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SBE President and Other Colleagues Memorialize John Lyons

Radio World - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:08

Colleagues are remembering engineer John Lyons this week; and his memorial service details are now available.

As Radio World reported earlier, Lyons died unexpectedly Friday. In response to the news, Society of Broadcast Engineers President Wayne Pecena released a statement, calling him “a bigger-than-life icon of the broadcast engineering community in New York City.” Pecena said that Lyons’ “handprints were on all major New York City broadcast and communications facilities from Empire State to 4 Times Square.” 

The SBE Education Summit held Sept. 28, 2016, at OWTC. John Lyons is in the front row left.

Lyons’ most recent and ambitious project was the design and buildout of Durst Corp.’s broadcast facilities at One World Trade Center. In 2016, prior to OWTC’s completion, Pecena remembered, the site hosted the SBE Education Summit, during which Lyons gave attendees a tour, which Pecena says was a special occasion and now a memory “to be cherished.”

Lyons was a longtime member of the SBE. Pecena noted that Lyons had served on the board of directors for four years and subsequently was elected a Fellow. Lyons and Pecena also shared the distinction of the Radio World Excellence in Engineering award; Lyons was named the third recipient in 2006, and Pecena joined the ranks in 2014, upon which occasion, Pecena recalls, “When I received that award, his email to me simply stated, ‘Congratulations to #11 from #3.’”

 [John Lyons Dies; Helped Shape New York’s RF Skyline]

In response to a Radio World invitation, other colleagues have sent thoughts.

Warren Dyckman remembered Lyons as a friend and client of Hanson Broadcast Engineering for the fitout of the 1 WTC 90th floor and master antenna system. “John was always a great manager and always made time to facilitate and build and support not only on the work site but also on the teams bringing the technology and the broadcast clients to 1 WTC.”

Another colleague recalled his addition to trains. “He was a devout rail fan and took the train whenever he could,” said Richard Ross of Univision Communications. “I met him in the dining car of the Lake Shore Limited on route to Chicago some years back and he greeted with a usual insult ‘I didn’t know they let bums like you on the train,’ which reassured  me all was well.”

Clay Freinwald remembered Lyons for his “wry humor and gracious ways.” Colleague Josh Gordon called Lyons “quick witted, incredibly funny and one of the best organized people I have ever known. I never understood how he could manage so many people, tasks and details and still have time to respond personally to small requests for details and decisions in near real time. He was a giant in our industry, yet very humble.” 

[Lyons Takes Helm at AFCCE]

Consultant Paul Shulins recalled “a real family man who was always full of energy and ideas. He spent countless volunteer hours running AFCCE meetings and working as the treasurer of that organization. He also helped so many fellow engineers as a mentor and advisor. We will miss you, John. When I look at the New York City skyline I will always think of you. There is no better honor.”

Fellow broadcasters and friends are invited to share their memories at DignityMemorial.com. That obituary page includes information about a visitation scheduled for Thursday Dec. 5 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Chas. Peter Nagel Funeral Directors in New York. His funeral is scheduled for Dec. 6, 11–11:45 a.m. and will be held at Maple Grove Cemetery, according to the website.

The post SBE President and Other Colleagues Memorialize John Lyons appeared first on Radio World.

NOTICE OF EXPARTE filed in 19-3 : Reexamination of the Comparative Standards and Procedures for Licensing Noncommercial Educational Broadcast Stations and Low Power FM Stations

MB Docket 19-3 - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 13:00

Proceeding(s): 19-3 : Reexamination of the Comparative Standards and Procedures for Licensing Noncommercial Educational Broadcast Stations and Low Power FM Stations

Filers(s): America's Public Television Stations,,Corporation for Public Broadcasting,National Public Radio, Inc.,Public Broadcasting Service

Lawfirm(s): Gray Miller Persh LLP

Comment Type: NOTICE OF EXPARTE

Date Received: 12/3/2019

Date Posted: 12/3/2019

Address: 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW Suite 226, Washington, DC, 20007

Alexa Is in My Ears and in My Eyes

Radio World - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 11:06
credit: Getty Images/CSA Images

The author is founder of Jacobs Media. 

It used to be Apple’s big announcements were what captivated the tech industry — and the rest of the world. And not to take anything away from iPhone 11, but Apple’s been making a pretty cool phone with most of these features for some time now. There hasn’t been a lot of whiz-bang, oh wow! news coming out of Cupertino lately.

The action is happening over at Amazon, where new Alexa-ish products keep on rolling out. Surprisingly, media coverage of Amazon’s recent media event in Seattle paled in comparison to what Apple gets out of their new product extravaganzas.

But when it comes to Alexa devices, Amazon may have outdone itself in late September.

KEEP AN EYE ON VOICE

Of course, everything revolves around Amazon’s voice products as it continues its drag race with Google in this space. Oddly enough, Google does well outside the U.S. But here in America, it’s an Amazon-dominated landscape. (And where’s Apple when it comes to voice?)

That’s why it’s important for everyone in radio to keep pace with how “voice” is growing and changing — in much the way the industry was hyper-focused on social media and mobile just a decade ago.

