Jessica Rosenworcel wants members of a key advisory group to help the FCC “sort through some of the toughest security problems facing our country’s communications networks.”
The acting chairwoman recently reconstituted the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council, seeking to “revitalize” it. And on Wednesday she spoke to the group to lay out her vision for its work.
She opened her remarks by citing a litany of recent notable cybersecurity events: a wireless carrier in the Netherlands whose traffic was susceptible to monitoring; a security breach of Exchange software that left bank, health and government servers vulnerable; the SolarWinds Breach that allowed hackers affiliated with the Russian government to access government and private networks undetected; the theft of data on millions of T-Mobile customers; and the ransomware attack on an Iowa farming co-op this month.
“This needs our attention because enough is enough,” Rosenworcel told the CSRIC members.
She said the FCC is pursuing a multipronged strategy to assure security as the use of 5G expands.
“In this environment, rechartering CSRIC was a no-brainer. This council is one of the nation’s most impactful cybersecurity partnerships. But we didn’t want to do it same-old, same-old. We wanted to make it better.”
She explained that for the first time the group will be co-chaired by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which leads a national effort to enhance the safety of the cybersecurity and communications infrastructure. “Earlier this year, CISA co-authored a leading report on potential threat vectors to 5G infrastructure. Their partnership here will help ensure a unity of effort between those responsible for protecting the country and those who own and operate the infrastructure that is so critical to that mission.”
She said the group also will reflect more participation from the public interest community. “The public and consumers also will have a voice on issues that ultimately affect their safety and security along with private sector stakeholders.”
The group is to prioritize 5G.
“That means we have a working group to explore the security and resiliency of Open RAN. We have a working group looking at more broadly leveraging virtualization technology to enhance network security. We have a working group looking at the technical issues involving the security of 5G signaling protocols. And building on CSRIC’s earlier work to remove untrusted hardware from our communications and infrastructure and building on lessons learned from the SolarWinds hack, we have a working group looking at the software side of supply chain security.”
Rosenworcel noted that Hurricane Ida knocked cell sites offline in Louisiana, so she wants the group also to make progress on the resiliency of communications networks. “We’ve got a working group to look at improving 911 — specifically 911 service over Wi-Fi. And we have yet another working group that will be looking at ways to improve Wireless Emergency Alerts.”
She called this “a to-do list of security challenges that we already know about,” and she asked the members of the group to be “on the lookout for threats that are just around the bend.”
Sectors represented on the group include local emergency officials, transportation, wireless and broadband companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, chip makers, public broadcasting and government agencies.
A group of over two dozen U.S. Senators are urging President Biden to designate acting FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel to a permanent position, making her the first woman to hold the office.
The chairmanship of the commission has been in limbo since Biden was sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2021, with Rosenworcel operating in acting capacity. Some of the group of Democratic Senators (and one Independent, Angus King of Maine) noted that they had voiced their support in a similar letter to Biden after he was declared winner of the 2020 election and said having a permanent chair is important, in light of Congressional efforts to provide funding for expanded broadband access nationwide as well as address the impacts of the 18+ month pandemic, part of the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021,” now being considered by the House.
“Given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure all people have access to broadband, it is absolutely essential that there are trusted, qualified appointees leading these agencies to coordinate the deployment effort across your administration” the senators — representing 17 states — wrote in a letter to the president.
They asked President Biden to appoint her to the chairmanship “as quickly as possible,” adding that “further delay simply puts at risk the major broadband goals that we share and that Congress has worked hard to advance as part of your administration’s agenda.”
They added that Rosenworcel is the best person for the job.
“There is no better qualified or more competent person to lead the FCC at this important time than Acting Chair Rosenworcel,” the senators said. “We have long experience working with her and her team, and she has already shown an ability to steer the FCC through these extraordinary and difficult times. Importantly, we believe that Acting Chair Rosenworcel will face few obstacles to her confirmation.”
The delay in appointing a permanent FCC chair is “the longest in 44 years,” according to Telecom TV. Capitol Hill pundits speculate that the delay could surround the administration’s indecision on whether to have the commission’s first female chair or whether or not to nominate an African-American to the position.
