At the FCC, Sanford Williams will take a senior leadership position in the Office of Managing Director as its deputy managing director.
He most recently was director of the commission’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities.
Succeeding him in the latter role is Joy Ragsdale, who currently is field counsel in the Enforcement Bureau.
The announcement was made by FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. She said both have put in years of service at the commission.Joy Ragsdale
As head of OCBO, Williams “spearheaded work to promote digital empowerment, inclusion, equity and diversity in the tech sector.”
At the Enforcement Bureau, Joy Ragsdale worked with field agents on various investigations including broadcast station operations, EAS regulation and pirate radio.
Williams will also continue as a special advisor to Rosenworcel.
Marketron says service has been restored to all of its traffic customers, following the ransomware attack that took its platforms down the weekend before last.
Those customers now have access to all of the data that was in the platform as of Saturday morning Sept. 18.
“Some business services, such as electronic invoicing and payments remain impacted; however, customers should be able to build to conduct their traffic operations. Our teams remain focused on fully restoring all services,” Vice President of Growth Marketing Bo Bandy wrote in an email on Sept. 25.
The image above shows the Marketron service status board as of Monday morning Sept. 25.
The company has posted a series of recommendations for clients whose service has been restored.
Bandy also said Marketron has hired forensic investigators and cybersecurity firms “to stand up an entirely new network environment, a gold standard in recovery from a security perspective. With the assistance of our third-party specialists, a state-of-the-art end point detection and response tool has been deployed to the environment, which is continuously monitored around the clock by security professionals.”
Radio World presents a special webcast in which five technology vendors provide a fast-paced look at their newest offerings.
Representatives of RCS, Wheatstone, WorldCast Systems, Telos Alliance and Comrex talk with RW Editor in Chief Paul McLane about their new product introductions.
Paul will also update you on several stories that Radio World has been following including drones in radio, trends in shortwave, computational FM antenna pattern modeling and more.
Especially in light of the cancellation of several major trade shows, it’s important to stay on top of new products and technology.
The free webcast streams on Sept. 30 and is available on demand after that date.
Among the many things disrupted by COVID-19 is the opportunity for the National Association of Broadcasters to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its Broadcast Engineering & IT Conference.
Radio and TV techies will have to wait another half-year to gather in person again now that the 2021 NAB Show has been cancelled. But knowing the interest that our readers have in this topic, here’s our interview about the history of the engineering conference with NAB Senior Vice President, Technology Lynn Claudy.
Radio World: How did the BEITC get started?
Lynn Claudy: NAB consultant and former staffer Skip Pizzi wrote a NAB PILOT blog about this very subject in early August at nabpilot.org. Here’s an excerpt:
“The year: 1947. The place: Atlantic City, N.J. The event: The first NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference (BEC) — subsequently renamed the Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology (BEIT) Conference — held continuously on an annual basis thereafter, making the 2021 BEIT Conference the 75th such event.
“Prior to this conference, NAB’s Engineering department had collaborated with the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), the University of Illinois and Ohio State University to produce a standalone broadcast engineering conference hosted by the universities, dating back to 1938. That event was curtailed after the 1942 program due to World War II, and NAB was involved again when it restarted in 1946.FM pioneer Major Edwin Armstrong was among the speakers at the inaugural engineering conference. Courtesy John Schneider.
“But the following year NAB decided to launch its own engineering conference, to be held in conjunction with the 25th NAB Convention in Atlantic City, and the NAB BEC was born. Among the presentations there was a demonstration of ‘Unusually High Frequencies in FM Relays’ by Major Edwin Armstrong.
“The first BEC was a one-day event, held on Sept. 15, 1947, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, renowned for its many years as the site of the Miss America Pageant. The conference grew to two days at the 1948 NAB Convention in Los Angeles, expanded to three days the following year and settled on a four-day length at the 1950 show in Chicago. It later expanded to a fifth day when partner content was added, a length it currently maintains.
“That growth over the years indicates the conference’s popularity, and historically it has had the highest attendance — and the greatest longevity — of any NAB Show educational offerings.”
RW: Lynn, who conceived it and who were the early drivers of its success?
Claudy: Much of the thinking and strategy behind launching the Broadcast Engineering Conference may be lost to antiquity, but a lot of credit should go to then-NAB President Judge Justin Miller and NAB Director of Engineering Royal V. Howard.
Miller, a former associate judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, served as NAB president from 1945–1951. Howard, former VP of engineering at KSFO in San Francisco, was director of the engineering department at NAB from 1947 to 1950.
In those early days, questionnaires were sent out to the broadcast engineering community each year seeking guidance as to topics for technical papers for presentation at the NAB Convention. The NAB Conference Committee, which still exists today with a slight name change, supervised the final conference agenda to conform as much as possible to the survey results.
RW: An anecdote from the early days?
Claudy: According to the conference transcripts, the first conference was opened by Royal Howard with the following auspicious statement: “My name is Howard. Most people think that I am the director of engineering for NAB; actually I am the coordinator of confusion.”
