Swagger Institute, P1 Learning and the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA) have teamed up to again provide a virtual sales and management training summit.
The two-day event, branded “Rising Above,” is scheduled for January 27-28.
Featured participants include Arland Communications President and founder Dave Arland, Media Staffing Network CEO Laurie Kahn, and Bonnie Hagemann, who serves as CEO of Executive Development Associates, a boutique consulting firm specializing in top-of-the-range executive development.
Rising Above will also feature live entertainment from BMI recording act LOCASH and singer/songwriter Patrick Woolam.
Registration for Rising Above is free for those with membership to some 29 participating state broadcasters associations.
“Speed and I are so excited about our January event”, said Swagger Institute founder Derron Steenbergen, whose business is expressly designed to reinvigorate a sales organization. “Rising Above says what our industry and our broadcasters must be and do. Do we have challenges? Yes. But in these stressful times comes opportunity and embracing the blessings in this storm is crucial to not only surviving this, but actually thriving in it. Our industry is strong, and our people are resilient. Simply, Rising Above is about reminding us why we have been successful and outlining a path so we continue to rise.”
For more information about Rising Above: A Virtual Sales & Management Summit, visit risingabovesummit.com
Digital audio and podcast player Triton Digital has been selected to aid a podcast producer and distribution in the delivery, monetization and measurement of its content.
The partnership allows Kast Media to use Triton’s podcast technologies, which include the Omny Studio publishing platform and Podcast Metrics audience measurement service.
“Triton’s suite of podcast technology delivers a mix of power, sophistication, and feature-rich capabilities that are best-in-class,” said Kast Media CEO Colin Thomson. “We share a vision to drive the podcast space forward in both listener experience and revenue optimization. We are thrilled to be working with Triton and look forward to leveraging their tools and knowledgeable team to scale our podcast content, reach more people, and further increase revenue.”
Sharon Taylor, Managing Director at Triton Digital, added, “We are pleased to be providing Kast Media with all that they need to seamlessly grow, promote, measure and monetize their podcasts. We are confident that our comprehensive podcast platform coupled with our transparent advertising technology and validated measurement service will provide Kast Media with the tools, automation, and insight needed to grow and scale faster than ever before.”Get all of the latest news from the fast-growing podcast world delivered to your inbox every business day. Visit www.podcastbusinessjournal.com today!
For a generation of Puerto Ricans, “Alfa Rock 106” was the home for rock and roll music not found anywhere else on the FM dial. Times change, and just after midnight on March 3, 2018, WCAD-FM concluded its broadcast era.
Just before Christmas 2018, the station was reborn, later taking new call letters that better reflect its current programming.
Now, it’s installed a listener-funded Dielectric DCR-M.
It was installed by Dielectric’s CALA region for the No. 2 licensee of radio stations in the U.S.: Educational Media Foundation (EMF).
The Dielectric DCR-M is being used for what is now WJKL-FM 105.7, licensed to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Its Class B 50kw signal comes from a broadcast tower in a rural area of Aguas Buenas, south of San Juan. It’s on a peak in a mountainous, rural area not easily accessible.
EMF worked closely with Dielectric — and, RBR+TVBR has learned, Univision — on a broadband antenna design. It will support both WJKL on 105.7 MHz and a second station in the future.
This station is WKAQ-FM 104.7, the longtime Latin Top 40 station serving Puerto Rico and much of St. Thomas and St. Croix, USVI, as “KQ105.”
Don’t fret: Univision is not involved in any transaction with EMF as it pertains to KQ105.
Rather, the WKAQ-FM tower, adjacent to that used by WJKL, is being decommissioned after years of use and abuse from hurricanes and other weather-related battering. As such, WKAQ-FM and WJKL will be on the same tower.
The center-fed DCR-M from Dielectric accommodates both frequencies (with 1 MHz separation) through a special reduced bay-spacing design that eliminates the need for future field tuning.
Furthermore, EMF added a new, specially designed two-station branch combiner to serve both transmission frequencies, and prevent intermodulation issues from signal mixing inside the transmitters.
Side-mounted to a mountaintop tower with a center of radiation at 118 feet above ground level (1,787 feet above sea level), the DCR-M was specified to withstand the stormy weather elements of Puerto Rico, amplified during hurricane season.
