This has been a big week for radio transactions. Coming close on the heels of Cox Enterprises’ decision to sell control of its radio portfolio to Terrier Media, Cumulus Media announced plans to sell iconic New York station WABC(AM) to Red Apple Media.
According to the Thursday announcement, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Apple Group will buy WABC for $12.5 million in cash, pending regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. If all goes as planned, the deal will close in Q3 of this year.John Catsimatidis
In a press release, Cumulus President/CEO Mary G. Berner noted that the deal will enable Cumulus “to use the sale’s net cash proceeds to pay down debt and invest in the company.”[Mary Berner and Kevin Perry to Join NAB Radio Board]
Red Apple Group Chairman and CEO John A. Catsimatidis said in the announcement that WABC(AM) “is a real New York legend with a rich history in broadcasting.” He explained, “Our purchase of 77 WABC(AM) Radio is the next step in building a new broadcasting business, and we look forward to considering the acquisition of more broadcasting assets.”
According to his website, Catsimatidis, a Greece-born, New York City-raised businessman with a history of political activism, created a radio show “The Cats Roundtable” in 2014 that is now syndicated in 14 states and online.
Catsimatidis added that Red Apple Media intends to keep the current WABC staff and talent, characterizing them as “excellent.” Berner also expressed pleasure that the WABC employees will be retained “to continue building this iconic station’s legacy” after Red Apple takes over programming control.
The post Cumulus Announces Deal to Sell WABC(AM) to New York Businessman appeared first on Radio World.
A Panasonic prototype Connected Radio implementation.
Courtesy David Layer
The promise of “hybrid” radio technology has yet to be realized, with no widespread adoption by carmakers just yet. But while 2019 may not be a breakout year, participants say significant milestones are being met.
The term hybrid radio refers to platforms to provide a seamless combination of broadcast radio and internet technologies. (It is not to be confused with the term “hybrid” that is sometimes used to describe the dual analog/digital format in which most HD Radio stations broadcast.)
A hybrid of broadcast radio and internet connectivity, experts say, will offer radio listeners many benefits. The players in this hybrid radio ecosystem include familiar names like RadioDNS and Xperi, both promoting applications that combine broadcast and IP technologies. Efforts by the National Association of Broadcasters’ Pilot initiative are also playing an integral role in development, participants say.
Their research involves finding ways to link a “fetched” stream address from available broadcast services with over-the-air broadcast hardware, work that coincides with the growth of built-in connectivity in automobiles.COMPLEMENTARY
Hybrid radio embraces the complementary strengths of broadcast radio and the internet, observers say, and developers are seeking to create a unique distribution system. Backers believe deployment in the auto environment will accelerate soon and that best practices for radio broadcasters will follow. Voice command, already an integral part of the home speaker listening environment, also is expected to play a crucial role in hybrid radio’s development.
The presence of built-in internet connectivity in automobiles and the expected impact of the 5G rollout both support introduction of hybrid technologies, backers say.
Nick Piggott, project director for RadioDNS, said hybrid radio recognizes that broadcast radio and the internet have different, complementary strengths.
“Hybrid radio creates two routes to the radio receiver, one via broadcast radio and the other via IP. Broadcast is cost-effective, reliable and robust and is great for time-critical audio. Over the IP channel, we can deliver lots of additional metadata about the audio, high resolution visual information, interactivity.[Xperi Explores Hybrid Radio at NAB]
“There’s lots of different ways the two distribution paths can be combined to create a better experience of radio,” he said. For instance, once a listener chooses a station or saves it on a preset, it will always play for them as long as either broadcast or IP is available.
RadioDNS is an organization that promotes technical standards for combining broadcast radio and internet technologies that enable interoperability, giving broadcasters and manufacturers freedom of how to implement hybrid radio.
Members of RadioDNS include iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Entercom, Cox, NPR and NAB. Piggott said this participation gives automotive manufacturers confidence to move forward with launch plans in the United States. He predicts that will happen in the next 12 months.
Among automakers, Audi in particular has been aggressive, already offering hybrid radio on its European models as each model is refreshed and apparently eager to launch in the U.S., according to NAB and other observers. Audi conducted a live demo of its hybrid solution at the spring show, using local Las Vegas stations.
