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Rotella: Radio Performance Tax Does More Harm than Good

Radio World - Fri, 11/22/2019 - 10:33

Here we go again!

Every Congress, a few well meaning, but misinformed legislators, appear to forget that they represent the people of their districts and not the foreign-owned record companies, and introduce in one form or another, the toxic performance royalty fee legislation commonly known as the “Performance Tax.”

It does no one any good at all, least of all the vast and diverse audiences our free-over-the-air broadcasters serve, and helps stifle the creative growth and opportunities for success of emerging artists, while destroying the best thing that ever happened to our multi-faceted, shared culture: the free-over-the-air delivery of all forms of entertainment, local news, EAS warnings, AMBER Alerts and most of all — music, to everyone, for free —no matter your social status or place of origin—radio!

Broadcast radio is enjoyed by almost everyone in America. For almost one hundred years, Americans have had a love affair with broadcast radio. And for good reason. Its bold, diverse, endearing, expandable, compact, ubiquitous, portable, lovable, affordable, and incontrovertible value as the most ubiquitous source of news, information and diverse entertainment available to everyone, and all for free.

No download charges, no subscription fees, and no license fees for the end user. It informs and binds us, it makes us laugh, it heals our wounds, it provides comfort and lifesaving information in times of crises, and oh yeah—it’s always on!

But the wrongheaded measures pushed by some who insist on squeezing every dime out of a broadcaster’s craft that they can would tamper with this timeless recipe for universal happiness.

[As Legislation Sits in Senate, Pirate Activity Continues in Force]

But much more horrifying; these Performance Royalty Taxes would destroy radio as we know it, and indeed harm everyone; artists, composers, communities, broadcasters and most sadly, everyone who enjoys radio today—about 300 million of our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers in America alone — the very constituents that these legislators are supposed to serve.

The good news is that support for the Local Radio Freedom Act supporting local radio continues to be strong in the House and the Senate. Currently, more than 200 Members of the House are on record in opposition to a performance tax.

New Jersey Broadcasters would like to express our deep appreciation to our Congressmen for their courageous leadership in previously opposing this unfair and wrongheaded tax. These Legislators are to be applauded for their early recognition and constant vigil over free-over-the-air radio’s service to the local communities they represent across the Garden State.

However, the NJBA was always convinced that a stealth attack on free over-the-air-radio was very possible, as we saw with this week’s introduction of two P-Tax bills in Congress.

In New Jersey, local radio is very, very important, and the prospect of a Performance Tax is akin to a Death Tax for broadcasters.

[Are Higher Music Licensing Costs Cued Up?]

The P-Tax would demand exorbitant royalty fees from broadcasters to pay for the a few record labels failed business models. And these new royalty fees would be on top of the billions the radio industry already pays in royalties to artists and songwriters through ASCAP, BMI and SEASAC! In these challenging economic times (or in any economic model), can any industry afford such confiscatory increases in net operating costs?) And the public would gain no return for the fees taken. No community service, no public announcements, no lifesaving Amber Alerts or EAS warnings. Nothing at all but making a few more millionaires and billionaires richer, and all at the public’s expense.

Nevertheless, the unavoidable result of the Performance Tax’s passage is much more than merely wreaking economic havoc on local radio stations. The passage of the bill would force the closing of a majority of local radio stations in New Jersey and across the country. To be sure, the prospect of enhanced opportunities for localism, diversity and outreach would be immediately hushed. Station groups and networks would be hurt, as well. Localism would be out the window and thousands in New Jersey would lose their jobs.

Moreover, local merchants, businesses, government officials, politicians, and community groups would be without a voice and an affordable, effective outlet to market their goods and services to their obvious customers and constituencies.

But this is all not about dollars; It is about common sense.

[Music, Royalties and Communities — Walking the Walk]

Much more horrific, the closure of these vital broadcast outlets across America would also decimate our Emergency Alert Warning System capabilities and pose a genuine threat to homeland security. And for what? So a few greedy foreign owned record companies can try to line their coffers with more American dollars, taking billions out of our economy? And worse, the move would directly or indirectly, wipe out hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States.

