Radio station owner SummitMedia has entered into a strategic partnership expected to accelerate growth for both companies in the fast-growing, global podcasting business.
The owner and operator of 47 radio stations in markets such as Honolulu and its home locale of Birmingham has inked an agreement with Los Angeles-based CurtCo Media.
CurtCo Media currently produces scripted and unscripted podcast programming, and the pact marks SummitMedia’s first formal alliance designed to advance the company’s foray into podcasting.
“SummitMedia’s partnership with CurtCo Media provides us with an exciting opportunity to develop and explore the rapid-growing podcast medium,” said SummitMedia Chairman/CEO Carl Parmer. “We’ve known and watched CurtCo create engaging and innovative content for years, and value the integrity and quality they bring to the media industry.”
CurtCo Media CEO Bill Curtis added, “Having a strategic alliance and investment from SummitMedia makes this partnership the most powerful moment to date in our business development. We’re so excited to work with Greg Kelly, Carl and their team to create new dynamic programming and combine Summit’s powerful radio platform with CurtCo Media in the fast-growing world of podcasting. We believe this strategic partnership will provide sustainable value for our business and expand our audience.”
With Monday’s Closing Bell on the Nasdaq GlobalSelect exchange, Urban One’s common stock finished at $6.88.
While the gain was a 8.5% improvement from Friday, and was followed by an immediate 2.6% decline in early after-hours trading, one thing is rock solid about the company superserving African American consumers.
Urban One stock appears to have solidified a “new normal” nearly seven times as high as where its shares were before the coronavirus and George Floyd became universally known.
A low-power FM radio station in Mississippi faces a $1,500 fine from the Federal Communications Commission for failing to file for license renewal on time.
The station is WEHS in Eupora, Miss., licensed to Voice of Eupora. Its president told the FCC that his mother had been ill and subsequently died, which is why he’d been out of town for several months, causing the application to be filed more than two months late in April of 2020.
“Although we are sympathetic to the licensee’s president’s loss, we find that issuing a notice of apparent liability is still appropriate here,” the commission’s Audio Division ruled.
“The commission has long held that ‘licensees are responsible for the acts and omissions of their employees and independent contractors,’ and has consistently ‘refused to excuse licensees from forfeiture penalties where the actions of employees or independent contractors have resulted in violations.’ The licensee itself was ultimately responsible for ensuring it complied with the rules by filing a timely renewal application. It did not do so.”
The base penalty is $3,000 but the commission reduced it to $1,500 based on circumstances, including the fact that LPFMs are a secondary service.
The station has 30 days to pay or file a reply to the notice of apparent liability.
From March 1985-March 1997, he worked at Urban WGCI-AM & FM in Chicago, rising from controller to GM of the storied stations targeting African Americans across the region.
Since August 2017, he’s been leading the E.W. Scripps Company-owned station branded as “FOX4” in Ft. Myers-Naples, Fla.
Starting March 8, he’ll be taking his talents a few miles to the east of South Beach, as he’s been named VP/GM of ViacomCBS‘s two broadcast TV properties serving Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Florida Keys.
With McDonald’s establishing itself as a category leader among QSRs using Spot Television, it would be easy to overlook some of the other noteworthy activity that’s emerging of late at Spot Television.
The biggest takeaways from the latest Spot Ten TV report from Media Monitors: big new campaign bursts for a dealer association, and for a compact SUV that’s popular with younger consumers.
If you’re looking for a flavor of what happened at the recent CES 2021 show that pertains to our industry, the Radio Advertising Bureau has a free presentation you can check out this week.
RAB’s Erica Farber, Jacobs Media’s Fred Jacobs and “futurist/trendcaster” Dr. Shawn DuBravac will present report back about the virtual CES 2021.
They promise to cover “what’s new and noteworthy about the connected car, voice technology, audio and home entertainment … the future of work, technology during the pandemic and the changing face of content.”
The one-hour presentation with Q&A streams on Thursday Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. Eastern time.
It may be headquartered in Boise, Idaho and led by Cyrus Heick, but the radio station owner Heick leads is Dave’s Broadcasting Co.
Dave’s is the licensee of a Class A FM stretching from the popular Portland, Ore.-accessible beach communities of Manzanita and Cannon Beach to Long Beach and Astoria — the city where The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop were filmed.