David Layer, vice president of advanced engineering at NAB, said, “Audi has developed an amazing hybrid radio, making use of not only RadioDNS standards but using streaming audio support from Radioplayer and Jump2Go, as well as directly from broadcasters.” (Radioplayer is a not-for-profit organization providing hybrid radio support around the globe.)
Volkswagen and Porsche also plan to add hybrid radio in Europe, according to RadioDNS.
The NAB, Layer said, continues to reach out to automakers and receiver manufacturers as it pushes ahead with its dashboard initiatives, focused on near-term enhancement of over-the-air radio in vehicles.CONNECTED
Xperi, owner of HD Radio, is active in this space. Its DTS Connected Radio uses an IP connection installed in a vehicle to deliver analog and digital FM by pairing broadcast programming with IP-delivered content. At the spring show, attendees could see a number of prototype hybrid radio implementations based on the DTS Connected Radio platform.
“And we know that at least three of the most important Tier One automotive suppliers, Harman, Panasonic and LG, are using this technology,” Layer said.
Separately Xperi and LG recently announced the development and integration of DTS Connected Radio technology into automobiles sold around the world, with the first implementation arriving at dealerships in 2020. Xperi has said it is working with a major global car brand manufacturer on its rollout but has not identified that company yet.
For its part, NAB is supportive of “both Xperi’s DTS Connected Radio and RadioDNS,” Layer said. “It’s important to know these are not competing interests. To the contrary, they are cooperative interests.”
Xperi makes available a Connected Radio Evaluation Unit, or CREU, to potential users and implementers of its DTS Connected Radio platform, such as automakers and Tier One manufacturers, to allow them to develop receivers using that technology.
Layer said that Pilot, a technology and innovation initiative of NAB, obtained a CREU and is working with NAB members to innovate ways to design the radio user interface to take advantage of the capabilities of hybrid radio and then to take those ideas to receiver manufacturers for implementation.
Xperi says it is demonstrating live metadata in 16 markets operating through Connected Radio in real time. It is also developing how the platform will work with Amazon Alexa smart speakers and its voice control capabilities.ON-DEMAND?
Certain aspects of hybrid radio will be of keen interest to radio stations, Layer said. Basic features include delivery of metadata (text and imagery) over the internet and tied to the over-the-air audio, as well as delivery of simulcast streaming audio.
“This would be things like album art, song title and artist information. It could also include enhanced advertisements,” he said. “And specifically how the streaming audio signals get used by the receiver is a topic of great interest among broadcasters.”
Layer said that costs involved in streaming, for both broadcasters and listeners, make it imperative that hybrid radio receivers use streaming audio only when the over-the-air signal is unusable.
More advanced hybrid radio features include interactivity between broadcasters and listeners and the availability of analytics about how listeners consume and react to programming.
In addition, Layer said the potential for hybrid radio to deliver audio on demand is being researched. “This is clearly a feature that is desired by listeners. Imagine a radio receiver that can play back a station’s most recent traffic or weather report anytime, with the touch of a button, or offer the listener an archived version of today’s morning program.”
Participants say they expect hybrid radio to create new value for broadcast radio and believe that its use won’t be limited to the automotive sector. Samsung mobile phones and some tabletop radios with a Wi-Fi connection have implemented hybrid radio in Europe, according to RadioDNS.
This is the first of a series of occasional articles exploring the hybrid radio ecosystem. Comment on this or any story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ten years and 16 days ago we opened the doors on this website. On June 11, 2009 Matthew Lasar inaugurated Radio Survivor with this post: “Congress grills FCC, NAB on Low Power FM.” This was still about 18 months before the Local Community Radio Act was signed into law, opening up the most recent wave of LPFM stations and triggering the largest expansion of community radio in history. But the push for the LCRA really gained traction then, in 2009.
The eventual explosion of low-power FM stations in the US is one of the things Radio Survivor was founded to cover. And cover, we did, in weekly reports beginning December 5, 2013, when all the license applications had been submitted and we and other LPFM advocates began examining the groups who applied. We wrapped up weekly coverage, nearly 28 months later, on July 28, 2016. By that time the vast majority of licenses had been assigned, and there was less weekly action. Looking back at these dispatches, I think you’ll have a hard time finding a more thorough documentation of the flowering of any radio, or communications service.What’s (a) Radio Survivor Anyway?