In fact, the project delayed due to several harsh storms including Hurricane Maria in 2017, which caused widespread devastation to the island. The project was revived once power was returned to the remote site and general infrastructure was restored. Then came COVID-19, putting a further wrinkle on the plans for KLOVE Puerto Rico.
Director of Site Development Kim Allison said the antenna design meets the weight and wind-load specifications of the tower. “This was of high importance considering the remote tower location,” she said.
Dielectric worked closely with Sabre to develop a custom mounting system that could support the unique bay-spacing design. This included a standoff pole for the tapered tower architecture, and a bracket design that eliminated complex anti-rotation elements for the antenna bays.
Dielectric also added its “funky elbow” design to reduce ground radiation from the DCR-M, through a inter-bay feed system that optimizes signal coverage without directing radiation downward from the tower.
Dielectric VP/GM Keith Pelletier notes that everything was shipped in a single container to reduce costs, with Sabre designing the stand-off pole in short, modular sections to fit cleanly alongside Dielectric’s antenna.
“This project was a labor of love for Dielectric considering the unforeseen delays and challenges that EMF faced on the road to installation,” Pelletier said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support EMF and its mission to bring Christian radio programming to the audiences throughout Puerto Rico.”
Additional reporting by Brian Galante.
Pioneer Electronics USA has used the all-virtual CES 2021 conference to debut its newest modular solutions in-dash receiver.
It’s hardware that is designed to provide vehicles with limited or restricted dash space an in-dash upgrade solution.
The DMH-WC5700NEX includes Alexa Built-in, Android Auto (wired/wireless), Apple CarPlay (wired/wireless) and other multimedia entertainment capabilities.
Its 6.8-inch touchscreen is similar in design and features to the 9-inch DMH-WC6600NEX, introduced last year.
One key difference: this model has ability to fit a wider variety of vehicles including traditional 2DIN applications.
Since the introduction of the first Pioneer modular solutions in-dash receivers in 2019, Metra Electronics has introduced several dash kits and fully integrated dash kit packages designed to integrate the modular solutions products, including the DMH-WC5700NEX, into specific vehicles.
Due to the modular form factor and availability of two different optional extension cables, the DMH-WC5700NEX is also suitable for fully custom installation by an installation specialist, further expanding its application to an even wider range of vehicles when compared to traditional in-dash receivers.
“With the DMH-WC5700NEX, Pioneer provides an automotive upgrade solution for many different vehicles that typically have been extremely restrictive or even impossible with regard to the installation of an aftermarket in-dash receiver, including several popular late model Chevrolet vehicles such as the Silverado and Camaro,” said Pioneer Electronics USA VP/Marketing Ted Cardenas. “With this solution, owners of these vehicles now have an option for adding Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and more to enhance and upgrade their driving experience.”
The DMH-WC5700NEX also features Hi-Res Audio playback capability, FLAC file playback, 13-band graphic equalizer, time alignment, 4V RCA preamplifier outputs (front/rear/subwoofer), Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming and hands-free communication, built-in HD Radio capability, SiriusXM Ready (requires SiriusXM tuner and subscription, sold separately), RGB illumination, rear camera input, and HDMI video input for rear seat entertainment.
The Pioneer DMH-WC5700NEX is planned for Summer 2021 availability.
Solid State Logic has secured its latest guest for its “Meet the Producer” Facebook Live series — an in-depth Q&A series featuring a diverse range of highly accomplished producers and engineers.
This event is set for Thursday at 1pm Eastern.
SSL will be hosting Marc Daniel Nelson, who will be interviewed by Grammy and Latin Grammy Award winning engineer, writer and producer J.C. Losada, a.k.a. “Mr Sonic.”
The session is accessible via SSL’s Facebook page; interested participants can set a reminder via the links provided.
Nelson gained an early mastery of mixing and production, working across a range of genres from Americana, to orchestration, to Hip Hop, to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Since his days at Chicago Recording Company, he has built a list of credits mixing music for Fleetwood Mac, Jason Mraz, and Colbie Caillat; and mixing music for film and trailers including Bladerunner 2049, Solo: A Star Wars Story and Point Break.
“Participants can expect in-depth insight into structuring a session with plug-in templates / presets, achieving appropriate width and depth in a mix, and employing unique processing tricks,” SSL says.
Over the course of his career, Nelson has worked on several SSL consoles including the SL4000, SL6000, SL8000 Series, as well as the AWS 900 and most recently Sigma ‘console in a box’.
