Congress Weighs In On EAS
By Tom Smith
A draft of a bill has been introduced in the US Senate to extend the EAS system in both how it is received and who can require its use. The bill would require all broadcast licensees engaged in digital broadcasting to transmit any emergency alert that comes from the President, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Governor of the state that the station is located in. The bill would also establish a National Program Office within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
One requirement of this proposed office would be that the director would have to have five years operational experience in the management and issuing of warnings and alerts, hazardous event management or disaster planning. The bill seems clear that they do not want a repeat of Katrina with the problems of an appointee like Michael Brown. The director would be required to work with the FCC to ensure that the system complements the current emergency alert system. By placing the office with NOAA, this bill would ensure that it would work with the National Weather Service and the Hurricane Center in Miami.
The bill calls for the system to be an all-alert system to alert the public to any imminent threat from natural disasters, accidents, and terrorist activity. The system would coordinate and supplement existing warning and alert systems, and transmit alerts to the widest variety of media. That would include analog and digital radio and TV, cable, satellite TV and radio, and wireless and hardwire telecommunications.
The bill would require the director of this new office to implement procedures that would make the system available to credentialed personnel to access and utilize the system, to provide alerts to specific geographic areas. The EAS system would be available to state and local officials with a mechanism to verify the legitimacy and authenticity of an alert while guaranteeing the integrity of the system.
This bill is no doubt in response to Hurricane Katrina, and makes proposals similar to the current notice on EAS that the FCC has issued (see FCC Rulemakings). There seems to be a great interest in greater use of the EAS system by government.
Broadcasters should remain alert to both Congress and the FCC and make their input known. It is possible to end up with a more burdensome Emergency Alert System unless limits to possible overuse and conflicting authority are not dealt with in the beginning.
Random Radio Thoughts
A Look Behind
HD Radio receivers did not hit the shelves at the big box stores in the numbers we had hoped for, and at the end of 2005, prices were still high - about $500 for a typical aftermarket auto setup. The eagerly-awaited release of the Radiosophy tabletop HD Radio was postponed several times because of production problems. The latest delay is reportedly due to AM sensitivity problems. The Boston Acoustics tabletop did hit the shelves close to the end of the year. It has so far been met with mixed reviews.
The FCC, still in a state of transition as we begin the New Year, looks a lot different now than it did at the beginning of 2005. We have a new chairman, one empty seat has been filled and there are still openings. Perhaps what's most notable about the FCC in 2005 is what it didn't act on: AM digital nighttime. That piece of the digital transition puzzle is still in the works along with NRSC-5. The FCC also did not act on its own proposal to require broadcasters to record all broadcast material, a proposal that looked to be on the fast track when it was introduced last spring. That's one proposal we all hope will die a quiet death.
A Look Ahead
Receiver prices and availability should improve this year. We should know more after the CES show this month. A lot of what happens in this regard is up to broadcasters. If we aggressively promote this new technology that we have invested so heavily in, consumer demand will drive receiver availability and push prices down.
I think we'll see some interesting formats on the FM multicast channels in 2006. The new HD Radio alliance will insure diversity of formats and promotion of the multicasts.
One thing I'm not predicting is FCC approval of AM nighttime digital broadcasts. While this may well happen on a limited basis, I don't think the FCC is in any hurry to load the staff up with interference complaints.
We can watch for some new and innovative products targeting HD Radio and multicasts. As we get deeper and deeper into this thing, broadcast equipment manufacturers are listening to us and changing their designs to accommodate our needs. I look for all sorts of data applications to come on the market, allowing broadcasters to begin to use some of the available HD Radio data bandwidth for everything from song title/artist to station promotional messages to client/spot-related information.
And finally, I predict that Leonard Kahn will continue to muddy the waters by running down AM HD Radio and promoting his CAM-D system.
On the Air!
The daytime facility is transmitting an HD Radio signal. Because we have been so busy with other things, we haven't spent a lot of time optimizing the digital signal, but it's working. We should get things tuned up better during January. We'll also provide a stereo STL path for the daytime facility, which will make a big difference in the music segments.
