With a public C-band auction on the horizon, the National Association of Broadcasters and a number of companies that represent large purchases of C-band capacity are fully behind FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s commitment that any plan for the auction will “protect the services that are currently delivered using the C-band so they can continue to be delivered to the American people.”
That quote came from a letter sent by the NAB and the companies — which include Disney, CBS, NBCUniversal, Viacom, A&E, Univision, Fox and Discovery — to FCC Secretary Marlene Dortch in response to an ex parte submission about the C-band.
Pai announced earlier this week that plans are underway to launch a public auction for 300 MHz of the C-band spectrum for the development of 5G. That would leave 200 MHz for current C-band spectrum users to continue their operations, which has been used primarily by satellite operators for the delivery of video and audio content.
“The chairman’s recognition of the importance of maintaining a robust and reliable content distribution system in the upper 200 MHz of C-band spectrum, free of harmful interference and without proposals to introduce new terrestrial transmissions, whether on a fixed, mobile or flexible use basis, is a critical step in this proceeding,” the letter reads.
NAB and its co-signers also stressed the importance of working with the FCC to make the transition as effective as possible for satellite operators and their customers as they shift to less spectrum.
Other areas regarding the transition brought up in the letter touch on reimbursement costs; interference prevention, detection, mitigation and enforcement; maintenance of the service during the transition; and honoring of the commitments that the C-band satellite companies have made. NAB described these as “essential.”
“We are committed to working closely with the commission, the satellite industry and other stakeholders to ensure a successful transition,” the letter reads.
The full letter can be read on NAB’s website.
The post NAB, Content Companies See Protection of C-Band Services as “Critical” appeared first on Radio World.
Podcasting seems unstoppable these days. Forrester Research reports the new medium will be a $1 billion media market by this time next year — pretty incredible when you consider that the Interactive Advertising Bureau placed that same market at “only” $400 million in 2018. The expected 150% increase is, of course, due to the fact that more people are listening to podcasts than ever before. For example, Spotify noted its customers’ podcast consumption in 2018 rose 250% year-over-year, and Forrester claims adult podcast listeners spend more than three hours a week listening to online content. With the audience only growing, you can expect the number of podcasts, podcasters and advertisers to likewise mushroom in the coming year.
Navigating a marketplace that’s exploding like that is another story, however, but it’s one that will be crucial for many audio pros. The medium is still in a “wild west” phase where indie podcasts can blow up overnight, but listeners’ expectations are ramping up, too — homegrown shows with amateur audio quality are increasingly a thing of the past. This represents a great opportunity, however, not only for audio manufacturers, but also recording studios, engineers and other audio pros to provide podcast production services — or to start their own shows.
So how do you break into podcasting, record a great series and get a massive following? That’s a question we’ve been mulling a lot recently, as we’ve been curating a day of top podcast professionals who will discuss those topics and more at The Video Show, taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 4–5.
The podcasting sessions are designed for all kinds of audio pros, from those thinking of delving into podcasting to seasoned veterans looking to up their game. Speakers will include studio design legend John Storyk of Walters-Storyk Design Group; Tim Albright of AVNation; Melissa Monte, host of the hit podcast “Mind Love”; Frank Verderosa, engineer of “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast;” Michael Goodman, president of CEntrance; Jill Olmsted, American University professor and author; and author/former NPR and Audient podcast guru Eric Nuzum.
Presentations will include:
Tools for Podcasting: How, Why, Where — American University professor Jill Olmsted will explore podcasting, how it works and where to find tools and inspiration to create your own podcast. Olmsted will also gift attendees with free copies of her extensive ebook, “Tools for Podcasting.”
Podcasting: From Choosing Gear to Empowering Guests — Michael Goodman, audio product design engineer and chief podcaster at CEntrance, will delve into audio hardware, podcasting best practices, dealing with podcast guests and more.
Podcast Studio Design: Necessities, Variations and Options — John Storyk of Walters-Storyk Design Group provides a case study of creating professional facilities for top podcasters Stitcher and Spotify’s Gimlet Media.
