Closing is on target for December 1. Yet, Gray Television has wasted no time in announcing that “several” of its current local-level general managers will assume leadership positions at broadcast TV stations it is poised to acquire from Meredith Corporation and retain after the National Media arm is spun off to Barry Diller’s IAC.
The MMTC says it has some ideas about how the FCC can help influence the eventual rollout of 6G technology.
The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel praising her for her recent remarks about 6G, but offers its thoughts on several specific issues.
The letter, signed by MMTC and several other organizations including the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and civil rights groups like the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, urged the commission to take a series of steps to ensure the delivery of affordable and accessible services to communities of color, as well as to ensure inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses in building 6G infrastructure.
Wireless policy is necessary for economic and national security, the organization said, adding that there were unheeded signs during the early days of the 5G rollout, such as the need for additional mid-band spectrum and a lack of awareness about vulnerabilities in the nation’s supply chain.
“So let’s learn from what came before,” the letter stated. “Let’s acknowledge here and now that it is time to start thinking seriously about how we can better position ourselves for success with 6G. After all, in the age of ever-faster technical development, maintaining our leadership in high-priority emerging technology requires careful planning and execution.”
To do so, the organization asked the commission to take the following five steps:
- Include a diverse group of engineers and demographers on the commission’s Technology Advisory Committee.
- Direct the Communications Equity and Diversity Council to develop a plan for the training and inclusion of small, minority- and women-owned contractors in the 6G rollout.
- Provide the Office of Communications Business Opportunities with the personnel and resources needed to conduct technical and entrepreneurial training for 6G.
- Set a benchmark for the inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses during the 6G rollout.
- Grant MMTC’s proposal to extend the cable procurement rule to all FCC-regulated technologies. This rule requires cable operators to encourage participation with minority and female entrepreneurs.
In Rosenworcel, the MMTC may have found a kindred spirit. During her speech in October to the wireless industry’s Americas Spectrum Management Conference, Rosenworcel devoted a portion of her remarks to the idea of paving the way for 6G and beyond. She cited developments that look ahead to 6G and called for an initiative that could offer recommendations on how to rollout 6G.
“If you think I’m too early on this one, think again,” Rosenworcel said at the conference. “Much like in the early days of 5G, the scrum for 6G is already intensifying.”
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A “deluge of ads” from expanded legalized sports betting and the return of midterm political ad spending in 2022 are expected to aid U.S. broadcasters’ rebound from the
pandemic. But, that is inclusive of Television. How is radio shaping up?
Justin Nielson, a Senior Research Analyst for broadcast media at S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Kagan group is poised to deliver much insight on Tuesday (11/15) at Forecast 2022 in New York.
Ahead of the event, which you can still register for here, Nielsen offered some top-line takeaways for where Radio revenues will likely be in a year. Nielson’s key insight: Radio station business is expected to bounce back from the pandemic-induced recession, but with an important caveat.
“Expected growth of 6.2% to $15.75 billion in 2022 is still only a partial recovery given the deep 23% decline in 2020, with revenues falling to $13.68 billion,” Nielson says. “Radio ads are predominantly local and focused on the auto, retail, travel and entertainment categories, which were heavily impacted by the advertising pullback.”
Radio also must compete with “multiple” streaming and on-demand options for music and talk and is “hindered” by the new hybrid or permanent work-from-home economy, which has greatly reduced commuting hours during prime in-car radio time.
This counters Nielsen data (no relation to Justin Nielson) that suggest radio’s consumption recovery is all but complete from the depths of pandemic-induced quarantines.
Despite those headwinds, Nielson of Kagan points to radio’s “lower ad cost, local audience and relatively high return on investment compared to other media.”
This, Nielson says, should help Radio maintain its share of the U.S. advertising market.
iHeartMedia thinks the FCC should eliminate the restriction on how many AM stations one company can own in a given market. But it opposes the “overly aggressive” proposal by the National Association of Broadcasters to raise or eliminate the similar cap on FM stations.
The company believes that within broadcast radio, AMs face a “growing and distressing competitive disadvantage” to FM stations, despite the role played by AMs in national security communications and the “outsized place of AM stations as trusted sources of local news and information.”