If you have news you would like to share with the Rocky Mountain radio engineering community, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All The News About Certification
Last month we talked about the Specialist Certifications and there seemed to be confusion about how they worked! They are additions to 'base certifications' and not intended to be "stand-alone certifications."
Dates to Remember:
The new SBE CertPreview sample certification test software is now available. It's Microsoft Windows-based and replaces the previous DOS-based software. New sample tests are available for Broadcast Technologist, Audio Engineer, Video Engineer, Broadcast Networking Technologist, Broadcast Engineer and Senior Broadcast Engineer in both radio and television. Sample tests include 50 to 100 questions and indicate when an incorrect answer has been given. It provides a list of resources from which to learn more about a subject. Cost for each SBE CERTpreview practice test is $27 plus $3 shipping. Contact the National Office to order a copy.
SBE And ATSC Co-Sponsor Digital Eng Summit
SBE will cosponsor a Digital Electronic News Gathering (D-ENG) Summit with ATSC on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 in Palm Springs, Calif. The half-day seminar will be held in conjunction with the Hollywood Post Alliance Technology Retreat.
Topics will include developments and technical aspects of data return links (DRL), DRL system implementation considerations, advanced codecs and what they mean to D-ENG, HDTV over ENG, a technical primer on COFDM, ENG spectrum issues and frequency coordination.
The Hollywood Post Alliance is a Southern California-based professional community of businesses and individuals who provide expertise, support, tools and the infrastructure for the creation and finishing of motion pictures, television commercials, digital media and other dynamic media content.
To register for the event, visit the ATSC web site at www.atsc.org. The registration fee to attend the D-ENG Summit is $225.
SBE Roundtable Debuts
SBE president, Chriss Scherer, CSRE CBNT has announced a new benefit for members who would like to have a forum for discussing issues related to the broadcast engineering field or SBE. The Society has created the "SBE Roundtable," an e-mail discussion group open to SBE members only.
Members may wish to discuss equipment issues, the latest technology advances or regulatory issues. Participants can also discuss issues regarding their SBE chapter or the national organization. Scherer will serve as moderator for the list. To participate, send your request via e-mail to email@example.com. Include the e-mail address you wish to have subscribed to the list.
Verizon Wireless To Offer Broadcast Television
From Chapter 9 - Phoenix
Los Angeles, Ca.--Verizon Wireless has contracted with Qualcomm as the first mobile phone carrier to offer broadcast television to mobile devices using MediaFlo transmission technology. The service plans to launch in late 2006. The MediaFlo network, the AP reported, is being designed to deliver up to 20 live streaming video channels and 10 audio channels, as well as short video clips, across most of the nation using wireless licenses owned by Qualcomm.
Featuring News, Rumors and Views
When you set down to the ole computer 12 times per year you are essentially dividing a year into 12 steps...wow does this make time appear to go fast. Gee this is the next to last edition in 2005. Seems like only yesterday we were fretting about Y2K.
This is my time of year to travel to the other markets that I work with at Entercom so I am in and out a lot these days. As I sit here in the middle of October I am thinking about my next trip....to Dallas, Texas, for the SBE Fall Board Meeting. For me this will be an especially important time. Not only will I officially become a Fellow in our Society, but I will be sworn in as our next Vice President. I gotta tell ya....When I started my journey as a member of the national BOD some 6 years ago, I had no idea that it would turn into this. It's been a great ride. Once again I highly encourage you to consider getting involved in SBE at not just the local level, but consider putting your name in the hat for a seat at the BOD table. It's really easy and very rewarding. Give me a call if you are interested.
On a recent trip to Western NY I had a chance to have dinner with and pick up a new calendar from Scott Fybush. Scott goes all over the country taking pictures of broadcast towers and each year features a dozen in his calendars. Scott works at WXXI in Rochester, just down the street from Entercom's facility there.
Did you see the story about the bird-kill in Madison, Wi.?. According to an AP story on Oct 10 th some 400 birds were killed one night...Apparently the victims of flying into WMTV's tower guy wires. A task force was formed to see what can be done to avoid more of this...Solutions suggested thus-far include illuminating the guys and changing the flash rates on the tower lights. Wonder if the folks in Everett heard of this one?