Right before lunch, the group was addressed by NAB President Judge Justin Miller, who said: “Mr. Chairman, I am very happy to be with you this morning. I have not been going to most of these clinics, but I felt a particular obligation to the engineers, especially because NAB may seem to have been neglecting you during the last couple of years preceding this one. As a matter of fact, I have always been inclined to regard you folks more or less as the gods of the machines. I confess that if there is anything I do not know about in broadcasting, it is engineering.”
RW: Can you give us sampling of radio technology topics that appeared on the agenda over the years?
Claudy: The BEC and the current BEITC have always, by design, centered on the important topics of the day for broadcast engineers. Because of how papers and presentations are sought out and selected, it has been high on the relevance scale for technologists and engineers attending the show, and a great educational adjunct activity to visiting the exhibits on the show floor.
It’s pretty hard to pick out the important topics at any given point in time. But a sampling of four presentations might be illustrative of the value and, in retrospect, the perspective that the conference has provided over the years:
1. Going back to the first NAB Engineering Conference again, one of the talks was on “FM Broadcast Station Construction” presented by Paul A. DeMars, a consulting engineer with the Raymond Wilmotte organization. He ended his talk with the following, which tells you something about the times:
“We hear a lot about the coming atomic age. There have been a lot of serious and semiserious statements made that because of the vital importance of broadcasting in our national life, broadcasting stations, at least a certain number of the large key ones, may have to be put underground in order to prevent a national panic in the event that our present facilities should be totally wiped out,” he said.
“Possibly the large number of FM stations that are technically feasible and that will in all probability be built scattered all over the U.S. within the next decade may furnish the national service, even in the event of atomic war, that will take the place of the almost impossible problem of putting the old standard facilities underground.”
2. A talk from the 1957 conference titled “The Radio Station of the Future” presented by John M. Haerle with the Collins Radio Company showed a perspective on how radio might be changing in the future. Here are a few of the ideas from that talk, both prescient and otherwise:
“Would it be beyond the realm of possibility to envision a transmitter built in open fashion on the walls of its own building? The entire transmitting plant could be shipped to the site, the walls bolted together in typical prefab fashion and the various circuits joined by terminal boards. Ridiculous? Today, possibly … not in the radio station of the future.” …
“Monitors could be heading for obsolescence. Transmitter crystals have been improved to the point where it is actually true that some modern transmitters are more stable than the companion frequency monitors.” …
“The radio station of the future will eventually use some form or some adaptation of automatic programming. Many point to the operator who is required to be on duty and to the possibility that a so-called ‘robot’ operation would result in programming devoid of personality. Perhaps a compromise will be the semi-automatic operation, in which the operator on duty can select or cue any desired record by pushing a button.”
3. The NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference has long sought reports from standards organization and other groups to report their progress at the annual convention. For radio, the National Radio Systems Committee has been a consistent presence at the conference since the early 1980s, whenever announcements were timely.
Formed in 1958, though, there was another NSRC, which stood for National Stereophonic Radio Committee. At the 1960 conference, C.G. Lloyd, former NSRC chairman, presented the progress of that committee’s quest to deliver stereophonic broadcasting and had just delivered a report to the FCC on the subject. The NSRC had received 14 proposals for FM systems, at least seven for AM and four for TV sound. Each of these broadcast platforms eventually followed different circuitous paths to stereo — 1961 for FM stereo, 1984 for television sound and 1993 for AM stereo — but the NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference helped engineers understand the process from the beginning.
4. Radio has endured many technical controversies, with digital radio being a particularly salient example. At the 1991 NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference, NAB sponsored a demonstration of the Eureka-147 DAB system with transmissions from the top of the H on the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel next to the convention center (now the Westgate) and a repeater installed on the roof of the Golden Nugget Hotel downtown. A 40-seat bus fitted with a receiver and headphones drove attendees around Las Vegas showing the consistently crystal-clear audio quality of the system.
At the Broadcast Engineering Conference, an entire afternoon was devoted to the different technical approaches to digital broadcasting, Eureka-147 included, but also a presentation from Paul Donahue from Gannett Broadcasting and Tony Masiello from CBS titled “Project Acorn: Compatible DAB.”
Those who have been around awhile or studied radio history will recognize that this was the original concept for the system that eventually became HD Radio. At the time, NAB had officially endorsed the Eureka-147 DAB system and was favoring an allocation for DAB in the L-band. This issue was hotly debated at the 1991 convention at various levels, and of course, in-band, on-channel technology eventually won the argument for NAB and for U.S. broadcasters.
It’s notable, though, that the Broadcast Engineering Conference program did attempt to present all sides of the proponent technologies and kept the politics to a minimum, as the advocates had a forum where they could plead their respective cases on a technical basis.
RW: How is the BEITC different today?
Claudy: The conference has moved with the times, such as adding “Information Technology” to the title of the Broadcast Engineering Conference, recognizing the importance of IT skills in the modern broadcast plant.
Other than that, NAB Technology still has a committee of broadcast engineers that meets several times a year, albeit virtually these days, to organize topics, review papers, assign session chairpersons and so forth, all the things that go into planning a top notch technical conference.