That’s because “voice” is moving fast as a discovery/usage engine, and yet, many radio brands and companies are not thinking about it all that much. But they should be.

We’ve talked about Amazon’s Echo Auto product — the cheap (under $25) aftermarket add-on that brings Alexa into vehicles. It’s being distributed by “invitation only” (whatever that means). I haven’t gotten my hands on one of these yet (although I ordered mine back in the winter), but I know a number of you have. And you’ve been kind enough to give me your reviews of this new device. 

KUPD’s visionary head of programming, Larry McFeelie, shot me a note after his Echo Auto showed up. Here’s his take: 

“Quite frankly, it was a clunky experience and I’m not sure I understand the necessity for having Alexa available in the car. The unit comes with a mount that magnetically holds the Echo Auto and connects to your air conditioner vent. Then you have a power cable that sticks out of the side and they even include a cigarette lighter power charger with extra USB ports in case you have other items to charge. Even still, this felt like I was plugging things into things into things with cables hanging off of stuff. It just felt too ‘after market’ for my taste.

[Smart Speakers Grow in Importance]

“The Echo Auto uses your phone (and Alexa app) for internet access and if your phone connects via Bluetooth, the Echo Auto can transmit its messages directly through your phone’s audio. So it’s not like it’s taking up your connection in the car, it just needs to be there to transmit messages through your phone. If you don’t have Bluetooth, they included a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable you can connect directly into the unit.

“Other than requesting ‘Flash Briefings’ and ordering more garbage on Amazon, I wasn’t able to find too many things that the Echo Auto could do … that my iPhone couldn’t. It’s nice to tell Alexa to ‘play 98KUPD,’ but I can just as easily hit the 98KUPD app on my phone. The unit came with a free audio book from Audible, but again, why couldn’t I just use the Audible app on my phone? 

“Anyway, that’s my short, quick review on the new Amazon Echo Auto. I don’t think it will be taking the world by storm. Just my two cents.”

At times, it seems like Amazon may be throwing techie spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. That became evident at September’s event where several new “Take Alexa with you wherever you go” products were introduced. It’s hard to say which, if any, will still be around in a year or two. But that seems to be part of the Amazon game plan.

Echo Buds.
Courtesy Amazon.com LIFESTYLE TOOLS

The first of the these new Alexa-powered peripherals is Echo Buds — earbuds that instantly connect you with Alexa (and apparently even Google Voice and Siri).

Yes, this is how Alexa gets in your head — literally. The buds are wireless, of course, with Bose noise reduction technology. (You can tap a bud to cancel the feature when you’re ordering a latte.) The price? About $130, shipping in time for the holidays, oddly enough.

The second product may have a ring of familiarity to it: Alexa-enabled glasses. Now, if this sounds a little like the ill-fated Google Glass from a few years back, we’re thinking along the same lines. 

Echo Frames.
Courtesy Amazon.com

These Amazon glasses — dubbed Echo Frames — allow you to converse with Alexa without having to take your phone out or look at your wrist. As Wired suggests, this might allow you to interact with Alexa in places that are phone-inappropriate — movie theaters, gyms or at a restaurant (although that rarely stops people these days). Unlike Google Glass, you can get a prescription filled with Echo Frames, so you can actually see what’s in front of you while chatting with your favorite voice assistant. The price? $180 is the number, and Amazon will be beta-ing these eye wearables this fall.

Echo Loop.
Courtesy Amazoncom [Read: Radio Warms Up to Mobile Apps and Smart Devices]

And the other new Amazon gadget that resonated for me, sort of, is Echo Loop. I’ve tested similar products at CES these past few years, where you put a “ring” on your finger, wave it around, and things happen (the TV volume goes up and down, etc.). Amazon’s ring product is a little different. It has two mics and you speak into it to connect with your bud, Alexa. That seems a bit odd — speaking to a ring, but then again, Dick Tracy spoke into a watch, and now many of us do every day.

But Amazon isn’t just thinking gadgets with Alexa — they’re focused on personality. The Amazon team also announced that Samuel L. Jackson is now the first celebrity replacement voice for Alexa on Echo-embedded devices. At a cost of just 99¢, the star of many Quentin Tarantino films and endless Capital One commercials can tell jokes, set timers and even play music. It turns out there’s a clean and an “explicit” version of Jackson available, depending on your sensibilities and whether there are children or bosses around.

This is apparently the beginning of a personality program for Alexa, as other voices from the worlds of sports, entertainment and music — like Cardi B and Harrison Ford — will be available in Amazon’s updated version of ring tones for Alexa devices. 

FANCIFUL NOTIONS

Amazon’s rush to “productize” Alexa makes you wonder what other products they’re cooking up that would go well with voice commands. That might mean connecting Alexa with things we do several times a day — eat. And thus, it’s not surprising there are rumors of food-related applications in the Echo pipeline, designed to combine some of our favorite activities.

Echo ’Za is one of these — a clever way of enjoying your favorite music or radio station while you scarf down a pepperoni pizza. You can definitely see a bidding war breaking out between Domino’s, Little Caesars, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s to see who will nail down the Alexa naming rights.

