If you are gearing up for participation in the auction of Construction Permits for low-power television and TV translator stations — the hallmark of the FCC’s “Auction 111” — then this is an article you’re going to need to read.
Filing requirements, minimum opening bids, upfront payments and other procedures are now available, with bidding scheduled to begin in five months.
One of the largest Hispanic markets in the country without a local Telemundo affiliate will not have to wait much longer.
The Spanish-language network will be marking New Year’s Day with its arrival in a big Midwest DMA, where Gray Television will make a low-power facility a sibling to the full-power UHF CBS affiliate it operates alongside the local affiliate for The CW Network.
Between September and November 2020, Sinclair Broadcast Group shares finally started to rebound from pandemic-influenced lows, driven by the media company’s newly acquired regional sports networks and lack of live action to televise.
Since then, SBGI has been ensconced within a target range Wall Street analysts believe is fair for the company led by Chris Ripley.
Where the company’s shares will go come November 2021 and beyond could be fueled by Sinclair’s third quarter performance. And, we now know when the company will be sharing its fiscal report card for the period ending September 30.
Video communication engages two senses of our five: sight and sound. But how can we stimulate the other three with the existing digital technology? Longtime public relations pro and “Zoom expert” Rosemary Ravinal says it can be done through the memory of how things taste, feel and smell.
“Video calls favor what we see over what we hear by a ratio of 90 to 10 percent,” she says. “That is because 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. We are wired to process and remember what we see more quickly and accurately than what we hear.”
Travel to the northwest of San Antonio and you’ll reach beautiful Hill Country, an outdoors enthusiast’s Lone Star paradise that even includes a vineyard or two. En route to this area is the city of Boerne. Here, a daytime-only AM and its FM translator are trading hands.
MIAMI — In the words of Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) President Emeritus David Honig, “We’re drowning in rulemakings!”
What does this mean for the over-the-air radio and TV station operator? Monitoring the news daily for updates is probably a good idea.
As RBR+TVBR concluded its preparations for its upcoming Fall 2021 Special Report, a printed publication distributed electronically to all RBR+TVBR Members and to TVB Forward 2021 attendees, the FCC has its hands full with several proposals involving Radio.
At the Hispanic Radio Conference on Thursday, Commissioner Nathan Simington could offer some clarity on these and other rulemakings of particular concern.
The FCC has more technical feedback to sift through on how a system that allows FM radio stations to geo-target signals works in the real world.
Field testing of the ZoneCasting system from GeoBroadcast Solutions shows the transition areas between zones “can be designed and programmed to take up a miniscule portion of a station’s service area and be infrequent, transitory, unobjectionable, and in most cases unobservable to the listener,” according to Covington & Burling LLP.
The report details the performance and end-user experience from the deployment of ZoneCasting at KSJO(FM) in San Jose, Calif., during field testing conducted by Roberson and Associates. The report concludes the geo-targeting technology works with both analog and HD Radio systems and does not affect the performance of EAS system, the proponents say.
Geo-targeting broadcast technology, according to GBS, creates local zones out of an FM and FM+HD broadcast coverage area to enable unique, targeted programming and advertising for listeners in the zone during short periods but is designed that the zones do not adversely impact the listener experience. ZoneCasting creates geo-targeted zones by using specifically located booster transmitters and appropriately designed antennas to overlay a stronger, geographically localized signal in the targeted region.
GBS says geo-targeted programming and advertising in a zone would occur for only short periods, typically about three minutes per hour, in order to place zone targeted advertising, according to the report.
The new report’s findings summarize tests results from 31 hours of audio recorded from over 60 drives at various speeds over multiple weeks this summer. KSJO operates two transmitters, according to the report, the main transmitter covering the region from an elevated site south of San Jose and a low-power booster that covers the northern section of the station’s listening area.
The radio station’s two coverage areas are separated by a largely unpopulated mountain range, according to the report, with “testing conducted in the zone transition area.”
The field test found the FM signal was stable inside the transition zones but some limited audio quality issues were identified during zone transition.
“Our data and analysis indicate that a properly designed zone transition can deliver a highly compact region — a tiny portion of KSJO’s service area — over which any degraded analog FM audio will be experienced,” according to the report’s authors.