Reviewing this first year of publishing, I’m struck by the fact that we didn’t publish a prototypical “hello world” post or other raison d’être. Rather, we just got down to business, writing the stories about radio we wanted to exist and wanted to read.
We did publish an “about” page in which we declared, “[f]or us … radio is a cause. We’re Matthew Lasar, Paul Riismandel, and Jennifer Waits, and this is our news blog about radio’s present, past, and uncertain future.” Then, articulated a mission stating, in part,
As both fans and producers, we write about the problems and prospects of radio.
We embrace college radio stations in crisis. We defend radio pirates. And we care about the on-going survival of our favorite radio stations.
We are obsessed with the future of radio and are charmed by radio historians, radio dramatists, radio bloggers, and anyone else who cares about radio as deeply as we do.
At the close of 2009 we – at the time still just three Radio Survivors – joined forces to write about the 14 most important radio trends of the oughties decade illustrating that vision in practice. Why an un-round number like 14? “Well, ten was too few, and, uh, we ran out of steam at fourteen,” I wrote. Fair enough.
We nominated trends like “Pacifica radio democratizes itself,” “cash strapped schools turn their backs on college radio” and even podcasting – then only five years old – which only came in at number four.
Only in 2010 when a reader asked us to explain exactly “what is a Radio Survivor?” did we attempt more specific definitions. Matthew started with a little foundational history. “I first approached Paul Riismandel last Spring (2009) about creating what eventually became radiosurvivor.com because I was, and still am, concerned that discussion on the ‘Net about the state of radio has become marginal and fragmented… It has become fragmented because most of the big sites that report news about radio do so from the vantage point of a particular corner of the radio industry—streaming, terrestrial, podcasting—and almost always from the perspective of management.”
He went on to explain, “I wanted something more than that. Radiosurvivor.com’s mission, as I see it, is to stimulate dialogue about radio from a listener perspective. It is the listener, who does not have a monetary or employment investment in some corner of the status quo, who is in the best position to discuss the future of radio.”
Jennifer started off noting, “when I was invited to join Radio Survivor, the blog had already been named. So, my interpretation about the meaning has more to do with my personal feelings about radio and connections with radio than with the official origin of the name[.]”
“I am also a radio survivor,” she admitted. “Having been a college radio DJ off and on since 1986, it’s hard to believe that I’m still passionate about doing radio (through all of its ups and downs) 24 years after my first stint behind the mic…
“So, I’m devoted to the survival of radio, think radio is a survivor, and have made it my mission to evangelize radio as much as I can in order to remind people that it still has the power to be an incredible force.”
I opined, “ A Radio Survivor (the person) is someone who continues to believe in the medium. A Radio Survivor is not a luddite clinging to her transistor radio while eschewing iPhones and netbooks, nor is he a retro fetishist stuck in the past. Rather, a Radio Survivor recognizes the simple power inherent in broadcast audio, which can be done inexpensively and bring people together in a community.” (Remember netbooks?)
Moreover, “[r]adio, as a medium, has a great chance to survive because of the internet, iPods and mobile phones, not in spite of them.” I think the tremendous growth in podcasting and streaming audio services in the intervening years evidences this prediction well.Radio Surviving in Praxis, on the Radio
Eric Klein joined our gang in 2015, helping to launch the podcast – and now syndicated radio show – on the occasion of our sixth anniversary, in June 2015. He’d actually contributed a piece a few years earlier, but it would be another eighteen months before he and I would meet and start cooking up plans.
Next we’re set to release episode 200 of the show, which I’m willing to claim as an accomplishment. That’s because, by at least one count, 75% of all podcasts ever launched are no longer in production, and only half of the podcasts started from 2016 to 2018 were still going by August of the latter year.An Occasional Struggle To Survive
Speaking only for myself, I must admit to ups and downs with this effort. Scanning back through my output there are definitely periods of greater and lesser activity. Having been a mostly-consistent blogger for nineteen years, beginning with my original blog mediageek, sometimes you grow weary of the grind, run out of ideas or tire of writing for free. (Yes, we do accept financial contributions from generous readers and listeners, but this money primarily defrays costs associated with hosting, distribution and equipment for the site and podcast, rather than paying us as writers.)