That has been iHeart’s position for some time. Now the company has reiterated its stance in a September filing with the FCC. The commission had invited comments to update its record in the still-open 2018 quadrennial review of media ownership rules.
This is an excerpt of the summary section of iHeart’s filing:Emphasizing the continuing role of AM radio as an important source of news, iHeart provided graphics like this one, demonstrating a surge in AM listening in Dallas during a serious weather freeze.
Legal developments subsequent to the closing of the original comment period in this proceeding have strengthened significantly the bases for iHeart’s earlier advocacy.
The twisting course of the litigation challenging the commission’s 2010/2014 Quadrennial Reviews has left the regulatory landscape as it was when the commission received comments and reply comments. Importantly, however, there has not been a meaningful opportunity to ascertain the impact on the marketplace of either the substantial deregulation effectuated by the commission’s November 2017 Order on Reconsideration or its August 2018 Order establishing the Incubator Program.
The Supreme Court decision reversing the Third Circuit reaffirmed the commission’s reasonable exercise of its authority in applying the broad public interest standard governing Quadrennial Reviews, implicitly rejecting the argument that competition should be the predominant criterion for determining whether to retain, modify or repeal broadcast regulations.
The antitrust actions against Facebook and Google filed by the FTC and the Department of Justice, joined by the vast majority of state attorneys general, also have significant implications for this proceeding.
In the complaints in these cases, the federal government and the states have been explicit in arguing that the relevant advertising markets for the Big Tech companies are separate and distinct from the television and radio broadcast advertising markets and that broadcast radio and television are not substitutable for the social media and search services and related advertising markets of Facebook and Google.
Thus, the federal and state governments have taken the same position utilizing the same analytical framework regarding the relevant market as iHeart has advanced in this proceeding.
Finally, on July 9, 2021, President Biden signed an “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” reflecting the administration’s view that excessive market concentration is harmful to competition.
Of particular relevance to the instant proceeding, the Executive Order encouraged agency heads to pay particular attention to the influence of regulations on concentration in industries within their jurisdiction. Adoption of the NAB’s proposal would be inconsistent with the thrust of the Executive Order on Competition.
While these legal developments are directly relevant to this proceeding, the seismic events that have challenged our nation in the past two years also have a bearing on its outcome.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the pervasiveness of misinformation and disinformation on social media and hundreds of internet websites and its disruptive effect on our political processes, and a reawakening about the role race plays in our society following the murder of George Floyd, have underscored the critically important role broadcast radio plays in our country’s life.
Consistent with the examples highlighted in iHeart’s Comments, empirical listening data during the past two years continued to demonstrate that people tune to their local radio stations, especially AM stations, in times of heightened concern, both with respect to local, natural or human-caused disasters and at moments of acute national crisis. Broadcast radio has been an indispensable source of official and factual information about the COVID-19 pandemic, including how best to avoid infection, where to get tested, local and regional infection rates, hospital capacity and the importance, efficacy and availability of vaccines.
Regarding the reexamination of the role of race in American society, iHeart launched the Black Information Network (BIN) in 2020, a 24/7 comprehensive, national, audio Black news service dedicated to providing a trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective. iHeart already has repurposed more than 30 local stations serving large Black populations, the majority of which are AM stations, to be additive to — but not directly compete with — existing Black-owned radio stations.
We continue to support the FCC’s Incubator Program, believing that it should be afforded a meaningful opportunity to succeed in enhancing ownership of broadcast properties by women and minorities, an outcome that would be at risk were FM ownership limits to be relaxed or eliminated.
In light of the increased centrality of broadcast radio to our national information and communications infrastructure, sustaining its economic viability, particularly the more financially vulnerable AM band, should be of paramount concern to the FCC.
Whether measured by numbers of stations on air, audience listening or advertising revenue, broadcast radio has suffered from the broader economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, there are promising signs that broadcast radio will rebound, including the broader economic recovery, portending increased advertising, and dramatically increased driving in recent months, likely translating into greater audience listening.
It is premature, however, to predict the extent and contours of that recovery, and it is too soon to have reliable, empirical, economic data upon which the commission could make predictive judgments.