The measured results in the report indicate a zone transition length of 50.2 meters, which Roberson and Associates deemed as “insignificant” when compared to the total length of roads within the zone.
Data collectors acknowledge there were differences when listening to zone transitions in FM and HD1 mode during testing. “The overall zone transition listening experience for HD1 was very good, with almost instantaneous transitions without noticeable audio degradation,” they wrote.
Meanwhile, the HD2 transition zone experience revealed short audio dropouts, which was expected due to the current use of unsynchronized HD exporters, according to the analysis. They said efforts are underway to develop means to synchronize HD exporters that should reduce the duration of HD2 signal loss.
The report also found the zone transitions caused no display variations of metadata on car receivers. And EAS operation was successful within the ZoneCasting test location after operations of the KSJO EAS geo-targeting override was tried in two different locations. “The simultaneous reception of identical EAS tones at these two locations confirms geo-targeted broadcasting will not affect performance of the EAS system,” the report from Roberson and Associates states.
The geo-targeting report concludes: “Having made numerous careful measurements and having assessed the results of these measurements in considerable depth, it is our conclusion that the geo-targeted broadcast system provides both a practical and highly beneficial capability. It is therefore our studied opinion that there is no technical reason that the geo-position zone broadcasting petition before the FCC should not be approved.”
The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Nov. 2020 to review the GBS technology and found opponents of the geo-targeted proposal expressed fear that the new technology could create interference and cause listeners to tune out. Broadcast groups, including Cumulus Media, Entercom Communications, and iHeartMedia, have said at the time more vetting of the technology was needed. The National Association of Broadcasters also told the FCC the GBS proposal could undermine radio’s business model by depressing advertising rates as advertisers replace market-wide ads with less expensive ones on the zoned boosters.
The geo-targeted technology has been in development by GBS since 2011 and has been through previous field tests.
Small business, restaurants, retailers and numerous other industries are facing a labor shortage.
Thus, Media Monitors says, looking at who’s advertising today on radio, broadcast television and local cable provides insights into the top companies looking to hire.
The company gaining attention for its ability to add “dynamic visuals” to in-car dashboard radios, has struck a partnership with Skyview Networks designed to drive research and revenue growth.
As of January 1, 2022, Skyview will offer network radio advertisers exclusive access to Quu Inc.’s “unique ability to increase consumer brand awareness” when consumers hear audio commercials across Quu networks.
It’s all thanks to Quu’s ad-sync technology, which Skyview Networks will start to offer marketers through barter inventory options.
“With 80% of the cars on the road today capable of displaying synced text on vehicle dashboards, Quu affiliates across the country are enjoying a dramatic increase in listener engagement and sales,” Quu CEO Steve Newberry said. “Our multi-part partnership with Skyview is an extraordinary game-changer to expand this rapidly-growing footprint and for the first time — just in time for Skyview’s upfront — offer Visual Quus to network radio advertisers.”
Quu’s technology has been implemented in nearly 900 radio stations as of today.
“We are thrilled to align with Quu to bring its powerful in-dash technology to our vast network of stations,” Skyview President/COO Steve Jones said. “The power of our networks’ weekly impressions combined with Quu’s in-car visuals will deliver our advertisers meaningful ROI.”
Jeanne-Marie Condo, Executive Vice President of Skyview Networks, added that with Quu, “our network radio advertisers now can improve their brand’s product awareness and message recall through this unique marketing opportunity exclusively available through Skyview Networks.”
In early July, a special group of low-power television station permits were put up for sale by a Texas-based company that didn’t wish to build them by their rather unique deadline of 2023.
Several buyers stepped forward. Now, the seller has found a buyer for two Construction Permits in the Monterey Bay region of California in a deal brokered by Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group.
Since Jessica Rosenworcel became the acting Chairwoman of the FCC, there’s been a perhaps mistaken understanding that the Commission has paid little attention to broadcast radio or TV while devoting much of its Open Meetings to broadband and Universal Service Fund matters.
That’s not really the case, as Al Shuldiner likely knows. In recent months, he’s been fast and furious in handing out Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to licensees galore. Why? It’s part of a stepped-up effort to collect dollars from those delinquent with their license renewal applications.
WARC has teamed up with iHeartMedia for a just-released study on media consumption and audio investment in the U.S.
According to the report, “The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio,” domestic consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio. But, brands allocate just 8.8% of their media budget on “audio,” let alone Radio.