When we first started out, I think we really hoped Radio Survivor would generate more income. We ran banner ads at the start, and on some banner days when we hit the zeitgeist just right – like with Jennifer’s annual “Alice’s Restaurant” posts – we would see bursts of hits and brief bumps in earnings. However, the unavoidable reality is that our’s is a niche topic, unlikely to go viral. On top of that, the rates for digital advertising dropped precipitously since 2009, with each page view and click becoming ever less valuable every year. Half a decade in ads still covered our barest of costs, but the ads themselves sometimes were pretty shitty.
That’s why we launched our Patreon campaign in 2015, with our first goal to replace the income from banner ads. I am happy to say that we hit that milestone quickly and have been able to stay above that mark ever since.
We’re not rock stars, nor YouTube stars, on Patreon, but it’s reassuring that there’s a community of supporters willing to help make sure we don’t have to go out-of-pocket, or into debt, to keep this operation online.Why We’re Still Surviving
Out of necessity, my expectations and investment have changed and evolved over the years. But one of the constants for me has been my fellow Radio Survivors, Eric, Jennifer and Matthew. They’re reason number one why I may have taken a break, but never bailed.
The fact that we have worked together, functioning pretty much as a collective, all these years, with nary a dispute or dust-up, is wondrous. I am grateful for their tolerance, understanding and forbearance, which I have attempted to return in kind. More importantly, I’m thankful for their friendship and kinship in all things radio. It’s rare to find this kind of collaboration with any kind of endeavor.
The other constant is the community that’s grown up around Radio Survivor: listeners, readers and all manner of supporters. We have found comrades around the globe, and we’ve visited many of them. I feel enormously lucky for the opportunity to speak with people on two dozen FM stations across North America, and across the Atlantic in Ireland.
As I tweeted the other day, receiving thoughtful, heartfelt emails and missives from this community really makes it all worthwhile. Every one is “worth many thousands many hits or downloads,” I wrote.
This is a gospel we often preach on the radio show, but I’ll admit it’s sometimes difficult to walk that talk. Today’s online world seems driven by racking up hits, and looking at our stats is sometimes an unwelcome indicator of how small this endeavor is. That’s when I remind myself that the connections are more important than the clicks, that before web counters, Facebook likes and YouTube play stats, when I was a late night community radio DJ, I’d have been thrilled to get a few calls a night, having no clue if I had 25 or 25,000 listeners.
The focus on connection and community, not mass and scale, is the spirit of Radio Survivor, to me.Still Radio Surviving
If you had asked me in June 2009 if I’d still be writing for Radio Survivor ten years on, I’m not sure what my answer would have been. The truth is that Matthew had asked me to collaborate on a site at least one time before. Yet, despite my deep admiration for his work, I demurred, citing a plate already overfilled with obligations. But when he asked a second time, it was clear to me that two of us would be more effective than one.
When I agreed to join forces, he also suggested that we should at least find a third. I had only recently made Jennifer’s acquaintance after she toured the college radio station I advised. I didn’t actually meet her on the visit, but the students told me about it. So I looked up her website, got in touch and later interviewed her on my radio show.
I just knew Jennifer was a kindred soul, and I’m still thrilled to this day that she was willing to join in the effort we call Radio Survivor. The consistency and constancy of her work and passion has formed its strongest foundation. Then, Eric joining in 2015 only made the whole structure even more sound.
Again, pondering what I would have predicted ten years ago, I have to conclude that it’s irrelevant. We’re still here today, writing and recording words about radio, in all its permutations.
I am still a terrible fortune teller, so I won’t predict if Radio Survivor will celebrate a 20th anniversary. I wish and intend to remain friends with Eric, Jennifer and Matthew, and I’d hate to lose the root of our collaboration and relationship. I also desire to remain in love with radio and the people who also love radio.
I hope you’ll stay tuned to see what happens next week, next year, and next decade.
Russia will begin testing the Digital Radio Mondiale digital radio standard in the FM Band in July in St. Petersburg.DRM tests will begin in St. Petersburg in July. Credit: TUBS Wikipedia
Russian firms Digiton and Triada TV are working with Fraunhofer IIS, RFmondial, chipmaker NXP and others to carry out the pilot.