But my favorite rumored Alexa beta product is all about how many of us start our days — and no, I’m not talking about turning on a radio station. Perhaps the most mind-blowing Alexa application is rumored to be embedding its voice technology into coffee cups, items that many people carry around all the time, from Seattle to Sarasota.

I’m thinking Echo Caf could be the next breakout product for Amazon’s growing line of Alexa items, a unique way to combine our addiction to caffeine with our addiction to giving voice command orders to invisible devices and hoping for a positive result. Alexa, order me a “Skinny grande frappuccino.” 

[Radio Seeks Smart Speaker Home Audience]

At CES in January, we’ll be on the lookout for the next line of Amazon Alexa products, with an eye — and ear — on how Google will respond, hopefully with clever, innovative products of their own. Maybe Amazon’s Echo Frames will signal the resurrection of Google Glass, which would make me happy. Mine has been gathering dust since I took the plunge back in 2014, spending an obscene amount of money to be one of the first to try on a pair of these techie specs. My Google Glass is still in great shape, hardly used, and well-maintained.

Make me an offer.

If you’re still reading, I made up those last two Alexa products. Who in their right mind would embed a voice assistant in pizza boxes or coffee cups?  

This article originally appeared at https://jacobsmedia.com/blog.

The post Alexa Is in My Ears and in My Eyes appeared first on Radio World.

NOTICE OF EXPARTE filed in 19-3 : Reexamination of the Comparative Standards and Procedures for Licensing Noncommercial Educational Broadcast Stations and Low Power FM Stations

MB Docket 19-3 - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 11:00

Proceeding(s): 19-3 : Reexamination of the Comparative Standards and Procedures for Licensing Noncommercial Educational Broadcast Stations and Low Power FM Stations

Filers(s): Discount Legal

Lawfirm(s): Michael Couzens Law Office

Comment Type: NOTICE OF EXPARTE

Date Received: 12/2/2019

Date Posted: 12/3/2019

Address: 6356 Telegraph Avenue, Suite B01 oakland, CA, 94609

Dave Kolesar to Receive Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award

Radio World - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 10:21

Dave Kolesar, CBT, CBNT, has been named the recipient of the Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award for 2019–2020.

Radio World Editor in Chief Paul McLane said Kolesar, senior broadcast engineer at Hubbard Radio in Washington, D.C., is being recognized for his initiative in converting station WWFD in Frederick, Md., to full-time, all-digital transmission, the first AM station of its kind in the United States, and for advancing our industry’s discussion and awareness of the potential uses of the HD Radio MA3 mode.

The FCC in November proposed to allow all U.S. AM band stations to convert to all-digital if they wish, and it is taking comments on the idea now. “While many people have played a role in advancing voluntary conversion, Kolesar is recognized for advocating within Hubbard for the experiment, which necessitates turning off a station’s analog AM signal entirely, and then executing it over several years,” McLane said. “The experiences and findings at WWFD are an explicit part of the FCC’s NPRM text, and its project continues to produce insights that are likely to be of benefit to other broadcasters.”

Kolesar is transmitter engineer for WTOP(FM), Federal News Radio as heard on WFED(AM), and WWFD. He also is program director of The Gamut, the format broadcast on WWFD. Prior to Hubbard, he worked as an electronics engineer in the Information Technology Division of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He holds Master of Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Physics degrees, both from Catholic University. The Dec. 4 issue of Radio World features an interview with Kolesar about his career and the digital initiative.

He is the 16th recipient of Radio World’s annual award. Last year’s honoree was Russ Mundschenk. Prior recipients are Andy Andresen, Mike Starling, John Lyons, Clay Freinwald, Jeff Littlejohn, Gary Kline, Milford Smith, Barry Thomas, Paul Brenner, Marty Garrison, Wayne Pecena, David Layer, Mike Cooney and Larry Wilkins.

 

The post Dave Kolesar to Receive Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award appeared first on Radio World.

iHeart Taps Nashville for Digital HQ2

Radio World - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 09:56

iHeartMedia says its second major iHeartRadio hub will open in Nashville, Tenn., in the first quarter of 2020.

iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman said the company plans chose Nashville to capitalize on the “city’s diverse pool of high tech and creative, ambitious talent.” The area is home to 20 universities and colleges, as well as tech start ups and Fortune 500 companies, from which iHeart likely hopes to hire.  

The new location will house many members of the iHeartRadio digital product team who will collaborate on initiatives with teams in New York, San Antonio and Silicon Valley.

The media company says it’s already listed new Nashville-based positions in engineering, product development, data science and more, which can be found here.

[Read: iHeart Sees Opportunities Combining Radio With On-Demand]

In the announcement, iHeartRadio President Darren Davis said, “This is the right time to expand our digital team — and what better location than Nashville, given that music is at the heart of our business. Nashville’s technology ecosystem is thriving, and combined with the city’s rich history in music, entrepreneurial spirit and diverse culture, we believe this is the perfect location for us to extend our digital leadership and recruit highly skilled and passionate candidates for our second iHeartRadio Digital headquarters.”