Moreover, a new oppressive Performance-Tax would hurt emerging artists who might not ever get their music on the air if stations have to pay a fee every time a new song is played.

Performing artists almost universally recognize the honest and incomparable value only broadcast radio air-play adds to their industry and business model. The record label’s recognition of the unparalleled promotional value of radio airplay contradicts statements made by recording industry representatives in Washington.

Our two industries have worked perfectly together for decades. Certainly, no artist would ever have an opportunity to become famous and successful absent their natural symbiotic partnership with free-over-the- air-radio! This symbiosis evinces the inescapable conclusion that both sides are benefiting. Why do you think local stations across the country are bombarded every day with sample CD’s MP3s, and “demos” by emerging artists (and seasoned veteran artists) begging station managers to play their new tune? It’s because broadcasters and artists genuinely “get it.” It’s how they sell records, (yes, vinyl records are making a comeback) CDs, downloads, video and merchandise.

Worse, the P-Tax’s foreseeable fractionalization of collaborative artists could hurt everyone associated with the creative process and diminish the very projects or songs they want to promote to be successful. It’s a recipe for collusion, litigation, division, unfairness, and disaster.

[NAB Adds Broadcast Essentials to Education Resources]

So you see, a new Performance Tax imposed on radio stations by record companies would only be biting the very hand that feeds them.

Equally disturbing is the disingenuous comparison of broadcast radio to internet providers and pay/subscription audio entertainment programming and fees paid by satellite radio. The proponents of this legislation want us all to be alike – just because Cable, Satellite and Internet services pay these royalties. But we are not alike!

Remember how radio stations helped warn and serve New Jersians crushed by SANDY? Well, New Jersians do. Free over-the-air radio & television are the only exclusively local media in existence! Did you ever see a pure-play or satellite station sponsor a little league team or do a food drive for a local charity?

Our cherished stewardship of the public airways is a public trust, and no industry is more publically spirited than broadcast. We have a very different mission, mainly to operate in the public interest; from the sustaining value we provide for the EAS for local emergency notification such as NJ Amber Alerts, and in response to community-wide emergencies like Superstorm Sandy, ice and snow storms, and other extreme weather hazards, to local news of community events and happenings in entertainment in an amazing variety of formats.

The internet and satellite applications referred to in mislabeled “equitable royalty fee” arguments (and the specious claim of pure-play “radio” designations) do not provide such essential public services, nor are they designed or equipped to do so.

[Does 5G Make Sense for Radio]

Compared to free radio’s 300 million listeners in the United States alone, satellite and subscription services reach less than 10% of radio’s ever expanding and diverse listening base. And radio’s service is free! Think about how many people in today’s tough economy can afford to pay to hear radio in the first place. (By the way, if anyone wants to see the effects of wrongheaded Performance fees, just look at the 30%+ increase in satellite’s monthly subscription fees for royalties and the “going dark” of some radio stations’ streaming audio on the net, due largely in part to the ever-increasing royalties charged to stream content.)

And to lay to rest the specious argument that the performing artists will get any money from the new Performance Tax, all you need to do is review the typical recording contract any new artist is “forced” to sign if they want to get their coveted “record deal.” It often provides for very little compensation to flow to the artist after record production and promotion costs are re-cooped.

More disturbingly, many artists complain about the notorious greed of the industry itself. In a surreal report released a few weeks after Michael Jackson’s death, it was revealed that the King of Pop told interviewers that it was “Time for artists to take a stand against record labels.” In a video interview filmed by director Brett Ratner, Michael Jackson “lashed out at record labels. Asked about his greatest lesson learned, Jackson replied: “Not to trust everybody in the industry. There are a lot of sharks, and record companies steal. They cheat. I have to audit them. And it’s time for artists to take a stand against them.” Bravo, Michael.