Losada will ask Nelson about his approach to working across a variety of genres, as well as his mixing approach for trailers, films and records. The information could be of interest and of benefit to audio media companies developing podcasts, radio programming, and video content tied to broadcast offerings.
Participants will have the opportunity to download a full Pro Tools session of “Wonder” and watch Marc tackle the mix step by step.
The Pro Tools session of ‘Wonder’ is available for free download. It includes all routing, automation, audio and processing: http://bit.ly/WonderPTSession
Film trailer ‘Wonder’ Pro Tools session download: http://bit.ly/WonderPTSession
SSL Facebook PREMERE link: http://bit.ly/MTPMDNReminder
TORONTO — An Ontario-based designer, manufacturer and marketer of video and audio infrastructure products for the TV industry has agreed to acquire the Studer brand, technology and all related assets in a transaction expected to close by March 30.
Selling the brand to Evertz Technologies Ltd. is HARMAN International.
“We’re pleased to welcome this iconic audio brand to our Evertz family of products and solutions that has been serving the broadcast market for more than 50 years,” said Brian Campbell, EVP Business Development at Burlington-based Evertz. “We also welcome the many valued Studer customers who depend on Studer technology and reliability to deliver the best audio to their audience.”
Campbell says Evertz will be investing in Studer for developing next-generation products to meet broadcast customers’ future needs while creating synergies between its current product suite and the Studer product environment.
“We saw an exciting opportunity to evolve these premium products with new products and feature development while having Studer continue to redefine how broadcast audio is produced,” Campbell said.
From The Beatles recording Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at EMI/Abbey Road Studios on a Studer tape deck, to Studer digital mixing consoles in the control rooms at the world’s most prestigious and modern broadcast facilities, Studer has been an iconic audio brand for more than 70 years.
HARMAN acquired Studer in 1994.
“We are very pleased that the stewardship of the iconic Studer brand will continue on under Evertz’s leadership,” said Brian Divine, President of HARMAN Professional Solutions. “The HARMAN team will be working very closely with Evertz over the coming weeks to assure a seamless transition for the customers.”
LAKEWOOD RANCH, FLA. — It remains in a battle with Gray Television over the carriage on one of its legacy TV services of a ABC affiliate within the vast Tampa-St. Petersburg DMA specifically focused on Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties.
Now, that fight could be taking perhaps a positive spin — if good vibes from the C-Suite find their way into retrans negotiation.
Frontier has emerged from federal bankruptcy protection.
The MVPD and telecom company on Friday (1/15) secured approval from the Commission for its Chapter 11 restructuring. This also saw Frontier get regulatory approval or favorable determinations in 13 states.
Commenting on the “major milestone” of the restructuring OK, President/CEO Bernie Han said, “We continue to make important progress in our constructive engagement with regulators across our service territories, and we continue to await approval in just four states and are working to expedite those approvals to enable the Company to emerge from Chapter 11. Our team remains focused on our transformative strategy to strengthen our financial foundation, improve our operations and enhance our customer experience throughout the U.S.”
Frontier expects to emerge from Chapter 11 in early 2021 under its previously confirmed Plan of Reorganization. Upon emergence, Frontier will have reduced its total outstanding indebtedness by more than $10 billion.
— Rob Dumke
He joined MultiDyne as COO in September 2019 following the company’s purchase of Census Digital.
Now, he is retiring, but will join MultiDyne Video & Fiber Optic Solutions ’ newly formed Board of Directors and remain as an active consultant.
The first radio app to be compatible with one of the world’s more popular brands of smart watches has been released for international consumption.
But, radio broadcasters in the U.S. shouldn’t get too excited about it. The smart watch manufacturer has been branded by Washington Republicans as an agent of the People’s Republic of China’s government in Beijing.
Red Apple Group, the parent company of Red Apple Media and New York-based Talker WABC-AM 770, has promoted a legal associate to the role of General Counsel.
It’s Emily Pankow, and Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis says WABC and his company “will be well served by Emily’s legal insight.”
He adds, “She has proven herself time-and-time again as an asset to our company over the past fifteen years. Since the acquisition of WABC Emily has been instrumental in the day-to-day legal work and has earned this title. I have every confidence that Emily will succeed in the new position and is destined for great things in the future.”
Pankow adds that she’s “honored and delighted to join the Red Apple Media team at this exciting phase of the company’s growth under John Catsimatidis’ leadership. I look forward to helping build upon Red Apple Media’s success. Red Apple Group is continuously expanding its horizons and it has been a pleasure and honor to learn and grow with the company.”