The post iHeart Taps Nashville for Digital HQ2 appeared first on Radio World.

From Brooklyn to Afghanistan, The Verge Does Right by Pirate Radio

Radio Survivor - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 03:05

Last week The Verge wrapped up a three-part series on pirate radio, examining a US-government-sanctioned form in Afghanistan, radio-like conference call services used by the Hmong diaspora and unlicensed Haitian stations in Brooklyn, NY. Recovering from the holiday weekend I finally had a chance to catch up, read the three articles and listen to their accompanying podcasts. They’re well-researched pieces that put the production and use of radio in social and political economic context, rather than relying on well-worn tropes of over-romanticized rebellion (not a single skull-and-crossbones image to be found!).

The value of radio communication to communities that are not well served by mainstream broadcasters is something we’ve emphasized here at Radio Survivor when discussing unlicensed or pirate radio. For the article on Brooklyn stations, reporters Bijan Stephen and Andrew Marino use the looming specter of the PIRATE Act as a frame for understanding why government prohibition, even escalated by the threat of multiplied fines, poses little disincentive for the unlicensed broadcaster serving their friends, families and neighbors.

Stephen and Marino profile a former news program host on an unlicensed station, Joan Martinez, who studied broadcasting in college. Now in graduate school, Martinez reflects a first-person insider’s view that is informed by her broader understanding of the tightly controlled radio industry, especially in New York City, where opportunities for new stations are few and far between.

In fact, only three low-power FM stations are licensed in the entire city: one in Brooklyn, one in Queens and one in Flushing. All were approved only in the last LPFM licensing window, and have been on the air only a few years. Just one LPFM seems hardly enough to serve the diverse needs of Brooklyn alone, home to 2.5 million people.

For the podcast the hosts talk with scholar John Anderson, who has been studying pirate radio for some two decades, and journalist David Goren, who created the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map. Both John and David discussed the Brooklyn scene on our podcast last year.

David’s comments on why he thinks the PIRATE Act will not do much to stem the tide of pirate radio were particularly incisive. He predicted, “it will be gentrification that takes the pirate stations off the air,” as new, high-rent residential high-rise buildings go up in the Flatbush neighborhood that is home to countless broadcasters.

That’s probably true, and it’s also likely that stations will spread out to new areas as people are pushed out or Brooklyn by a skyrocketing cost of living. At the same time, pirate radio is a pervasive phenomenon throughout the New York City area. I’m not sure other hotbeds, like Paterson, NJ, will gentrify at the same rate. Nevertheless, the point is well taken. Go to other cities with prominent ethnic and immigrant communities, but where they’re not so densely clustered as around NYC, and you’ll encounter far less pirate radio, too.

Calling the Radio

While comparisons of other media to pirate radio – like internet radio, in particular – often grates on me, I’m fine with reporter Mia Sato’s likening Hmong conference call services to it. These conferences are as similar to terrestrial radio as podcasts and internet radio. While not legally prohibited, like pirate radio, they serve a very similar communitarian function as the Haitian stations in Brooklyn, though obviously with the opportunity for more immediate dialog.

Moreover, telephone and radio have been intricately tied pretty much since the beginning, noting that radio was a two-way medium before one-to-many broadcasting came to predominate. And, of course, listener calls have long been a feature, making the one-way medium more two-way.

Outside of broadcast, amateur radio and citizens’ band radio are also two-way, where monopolizing a frequency to broadcast is actually prohibited. So I see these conference call “stations” as a sort of hybrid.

Back to the radio-telephone connection. There have long been stations that also simulcast on the telephone to reach listeners without access to their air signals. In the days before cell phone and unlimited minutes, this could be an expensive service for listeners outside of a station’s immediate area. But today that’s much less of a concern.

In fact, a couple of dozen stations around the world currently simulcast over the phone using a service called Audio Now, including BBC World Service and Voice of America service programs in Somali, as well as news radio WTOP in Washington, DC. If you’re low on smartphone data and don’t have access to a radio, then it’s not a bad alternative.

The Irony of the Radio in a Box in Afghanistan

The first article in the series tells the story of Afghan broadcasters who were given a “radio in the box” to broadcast on behalf of U.S. military PsyOps during the heat of the American invasion. These broadcasters created programming in opposition to the Taliban, including popular music, alongside news and propaganda. Unfortunately, they were also left high-and-dry when the U.S. military pulled out.

Radio has long been a tool of war, and of those opposing totalitarian rule, both from within and outside the borders of conflict zones. Of course, it’s hard to escape the irony that the American government is happy to promote pirate radio elsewhere, while simultaneously working to stamp it out at home. But any student of history should know such ironies are not that rare.

The post From Brooklyn to Afghanistan, The Verge Does Right by Pirate Radio appeared first on Radio Survivor.

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FCC Media Bureau News Items - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 20:00
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Shulz and Nordstrom Made a Difference

Radio World - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 12:50
Warren Shultz

Not long ago, two very well known broadcast engineers left us, both part of the U.S. radio technical community. Their lives were intertwined; and they died within days of each other. 