The net effect of these developments is that the positions taken by iHeart in its Comments and Reply Comments ring as true today — indeed, more so — as when we conveyed them to the commission more than two years ago. Accordingly, the commission should adopt a targeted, moderate approach to reforming the local radio ownership rules by eliminating only the limits on AM stations while retaining the current limits on FM stations.
Doing so will avoid the potentially catastrophic harm that could befall AM stations were the commission to adopt the NAB proposal to deregulate substantially the FM band. Moreover, by maintaining the current FM subcap limits, the commission will ensure that the financial incentives essential to the success of the Incubator Program remain in place. The commission should be guided by the overarching principle of doing no harm.
iHeart’s filing went on to develop these arguments in more detail. You can read a PDF of the full filing at https://tinyurl.com/rw-ihm-2.
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As part of its membership duties, Gracenote will collaborate with manufacturers and broadcasters to develop open standards to support the future of hybrid radio and boost listener engagement in connected cars.
“We’re very pleased to be welcoming another key supplier in the automotive industry to our membership, and one that already handles a great deal of metadata and content,” said Nick Piggott, project director of RadioDNS, in the announcement. “The breadth and depth of our coalition of members means we can draw on relevant and practical experience to develop open standards that respond to real-work requirements.”
According to the company, Gracenote powers infotainment experiences in 120 million cars, providing music metadata and imagery to help drivers and passengers connect with audio content safely. The Gracenote MusicID system identifies music in real time and serves up relevant song, artist and album information to the car’s on-screen display. The Gracenote Radio Station ID system works in a similar manner, enabling graphically rich displays, while Gracenote Audio On Demand delivers a standardized descriptive dataset for podcasts to improve search capabilities.
RadioDNS said that as a member, Gracenote will engage with broadcasters, manufacturers and technology providers to help define the organization’s technical standards and create standards for new hybrid radio functionalities.
According to Maryann Faricy, senior director of product, automotive, at Gracenote, the company has a sizable footprint in the automotive and consumer electronics sectors and will help RadioDNS better position the organization to influence the future of radio and in-car entertainment experiences.
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The Delaware corporation headed by the former CEO of HC2 Holdings has struck again.
The Philip Falcone-led Sovryn Holdings has struck a deal that will see it add a digital Class A television station in a top DMA to its growing list of properties, pending FCC approval.
In August 2012, the broadcast TV station ownership group and the direct broadcast satellite company were headed to a “blackout” due to an impasse on a retransmission consent agreement. It was averted.
In August 2015, negotiations went sour, and a “blackout” transpired — one that saw the DBS provider file a “good faith” complaint at the FCC against the broadcast company. Days later, however, an agreement was reached.
Three months ago, history was set to repeat itself. That didn’t happen. This morning, the companies ensured it won’t for a few more years.
A full-service telecommunications company owned by Schurz Communications since 1968 has reached a multi-year agreement for local TV measurement.
It’s a deal that will see Nielsen’s data support the Western Maryland-based MVPD’s ability to determine the individual local performance of the cable networks that it represents and the audience that each network delivers.
At the same time, it is a tale of small MVPD divergence, as a rural Kentucky telecommunications company has opted to phase out its cable television services by handing it to Dish Network via a partnership agreement.
Inking the deal with Nielsen is Antietam Broadband, which serves customers in Washington County, Md., a part of the Washington, D.C. DMA that includes Hagerstown.
For Antietam, the Nielsen data give it the capability to price its inventory based on Nielsen local TV ratings data. For small and independent MVPDs, this could be crucial for continuing such services, rather than taking the road of the Kentucky MVPD.
Antietam Broadband Director of Media Services Tony Heaton cited Nielsen’s addition of Broadband Only (BBO) measurement. “We are also excited about Nielsen’s commitment to impressions in local TV, which will benefit not only us, but the entire industry,” he said.
Nielsen Local TV EVP/Managing Director Catherine Herkovic commented, “Antietam’s support and enthusiasm for impressions based buying further demonstrates this need across the industry, and we are looking forward to continuing to empower them with the insights that will enable them to go to the next level of advertiser effectiveness with their clients.”