Getting it Made: Content and Quality in Podcasting — commercial post and pro podcast engineer Frank Verderosa will explore ways to create audio content, weighing cost, purpose, audience and goals; discuss challenges and solutions; consider recording options; and show how scalable production can be.
Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling — NPR/Audient veteran Eric Nuzum has helped launch over 130 podcasts; he’ll share real-world advice for creating a compelling podcast, and will additionally sign copies of his new podcasting book, “Make Noise.”
Pitches, Partners, & Placements, Oh, My: How to Get Over A Million Podcast Downloads Next Year — “Mind Love” podcaster Melissa Monte will share the exact strategies she used to grow her show from zero audience to over a million downloads in one year, with no paid advertisements.
Amplify Your Podcast with Social Media — AVNation’s Tim Albright will go through each of the major, and minor, social media networks and explore what each has to promote your podcast.
And that’s just the podcasting track. In all, The Video Show will feature more than 100 sessions on all kinds of content creation, as well as a screening room, demo areas, streaming studio and exhibit floor. You can find out more at www.thevideoshow.com, and if you’re already amped to go, psst — visit here to get a nicely discounted registration. (Don’t say I never did anything for you.)
The National Association of Broadcasters has added a “resource designed to equip new employees with information they need to succeed in their new roles,” according to NAB Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs Steve Newberry.
This new online educational program, dubbed “Broadcast Essentials,” is intended to help broadcast stations and new employees. NAB members can access the content for free, and nonmembers can purchase each suite for $499 per station or cluster.
The first course is entitled “Radio Employee Onboarding Suite” features six videos that address:
- Radio station licenses and content delivery methods;
- A typical station’s organizational chart;
- Content and revenue streams;
- How commercials are created, scheduled and aired;
- Radio’s role in the local community and economy.
More courses are slated for release in the coming months.
The post NAB Adds Broadcast Essentials to Education Resources appeared first on Radio World.
What an exciting issue we have for you, with great stories and news from all around the world of radio. Low-power FM operators explain why they think they deserve regulatory relief. We remember the late Warren Shulz and Jeff Nordstrom. Buyer’s Guide features new offerings for streaming, podcasting and online delivery. We take a look inside the new studio of Rutgers station WRSU. Fred Jacobs writes that Alexa wants to be everywhere, including in our ears, our glasses and maybe even our pizza boxes. And lots more.
LPFM Stations Seek Technical Upgrades
Advocates argue that the low-power FM service is now a mature one. Many broadcasters say that doesn’t mean LPFM rules should be changed. Here’s what people are telling the FCC.TECH HISTORY
How D-C Cranked Out All Those Tapes
Hank Landsberg is known for his little blue Henry boxes; but back in the day he was director of engineering at Drake-Chenault Enterprises, and he has cool stories to share about what it was like to work there in the heyday of tape-based automation.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
- Symposium Examines Changing Radio Landscape
- Scarlet Knights’ Station Gets a Fresh Start
- Alexa Is in My Ears and in My Eyes
Back in June I openly worried about the future state of internet radio on the Mac with the arrival of macOS Catalina and the demise of iTunes. While iTunes has its faults, it still provided a simple way to tune in stations from around the world without using a web browser, whether you found the station in its own directory or plugged in the station’s stream URL yourself.
I’m happy to report that the situation is not as dire as I’d feared.
An early release of the Music app on both MacOS and iOS featured only a handful of carefully chosen stations outside of Beats 1 Radio and Apple’s own curated stations, the latter only available with a paid Apple Music subscription. However, now the Music app now gives you access to a very comprehensive selection of both terrestrial and pure-play internet stations across the U.S. and from around the world.
This is very good news, though Music isn’t yet a full-fledged iTunes replacement. The first big difference is that the Music app doesn’t really let you browse the world of internet radio. Sure, there’s a “Radio” button in the menu, but what you get is mostly populated by Beats 1 and Apple Music stations, along with a smattering of big public and commercial stations. Scroll down and you see a menu item, “Radio Stations,” that seems promising. But click on it and you just get more featured Apple Music stations, along with a list of genres that – you guessed it – deliver even more Apple Music stations.The Vagaries of the Search
So where are all the real internet radio stations? Search, you must, young Jedi.