Looks like West Tiger is about to have a bit of a shuffle with the announcement that KLSY and KWJZ will be moving east about half a mile to the ATC facility. This will mean a change from a directional antenna to one that is non-directional, along with a modest power reduction. It's also been announced that the stations have purchased a bunch of new equipment from Harris that includes HD Equipment for their Cougar Mountain sited KRWM. Look for this change to take place early next year. This will increase the present number of HD Radio stations from 14 to 17.
Meanwhile over at the Infinity Camp...They are making plans to move their 96.5 operation to the ATC site on West Tiger. When completed this will mean all of their main transmitters will be there and likely the HD total will increase to 18. This leaves KCMS who has apparently licensed to use HD, but no date has been set for actually getting on the air. KCMS would represent the 19 th HD Station in this market. If you are counting stations installing this new technology the total at this writing is 935 licensed and 536 on the air. The rate is increasing.
HD has made it across the pond with reports that it will be tested in Switzerland. Several South American countries have been running tests. Reports are that it's on the air in Brazil. You gotta think that there is a lot of watching going on north of the 49 th.
The Sat-Radio providers continue to duke it out. Now word is that XM is putting some 72 of their radio channels on Direct-TV. This is a good fight to watch.
The FCC is rolling the dice to see what channels will end up in the final alignment ..In some cases stations may end up on their present analog channel...or, worse yet, on a channel that they presently don't occupy. With the Feds being pestered for spectrum for emergency responders you can bet that the pressure is on to get this analog/digital transition to conclusion!
As if we didn't learn anything in the notion that marketplace decision making is a great idea - Now there is the battle of the DVD. Each side is trying to come up with the big endorsement. Most recently Paramount came out in favor of Blu-ray.....Remember Beta and VHS?
How about the announcement from DHS that 10-Codes were out....just to be followed with the word that the Cops could keep them. This all began with a FEMA mandate that agencies should start using plain language so other agencies from other areas could understand each other....Another chapter in the FEMA Saga?
Speaking of which....Lotsa great comments about how Broadcasters responded to the mess on the Gulf Coast. Let's hope that this gets traction where it really counts.
In a bit of interesting timing...It was Entercom's Joe Pollet who did a paper at last year's NAB on emergency preparedness. Little did he know that in less than a year his city would be largely underwater. Joe, with the help of many, kept WWL on the air for many hours giving the residents of the Gulf Coast vital information. Later on Entercom-New Orleans teamed up with Clear Channel to continue the marathon. Before it was over, a number of radio stations were linked in, including one Short Wave broadcaster. Additionally it was streamed on the web. This got a lot of notice in all the right places. What you may not have known is that the folks that orchestrated all of this were operating at the Entercom building on Eastlake here in Seattle. In charge of the technical side, none other than our own Marty Hadfield. Perhaps this next April we can hear Joe tell us all what went right and wrong....It would be a fascinating story. Just be thankful that we here in Western Washington have lots of water...but also an abundance of high ground.
Jerry Kay, legendary Seattle DJ, passed away recently. If you listened to rock & roll on the radio when you were - much - younger, you heard him.
Local test equipment maker Fluke is buying Infrared Solutions.
The Seattle radio ratings battle continues with KMPS still on top by a comfortable margin and the new Jack/96.5 making impressive gains....Could be this is the best 'numbers' generated by the 96.5 frequency in years...and thanks to the M's KOMO is over KIRO.
Down in Portland one of Entercom's stations discovered that someone bypassed their copper ground system and went straight for the liquid gold. They made off with the contents of the stations Aux Generator diesel tank. This should serve as a great reminder that those diesel tanks need to be integrated into the stations alarm system. Recently in Fife some thieves did indeed decide to steal some copper wire...the problem was that the wire was carrying some 55Kv and was in use. In the process one of the thieves was electrocuted as he tried to pull down the power line with a rope.....DUMB!
