00
Dismissed the Petition for Reconsideration

They Don’t Call Capacitors “Old Sparky” for Nuthin’

Radio World - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:58

We’ve written about electrolytic capacitors lately. I found a funny video of what happens when you mistakenly connect the “+” voltage to the negative terminal of an electrolytic in a simple flasher circuit. Take a look online at https://tinyurl.com/rw-work-cap (and don’t try it at home).

No identities of where this submission originated. After all, we’ve all probably experienced this or seen it happen to someone not respecting that “+” symbol.

****

While we’re on the subject of capacitor education, have you heard of ultra-capacitors? A brief tutorial explains the ultra-capacitor and its ability to store tremendous amounts of energy. Watch it at https://tinyurl.com/rw-work-cap2.

Also discussed is ESR, Equivalent Series Resistance, which we’ve covered in this column. ESR is a small internal resistance that limits current. In the case of the ultra-capacitor, the ESR is an amazingly low 7 milli-ohms! This means the ultra-capacitor can discharge hundreds of amps.

Capacitors of this size are used to dump hundreds of amps quickly; one application is handling the sudden stops and starts in electric cars. In the experiments in the video, you can see them used to vaporize bits of metal and circuit board traces. These are powerful components, not to be played with, as you will see. In addition to explaining some capacitor theory, the video demonstrates how dangerous innocuous components like capacitors can be. 

****

Paul Sagi writes from Malaysia that the company SDRplay has released a software update that allows you to scan a wide swath of bandwidth using a software-defined radio. For those new to this technology, SDRs replace traditional components like mixers, filters and amplifiers inside a receiver using software on a personal computer to replicate those component effects.  

This new software permits rapidly scanning in 10 MHz (or less) chunks over the SDRplay’s frequency range. It’s a software-defined spectrum analyzer! See www.rtl-sdr.com/tag/spectrum-analyzer-2 for more info.

Paul writes that years ago he had equipment on the bench and physically adjusted tuned circuits. Now that function is all handled in software, which makes sense; tuning a filter simply changes the mathematical function of the filter, and computers now have the capability to perform the math quickly enough.

**** Fig. 1: Home Depot has a clamp assortment every engineer can use.

My Telos colleague (and SBE board member) Kirk Harnack found a virtual bonanza for engineers at Home Depot! It’s a 22-piece reinforced spring clamp set, made out of fiberglass nylon. The best part? The set costs less than $10 for 22 clamps! These aren’t cheap clamps, either. They have non-slip grip handles and vinyl tips to protect the work they are gripping. 

At homedepot.com, enter 302755768 in the search field to find this.

Readers who have seen my Workbench presentations for the SBE may remember using the spring clip on a clipboard to hold components while soldering. With the variety of sizes in this set, there’s a clamp for any size job.

[Scarlet Knights’ Station Gets a Fresh Start] ****

You know how important it is to conserve your resources, even if it’s cool air. Kevin Wagner is the operations director for Eagle Communications in St. Joseph, Mo. Not long ago, Kevin invested in a new, smaller transmitter, and the upgrade left him with a large empty room.

Fig. 2: Plastic flaps contain the cool air at a transmitter site.

The snag was that he was now cooling all that empty space. He needed an inexpensive means to reduce the size of the conditioned area. Sure, he could have built a wall, but what if a future tower lessee required the empty space to be cooled again? Fig. 2 show’s Kevin’s solution.  

You see these plastic flaps used in refrigerated storage areas in supermarkets; they keep the cool air contained, but the overlapping flaps can be parted to permit entry into the cooled area. Plus, the fact that the plastic flaps are clear, you can see if someone enters the building while you are working.  

These freezer curtain strip sets run between $80 and $200, depending on your size requirements. Search “freezer curtain strips” on Amazon or Google.  

****

Readers enjoyed the EAS loop antenna project we told you about from Ken Beckwith, EMF field engineer. Several readers have inquired about the physics behind the wiring method used; Ken has been gracious enough to explain. 