Indeed, I was able to find pretty much every station on my local Portland, Oregon radio dial. When I surveyed other Mac internet radio apps earlier this year, I discovered that stations owned by either iHeart or Entercom were often missing. That’s because these two radio giants have started pulling their stations off rival apps. iHeart only wants you to hear its stations on iHeartRadio and Entercom only wants you to hear its stations through Radio.com.
The Music app solves this problem by plugging into the iHeartRadio, Radio.com and TuneIn directories. At least in the U.S., when combined, these directories cover just about every broadcast station that has a live stream, as well as most internet stations that wish to be found. When you search for a specific station, the app displays what directory the result came from.
But search has serious limits. When I searched for “college radio” it returned only about 40 results. Included were ESPN College Football and some other results that indicate the search was only performed on station names. If you were hoping to find your local college station but don’t remember the call letters, you’re likely out of luck.
The same thing was true when searching for jazz or heavy metal. All is good if the genre is in the station’s name, but otherwise you’ll only see a small percentage of stations that might otherwise qualify.
This is curious, because all three directories Music relies on do classify stations by category or genre. The metadata is in there, but Music doesn’t search it. Combined with the inability to browse internet radio stations, this makes Music a poor way to discover internet radio stations.
Still, if you know a station’s call letter or name and its in the iHeart Radio.com or TuneIn directory – a pretty good chance – then the app is a fine way to listen to internet radio without a browser. In fact, if this is your use case, because it combines these three different directories, Music is your best choice for a desktop internet radio app.Triode – a Promising iTunes Replacement?
I was reminded to check back in on this topic because I just learned about a new internet radio app for MacOS, iOS and tvOS. MacStories positively reviewed this app, Triode, calling it, “an excellent addition across nearly the full range of Apple’s platforms.”
I excitedly tried it out, only to run into the same limitations that hamper the other apps I surveyed: no stations from iHeart or Entercom. On the one hand, as a lover of great non-commercial stations and strange, eclectic internet radio, this isn’t necessarily a huge restriction.
I was immediately impressed with Triode on startup, as it displayed a wonderful selection of truly great independent terrestrial and internet stations, including San Francisco’s BFF.fm and SomaFM, Denver’s jazz KUVO, New Jersey’s WFMU, The Current from Minnesota Public Radio and Radio Survivor affiliate XRAY.fm here in Portland. It’s wonderful to see these recommendations rather than just a pile of big city, highly rated commercial and public stations.
When I searched for “college radio” I got back dozens upon dozens of results – more than I had the patience to count. Same for metal, jazz and blues. Clearly, Triode is searching station descriptions, categories and genres, not just names.
If you don’t find a station in the directory you can add it to Triode if you know the stream URL. Now that’s very iTunes-live behavior.
Nevertheless, I suspect that the lack of big U.S. commecial stations is a drawback that will make this more of a niche app rather than a true competitor for Apple’s own Music app. Radio nerds who love independent stations and don’t want to pick through Apple’s subscription-only offerings to find their favorites are the target audience.
While Triode is free, you can only save stations as favorites with a paid subscription for 99 cents a month, $9.99 a year or $19.99 for a forever plan. By comparison, this is a feature you get for free with TuneIn as long as you’re willing to set up a free account. Plus you’ll get access to pretty much the same catalog of stations. A Triode paid subscription also delivers high resolution album art displayed for each track, a feature whose utility holds little appeal for me.Consolidation Is To Blame
Now, the limits of Triode’s directory aren’t the fault of the app developer. The guilty parties are iHeartRadio and Entercom, two of the largest radio companies in the U.S. which also don’t want their stations found outside their own app platforms.
Of course you can still listen to these stations on your computer… for now. Ultimately it’s consolidation that keeps independent radio apps from having access to these companies’ streams. Luckily, there are still thousands upon thousands of smaller and independent stations more than happy to be found and streamed through whatever app you might be using.