Pirate radio continues in this area with a couple of FM signals heard...88.3 continues operating from the hill above the south end of Boeing Field...Foreign languages there. I recently heard 87.9 being apparently fed by a CD jukebox in Eastern King County, in this case nothing but music.
From the Walt Lowery newsletter we learn that Kelly Alford has selected Nautel as the provider for a new transmitter for KVI. According to the story, KOMO will also receive a new Nautel. What's unique about this is that the modules between the 5 and 50kW rigs are interchangeable.
I may have mentioned previously, but Bill Reuter passed away, Bill, W7KT, was 98.
Auburn's 1210 has changed call letters, again...Now to KWMG, the KDDS call has moved to 99.3-FM.
Changes in Olympia. KUOW is purchasing KVSN - 1340AM...KPLU is purchasing the former State operated LPFM.
SBE has moved into new territory with the announcement that now over 1000 folks hold the CBNT certification. CBNT started at NAB in 2000. If you work with computers and networking in Broadcasting....Check out CBNT.
Its true...Harris is buying Leitch. Guess this makes my Lietch bag that I carry around the country extra special as the name may well change...no word from Harris about that though.
Amateur Radio News
By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
o FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy has announced that she will exit the Commission December 9. Her tenure already was set to end when the current session of Congress adjourns. Appointed by President George W. Bush to fill an unexpired term, Abernathy, a Republican, has served on the FCC since May 2001 but never was nominated for a full term. In her announcement, Abernathy lauded the FCC's increasing reliance on competition rather than regulation.
"Our largely market-driven approach to advanced services has helped create a vibrant market for new wired and wireless telecommunications products," she said, "and our spectrum reform initiatives have improved our ability to put this scarce resource to its most effective use."
In 2003, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) strongly objected to Abernathy's suggestion that broadband over power line (BPL) technology would contribute to what she described as "broadband Nirvana." Addressing the United Power Line Council's annual conference that year, Abernathy expressed unabashed enthusiasm for BPL and recommended a combination of regulatory restraint and the elimination or substantial modification of existing rules as steps along the "path to Enlightenment."
Earlier this month, President Bush nominated Deborah T. Tate of Tennessee, a Republican, to serve out the remainder of the term of former FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell, which expires June 30, 2007. Under current FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, a Republican who succeeded Powell, the FCC has been operating with four members ever since, and it could be down to three if Tate is not confirmed by the US Senate before Abernathy's departure.
Before her appointment to the FCC, Abernathy was director for government affairs at BroadBand Office Inc. She also previously served as legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Sherrie Marshall and Chairman James Quello. Martin thanked Abernathy for her "dedicated service" on the FCC and wished her well. "I have enjoyed working with Commissioner Abernathy since we joined the Commission together over four years ago," he said. "She has made valuable contributions to the agency during her tenure, and we have all benefited from her extensive knowledge of the communications industry."
The White House this month also reappointed Commissioner Michael J. Copps, a Democrat, for a new five-year term, starting last July 1. That appointment also is subject to Senate confirmation.
o The seventh annual SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) <http://hamradio.noaa.gov/> special event was in progress at press time (December 2-3). Cosponsored by the National Weather Service (NWS) and ARRL, SKYWARN Recognition Day is the Weather Service's way of expressing its appreciation to amateur radio operators for their commitment to helping keep communities safe. During this 24-hour special event, teams of radio amateurs set up stations at local NWS offices to contact other hams across the US and around the world.
"Ham radio operators volunteering as storm spotters are an extremely valuable asset to National Weather Service operations since they are cross-trained in both communications and severe storm recognition," says SRD organizer Scott Mentzer, N0QE, the Meteorologist-In-Charge at the Goodland, Kansas, NWS office, home of WX0GLD.
Last year, 114 NWS offices participated in SRD, logging more than 15,000 contacts during the 24-hour event, says David Floyd, N5DBZ, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at Goodland. The object is for amateur stations to exchange information with as many NWS stations as possible on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6 and 2 meters, and 70 cm. Contacts via repeaters and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) modes, such as EchoLink and IRLP are also welcome.