The organizers will install a DRM-capable transmitter mid-July and begin regular simulcast broadcasts (DRM for FM) immediately after site acceptance checks are complete. The transmitter will reportedly be on air for six months and have an analog transmitting power of 5 kW and a digital output power of 800 W.
This round of tests marks the next step in the country’s DRM experimentation and one which some consider to be the last phase before full adoption. In addition to featuring simulcast broadcasts, the new tests will also use a higher transmission power than the previous DRM trials in Russia, which took place in 2014 and 2015.
DRM says the main purpose of this latest test is to “demonstrate the opportunities and advantages public and private broadcasters can derive from implementing the standard, as well as to showcase digital radio’s benefits for listeners.”
With summer arriving for much of our readership, Radio World’s latest ebook will help you to answer that question.
What characteristics of lightning should you know about to manage a transmitter site properly? What are the principles of good protection? What choices in facility design can you make to help protect the equipment? How should your transmitter site be laid out? What should you know about AC line protection products?
And if your site does take a lightning hit, what should you do next? What best practices should you know about ahead of time to plan against that eventuality.
Read it here.
The author is sales and marketing manager at 2wcom.Anke Schneider
Certain requirements when covering live events are increasing. Compatibility, audio quality, flexibility, simplicity and transmission robustness are the current buzzwords. Broadcasters need solutions that support studio-to-studio, studio-to-transmitter links and cross-media tasks. The latter also means production considerations for content distribution and storage include both radio and television.
For mixed networks with expanded facilities that include a vocal booth, OB van, live event studio, main station studio and regional studios, high-levels of interface compatibility (even through third-party apps) and distribution technologies are mandatory.There can be challenges connecting studios and negotiating codecs as well as protocols.
It is thus essential that all major internet interoperability protocols are supported. These include Livewire+ for studio environments, Dante for smaller broadcast networks (studios, concert halls or theaters), Ravenna for distribution in large audio networks and SRT to provide content for both radio and television.
Standards like EBU N/ACIP Tech 3326, AES67, SMPTE ST 2110 and NMOS harmonize data exchange between the protocols. Keeping in mind that the main challenge is operating mixed networks, protocol transformation, for example from Livewire to Ravenna, eases an operator’s task.
Protocols such as HTTPS, TCP/IP (Icecast for internet radio streams), ICMP, DHCP, Discovery, Bonjour, IGMPv2, IGMPv3, SFTP and UDP let users control data transmission and communication between single points. They also ensure content accessibility via the station’s website or media archive.
WHICH AUDIO CODEC?
For real-time applications, such as audio description or mobile target groups (truck or taxi drivers), high audio quality and low latency are extremely important. This is especially true for popular events like the FIFA World Cup. For this purpose, codec algorithms such as PCM, E-aptX or Opus should be supported.Audio over IP networks for events can involve a high number of live studios and a central server for hybrid distribution.
When uploading files to websites or media archives, transcoding from the above mentioned high-quality codecs to more economical ones should also be possible (e.g. all AAC profiles like AAC xHE, Ogg Vorbis and all common MPEG layers).
With cross-media applications in mind, transcribing the audio in combination with an image generated from the produced video ensures the smart display of broadcast content on a station’s website. Both, transcoding and transcribing enable radio stations to subsequently provide broadcast content to the audience and to store the content for future reuse.
For events, the flexible management of recorded audio content and sound backgrounds is made possible by combining individual audio streams into multichannel streams. This can include audio from the stage, sideline or grandstand, or even speaker comments. In local studios it’s necessary to exchange regional content and ancillary data as well as broadcasting them in parallel to the main stream. To ensure the precisely synchronized routing of different streams between linked networks and good latency management, Precision Time Protocol (PTPv2) or 1pps should be supported.
In addition, to guarantee optimal broadcast coverage of an event it’s important to assist the teams on-site and to guarantee flexibility in daily operation. And, if more temporary channels are needed, corresponding channel activation scalability is necessary. Preconfiguration of hardware and software for operation, management and control should be possible via an easy-to-use web interface and remotely via SNMP, Ember+ or JSON. A SIP phonebook simplifies the process by providing an uncomplicated connection between the individual studios and automatic negotiation of codecs and protocols.
SIP entries and status information accessible via a web interface and with the hardware grant flexibility to reporters in the field if WLAN is not available. To increase the independence of production teams, it’s important to support DHCP. This permits the automatic allocation of IP addresses, helping to avoid the need to request an IP address from the Help Desk.
