Industry News

Room For Growth: New Entrants Join Recurring Spot TV Players

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 15:59

Yes, GEICO and Liberty Mutual Insurance are ahead of Progressive for yet another week, showing the continued dominance of auto insurance specialists in the Spot Ten TV report from Media Monitors.

That said, new activity is seen from a health and beauty aide brand, and from a furniture retailer.

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Categories: Industry News

‘SuperFrank’ Strikes Again With Spirited St. Louis Buy

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 14:59

“SuperFrank” Copsidas has made a name for himself in New York State, in the Deep South, in the Hoosier State, and across New England for his investment in low-power television operations.

Now, the producer of the TV series “Pop Up Psychic,” “Just Eat It” and “Ghost Rapper” is adding another television station to his roster of LPTV facilities.

Copsidas’ MOTV LLC, referencing the state of Missouri, is agreeing to acquire KEFN-CD in St. Louis.

KEFN is a Class A station serving the Gateway City on Channel 20. As of 2019, it was using an ERI Model AL8N-20-PLC circularly polarized AL PLUS Series UHF television antenna with a narrow cardioid azimuth pattern.

Until now, KEFN had been an EWTN member station, licensed to Eternal Family Network. On March 18, 2020, KEFN went silent under an STA; its agreement to use its licensed transmitter site was “terminated.”

Now, it is poised to return to life, but with a different ownership arrangement.

Eternal Family Network wishes to continue its mission of the sharing of the Catholic Faith and “traditional values” through multimedia but is unable to do so without “the benefits obtained through entering into this agreement.”

That agreement will see EFN team with kNow Media in forming a new limited liability company, “MOTV, LLC.” Copsidas will oversee it, while MOTV will be a partnership majority owned by EFN (taking 55% equity interest).

kNow and EFN will then divide all income received with respect to the operation of the station 60/40, after expenses. Such revenues and expenses are subject to audit at the sole expense of the party requesting it.

What if KEFN is sold, or is permitted or required to participate in a reverse auction at the FCC? EFN will get $650,000. Then, kNow and Eternal will split the remainder of any proceeds 60%/40%.

For EFN, EWTN will return, with ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 broadcasts contractually guaranteed by Copsidas. The benefit for him? Digital multicast access, and the pending NEXTGEN TV data capability, which presents broadcast TV with a new revenue-generation opportunity.

All is contingent, however, on getting KEFN-CD 20 back on the air by March 18. If that doesn’t happen, the deal is off — and the station’s license is deleted and cancelled by the FCC.

Categories: Industry News

McManus to Deliver Opening NATPE Live Sports Keynote

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 14:30

The Chairman of CBS Sports has been selected to deliver the opening keynote at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE)’s virtual conference devoted to “The Business of Live Sports,” a new event set to take place later this month.

The new event will be held across three hours of March 23.

To register, go to https://www.natpe.com/sports/attend/

 

Topics slated to be covered include the promotion of live sports, the distribution of live sports to streaming fans, the changing playing field of sport sponsorship, the power of pay per view, as well as the rise of sports gambling, international fandom, local broadcasters, and sports.

While Sean McManus of CBS Sports gets top billing, he’ll be participating in a virtual event that also includes appearances by Wyatt Hicks, the Managing Director of Digital Media at NASCAR; and Miheer Walavalkar, the CEO of LiveLike. Both will be discussing the ways of engaging fans around live sports in 2021.

Additionally, Jennifer Storms, the Chief Marketing Officer of Entertainment and Sports at NBCUniversal, will speak on promoting live sports viewership while Telemundo Deportes President Ray Warren will join a panel of other programmers and streaming service providers to discuss the benefits of distributing live sports to streaming fans everywhere.

Julian Mintz, Head of West & Central Brand Sales at Roku, and John Stainer, Managing Director of North America at Nielsen Sports, will also take time to discuss trends in where the money is flowing in live sports.

Categories: Industry News

Veteran Air Personality ‘Kane,’ Known Across D.C., Tampa, Dies

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 12:59

Until eleven months ago, his voice could be heard in morning drive at WIHT-FM “Hot 99.5” in Washington, D.C., and WFLZ-FM in Tampa, in addition to stations in Baltimore, Louisville, Memphis and Harrisburg via Premiere Networks syndication.

He also hosted a Sunday night program, also syndicated, that aired on some 100 stations.

In April 2020, iHeartMedia canceled the programs, hosted by a Syracuse University alum legally named Peter Deibler.

Now, legions of former listeners are joining members of the radio industry across the U.S. in remembering the life of the man known as “Kane,” as he has died “after a long illness” at the age of 43.

Lawyers for Deibler’s family at Joseph, Greenwald & Laake P.A. released the news to local Washington, D.C., media Monday morning (3/8). He passed away on Friday, March 5, at Shady Grove Adventist Medical Center.

As an anchor for Hot 99.5 from 2006 until his surprising dismissal amid a major reduction-in-force initiative at iHeartMedia, “Kane” also served as a contributor to NBC O&O WRC-4 in Washington.

“Although co-hosts came and went, Kane remained a constant, comforting voice for thousands of people driving to work, dropping the kids off at school and running errands,” lawyers for Deibler’s family said in a statement.

In another statement sent to WRC-4 by the former employer of “Kane” and those associated with The Kane Show, iHeartMedia said, “We are deeply saddened to share the news that Kane has passed away. Kane has been an important part of our iHeart family for many years, from his early days at WFLZ in Tampa, to his network of stations and success at HOT 99.5 in D.C. and ‘Club Kane.’ Please keep Kane’s family and his girls in your thoughts and prayers.”

Deibler was father to two daughters, Sam and Sophie.

“The family is requesting that their privacy be honored during this difficult time,” his representatives said.

A memorial service will also be planned at a future date.

Deibler made headlines in June 2016 after being arrested for assault after his soon-to-be ex-wife accused him of second-degree assault, The Washington Post reported at the time.

It was a blemish on a storied career that began at WKCI-FM “KC101” in New Haven, where he was an intern while still in high school, Lance Venta of RadioInsight.com reports. He’d later hold nights at WWHT-FM “Hot 107.9” in Syracuse and joined WFLZ in 1998 for evenings.

Two years later, he moved to Washington, to join the former XM Satellite Radio.

In 2004, Deibler would return to Tampa, as PD/afternoon host of WFLZ. Then, in October 2006, “The Kane Show” would debut at Hot 99.5; he’d continue to host afternoons on 93.3 FLZ in Tampa.

Categories: Industry News

DISH Snags T-Mobile MVNO As It Builds Wireless Network

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 09:30

DISH Network Corporation has embarked on a big business initiative that’s designed to shift it away from strictly offering direct broadcast satellite TV services that, quite often, do not offer consumers every local channel due to its penchant to play hardball with respect to any retransmission consent accords.

It involves 5G, and wireless technology. DISH just took another step toward achieving that goal, by acquiring a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that’s using the T-Mobile infrastructure.

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Categories: Industry News

Traditional U.S. MVPD: Plunging To New Depths In 2020

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 09:20

So much for that COVID-19 subscriber bump.

Full market estimates from Kagan, the S&P Global Market Intelligence media research group, are out. And … they’re not pretty.

Millions of subscriptions by multichannel video services were shed in 2020. As such, the cord-cutting story is real.