The post Senators Urge President Biden to Make Rosenworcel Official FCC Chair appeared first on Radio World.
The Federal Communications Commission has extended the due date for FY 2021 regulatory fees to Monday night Sept. 27.
It’s a three-day extension and it applies to all annual regulatory fee payors. The announcement did not provide a reason.
Fees have been in the news in our industry because the commission had planned to raise them for most radio and TV stations, but it backed away from that after getting strong pushback from the industry.
[Related: “Broadcasters Get a Win on Regulatory Fees”]
Katie Hoyt was been named market president for Salisbury, Md., by iHeartMedia.
She reports to Brit Goldstein, area president for iHeartMedia Pennsylvania, whom she succeeds in the role. Goldstein was promoted in early 2020 but until now has retained the Salisbury reins as well.
Hoyt was senior vice president of sales in that market. In the announcement, Goldstein says Hoyt “has done an incomparable job inspiring and leading the Salisbury sales team.”
She is former regional digital sales manager for MediaOnePA, part of Gannett/USA Today, as well as former sales manager for Hanover/York, Pa., for the same organization, where she began her media career.
The iHeart Salisbury market on the Eastern Shore of the state comprises four FM and two AM stations as well as live events, data and digital businesses and platforms.
Send news of engineering and executive personnel changes to email@example.com.
ENCO’s business started with computer-based process control for critical industrial applications in the early 1980s, but it soon focused that technical expertise on broadcasting. In 1991 its first digital audio delivery system, DAD, replaced manual cart systems commonly used to sequence and play audio content.
Bill Bennett is media solutions account manager. This is excerpted from a recent ebook.Bill Bennett
Radio World: How has the pandemic experience changed workflows for your clients?
Bill Bennett: Historically, most radio production has been done in the studio, with someone directly iterating with their DAD system at the station. And over the course of a day, that could be perhaps 10 different people needing access to a production or on-air system at different times.
Then suddenly, all these people are working from their homes, but the station can’t have eight or 10 separate DAD physical installations located at each of their homes. That’s one of the examples where WebDAD shines, as it’s a browser-based remote control client, allowing those remote users to connect via VPN back to the main DAD systems at the studio, and keep focused on churning out their content, whether they have a PC or Mac.
RW: Are there new capabilities that have come to the fore?This article is excerpted from the ebook “Automation: The Next Phase.” Click the cover to read it.
Bennett: ENCO users are finding new ways to work while remote or mobile, with our HTML-5 based mobile automation solution called WebDAD, which allows for native remote control of our DAD automation system over the public Internet via VPN connection. It’s also a great resource when using part-time talent who need only limited access to some systems or only at certain times.
WebDAD allows users to access to the most popular DAD features remotely via Web browser, whether down the hall or across the country, making it a key component for today’s decentralized radio workforce.
It gives them native connectivity and remote control of their DAD system, where they can do things like library and playlist maintenance, change up their content live with array panels, perform voicetracking, upload audio files, edit heads and tails, and more.
RW: What have manufacturers learned that might affect future designs?
Bennett: The customer more than ever is ready to trust the cloud for storage, playout, automation, and for the sharing of audio and video assets, as well as collaborate on shared documents, notes and rundowns.
Pre-COVID, a lot of radio stations still used a more simplified methodology, not wanting or needing to adopt a Cloud or Internet-based solutions. But the pandemic changed everything and they instantly required it.
Many manufacturers, including ENCO, have been saying, “We have been building out this elegant, flexible way to gain native remote access to your playout over a IP network from a simple web browser” And people were already becoming familiar with Web-based editing of documents collaboratively via products by Google, Microsoft Office and so on, so that’s been helpful to grease the skids in radio production workflows.
The customer is learning there’re many different ways to produce a show, both live and tracked from different locations, literally without skipping a beat now.
RW: What is the role of virtualization?
Bennett: Virtualization is a term used a lot these days. With ENCO’s products, it means a powerful path forward, allowing customers to do things such as build fault-tolerant radio automation solutions that are dynamically scalable, more immune to security threats, and are easier to maintain with lower cost of ownership. Same with our WebDAD product – that virtualizes a DAD playout & automation environment allowing radio talent to build and track their productions from locations far away from the physical DAD installation, securely. It really opens up a whole new set of flexible options for the production folks.