[50 Broadcast Groups to FCC: Remove Obsolete EEO Rules]

Finally, our great New Jersey Broadcaster Association represents much more than the radio and television industry in the Garden State. We also represent the vast and diverse audiences that our members so ably serve. We represent the people, and we stand with them. We respectfully ask all of Congress to the same. It’s the right thing to do.

So keep listening New Jersey! Let’s defeat this Performance Tax and let’s keep New Jersey radio free for all to enjoy!

The post Rotella: Radio Performance Tax Does More Harm than Good appeared first on Radio World.

College Radio Watch: Digging into College Radio History in Sacramento and More News

Radio Survivor - Fri, 11/22/2019 - 08:00

On this week’s radio show/podcast we had a fun discussion with one of the founders of Sacramento State University’s college radio station KSSU. We learned about the challenges and obstacles that students faced in the late 1980s when they embarked on a project to bring student radio back to campus. It’s not unusual; many students have had to exhibit similar levels of persistence in order to launch college radio stations over the decades. In addition to sharing that story, KSSU co-founder Jim Bolt also talked about his efforts to archive the station’s early history. I appreciate this project too and hope that it will inspire more stations, even brand new ones, to document their origin stories.

More College Radio News Funding and Infrastructure Anniversaries and History Technology Programming Events Alumni

The post College Radio Watch: Digging into College Radio History in Sacramento and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:00


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:00

Broadcast Actions

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:00


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:00

Media Bureau Opens MB Docket No. 19-347- "Cable Service Change Notifications"

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:00
The Media Bureau announces that it has opened MB Docket No 19-347, captioned "Cable Service Change Notifications."

O’Reilly Serves Trump for Thanksgiving

Radio World - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 18:42

Bill O’Reilly got an Air Force One sit-down with Pres. Donald Trump earlier this month. The result? A special Thanksgiving holiday one hour special that will be available for affiliates of O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Update,” a 15-minute daily program that airs on almost 200 stations; syndicated by Key Networks. Of course, the program will be “yuge” and “The best ever.”

The post O’Reilly Serves Trump for Thanksgiving appeared first on Radio World.

Letter: Digital Radio Vs. 5G

Radio World - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 18:00

The author is a broadcast technical author from Australia and has spent a lifetime in training technicians. Radio World welcomes opinions and points of view on important radio broadcast industry issues.

The article “Does 5G Make Sense for Radio?” written by Chris Weck, is an excellent in-depth piece, to which I would like to add some additional facts.

Please look at the Youtube video soon as they may take it down.

For 5G to get the high data rates boasted, the transmission frequency has to be the highest frequency used by the public with the exception of light. It is 39 GHz. At these frequencies the signals will not penetrate anything other than vacuum and air. Not buildings or terrain. Look at this promotional video made by Verizon https://youtu.be/jnyG2bliKCs It has been carefully crafted to not show the downsides of such a high frequency;

Example 1

How far does it travel? 915 m (ie. less than a kilometer!) Note that he had to increase the height to get line of sight back to the base station!

Example 2

Foliage. The video was shot on a fine day, he makes no mention of what happens when the foliage is wet or the absorption of the signal in heavy rain.

Example 3

Trick Shots. One example in the right locations cannot be generalized to say it will work everywhere. What about hills?

Example 4

Walls. Notice that the base station is visible through the window and is not far away and the signal goes around a wall to a modem/router, which then converts the signal Wi-Fi, meaning it can go through walls in a building. What proportion of houses already have this connection already? What would have happened if the tower was on the other side of the building?

Beamforming requires the signal to be delayed until the beam is in your direction, just like a lighthouse. This is in addition to the variable delay caused by a myriad of possible paths to the base station from the studio. The radio will have to store the incoming data until it receives all the time labelled packets to decode them in time order.

Some telcos are over promoting 5G to sell phones, which will spend nearly all of their life operating in 3G and 4G mode. Even if the telcos start in the 3.6 GHz band there is around 60 MHz per direction available and it is incapable of the speeds shown above.