The question dealt with grounding the shield of the conductors. In Ken’s design, the shield on the wiring is the primary of a transformer that actually receives the AM signal. The wire conductors form the secondary of the transformer, and provide the signal to the RF connector going to the receiver. If the shield was not grounded, there would be no voltage generated in the loop. 

Not everyone knows all the tricks and tips you’ve used for years. Share your ideas in the pages of Workbench — help other engineers while you qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send 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 They Don’t Call Capacitors “Old Sparky” for Nuthin’ appeared first on Radio World.

DAB+ Development Resumes in Poland

Radio World - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 08:46

The author is project directory for WorldDAB.

Bernie O’Neill

Today, there are more than 25 DAB+ audio services available to listeners in Poland, eight of which are exclusively available on DAB+ digital radio. That said, much of the radio landscape in the country has remained unchanged, and despite a number of stations launching on DAB+ in recent years, the geographical share of DAB+ in the country is the same as it was when it first launched just under five years ago.

However, as confirmed by KRRiT [the National Broadcasting Council of Poland] at the WorldDAB General Assembly 2019 at the start of November, all this is about to change as Poland prepares to resume the development of its DAB+ network over the next few years.

Poland’s (national and regional) public broadcasters are currently operating the only multiplex in the country, but as revealed at WorldDAB’s flagship event in Brussels earlier this month, a new, three-step expansion plan is set to start in October 2020 and conclude in October 2022.

As part of this plan, which for the most part will focus on highways and other main roads, population coverage is set to reach 68.2% by the end of the first, 77% by October 2021 and over 81% by the end of the third phase, in October 2022.

Speaking at the General Assembly, KRRiT strategy expert Krystyna Kuhn touched on KRRiT’s five-year regulatory strategy for the period leading up to 2022, pointing to the growth of DAB+ and the launch of two new multiplexes as one of the key priorities for the National Broadcasting Council of Poland.

DAB+ digital radio first launched in Poland in 2013, with two transmitters going into operation in Warsaw and Katowice — two the most populated agglomerations in Poland — and covering over 17% of population.

In October 2015, Poland’s DAB+ network included 24 transmitters in 17 locations across the country, covering over half (55.5%) of Poland’s population and a third of its territory, and it now seems the Polish radio industry is ready to take another step forward towards digitisation.

November also saw the first licences for regular transmissions on local multiplexes being granted for the cities of Warsaw, Katowice, Poznań, Rzeszów, Częstochowa, Toruń and Tarnów.

And despite an apparent lack of DAB+ marketing campaigns, the new international DAB+ logo is increasingly being used by key stakeholders in Poland, while the number of receiver sold in the country continues to grow — there are now over 100.000 DAB+ receivers in the market, excluding devices sold over the internet.

The post DAB+ Development Resumes in Poland appeared first on Radio World.

Digigram IQOYA *VIP Eases IP Radio

Radio World - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 08:34

Digigram says its IQOYA *VIP software brings flexibility to the way users manage, connect and deliver content for radio.

A scalable solution, IQOYA *VIP provides comprehensive audio routing along with IP audio streaming, encoding and decoding. It helps telcos and content delivery networks (CDNs) to design full end-to-end IP audio transcoding and routing functions, it opens doors to “radio-as-a-service” solutions.

In addition, says the company, by offering easy integration of IP streams, it adds value to automation system providers and radio stations.

IQOYA *VIP is hosted on a server in the cloud and brings studio facilities to one’s fingertips. It features simultaneous encoding/decoding, with transcoding capabilities, encoding of multiple audio streams, multiformat IP live streaming (including RTP/UDP, MPEG-TS, and Icecast/SHOUTcast) and stereo audio or multichannel I/O.

IQOYA *VIP runs under Windows or Linux. The service can be operated through a web GUI or a web service API. Once setup, it’s autonomous, hidden inside the system. When used as part of an automation system, IQOYA *VIP works just like any standard audio device.

For information, contact Digigram in France at +33-4-76-52-47-47 or visit www.digigram.com.

The post Digigram IQOYA *VIP Eases IP Radio appeared first on Radio World.

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