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Categories: Industry News

Community Broadcaster: Is OnlyFans Music’s Next Royalty Model?

Radio World - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 09:08

The author is executive director of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. NFCB commentaries are featured regularly at www.radioworld.com.

SoundCloud has announced a new funding model for musicians on its service. What does it mean for the wider world of music royalties?

On March 2 SoundCloud introduced the program it calls fan-powered royalties. Through this initiative, SoundCloud says it will pay musical performers posting tracks on its service based on the number of plays by listeners. The announcement is thin on specifics. For example, the rates artists will get and how SoundCloud will halt the market in purchased plays are not detailed. However, the proposal has kicked off a fresh debate on the nature of music royalties.

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Things Fall Apart]

Most audiences presume that an artist gets some amount of money when their music is streamed or broadcast. Radio stations know that music royalties are a byzantine subject. There are terrestrial and streaming platforms to be covered separately by fees; performance and composition delineations; and categories such as mechanical licensing. Then there are the various competing organizations representing songwriters and other creatives wanting their voices heard. The result is a system where many artists believe they get little compensation. The current schema has been decried by groups like the Future of Music Coalition as needing greater attention from lawmakers, broadcasters and the music industry.

How radical or bold the SoundCloud approach is depends on who you ask.

Calling this campaign “royalties” is a bit of a misnomer. The audience-funded endeavor is not a challenge to the current royalties arrangement. SoundCloud is not introducing artist representation for payment like SESAC, ASCAP and BMI, where songwriters’ rights to payment are advocated for and upheld for families of deceased performers. Nor is its program really a replacement for the royalty model. In fact, SoundCloud will presumably continue to contribute to the existing music payment framework because it has to do so legally, meaning the artists in its audience-driven program will also see monies from the existing royalties paradigm.

What it is offering, though, is a crowdfunding hybrid — an OnlyFans for musical performers, if you will, where artists are paid by content consumption. If you’re an artist getting 5,000 streaming plays per month, the check you’d normally receive might be no more than a few dollars annually. Depending on the details of the SoundCloud deal, such an artist could stand to earn more. Unlike other platforms, which have largely not budged from their payment obligations, SoundCloud’s experiment seems more equitable. A lingering question of what this means for mega-artists that also have SoundCloud channels and how they’ll be compensated under the new plan.

Community radio in particular has had its own contentions with the current royalties, especially in how local, independent performers are supported. Ongoing negotiations seem to indicate change will be hard. Still, many of us in radio may be watching SoundCloud’s development in May, when the first payments to artists are expected to be delivered.

The post Community Broadcaster: Is OnlyFans Music’s Next Royalty Model? appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Senate OKs Millions In Pandemic Assistance To Non-Comms

Radio+Television Business Report - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 08:59

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate late Friday (3/5) approved a budget reconciliation bill that doesn’t raise the minimum wage to a statutory $15 per hour and will put an extra $1,400 in the hands of many Americans.

The legislation also will direct hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID-19 related emergency assistance to public radio and television stations.

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Categories: Industry News

Crawford Updates Studios Mid-Pandemic

Radio World - Mon, 03/08/2021 - 08:00
Amanda Hopp and Cris Alexander

For a lot of broadcasters, the pandemic triggered a reevaluation of priorities. Many put the brakes on projects, for understandable reasons.

At Crawford Broadcasting Co. we went the other way, believing that the way we would operate going forward would be different than it had been in the past, and that we had to be prepared.

In Los Angeles we had to shut the doors and keep everyone at home for a couple of weeks after some staffers got sick; but not long before, we had converted the L.A. facility to AoIP using Wheatstone’s WheatNet-IP system, featuring I/O “Blades” and E6 and LX control surfaces.

As a result, when the lockout occurred, our people were able to operate the station from their homes, including live talk programs. That showed us what the new operating model would be, and we began taking a hard look at our other top markets.

We had upgraded Chicago, but we determined that three additional markets, with a total of 21 AM and FM signals, needed infrastructure upgrades.

All had mid-2000s vintage Wheatstone TDM systems, which we’d planned for replacement eventually. The pandemic pushed that schedule up. Denver topped the market list in part because is the hub of the company’s technical operation.

We ordered equipment in late summer. In the period until delivery in November, we planned. And planned. We identified every audio signal in the facility, noting the location, routing and whether it was analog or AES (mostly the latter). We then culled the list, striking sources that were no longer needed.

We turned to logic signals, identifying and culling until we had a good list of required logic I/Os. We then made Blade source and destination assignments and a complete list of routings. Now we knew what we would need to connect every signal.

Because the Blades can be located anywhere in the facility, our planning included Blade placement close to audio and logic sources and destinations. As a result, wire runs would be short, in most cases just a few feet.

[Related: Read “The Real World of AoIP,” a free Radio World ebook]

While we were waiting for equipment, we purchased Cisco switches, including a core switch CS3560 stack that would serve as the hub of the operation and a satellite CS2960 switch for each studio that would be trunked to the core switches. Those switches were programmed and we installed the core switch in a rack in the TOC, immediately above the existing Cisco core switches. We connected the two switch pairs together and moved the whole Wheatstone gigabit IP network over to the new switch.

Four control rooms would have to be converted; the plan was to do these in order from the least impact to the greatest. Our oldies music station is voice-tracked and the control room can be bypassed easily, so that’s where we started. The last control room to be upgraded would be our big talker, where live programs and in-studio hosts and guests were an all-day affair.

Dry run

Before we would start on a control room, we would set up the equipment for that room on the bench in the engineering shop, connecting each piece to the satellite switch that would go into that studio and trunking the satellite switch back to the core switch.

Prior to installation, the LXE, Blades and switch were “benched” and connected to the larger system for configuration and testing. With the Blades on the bench we were able to pre-wire the network and I/O connections.

We would power everything up, configuring each Blade with the correct IP address, Blade ID, name and software version. Sources and destinations would then be defined and named to save time and confusion later.

The LXE control surface for each room was set up, configured and tested. We were familiar with the Blades because we had been using them for several years, but the LXEs were a new animal, newer even than the LX surface we’d used in the Los Angeles control room the previous summer, and there was a definite learning curve.

LXE touch screen. Note the “Legends” station logo on the clock, just one of the easy customizations.

At one point, an errant click resulted in all the programming for a surface, the first one we tried to set up, being wiped out, leaving the surface as a very expensive brick or doorstop. While that gave us a scare, it turned out to be much worry about nothing. Wheatstone had provided us with a thumb drive containing all the programming, so it was a simple thing to get back where we needed to be and get the surface configured.

With the Blades and surface benched and stacked in the order and with the spacing they would have in the studio, we used our spreadsheets showing the required connections to make the needed cables. We used Cat5e riser cable for everything.

RJ-45 connectors were crimped onto the ends that would plug into the Blades, and labels were affixed noting Blade number and input, output or logic port number. Sufficient length was left on each cable to route it into place, cut it to the exact length needed and affix the XLR connector on the other end. Admittedly that was a little wasteful, but Cat-5e riser cable is cheap. It was a huge time-saver for in-studio work, important because in some cases we would be under pressure to get the studio back online.

No insulation-displacement blocks were used; wiring was all point-to-point, and again, since the Blades were in close proximity to the source and destination equipment, this was an efficient way to connect everything. It also eliminated many points of potential failure.