Radio World gathered memories from friends and colleagues of Warren Shulz and Jeff Nordstrom. \

“TOUGH, BUT FAIR”

Warren Shulz, chief engineer of WLS(AM/FM) and WFYR and WKFM(FM) in Chicago, passed away at the end of 2018 at age 72, following a long battle with prostate cancer. He was a 1964 graduate of the Chicago Vocational High School. Shulz later earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology from Purdue University. He retired in 2012 after 50 years as chief engineer of WKFM, WYFR and WLS(AM/FM). 

Shulz was a lifetime member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Society of Broadcast Engineers, a member of the National Association for Radio and Telecommunications Engineers and the Audio Engineering Society. He was also a past board member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (radio division) and ham radio operator WA9GXZ. He enjoyed camping and riding his homemade electric bicycle.

Linda Baun, vice president of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, recalled Shulz as a regular at their annual Broadcasters Clinic. 

“Warren would travel from his home to attend the clinic in his RV. I always received his posts after the conference, commenting on the caliber of the educational sessions — he was tough, but fair.”

Warren Shulz was rarely without his plastic pocket protector, with at least one screwdriver inside. Family members sent it to friend Mark Heller, president and owner of WGBW and WLAK in Green Bay, Wis.

Colleagues remembered Shulz acting as a mentor to those less experienced, always willing to share his time and expertise. 

Art Reis of RadioArt Enterprises said, “Warren was a mentor to any who needed assistance. He famously helped out the CE at KFI Los Angeles, who was having problems with his Continental 317C, by sending him all his notes and documentation on the 317C he had here at WLS. The knowledge he got helped him greatly in solving his problems.

[Read one Shulz commentary on the state of FEMA, from 2013]

“Warren always had or took the time to help others, and he could go on for an hour or more on the phone helping out. I know because I was the beneficiary of quite a number of those phone calls. His knowledge was beyond that of almost anyone else I knew in the business back in the day. One of our compatriots in the business once told me, ‘If you’re going to get help from Warren over the phone, my advice is to pack a lunch.’ That was true, but we loved it. Sitting and learning at Warren’s proverbial feet was a true treat and a gift.”

Shulz was also known for the sound quality and competitiveness of his stations. 

Bob Gorjance, a former Harris sales rep, recalls a story involving Shulz and Gary Shrader, then the CE of WCLR(FM). 

“Gary bought a solid-state FM exciter and audio processor from me. Several days later, Warren calls and said he wanted to see me ASAP. When I stopped by his office, he asked me if I’d seen Gary lately. I nodded silently, yes. He then asked me if he had bought something from me. Again I silently nodded ‘yes.’ He said, ‘I want the same thing.’ I filled out the order form and silently pushed it over to him and he signed it. 

Jeff Nordstrom
Courtesy Eric M. Wiler

“Warren had heard a big difference in the sound of WCLR, and wanted to stay competitive with Gary. A few days later, Gary called, asking if I had visited Warren.”

RICH CAREERS

Jeff Nordstrom got to know a great number of engineers through his work as manager of the satellite equipment sales division of Harris/Allied. He suffered a heart attack last December at age 67, just a few days before Shulz passed away. 

The two were close friends, first becoming acquainted through Nordstrom’s work for Harris/Allied.

Nordstrom started his radio career at Racine Park High School, and was an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. He was a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers since 1973. He did a variety of jobs in radio, from disc jockey to chief engineer. Nordstrom worked at stations in Washington, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. In 1983, he joined Allied/Harris Broadcast in Indiana. He started working for Clear Channel Colorado in 2000, and later Westwood One, from which he retired in 2018. 

Like Shulz, he was a frequent attendee at the Broadcasters Clinic and made regular presentations.

Nordstrom also loved gardening and a bit of farming. He enjoyed the Denver Botanical Gardens and looking at antique radio equipment, and was an active member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter American Theatre Organ Society. He also enjoyed riding his motorcycle. 

Industry veteran Chuck Kelly recalled that Nordstrom had a great sense of humor, which sometimes extended to practical jokes. “I was always in awe of the technical operations at the Chicago stations. I on the other hand was employed by a poor AM-FM combo where nothing worked right, including the directional AM antenna system. I constantly lived in fear of an FCC inspection.

[Check out more great articles from the Nov. 20 issue]

“One morning, the receptionist buzzed my office, letting me know that the FCC was waiting to speak with me up front,” Kelly continued. “I briefly thought of running out the back door, but finally decided to head up to reception and face the music. I was surprised to see Jeff Nordstrom in his motorcycle jacket, laughing in the lobby, when I came out. I don’t think he ever knew how petrified I really was.”

A “Minions” moment with the Dial Global team in 2012. Jeff Nordstrom is third from left at rear.
Courtesy Eric M. Wiler

In this industry, paths tend to cross many times, Kelly said. 

“So it was with Warren and Jeff. They both continued to impress me not only with their technical knowledge and skill, but with uncommon humility and warmth in careers lasting nearly 40 years. Losing these two friends leaves a void not easily filled.”

Mark Burg, assistant engineer, recalls Nordstrom for his attention to detail. 