The situation parallels what we’re seeing in video streaming. Where just a few years ago you might only need to use one or two apps or subscription services – like Netflix and Hulu – to get a pretty wide variety of movies and programs, now you need like six or seven.
I’d hate to see other radio companies follow iHeart’s and Entercom’s lead and set up their own closed app platforms, requiring a listener to have five or six different apps installed just to hear all the stations on their local dial. It could be enough to drive folks away from internet radio.
Or maybe just drive them to their trusty terrestrial radio receiver, which already gets all these stations.
If only their smartphones had a plain old radio tucked inside….
The post After the Death of iTunes Real Internet Radio Is Back on the macOS Music App appeared first on Radio Survivor.
A study commissioned by iHeartMedia challenges common assumptions about the efficacy of automotive radio advertising strategies and consumer behaviors.
The media company said that for 17 months, marketing attribution software company LeadsRx tracked “nearly 2 million commercials” run by “more than 300 automotive advertisers” and featuring all major automotive brands.
A report summarizing the findings, “Five Secrets for Automotive Advertisers,” was presented at the Automotive Analytics & Attribution Summit during a workshop titled “Turbocharge Your Radio Spots. The Top 5 Attribution Secrets Discovered From Over 300 Automotive Advertisers.”[Read: Connected Travel Seeks a Radio Connection]
These so-called secrets will likely not surprise seasoned radio professionals; reach and frequency are key. The report concludes, “Running 10 commercials per day using a mix of ad lengths, dayparts, stations and days of the week can lead to a two times greater web traffic response rate.” According to the study, the best recipe appears to be to run a campaign seven days a week, airing ads of multiple lengths between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- After running radio commercials, advertisers saw an average 17% increase in web traffic within 10 minutes.
- Ad campaigns airing seven days a week saw +90% greater results than those who advertised three to four days.
- Web traffic response to advertising is two times greater from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. than in evenings or overnight.
- Multiple ad lengths outperformed campaigns with single ad lengths by over two times.
“The goal of any attribution study is to demonstrate how to make campaigns more effective, and this study confirms that advanced attribution helps automotive businesses to plan, measure and evaluate their advertising,” LeadsRx CEO AJ Brown said in a release announcing the study.
iHeartMedia Executive Vice President of Automotive Business Development and Partnerships John Karpinski said, “Importantly, the use of attribution upended several commonly held industry misconceptions as to what makes for a successful advertising campaign. We [iHeartMedia] are now fully committed to marketing attribution to drive 100% of our automotive advertising business.”
The post Study Highlights “Five Secrets for Automotive Advertisers” appeared first on Radio World.
Convening for the 69th time in as many years, this year’s IEEE Broadcast Technology Society’s annual fall Symposium brought together some 120 engineering personnel from as far away as Japan and South Korea to exchange information about developments in disseminating information and entertainment to mass audiences.
Although the ATSC 3.0 and 5G rollouts got the lion’s share of attention this year, contemporary radio technology and issues were visible, with presentations ranging from IP connectivity to network security, remote monitoring, emergency alerting and regulatory matters.
Frank Foti led off presentations on a day of the conference devoted primarily to radio, with an update on the initiative by the Telos Alliance to assist broadcasters in moving to all-IP transport platforms.[Read: The Value of Standards]
“I just recently finished up some pretty cool research work that I want to share that ties in with (the transport of) the FM multiplex signal,” said Foti. “Moving from multiplex over AES 67 to IP is a natural progression, and (this) technology slashes the amount of bandwidth needed for distribution by nearly 84 percent to a remarkable 320 kbps. It’s a remarkably efficient payload.”
Foti said that the µMPX technology was designed for FM transmission applications and was devoid of traditional psychoacoustic artifacts, with those that were generated being masked by the FM reception process. He also noted that by using the technology, which supports the embedding of the pilot, FM broadcasters could gain 1 dB greater loudness in their signals.