The plan called for doing one control room per week, a pace which gave us time to rest up between the physically-demanding parts of the project and to bench the new gear and get the pre-wiring done.

We would start early, usually before 6 a.m. Demo of the old gear naturally came first, and all existing in-studio wiring was, for the most part, removed. The trick was identifying the few cables that would be needed in the new installation. For example, the mic cables from the adjacent talk studio and the control room mics had to be found and secured, as did the wiring feeding talk studio talent stations. We would have made a lot of work for ourselves if we accidentally demoed that wiring.

Filling the holes

The studio cabinets had been lightly used so there was no need to replace them. But there was one problem: each tabletop had a large cutout where the Wheatstone G6 surfaces set down in a flush mount. We had to do something about those holes.

In the planning phase, our thought was to have new tabletops fabricated. This would be expensive and a lot of trouble, but how else would we deal with those holes? Jay Tyler at Wheatstone had a simple solution: a steel plate that would cover the hole. We questioned about how this would look and feel, but he sent us photos of facilities that had used the custom cover plates, and the pics convinced us.

The steel plates came with the LXE surfaces. They were sturdy, laser-cut 13-gauge 0.090-in. black powder-coated plates that were drilled with countersunk holes on the back side. We dry fit them, marked and drilled the holes in the tabletop, then ran a thin bead of silicon around the edge. Screwed into place, the plates covered the holes and the low-profile LXE surfaces sat centered on them so that unless someone bends down to look under the surface, they will never know they are there.

Not your grandpa’s console installation

Surfaces were set into place and screwed to the steel plates to keep them from moving around. They were then connected with a power supply cable and a piece of Cat-6 cable. The only other connection to the surface was the supplied headphone jack, which was mounted using the supplied bracket under the front lip of the tabletop on the right side.

The completed LXE installation in the KLZ control room.

Most of the rest of the work in each room involved pulling the pre-made Blade network, source, destination and logic cables through the racks/pedestals, routing them to the proper place, cutting them to exact length, soldering on an XLR cable and affixing a self-laminating wire label. Cris did most of that work; for some reason, he enjoys that kind of thing. Amanda dealt with other cabling such as mics, headphones and Cat-5e/Cat-6 network cables (just about every piece of equipment needs a network connection these days).

In one studio, we took advantage of the USB “sound card” connection provided on the M4IP microphone processor Blades, mounting a USB jack on the talk studio tabletop for hosts to plug in their laptops for digital on-air playback of audio clips and the like — no more adapting an unbalanced line output to feed a channel on the mixer.

Amanda’s husband Jordon, handy with a drill and the guy who built the table in that talk studio, took care of mounting the USB jack for us. Cris’s wife Phyllis was on hand for one of the studios, keeping us from making too big a mess and providing other support as needed. Many hands make light work!

Control room Blade wiring.

Once the physical wiring in each room was done, we spent a couple of hours testing everything. Despite our planning, there were still routes we’d overlooked. Mic processors had to be set up, mics had to be tested, headphone feeds with talkback confirmed and logic tested. Studio tallies (on-air lights) were a piece of cake using the logic in the Blades.

We use Eventide BD600W+ profanity delays in Denver, and the “W” in the model name indicates WheatNet connectivity; those delays use native WheatNet I/O and logic. It took a little time to figure out how to route the bidirectional logic to and from the delay units, but once done we had a brightly lit magenta dump button on each LXE surface that would remotely activate the dump feature on the corresponding Eventide delay. The button then turns yellow until the delay is rebuilt.

This is only a test

Interfacing to the Sage Digital ENDEC EAS units was a snap using logic, a digital input and analog outputs from a nearby Blade.

The receivers for the LP1 and LP2 are located in the TOC and their AES signals are fed to a TOC Blade and routed to Blades in each control room. Analog outputs are then used to feed the monitor source inputs on the ENDECs. A logic input to a Blade was used to take the relay output from each ENDEC and use it to make a temporary connection directly from the ENDEC output to the delay input for each station. RCS NexGen runs the test intro and actuates the ENDEC RWT or RMT forward function via IP, and the logic connection does the rest.

We took advantage of the eight-channel utility mixer provided in each of the Wheatstone Blades to mix various signals and provide for downstream switching, also controlled by NexGen. We also used the audio processors in some of the Blades to generate pseudo-air-monitor pre-delay feeds for real-time headphone monitoring, “off-air” recording and the like. Wheatstone provided great purpose-built processor presets for that.

The Crawford Denver TOC looks a lot different than it did before the project.

With all four control rooms done and operating, the final stage of the project was removing the Wheatstone TDM bridge router and its cabling and insulation displacement blocks from the TOC.

Now the overhead cable ladders are positively empty. What little is up there is orange WheatNet-IP Cat6 cabling and other network Cat5e cabling. As in the studios, the Blades in the TOC are near the equipment to which they connect, which keeps cable runs short and, in most cases, within the same equipment rack.

Start to finish, the physical project took a little over three weeks. Again, we did one studio a week, each on a Monday, until we got to the one for our busy talker, and we did that on the Saturday before Christmas (they ran “best-of” shows that day to free up the studios). It took a couple more days to clean up the TOC after the bridge router extraction.

Overall, including planning, the project took about three months. Without planning and pre-wiring, the physical studio work would have taken days instead of hours. By the time we got to the last studio, we had that down to under eight hours.

So what does this do for us other than providing us with cool new control surfaces and getting rid of a lot of old wiring?

It gives us complete remote access and configurability for the facility. The very infrastructure of the studio complex can be altered remotely. Need this source on that channel in another studio? Amanda can do that on her iPhone. Need to route this audio server directly to the transmitter because some piece of equipment failed? Can do … from anywhere with an internet connection.

The pandemic has changed the way we operate, no doubt about it. Flexibility and remote-ability are must-haves, and this new 100% AoIP infrastructure provides that and much, much more. We are now as ready as we can be for whatever comes.

Cris Alexander, CPBE, AMD, DRB, is director of engineering of Crawford Broadcasting and technical editor of Radio World Engineering Extra.  Amanda Hopp, CBRE, has been chief engineer of Crawford’s Denver cluster since 2007.

 

The post Crawford Updates Studios Mid-Pandemic appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Using the SNMP Protocol in Broadcast Monitoring

Radio World - Sun, 03/07/2021 - 07:47
Fig. 1: SNMP Manager and Agent Devices

The author is manager of WorldCast Systems Inc. in Miami.

Without question, the introduction of IP network systems into broadcast operations has had a generational impact on our industry.

Audio distribution (both in-house and across the Internet), IBOC/DTV broadcasts and Internet streaming are some of the ways IP networks have become essential in broadcast operations, and ATSC 3.0 is taking networked data on to the actual broadcast signal.

Along with new ways to reach our customers, IP networks offer benefits for engineers, like remote equipment management; reduced time and complexity of studio builds using AoIP; and TeamViewer connections with manufacturer support personnel.

And along with the more familiar interfaces with networked equipment like embedded websites or Telnet links, many networked devices support the Simple Network Management Protocol.

The SNMP standard is a set of rules that defines certain data points, or objects, in a piece of equipment that is connected to an IP network.