According to Floyd, in typical SKYWARN operations during severe weather, direct communication between mobile spotters and local NWS offices provides critical "ground truth" information for forecasters. "Spotter reports of hail size, wind damage and surface-based rotation in real time greatly assist the radar warning operator, since that information can be correlated with Doppler radar displays," he says. The result may be a more strongly worded statement to convey greater urgency or issue a tornado warning a few minutes earlier than would otherwise have been possible.
"While NWS offices utilize the real-time reporting of severe weather events to assist in warning operations, hurricanes Katrina and Rita have shown us that ham radio operators are equally important during the recovery phase of natural disasters," Floyd points out.
Floyd also cites the example of the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on 14.325 MHz. He notes that the HWN, which organized in 1965 during Hurricane Betsy, started out as an informal group of amateurs but has since developed a more formal relationship with the National Hurricane Center in Miami via its Amateur Radio station WX4NHC (formerly W4EHW). HWN ham radio members and volunteers at WX4NHC work together when hurricanes threaten, to provide real-time weather data and damage reports to NHC forecasters.
Some 75 NWS offices in the US were planning to participate along with the Prairie Storm Prediction Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
(Excerpts from the American Radio Relay League's www.arrl.org web site)
New Award To Recognize Women In Engineering
The contributions of women in the field of broadcast engineering with a new award cosponsored by SBE and the American Woman in Radio and Television (AWRT) association. The award, called the, "Outstanding Woman in Broadcast Engineering," will be presented to the recipient during AWRT's Leadership Summit, Friday, March 10, 2006 in Washington, D.C. Several members of SBE are helping to draft the criteria for the award and will participate with members of AWRT in the selection of the winner.
The award is open to members of SBE and AWRT. Nomination forms will be available on the two organization's web sites in late December. The deadline for nominations will be the end of January.
House & Senate To Create Compromise Version Of DTV Bills
From Phoenix Chapter 9
Washington, D.C.--Now that both the House and Senate have passed different versions of DTV legislation, the next step in the legislative process is reconciliation. A group of legislators from both bodies will meet in a conference room to create a compromise version of the two bills that can pass in both bodies. Their deliberations will be behind closed doors.
Compromise, however, will not be simple. The legislation that would end analog television is part of a major budget bill that could be derailed over issues that have nothing to do with television. In fact, the House passed the bill on Nov. 18, by a vote of 217-215.
As to DTV, the House version sets Dec. 31, 2008, as the date to switch off analog television. The Senate version sets April 7, 2009, as the date to switch it off. The House bill provides $990 million to subsidize digital-to-analog conversion boxes to owners of older TV sets unable to receive digital signals. The Senate version calls for $3 billion in subsidies.
There are other sticking points. The House version would require broadcasters to provide more than $5 billion in on-air promotion for DTV. The Senate version doesn't. The House allows cable TV operators to downconvert HD broadcast transmission to standard definition for five years after the transition. It would also require most cable TV operators to carry analog and digital versions of primary, must-carry broadcast signals. This, the House hopes, would eliminate much of the demand for converter boxes. Neither bill addresses the multichannel mustcarry issue. No dates have been specified for reconciliation of the bills. senate.gov
How Is Your Reception?
Thanks to Phoenix Chapter 9
Why can't I get a good picture like my neighbors do? How do I get local news on DTV? How will digital television be different than the current analog television? Will I Need a New TV? Why are we switching to DTV? How do I get DTV or HDTV? Should I upgrade to DTV this year?
Viewers are calling in to get answers about the DTV Transition. There is not an answer for some of the questions being asked simply because we are still in the process of the transition. For example, we do not know how much the converter box will cost consumers. Here are a few questions from the viewers:
How Do I Get Local News on DTV?
· Receiving local news on DTV over the air requires an antenna and a new DTV receiver that can decode the digital signals. In general, an antenna that provides quality reception of over-the-air analog TV signals will work for DTV reception. · Cable and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) subscribers will need a new DTV receiver and other special equipment to receive News 4 DTV programming. A "Plug-and-Play" or "Digital Cable Ready" DTV or other device for digital cable customers plugs directly into the cable jack and does not require a separate set-top box.