If a broadcaster has to change playout sources from physical studios to a cloud-based instance, perhaps for disaster recovery, if they have a cloud-based playout system in-sync with that — for example, ENCO has our DAD DR solution — that cloud-based system is controlling what’s on the air and feeding the transmitter and streaming end points or streaming CDNs.
And now with Zoom, Skype and the rest, it’s possible to have a fairly high-fidelity audio interview with people all over the world at the same time, where they can see each other’s reactions – then you’ve built a kind of virtual studio at that point, which is super flexible.
RW: Will automation and related software systems move fully to the cloud?
Bennett: Enthusiastically, yes. I am certain we are going to see a mix of hybrid solutions as well as fully cloud-based solutions.
The best for most broadcasters probably is a hybrid solution. But one of the coolest things about the cloud is that you can access your playout securely from anywhere on the web; and your systems are also automatically being backed up for you at the data center, so you’ve got some redundancy built into your cloud system that you may not be able to have at the station (or may lose, if a terrible disaster happens at the station).
RW: Are there special configurations that people are asking for?
Bennett: Yes for sure – for one, they want their remote workers to have access to their on-air systems, and WebDAD brings that to the table. Their staff keeps connected with a familiar interface, from the comfort of their Web browser at home. Also, for those who are at the station but need to keep physically distanced, WebDAD can be installed on computers throughout the station, allowing production staff to access DAD to manage playlists and so forth, without having to go in and out of studios where others have been.
Another is ENCO’s automated speech-to-text captioning product called enCaption. It makes live voice interviews accessible to the hard of hearing and deaf communities by creating real-time captions of what’s spoken on the air, which can then be delivered to the radio broadcaster’s Website in real time.
RW: Are there customers doing particularly interesting or notable things right now?
Bennett: We have a customer in California that has a full DAD solution in the cloud, running six concurrent radio stations, all hosted on Amazon Web Services and using WebDAD to control it.
There are zero physical facilities, it’s all cloud playout. That’s six live concurrent stations that access the playout system from anywhere on the internet. They just need a WebDAD client on the browser and the login back to the main system in the cloud and they can control what’s on the air.
And we’ve got a customer, again on the West Coast, using our video playback platform ClipFire to generate dynamic graphics for news, weather bugs and icons and to squeeze the video in and out of the frame or enlarge and shrink the video to make the graphic sit better. It’s an automated way to help a broadcaster put more contemporaneous texts, news data and crawls into their linear broadcast channel. It’s neat for radio because of the evolving space around visual radio.
Taking advantage of the burgeoning remote/work-from-home market, Studio Technologies has designed the Model 209 talent console.
The 209 is a creature of the Ethernet/IP audio world, operating PoE. It has 48 V phantom power, a headphones output along with a level control plus a talkback/cough button.
The Model 209 is compatible with AES67 and Dante audio-over-Ethernet technology as well as compatible with Audinate’s Dante Domain Manager. Additional compatibility is with Yellowtec m!ka microphone mounts and booms and Studio Technologies STcontroller app for Windows and Mac. STcontroller controls functions such as mic level, phantom power and tally controls.
Studio Technologies President Gordon Kapes said, “While originally designed for podcasters, the Model 209 is truly an ‘all-Dante’ solution that can deliver excellent audio in many modern broadcast applications.”
Send your new equipment news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you had registered to attend the 2021 NAB Show that was supposed to take place this October, you can expect to receive a notice that your registration has rolled over to the spring show automatically.
The rollover is for the same attendance package or value.
A spokesperson for the association said that if attendees prefer a refund, they can obtain one by request through March 22.
The 2021 NAB Show had been set for October but was cancelled on Sept. 15 because of the ongoing pandemic. The 2022 convention is scheduled for April 23 to 27.
Meanwhile the AES Show, which had planned to colocate with NAB, now will be done online; program details have been posted.
Joan Warner, the CEO of Commercial Radio Australia, will step down early next year.
