For years, radio and digital have been considered rivals. Could there now be the start of a new alliance, particularly for community media?
The growth of smart speaker audiences has been covered exhaustively by many outlets. NPR and Edison Research issued a joint report in the summer. And, throughout noncommercial media, there is a quiet anxiety about the Echo Dots, Google Home Minis and other appliances … well, dotting many an American home. Why?
Attitudes about smart audio among radio professionals vary. Some people see smart speakers as an existential threat to radio. Other people see smart speakers as privacy encroachments they’d never use. But increasing numbers of Americans — well over 70 million units are in U.S. residences now — say smart speakers are essential devices they can’t live without. Such ubiquity indicates smart speakers are here to stay. Community radio only eschews adaptation at the steep cost of relevance.
Through apps like Stitcher, iHeart and TuneIn, most community radio stations are already present on smart speakers, thanks to integrations Apple, Amazon and Google have with such tools. But smart speaker innovation is fast, and the devices do far more than stream radio stations these days.
That’s why Google’s latest announcement could invigorate community media organizations nationwide. Many of these local institutions have fascinating local coverage, but do not have the technical muscle.
Enter Google with an intriguing proposal.
In a Nov. 19 press release, Google unveiled a new initiative using its Google Assistant framework, available through its Google Home family of smart speakers as well as its operating system built into millions of Android smartphones. When you tell your smart speaker or enabled smartphone to play the news, you will get a blend of news stories tailored to your location, user history and preferences. News stories are all just a few minutes long.
The game-changing endeavor has been led by public media veteran Brenda Salinas Baker. Many people know Salinas as a dynamic leader in the noncommercial media system. Her passion for an informed public and educational broadcasting has shone brightly for years. With a variety of commercial and noncommercial content providers baked in at launch, the commitment to providing users with a diversity of media choices shines just as brightly.
Ostensibly, you’ll get more local media served up to you, and far more options as this initiative grows. A Google blog post reads, “Over the past year, we worked with publishers from around the world … to think through the future of audio news. Together, we built a prototype that brings the artificial intelligence of Google News to the voice context of the Assistant.”
Here is where community radio may come in.
Google has opened up the platform for community and other media news producers to join in this endeavor. You can visit the Audio News experience form to submit a feed or feeds for consideration. Note the guidelines for publishers. Your news submissions must adhere to length and other guidelines. For community media organizations already producing local news, these rules should be easy to abide by.
There may be radio loyalists who would blanch at the suggestion that Google curating short-form, location-based audio for users is good news for stations. Yet the tide has been shifting on from-the-box radio listenership for awhile. Ultimately, community radio stations are the content and engagement business. The platform is less relevant to the audiences, and donors, we hope to create relationships with.
A virtually no-cost entry into the devices people already love with a company many trust is an offer that does not come around often. Are community radio stations willing to reshape their fortunes? Those decisions are now in the hands of our most courageous local media leaders.
The post Community Broadcaster: “Google, Play Me Community Radio” appeared first on Radio World.
Waves Audio has shipped Waves SuperRack plug-in processing software for live sound and broadcast engineers.
The software plug-in rack allows users run up to 128 audio channels through multiple instances of Waves plug-ins with low latency and customization options for adapting it to the user’s mixing workflow.
SuperRack operates in a SoundGrid Audio-over-Ethernet network, processing audio on a dedicated SoundGrid DSP server, which moves plug-in processing from the host computer to an external DSP server in order to increase plug-in count, minimize latency, and enable the host and I/O devices to be situated far apart from each other.
According to Waves, users can run plug-ins in real time, customize a workspace with floating windows, set extended-scope snapshots and more.
Based around a multitouch-friendly graphic interface, SuperRack allows users to view and control multiple plug-in instances simultaneously and expand their workspace to up to four monitors. Up to a dozen of the user’s top priority plug-ins per snapshot can be called up in the Hot Plug-Ins panel, and all plugs’ parameters can be adjusted with a “Touch & Slide” fader — among other features
The Federal Communications Commission likes the idea of giving U.S. stations on the AM band an option to turn off their analog transmissions and instead use only HD Radio. It recently said it would consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking recommending that change. Now the commission has officially done so.
The vote was unanimous, though at least one commissioner expressed concerns over the details of technical standards.
While the decision to issue the NPRM is not surprising, given the announcement of a couple of weeks ago, the vote seems to mark a significant advance toward an outcome where AM owners would have the digital choice. Only one U.S. radio station, owned by Hubbard Radio, operates full-time in all-digital, and does so under special temporary authority.