The protocol establishes a standard syntax that allows users to query that equipment via the network and receive the real-time values of those data objects. And in certain cases, the user can even change those values using SNMP, which can allow them to control the functions or settings of that equipment.

This article will attempt to explain at least the basics of the SNMP structure and capabilities, and how broadcast technical personnel could benefit by integrating the SNMP protocol into their overall facility control and management systems.

History and Definitions

The Simple Network Management Protocol was developed during the late 1980s as a way to facilitate communications with and control of distant network devices as the internet was burgeoning.

At the time, there were many protocols used to communicate with and control the routers and other network infrastructure. Around 1987, the protocol we know as SNMP was chosen by the market as a unified and efficient way to communicate with the hardware.

The earliest version of SNMP was called V1. Currently, the most commonly used versions are V2c, which added some new commands, and V3, which applies a somewhat more secure process to send the SNMP data back and forth across the network.

SNMP Devices

To clear a semantic point, the terms “Manager” and “Agent” refer specifically to the software modules running in each device that enable and support the transfer of data using SNMP. But for the purposes of this paper, the terms are applied equally to the hardware and software on each end of an SNMP message.

Also keep in mind that the device running the Manager application can also itself be an Agent, managed either by its own internal NMS software or perhaps by another Manager system elsewhere on the network. A Manager will normally send SNMP requests to the Agent on IP Port 161.

Object Identifiers (OIDs)

SNMP is simply a way to retrieve and set data points in a remote system. These data points, called Objects, are defined by the maker of that system, usually at the time of manufacture. The type of data presented by an SNMP object is very flexible — it could be an integer, a floating-point number, even a text/numeric string.

Each Object has a unique identifying number, which is used by the Manager and Agent systems to locate and deliver the requested data to the user. These numbers are called Object Identifiers, or OIDs.

A Manager will use the OID to request data from an Agent, and the Agent, in its response to the request, will include that same number along with its current value.

The OID is also used when the Manager device sends a SET command to change the value of a data point in the Agent, and also on those rare occasions when the Agent device is the one to initiate communications.

Object Identifiers are written with a specific (and rather old) syntax called Abstract Syntax Notation One, or ASN-1. A typical OID might look like this:

1.3.6.1.4.1.186.1.19.2.1.2.4.0

Management Information Bases (MIBs)

Fig. 2: SNMP MIB Structure

When a device with an SNMP Agent is manufactured, the designers will usually organize all of the OIDs for that device into a structured text file, called the Management Information Base, or MIB (see Fig. 2).

The MIB can be viewed as a “menu” that a user of NMS software can use to browse to and identify the OIDs associated with the desired data points in that Agent device. There are many software applications, called MIB Browsers, that will allow a user to examine these files, and most browsers display the MIB as a directory-tree type structure.

There are some exceptions. As we will see, some OIDs cannot be completely defined at the time of manufacture, and some makers of Agent equipment publish only “truncated” MIBs that refer to industry standard files (other MIBs or RFC files) to define their own structure and OIDs. More in a moment.

SNMP Commands

The commands and messages that pass between the Manager and Agent devices can be divided into three categories: Get commands, Set commands and Trap messages.

SET commands are perhaps the simplest. They are messages sent from the Manager device to the Agent, containing the OID for a particular data point, and the desired value to be set for that point.

This is the way a Manager can command the remote device to enable or disable functions or change a value, such as the frequency setting of a transmitter. No matter if the value of that particular object is an integer, a floating-point number, even a text/numeric string; the Set command is used in the same way each time.

The Trap messages also are simple. They are unique in that they are generated autonomously by the Agent and sent to the Manager. As you might guess from this characteristic, they generally are used to alert the Manager (and its users) to abnormal conditions in the Agent device that could negatively impact the performance or stability of the system.

Put simply, they are alarms. High CPU temperature, RF output failure, a hard drive approaching full status — these are examples of some of the conditions for which SNMP Agents might send a Trap message to a Manager.

Since SNMP was designed in the early days of connectivity, minimizing bandwidth usage was a high priority, which is why there is no default automatic acknowledgement for SNMP messages.

However, the critical nature of Trap messages has led many designers of SNMP Agent software to include optional settings that will cause the Agent to resend the Trap message until the Manager replies that the message has been received and understood. It is important to know that this acknowledgement handshake must also be supported by the NMS software. The standard port on which a Manager will “listen” for traps is IP port 162.

The Get command is certainly the most-used in SNMP systems. A Manager will send a Get command containing a specific OID to an Agent, and the Agent will “look up” the current value for that data point. It will then send that value in a message called a GETRESPONSE that also repeats the OID.

All versions of SNMP support these message types, as well as the GETNEXT command. GETNEXT is a command that, when repeated, will cause the Agent to methodically research and deliver data on each and every object that has been defined within its configuration (see Table 1).

Fig. 2: SNMP MIB Structure

In some Agent systems, data is defined in tables — for example, the connection status and speed of each port on a router. For these types of systems, the GETNEXT command is an easy way to retrieve a large number of data points without having to write multiple Get commands, each with the specific OID of a single object in the Agent. When the Agent returns a response to the Manager, the Manager can issue another GETNEXT, which causes the Agent to look up and deliver data on the next OID in its MIB.

An additional Get command, GETBULK, was introduced in SNMP V2c and is also supported by Version 3. The GETBULK command allows an NMS to request from the agent a large portion of a data table with one command. Again, this is done to minimize the need to send Get commands for each data point and so minimize the demands on programmers and network bandwidth.

The GETNEXT and GETBULK commands are used primarily for SNMP analysis and design by human operators, they have little to no use in a 24/7 monitoring system.

For each Get command received from a Manager system, the Agent device will return a GETRESPONSE. Or in cases where the structure of the Get command is improper, the Agent might return an error message.

There are several other types of SNMP messages that were defined in the V2c and V3 standards, including Inform, Notification and Report.

Inform is the mechanism by which an NMS can acknowledge SNMP Traps sent by an Agent. A Notification is a variation on the SNMP Trap message, created to share the same data structure as the Get and Set commands (the original TRAP messages as defined in V1 had a different structure). And the Report message is designed to allow different NMS systems on a network to communicate easily with one another about the status of the devices and network segments each is monitoring. Inform V2c messages are the most common alarm messages used today, and although they don’t have the same data structure of the original V1 alarm messages, they are still commonly called Traps.

SNMP Transport and Packet Structure (or “Down in the Weeds”)

SNMP communications can be carried out via a number of different transport protocols, but typically employ the User Datagram Protocol, or UDP, a simplex protocol with no built-in confirmation of messages traveling in either direction.

UDP is a transport protocol, operating in Layer 4 of the OSI model. SNMP itself operates in the Application Layer 7. UDP allows systems to communicate with each other without having to first establish communications ports and protocols.

Since an SNMP message (particularly the GETRESPONSE) can contain different amounts of data, they cannot be a fixed length. Instead, the data are defined as variable bindings.

An SNMP message packet follows the basic encoding rules, and the data contained in the variable bindings can be divided into three parts: type, length and data.

Fig. 3: Two Illustrations of SNMP Packet Structure (Click here to enlarge)

Type is a single byte that specifies the type of data being transported — octet, integer, string, etc. Length delineates the size or amount of data, in bytes; and Data is of course the data itself. It is noteworthy that the data can span multiple bytes (see Fig. 3). In such cases, the highest order bit is used as a flag to indicate that the data is being spread into two or more bytes, and only the lower 7 bits are actual data.