As of today, the ABC affiliate serving the Triad region of North Carolina is getting its own newscasts at 6pm and 11pm.
It brings Greensboro and Winston Salem “a fresh perspective on local news,” the News Director for the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned station says.
There’s been chatter of late that those who views have been prevented from dissemination via social media can always turn to another media to get their point across to the American public.
In fact, that media is perhaps the “first” social media — radio.
Only, it’s not open for amateur or private use without a license, and the Commission is making it very clear ahead of Inauguration Day.
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau late Friday (1/15) issued an Enforcement Advisory, warning amateur and personal radio services licensees and operators that they may not use radio equipment to commit or facilitate criminal acts.
The warning also comes in the wake of the January 6 Capitol uprising.
The Enforcement Advisory reads, in part, “The Bureau has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the Commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities. The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted purposes, including speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to commit or facilitate crimes. Specifically, the Bureau reminds amateur licensees that they are prohibited from transmitting ‘communications intended to facilitate a criminal act’ or ‘messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.’ ”
— Rob Dumke
You can read the full Enforcement Advisory here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-73A1.pdf
When Wall Street returns to trading on Tuesday, tongues will be wagging across the broadcast media world about The E.W. Scripps Co.’s share price.
Why? There is word that none other than Warren Buffett has snapped up a huge chunk of the company’s stock.
By Luke Pearce
The headphones category has experienced phenomenal development over the last decade. Headphones are one of the fastest-selling personal electronics devices in the market, and the growth shows no signs of stopping.
Although headphones were already trending upwards, COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home rules has accelerated the adoption. The rise of remote working, remote schooling and the growth of gaming have all made their positive contributions, too.
What’s more, there’s further potential from health and hearing augmentation use cases.
As a result, headphones and true wireless devices are expected to grow to over 700 million shipments in five years’ time. This dynamic market has many overlapping and converging applications that will certainly impact upon the wider landscape moving forward.
How has COVID-19 Impacted Headphone Usage?
Headphones pervade lives. They are used for work purposes, leisure and relaxation. They are an ideal sound solution for a wide range of situations, allowing consumers to create a personal space where they can listen to their audio content of choice and escape the stresses and strains of C-19.
And headphones are no longer just for passive listening in isolation, they also accommodate multi-tasking. As we get used to juggling remote working with other personal commitments and family time, C-19 has accelerated the need to move between different spaces. Headphone devices are now being used as an adaptable interface that connects with the world.
However, there is a drawback. While headsets and headphones are improving communication and providing a valuable form of escapism, people are now being exposed to more sound than ever before, which ultimately comes at a cost. The total exposure over one day since lockdown has increased phenomenally, and it is this sound exposure that could risk our hearing health.
According to Tim Johnston, Vice President of Engineering at Starkey Hearing, one in six teens are now experiencing hearing loss through sound exposure, an affliction that currently affects 5.2 million children. People are living longer lives too, so they are also enduring hearing loss for longer.
As the Use Cases for Headphones Intensifies, Will One ‘Super Product’ Take Over?
Multiple-product ownership is the norm within the headphones market, as there are very significant differences between use cases. Consumer requirements differ widely for work purposes, for fitness and for entertainment. When it comes to headphones, less is definitely not more.
People are interested in custom-built devices for many different activities. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution and it’s likely to stay that way.
Above all, while preferences for audio devices differ, the rate of innovation in new products is fuelling the consumer’s need for premium audio quality married with convenience.
Does Sound Quality Ever Just Become ‘Good Enough’?
High quality sound is a predominant consumer requirement. It’s all about the listening experience and being able to hear music with better fidelity. However, as headphone products become more specialized, audio quality is no longer a sufficient selling point on its own. Microphone quality is also important, with the implementation of AI allowing users to distinguish foreground voices from background noise. This is particularly crucial given the amount of time now spent attending virtual meetings.
Situational hearing enhancement is also an invaluable feature which is making great inroads. Due to COVID-19 suppression measures, like social distancing and face coverings, it can be harder to distinguish people’s voices. This is presenting an opportunity to push hearing enhancement to the forefront of the headphone revolution.
In the shifting landscape of headphone technology, there are still many improvements to be made, with immersive audio quality, microphone audio quality and protecting ear health being of key importance. In addition to this, consumers are now gaming more and watching more movies using their headsets. This means that audio quality is also taking on another meaning. It has got to be low latency.