“My very first contact with Jeff  was a phone call I initiated to him following a highly detailed parameter chart I made up to track legal and out-of-parameter readings of a three-tower AM directional near Oshkosh that Jeff had been engineer-in-charge of in the 1970s and early ’80s. It was during that discussion that he informed me that I had made a mistake and had made the chart too broad in the parameters. He highly suggested that I needed to trash that chart and start over. 

“Ever since that moment, I have every effort to double-check my math, the facts and spellings. Jeff’s point has always stuck in my mind: Double check what you’re doing, even if it looks correct and great on paper. It’s the ‘practice’ and the implementation of that information that really matters.”

WBA’s Baun reflected, “Success has many meanings. In my opinion, success is measured in your willingness to give of yourself. Growing, caring and sharing with others that need your time and expertise is never a waste. The rich careers of Jeff and Warren made a difference to many in this ever- evolving industry.”

Read several past commentaries by Warren Shulz at www.radioworld.com/author/warrenshulz. Comment on this or any article to radioworld@futurenet.com.

The post Shulz and Nordstrom Made a Difference appeared first on Radio World.

Kentucky FM Bounces Back From Wednesday Tower Break

Radio World - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 10:54
Morning host Bobby Jack Murphy posted this photo of the damaged WAKY tower to the station’s Facebook page Nov. 27, alerting listeners of the problem.

As if the day before Thanksgiving isn’t stressful enough, the engineering team at Kentucky’s WAKY(FM) had a nasty surprise when a strong storm snapped a small tower nearly in half, knocking the station off air.

Morning host Bobby Jack Murphy announced at 11:15 a.m. on Facebook: “WAKY Tower a victim of the high winds!” He also posted a photo of the damage, which he could see from inside the studio. It appears to be the station’s STL send dish.

103.5 FM was offline for nearly 12 hours; the station’s Facebook page announced its return to the air at 10:35 p.m. the same day. 

During the interim, the station used its social media presence to alert listeners of alternate ways to tune in, reminding locals of WAKY’s simulcasts on 100.1 FM, 106.3 FM and 620 AM, as well as streaming versions available at wakyradio.com and the WAKY app and TuneIn.

The post Kentucky FM Bounces Back From Wednesday Tower Break appeared first on Radio World.

Student Broadcasters Convene at The Gateway to the West 2019

Radio World - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 09:57

 

The CBI National Student Production Awards recognize the best in student electronic media. CBI President John Morris congratulates the 2019 winners.

College Broadcasters Inc. said it hosted more than 350 student and faculty attendees at the three-day 2019 National Student Electronic Media Convention in St. Louis last month. 

The event centered on radio and television, but also featured workshops and sessions on podcasting and mobile multimedia storytelling. CBI said these were led by industry professionals, faculty advisers and students; some of the professionals were prior student NSEMC attendees themselves.

In a press release, CBI President John Morris said, “It impressed me to see nearly a hundred workshops presented covering a wide range of topics, including programming, leadership, news, sports, podcasting, promotion and more.”

According to CBI’s Morris, the Midwestern city was selected to host the event because St. Louis “is a top 25 media market, has incredible delicacies and includes a depth of history and entertainment options.” Next year’s host city, Baltimore, is ranked as the 26th media market, and has a similarly long history and plenty of its own fantastic food (crab cakes, anyone?). The 2020 event is scheduled for Oct. 21-24.  

The post Student Broadcasters Convene at The Gateway to the West 2019 appeared first on Radio World.

John Lyons Dies; Helped Shape New York’s RF Skyline

Radio World - Sat, 11/30/2019 - 20:30

John Lyons has died. He suffered cardiac arrest at home Friday, according to his family. He was 71.

Lyons was assistant vice president and director of Broadcast Communications at The Durst Organization.

He was responsible for the communications infrastructure of Durst’s multimillion-square-foot commercial portfolio and played a major role in helping broadcasters return to the air in New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the World Trade Center. Among his many accomplishments was leading the design and implementation of the redesigned master antenna at 4 Times Square and the new broadcast transmission facility at One World Trade Center.

In 2006 Lyons received the Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award; in 2017 he was honored with the NAB Television Engineering Achievement Award.

Earlier in his career he held engineering positions with several New York-based broadcast organizations and served two stints as chairman of the Master FM Broadcasters Committee at the Empire State Building. “He was a walking history of New York broadcasting,” said fellow New York engineer David Bialik. “In addition he changed the RF landscape of New York.”

Lyons is survived by his wife Natasha Lyons and sons Matthew, 26, and Constantine, 7.

He was former president and most recently treasurer of the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers; he was elected Fellow of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and was active in the National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers, the NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference Committee and the Veterans’ Hospital Radio and Television Guild.

John Lyons, center, with David Antoine, left, and Tom Silliman at a recent NAB Show. Photo by Jim Peck

He was a devoted family man, and he made learning a lifelong pursuit. Among other things he was a licensed New York State Real Estate Broker and a member of the Real Estate Board of New York and the Building Owners and Management Association, and held a Certificate in Property Management from New York University.