A multilayer concept ensures transmission robustness. Hardware devices should be equipped with at least two power supplies (optionally hot-swappable). Protection against IP packet loss offers Pro-MPEG FEC or Reliable User Datagram Protocol, which is more effective and more economical in means of bandwidth (Note: RUDP needs a duplex IP link and unicast/multiple unicast).
Further redundancy can be achieved by transmitting two streams or different audio qualities in parallel and in case of interruption of the main stream the respective receivers switch seamless to the second one..
Finally, it’s impossible to ignore the advantages of IP-based networks but for the sake of harmonization between old and new transmission technologies, hybrid solutions are mandatory.
Cox Enterprises isn’t leaving the radio business completely, just yet … but …
The Atlanta-based multimedia conglomerate has announced that it is essentially selling its radio station portfolio, along with the CoxReps and Gamut advertising businesses to Apollo Global Management. According to a release, Cox Enterprises will maintain a minority stake in the Apollo-controlled company that will take over the properties. This new formation will be called, perhaps confusingly at first, Cox Media Group.
At stake is over 60 radio stations in 11 markets, including legacy station WSB(AM) in Atlanta, started by Cox property, the Atlanta Journal, in 1922. CoxReps is a leading national advertising rep firm.
The acquiring entity, also known as Terrier Media, is the same Apollo Global Management operation formed to hold Cox’s TV stations and Ohio radio stations and newspapers, sold (pending regulatory approval) in February.
In a release Cox Enterprises President and CEO Alex Taylor said “We are happy our Cox Radio and national ad platforms will continue to be operated with our television group.” He added, “Keeping these media businesses together gives us even more confidence in the future success of the new company. We have spent many years fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation across these businesses and are pleased to see that work will continue.”
From the Apollo perch, David Sambur, Chairman of the buyer and Senior Partner of Apollo Global Management said, “Cox has deep roots in the media industry and has stood for the highest quality in local journalism for the past 120 years. As we shepherd these businesses into the future, we are committed to investing in high-quality programming and fostering innovation in local media.”
The transaction is subject to approval from regulatory authorities. Furthermore, to complete the deal two radio stations will have to be divested, WPYO(FM) in Orlando, Fla., and WSUN(FM) in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
Interface manufacturer RME has created an all-in-one podcast audio bundle, the new Babyface Pro/Audio-Technica Podcast Bundle.
The selection brings together RME’s Babyface Pro audio interface and TotalMix FX mixing software with Audio-Technica’s BP40 Condenser Microphone. Also included is an On-Stage Clamp Desktop Boom Mic Stand and a Podcast Engineering School educational course.
At the heart of the bundle is RME’s Babyface Pro, an interface with multiple ins/outs allowing for a variety of podcast setups — two mic preamps, two headphone outputs for simple host/guest monitoring and the ability to configure a mix-minus as separate audio sources. The unit also allows independent adjustment of sound settings for every source, individual headphone mixes for up to six guests and compatibility with any recording software as well as Mac, Windows and iOS.
The Babyface Pro comes with a free TotalMix FX Remote iPad app which allows users to configure the mix-minus setup as separate audio sources, so podcasters can control what guests and listeners hear with no additional cables, mixer or hardware. Users can also mix multiple software applications simultaneously for adding music beds, sound effects and other audio clips to a podcast.
RME has partnered with Audio-Technica to include the company’s BP40 Condenser Microphone. Optimized for broadcast applications, the A-T BP40 offers a humbucking voice coil to prevent unwanted interference. An On-Stage Clamp Desktop Boom Mic Stand, as is a 10-foot microphone cable.
The final piece of the bundle is a Podcast Engineering School Educational Course, an online course providing an overview of the podcast production workflow using a Babyface Pro. The course covers setting up a Babyface Pro, production scenarios and tips, recording online guests, and post-production tips.
The Babyface Pro/Audio-Technica Podcast Bundle runs $1,299.
The author is communications manager for WorldDAB.
LONDON — As DAB+ continues to establish itself as the future platform for radio across Europe, focus is now shifting to developing the DAB+ experience in the car.Aris Erdogdu
On one hand, drivers expect radio to be a seamless experience offering good performance, more — and more tailored — content, relevant information and as little distraction as possible. On the other hand, car manufacturers want a radio performance that exceeds FM, is able to display information on the screen, and does not put the driver at risk.