“The search for a replacement CEO will commence immediately with the aim of a new CEO taking up the position during the first quarter of 2022,” the organization stated in an announcement.
It said she originally intended to leave at the end of December but will stay another three months to allow a more comprehensive search.
“There are also major projects with which the board has asked I continue to assist in the early implementation stages and to ensure a smooth and seamless handover to the incoming CEO.”
This past July was her 20th anniversary in the CEO position. CRA represents the interests of commercial radio broadcasters in the country. Known as the Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters when Warner started, it changed its name to Commercial Radio Australia Limited in 2002.
The announcement was made by CRA Chair Grant Blackley, who said Warner has had “a substantial and meaningful impact on CRA and the industry over the past two decades and has worked tirelessly to advance the strategic imperatives for a healthy and vibrant radio industry.
“The radio industry has recovered well from the COVID impact and is gaining further momentum with a renewed commercial approach at industry level to drive increased share of advertising to radio,” Blackley said.
He noted that CRA recently announced an important change in radio measurement. “The Australian metropolitan radio ratings will undergo a major revolution in response to the rapid digitization of audio consumption in Australia, with live streaming data to be integrated into a new multimillion dollar hybrid measurement system.
“There is an extensive amount of work already underway across industry integration with smart speakers and connected cars, an improved and comprehensive all-of-industry automated trading platform to be implemented in 2022, and the continued maturity and acceleration of both podcasting and audio streaming platforms.”
The website The Industry Obsesrver wrote, “During her tenure, Warner was responsible for the planning, rollout and implementation of DAB+ digital radio in the five metro capitals, covering up to 60% of the natation population, and the subsequent push into regional Australia … Her relationship with creatives, rightsholders and the state-funded triple j network was, at times, frosty.”
[Related: Read Radio World’s interview with Warner about DAB+ in Australia in our recent free ebook.]
A Swiss company that specializes in small-scale DAB has created a U.K. business to apply for multiplex licenses there.
Digris Switzerland said it incorporated digris Limited in partnership with Rash Mustapha, a former senior technologist at British communications regulator Ofcom. It says Mustapha is credited with developing small-scale DAB in the U.K.
In addition to applying for licenses, the new entity will offer managed services for radio stations and other network operators.
“Digris Switzerland is also not altogether unknown, being developers of the software-based distribution platform of Opendigitalradio, which enables smaller radio stations to broadcast digitally,” Digris stated in an email.
“This distribution concept, known as small-scale DAB, has now established itself throughout Europe. The company’s cost-oriented approach is favorable to media diversity and an open information society. Digris is also a network operator and operates small-scale DAB+ networks as both single-frequency and multifrequency networks in Switzerland and France since 2014.”
Mustapha was named chief technology officer and will lead digris Limited in the UK.
He was quoted in the announcement: “The opportunity now being presented is a step-change from what has been tested in the trials. We’re expecting to see lots of single-frequency networks and there simply isn’t enough experienced technical resource out there to build so many, and then support them adequately at scale. I’m obviously very keen for small-scale DAB to be a success and I know, with digris, it can be.”
Digris says it broadcasts 60% of the DAB+ radio services in Switzerland and France.
Small-scale DAB is described as a low-cost route for local commercial, community and specialist music services to broadcast on terrestrial digital radio to a relatively small area. According to Ofcom, a number of small-scale DAB multiplexes have been running on a trial basis over the past five years, but the regulator is now advertising non-trial small-scale radio multiplex licenses.
Codec, hybrid and headend manufacturer AVT has announced the coming availability of a Ravenna module for select products, notably in its Magic family.
The company explains, “The Magic Ravenna module is initially available for the most powerful VoIP telephone hybrid system, Magic THipPro. In the coming months the integration for the Quad DAB+ encoder, Magic AE4, and the DAB ensemble multiplexer, Magic DABMUX plus, will follow.”
AVT adds that AES67 and SMPTE ST 2110-30/31 standards are supported, for easing compatibility with other systems plus steam redundancy via ST 2022-7 standards.
AVT Sales and Marketing Manager Annemarie Hübner said, “We are pleased that the module supports the NMOS specifications for Discovery & Registration as well as Device Connection Management, so that integration into large AoIP networks can be significantly simplified.”
