Industry News

Kansas Cluster Captured In Court-Ordered Southwind Shift

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:50

Aside from former FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, there may be few people outside of Kansas familiar with the town of Ulysses. It’s to the northwest of Liberal, southwest of Garden City, and a 300-mile drive from construction-cluttered Denver International Airport.

Here, a group of eight radio stations are heading to a new licensee.

Why? The current operator defaulted on payments owed to the entity getting the octet.

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Workbench: IR Camera Spots a Dead Cooling Fan

Radio World - Fri, 02/26/2021 - 08:00

Dan Gunter is principal of Alabama Broadcast Services LLC, a contract engineering firm headquartered in LaFayette, Ala. He saw a presentation that I did for the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s Engineering Academy in which I discussed infrared cameras made by FLIR.

Fig.1: The FLIR One Pro, bottom, is a thermal camera for smartphones.

Last year, Dan bought a model that plugs into his smartphone. He says it has more than paid for itself. (The FLIR One Pro costs about $400.)

Here’s what Dan wanted to share with Workbench readers. He was at a client site to check a Harris SX-5A AM transmitter that had repeatedly blown the silver-mica capacitor in the output third harmonic filter section. Those cost about $800 apiece.

Dan got the FLIR camera ready so he could quickly shut down the SX-5A, open the rear door and grab an IR temperature reading to see how hot the capacitor was getting. He attached the infrared camera to his phone and activated the app so he was seeing real-time IR imaging.

But in getting ready to inspect that transmitter, Dan happened to sweep the camera over the rear door of another rig, a BE AM5E, and discovered a potentially serious problem there. He saw a “hot spot” in the image indicating much higher temperatures at one of the twin cooling fans at the bottom of the BE transmitter’s rear door.

Measured with the FLIR One Pro, with a measurement “box” as defined in the FLIR PC software (Fig. 2), he saw that the cabinet over the blown fan was as hot as 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit, while the temperature was only 76.6 degrees in the area of the working fan.

Fig. 2: The back of the BE5E transmitter. Note the uneven color between the left and right fan grills.

Because these fans are behind a metallic filter in a recessed area of the door, they’re normally out of sight. And you would not see them in operation if you opened the rear door of the transmitter’s cabinet because, for obvious reasons, the transmitter must be powered down first (or the interlocks will shut it down for you).

Dan notes that this AM5E had a history of repeatedly blowing PA modules. The latest suffered a major burnout that charred the components beyond recognition on about a third of the circuit board, even melting the casing off a relay. That repair cost around $1,500.

So Dan began to investigate. He discovered that the “hot” fan was not running. In fact, he had to take a hammer and reshape the perforated metal portion of the door where the fan mounts, because it was pressing against the center of the rotating fan blade/spindle. This had apparently caused the fan to burn out. In looking at Fig. 3, the suspect fan is to the left, just above the copper strap.

Fig. 3: The left-hand fan was not working; Dan replaced it.

Before and after replacing the burned-out fan, Dan used the FLIR camera to measure the temperature of the transmitter’s cabinet. By replacing the fan, he decreased the temperature of the cabinet by around 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the areas adjacent to and above the PA modules. Dan suspects that the actual temperature of the PA modules and of the area inside the transmitter dropped by that much and more.

When he places his hand on the transmitter cabinet, it now feels to be at or very close to room temperature instead of noticeably warmer than ambient room air. The temperatures were notably different after replacement of the fan and resolving the fan motor binding issue, as seen in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4: FLIR imaging shows both fans are cooling properly.

All this to say that Dan now makes it a habit to “scan” his transmitters, especially in the areas of air exhaust, intake and fans in order to spot problems such as blown fans or blocked air flow.

In the case of transmitters and transmitter rooms with lots of noise (I bet you’ve never encountered such a problem!), IR imaging can catch a lot of things that would otherwise be almost undetectable until the transmitter goes down.

We’ll tell you next time how his repair to the first transmitter turned out. Dan also said he is looking forward to producing more “how to” and technical videos on YouTube after a brief hiatus. We look forward to them.