The new industry goal is focused around cascading these features into standard headphone products for consumers and moving on to the next round of innovation.
Luke Pearce is a Market Analyst in the Consumer Audio team at Futuresource Consulting. His focus is tracking and forecasting the latest market trends and technology developments in headphones and true wireless (TWS) markets worldwide. His work has also led him into additional areas including extensive research for gaming headsets, luxury audio, hearing augmentation and audio-technology consumer survey reports.
The revenue decline remains in the double digits. But, the results point to a good, if not great, quarter-by-quarter recovery from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic carnage on broadcast radio in Canada.
That’s the story Montréal-based Cogeco is sharing with respect to its just-released fiscal Q1 2021 results.
The FCC on Friday announced the conclusion of bidding in the clock phase of Auction 107, the largest auction of mid-band 5G spectrum.
It’s also the highest-grossing spectrum auction, overall, ever held in the U.S.
The Federal Communications Commission has issued an unusual weekend enforcement warning that boils down to this: Don’t use ham radio, CBs, FRS walkie-talkies or other personal radio services to plan crimes.
This comes as federal and local government and law enforcement officials around the country report concerns over possible terrorist attacks from disgruntled Trump supports enraged by the outcome of the election and stoked by the recent attack on the Capitol.
The Enforcement Bureau “has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities,” the FCC said in a statement issued Sunday morning.
“The Bureau recognizes that these service can be used for a wide range of permitted purposes including speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution,” it continued. But it continued in bold font: “Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to facilitate crimes.”
The warning applies to ham radio operators and users of services like Citizen’s Band, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies and General Mobile Radio service.
Specifically, amateur licensees are reminded that they are prohibited from transmitting “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act” as well as “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.” Users in the Personal Radio Services like CBs are prohibited from using them “in connection with any activity that is against federal, state or local law.”
The post FCC Warning: Don’t Use Ham Radio or CBs to Plan Crimes appeared first on Radio World.
Sean McDonald, director of Neumann Media at Neumann University in Aston, Pa., is in charge of both the university’s radio and television stations. He also is the chief engineer of the studios, and supports all communication classes, media programs and live streaming for the university. He said that, for many students in the communications/broadcasting program, 2020 and the pandemic have given them the opportunity for a hands-on experience that equals an internship.
Radio World: Please describe your media operations, including the physical plant. How many studios, and how are they equipped? Where is the transmission facility; how is it equipped?
Sean McDonald: Neumann Media is housed in the John J. Mullen Jr. Communication Center, a recently built $5 million, 10,000-square foot addition to the Bruder Life Center. Our facilities feature three radio studios, two Wenger Room editing bays, two television studios with control rooms, master control, an esports room, a multipurpose hall, green room, meeting space and a rental shop. All rooms in the building have copper ins and outs being sent to a Blackmagic Design 72×72 router. Each room also is a part of our Axia AoIP network.Studio A
Studio A has an Axia Fusion and six AKG C414 microphones. Each studio runs RCS Zetta for playout. Pathfinder handles GPIO through a custom button panel on the Fusion, with commands for arming various studios for air, routing a VMix virtual mix to air during production periods, as well as changing the state of the automation system, play next and a custom change chain button. The studio has a PC with an Axia IP Audio Driver, and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. There are four Comrex Access Rack codecs that can be routed into the studio to use for remotes or to connect with some of our sister stations, like 90.3 WMSC at Montclair State University. There is also a television mounted on the wall with the ability to route different camera feeds of the various studios to the television. All audio goes to master control and is processed through the 25-Seven PDM program delay manager.
Studio B has an Axia iQ console, with the same button panels configured as the Fusion in Studio A. There are two Shure SM7Bs in Studio B, with swappable AKG C414s stored in the room. The studio has a production PC with an Axia IP Audio Driver and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.Studio B
Studio C has an Axia Desq console. There is a Neumann BCM 705 and a Symetrix 528E Processor in the studio. The studio has a production PC with an Axia IP Audio Driver, and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.
Each Wenger Edit room is equipped with an Axia Raq console, a production PC with an Axia IP Audio Driver and the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.