Radio World described him in 2006 as “funny, brash, no-nonsense, unpretentious, sentimental … all characteristics we love in native New Yorkers.” He also enjoyed golf and competitive dancing; Lyons had met his wife in Siberia, while photographing a ballroom dance competition.

According to a biographical summary published earlier by Radio World, Lyons attended Brooklyn Technical High School and was a transmitter operator and studio engineer for radio station WRFM (later WWPR). He spent nine years as chief studio technical operator at WWRL and while there also worked as director of engineering at ZDK Radio in St. John’s, Antigua, a station he built and put on the air. He worked for WOR Radio as assistant chief engineer, then was moved by the company to WXLO (later WRKS) to be chief engineer, where he served for a decade.

During most of that time he was chairman of the Master FM Broadcasters Committee at the Empire State Building, coordinating the operations of 13 city FM stations with the broadcasters at Empire and the World Trade Center.

In 1990, he left WRKS to join DSI Communications (later DSI RF Systems), where he was senior project manager, responsible for communications facility build-outs, including TV and radio station transmitter facilities, two-way communications, point-to-point microwave and satellite communications systems. In 1994 he took a consulting position at the new Sony Worldwide Radio Networks, where he worked to establish and set standards for a nationwide satellite-programming network, built the studios and developed its operations system. With that established, Lyons moved on to WLTW with Viacom Radio (later Clear Channel Communications) as assistant chief engineer, and was promoted to become chief of the recently acquired WAXQ. He resumed his position as chairman of the Master FM Broadcasters Committee at Empire for four more years and was design engineer for many of the Clear Channel New York operations including the pioneer backup FM transmitting site at 4 Times Square for the five Clear Channel NYC stations.

After the catastrophic losses of Sept. 11, 2001, Lyons worked with the Empire State Building, 4 Times Square, broadcasters and contractors to restore broadcasting operations for all of the orphaned WTC stations. He designed transmission line runs, laid out transmitter plants and assisted the stations to return to the air as soon as possible.

In 2002 he was named manager of communications and broadcast operations at 4 Times Square for The Durst Organization and was responsible for removal of a 132-foot master FM antenna tower and its replacement with a 385-foot master TV and FM antenna tower, capable of accommodating all the TV and FM stations licensed to the New York metropolitan area. This facility also was capable of point-to-point microwave, spread spectrum, broadband, two-way, STL/TSL, RPU and ENG services.

In 2005 he became responsible for the communications needs of the entire Durst portfolio.

He also helped establish a state-of-the-art communications system for first responders in Durst skyscrapers in the wake of 9/11.

“His thumbprint is all over New York radio,” Radio World wrote in 2006, even before the new One World Trade Center and its showcase transmission facility were built.

Funeral arrangements were not finalized as of Saturday evening.

Radio World is gathering reader comments about the passing of John Lyons. Email radioworld@futurenet.com.

The post John Lyons Dies; Helped Shape New York’s RF Skyline appeared first on Radio World.

FCC to Consider New Licensing Rules for LPFM/Noncom Stations

Radio World - Fri, 11/29/2019 - 15:38

The Federal Communications Commission is ready to move on a new Report and Order that would make changes to the rules and processes surrounding licensing for LPFMs and noncom stations.

At its December meeting, the commission plans to consider an R&O that would tweak the licensing process for low-power FMs and noncommercial educational stations and build upon lessons learned from the most recent NCE and LPFM filing windows, said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a recent blog.

[Read: FCC Hopes to Streamline NCE Selection Rules]

“[The changes] are designed to improve our comparative selection and licensing procedures, expedite the initiation of new service to the public, eliminate unnecessary applicant burdens, and reduce the number of appeals of our NCE comparative licensing decisions,” Pai said.

The media item, part of Media Bureau Docket Number 19-3, is the next step in the commission’s ongoing efforts to reexamine licensing procedures for noncommercial education and low-power FM stations. The commission most recently tackled the issue in February 2019 when it adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the same issue in an effort to improve the rules and procedures to select and license competing applications for new noncommercial educational broadcast stations and LPFM stations.

At that time, many commenters called for changes that would streamline improvements to FCC’s point award criteria, mandatory time sharing rules and tie breaking criteria.

The Report & Order is up for discussion at the FCC’s December Open Meeting on Dec. 12.

 

The post FCC to Consider New Licensing Rules for LPFM/Noncom Stations appeared first on Radio World.

Radio Duplication Rule Up for Discussion

Radio World - Fri, 11/29/2019 - 15:22

There have long been strong opinions on whether or not the Federal Communications Commission should modify — or maybe outright eliminate — the radio duplication rule.

Now, the FCC is looking for comment on that proposal, which currently prohibits any commonly owned commercial AM or FM station from duplicating more than 25% of its weekly broadcast hours a week if the community contours of the stations overlap to a specific degree.

[Read: FCC to Tackle Duplicative Programming Rule]

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was released by the commission on Nov. 25. Now the commission is asking whether the rule remains necessary to service the public interest goals of competition, programming diversity and spectrum efficiency.