Will I Need a New TV?
But remember, even with a converter, your current analog television will not display the full picture quality of KRNV DTV. To enjoy the full picture quality, you must have a DTV set.
Subscribers to cable and DBS services should contact their providers to inquire about converters for those services.
What Do DTV Sets Look Like and What Will They Cost?
Why are we switching to DTV?
Converting to DTV will also free up parts of the scarce and valuable broadcast airwaves. Those portions of the airwaves can then be used for other important services, such as advanced wireless and public safety services (for example, police, fire departments, and rescue squads).
How do I get DTV or HDTV?
Cable and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) subscribes will need a new DTV receiver and other special equipment to receive DTV programming. A "Plug-and-Play" or "Digital Cable Ready" DTV or other device will allow digital cable customers plugs directly into the cable jack and does not require a separate set-top box. You must obtain a CableCARD from your cable company to receive scrambled digital programming and premium one-way services. Also, a set-top box can be obtained directly from the cable or satellite provider.
News From The CGC Communicator
By Robert F. Gonsett W6VR
In the past couple of years, turbo codes have found their way into millions of mobile phones, enabling users to send audio and video clips more efficiently than ever. Turbo's new cousin, LDPC codes, have become the new standard for digital-satellite television. Hundreds of research groups are studying potential applications of the two kinds of codes at universities and industry giants including Qualcomm, Sony, Motorola and Samsung.
Turbo codes were invented by guys who didn't know that devising such efficient codes was supposed to be hard. "The thing that blew everyone away about turbo codes is not just that they get so close to Shannon capacity, but that they're so easy. How could we have overlooked them" says one of the sources quoted in this fabulous article from Science News: http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20051105/bob8.asp
DOES YOUR TOWER KILL BIRDS?
Telecom attorney Fred Hopengarten K1VR has suggested that tower owners video record their tower bases (using a security camera with recording capability) to collect that data. After all, if there are no carcasses, what happened to the dead birds? The video, on fast forward, could be reviewed daily by an intern.
While a central repository for data (in the form of reports backed by DVDs) has yet to be established, sooner or later the FCC will ask for "comments" on the substantive question, or the FCC's consultant will ask for data. That will be the time to send in DVDs and/or affidavits. Hopengarten's web site, with some otherwise unpublished legal stuff on towers, is located at: http://www.qth.com/antennazoning/
WEBCAM SAVES SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY WOMAN
AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY SOLVES BIRD PERCHING PROBLEM
Sprint/Nextel 2 GHz Relocation Begins Soon
Everett E. Helm W7EEH CPBE
Be aware that we are coming closer to the dates to begin the process of documenting and planning the relocation of the BAS operations on the 2 GHz band. Some of us have already been contacted by Nextel representatives, or private contractors, to survey our licensed systems. Be sure to check the www.2ghzrelocation.com web site for all the updated information and answers to "Frequently Asked Questions." At this time it does not yet show the dates for our Portland/Eugene/Medford/Bend combined market kickoff meetings. In talking to the West Coast Sprint/Nextel representative, it appears that Seattle will be kicked off in January. Portland may be soon after that, or could wait until about March. There will be separate meetings for Portland and Eugene, although the switchover date may be coordinated between the markets.
Since the time is finally getting closer, it is not too soon to spend some more serious time thinking about the process for you facility.
I'm also told that the FCC is excluding TV Translator Relays (TVTR) in the 2 GHz band from the relocation reimbursement. Their logic is that TV Translators are Part 74 Secondary services and are subject to relocation at any time. This, of course, is absurd! The TVTR links that feed the translators are an integral part of any network that serves the rural populations. The rural communities that would be affected are also the areas least able to afford to pay to relocate into another band. This would affect about 1/2 of the microwave hops that OPB has in their state network. Serving locations like Lakeview, Ontario, Burns, Coos Bay, and Gold Beach. The channels will have to be cleared, it's just a matter of who is going to have to pay for it. Some TV translators may go dark in rural communities if they no longer have a satisfactory feed to them. Apparently, a fight is brewing before the commission on the issue by big state networks in Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon. Apparently it's not Nextel that is pushing this, but our friends at the Commission, whom are supposed to be serving the public interest! A more formal notice and additional details are apparently on their way to us.