The controversy over “net neutrality” advocate Gigi Sohn’s nomination to the FCC is the talk of Washington — and will be a key topic of discussion tomorrow at Forecast 2022.
As American Enterprise Institute (AEI) nonresident senior fellow Daniel Lyons sees it, these nomination battles could be less frequent — and less important — if the focus of legislative decision-making was shifted from agencies like the FCC back to Congress.
Attention, broadcast TV station owners and managers: Streaming growth has stalled, and the fight for streamers is now to retain subscribers.
That’s the big takeaway from research released late last week by Kantar, which says this fight for retention will be heightened between now and the end of the year. Can broadcasters perhaps benefit from this, in particular with their digital multicast and/or OTT offerings?
This week, we’re taking a look at NPR/Edison Research’s new report on spoken word audio.“The Spoken Word Audio Report” shows steady growth in spoken word audio consumption since 2014.
How much has spoken word’s share of audio listening grown over the past 12 months? The short answer, a lot. For the third year, NPR and Edison Research have joined forces to produce “The Spoken Word Audio Report.” The results were presented at a Nov. 11 webinar led by Lamar Johnson, vice president of sponsorship marketing at NPR, and Megan Lazovick, vice president at Edison Research.
The survey defines spoken word audio as anything other than music, i.e., news, sports, talk/personalities and audiobooks. According to the research, of the 40 percent growth in spoken word listening over the past seven years cited by the survey, 8 percent took place in the past 12 months. That translates to 22 million more people listening to spoken word than eight years ago.
While music is still the overwhelming content of choice, the research suggests that spoken word is steadily chipping away at that lead. In 2014, music commanded 80 percent of listenership and spoken word got 20 percent. In 2021, those numbers shifted to 28 percent for spoken word and 72 percent for music.
No matter how you break it down, the report claims that the share of time spent listening from 2014 to 2021 has increased across the board. When tracked by gender, men showed an increase from 26 to 32 percent, up 23 percent. One of the big surprises of this report was the increase among women, from 14 to 24 percent, an impressive 71-percent jump.
Not surprisingly, the youngest demographic showed the highest increase. Those in the 13 to 34 bracket had a gain of 116 percent, according to the report. Those aged 35–54 saw a 36 percent jump from 22 to 30 percent, while the 55+ demographic went up from 26 to 28 percent, an 8 percent uptick.
According to the NPR/Edison report, multicultural listeners are a key driving force in the expansion of spoken word audio. Those identifying as white/other saw a 26 percent increase from 23 to 29 percent, while African-American listenership increased 12 to 22 percent, up 83 percent. The Hispanic/Latino population listening to spoken word went up from 15 to 27 percent, an 80 percent jump.
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A Class B1 religious FM serving Williamsport, Pa., is being spun.
The buyer is another broadcast ministry presently serving audiences along New York’s Southern Tier, and to the west in the Twin Tiers of Pennsylvania and New York. As such, this deal is a natural growth opportunity for the soon-to-be new owner.
In another sign that the local cable TV provider is far from that in 2021, an ACA Connects member serving a Kentucky town of some 3,600 residents to the north of Knoxville, Tenn., has decided to cease offering cable television services to new customers.
For existing customers, they won’t be left without alternatives — thanks to a partnership with DISH Network.
New York Festivals Radio Awards honors storytellers from around the globe. Since 1957 NYF has celebrated excellence and innovation across all genres and platforms, keeping pace with industry-wide developments and global trends.
“When we added nine categories for social justice content last year, radio producers and the global audio storytelling community responded with thought-provoking work,” said Rose Anderson, VP/Executive Director at New York Festivals Radio Awards. “This year, we are thrilled to announce the debut of our new trophy, the iconic NYF Tower in hand-polished Gold, Silver, and Bronze.”
2021 Social Justice medal winners included “Birds Eye View” (StoryProjects), “Racism Within” (SBS Australia), “Say Their Name” (DCP Entertainment), and “Bioneers Radio Series” (Bioneers).
To view the complete roster of 2022 Radio Awards categories, visit HERE.
2021 NYF Radio Grand Awards were I’m Not A Monster from BBC Panorama & FRONTLINE (BBC), The Hobbit, By J.R.R. Tolkien, Read by Andy Serkis (HarperCollins Publishers) and Weightless (DMC Studio Argentina). To view all the 2021 Radio Awards winners, visit HERE.