The United Nations’ Telecommunications Union says “At the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), global stakeholders are working towards building consensus on additional spectrum for IMT. Taking place in Egypt from Oct. 28 to Nov. 22, WRC-19 will consider new allocations to the mobile service and identification for IMT of frequencies within the following frequency ranges: 24.25 – 27.5 GHz, 31.8 – 33.4 GHz, 37 – 40.5 GHz, 40.5 – 42.5 GHz, 42.5 – 43.5 GHz, 45.5 – 47 GHz, 47 – 47.2 GHz, 47.2 – 50.2 GHz, 50.4 GHz – 52.6 GHz, 66 – 76 GHz, and 81 – 86 GHz.”

It can be seen that as the frequency rises a greater range of frequencies is available hence the greater the data speeds which can be achieved, remembering that that bandwidth has to be shared between the users of that repeater at that point in time. In addition the higher the frequency the greater are the propagation effects shown in examples 1–4 above.

With all of the above constraints in the 39 GHz band, they frequently show base stations on poles on street verges which will have to be much less than a kilometer apart all of which have to be connected to the network using fiber optic which could already be going to houses already. The competitor to this is fiber to the premises which can also achieve these speeds using multi-colored lasers, and it is not affected by the environment or even Fiber to the Curb is fast enough for most people.

Not mentioned is what happens if there is a power failure in the street or city. No emergency messages will be relayed to smart speakers or phones.

Weck, also mentions propagation losses. The line of sight losses in dry air are frequency dependent.

The frequency used is the center of each band. VHF Low is available in the Americas and Band 1 elsewhere in the world.

The radiated power is controlled by the antenna gain, the cable loss to the antenna and the transmitter power.

The higher the frequency the more that rain absorbs the signal as it does with blocked paths.

Remember that DAB+ and DRM are both capable of transmitting data such as images, multipage text and traffic data for vehicles as well as hyperlinks.

The huge losses for 5G makes a single transmitter/receiver site for the 100 km radius impossible, hence the need for thousands of low-powered transceivers on street poles.

Lastly broadcasting is essentially a one-way communication to all listeners, which can reliably transmit emergency messaging to the whole population.

Mobile/cell phone systems are designed to be a two-way communication to an individual, when used by a broadcaster, each listener has their own bidirectional channel, which is hardly used in the return direction. This is very wasteful of spectrum, hardware and electricity and will cost the listener dearly. In addition, 5G is incapable of reliably messaging the population in an emergency.

The post Letter: Digital Radio Vs. 5G appeared first on Radio World.

AKG Unveils Lyra Ultra-HD, Multimode USB Microphone

Radio World - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 17:37

Harman Professional Solutions has announced its new AKG Lyra ultra-HD, multimode USB condenser microphone.

The AKG Lyra provides 4K-compatible, Ultra HD-grade 24-bit/192 kHz audio resolution, according to the company, in part due to its AKG Adaptive Capsule Array, which provides user-selectable capture modes optimized for different performance formats. As a USB mic, it offers “plug-and-play” operation, sports accessible controls, features an internal self-adjusting shockmount and built-in sound diffuser and more.

[Check Out More Products at Radio World’s Products Section]

The AKG Adaptive Capsule Array uses four capture modes to adapt to performance needs. Front mode isolates the target sound, rejecting unwanted sounds at the microphone back and sides. Front & Back mode captures and blends together sound equally on all sides, while Tight Stereo mode captures audio in true stereo with discrete left and right audio, providing separation for side-by-side interviews or panel discussions, or for recording instruments like drums or piano. Wide Stereo mode is intended for capturing audio with greater stereo separation, room ambience, and depth.

Lyra is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices, and sports a “zero-latency” headphone jack and headphone volume knob that eliminates the short delay between speaking into a microphone and hearing the signal in the headphones, so creators can stay focused on their performance.

Info: www.akg.com


The post AKG Unveils Lyra Ultra-HD, Multimode USB Microphone appeared first on Radio World.