A message in SNMP will contain three elements — the SNMP version being used (V1, V2c or V3), the Community string, (or username and password for V3 messages) and finally the SNMP function itself — be it a Set request, a Get Response, TRAP, etc. This central part of the message is called the Protocol Data Unit, or PDU. The Community string is like a password that must be used to retrieve or set data points using SNMP (from V2c on).

This is absolutely no guarantee of security, as the strings are sent using open text on the network, so it would be comically easy for someone to intercept and read that information. SNMP Version 3 offers some more robust security, with data encryption and stronger passwords.

Practical Aspects of SNMP Management

Understanding an OID

When we look at an OID, we’re really seeing an address — a way to navigate through a MIB tree until we arrive at the specific data point in which we are interested. But the OID starts from a much broader viewpoint. To understand this perspective, we should examine the meaning of each of the numbers in a typical OID, for example:

1.3.6.1.4.1.186.1.19.2.1.2.4.0

The first six numbers in the OID will be the same for most OIDs in nearly every commonly encountered object. They are intended to allow traceability of the OID, as follows:

1 – Identifies the International Standards Organization, or ISO
3 – Specifies that this OID belongs to an ISO recognized organization
6 – Indicates the Department of Defense, creator of the Internet
1 – Confirms that this is an Internet OID
4 – Shows that this OID belongs to a private organization
1 – Tells us that this organization is a business enterprise

The next number identifies the manufacturer of the equipment to which this OID refers. In this instance, the 186 refers to Toshiba; this OID comes from a Toshiba UPS power system (see Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: MIB Tree for Toshiba UPS

After the manufacturer number, the remaining numbers delineate a path down the manufacturer’s MIB tree for that device. Each branch of that tree has a number assigned to it and by following the numbers down the MIB we come to the object specified by this OID.

After the manufacturer number 186, the 1 says it belongs to a piece of Toshiba equipment, the 19 indicates a Toshiba UPS system, the 2 specifies the Toshiba Industrial line of said systems, and the 1 identifies the particular software. This same software (and thus the same MIB) could be in use on any number of different models.

The SNMP name of the data object is upsEstimatedChargeRemaining, and from the description in the MIB browser we can see that it is an Integer type data point, from 0 to 100. In raw text form, the OID definition in the MIB would look like this:

upsEstimatedChargeRemaining OBJECT-TYPE
SYNTAX INTEGER(0..100)
UNITS “percentage”
ACCESS read-only
STATUS mandatory
DESCRIPTION
“An estimate of the charge to battery charge depletion
under the present load conditions if the utility power
is off and remains off, or if it were to be lost and
remain off”
::= { upsBattery 4 }

Note that the full OID is not present in the MIB file, only upsBattery 4. This is an example of a “Truncated” MIB. Truncating is used by manufacturers to avoid having to write complete OID numbers for each data point in the equipment with the associated costs in man hours and possible errors. So the OID is defined by naming the “branch” of the MIB that contains this data point, plus an integer to define the specific data point in that branch.

Imports

By examining the beginning of the Toshiba MIB, we can see that a number of “imports” are described:

DisplayString, TimeStamp, TimeInterval, TestAndIncr, AutonomousType
FROM SNMPv2-TC
enterprises
FROM RFC1155-SMI
OBJECT-TYPE
FROM RFC-1212
TRAP-TYPE
FROM RFC-1215;

SNMPv2-TC, RFC1155-SMI, RFC-1212 and RFC-1215 are “standard” of “community” MIBs published by the IETP and ISO that organize basic structural elements and methods such as data types, table structures, definitions, etc. By incorporating these standard files into their own MIB structures, manufacturers help ensure compliance with the standards while also saving themselves from having to write the full syntax of each OID in the MIB files for their equipment. As long as your browser or NMS software can import and integrate these standard MIBs, it should remain relatively easy to locate and use the OIDs you need.

An example of an OID from a different MIB (this one from an APT Horizon audio codec), looks like this:

1.3.6.1.4.1.22425.2.1.4
alarmTrap NOTIFICATION-TYPE
OBJECTS { sequenceNo, name, status }
STATUS current
DESCRIPTION
“This trap is sent when an alarm is either
set or cleared on the unit. The variable
bindings which are sent are:-
Sequence No
Alarm Name
Status of alarm.”
::= { horizonalarm 4 }

Note that while this MIB uses a truncated OID, the designers have included the full OID as a comment line before the object description, preceded by the double dash –. This convention helps make the MIB more legible to the human readers.

Regardless of structure, the MIB file serves only to indicate the correct OIDs for each data point. An address book, or map, if you like. If there is another way to obtain accurate OIDs, the MIB file itself may be unnecessary.

Special Cases

In many instances, the OIDs for a particular system can be defined and the MIB file published at the time of manufacture.

There are notable exceptions to this rule, such as systems where data objects can be created by the user after the equipment is delivered. One example group are facility control systems, where inputs, controls and analog information can all be integrated, polled and controlled by remote equipment using SNMP. Since the inputs and controls are sometimes software based, they can be created and altered as needed by the user, so their OIDs cannot be completely defined when the equipment is built.

For these types of data objects, two things are defined, the first being a “base” OID, which identifies a class of object (say a reading from an analog voltage input) in the software. Second, a table is built into that definition in the MIB that will allow something called an Index value to be appended to the base OID. Together, the base + Index value can identify a specific object in the Agent, even one that was created only moments ago.

As an example, here is the “base” definition of a user created button in WorldCast Systems’ Scripteasy software:

1.3.6.1.4.1.5299.15.42.1.10.3.4.1.3 : scripteasyActionsState
scripteasyActionsState OBJECT-TYPE
SYNTAX INTEGER
ACCESS read-write
STATUS mandatory
DESCRIPTION
“No description”
::= { scripteasyActionsEntry 3 }

Just above that definition of the base OID, the MIB file defines the Index table:

1.3.6.1.4.1.5299.15.42.1.10.3.4.1.1 : scripteasyActionsidScriptObject
scripteasyActionsidScriptObject OBJECT-TYPE
SYNTAX INTEGER (0..2147483647)
ACCESS read-only
STATUS mandatory
DESCRIPTION
“Scripteasy action button identifier”
::= { scripteasyActionsEntry 1 }

As each button is created in the software, a specific Index number is assigned to it and made visible to the user. So while the base OID for ‘a’ button in the software would look like this:

1.3.6.1.4.1.5299.15.42.1.10.3.4.1.3

The OID for a specific button would append the index value at the end:

1.3.6.1.4.1.5299.15.42.1.10.3.4.1.3.361

Integrating SNMP Management With Other Inputs

When we begin to formulate a plan to incorporate SNMP monitoring and control within a broadcast facility, we must remember that this protocol comes from the world of computers and IT, and thus we must be able to correctly interpret the information before we can use it.

In most cases, the object description in the MIB will give some indication. In other instances, a user might have to perform multiple Get commands and look at the raw values in order to understand the results. And depending on the data returned, it is sometimes necessary to perform some mathematical operation in order to provide data that can be easily interpreted by the users of the system.