Soon, Dave’s will be saying goodbye to this FM, as Heick has signed off on its sale.
The latest Media Monitors Spot Ten Radio report shows that the brands that are committed to AM and FM for reaching consumers continue to dominate the scene.
At the same time, two new entrants are worth noting. It suggests the housing, and employment, markets are heating up.
At No. 7 for the week ending February 21 is ZipRecruiter.
And, now at No. 10 is AmeriSave Mortgage.
The gap between the two brands by play count isn’t that large, as Indeed gets a category competitor using spot radio.
Meanwhile, Progressive and Babbel continue to be the pacesetters among fully paid non-promotional campaigns tied to Media Monitors parent iHeartMedia.
GeoBroadcast Solutions says its geo-targeting proposal creates no opportunity for interference between FM broadcasters, and that self-interference won’t be an issue either.
The company filed comments earlier this month with the Federal Communications Commission as part of the open notice of proposed rulemaking to allow geo-targeting via synchronized FM boosters.
GBS, which wants to deploy a proprietary technology in the United States, used the filing to reiterate its overall arguments but also to address several specific issues, one of which was interference.
(As we’ve reported, the National Association of Broadcasters has recently come out strongly against the geo-targeting proposal. The GBS comments described below were submitted on the same day to the FCC and does not address NAB’s latest statements; GBS is expected to do so in reply comments, which are due March 12.)
“The NPRM asks whether it is reasonable to expect stations to adequately manage self-interference without additional guidance or mandates,” GBS told the FCC. “The answer here is the same answer the commission reached last month in the DTS proceeding: Yes, of course broadcasters have every incentive and ability to manage self-interference.
“And to be clear,” it continued, “the proposed rule merely permits the use of this technology. It does not require it. Accordingly, any broadcaster that voluntarily uses this technology will do so only if they are convinced it will not raise technical issues and is good for its business and its community. ”
The company also said field tests of its ZoneCasting system have shown that it does not result in harmful interference within the single-frequency network, either between the primary station and boosters or among the booster cluster itself.
It noted that it performed field tests in 2010 in Randolph, Utah, and 2011 in Avon Park, Fla. After R&D work, the current ZoneCasting design was then tested in 2016 in Union Grove, Wis.
“This test showed that the transition area — meaning the boundary between the primary station and the booster coverage zones — can be minimized to a very limited period of time within a tiny area within a station’s entire coverage area (far below 1 percent),” GBS told the commission. It quoted Alpha Media, licensee of the Wisconsin station, supporting the technology enthusiastically.
“There is no need for the FCC to adopt additional, unnecessary regulation to address an issue which can be entirely managed by technology, and which broadcasters will have the ultimate incentive — the value of their signal — to ensure is addressed,” GBS wrote.
Further, “There is no need for the commission to adopt additional regulation to manage interference between broadcasters for the simple reason that the rule change creates no opportunity for interference between broadcasters. So any rule change would address a problem that simply cannot exist.”
Because boosters use the same channel frequency as the primary station, a broadcaster operating on an adjacent channel won’t be affected by a neighboring broadcaster who uses zoned coverage technology like ZoneCasting, GBS said, since the neighboring broadcasters are already coexisting with current frequency agreements.
“It would be unreasonable for the FCC to impose second channel interference protection requirements for FM booster stations, as the NPRM posits — this would be imposing a new rule for broadcasters to follow and for the commission to enforce that is not implicated by the proposed rule change.” The existing rules and procedures, it said, are sufficient.
GeoBroadcast Solutions also reiterated its past statements that the technology would have significant public interest benefits. (Read its filing.)
Discovery Inc. shares soared by nearly 9% in mid-morning trading, as investors cheered a particularly strong Q4 2020 report from the media company that very much suggests consumers have flocked to its discovery+ OTT platform.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s been nearly five weeks since she was named Acting Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.
Now, a coalition of female Democratic House Members have formally written to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW to get Jessica Rosenworcel formally nominated to take the FCC‘s top post on a permanent basis.
On Friday, Wall Street prognosticators provided their prediction on where DISH Network Corporation‘s fourth-quarter revenue would arrive at, once all of the computations were complete.