Last weekend I came across a YouTube video of The Seekers, in the Abbey Road studio, apparently recording their song “I’ll Never Find Another You” in 1964 (“There’s a new world somewhere, they call the Promised Land …”)

Posted by Rich963, it’s a pretty neat video featuring 1960s recording technology, though I noticed that the console VU meters weren’t moving for part of the video even as the group sang! A nice job of lip synching. Nonetheless it’s a fun peek inside a music recording studio of nearly 60 years ago.

As you watch, there’s one other apparent “flaw.” See if you can pick it up as you view the video.

John Bisset has spent over 50 years in the broadcasting industry and is in his 31st year writing Workbench. He handles western U.S. radio sales for the Telos Alliance. John holds CPBE certification with the Society of Broadcast Engineers and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award. Workbench submissions are encouraged, qualify for SBE Recertification, and can be emailed to

The post Workbench: IR Camera Spots a Dead Cooling Fan appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Gray Adds to Board of Directors

Radio+Television Business Report - Fri, 02/26/2021 - 00:05

Gray Television‘s Board of Directors has unanimously voted to expand the board by one seat.

To fill that extra chair, the board has elected the SVP/General Counsel and Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer for Georgia Power as an independent director.

That would be Sterling A. Spainhour Jr.

Like all Directors, Spainhour’s term will run through the next Gray Annual Meeting.

Spainhour’s resume includes roles at Southern Company, and was a partner at Jones Day for more than 20 years.

He’s also served as senior counsel for CNN.


Categories: Industry News

Digital, Political Shine For iHeart In Q4

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 17:25

The numbers don’t lie.

The final three months of 2020 were punishing for iHeartMedia, which enters March 2021 with the need for a new EVP of Programming for its highly important Los Angeles radio cluster and a long-term plan to replace The Rush Limbaugh Show.

How exactly was Q4 for the company led by Bob Pittman and Rich Bressler? 

Net income was down 95% year-over-year as adjusted EBITDA declined by 13%.

Despite the rather dour Q4 results, Pittman struck a positive tone on the company’s quarterly earnings call held following the Closing Bell on Wall Street Thursday.

With the Q4 and 2020 financial results for iHeartMedia released following the Closing Bell on Thursday, the company says it is implementing a new operational structure that will now have its financials reported in two separate segments – digital audio and multiplatform, which includes all radio stations. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY.


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Ahead of Q4 Results Release, iHeart Splits Digital from Radio

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 16:28

With the Q4 and 2020 financial results for iHeartMedia released following the Closing Bell on Thursday, the company says it is implementing a new operational structure that will now have its financials reported in two separate segments – digital audio and multiplatform, which includes all radio stations.

The final three months of 2020 were punishing for iHeartMedia. How exactly was Q4 for the company led by Bob Pittman and Rich Bressler? Net income was down 95% year-over-year as adjusted EBITDA declined by 13%. Despite the rather dour Q4 results, Pittman struck a positive tone on the company’s quarterly earnings call held following the Closing Bell on Wall Street Thursday. FOR THE FULL STORY CLICK HERE!

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Graham’s TV Stations Enjoy A Political Revenue Bump

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 16:25

Gray Television isn’t the only broadcast TV company to greatly benefit from boffo political advertising revenue in the final three months of 2020.

The owner of such stations as NBC affiliate WDIV-4 in Detroit and CBS affiliate WKMG-6 in Orlando enjoyed a big revenue increase in Q4 for its television broadcasting division.

The reason: A big political revenue gain.

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Categories: Industry News

Philip Falcone Returns to LPTV Ownership

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 16:12

Until his June 2020 departure from HC2 Holdings Inc., Phillip Falcone was widely known across the broadcast media industry as a flashy big spender on low-power broadcast TV stations.

Then came accusations that Falcone defaulted on loans. His assets were frozen for failure to compensate his legal representatives. This followed by a 2019 court order that saw HC2 withhold some of Falcone’s salary in lieu of some $2.69 million in unpaid taxes to the City of New York.

All of that negative activity is firmly now in the past, as Falcone has reemerged as the head of a new entity that’s agreed to purchase two low-power TV stations in Los Angeles.