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There are also hurdles on the path to integrating SNMP monitoring alongside more traditional broadcast facility control connections (GPIO, etc.). NMS systems do not normally have any capabilities for connecting with physical analog and status inputs, nor do they generally have any kind of relay outputs or control functions outside the SET command. For broadcast operations, users expect these functions plus robust monitoring and alerting, and even the capability to preform automatic actions based on the information received. Fortunately, there are several solutions on the market that can “bridge” the functions of an SNMP Manager with the more traditional capabilities of a facility control system so the users can monitor and control the entire length and breadth of their operations.

Summary and Conclusion

Just as IBOC, ATSC, AES and basic IP structure and languages were once little understood by broadcast engineers, there is growing recognition of SNMP as a useful tool. More and more manufacturers of transmitters and other broadcast equipment are including support for SNMP operations within their systems, and that is a trend that is not likely to change soon.

It is a powerful option, since it expands the user’s capabilities in two important ways. First, SNMP provides the ability to control and monitor more different types of equipment. Since SNMP is a standardized system, not only broadcast gear, but IT devices such as routers, servers, printers, etc. can be incorporated into the overall facility control plan. And second, the concept that the equipment being monitored can be remotely located from the facility control device, whatever it may be. This allows great possibilities for inter-site communications and being able to monitor a large network of sites and equipment that may be spread over great distances. With SNMP, anything you can reach over a network connection can be controlled.

With a proven record of easing engineering workloads and reducing downtime for broadcasters, anyone with responsibilities that involve IP networks should consider the Simple Network Management Protocol as a part of their facility monitoring and control toolkit.

The post Using the SNMP Protocol in Broadcast Monitoring appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Burnell Is at the Center of Ford Dashboard Development

Radio World - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 10:00

Scott Burnell lives in a world of application software. He is all about the apps.

The global Head of the Ford Developer Program is one of the key thinkers behind Ford’s SYNC dashboard communications, navigation and entertainment ecosystem, now in its fourth generation.

SYNC 4, available beginning in 2021 Ford vehicles like the F-150 and Bronco, allows a radio station app on a consumer’s smartphone to connect over Bluetooth and control audio sources and dashboard infotainment with cloud-based connectivity and voice recognition.

The onboard communications center is smart enough to learn tendencies and listening patterns in order to provide suggestions to a driver based on their listening profile.

SYNC-enabled station apps can read data such as RDS, signal strength and audio source, even while running in the background on a mobile device. When granted permission, these apps can even control a vehicle’s radio tuner, completing tasks such as switching from HD-1 to HD-2 and other multicast channels in HD Radio, or performing automatic switching from the OTA signal to stream as a vehicle drives out of the reception area.

SYNC was released in 2007, the same year as the first iPhone, and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It allows for integration of Alexa Auto and navigation apps such as Waze along with automatic software updates over Wi-Fi.

Burnell created and launched the Ford Developer Program, which the company says is considered the first mobile application developer ecosystem in the automotive industry. In addition, he managed the creation of the SmartDeviceLink (SDL) open source connectivity platform that also has been adopted by Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, PSA and additional OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers.

According to Burnell, “I can’t write a lick of code, but I do throw out ideas to the innovators about a vision of what could be. I say, ‘Here are the tools. What can you do with it?’”

Burnell is skeptical about whether radio broadcasters have done enough to remain a dominant presence in the dash of next-gen vehicles. His message to radio station owners is: “You have to be able to deliver content the way consumers want to receive it and consume it.”

Radio World asked Burnell for an update on his views about broadcast radio’s future in the connected car and the pace of dashboard technological change.

Radio World: How do mobile apps of radio stations connect to SYNC 4?

Scott Burnell: AppLink is a feature of SYNC that allows the mobile app to connect over Bluetooth and communicate with SYNC. In-vehicle app integration requires the AppLink code to be integrated into a specific application. And then that application can register in the vehicle.

In the United States, iHeartRadio has been a longtime partner with their app and always willing to try out new features. We’ve worked with JacApps often. They did the first multi-station group launch with Greater Media (later acquired by Beasley) stations. In Europe, Radioplayer brings broadcast apps into the car.

RW: And every radio station with a smartphone app can enable it to work in SYNC 4 if they want to? 

Burnell: This is part of my personal frustration with the broadcast industry. Ford is offering individual stations the ability to have their app appear in the dashboard literally right next to the very entities they fear and worry about the most, satellite and streaming services, and they don’t take advantage of this opportunity.

RW: Consumer demand for entertainment options in the dash continues to expand along with the technology. How does Ford prioritize what goes in the dash and how it will appear?

Burnell: In the solution that we built, we do not have to decide. We are agnostic to what someone wants to listen to and how they want to listen to it.

There are features that we build. We do all the safety features, like lane keeping and cruise control. But when it comes down to the entertainment, having the open developer program and allowing any developer to work in that space, as long as it’s appropriate and they fit the criteria, then it’s the market that will decide.

So any radio station that wants to build an app to work in a Ford vehicle can, if it has our code in it. Then if a person hops in a Ford vehicle, the app just automatically works. So the market will choose if radio stations want to compete against a Pandora or Spotify in the vehicle.

Same thing with weather apps. We don’t say AccuWeather is the only way you can get weather in the vehicle. No, Weather Channel can be in there. Weather Bug or Weather Underground. It will all work in there. Whatever you use in your daily life, we want to allow you to bring your habits with you into the vehicle.

RW: You told us back in 2016 that broadcast radio had some advantages over music streaming services. That’s five years ago now. Is that still the case?

Burnell: I do, and let me clarify. Radio and the content that it delivers still have the exact same advantages. And by the advantages, I mean it is local. There is that local content and the human element. The jocks, the morning show folks and the sportscasters.

You look at all of those cool local and human elements, and they are missing from Pandora and Spotify. And then when you look at how to deliver that content. Broadcasters must deliver it in the way that people are consuming it. It doesn’t matter if you are delivering audio through the phone, tablet or over IP in the car. You have to be in all of those places.

RW: Radio broadcasters seem excited about hybrid radio, which allows for a radio tuner to switch from radio signal to an IP stream once it is out of listening range. Ford allows for that scenario?

Burnell: Yes. And it’s part of what I evangelize for mobile apps. Radio broadcasters need to adopt the technology that users engage with. If you are an AM broadcaster, good luck. There are not many kids running around with an AM tuner in their pocket. It’s part of the evolution.

So we do allow for audio switching if you are using a station app in the vehicle. The app can do it automatically so you don’t have to think “Oh now I need to switch to the stream to keep listening.”

RW: Speaking of AM. Now that the FCC has authorized AM radio stations to transition to an all-digital signal on a voluntary basis, what do you see as the future for AM in the car?

Burnell: I don’t have an official Ford opinion. Again, we always say we are agnostic to what people want to listen to and how they listen to it. But I know we would ask ourselves if that all-digital AM tuner kicks up the price for that piece of hardware in a new vehicle. We do think about those things all the time. AM radio really isn’t at the top of the list when people list reasons they are interested in a vehicle.

RW: During your appearance on Jacobs Media’s CES 2021 Virtual Tour earlier this year, you mentioned interactive advertising. How does that work with a radio station’s app?