Advocates think having an all-digital option would be a boon to AM stations, many of which are troubled by economic challenges, band noise and lack of listener interest. Some see it as a logical addition to the AM revitalization effort, bringing benefits like metadata displays that most AM stations currently don’t have, in addition to better sound quality. And some observers, if fewer in number, wonder whether widespread migration to all-digital could substantially revitalize the AM band someday, making it prime spectrum real estate again.
Anecdotally, some critics have worried that a change that would make most existing receivers unable to hear a given radio station is premature, and/or they have voiced worries over the interference implications. That’s a touchy subject, given HD Radio’s less than stellar reputation among AM engineers, dating to the early days of putting hybrid digital on AM. The NPRM process should give more insight into what opposition may exist, if any, and from whom. It should tell us more about how AM owners themselves, big and small, come down on the idea.
“Many AM stations experience interference from electronic devices and other sources that affects audio quality,” the FCC stated in its announcement. “All-digital broadcasting offers AM broadcasters the potential to improve their signal quality and area of listenable coverage, as well as offer additional services that FM broadcasters currently offer, such as song and artist identification. It also holds the potential to allow AM stations to increase their programming options to include music formats.”
In the NPRM the FCC also proposes establishing operating parameters for all-digital stations, to minimize risk of interference; and it proposed adopting what it called the “industry-approved standard” for hybrid and all-digital broadcasting, meaning HD Radio.
The National Association of Broadcasters applauded the move and said in its statement that “many” AM broadcasters are exploring the potential benefits.
Commissioner Michael O’Rielly has been particularly involved in issues involving the radio industry. Reacting to the vote, O’Rielly noted that he’d participated in a Texas Association of Broadcasters event with Bryan Broadcasting Corp.’s Ben Downs, an ardent supporter of AM revitalization and the person who petitioned the FCC to get going on this topic earlier this year.
“Assuming this item goes to final order, it remains to be seen whether digital AM signals will ever catch on with manufacturers, and more importantly, listeners, or serve as a significant factor in the band’s revitalization,” O’Rielly wrote after the vote.
“But our record clearly demonstrates that many in the industry would very much like to at least have a chance to test this approach, without having to obtain an experimental license. We need to give them that opportunity.”
O’Rielly did sound a note of caution. “When it comes to adopting specific technical standards, I do continue to have serious reservations regarding this approach, as the commission also adopted specific standards in the early 2000s. That said, on this and other questions, I will follow the comments received closely and look forward to seeing whether the option to transition to all-digital modes does, in fact, allow stations to have a greater and more effective reach among the listening public.”
Radio World explored the possible implications of this last March; read the ebook here.
The post FCC Officially Proposes to Allow All-Digital on U.S. AM Band appeared first on Radio World.
What will the console of the future look like — if we use one at all? What do virtualization and cloud technology mean for console users and studio designers? What does the next generation of user interface look like?
And because a physical surface remains a key component at most stations, we also ask: What functions and features are being offered on new models that engineers should know about? How have AoIP technology developments been reflected in the look and function of physical surfaces? How vibrant is the marketplace for analog consoles? How long will manufacturers of analog consoles support them? What options are available in the market to support brands that are no longer manufactured?
Answering our questions are Mark Simpson, Jason Ornellas, Michael LeClair, Jay Tyler, Matt Lightner, Roberto Tejero, Marty Sacks, Clark Novak, Henry Goodman, Eric Hoppe, Tag Borland, Ben Palmer and Daniel Hyatt. Read it here.
Here we go again!
Every Congress, a few well meaning, but misinformed legislators, appear to forget that they represent the people of their districts and not the foreign-owned record companies, and introduce in one form or another, the toxic performance royalty fee legislation commonly known as the “Performance Tax.”
It does no one any good at all, least of all the vast and diverse audiences our free-over-the-air broadcasters serve, and helps stifle the creative growth and opportunities for success of emerging artists, while destroying the best thing that ever happened to our multi-faceted, shared culture: the free-over-the-air delivery of all forms of entertainment, local news, EAS warnings, AMBER Alerts and most of all — music, to everyone, for free —no matter your social status or place of origin—radio!
Broadcast radio is enjoyed by almost everyone in America. For almost one hundred years, Americans have had a love affair with broadcast radio. And for good reason. Its bold, diverse, endearing, expandable, compact, ubiquitous, portable, lovable, affordable, and incontrovertible value as the most ubiquitous source of news, information and diverse entertainment available to everyone, and all for free.
No download charges, no subscription fees, and no license fees for the end user. It informs and binds us, it makes us laugh, it heals our wounds, it provides comfort and lifesaving information in times of crises, and oh yeah—it’s always on!