After 33 years in creative and leadership roles at Disney, Gary Marsh will be stepping down as President and Chief Creative Officer of Disney Branded Television at the end of 2021 to launch his own production company.
Backed by Disney General Entertainment, Marsh’s multiyear production deal will develop “world-class, brand-defining content” for Disney’s streaming and linear platforms including Disney+, Hulu, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, ABC, National Geographic, Freeform and FX.
Marsh has led a storied career, developing and shepherding such winning Disney titles as “High School Musical” and the Miley Cyrus-helmed “Hannah Montana” franchises to the series that made Hilary Duff a star: “Lizzie McGuire.” Gersh also launched the Disney Junior Channel, home to such programs as “Sofia the First.”
Marsh says, “For 33 years, I’ve had the greatest job in television. The stories we’ve told, the music we’ve created, the stars we’ve discovered, the franchises we’ve built – all of it has entertained and engaged millions of kids and families around the globe. Thanks to the reach of Disney’s streaming platforms, those stories will live forever in the hearts and minds of future generations, alongside all the new stories I look forward to telling. There simply could not be a more compelling or creatively stimulating time to enter the production ranks.”
Disney General Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice adds, “Gary’s leadership and creative genius have shaped a generation of beloved kids and family programming, and we are forever grateful for the indelible impact he’s made at The Walt Disney Company. Gary is a valued leader and good friend, and we’ve been talking about this move for years. So when he decided to focus solely on producing after three decades of an amazing executive career, I jumped at the opportunity to keep him among us.”
Marsh’s move to the production ranks is the culmination of conversations that began with the company nearly 2 1/2 years ago. Marsh agreed to stay on as president through Disney’s acquisition of the Fox assets and the company’s subsequent reorganization to focus its content groups on expanding development and production pipelines to fuel the growth of Disney’s streaming platforms.
Marsh and Rice are now preparing for a smooth transition to a new Disney Branded Television leader before the end of the year.
In the meantime, Marsh is finalizing the first projects that will be developed under his new production banner — including two new “Descendants” movies, the prequel to “Beauty and the Beast” and projects “Tink,” “School for Sensitive Souls” and “Witch Mountain.”
A Rhode Island broadcaster faces a $7,000 fine because for almost three years it operated an FM translator on an expired license without realizing it.
The FCC Media Bureau issued a notice of apparent liability to Diponti Communications, whose translator at 103.1 in Westerly, R.I., is associated with AM station WBLQ (slogan: “We serve Southwestern Rhode Island and Southeastern Connecticut with local news, talk, sports and great music”).
The eight-year license renewal deadline for most stations in Rhode Island isn’t until this December. But not for this particular translator, which until early 2017 belonged to Harvest Broadcasting Association and was licensed to a community in Vermont.
In late 2016, Harvest had signed a consent decree with the commission that included a conditional one-year short-term renewal for the translator. Shortly afterwards, Diponti acquired the translator and, with the FCC’s approval, moved it to Rhode Island.
The FCC said Diponti should have filed for renewal by July 1, 2017. But Diponti said it didn’t realize until 2020, “during a routine database check,” that an application was long overdue. It finally filed one in September of last year and asked for special temporary authority to operate without the license until the situation was resolved.
The Media Bureau now has determined that Diponti apparently violated the rules by failing to file for renewal on time and by operating without a license.
It cited a previous FCC ruling that states, “‘Inadvertence’ … is at best ignorance of the law, which the commission does not consider a mitigating circumstance.” It also said Diponti should have known about the Harvest consent decree and the short-term renewal deadline through due diligence when it acquired the translator.
However, the FCC staff also recognized that this case is not comparable to one involving a “pirate” radio operation, which would have been subject to higher penalties. And the FCC said it sees no reason not to renew this translator’s license once this NAL is resolved.
Diponti has 30 days to pay the fine or to reply explaining why it thinks it shouldn’t have to.
Say what you want about the Gotham tabloid New York Post, but their Business desk sure knows how to get a good Wall Street scoop.
The publication late Monday (9/20), citing unnamed sources, noted that Apollo Global Management — the controlling party of Cox Media Group — had teamed up with dissident investor Standard General, led by Soo Kim — on a binding TEGNA acquisition bid valued at upward of $8 billion.