Burnell: It’s all part of the development process and is an innovation idea at this point, but it could be a huge benefit. So a radio station app on a smartphone knows which station the tuner in the car is on. It can use GPS from the vehicle. Using some additional pieces of data in the car there are a lot of resources.

So if a radio station app on a phone and running, it’s connected to the head unit via Bluetooth.  The radio app knows the tuner is tuned to your radio station. It knows the ad order, so as the Burger King ad airs the app can send a notification of a special offer at Burger King to display on the SYNC 4 screen.

RW: You work in a technology space that demands constant innovation. How does that add to the complexities of your job at Ford?

Burnell: Well, I work in the automotive industry, which is extremely slow. The balance to all that is it is a three- to five-year turnaround to engineer a new vehicle or body styling change.

I’m working now on the next generation of SYNC, and in fact we just announced that Ford vehicles will be running Android as the operating system beginning in 2023; I’ve been working on that since February of 2020.

[Editor’s note: Once the Android integration occurs, consumers will be introduced to embedded Android apps running in the vehicle and will still be able to connect to SYNC through an Android smartphone for apps running on Android Auto. Ford’s new system will still be compatible with Apple CarPlay via a smartphone with Bluetooth.]

RW: And voice control in the car will be even more advanced with each generation of technology?

Burnell: Voice is a far better implementation than reaching and touching a screen and looking away from the road. We have done some integration with Alexa and will going forward with Google Assistant now that we are going to implement the Android operating system.

RW: Sounds like the autonomous vehicle will be the ultimate game-changer in terms of entertainment possibilities in the car?

Burnell: The trajectory is that the vehicle will become more like a living room with entertainment options. That is where it’s going. And with a lot of multitasking going on. There will be traditional media consumption going on but it will also have some unique capabilities. Like context-aware content.

And the whole passenger economy will further diversify and expand media usage in the vehicle.

RW: Is Ford banking on a more smartphone-like in-car experience for its customers?

Burnell: People want to bring what they are doing outside the car to the inside of the car. As they build these habits people don’t typically seek out different media options. People don’t seek out the radio in the car necessarily because they are not listening to radio outside the car.

Infinite Dial studies from Edison show the number of radios in American households dropping quickly. It’s a lot of smart speakers and smartphones now.

That’s the shot across the bow of radio broadcasters. (Broadcasters) say, “Wait, but we have been in cars for 100 years.” And that’s true, but the people buying cars right now don’t care about that. These are the people who watch Netflix on any device they want. They really don’t watch regular TV. They listen to music on Spotify on multiple devices and they don’t listen to the radio.

If consumers don’t build the habit of listening to the radio outside the car, they won’t develop the habit of listening to radio inside the car.

RW: So could Ford someday no longer include a conventional radio receiver in cars if demand for them drops?    

Burnell: I don’t work on the tuner side so I have no idea if that would ever happen. But if you think about it, every automaker and any technology or hardware provider is looking at the cost of installing every little piece that goes into a product, right down to every washer in a car.

We already have modems in the car and they are not going away because they are simply so important for the autonomous vehicle. If we have technology and hardware that can bring in an IP stream over cellular through a modem, and we have hardware bringing a FM radio signal through broadcast and they are doing essentially the same thing, which direction do you think car companies will evolve to? So (for broadcasters) to say they are just going to broadcast and it’s going to be a tuner in the car is shortsighted.

 

The post Burnell Is at the Center of Ford Dashboard Development appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Codecs Make More Robust Connections

Radio World - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 09:21

Tim Neese is president of MultiTech Consulting Inc., a multi-faceted broadcast technology consulting and contracting firm.

This article appeared in Radio World’s “Trends in Codecs and STLs for 2020” ebook.

Radio World: What’s the most important trend in the design and performance of codecs for remotes or STL?
Tim Neese: Most codec manufacturers are incorporating and continuously improving stream redundancy and error correction techniques that allow for significantly more robust connections.  These techniques allow codec users to take advantage of readily available transport methods and the public internet to make reliable connections for both remote program contribution and studio to transmitter links.

RW: How are today’s technologies solving problems in creative ways?
Neese: One of the most common issues is studio and transmitter sites that are unable to be linked via traditional RF point-to-point methods. This, combined with the ongoing sunsetting of the telco ISDN and T1 infrastructure, has propelled connection of these sites via the public internet to commonplace.

Today’s codecs and encoding algorithms have proven to be more than up to the task of making those connections viable and reliable.

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RW: What role are codecs playing in this new world of at-home broadcasting?
Neese: In the new world of broadcasting where, for some, every live segment is what was once considered a “remote” broadcast, the codec has become as essential as a microphone or pair of headphones. For many broadcasters, codecs are the “magic” device that has allowed them to continue normal programming in a completely remote fashion.

RW: How many ways are there of making connections? 
Neese: The number of connection transport methods has decreased in recent years.

Not long ago, it was possible to purchase codecs that could connect via POTS, cellular, ISDN, T1 and Ethernet. In some cases, all of these connections were available via a single codec.

As telcos have begun to phase out ISDN, T1 and traditional POTS circuits in favor of newer transport technologies, codec manufacturers have focused on these technologies as well.

While the traditional connection choices have decreased, newer technology connections have become available in more locations, via more methods and at lower cost than ever before.

For instance, data connectivity via mobile phones and devices is now as common as patch panels in facilities once were. Numerous codecs are able to leverage that connectivity via either a physical or wireless connection with the device or as a software application that runs on the device itself.

RW: What would you like manufacturers of these technologies to add or offer in future?
Neese: I would like to see more manufacturers include advanced security tools and options like firewalls, integrated VPNs and secure web configuration services within their codecs. That, I believe, would allow for more secure codec deployment via direct connection to public networks and provide even greater deployment flexibility for broadcasters.

 

The post Codecs Make More Robust Connections appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Goodbye, Frankens? TV deadline approaches

Radio World - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 08:00

Low-power TV stations in the United States must terminate analog TV operations by July 13. And that story has a radio twist.

Barring further FCC action, the date is expected to bring the end of FM6 stations — those television operators that use their audio frequencies below the FM band to create what are essentially radio stations, branded as such and audible to FM listeners.

These typically operate in large markets where FM spectrum is scarce. When they cropped up, Radio World and others humorously nicknamed these entities “Franken FMs” for the way their operators had stitched together TV and radio services to create something unintended by the Federal Communications Commission. Some proponents consider the term derogatory.

The FCC does have an open rulemaking proceeding about whether to allow operation of analog radio services by digital LPTVs as ancillary or supplementary services.

The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition wants the FCC to allow a dual digital LPTV and analog audio signal. Some broadcasters oppose that. [Read: “FCC Weighs the Future of FM6 Stations”]

As of now the commission has not issued a ruling, and we don’t know if it will. If it does not, the stations are presumably doomed.

This past week the Media Bureau reminded LPTV and translator stations that their digital transition date is approaching. By 11:59 p.m. local time on July 13, they must terminate analog television operations regardless of whether their digital facilities are operational.

“Stations that have not yet constructed a digital facility must cease analog television operations no later than July 13, 2021, and remain silent until construction is completed. If a station goes silent prior to completing construction of its digital facility, it may file a request for silent authority.”

The commission said that LPTV/translator stations that experience delays in completing digital facilities can seek a final extension of their digital construction permits, of up to 180 days, to be filed by March 15; but those stations must turn off their analog by July 13 regardless.