AVT has had Dante-compatibility in select products for a few years.
Send your new equipment news to email@example.com.
The author is chairman of the Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium.
It was very interesting to read the article researched and penned by James Careless “Shortwave Radios Keep Up With Tech” in Radio World.
It was also high time to address the issue of SW transmissions, just when the death of radio and of shortwave, and even medium-wave, is being ventilated again, while the progress of streaming and podcasting is hugely hyped, again trumping global realities.
Maybe stressing the actual huge size of SW listening would have benefitted the article.
BBC World Service alone has an estimated weekly audience of 269 million, with radio delivering around 150 million. This top international broadcaster has 200 transmitter sites, of which four are high-power AM, with 12 others hired. Content is distributed to 800 locations globally (often using SW) for direct broadcast or inclusion in partner broadcasts. And AM services reach many tens of millions across Africa and Middle East, the future potential audience of DRM shortwave as well.
The Radio World piece was clearly aimed mainly at the enthusiasts, as indicated by the receiver prices mentioned. The average non-enthusiast listener who has a laptop with connectivity would probably just listen to radio via the internet.
There is definitely merit in portable SDRs, which (depending on price) will likely keep some of the audiences and make it easy for them to pick up analog shortwave but also DRM. India, China, Russia, U.K., even Brazil, Pakistan and other countries are testing, broadcasting or seriously considering shortwave DRM at the moment.
The natural and only son of analog SW, DRM, with its huge spectrum, energy and audio quality advantages, does not get a mention in the article, though. This is definitely a missed opportunity, as some of the big public broadcasters mentioned — BBC, All India Radio, Radio Romania etc. — are already in this space and report excellent reception and increasing listenership.
Most of the new DRM receiver solutions cater for both the analog and digital versions of shortwave reception. Work is afoot to deliver more affordable receivers aimed precisely at the huge and less affluent shortwave markets of Africa and Asia.
Marketron on Wednesday continued to work toward a resolution of the apparent ransomware attack that took down most of its systems over the weekend.
It told clients that “significant progress has been made toward restoring service for Marketron Traffic and Visual Traffic customers” and that it expected to begin a rollout of restored services Wednesday evening.
“With assistance from our third-party remediation and restoration specialists and forensic investigators, we have prepared an entirely new environment to begin safely and securely restoring services and data,” it said in an email Wednesday afternoon.
“Customers will have services restored on a rolling basis in phases as we work to move to this environment. Once moved to this location, all users from your market location/database will be restored simultaneously.”
It expected this process to take several days.
Marketron told users that they’d receive an email when it was time for account service to be restored, with instructions.
“In addition to restoration of services, your data will also be restored,” with information current only to Saturday morning Sept. 18. “You will need to take steps to reconcile log information between Sept. 18 and the time your account is restored. Recommendations for the reconciliation process are on the status page.”
The attack reportedly was made by the Russian criminal entity BlackMatter.
As of midday Wednesday, the services that remained down were Marketron Traffic, Visual Traffic, Marketron Electronic Services for all traffic clients; Advertiser Portal; Traffic Portal; Insight; RepPak; Marketron NXT; and Marketron Learning Center.
The company serves approximately 6,000 media organizations.
The post Marketron Plans Re-Rollout After Ransomware Attack appeared first on Radio World.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wireless microphone system maker Shure has issued a firmware update for the recently released ADX5D wireless receiver.
Now available in the dual-channel portable receiver is a party dial feature that enables users to enables users to
Construct a custom group of frequencies, for instance open channels at a venue, and rapidly move between them.
In addition, the menu structure has been “optimized” to make frequently used features closer to each other and shortcuts are dedicated to most popular items.
Send your new equipment news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Copyright Royalty Board judges on Monday issued the public version of their final determination for webcasting royalty rates and terms.
Those are the royalty rates for webcasters that stream sound recordings from 2021 through 2025. This is one of the final steps in the process of implementing rates that we told you about earlier.