Frank Foti. “With this [µMPX] technology we’re able to get that 1 dB loudness legally.”“In the FM stereo system (with) 100 percent modulation, it’s basically 90 percent audio and 10 percent pilot,” said Foti.
“In this system we’re embedding the pilot instead of adding it. The equivalent would be modulating at 110 percent to get that added loudness. With this technology we’re able to get that 1 dB loudness legally. I’m not up here to (push) loudness, but we live in a competitive world. This is dense audio; you shift it 1 dB and the program director says ‘Wow’! In an age where broadcasters are fighting in every way to retain listeners, I think added loudness is a benefit to the industry.”MP11
The NAB’s David Layer teamed with Xperi’s Harry Chalmers to provide a report on testing of a high bitrate (100 kbps core and 48 kbps non-core) HD Radio operating mode that was defined in the NRSC-5 IBOC standard but had not been tested until now.
Layer noted that the testing was a cooperative effort of Xperi, Nautel and NAB Pilot, and utilized the Pilot radio test bed set up at the Cavell, Mertz & Associates offices in Manassas, Va.David Layer. “We needed to characterize the performance of MP11 before it’s supported by manufacturers of receivers and transmission equipment,”
As explained by Layer, this MP11 mode accommodates hybrid analog/digital broadcasting and operates within the same RF bandwidth (193.3 kHz) as the established MP3 transmission mode.
“We needed to characterize the performance of MP11 before it’s supported by manufacturers of receivers and transmission equipment,” said Layer. “The first five modes of FM HD radio have always been supported, but there was no software written for this sixth mode (MP11).”
The main objectives of testing were to determine the impact of the MP11 digital sidebands on the mainstream FM analog audio signal and the RDS component, as well as the possible effect of the analog FM signal on MP11 digital sidebands.[BTS Explores Tech’s Role in Content Wars]
Layer said that part of the testing involved using real-world program formats (including classical, country, urban and others) in addition to periods of silence (no modulation) and discrete tones (for measuring signal-to-noise ratio). The testing utilized six different FM receivers (a mix of analog-only and HD Radio-capable) and compared performance of the MP11 mode with established MP1 (no extended sidebands) and MP3 (some extended sidebands) modes of operation.
Chalmers revealed that the signal-to-noise performance of one of the receivers used was inconsistent with that of the others, and that the analog-only receivers involved were most affected by the MP11 signal.Harry Chalmers. “As a result of this study, Xperi is planning to commercialize this technology. We’re now including MP11 in all chip uploads that we give to manufacturers.”
“We spoke with the manufacturers, and they said that this was correctable,” he said.
Layer said that in listening tests, any differences in analog component performance that might have been caused by the MP11 component were not noticeable, and that the study to determine effects of the analog FM signal on the MP11 signal was equally encouraging.
“The results were quite positive,” he said, adding that iHeartMedia is now doing some field testing, with station WTUE in Dayton, Ohio, acting as host.
Alan Jurison, senior operations engineer, engineering and systems integration with iHeartMedia and chair of this IEEE Broadcast Symposium session, said that iHeartMedia “did a driving test from Cincinnati to Dayton and the results were good. At the time of the symposium, WTUE has been operating (with MP11) for some 90 days and there have been no listener or automobile manufacturer complaints.”
Chalmers added, “As a result of this study, Xperi is planning to commercialize this technology. We’re now including MP11 in all chip uploads that we give to manufacturers.”\AM PROTECTION CONTOURS
In the conference devoted to regulatory matters, the FCC’s 2018 Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) addressing “revitalization” of the AM broadcast band came under the spotlight, with a report by Tom Jones of the Carl T. Jones Corp. consulting firm.
He said that this second NPRM focused on changes to protection contours of existing Class A 50 kW stations, and would affect their protected operating contours during all operating modes (daytime, critical hours and nighttime), and reported that a large amount of feedback had been received during the comment period.
“Numerous thoughtful and informative comments were received in response to this ‘Second Further Notice,’ both in support of, and in opposition to, the proposed changes in interference protection afforded to Class A stations.” He said the most complete technical comments opposing the rule changes had come from a group called the AM Radio Preservation Alliance, and the most technical comments had been filed by several engineering consulting firms.[Upgrading an AM to All-Digital: Why, How and Lessons Learned] Tom Jones. “The tradeoff is pushing noise away from your transmitter while creating interference elsewhere.”