The post Goodbye, Frankens? TV deadline approaches appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

A New VP for BMI’s Latin Creative Team

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 03/05/2021 - 16:07

BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) has a new Vice President of Creative for its Latin arm.

Jesus Gonzalez will join the company as will oversee BMI’s Latin Creative team helping to sign and develop new talent, assist BMI’s family of songwriters and publishers and serve as a liaison between the Latin music community and the industry at large.

Based out of BMI’s Los Angeles office, Gonzalez reports to BMI SVP/Creative Alex Flores.

“Throughout his career, Jesus has forged strong relationships within the Latin music community as a songwriter and a music executive,”  Flores said. “His background gives him a deep understanding for both the artistic and business side of what we do, which is invaluable to our music creators, and his ability to forecast industry trends within the ever-growing Latin music space is second to none. I look forward to working with Jesus on developing new talent and supporting our incredible roster of Latin songwriters, producers, composers and music publishers.”

Prior to joining BMI, Gonzalez spent nearly seven years at Universal Music Group, where he was most recently SVP/Brands & Partnerships.

In that role, he spearheaded major collaborations between top Latin artists and global Fortune 500 companies, developed marketing plans around releases to amplify those partnerships and forecasted industry trends. During his tenure at Universal, he helped secure deals for internationally acclaimed performing songwriters, including J Balvin, Juanes and Luis Fonsi, with top brands such as Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi and Mastercard, to name a few.

Other roles include a stint as Vice President of Music Partnerships working with Rogers & Cowan, FRUKT and Octagon under the Interpublic umbrella, and he was the Principal partner at Maleco Music, a music and brand consulting agency.

As a songwriter, he is a voting member of the Recording Academy for the GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Awards, and was a mentor for the 2020 Adweek Executive Mentor Program. Gonzalez received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside.

Categories: Industry News

Spurious Emissions: How to Prevent Them, Even With LPFMs

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 03/05/2021 - 16:05

“Spurious Emissions.”

It’s something the FCC takes seriously, and will issue a Notice Of Violation for any offense. This week, two notices in one day were issued, and as Wilkinson Barker Knauer attorney David Oxenford notes, both involve low-power radio stations.

It shows that even micro FMs are subject to policing.

Specifically, Oxenford says an FCC Field Office cited Low Power FM operators for using transmission systems that, in addition to transmitting signals on their authorized channels, were also emitting signals on other channels that posed the potential for interference with other users on those other frequencies – sometimes not even broadcast frequencies.

In one case, the FCC noted that it was the FAA that reported the interference.

“All broadcast transmissions have the potential for these spurious emissions on channels other than the ones for which a station is authorized, especially if a station is near other stations as frequencies can interact to produce these unintended emissions,” Oxenford says. “When constructing and operating any broadcast station, care should be given to ensure that these off-channel emissions are not of a signal strength beyond that permitted by the FCC rules as interference can occur and the FCC can potentially impose fines.”

Neither of these NOVs proposes a fine.

Rather, each asks for a response from the operator of the LPFM station and reserves the right to impose a fine depending on the response and any corrective action that is taken, Oxenford says.

It should be noted that the Commission rarely publishes these “routine” NOVs in its Daily Digest. But, it did so with these two notices.

“This publication may be meant as a warning to all stations to ensure that their transmissions are within the permitted limits to avoid any enforcement action, so consider yourself warned!” Oxenford concludes.

Categories: Industry News

Two LPTVs Transferred In Game Day Move

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 03/05/2021 - 15:59

A digital low-power TV station serving Florida’s state capital and a sibling LPTV facility located in Auburn, Ala., are being spun.

It’s a Game Day decision. Really. That’s the name of the seller in this transaction.

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Categories: Industry News

Dear U.S. Radio: Steal This Canadian Promo Gem

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 03/05/2021 - 15:30

RBR+TVBR OBSERVATION

You never know where one can find the freshest ideas that can truly spark a radio station, making it vitally important — and fun — for its listeners.

One successful FM serving Canada’s biggest market has one that every AC, Classic Hits or Rhythmic “Old School” station should consider. Now.

Why? It demands appointment listening, audience engagement and involves something simply gratifying. When’s the last time one of your stations did that?

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Categories: Industry News

A Former Davidson Media AM Earns a New Home Base

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 03/05/2021 - 15:07

In July 2015, a collection of 9 AMs, an FM and an FM translator were sold by what was left of the former Davidson Media Group. The buyer? A licensee controlled by Mark Janbakhsh.

He’s now in divestment mode, and has signed off on the sale of one of those AMs acquired nearly six years ago.

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Categories: Industry News

SBS Offers New Details On Series B Stock Settlement

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 03/05/2021 - 14:30

As RBR+TVBR first reported on February 18, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) not only completed its recapitalization effort and closed its previously announced offering of notes due 2026, but settled a court battle regarding its Series B Preferred Stock.

Further details regarding the company’s agreements with Series B shareholders are now known.

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Categories: Industry News

Nielsen Completes Sale Of Global Connect Business

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 03/05/2021 - 09:00

The long-awaited spin of Nielsen Holdings plc‘s sale of what was recently rebranded as NielsenIQ is complete.

The multinational company that is the dominant ratings data and consumer research provider to U.S. TV and radio broadcasting and cable companies has completed its sale of Nielsen IQ — formerly branded as Nielsen’s Global Connect business — to affiliates of Advent International, in partnership with James “Jim” Peck.

In making the announcement, Nielsen CEO David Kenny thanked the NielsenIQ team “for their invaluable commitment and contributions over the years,” while acknowledging that, even after the spin-off, a “strong working relationship” is anticipated.

Speaking of the post-spin Nielsen, Kenny continued, “This is a transformative time for Nielsen. We have redesigned our products, our business platform, and our operating model, positioning Nielsen to better deliver the solutions our clients need in the rapidly changing global media ecosystem. We are now fully aligned around three essential solutions —Audience Measurement, Audience Outcomes and Gracenote Content Services — that are designed to drive growth by leveraging a single media platform across a global digital-first footprint.”

Nielsen Holdings on November 1 announced that it had signed a definitive agreement under which affiliates of Advent International, one of the largest global private equity investors, in partnership with former TransUnion CEO Peck, will acquire the Nielsen Global Connect business for $2.7 billion.

The agreed-to price is subject to working capital, cash, debt-like items and other customary adjustments.

Nielsen also received warrants in the new company exercisable in certain circumstances.

David Rawlinson will remain CEO of NielsenIQ.

The deal’s closing comes just days after Nielsen and Roku announced a new strategic alliance that the companies believe will help shape the future of media and TV measurement.

Advisors
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Guggenheim Securities, LLC are acting as financial advisors to Nielsen, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Clifford Chance LLP, DLA Piper, and Baker McKenzie are serving as legal advisors to Nielsen. Ropes & Gray LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP are serving as legal counsel to Advent and BofA Securities is serving as lead financial advisor, with Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., RBC Capital Markets and UBS Investment Bank also advising. Financing for the transaction is being arranged and provided by Bank of America, UBS Investment Bank, Barclays, Deutsche Bank AG New York, HSBC, RBC Capital Markets, MUFG and Wells Fargo.

Categories: Industry News

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