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Nautel Plans March Webinars

Radio World - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 16:05

Nautel has added two topics to its schedule of webinars about broadcast technology, scheduled for alternating Wednesdays in March.

On March 3 the company covers “All-Digital AM featuring the NX Series” to answer questions about the MA3 mode of HD Radio now that the FCC has allowed its use.

“Many broadcasters have asked what is involved in upgrading, what the different modes mean, and if there is any benefit for their particular situation.”

On March 17 a webinar will explore “FM Digital, featuring the Nautel HD MultiCast+ (HDMC+) HD Importer/Exporter.” Nautel cites discussion in the industry about the pros and cons of fixed-purpose embedded hardware vs. software implementations, especially involving HD Radio importer and exporter components.

“This webinar will review the evolution of HD Radio for FM, the development and features of the HDMC+, and will cover some of the capabilities of this powerful tool.”

Register at Nautel webinars qualify for ½ SBE recertification credit.


The post Nautel Plans March Webinars appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Maine MVPD ‘A La Carte’ Customer Plan Nix Upheld

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 16:03

In the state of Maine, cable TV subscribers were in a rather unique situation when it came to not only the channels they wanted — but also the individual shows they desired.

It was part of an a la carte package designed by the state government as part of an effort to seemingly benefit consumers, allowing them to enjoy channels through an “unbundle” by MVPDs.

A district court tossed the law. Now, a federal appeals court has upheld that ruling.

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Categories: Industry News

Alpha Inks A Long-Term Deal With vCreative

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 15:11

LAKE WALES, FLA. — One of the top providers of media workflow software products to broadcast media companies across the U.S. has signed up Alpha Media as a client.

As such, the Portland, Ore.-based owner of radio stations will extend its vCreative vPPO service while adding the vTrade service across all of its properties.

vTrade was developed by Central Florida-based vCreative to provide media companies with the ability to easily track, manage, audit and report on trade inventory, eliminating the risk of financial loss due to wasted or expired trade.

A recently released feature in vTrade helps manage the creation and sales tracking for on-air auctions, coupons and/or vouchers.

“After using vPPO for nearly three years and knowing how it has improved our workflow, I was excited to see vTrade had been added to the family,” said Stephanie Ross, Regional Business Manager at Alpha Media. “The team at vCreative also added an entirely new component to vTrade that will make managing our auctions even better than before. From entering consignments, tracking sales, and printing vouchers with unique IDs, we can now easily and efficiently manage this complex area of our business.”

Mary DelGrande, SVP of Sales at vCreative, said, “We are thrilled to be continuing and expanding upon our partnership with Alpha Media. vCreative’s main objective is to continue to innovate and evolve. The adoption of vTrade and Alpha’s  renewed commitment to vPPO is proof that we are succeeding.”

Categories: Industry News

Salem Shares Hit New Peak As Q4 Reveal Date Is Chosen

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 14:50

CAMARILLO, CALIF. — Salem Media Group, the media company known for its Christian-themed and conservative Talk radio stations, has selected when it will issue its fourth quarter and full-year 2020 financial results.

The announcement came amidst a sell-off of Salem shares on Wall Street.

Salem executives will host a conference call to discuss its results at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific on Thursday, March 4 — one hour after it formally releases the numbers to the public.

It’s unusual timing, as Salem regularly selects 2pm Pacific, after the Closing Bell in New York has run, for its earnings call.

What will Salem executives have to share on the call? Analysts could be curious if the heir to Rush Limbaugh‘s legions of fans is one of Salem’s own talk hosts. Or, they could be hyperfocused on advertising trends against difficult year-over-year comparisons.

Whatever is on the minds of Salem’s investors, it isn’t clear. SALM was off sharply on Thursday (2/25), falling 14% to $2.7437 as of 2:42pm Eastern.

The dip ends a nice rally for Salem stock, which sat at $1.03 as recently as Dec. 21, 2020.

But, it must be said that Wednesday’s closing price of $3.19 marked the highest finish for SALM seen since September 2018.