As the sun rose on the East Coast of the U.S. Monday, Colorado-based DISH — a company involved in a host of retransmission consent disputes that’s very intent on growing its 5G connectivity business — released its Q4 and FY 2020 results.
Revenue beat the street, putting DISH shares on the decline as the Opening Bell rang Tuesday.
BOCA RATON, FLA. — Hidden in the middle of mid-Florida’s highlands region, just to the west of Sebring, is a blossoming vineyard welcoming those willing to experience Muscatine wines in a idyllic setting reminiscent of California.
On the lonely road to Secret Gardens, one passes a tower structure owned and managed by SBA Communications Corp.
Soon, this rural site will become one more dot on the nationwide map of 5G network access provided by Dish.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has increased funding to the five National Multicultural Alliance public media organizations – Black Public Media, the Center for Asian American Media, Latino Public Broadcasting, Pacific Islanders in Communications and Vision Maker Media.
How much will each organization receive annually?
The passing of media giant Rush Limbaugh should be a reminder of the ability of radio to shape lives and opinions.
Limbaugh, the conservative antagonist, died Feb. 17 after a battle with cancer. His biggest boosters praise him as a champion of populism and nudging the Republican Party to be something more assertive than it was than when he began his radio broadcasts in 1984. His shock-jock style won over millions, including former President Donald Trump, who awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.
Like many Americans, I wasn’t particularly fond of him. Just last week, I credited Limbaugh with making racist hucksterism viral, infecting local radio coast to coast. Regardless, this column is not an interrogation of Limbaugh’s contributions, but rather a conversation about the medium.
The out-of-touch eulogies may today cast the man as an antique from the 1980s and 1990s. The truth is Limbaugh enjoyed a huge audience in 2021. Carried on over 600 radio stations nationwide, more than 20 million daily listeners tuned in to Limbaugh. Yes, daily. The audience remained loyal even though he’d been largely absent from the program due to illness. That number beats most top television shows on any given week, including football on Sundays, Mondays or Thursdays.Rush Limbaugh pumps thumb after being awarded the Medal of Freedom by First Lady Melania Trump after being acknowledged by President Donald Trump during the State of the Union address in February 2020. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
For fans, Limbaugh’s act was surely a draw. In addition, the end of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 gave stations greater license to air his viewpoints. However, is there really any debate that television or print would hardly have elevated him the way radio did? Without a medium as ubiquitous as radio, he never would have soared to the heights he did — and remains, frankly.
This gets to the heart of the matter. Radio is often declared dead. Some sneer at it as a relic left behind by Tidal and Spotify. We in community and public media fret over relevance, but sometimes miss the power of relationships. Radio is still a part of the lives of most Americans. In crises like we experienced this week in Texas and other states besieged by winter storms, radio has been a lifeline. Moreover, what would iconic voices we’ve known and do know be without radio?
Even with so much content available to us and the answers to literally every question as far away as our pants pocket or purse, radio still holds a place for all of us. It captures our imaginations and permits us to focus in on just the human voice and the visuals that words create. Netflix can keep churning out programs. Instagram and YouTube can percolate the next stars for Gen-Z. And, as a pillar of media worldwide, radio will continue to be integral enough to take for granted.
Before we again accept another obituary for radio or be subjected to another lazy headline asking about radio’s demise, let’s remember the importance radio has in the world. It continues to impact culture, politics and everyday life, and will for years to come.
A session of the upcoming virtual Pro Audio & Radio Tech Summit will explore trends in audio over IP for radio broadcasters.
Moderated by Radio World Editor in Chief Paul McLane, the 30-minute session will discuss what radio infrastructure planners need to know about current trends, including implications of the new WFH environments that are now part of everyday life for broadcasters.
Panelists will include Ed Bukont of E2 Technical Services & Solutions, an experienced media systems consultant and engineer who works often with networked audio; Michael LeClair, chief engineer of WBUR in Boston, who wrote and edited Radio World’s most recent ebook about AoIP trends; and Chris Crump, senior director of sales and marketing for Comrex, whose products play a key role in the AoIP workflows of many radio broadcast operations.
The one-day virtual event is free and includes separate tracks exploring radio and pro audio technology topics, as well as a virtual show floor that allows attendees to interact with exhibitors and learn about new products.