Molly Solomon, Executive Producer & President of NBC Olympics Production and Executive Producer for the Golf Channel received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The BBC earned the Broadcaster of the Year Award and TBI Media UK earned the title of Production Company of the Year.
Although the 2021 in-person NAB Show was cancelled due to pandemic quarantine restrictions, NYF pivoted with a 90-minute virtual ceremony Storytellers Gala featuring highlights and acceptances from 100 winning teams of men and women coming from their homes in 40+ countries.
The 2022 Storytellers Gala will take place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 26, 2022. This is the twelfth year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show. All NYF Radio Award winners have access to the multi-day event which is the world’s largest global gathering for the media and entertainment industry.
For the second year in a row, New York Festivals welcomes JusticeAid, an organization that promotes justice through the arts and public engagement, as a partner.
The NYF Radio Awards receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from over 30 countries around the globe. The mission of the competition is to honor the achievements of the men and women who make up the global audio storytelling community. To view the 2021 winner’s Gallery, visit: HERE.
New York Festivals invites award-winning industry leaders from around the world to become members of their world-class Radio Awards Grand Jury. The 2022 Grand jury will be set in the coming months. Those jurors will include some of the most world’s recognizable voices and captivating content producers in the radio industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium.
All Entries in the 2022 competition will be judged online by NYF’s Radio Awards Grand Jury of 200+ producers, directors, writers, and other creative media professionals from around the globe. Award-winning entries will be showcased on the Radio Awards winners gallery.
The deadline to enter the 2022 Radio Awards competition is February 9, 2022.
As RBR+TVBR first reported on Wednesday (11/10), Meredith Corporation‘s Board of Directors signed off on a stock distribution move that effectively signals the coming closing of its merger with Gray Television and the immediate spin-off of Meredith’s National Media arm to the Barry Diller-fronted IAC.
The move put the wheels in motion on what would be the deal’s closing date — assuming regulatory approval would come.
That assumption has proved to be correct.
Stephen Lockwood, P.E., PMP, is president of Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers.
The FCC recently adopted Docket No. 19-226, “Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields and Reassessment of FCC Radiofrequency Exposure Limits and Policies.” These new rules became effective May 3, 2021.
This rulemaking has three main parts. The first issue was the resolution of the notice of inquiry from 2013 that asked whether radio frequency exposure limits should be changed. The second was a report and order with new rules for RF exposure. The third was a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for additional modification to the RF exposure rules.
The major takeaways:
- There have been no changes to the existing exposure limits. This process included input from more than 1,000 commenters and participation from other federal agencies including FDA and EPA). The conclusion: “After reviewing the extensive record submitted in response to that inquiry, we find no appropriate basis for and thus decline to propose amendments to our existing limits at this time.”
- New rules have been adopted. The critical part of these rules that affect broadcasters is how to assess RF exposure compliance and how to communicate about RF hazards. New and modified facilities must comply with these rules after May 3, 2021, and existing facilities will be given until May 3, 2023 to come into compliance.
- New rules are proposed to address changing technology that would extend the frequency range from 100 GHz to 3,000 GHz, localized exposure limits and assessment methods. These issues do not pertain to broadcasting.
Evaluation of RF Exposure
The FCC has adopted new methods to determine and demonstrate compliance to replace specific outdated and inconsistent rules.
There are three sections:
- Exemption: This is for devices that are “so clearly compliant,” as demonstrated by a simple calculation to show compliance with the exposure rules, that they do not require further evaluation (i.e., operation at very low power or large distance from humans). The former term for “exemption” was “categorically excluded.” Many devices that were “categorically excluded” will now be classed as “exempt.” The former rules were based on service, whereas the new rules are more calculations-based. Broadcast equipment exempted are likely wireless microphones, wireless video feeds, Wi-Fi, cellphones and other lower power devices used in broadcast production.
- Evaluation: This category is for devices or facilities that require some demonstration such as calculations, measurements or computational modeling to demonstrate compliance. For broadcasters, there are not many changes as most facilities required and will still require analysis of RF exposure. All broadcast transmitting facilities need to analyze the facility and need to include other nearby facilities, since compliance is for the site, not just on a per-station basis.