On June 20, WorldDAB Automotive 2019 brought together experts from the broadcasting and automotive industries to discuss how they are working together to further improve the in-car digital radio experience.
Speaking at the conference held in Turin, Italy, WorldDAB Automotive Working Group (AWG) chair Laurence Harrison, highlighted some of the work the AWG has been doing on various fronts to further develop DAB+ in the car and build long-term collaborations between broadcasters and car manufacturers.Laurence Harrison is chair of the WorldDAB Automotive Working Group.
Harrison touched on the launch of second version of the User Experience (UX) Design guidelines, which was published in February and are designed to help manufacturers and broadcasters deliver the best digital radio experience in the car.
Based on conversations between the AWG and all the leading automotive manufacturers, the updated guidelines give clearer direction to hybrid radio as providing the best UX in connected cars — particularly when DAB+ is included. The guidelines also give clearer signposting to other research and useful guidance on features such as user interface (UI) design, station logos and other on-screen information.
WorldDAB member Arqiva, which operates DAB networks in the United Kingdom, is conducting tests on the delivery of logos via DAB using Service and Programme Information (SPI) standards and is hoping to build on the success of early results.
Harrison also highlighted the importance of the Test Routes that WorldDAB has now made available. Following work within the WorldDAB Receiver/Antenna Performance Taskforce, and in order to help with DAB testing for cars in different markets, WorldDAB has published test routes from a number of markets in order to help any company producing vehicles, antennas, or equipment to test their products and services on a route showing different conditions for DAB+.
Finally, he also outlined the next phase of the Groups’ work, which will be to identify consumer use cases for digital radio in connected and autonomous cars. Initial use cases have been identified covering personalisation, a seamless experience between devices and platforms, a new UI sing voice and on-demand content, and richer visuals on bigger screens. The AWG will now focus on collaborative actions that can be undertaken to support delivery of these use cases.
Speaking at the conference in Turin, Eugenio La Teana, head of research and development at EuroDAB Italia, emphasized that DAB+ enables the creation of new and innovative content, and can help display useful information such as travel and traffic on screens. To that effect, RTL 102.5 and Autostrade per l’Italia have teamed up to create a digital-only station tailored for the needs of drivers that spend a lot of time in the car. The station, which is live 24/7 throughout the year, provides traffic updates between every other song.
If we are to draw one lesson from WorldDAB Automotive 2019, it’s that DAB+ is making waves both in and out of the car — something that is echoed by the EECC directive introduced by the European Union at the end of 2018, which requires all new car radios sold within the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio by the end of 2020.
DAB+ continues to gain significant ground across the globe, and with the automotive industry on-board, the future of digital radio in the car is looking bright.
The FCC was back in front of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals again, defending its failure to address declines in minority- and women-owned broadcast stations, amongst other failures. In fact, as our guest, University of Minnesota Prof. Christopher Terry, explains, the Commission claims it’s too hard to assess the change in ownership between 1996 and today.
Prof. Terry notes that the Court expressed skepticism of that claim. It’s just another chapter in the agency’s “legacy of failure,” as he calls it, wherein futile attempt followed by futile attempt to further loosen ownership regulations is built upon a faulty foundation of flimsy data. Yet, that doesn’t mean that the current FCC leadership, backed by the broadcast industry, won’t keep trying. We’ve already seen this in the NAB’s proposal to eliminate local radio ownership caps in hundreds of cities, as we reported in episode #196. Prof. Terry sheds additional light on that proposal, and assesses what a recent Supreme Court decision means for public access television.Show Notes:
- Court Listener: Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Prof. Christopher Terry: The FCC’s Legacy of Failure: Failure Then Gives Us More Failure Now
- Podcast #172 – The FCC at the End of 2018, with Prof. Christopher Terry
- Podcast #196 – The Campaign To Keep Local Radio Local
- SCOTUS Blog Opinion Analysis: Court holds that First Amendment does not apply to private operator of public-access channels
- Podcast #166 – The FCC’s Effort To Decimate Community Media
The post Podcast #199 – The FCC Is ‘Flunking Statistics 101’ appeared first on Radio Survivor.