Also that day, NAB’s David Layer and John Clark will give the radio track keynote about hybrid radio and Android Automotive, two key technology developments that affect radio. Another of the 10 sessions available that day will cover virtualization, featuring Roz Clark of Cox Media and Alan Jurison of iHeartMedia.
This virtual event is produced jointly by Mix magazine, Pro Sound News and Radio World.
The author is EVP of sales, support and marketing, Telos Alliance.
Most Radio World readers might wonder why the next television standard — ATSC 3.0, also known as NextGen TV — would have any relevance to a radio engineer or manager. There is more to consider than you might have guessed.
First, an update on the rollout: A number of U.S. television stations have now adopted the ATSC 3.0 standard. The Advanced Television Systems Committee expects 60+ markets serving about 70% of all U.S. television viewers to launch by mid-2021.According to the Advanced Television Systems Committee website, TV broadcasters are working to bring ATSC 3.0 first to 62 markets.
The standard includes provision for 4K video, immersive audio, control over the viewer experience and quite a bit more. The standard has been tested extensively over the air in Phoenix, and viewers are excited about the enhanced viewing experience.
If you want to learn more, TV Technology, Radio World’s sister magazine, has a great stack of articles at www.tvtechnology.com/tag/nextgen-tv.
Here’s why I think ATSC 3.0 matters to those of us primarily focused on radio broadcasting:
ATSC 3.0 is an IP-based standard and can provide more than just a better TV picture and sound. IP has revolutionized how we distribute and mix audio in our facilities and distribute our content to transmitters and streaming CDNs. Likewise, having the TV over-the-air (OTA) transmission path capable of supporting an IP stream means more flexibility for what is carried by RF signals to all those homes.
An over-the-air “fully IP” system aligns broadcasters with how the audience consumes nearly all their other media, whether audio-only or audio with a picture.
The potential intersection of radio with ATSC 3.0 should prompt us to consider different scenarios. However, we are in the early days and very much on the front end of what is possible.
This is the time when decisions can have a wide-ranging impact. It’s a time to explore and ask “what if” with open minds. Some of what we consider may never come to pass or could look very different than originally described.
The point is, as an industry, we need to consider our future carefully because what we’ve always done might not be what we need to do in the future to be successful. We only need to look at the interruption of radio OTA listening, compared to radio consumed via streaming devices like Alexa and Google Home during the pandemic, to help us consider the possibilities.Radio Via ATSC 3.0 in the Home?
Listening to the radio while watching TV is an unusual use case. Still, one recently converted TV broadcaster in Seattle is carrying local radio stations on its ATSC 3.0 payload, making these radio stations available via a web-based program guide running on NextGen TVs. A sort of radio repeater, if you will.
Think about it: Many homes do not have conventional radios anymore. In this case, ATSC 3.0 is providing an alternative path for radio stations to enter the home-listening environment. And when the re-broadcasted radio signal starts out at the playout/mixing stage of the radio station as IP, rich metadata can also play a part to enhance any such listening experience much like is possible with HD Radio.Radio in the car
And it’s not just radio-listening in your house via ATSC 3.0. The new TV standard is intended to operate in a very robust way in cars, long the domain of AM/FM.
Fadio’s dominance of the mobile listening environment (the dashboard) has begun to share the mobile listener with services delivered by LTE either through a dedicated hotspot or docked mobile phone.
ATSC 3.0 signals carrying radio, in the above example, could also provide an alternative to AM/FM in the car. This gives OTA radio more ways to compete in the dashboard of the future. We can think of radio delivered via ATSC 3.0 in the home and car as “extensions of service.”Chips in the phone
Over the years, there have been efforts to activate radio receiver chips that already exist in many mobile phones.
Of course, the goal is to have access to OTA radio wherever people are, which is wherever they have their phones! We applaud the hard work of our colleagues who have helped the industry achieve some success in this regard, but it has unfortunately been limited.
Now chips are being designed to receive ATSC 3.0 TV signals in phones. Mobile television reception powered by chips that receive a wide range of world TV standards might move the needle with the mobile phone companies. Hence, OTA broadcasters get a shot at this audience in their daily comings and goings.
If successful, having an over-the-air television chip in mobile phones puts radio broadcasters one step closer to having access to listeners through carriage on ATSC 3.0 stations or possibly via ATSC 3.0 chips that also support OTA radio.