- Mitigation: Where evaluations show a possibility that the exposure limits are exceeded, mitigation is needed to control access to RF exposure. Mitigation is accomplished by signage, access control, training or other methods to assure that exposure limits are not exceeded. Clear specifications are now given for signage and communications. All facilities that have the potential of producing areas that exceed the exposure limits must have some method of restricting exposure. All areas that exceed the public exposure limits must have some access control to restrict public access to areas that exceed the limits.
Evaluation is performed using site-specific information such as power, frequency, antenna type, physical mounting locations and distance.
These are done by using standard electromagnetic modeling, calculations using the methods laid out in OET65, or use of the FCC’s FMModel program, as appropriate.
The FCC has adopted four exposure categories that indicate RF exposure circumstances.
These are equivalent to the practices from “IEEE C95.7-2014 – IEEE Recommended Practice for Radio Frequency Safety Programs, 3 kHz to 300 GHz” and “IEEE C95.2-2018 ‒ IEEE Standard for Radio-Frequency Energy and Current-Flow Symbols.”
Access control, signage and training requirements generally align with existing industry best practices.Figures 1–3. Fig. 1 (left): An optional GREEN INFORMATION sign for use in Category 1 situations. Fig. 2 (center): A BLUE NOTICE sign and limited public access are required in Category 2 locations. Fig. 3 (right): A YELLOW CAUTION sign and limited access to both workers and the public applies in Category 3. Images courtesy Richard Tell Associates Inc.
The categories from lowest exposure to highest exposure are as follows:
- Category 1: Below the General Population Limit where there is no potential of exceeding the limits. No mitigation measures are required. Optional GREEN INFORMATION sign can be posted. This sign would contain specific language for each broadcast site. Shown is an example for AT&T sites. See Fig. 1. (The images shown are courtesy Richard Tell Associates, radhaz.com.)
- Category 2: Above the General Population Limit and below Occupational Limit. Must post a BLUE NOTICE sign and limit public access to this area. See Fig. 2.
- Category 3: Above the Occupational Limit but below 10x the Occupational Limit. Must post a YELLOW CAUTION sign and limit access to both workers and the public. See Fig. 3.
- Category 4: Above 10x the Occupational limit. The ORANGE sign shown in Fig. 4 is required, and limit all access. Also must post a RED WARNING sign as discussed below.
A RED DANGER sign must be posted where immediate and serious injury potential exists, regardless of category. An example of this would be AM tower bases, where shock and burn hazards are present. See Figure 5.
Additional Mitigation Measures
- Category 2 (NOTICE): Signs, positive access controls such as locked doors, ladder cages, fences, on-site building security — appropriate training with supervision of transient persons.
- Category 3 (CAUTION): Signs, engineering controls, indicators such as chains, railings, paint, maps. Appropriate training, use of time-averaging, or personal protective equipment.
- Category 4 (WARNING): Signs, restricted access, power reduction, ceasing operation with lockout/tagout on controls.
The following information must be communicated:
- All these signs must include the RF energy advisory symbol. See Fig. 6.
- A description of the RF source (e.g., types of facility and transmitting antennas)
- Behavior necessary to avoid overexposure (e.g., access limits)
- Up-to-date contact information (e.g., monitored phone number or email address connected to someone with authority and capability to provide a prompt response).
From the FCC
As part of this process, the FCC Office of Engineering Technology is revising OET Bulletin No. 65, “Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radio frequency Electromagnetic Fields.”
This document provides the necessary methods to calculate RF exposure. The FCC provides the tool of FMModel to evaluate RF exposure from FM antennas quickly. All new and modified facilities must comply with the new rules. All other licensees must come into compliance by May 3, 2023. A review of the evaluation process and mitigation methods must be done for existing facilities to confirm compliance.
We believe that the vast majority of broadcast sites comply with the FCC rules.
In most of the nation, on-tower work is the situation where RF exposure limits may be exceeded. The best practice is to cease operations when on-tower maintenance is being performed near the antennas.