TEGNA on Tuesday morning confirmed the offer.
In a brief statement, the broadcast TV station owner formerly known as Gannett confirmed it has recently received “acquisition proposals.”
And, it offered no further comment. “Consistent with its fiduciary duty to TEGNA shareholders, the Board will carefully review and evaluate these proposals,” the company said.
TEGNA owns and operates 64 television stations in 51 markets. And, since August 2019, TEGNA is the owner of Sports WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan” and ESPN Radio affiliate WBNS-AM 1460. Those properties came along with WTHR-13 in Indianapolis and WBNS-10 in Columbus, acquired by TEGNA from Dispatch Broadcast Group.
IBC2021 convention organizers are welcoming the latest announcement from the Dutch government relaxing COVID-19 social distancing measures and removing quarantine rules for vaccinated travelers.
The convention is scheduled for Dec. 3–6, having been pushed back earlier from its original calendar slot this month.
“From Sept. 22, fully vaccinated international visitors from very high-risk areas will no longer have to quarantine on arrival in The Netherlands,” the organization wrote in an email to its show community.
“From Sept. 25, The Netherlands will no longer enforce social distancing rules of 1.5 meters apart or mandate mask wearing in inside areas. To this end IBC has updated the exhibition protocols on its website to reflect the latest rulings and to uphold its commitment to being the gold standard in live event safety.”
The unpredictable behavior of the pandemic has made it hard for many event planners to promote their events with certainty. For instance in July the Dutch prime minister had apologized for relaxing restrictions too soon.
With the latest changes, IBC notes that the country will make wider use of coronavirus access passes. It posted more details on its website, which also states that face masks will no longer be compulsory.
The organization also updated its safety guidelines for exhibitors.
“Seventy percent of IBC’s audience already have easy access to the event, being part of the EU COVID travel block,” IBC wrote in its email. “The removal of the international travel quarantine rules means that IBC will now be accessible to almost 100% of its usual audience.”
The unpredictable behavior of the pandemic has made it hard for many event planners to promote their events with certainty. For instance in July the Dutch prime minister had apologized for relaxing national restrictions too soon.
Pandemic conditions in the United States led the NAB to cancel its previously postponed 2021 NAB Show for Las Vegas.
In a lengthy 30-minute soliloquy offered in a press briefing Monday by musicFIRST Chairman Joe Crowley, “research” reflecting the public’s view of artist royalties and radio’s “fair share” was a key focus of the conversation.
Crowley cited polling conducted by musicFIRST via a Survey Monkey online poll to get his market intelligence. NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith took direct aim at that, in blasting his remarks.
“NAB strongly opposes a performance fee on broadcast radio, and we applaud the more than 200 bipartisan members of Congress who are standing up for their local radio stations and listeners,” he said. “Not only would a performance fee upend the century-long symbiotic relationship between radio and the music industry, but it would devastate thousands of radio stations across the country.
“As musicFIRST is well aware,” he continued, “NAB’s door remains open to continue discussions around a holistic solution to this issue that grows the partnership between the music and broadcast industries for another hundred years. It is unfortunate that the record labels’ focus is on gimmicky press conferences and questionable Survey Monkey polling rather than serious conversation.”
MORE LRFA SUPPORT
Three members of the House of Representatives have added their support to a resolution opposing “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA), which signals members of Congress’s opposition to any potential legislation that imposes new performance royalties on broadcast radio stations for music airplay, now has 187 cosponsors in the House and 22 in the Senate.
Adding their support recently for the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House are Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4), Jake Ellzey (R-TX-6) and Michael Guest (R-MS-3).
Excellent article in Radio World by Mark Persons (“Analog veterans in the digital world,” May 12 issue).
Count me among those who started out in the analog world but quickly became “digitally native.” I would be hard-pressed to recommend a new analog buildout these days, even for smaller stations. It just makes so much sense and is so much easier to make changes after the fact.
The biggest drawback is that unfortunately, digital equipment does tend to have a shorter lifespan than analog, simply because of the rapid pace of technology improvements, and often quicker part obsolescence.
Lifespans of 10 to 20 years for some equipment have now become more like five to 10, or three to five, not because it has failed but because technology has improved.