User Report: StreamS Shines for Family Life Radio

Radio World - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 14:32

TUCSON, Ariz. — At Family Life Radio, we have developed a strategy to put more resources into our online streaming platforms. We explored many fine products, providers, services and distribution methods; but in the end, we opted to host the online radio stream ourselves so that our product wouldn’t change if we changed provider. 

My colleague Michael Bové introduced me to a friend of his, John Schaab at Modulation Index, which is turning our vision into a reality.

When I saw that the StreamS encoder was Windows-based, I initially was turned off by it due to the notorious reputations of some Windows updates. However, upon further discussion, I learned that Modulation Index uses a professional specialized, slimmed-down version of Windows 10 called LTSC [Long Term Servicing Channel] with which they then utilize a script eliminating even more unnecessary functions, making it more of an OS skeleton to house their product. 

The StreamS encoder does not need the same maintenance as a typical computer would, which alleviates the problem of installing updates upon a reboot of the machine. 

[StreamS/Modulation Index Releases New Encoder]

After we got our demo unit, the configuration process was easy to accomplish with the documentation provided. There was minimal troubleshooting, and the expertise at StreamS-Modulation Index got us up and running quickly. 

We have a stream set up securely sending an HE-AACv2 HLSdirect stream at 32 kbps via FTPS to a cloud-based server we rent from VULTR and have leveraged Cloud Flare as our CDN. The changes we are implementing are not only driving our financial overhead down but this solution consumes less bandwidth for our listeners, allowing for them to listen longer on their mobile devices or favorite music platform. We are still in the process of launching our new product and we have never been more excited.

For information, contact John Schaab at Modulation Index at 1-940-206-7702 or visit www.streamindex.com.

The post User Report: StreamS Shines for Family Life Radio appeared first on Radio World.

Radio Station Visit #164: KMNO Mana’o Radio in Maui

Radio Survivor - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 08:20

On a dreamy Hawaiian vacation this August, I carved out some time to visit community radio station KMNO Mana’o Radio on the island of Maui. My colleagues Matthew Lasar and Paul Riismandel have both written about the station in the past and last year Paul did an impromptu visit, piquing my interest even more.

Boxes of CDs at Mana’o Radio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

As I plotted out a family trip to Maui, scheduling a visit to KMNO was a great excuse to visit the town of Wailuku. We spent the morning sampling artisan doughnuts and meeting the gregarious owner at Donut Dynamite, hiking in the lush Iao Valley, and roaming through funky thrift stores and antique shops.

Iao Valley in Maui. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Located in close proximity to the town’s commercial strip, Mana’o Radio is a short walk to a record store, Request Music, as well as shops, restaurants and cafes. Having spent much of our trip in touristy zones, it was refreshing to check out the more locals-oriented Wailuku.

Mural on wall in Wailuku. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Embracing the spirit of aloha that we felt on our trip, Mana’o Radio was a lovely respite on a hot afternoon. In the air conditioned station lobby, General Manager Michael Elam met up with me and my family to share the story of KMNO. Shelves of music comprised one side of the lobby, with desks and cabinets on the other side. A door leads into the on-air studio, where a DJ was hosting a program during our visit.

Michael Elam at Mana’o Radio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

An all-volunteer operation, KMNO is led by a six-person board and has around 45 volunteers. Eschewing pledge drives; Mana’o Radio instead relies on underwriting and special event fundraisers. Elam said that it has been “truly listener supported since day one.” Even better, he added that the station is financially stable and lauded by the community. Just a few weeks before my visit, KMNO was named “best radio station” in local publication, Maui Time Weekly.

Audio equipment at Mana’o Radio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Originally a low power station beginning in 2002 (KEAO-LP), Mana’o Radio’s initial FCC application stated,

Manao Radio was incorporated in the state of Hawaii on August 28, 2000. ‘Manao’ is a Hawaiian word which means ‘thought, idea, opinion, theory, meaning, mind; to think, suppose, meditate, deem, consider’. It is one of many non-English words used frequently in Hawaii, often in the phrase ‘sharing manao,’ or the exchange of thoughts, feelings, and expertise. Pre-contact Hawaiians had no written language; knowledge was passed through the oral tradition of sharing manao. We chose the name ‘Manao Radio’ because we see this station as a modern extension of this tradition; an opportunity to educate the community through multicultural sharing.