The document released by the judges is a deep dive into a legalistic discussion over how rates for entities like Spotify, AM/FM broadcasters, colleges and other streamers are calculated. The public version of their document is available here. Some confidential information has been redacted.
The document includes an extensive discussion of why the judges rejected the NAB’s idea that simulcasters should pay lower rates. They ruled that simulcasters and other commercial
webcasters “compete in the same submarket and should be subject to the same rate.
Granting simulcasters differential royalty treatment would distort competition in this submarket,
promoting one business model at the expense of others.” (That discussion starts on page 218 of the document.)
The rate for commercial subscription services in 2021 is $0.0026 per performance. The
rate for commercial nonsubscription services in 2021 is $0.0021 per performance. Subsequent rates will change based on a Consumer Price Index.
Noncommercial webcasters that don’t exceed a certain total number of tuning hours per month have a flat rate of $1,000 annually for each station or channel.
Public broadcasters and certain educational webcasters previously reached their own separate rate settlements for the five-year period with SoundExchange; the CRB approved those last year.
The DRM Consortium is characterizing its own data from recent FM-band trials in India as “extremely positive and very encouraging.”
Digital Radio Mondiale is one of two digital systems being considered by AIR (All India Radio) for local and regional services on the country’s FM band. HD Radio is the other platform in the running.
AIR is expected to make a recommendation to the country’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Tests and trials of DRM were done in February and March.
The AIR R&D organization did its own measurements but the DRM Consortium says it took measurements too. “While the final official recommendation of the AIR Committee is still awaited, the DRM Consortium has gathered and visualized the data and measurements it recorded in parallel with AIR in New Delhi and Jaipur,” the consortium said in an announcement Monday.
“The measurements clearly demonstrate that DRM as the global all-bands digital radio standard can deliver an unmatched number of digital audio services in the given spectrum (up to three audio plus one multimedia service per DRM signal block), while allowing for maximum utilization of the FM band spectrum (with every DRM signal occupying only 96 kHz spectrum bandwidth, half the bandwidth analog FM requires for a single audio service).”
It said that the trial confirmed that DRM transmissions would not interfere with ongoing analog FM services. “Also, DRM as a pure-digital radio standard proved its ability to efficiently broadcast multiple DRM signals side by side from a single transmitter (multi-DRM transmitter configuration), and for operating in flexible configurations alongside an analog FM signal from the same transmitter (simulcast transmitter configuration).”
Further, it said DRM could deliver Journaline advanced text service in multiple languages, “to be ready for delivering Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF with CAP interface), and to efficiently enable traffic, travel and online teaching services over broadcast, without requiring internet connectivity.”
DRM said reception in the FM band was demonstrated on various receivers of various types including car receivers and mobile phones. “It was proven that existing receiver models, already supporting DRM in the AM bands as adopted by India, can support DRM in all bands by a simple firmware upgrade without hardware modifications.”
The consortium has posted its overview of these findings (PDF).
All Marketron services were offline as of Monday morning due to a “cyber event.”
Whether this was the result of an attack or another kind of issue is unclear, though the company is using a cybersecurity firm to resolve it. It wrote overnight on its website that it had invested heavily in recent years “to prevent a situation like this.”
This is a significant outage, given that the company serves approximately 6,000 media organizations and, according to its website, manages $5 billion in annual U.S. advertising revenue.
The company’s products include sales and traffic management software tools used by broadcast and media organizations.
“Marketron is experiencing a cyber event, which is impacting certain business operations,” the company wrote in a tech update on its website.
“Currently, all Marketron customers may experience an interruption in services as a result.”
As of 9:30 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, all Marketron services were offline.
Marketron Traffic, Visual Traffic Cloud, Exchange and Advertiser Portal were all affected. The company said it decided to take down RadioTraffic and RepPak as well “out of an abundance of caution.” Its Pitch platform was not affected.
The company wrote that it had been unable so far to confirm the root cause of the problem and that it was working to identify the scope of the event and whether there was any threat to customer data.
“Marketron and an industry leading third-party cybersecurity firm are working around the clock to restore service. Our only priority as a business is to get your business up and running. We hope to have a better sense of timelines on Monday morning.
“We understand that any impact to your business is unacceptable.”