Think of this as the rising tide that lifts all over the air (OTA) broadcasters. It’s a stretch, but “what if?”Who can predict?
Radio has a 100-year history of informing, entertaining and providing critical information to its millions of listeners. While the industry has had highs and lows over its existence, nothing beats its resilience.
While there is no guarantee of another 100 years, all of us can think and put forth our best ideas not just to be relevant from a content perspective but also to innovate technologically to be where people need us. This might mean building bridges and relationships in ways we have not in the past — in order to change.
Maybe ATSC 3.0 will play a part.
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Dan Jackson is head of audio operations for SCA [Southern Cross Austereo], Australia’s biggest entertainment company. Its multimedia assets include more than 100 radio stations.
This article appeared in Radio World’s “Trends in Codecs and STLs for 2020” ebook.
Radio World: What’s the latest in trends in the design and performance of codecs?
Dan Jackson: At SCA we are a big believer in standards to ensure interoperability between products. We like to talk in terms of SMPTE 2110 and AES67 for audio distribution, and AES67/SNMP for control. As for codecs we tend to change our choice based on the application; we still use aptX for voice and AAC, Opus and Tieline MusicPlus for audio distribution.
One of the most important trends is delivery of service. As we move away from dedicated POTS and ISDN lines and onto 4G/5G services, we are at the mercy of the tower operators. Having the ability to double-deliver the data through the same or two carriers ensures that content is delivered 100% of the time.
We’ve also noticed a shift away from having extremely low latency links, so things like Forward Error Correction are welcome to help ensure the quality of service.
Another important trend I see is the shift away from traditional “boxes” and capital expenditure. We are seeing a large demand for a software and op-ex model, much like the rest of the IT world.
One of the biggest issues we faced during COVID was the inability to scale our codec fleet. Technologies like ipDTL are certainly paving the way for a software/op-ex future.
When we talk about remote codecs for remote broadcasts, the more portable and durable, the better. Gone are the days of running OB trucks and lengthy ISDN installs. Content teams want to be able to go as soon as possible.
RW: How are today’s technologies solving problems in creative ways?
Jackson: Moving to IP-based technologies has decreased reliability on links, so SmartStream and dual link codecs have allowed codecs to be used in place of expensive microwave links, where historically the IP service is no good.
RW: What role are codecs playing for you in at-home broadcasting?
Jackson: During COVID we had around 20 shows at 50 locations using mostly Tieline VIAs. Their Cloud Codec Controller was an excellent add-on as it allowed our engineers to manage the codecs remotely.
Historically we have been fairly flexible without talent, so broadcasting from home was not new for us. Holiday homes, pregnancies and simply being in another state have required us to have the capability to broadcast remotely. Moving to more portable devices like IOS and Android, but still providing the same level of quality, is an important factor.
RW: What recent features are offered that other engineers may appreciate?
Jackson: Time-zone delay is a great feature. The ability to pass data streams as well as audio is great.
RW: What will the codec of the future look like, if we use one at all? How powerful can codecs get?
Jackson: As for the future: Fully flexible drop-and-drag DSP boxes, with inputs and outputs on AES67.
If you think about virtual environments and how much resource these environments have, there doesn’t seem to be a limit to power!
RW: What best practice tips should codec buyers be aware of in 2020?
Jackson: Plan for the future. If you don’t have AoIP just yet, it probably won’t be long.
Think about the environment. Is it being installed into a data room or carted to every football game? Do you require dual bonded SIMs?
From our People News page: iHeartMedia has named Derrick Martin to be the market president for its four-station cluster in Norfolk, Va.
He’ll report to Area President for Virginia Chuck Peterson.
“Martin joins iHeartMedia Norfolk from the iHeartMedia St. Louis market, where he most recently served as the region president, overseeing the St. Louis; Des Moines, Iowa; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Davenport, Iowa; and Springfield, Mo. markets,” the company said in a press release.
“Prior to serving as the region president for St. Louis, from 2013 to 2017, he served as the market president for the Norfolk market and is now making his return.”
He started his career at iHeartMedia Memphis.
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Dish Network on Monday morning, prior to the Opening Bell on Wall Street, will reveal its fourth quarter and full-year 2020 earnings results.
What can investors anticipate?