The more dangerous issue for tower worker safety is the gravity field, and removing the RF field (which, unlike the gravity field, has an off switch!) is the better approach.
For multiuser sites, maintenance requires coordination between licenses and the tower crews.
Docket No. 19-226 specifically warns against over-signage. We note that many sites have conflicting signs, and many licensees have posted all available RF signs.
RF signs and other hazard signs such as HIGH VOLTAGE have been used in place of NO TRESPASSING signs, warning of hazards that do not exist. This is inappropriate as warning should only be given for real hazards — something about a boy crying wolf.
To comply with a misunderstanding of the RF exposure conditions and rules, some licensees have ordered all of the signs in the catalog and posted them all in hopes that one will be correct. We have noted that many sites have all of the signs posted. Some analysis is required for determining the correct signage for each site.Fig. 7: Graphical representation of exposure categories and associated signage requirements.
Site evaluation now mainly occurs during the licensing process or license renewal.
The first step in this process is to review what was represented to the FCC and ensure that it conforms with reality. Has the antenna been changed? Have new facilities been added to the tower? On an adjacent tower?
The most troublesome RF exposure sites are mountaintop sites that use short towers. Many of these sites present RF exposure environments that are above the FCC limits. Licensee must perform analysis to assure these areas are appropriately signed and managed.
Many sites have outdated signs or signs that are inappropriate. All signage at RF sites must be reviewed and revised to comply with these new rules. For many sites, the signs have been posted for 20 or more years and have faded.
Some examples of outdated and inappropriate signs are shown in Figs. 8 and 9.Figures 8–9. Fig. 8 (left): An inappropriate message and ionizing radiation symbol. Fig. 9 (right): An obsolete OSHA RF sign.
While these newly-enacted RFR rules don’t change the exposure limits for the frequencies in which broadcasters operate, they still affect broadcasters.
Going forward, we will have to perform new evaluations and update our signage. For existing facilities, the time to prepare for this is now, long before the 2023 deadline.
Europe is showing strong support for DAB/DAB+ listening, but there are some clouds on the digital radio horizon.
That’s one takeaway from a session of the WorldDAB Summit 2021, held online last week. (Recordings of the sessions are on the WorldDAB YouTube page.)
During the session “Why French Broadcasters Are Deploying DAB+” Hervé Godechot painted a positive picture of DAB listenership growth in his country. “Today, 40 percent of French people can listen to digital audio broadcasting,” Godechot said.
“We expected to reach this level in 2023, but we went faster! In the next 12 months, we will provide DAB for 26 new areas. Next year, half of French listeners will have 465 digital radio [stations] available at home.” Godechot is a board member with French broadcast media regulator Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel.
The same upbeat view of DAB’s impact was shared by Erwin Linnenbach, managing director of German program producer TEUTOCAST, in his presentation “Disruption in the German Audio Market.”
“DAB+ is finally the chance for the normalization of the German radio market,” Linnenbach said. This is because DAB+ made it possible to launch national private audio services based on listener-favorite formats, such as sports. In addition, the 400 local/regional private radio stations in this country are controlled by about 2,000 owners, Linnenbach said. With the arrival of national private DAB channels, ownership consolidation is practical.
Hosting the “Switzerland’s FM Switchoff in 2024” presentation, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Communications Project Manager of Digitisation and Convergence René Wehrlin outlined why Swiss broadcasters are so keen to terminate FM within the next three years.
“FM prevents greater media diversity,” Wehrlin said, because Switzerland’s FM band is full and thus not open to new players. At the same time, it is expensive and pointless for broadcasters to run both DAB and FM networks,in his view, “because DAB networks cover the country practically 100%. However, as long as FM is in operation and part of the audience is not equipped with DAB radios, no FM broadcaster will voluntarily give it up.”From WorldDAB President Patrick Hannon’s presentation on the current state of DAB technology.
However, a presentation about the recent UK Digital Radio and Audio Review poured some cooler water on the conversation.
For instance, although “DAB will be the primary platform for radio well into the next decade,” said Ian O’Neill, head radio/head of television for the U.K. government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, setting a firm date for shutting off FM could end up sabotaging digital radio.