Jones presented a list of the various pros and cons offered by the two dissenting groups, which include “adoption of the proposed change to the daytime contour for Class A stations would potentially allow other Class B and D stations on the channel to substantially increase their daytime power and thus better serve their communities” and “failure to protect a Class A AM station’s 0.1 mV/m daytime groundwave contour would eliminate massive amounts of current AM service, while only resulting in modest gains for non-Class A stations.”
He said that some of the strongest comments opposing the rule change came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA said that such changes would “decimate the system developed and funded by FEMA, under the mandate of Congress, for a robust communications distribution network (allowing U.S. citizens to receive) under all conditions, a presidential message in time of national emergency.”
FEMA added that millions of dollars had been invested on this network, “which is reliant on skywave signal coverage by Class A AM stations.”
Jones said, “I would advise anyone interested to review these comments, which are on the FCC’s website.” If the changes were to be enacted, “the tradeoff is pushing noise away from your transmitter while creating interference elsewhere.”
When Jim Bolt was in college at Sacramento State University in 1989 college radio was exerting unprecedented cultural influence in the U.S. But this campus no longer had a radio station. Though he had heard stories of an earlier student-run AM station – KERS – he couldn’t get to the bottom of why it no longer existed. In the same period the university transferred its FM license over to Capitol Public Radio.
Convinced that the school and the Sacramento community deserved real college radio, he and a group of fellow students pushed hard for two years to finally get KEDG off the ground and onto the AM airwaves in 1991. Today that station continues to thrive online as KSSU. But the struggle to bring college radio back to Sacramento State is why he says it’s “a startup that shouldn’t exist.”
Jim tells this founding story and explains why he and his fellow co-founders endeavored to keep the founding story alive with words and archival materials. He shares hard won advice for college students looking to build their own stations, and for alums who want to preserve their broadcast legacies.Show Notes:
- KEDG Online Archive
- New York Times: The Power of Tower Records
- The State Hornet: KSSU radio station celebrates 25 years of giving voice to Sac State community
- CollegeRadio.org: Sac State Students Refuse to Be Sacked: A Story of Student Radio Startup and Survival in Sacramento
- Inside Radio: Radio Plays Outsized Role In Small And Mid-Market America
The post Podcast #220 – The College Radio Station ‘That Shouldn’t Exist’ appeared first on Radio Survivor.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday, Nov. 18, disclosed his plan for reallocating part of the C-band spectrum (3.7–4.2 GHz) for 5G use.
In a letter to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Pai said the FCC will auction 280 megahertz of spectrum for 5G. An additional 20 megahertz will be used as a guard band with the remaining upper 200 megahertz available for the continued delivery of programming for radio and television.
The FCC told reporters on Monday that with broadcast satellite services being downsized to just 200 MHz of spectrum a repack of the space will be required. There are more than 16,000 registered receive-only dishes in the field that currently use the C-band, according to NAB. They are used to receive national and syndicated programming for TV and radio.
The order is expected to be considered by the full commission early next year, according to an FCC official. FCC staff will be tasked with carrying out the public auction, which is expected to commence prior to the end of 2020, according to an FCC official. The FCC will accept public comment before any new rules are adopted.
On Nov. 18, the FCC called the process a “complicated rulemaking” that took over two years and raised a number of economic, legal, engineering and policy issues.
Pai in his letter to Congress outlined four principles that the FCC should advance in the rulemaking: “First, we must make available a significant amount of C-band spectrum for 5G. Second, we must make C-band spectrum available for 5G quickly. Third, we must generate revenue for the federal government. And fourth, we must protect the services that are currently delivered using the C-band so they can continue to be delivered to the American people.”