This year the chair of the BEITC Committee was Jim DeChant, vice president, technology at News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting.
We also work with partner organizations including the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) to provide program content that will be relevant to the BEITC audience.
RW: Describe how BEITC content is found and chosen today, and by whom.
Claudy: In a normal year, a call for papers is released in the fall, and the BEITC committee and NAB Technology staff review the submissions and accept papers that will be presented late in the year.
Papers that will be published in the proceedings must be submitted by mid or late January. We will typically get submissions that would occupy at least twice the space that we can accommodate, so it’s a pretty competitive process. If there ends up being gaps in the program, or important topics identified where there weren’t any submissions, NAB Technology staff may solicit additional speakers.
Regarding Larry Langford’s commentary “Sweeten the Pot to Entice AM Digital”:
My initial concern is what a 100% digital signal will do to co-channel and first-adjacent stations who are operating in analog with listeners in the fringe. Should these analog AM stations be given compensation for the loss of coverage? Should they be given companion channels of operation to replace lost coverage?
I still recall a rather contentious debate in a broadcast list some decade or more ago. The CE of a Class 1B station was bragging about his IBOC, while some people were complaining about how it chewed up analog stations some 100 to 400 miles away at night. The fellow justified the use of power and propagation as being “necessary to cover the station’s market area, roughly 45 miles in radius.”
So to cover a 45-mile radius of market, we have to ruin a 400-mile radius of spectrum? Isn’t this like playing your 250-watt stereo at full volume in an apartment complex because you’re deaf and unconcerned that it’s bothering the neighbors?
I still think that in the scope of protecting what we have and need for public service, the FCC should revise the frequency tables, using the recent incentive auction as a model.
Move TV broadcasters out of Channels 5 and 6. Allot that spectrum to digital radio broadcasters with a caveat that after five years on the air, they surrender their analog service. Mandate that all new radios (especially mobile) be outfitted with the new DM band. And since most 1A/1B broadcasters see no financial value in long-distance transmission, cap all transmissions to provide a 45-mile radius.
Working the math, you could get all the wannabe digital stations into the new band, and over time analog would pass. However it won’t be killed off by those wanting digital more than the need of listeners wanting analog.
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We seem to be headed down two tracks on our way to the broadcast facility of the future.Phil Owens
One is the appliance track, where we are migrating away from the model of apps running on a Windows PC and moving functions instead onto one dedicated appliance that isn’t subject to the finicky PC.
These are generally specialized AoIP or automation appliances that are Linux-based and therefore do not require Windows drivers, updates or PCs. Good examples are streaming appliances like Streamblade or Wheatstream that replace multiple PCs by putting everything streaming related into one AoIP Linux appliance.
The other is the app track, which takes us to the cloud and away from hardware in the rack room.
Here, we are offloading functions to the cloud where they can be remotely reconfigured, maintained and provisioned on a case-by-case basis. At its most ideal, centralized cloud-based applications will give us the ability to dial up encoding, IFB, routing, mixing, playback and even the kind of console needed for a given show or operator skill level.
Wheatstone, Xperi and other broadcast product makers are working on cloud-based apps using cloud technologies such as container platforms like Docker that will make it possible to transition from the entirely fixed-location studio to a more virtual operation.
Already, many of these apps exist. We know of broadcasters who are containing audio drivers in a virtual machine onsite in preparation of eventually offloading that part of their operation to the cloud and others who are putting multiple studio workflows from multiple locations in a one-stop virtual interface.
Moving it all to the cloud can downsize space requirements in the rack room and shift engineering management to an offsite provider. Eliminating any piece of gear in the air chain along with its connectors and potential points of failure is a good thing, and that goes for specialized appliances too, because these can replace more generic PC-based functions and also reduce space requirements and engineering management.Coexistence
There are advantages and disadvantages of both the cloud-based app model and the appliance model.
Offloading functions to Microsoft, Amazon or other cloud provider takes away the cost and upkeep of hardware in the rack room but leaves you subject to third-party vulnerabilities. On the other track, having an appliance onsite gives you some of the consolidation benefits of an all-in-one rack unit similar to the cloud model, although at the additional expense of on-premise infrastructure and upkeep.
It doesn’t have to be one way or another, fortunately. There are many different ways to divide and subdivide that signal chain between functions in the cloud and functions onsite in an appliance.
For example, it’s possible to have automation and mixing functions in the cloud but maintain control from a local virtual or hardware interface. If your playback is being done mostly off a cloud server, you might have a virtual control surface in the studio that is talking to a mix engine in the cloud. Similarly, you could also be receiving your mic audio from a codec that’s in the cloud.
More likely, the broadcast facility of the future will use a combination of both: appliances for consolidating functions into a single 1RU box that eliminates a bank of Windows PCs yet the use of cloud for shared mixing, routing or removes streaming and automation without the real estate, upkeep and of the Windows PC.
We’ll likely arrive at the future broadcast facility from both tracks, and not entirely from one or the other.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.