The reason: Fixing a firm FM closing date “could lead to a reduction in radio listening if FM listeners who were prompted by the change decided to move away from radio,” O’Neill said.
Coincident to this, “the decline of all radio devices in the U.K. has continued now for some time,” said Lindsey Mack, BBC senior manager of DAB & BBC Sounds external affairs.
“The most recent figures we have [show] that DAB in particular has declined by about 17.5 percent in the last 12 months. Now there’s multiple factors leading to that decline. One is obviously the growing use of smartphone and online music services, the launch of smart speakers, [as well as] the lack of innovation and features and product design, because most of the DAB radios have actually remained virtually unchanged,” Mack said.
“Research has shown that consumers, whilst they liked DAB, they find DAB radio is far too one dimensional,” said Mack. “DAB has also become a very much a replacement purchase. So there’s limited scope for market growth.”
He also noted that retailers are concerned the range of models available in stores have declined, leading to even fewer choices for consumers. Despite this, Mack said, “DAB listening remains very healthy.”
Radio World will have reports on the WorldDAB Summit 2021’s Sessions 2 and 3 in the days to come.
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Audio-Technica has introduced its new BP28 14-inch and BP28L 22.4-inch line + gradient large diaphragm condenser microphones, intended for use in broadcast, film, television, outdoor recording and theater applications.
Combining a large-diaphragm condenser element with a 28 mm diameter shotgun design aiming for low-noise performance, the mics sport tight polar patterns and a patented acoustic port design that aids directionality.
Both mics offer a highly directional pickup pattern, but the BP28L’s pattern is said to be exceptionally narrow. They provide low noise levels (BP28: 8 dB; BP28L: 3 dB), high sensitivity (BP28: –28 dBV; BP28L: –23 dBV), wide dynamic range (135 dB), and high-SPL capability (BP28: 143 dB; BP28L: 138 dB). Additionally, they are equipped with a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and 10 dB pad. Each microphone is housed in lightweight, structural-grade aluminum alloy.
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Broadcast business software developer Marketron has released the Integration Suite.
The company says the suite “leverages open APIs, connectors, and custom integrations to give Marketron customers the ability to consolidate disparate data sources — including linear, O&O, and third-party digital advertising systems — into a single ecosystem.” Accordingly that should help, “users to reduce bottlenecks, realize greater visibility, and drive increased revenue.”
The suite consists of three modules, open APIs, connectors and custom integrations.
The open APIs provide for industry standard interfacing between systems. The connectors are step further with some customization providing access to common customizations of business software systems.
The final leg is the customization option wherein Marketron will work with a client on specific requirements, especially concerning nonstandard customized business systems which prevent compatibility with off-the-shelf systems.
Marketron Senior Vice President of Product Development Jimshade Chaudhari said, “The Marketron Integration Suite enables our customers to save time by automating daily tasks, bringing digital and linear orders into one system and accessing better reports all while building a best-in-breed technology stack.”
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The Netherlands government has announced a three-week partial lockdown for the country, beginning 8 p.m. local time on November 12.
The new restrictions mean people will be asked to work from home as much as possible, and sporting events will be played behind closed doors. Schools, theatres and cinemas will remain open, but with limited capacities, and cafes, bars and restaurants will be told to close at 8 p.m. Restaurants are able to deliver orders after 8 p.m. local time.
The restrictions will be revisited on Friday, December 3. There is currently no updated guidance on international travel into or out of the country.
This year’s IBC show is due to take place at the RAI in Amsterdam December 3–6, 2021. IBC subsequently announced that its December show was on track to go ahead in a “safe and comfortable way” as it was exempt from the measures due to it being organized within a perimeter where everyone must show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test before entering the premises.
It is also believed the government is considering bringing back mandatory social distancing measures, legislation that would reportedly take up to two weeks to pass through both houses of parliament.
The number of new coronavirus infections in the country was recorded at more than 16,000 for the second day running today, with the current infection rate of 93.5 per 100,000 people the highest since the pandemic began.
The Netherlands government updated its Covid protocols as recently as November 2 when it reinstated mandatory face mask rules for the public from 6 November in public areas where no Covid entry passes are used, including supermarkets, shops, libraries, theme parks and train stations.
We will have more on this story as it unfolds…