But the wrongheaded measures pushed by some who insist on squeezing every dime out of a broadcaster’s craft that they can would tamper with this timeless recipe for universal happiness.[As Legislation Sits in Senate, Pirate Activity Continues in Force]
But much more horrifying; these Performance Royalty Taxes would destroy radio as we know it, and indeed harm everyone; artists, composers, communities, broadcasters and most sadly, everyone who enjoys radio today—about 300 million of our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers in America alone — the very constituents that these legislators are supposed to serve.
The good news is that support for the Local Radio Freedom Act supporting local radio continues to be strong in the House and the Senate. Currently, more than 200 Members of the House are on record in opposition to a performance tax.
New Jersey Broadcasters would like to express our deep appreciation to our Congressmen for their courageous leadership in previously opposing this unfair and wrongheaded tax. These Legislators are to be applauded for their early recognition and constant vigil over free-over-the-air radio’s service to the local communities they represent across the Garden State.
However, the NJBA was always convinced that a stealth attack on free over-the-air-radio was very possible, as we saw with this week’s introduction of two P-Tax bills in Congress.
In New Jersey, local radio is very, very important, and the prospect of a Performance Tax is akin to a Death Tax for broadcasters.[Are Higher Music Licensing Costs Cued Up?]
The P-Tax would demand exorbitant royalty fees from broadcasters to pay for the a few record labels failed business models. And these new royalty fees would be on top of the billions the radio industry already pays in royalties to artists and songwriters through ASCAP, BMI and SEASAC! In these challenging economic times (or in any economic model), can any industry afford such confiscatory increases in net operating costs?) And the public would gain no return for the fees taken. No community service, no public announcements, no lifesaving Amber Alerts or EAS warnings. Nothing at all but making a few more millionaires and billionaires richer, and all at the public’s expense.
Nevertheless, the unavoidable result of the Performance Tax’s passage is much more than merely wreaking economic havoc on local radio stations. The passage of the bill would force the closing of a majority of local radio stations in New Jersey and across the country. To be sure, the prospect of enhanced opportunities for localism, diversity and outreach would be immediately hushed. Station groups and networks would be hurt, as well. Localism would be out the window and thousands in New Jersey would lose their jobs.
Moreover, local merchants, businesses, government officials, politicians, and community groups would be without a voice and an affordable, effective outlet to market their goods and services to their obvious customers and constituencies.
But this is all not about dollars; It is about common sense.[Music, Royalties and Communities — Walking the Walk]
Much more horrific, the closure of these vital broadcast outlets across America would also decimate our Emergency Alert Warning System capabilities and pose a genuine threat to homeland security. And for what? So a few greedy foreign owned record companies can try to line their coffers with more American dollars, taking billions out of our economy? And worse, the move would directly or indirectly, wipe out hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States.
Moreover, a new oppressive Performance-Tax would hurt emerging artists who might not ever get their music on the air if stations have to pay a fee every time a new song is played.
Performing artists almost universally recognize the honest and incomparable value only broadcast radio air-play adds to their industry and business model. The record label’s recognition of the unparalleled promotional value of radio airplay contradicts statements made by recording industry representatives in Washington.
Our two industries have worked perfectly together for decades. Certainly, no artist would ever have an opportunity to become famous and successful absent their natural symbiotic partnership with free-over-the- air-radio! This symbiosis evinces the inescapable conclusion that both sides are benefiting. Why do you think local stations across the country are bombarded every day with sample CD’s MP3s, and “demos” by emerging artists (and seasoned veteran artists) begging station managers to play their new tune? It’s because broadcasters and artists genuinely “get it.” It’s how they sell records, (yes, vinyl records are making a comeback) CDs, downloads, video and merchandise.
Worse, the P-Tax’s foreseeable fractionalization of collaborative artists could hurt everyone associated with the creative process and diminish the very projects or songs they want to promote to be successful. It’s a recipe for collusion, litigation, division, unfairness, and disaster.[NAB Adds Broadcast Essentials to Education Resources]
So you see, a new Performance Tax imposed on radio stations by record companies would only be biting the very hand that feeds them.
Equally disturbing is the disingenuous comparison of broadcast radio to internet providers and pay/subscription audio entertainment programming and fees paid by satellite radio. The proponents of this legislation want us all to be alike – just because Cable, Satellite and Internet services pay these royalties. But we are not alike!
Remember how radio stations helped warn and serve New Jersians crushed by SANDY? Well, New Jersians do. Free over-the-air radio & television are the only exclusively local media in existence! Did you ever see a pure-play or satellite station sponsor a little league team or do a food drive for a local charity?