The PDM audio in master controls exits through an analog node and is sent to the transmitter using a Comrex Access Rack as our STL. Our backup unit is a Barix InStreamer, and our stream is encoded using the Telos ProStream. The Telos VMix in master control integrates through the phone panel on the Fusion and through VSet handsets in the other studios and edit bays.
The transmitter site is one mile away from campus and features a Nautel VS300 as the transmitter. Workflow at the transmitter begins with the Comrex Access Rack and Barix Extremer receiving audio from the studio. An iPod with emergency backup music is also playing at all times at the transmitter. All audio goes into an Axia Analog Node; another Pathfinder Server routes the audio to air. The Access gets priority, followed by the Barix and then the iPod. The audio then is processed through an Omnia.One, and is fed through a Digital Alert Systems DASDEC as the final stage before hitting the transmitter.TV Studio Photo: www.chorusphotography.com
Our two TV studios and sports arena are each equipped with a NewTek TriCaster 8000 video production system running Advanced Edition. Our studio cameras are Panasonic P2s with AutoCue teleprompters, tally lights, Atomos Ninjas for studio monitors and RTS Audiocom intercom. We have a Soundcraft SI Expression 3 audio mixer in the main television studio and a Soundcraft SI Expression 2 in our secondary studio and sports arena. As mentioned, we use a BMD 72×72 router to send ins and outs throughout the building. We use NDI [Network Device Interface] sources like computers to bring guests in virtually, and to produce high-quality Zoom/Teams conferences when necessary. For remote guests who are able to connect with us, we have two Comrex LiveShot units and a ReadyCam Encoder. In many ways, we built this infrastructure for the future; we just didn’t know the future was operating in a pandemic.
RW: Who makes the executive decisions for the station? What role do the students have in station operations? What types of programming do they produce?
McDonald: As the director of the program, I make the executive decisions for the station with direct input form my student staff. Our students make up a student leadership team for radio and television: program director, news director, music directors, student engineer, news director and production director. Because we are both radio and TV, our students are active in both areas, so they lend their expertise to both programs to give themselves a well-rounded experience.
Our radio station has a wide range of programming, including specialty sports programming (all hockey, all basketball, Philly sports, etc.), a Hispanic music hour, a Hispanic culture hour, a positive/praise hour and so much more. My students really embrace the idea that college radio is the training ground for their future, and the space where music is discovered and given a chance. From ’50s jazz to K-Pop, we run the gamut of musical genres, which really makes us feel like we are “Radio Re-Invented.”
RW: Are students on campus now or learning and operating remotely?
McDonald: Neumann University [originally] operated on a hybrid method. Our students had the choice to come in-person, do classes fully remotely either live or asynchronous, or do a mixture of both. Classes were socially distanced with seating, and where needed, a rotation was created to let as many students as possible who wanted an in-person experience to have it. We went fully online for the remainder of the semester effective Nov. 16, 2020, five days earlier than originally anticipated.
RW: Is the station currently on the air? What means and products (e.g. software or hardware) are being used?
McDonald: The station is currently on the air, and shows are continuing both in person and remotely. Throughout the pandemic, we have been using a variety of software and hardware to get on the air, and it has given us a lot of great options. At the start of the pandemic, I bought a bunch of Blue USB Snowball Mics and PreSonus Audiobox USB 96 boxes to send home with students for classes and for radio shows. A few faculty and staff members are also using these to do their radio shows remotely.
We have multiple Comrex Access Rack units and portable units, so when we need a quick hit on the air, I typically let the students use the Fieldtap app if they have a decent enough Wi-Fi connection.
We have been using Zetta2Go via VPN for voice tracking of shows, or letting students use the interface to control the air machine’s stack and log, while being brought in on some form of codec.
The software we are currently using to get people on the air includes Audiomovers Listento, Cleanfeed, Discord, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
RW: What impact has COVID-19 had on the station? What are the challenges due to social distancing?
McDonald: When our building was in the design phase, we made sure that every room had audio and video inputs and outputs because we did not know when we would need to use each room differently. I had planned with the future in mind. I just did not realize the future meant social distancing during a pandemic. Because of health guidelines, we had to limit the number of people allowed in each studio. Some of our shows had up to six people on it, so we had to figure out a way to safely allow the shows to meet, while not losing quality, and most importantly, not letting the audience in on the secret.