Mana’o Radio sign at the community station. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Mana’o Radio later cancelled its LPFM license and obtained a full power FM license, upgrading its signal in 2014 to 1200 watts at 91.7 FM. Elam told me that just last year, they added a translator and are now able to reach the entire island of Maui, which he said has around 160,000 year-round residents.

Sound board at community radio station Mana’o Radio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Elam explained that the station’s mission has expanded since its early days as a low power “hippie station.” While it still caters to that audience, programming has expanded recently and they’ve had an influx of new DJs in the past one to three years. There are hip-hop and electronica shows now and a beats workshop at nearby Request Music was in keeping with KMNO’s desire to support live music and local Maui musicians, according to Elam.

Flyer for Maui Beat Session. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Although Mana’o is primarily focused on its local listeners; it’s not lost on them that the station broadcasts in tourism-focused Hawaii. With its online stream, Elam opined that they would love to have visitors take the station home with them.

Front of Mana’o Radio building in Wailuku, Maui. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

With all local programming, KMNO airs a wide range of live shows and plays automated music playlists during the late night hours (midnight to 3am). Genres over the course of the broadcast day include metal, jazz, Celtic music, classical, blues, rock, soul, country, and more. While tuning in to the station throughout our Hawaiian vacation, we enjoyed the mix, including a fun old school hip hop show, some newer indie rock, and tidbits of Hawaiian history, which run twice a day.

CDs on the shelf in on-air studio at Mana’o Radio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

A number of shows have a traditional freeform aesthetic, blending a range of genres. DJ Forest, who was on the air when we stopped by, talked about his underground radio past in the San Francisco Bay Area (at KPFA and KTIM to name a few). As I learned about the places that many Mana’o Radio DJs had migrated from, it brought to mind the fascinating melange of folks who have been drawn to Hawaii.

DJ Forest in the studio at community radio station Mana’o Radio. Photo: J. Waits/Radio Survivor

Mahalo to Michael Elam for the interview and tour. This is my 164th radio station tour report and my 35th community radio station recap. View all my radio station visits in numerical order or by station type in our archives.

The post Radio Station Visit #164: KMNO Mana’o Radio in Maui appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Montenegro’s Radio Difunzi Centar Selects Connect for Monitoring, Control

Radio World - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 06:51

Radio Difunzi Centar, the national broadcaster for Montenegro, has tapped software tech company Connect to update it monitoring and control platform, specifically with the KYBIO Media system.

Radio Difuzni Centar control room in Montenegro, using KYBIO Media.

RDC has 80 sites across Montenegro that utilize a variety of transmitters and other equipment and was looking for a new software solution.

KYBIO is composed of a combination of modules that enable users to visualize in real time the statuses and key metrics of all sites and equipment in explorable dashboards; features real-time alarms, notifications, time-based reporting and root cause analysis; offers time management features, event resolution tracking and advanced control for remote actions over connected equipment with industry standard protocols; and provides aggregating data from multiple equipment and locations, which can then be transformed into visual insights and reports.

“We were impressed by the flexibility and scalability of KYBIO Media with its unique network scanning and auto-discovery features that greatly helped speed up the deployment time,” said Ljiljana Bracanovic-Nikolic, head of engineering at RDC.

“We really appreciate the software ability to handle large and complex data sets while presenting a simple and contextual user interface to our users.”

The post Montenegro’s Radio Difunzi Centar Selects Connect for Monitoring, Control appeared first on Radio World.

Broadcast Action Public Notice

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 21:00
Broadcast Action Public Notice


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 21:00

Cable Television Relay Service (CARS) Applications

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 21:00
Applications Accepted for Filing

Cable Television Relay Service (CARS) Applications

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 21:00
Actions on Pending Applications


FCC Media Bureau News Items - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 21:00