Our cherished stewardship of the public airways is a public trust, and no industry is more publically spirited than broadcast. We have a very different mission, mainly to operate in the public interest; from the sustaining value we provide for the EAS for local emergency notification such as NJ Amber Alerts, and in response to community-wide emergencies like Superstorm Sandy, ice and snow storms, and other extreme weather hazards, to local news of community events and happenings in entertainment in an amazing variety of formats.
The internet and satellite applications referred to in mislabeled “equitable royalty fee” arguments (and the specious claim of pure-play “radio” designations) do not provide such essential public services, nor are they designed or equipped to do so.[Does 5G Make Sense for Radio]
Compared to free radio’s 300 million listeners in the United States alone, satellite and subscription services reach less than 10% of radio’s ever expanding and diverse listening base. And radio’s service is free! Think about how many people in today’s tough economy can afford to pay to hear radio in the first place. (By the way, if anyone wants to see the effects of wrongheaded Performance fees, just look at the 30%+ increase in satellite’s monthly subscription fees for royalties and the “going dark” of some radio stations’ streaming audio on the net, due largely in part to the ever-increasing royalties charged to stream content.)
And to lay to rest the specious argument that the performing artists will get any money from the new Performance Tax, all you need to do is review the typical recording contract any new artist is “forced” to sign if they want to get their coveted “record deal.” It often provides for very little compensation to flow to the artist after record production and promotion costs are re-cooped.
More disturbingly, many artists complain about the notorious greed of the industry itself. In a surreal report released a few weeks after Michael Jackson’s death, it was revealed that the King of Pop told interviewers that it was “Time for artists to take a stand against record labels.” In a video interview filmed by director Brett Ratner, Michael Jackson “lashed out at record labels. Asked about his greatest lesson learned, Jackson replied: “Not to trust everybody in the industry. There are a lot of sharks, and record companies steal. They cheat. I have to audit them. And it’s time for artists to take a stand against them.” Bravo, Michael.[50 Broadcast Groups to FCC: Remove Obsolete EEO Rules]
Finally, our great New Jersey Broadcaster Association represents much more than the radio and television industry in the Garden State. We also represent the vast and diverse audiences that our members so ably serve. We represent the people, and we stand with them. We respectfully ask all of Congress to the same. It’s the right thing to do.
So keep listening New Jersey! Let’s defeat this Performance Tax and let’s keep New Jersey radio free for all to enjoy!
The post Rotella: Radio Performance Tax Does More Harm than Good appeared first on Radio World.
On this week’s radio show/podcast we had a fun discussion with one of the founders of Sacramento State University’s college radio station KSSU. We learned about the challenges and obstacles that students faced in the late 1980s when they embarked on a project to bring student radio back to campus. It’s not unusual; many students have had to exhibit similar levels of persistence in order to launch college radio stations over the decades. In addition to sharing that story, KSSU co-founder Jim Bolt also talked about his efforts to archive the station’s early history. I appreciate this project too and hope that it will inspire more stations, even brand new ones, to document their origin stories.More College Radio News Funding and Infrastructure
- San Juan College Radio Station Looks Toward Growth During Fundraiser (Farmington Daily Times)
- College Radio Foundation Offering Grants (College Radio Foundation)
- Celebrating Impact89FM’s 30th Anniversary (MSU Today, Michigan State University)
- Triode: Internet Radio from the Iconfactory (MacStories)
- Radio Drama ‘Concealed Carrie’ Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight (Arkansas Democrate Gazette)
- College Radio Station Invites Listeners for a Fun Run on Campus (The Two River Times)
- 5th Annual Vinylthon Scheduled for April 18, 2020 (College Radio Foundation)
- Here’s How April Ryan Built a Thriving 30-Year Career (Essence)
- Da Beat of a Different Drummer (AdVantage News)
- UW-Madison Grads Reunite to Create Disney+ Reality Show ‘Encore!’ (The Cap Times)
- John Roberts, Fox News Chief White House Correspondent (Politico)
- Yvette Nicole Brown Inspires Communication, Media Students (The Buchtelite, University of Akron)
- Andy Serkis Lands Role as Alfred in New Batman Film (Lancashire Evening Post)
The post College Radio Watch: Digging into College Radio History in Sacramento and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.
Bill O’Reilly got an Air Force One sit-down with Pres. Donald Trump earlier this month. The result? A special Thanksgiving holiday one hour special that will be available for affiliates of O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Update,” a 15-minute daily program that airs on almost 200 stations; syndicated by Key Networks. Of course, the program will be “yuge” and “The best ever.”