Categories: Industry News

The InFOCUS Podcast: Greg Guy

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 13:15

How is 2021 shaping up for transactions, now that Kagan has analyzed 2020’s dealmaking? Are deals still in a COVID-19 fueled frozen state?

Those are just some of the questions Greg Guy, the managing partner for media brokerage Patrick Communications, answers in this latest InFOCUS Podcast, presented by DOT.FM.


 Listen to “The InFOCUS Podcast: Greg Guy” on Spreaker.

Categories: Industry News

Did ViacomCBS Positively Surprise at ‘Streaming Investor’ Event?

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 13:15

Heading into last night’s ViacomCBS’ Streaming Investor Day, MoffettNathanson‘s clients had two basic questions:

  • What could the company say to possibly surprise us?
  • How can we justify the move in Viacom’s stock price this year?

“At least now we have some clarity around the first question,” Senior Analyst Michael Nathanson and Analyst Robert Fishman noted Thursday, following a three-hour affair that offered a detailed look at the soon-to-relaunch Paramount+ OTT platform, formerly CBS AllAccess.

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Entercom Hires Showtime Exec To Market Podcasts

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 11:33

One of the nation’s largest radio stations owners, one with a big stake in podcasting, has just lured a SHOWTIME Networks marketing pro to take on the newly created position of Head of Marketing for Podcasts.


Joining Entercom Communications, owner of Cadence13 and Pineapple Street and the streaming audio platform to promote podcasts is Brian Swarth.

He was previously SVP of Digital Media & Marketing at SHOWTIME Networks, where he directed all aspects of digital and social marketing including acquisition and CRM strategy, influencer marketing, interactive creative and production, multi-platform content development, marketing and advertising technology, digital marketing analytics and emerging platforms.

Once he settles in to his new role at Entercom, Swarth will lead and oversee all marketing and public relations for Entercom’s podcast division.

He reports directly to Chris Corcoran, Chief Content Officer at Cadence13.

Before joining SHOWTIME, Swarth was VP/Managing Director of Client Strategy, Media and Entertainment at Zemoga. Before that, he was Sr. Director of Strategy and Business Operations/Content Distribution at MTV Networks, where he steered expansion of MTVN and BETN content distribution and enabled the successful launch of the multiplatform premium movie service EPIX.

Categories: Industry News

NBCUniversal Expands Addressable Footprint With Big MVPD Deal

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 11:30

NBCUniversal‘s U.S. household addressable footprint is set to expand by nearly 40%, to 45 million households.

To accomplish this, it has agreed to a newly formed advanced advertising pact with one of the nation’s largest cable TV service providers.

Importantly, NBCUniversal says the deal makes its advanced advertising offering one of the largest offered in the market by a television publisher.

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Categories: Industry News

Political Powers Gray In Q4 As Dividend Returns

Radio+Television Business Report - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 09:30

SAVANNAH, GA. — Thanks in part to its ownership of the dominant CBS affiliate serving Georgia’s Coastal Empire, WTOC-11, and keeping a watchful eye on expenses, Gray Television enjoyed a 138% year-over-year net income rise as total revenue jumped 37% to $792 million.

Next year’s finish is poised to be even bigger, as Gray awaits approval of its $925 million acquisition of Quincy Media Inc.

While there are many positive takeaways from the earnings results, the bigger news from Gray is that for the first time in 13 years, a quarterly dividend is coming to shareholders.

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Categories: Industry News

User Report: Access NX Serves Airwaves Audio

Radio World - Thu, 02/25/2021 - 09:00
The Comrex Access NX Portable at courtside, lower left, supporting live coverage of a Stetson University basketball game.

The author is owner of Airwaves Audio.

CLERMONT, Fla — I own a small production company called Airwaves Audio that does live TV and radio remote production. I’ve worked for several years with ESPN on shows like “Mike & Mike” and “Rusillo & Kanell” to cover events like the Super Bowl and Major League Baseball All-Star games. I also engineer large broadcasts with multiple stations for organizations like Disney. 

It’s a lot of coordination. In addition to handling the technical side, I manage the moving pieces to ensure everyone can be on the air when they need to be.