That said, in some cases the labor saved in maintenance and ongoing changes can often offset some of this cost. It’s just something that needs to be budgeted for, much like upgrades to desktop computing technology.
The letter writer is senior broadcast engineer at Educational Media Foundation.
A much-publicized press briefing conducted Monday via Zoom saw Joe Crowley, the former New York House Democrat who lost his 2018 reelection bid to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who now serves as Chairman of musicFIRST, blast the NAB, iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media.
Why? His group, along with such radio industry antagonists as Prometheus Radio Project and Common Frequency, insists that recording artists aren’t getting their fair share from existing royalty fees that AM and FM radio pays each year.
In this InFOCUS Podcast, presented by dot.FM, we are pleased to bring excerpts from Crowley’s press event. Following Crowley’s prepared remarks, RBR+TVBR and co-owned publication Radio Ink were first to ask questions to Crowley. We have his responses.
Under pressure from the VAB and the Media Rating Council (MRC), Nielsen on Tuesday morning revealed that it will now “take the lead” on an “Impressions First Initiative” designed to support an industry-wide move to impressions-based buying and selling in local markets across the country.
The move to impressions will occur in conjunction with the integration of broadband only homes (BBO) into Nielsen’s local measurement metrics in January 2022.
The move to an impressions-based currency will, in Nielsen’s view, “deliver a more complete, precise and representative audience measurement, along with the added benefit of enabling cross-platform audience measurement.”
Citing today’s fragmented media landscape, Nielsen added that the move to impressions lays the groundwork for implementing Nielsen ONE across local, national, and digital measurement.
The inclusion of BBO homes, Nielsen notes, “will enable the industry to rapidly transition to trading on impressions. Impressions represent all viewers regardless of platform—which is especially important given the significant and growing penetration of BBO homes in local markets.”
Nielsen for more than two years has been working with the media and advertising industries in preparation for the inclusion of broadband-only homes in Local TV measurement for its 56 LPM and Set Meter markets.
“Nielsen is committed to measuring all audiences and the complete video consumption across the local marketplace,” Nielsen CEO David Kenny (pictured, top left), said in prepared remarks. “Impressions are the great equalizer across all screens, programs, listeners and viewers. Nielsen’s move to prioritize reporting impressions will help standardize the way it measures ads and content, enabling greater comparability across National, Local and Digital and is in line with Nielsen’s initiative to drive comparable metrics which are foundational to Nielsen ONE.”
Giving its thumbs’ up and full support to Nielsen’s move is the No. 1 licensee of broadcast TV stations in the U.S., Nexstar Media Group.
“We believe the move to impressions and the integration of BBO homes into local measurement metrics is critical to making sure that every viewer is counted,” said Nielsen Chairman/CEO Perry Sook. “It also enables buyers and sellers to make comparisons across all video across platforms, gives them the most complete view of audience consumption and behavior, and facilitates automated buying.”
Nexstar President of Broadcasting Andrew Alford added that the company’s sales teams “have been working toward the transition to selling impressions in coordination with a number of our largest clients, as it is the best way to make sure that no viewer goes uncounted.”
Alford expects Nexstar to be transacting on impressions exclusively in early 2022, “so Nielsen’s decision to implement an impressions-based measurement metric at the same time is a very welcome development.”
Another major broadcast TV customer of Nielsen, Hearst Television, also voiced its support. “Broadcasters have known for years that our content is being viewed inside and outside the home on many devices and services,” said Hearst President Jordan Wertlieb. “This move to impression-focused selling is something that will not only allow the most-watched content to get the full credit it deserves, but will also allow our clients to truly see the unique value proposition we offer: the best environment with the largest reach.”
Concurrent with Nielsen’s support of an industry-wide move from ratings to impressions in January 2022, Nielsen will default its local reporting settings to impressions in its software systems (Arianna, NLTV, eVip) and will lead with impressions in all of its external communications. Ratings will remain available to end-users for planning purposes.
Nielsen, which had previously announced a BBO implementation date of October 2021, made the final decision to begin implementation in January 2022 in response to industry requests.
The new timing will enable Nielsen to publish an official BBO UE that will be audited and reviewed by the Media Rating Council (MRC).
In addition to delivering one month of impact data, a January implementation will include all BBO homes. Adding BBO homes will increase reporting sample sizes significantly and capture impressions that may be missing, especially for sports and OTT.