It was back in 1964 that the commission first limited radio programming duplication by prohibiting FM stations in cities with populations over 100,000 from duplicating the programming of a co-owned AM station in the same local area for more than 50% of the FM stations broadcast day. The current version of the rule was adopted in 1992 and since there have been considerable changes in the industry since then, the NPRM is looking for comment on what modifications should be made.

Specifically, the notice will:

  • Ask whether the radio duplication rule remains necessary to foster competition and program diversity in light of significant changes to the radio broadcast industry since the current rule was adopted in 1992.
  • Seek comment on whether the radio duplication rule remains necessary to promote spectrum efficiency, or whether current demands for spectrum now push radio broadcasters to maximize efficiency and supply varied programming to the local market.
  • Seek comment on whether the rule should be modified or eliminated based on the changes that have occurred since adoption of the rule.
  • Seek comment on whether and how the rule should be modified to reflect the current radio market if the commission determines that the radio duplication rule should be retained.
  • Ask whether the rule should only apply to the FM band.
  • Ask whether the 25% of total programming hours threshold should be raised or lowered.
  • Ask whether the 50% overlap requirement should be raised or lowered.

“There are clearly circumstances in which some measure of program duplication in the same market is beneficial, such as rebroadcasting locally oriented programming that is often expensive to produce but is of particular interest to local listeners,” said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr when the NPRM was released. “At the same time, there aren’t always going to be compelling reasons to rebroadcast 100% of another station’s programming. But those decisions should be determined in the market by the listening public and not in the pages of the Code of Federal Regulations.”

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel concurred with the NPRM as well, but said that she hopes “any changes made do not lead listeners to find fewer voices and sources of local news the next time they tune in.”

Comments can be made via the FCC’s ECFS database using Media Bureau Docket 19-122.

 

The post Radio Duplication Rule Up for Discussion appeared first on Radio World.

User Report: WideOrbit Provides Podcasting for Federated Media

Radio World - Fri, 11/29/2019 - 14:38

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — In the summer of 2016, we launched our podcasting network to augment our growing linear and live streaming businesses. As our network grew, we had several opportunities to monetize our podcasting content with deeper sponsorships and requests to target ads across episodes and devices. While our existing podcasting solution was sufficient for basic functionality such as hosting multiple podcasts, organizing content by station, and uploading feeds to podcast directories, it lacked the advanced functionality to keep up with the growing popularity of podcasts and the associated demand from advertisers. Furthermore, our staff felt the existing monetization software was not intuitive or user-friendly and required complicated, manual ad insertion.

In 2019, after testing multiple alternate podcasting solutions, we decided to expand our relationship with our long-time media operations partner, WideOrbit. Their WO On Demand product could provide Federated Media the necessary advanced monetization functionality to scale our podcasting business immediately. Transitioning over to WO On Demand was simple because WO Streaming had been our live streaming platform for many years and, on the linear broadcast side of the business, WO Traffic was our system of record for some time.

[Read RW’s latest ebook on cybersecurity and studio disaster recovery]

Because our staff was already comfortable with the WideOrbit interface and workflow, training for WO On Demand was simple and quick. The workflow is a natural extension from WO Streaming for both our end users as well as our engineers. In addition, we have the flexibility to manage and monetize our content in many new ways. Today, we can offer: ad insertion for podcasts at the show, station or network levels; streamlined file management to update intros, promos and sponsorships; Dynamic station ID tag insertion for an enhanced listening experience; and “Broadcast-to-Podcast” ability to auto-create podcasts from previously recorded original content.

WideOrbit has been a trusted and reliable partner on many levels. They continue to evolve their products as the media landscape shifts and I’m looking forward to improvements such as repurposing on-air content into podcasts with separate dynamic ad insertion; adding an embeddable player for our website, blog and social media; and reducing ad load by optimizing ad placement and balancing with content.

For information, contact WideOrbit at 1-415-675-6700, Option 2, or visit www.wideorbit.com.

The post User Report: WideOrbit Provides Podcasting for Federated Media appeared first on Radio World.

Cybersecurity and Studio Disaster Recovery

Radio World - Fri, 11/29/2019 - 12:48

We see it every few months: A headline that a radio group or station has been hit by the latest cyber attack.

What we don’t see are the emails that then fly out from radio CEOs to their IT and engineering teams: “How do we make sure this never happens to us?” The latest Radio World ebook is intended to help radio technologists answer that question.

Is your network adequately prepared to defend against cybersecurity incursions? Where are the vulnerable points in a broadcast radio and streaming operation? What has our industry learned from recent ransomware attacks on several large radio groups?

Also, more and more makers of critical radio content management systems are building cloud architectures or cloud backups into their designs. What should radio managers and engineers know about these new offerings?

Veteran broadcast IT and networking expert Wayne Pecena provides a primer on the subject. We interview Chris Tarr of Entercom about best practices for cyber and ransomware protection. Consultant Gary Kline provides a list of questions that smart managers should be asking themselves. RCS and ENCO provide their perspectives as suppliers of mission-critical station systems.  Read it here.

The post Cybersecurity and Studio Disaster Recovery appeared first on Radio World.

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