We started using Comrex equipment in the early 2000s. We tried it for the first time for a mass live broadcast from a Disney cruise ship.

We had made several attempts to connect an ISDN line to the ship, and it just wasn’t happening. So we set up 24 Comrex Access codecs, and ran them simultaneously over the ship’s internet back to the studio. It really saved our bacon on that job, and we never looked back. Comrex has been our number one IP audio codec choice since then.

As an engineer, my favorite part of Access NX Portable is the screen. While I sometimes have a headset and listen to every second of the broadcast, in most cases I set up the equipment, explain how to use it, and then step back. If I have to make sure everything is working during the show, it’s much easier to see the large Access NX screen than the smaller interface on the original Access. And the LEDs in the knobs make it easy for me to keep an eye on levels from a distance — it’s reassuring to know that no one is clipping and the audio sounds good. 

When I first took the Access NX Portable out of the box, I was struck by how it was organized. It’s done the way that I would do it. The channels are clearly delineated, and are color-coded and labeled. When there’s a problem, time speeds up and you’ve got to jump in and fix it ASAP. And I can do that with this because Access NX is so user-friendly.

When I’m out in the field, about 80% of the people I run into these days are using Access NX. ISDN was once the default, but that’s now all but gone. 

When I’m on a job, and I’m told that we’re going to be using a Comrex, I feel a sense of relief because I’m familiar with the software and the interface and I know what we’re getting into. 

I recently did the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. My client requested a somewhat elaborate setup, so I had to get there 5–6 hours ahead of time to get it done.

As I finished and sat down, I looked through the glass wall of the booth next to mine, and saw a couple guys with an Access NX. They got in the door and were set up in 10 minutes, and I was instantly jealous of how simple their day was going to be. If I had the choice, I’d always pick Access NX. 

Radio World User Reports are testimonial articles intended to help readers understand why a colleague chose a particular product to solve a technical situation.

For information, contact Chris Crump with Comrex in Massachusetts at 1-978-784-1776 or visit

The post User Report: Access NX Serves Airwaves Audio appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Broadcasters Foundation Offers Aid for Texas Broadcasters

Radio World - Wed, 02/24/2021 - 18:07

Responding to record cold in Texas along with related consequences such as loss of power for days, the Broadcasters Foundation of America is making one-time emergency grants of up to $2,000 each to qualifying individual broadcaster industry employees based in Texas.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Vice President Peter Doyle explained, “Broken pipes, power outages, displacement, and more have brought devastation to many of our colleagues. The foundation’s Emergency Grant Program is set up with a streamlined vetting process that allows us to move quickly and get checks to those in desperate need. We’re asking every broadcaster in affected areas to help us get the word out to those who may need our assistance.”

Those interested in seeking aid may visit According to a release, once at the webpage, choose Emergency Grants on the right to get to the Emergency Grant & Disaster Information Request Form. According to the release the foundation has heard from employees of Tegna, Nexstar, Radio One, Entercom, Fox and others.


The post Broadcasters Foundation Offers Aid for Texas Broadcasters appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

Fry’s Electronics Closes Its Doors

Radio World - Wed, 02/24/2021 - 16:33

Fry’s Electronics has gone out of business.

“After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc. … has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” it stated on its website.

“The company will implement the shut down through an orderly wind down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the company, its creditors, and other stakeholders.”

It said it began the wind-down today, Wednesday. “It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the Company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders.”

It said it was reaching out to customers with repairs and consignment vendors to help them understand what this will mean for them and the proposed next steps.

One veteran engineering told Radio World, “These guys were a great alternative to RadioShack, especially out west!  A shame to see them go.”

The post Fry’s Electronics Closes Its Doors appeared first on Radio World.

Categories: Industry News

A San Francisco Translator Trades Hands

Radio+Television Business Report - Wed, 02/24/2021 - 16:30

With 99 watts of power from atop the famed Sutro Tower, this FM translator emits enough of a signal to cover all of the city of San Francisco, lower Marin County and East Bay communities including Richmond and Berkeley, Calif.

Now, its use as an outlet targeting Asians has been solidified thanks to a newly consummated transaction.

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