I installed PTZ cameras in each of our studios and editing suites, and using our classroom studio’s TriCaster 8000, I created a quad box that had each camera feed in it. We put monitors in each of the studios so each studio could see the other in real time. Being an Axia plant, I created a COVID VMix on the Fusion’s Power Station for each of the studios, so when in a break, each studio could talk to each other without having to leave the room. The biggest test for this came on College Radio Day, when we had to social distance 15 people across six rooms. It worked flawlessly, and now it’s very simple for the students to switch to the “Social Distance” profile in the main studio and be able to do their show with ease.
For TV, we capitalized on the addition of PTZ’s in our editing suites and doubled them as remote sites for our TV shows. Our show “Intern TV” has three hosts (who have all lived together), which we can easily socially distance, but guests presented a challenge. We did not want to have four people spread out across the room, so we put the guests in the Wenger Room. Using an Axia Analog Node, we send a mix/minus to the Raq to hear the studio, and we take the guest’s audio into the IEM of our hosts. The hosts sit in a semi-circle around a large TV that has a static shot of our guest, making the visual connection for the audience that they are still doing this live, just with a little distance between them. We adopted this model for our news program as well, which has worked well.
Technology is so good now that we were always prepared to do this, but never actively had a reason to utilize the workflow. The biggest challenge has been getting the students used to not having people physically next to them. It took a few weeks, but this is now just another tool in the student’s toolbox. Of course, there are small challenges that arise, like when one of our anchors was placed in quarantine after a possible exposure. Instead of cancelling the show, we took advantage of the fact that Microsoft Teams has become NDI-compliant. Using NDI, we put our anchor into our TriCaster like any other camera, and we fed the anchor the prompter as our camera feed, and the show continued just like any other week.
2020 taught us to be ready for anything, and to adapt on the fly. I am really proud of the way my students have powered through this, and I truly believe they will be better broadcasters because of these experiences.Sean McDonald at his home studio.
RW: If the students are operating remotely, how are you making that happen? Can you give examples?
McDonald: Live shows that are remote happen using Cleanfeed, Discord and Microsoft Teams. We are using Cleanfeed to bring hosts and guests into the studio. We use a PC with an Axia IP driver to get the studio computer to the console, and we feed our PGM4 bus to the machine for talkback. We use Discord and Microsoft Teams to chat type to each other during on-air breaks, share files/ info, etc. Our Wellness Center hosts a weekly wellness show completely remotely with students, a professional counselor and a board operator who is in Studio A, communicating and producing the show. At the moment, the “Wellness Wednesday” show is the only one that is remote. During the start of the pandemic, students would prerecord their shows through voice tracking with Zetta2Go for single jock shows. Shows with more than one host would use Discord or Cleanfeed to record the show, and then we would load it into Zetta via VPN.
RW: Is there anything else our readers should know?
McDonald: 2020 has been rough for everyone, but it has also been a learning experience for the professional broadcaster. Students studying communications/broadcasting may not have noticed that on March 13, 2020, everything about our industry changed. Suddenly, we weren’t able to go live from an insert studio with a ReadyCam for TV or a rental booth for radio to get on air. What was considered not broadcast quality on March 12 was suddenly acceptable because it is all that was available. Zoom became a tool to get an image to air, and we have become accustomed to AirPods as an IFB, and not very good audio quality.
My students took a week to mourn the loss of their in-person semester, and then got to work with me to figure out what was the next step. In writing the answers to this interview, I asked them about their experience, and they agreed that they learned more in the past eight months than they probably would have learned in their traditional classes and internships.
At shutdown, items like monitors and webcams and USB microphones became a hot item on eBay because the supply was depleted. We had to figure out the best way to get on the air without breaking the bank or taxing our home internet bandwidth. For a few months, my students became mini broadcast engineers, figuring out how to use software and tools they have in their everyday lives as a way of broadcasting a signal over the internet and on the terrestrial airwaves. They figured a way to use gaming tools like Discord to conduct interviews with pop artists. Talking to our former students and friends in the industry, we discovered new tricks that previous investments could do. For example, a former student handles the Twitch account for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. They were operating remotely, and started using their Livestream Studio’s remote guest feature, bringing up to five guests into their switcher using Google Chrome. We had an old box in storage, and we produced TV shows with it.
The students also learned more about IT and networking, as well as the functionality of a VPN and how to remote edit/voice track. We would normally talk about these things in theory of classes, but rarely would they get the opportunity to use it hands-on.