The public auction of the 280 megahertz for 5G (3.7 to 3.98 GHz) will be administered by the FCC. The commission determined an auction is preferable to a private sale, according to the FCC official. The C-Band Alliance, led by Intelset, SES and Intel, had previously proposed to split the band frequency to accommodate 5G services, with the alliance handling the private sale of spectrum.
The FCC on Nov. 18 said the repack of broadcast services to the upper 200 megahertz (4.0–4.2 GHz) has yet to be defined. The FCC official suggested that with the use of high-resolution video compression, the 20 megahertz guard band, the installation of filters on earth-stations and the launching of several new satellites, can compress all of the existing services and content currently delivered over the C-band into the upper 200 megahertz.
The FCC did not disclose whether incentive payments would be made to incumbent satellite providers affected by the repack. It is also not clear if there will be an independent facilitator appointed to oversee the clearing of the band.
NAB asked the FCC in an early filing during the proceeding to ensure “costs for implementing such a plan should be entirely borne by the beneficiaries of any private or public spectrum transaction: either the satellite operators or the mobile carriers who acquire spectrum usage rights.”
National Public Radio earlier pressed the FCC for clarity in its final decision when it comes to the financial ramifications of a massive C-band migration of satellite earth-stations caused by a repack. The Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) depends on C-band for distribution of programming to approximately 1,275 public radio stations, said Adam Shoemaker, counsel for NPR, according to an FCC filing.
While the FCC’s plan on the repacking of broadcast services is unclear, the commission does expect to fully protect all incumbents currently relying on the C-band for video and radio programming, the FCC official said.
VILVOORDE, Belgium — The plan to launch a new radio station dates back from 2017, when Kevin Moens, music director with Joe, and a group of radio creatives came up with the idea.
“We felt we were missing something,” Moens said. “Both Qmusic and Joe have well-defined formats, but we couldn’t find a ‘guitar-focused’ station on the Flemish radio scene — part of the audience was left in the cold.”NEW MARKET Willy’s on-air cast includes presenters, musicians and media personalities
The idea initially faced some criticism. “A third FM station for our media group was not the option, there was no room in the existing frequency plan — and streaming the signal was not enough,” Moens explained. “But gradually, the idea to serve a new segment alongside Joe and Qmusic became reality.”
When, in 2018, DPG Media decided to fully go ahead with DAB+, and with Alain Claes as head of the group’s innovation department, opportunities for new stations were created. “We launched the new Joe channels and DAB+ also became a facilitator for a new station,” said Moens.
“We wanted something novel — and Willy became the group’s first digital-only station, broadcasting via DAB+, streaming and the Radioplayer platform,” he said.
“Willy was part of a business plan,” added Claes. “This has to be seen as a long-term investment and although we offer a modest program today, the new station has received a lot of enthusiasm from advertisers because it offers a new potential audience market. With DAB+ tripling its penetration here, we are confident in Willy’s future.”
Willy is complementary to Qmusic and Joe. With the tagline “Music Matters,” the new station targets the “music lovers” audience bracket. “It’s all about music and people talking about it,” continued Moens, who is Willy’s music director.MODERN STRUCTURE Editors were the first international band to take the “Free Willy” studio
The station invited a cast of music and media personalities to host its Friday program roster. Musicians like Triggerfinger’s Ruben Block, television director Tim van Aelst and presenter Sofie Engelen received “carte blanche.”
Moens added that the only prerequisite is that “they are passionate about music and their playlist includes a guitar segment.” The rest of the week, Willy offers a no speech music format. Friday night’s “Free Willy” show is the platform for bands, interviews and album presentations.
Although Willy wasn’t planned when Joe and Qmusic moved to the Sound Park studio landscape, the new station benefits from the future-proofed structure.
“To be honest, when we planned the studios, we knew new activities would be coming our way,” said Alain Claes. “In-house production of commercials and jingles, podcasts, micro-podcasts — they all require studio space and today, it’s nice to see that we have the capacity.”
Willy broadcasts from one of Sound Park’s studios, which the broadcaster build this summer. The station makes use of a DHD RX2 console, Dalet Galaxy playout system, Neumann TLM102 mics and a Technics SL1200 turntable.