This pandemic has been the best hands-on experience next to an internship, because this form of broadcasting is going to stick around for a long time. Codecs will continue to be developed, equipment will go down in price, and guests will care about the @ratemyskyperoom account even more than ever, so they will buy artwork and proper lighting for their segment on TV. 2020 has prepared the next generation of broadcasters for broadcasting’s next generation. Fortunately for us, these students were embracing these technologies long before television and radio professionals thought to. The future of broadcasting is in great hands
The author of this commentary is chair of the Digital Radio Mondiale consortium.
Right from the beginning of 2021, Prasar Bharati, the public radio and TV broadcaster of India, has put its cards on the table. First it clarified that no AIR station was being closed anywhere in any state, a rumor that had made the media rounds in India.
Prasar Bharati has further announced that it is moving ahead with its plans to strengthen All India Radio, expanding its network with more than 100 new FM radio transmitters across India.Figure 1 (Click here to enlarge.)
The AIR Network already comprises a few hundred stations and several hundred radio transmitters in one of the world’s largest public service broadcasting networks that operates on multiple terrestrial, satellite and internet platforms.
Prasar Bharati is also moving ahead with its plans to introduce digital terrestrial radio in India. According to the Indian broadcaster, select AIR channels are already available through digital DRM technology to listeners in many cities/regions. They can experience the power of DRM through a choice of multiple radio channels available on a single radio frequency in digital mode. These include AIR News 24×7 dedicated to news and current affairs, AIR Raagam 24×7 dedicated to classical music, apart from local/regional radio services and Live Sports.
According to Prasar Bharati AIR is in an advanced stage of testing digital technology options for FM radio, and a standard will be announced soon to herald the rollout of digital FM radio in India.
Already in 2020 AIR had introduced nonstop pure DRM transmissions with three services or programs on one frequency in four key metros: Mumbai 100 kW (1044 kHz), Kolkata 100 kW (1008 kHz), Chennai 20 kW (783 kHz) and New Delhi 20 kW (1368 kHz).
More varied and exclusive audio programs with Journaline multimedia content were already added and progress was made on the national rollout of DRM’s Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF), and a program information guide enabled by Journaline.
All these activities follow from the activities of a Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) in AIR set up a year ago. It undertook to identify the technical configuration of the DRM infrastructure for the entire country, the creation of popular, attractive content, the strong promotion of DRM broadcasts and intensified interaction with the industry aimed at manufacturing mass-scale receivers.
AIR has extended its infrastructure, as seen in Figure 1.Figure 2, a Journaline Score Card providing information on a cricket match.
As far as the program content is concerned, AIR has already come up with new initiatives, like the 24/7 news exclusively in DRM broadcasts.
The entertainment channel is transmitting live sports events as well, such as cricket, which is the most popular sport in India; AIR is exploring the possibility of providing a Score Card under Journaline advanced text together with live cricket commentary in pure DRM (see Figure 2).
There are already several receiver manufacturers in India and abroad planning and starting production of receivers.
One such manufacturer, Gospell from China, has formed a partnership with Antriksh Digital Solutions to become their representative and distributor in India.
AIR also plans to acquire soon several thousand receivers.
Going forward, a key element of success in India is the further adoption of the standard by the automotive industry. Currently there are more than 2.5 million Indian cars with line-fit DRM receivers at no extra cost to the consumer. More brands are considering the introduction of DRM radios in their vehicles to satisfy consumer demand.
During the second national Car Forum organized at the end of November by NXP, an AIR representative said that it is imperative that the government seriously consider mandating DRM digital radio in all vehicles in the country.
In addition to MW and SW in 2021, efforts are being made to include DRM in FM, as the broadcaster and ministry are coming close to mandating a digital radio standard for the FM band.
The more cars there are in India with DRM radios, the better promotion of their DRM programs AIR can make to the general public. And this cannot just include audio in mediumwave but other bands too. There is demand for all core features of the DRM standard, of which Journaline has already been introduced. This should be followed by the Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF), station logos, AFS, announcement, blending to AM/FM and others.
Activities in India have continued in 2020 despite the pandemic. Already in 2021 there are signs of accelerated activities linked to DRM in FM, DRM for education and getting receivers in numbers.
TORONTO — It’s a nation where political dollars weren’t a factor in quarterly earnings growth. Yet, television segment income was up despite a dip in revenue for Canadian media company Corus.
This helped Corus achieve flat earnings per share in the fiscal first quarter of 2021, as net income only slightly decreased.
The bigger issue for the company is its radio division.