The YXZ Report
by Kent Randles K7YXZ CBRE
IMAGINE THE FIRST TIME ANYONE HEARD VOICE AND MUSIC OVER THE RADIO
Mrs. Helen Fessenden and Fessenden's secretary Miss Bent, had promised to read seasonal passages from the Bible including, "Glory to God in the highest - and on earth peace to men of good will," but when the time came to perform they stood speechless, paralyzed with mike fright. Fessenden took over for them and concluded the broadcast by extending Christmas greetings to his listeners - as well as asking them to write and report to him on the broadcast wherever they were. The mail response confirmed that Fessenden had successfully invented radio as we know it. Technically, he had invented radio telephony or what radio listeners would call "real" radio as opposed to Marconi's Morse code broadcasting. The program was successfully repeated on New Year's Eve.
Fessenden was an incredible character: A holder of over five hundred patents, he also invented sonar, the depth sounder, carbon tetrachloride, the beeper/pager, the voice-scrambler, the radio compass (known today as LORAN), the tracer bullet and, yes, the automatic garage-door opener. He won Scientific American's Gold Medal in 1929 for the fathometer, which could determine the depth of water under a ship's keel. But we remember him here, not only as the inventor of radio, but as the world's first broadcast producer."
LIFE WITH HD RADIO
Delivery of the way-cool Radiosophy MultiStream HD table radios got put off until January, rumored to be because of an AM sensitivity problem. From www.radiosophy.com: "We were about to start mass production when quality testing highlighted technical issues that needed to be addressed. As painful as it is for us to delay, high quality is most critical. We will resolve these issues soon and manufacturing will resume. We are very close.
The Chinese New Year holiday shuts down manufacturing for a few weeks. As a result, we don't expect shipments to begin until late February. As a guideline, orders placed after November 30 can expect to add 4 to 6 weeks to our first delivery dates.
As of 12/7/05: Our engineers are continuing to work on the issues. We do not have any new dates to provide this week, but we will continue to post weekly updates as we progress."
However Boston Acoustics is shipping their two-piece $500 multicast-ready Receptor HD table radios, and Magnolia Audio Video is stocking them. I know two people who have bought them, so we might have a review next month.
HD DIGITAL RADIO ALLIANCE FORMED
NEW YORK - December 6, 2005 - Seven of the top U.S. radio companies today announced a strategic alliance to accelerate the rollout of HD Digital Radio. The Alliance's charter is threefold: coordinate the rollout of HD digital radio, including coordinating the formats on new multicast channels known as HD2; work together to secure automotive design wins and lower receiver price points; and jointly market HD digital radio, in partnership with receiver manufacturers and retailers.
Member companies will also devote air time and dollars to promoting HD digital radio and the new HD2 multicast channels. Called the HD Digital Radio Alliance, the effort is open to all U.S.-based radio companies. The group expects to announce its first market-specific HD2 programming line-up early in the new year, including launch dates, specifics on specialized multicast signals, and a nationwide consumer marketing campaign.
Charter members jointly announcing the Alliance today at a press conference here include: Bonneville International, Citadel Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio, Emmis Communications, Entercom, Greater Media, and Infinity Broadcasting. The Alliance also announced that 30-year radio-industry veteran Peter Ferrara was named CEO. "The industry today has stepped up in a major and unprecedented way," said Ferrara. "These companies should be congratulated on coming together to create a joint action plan, and committing air time and money to move HD digital radio forward. I'm honored to be asked to help lead this important initiative."
Ferrara has an extensive background in radio-group management, station ownership and trade association oversight. Among his previous executive positions, Ferrara was a senior vice president of Clear Channel Communications, chief operating officer of both U.S. Radio and Granum Communications, executive vice president of the National Radio Broadcasters Association, and a board member of the National Association of Broadcasters.
Serving as the Alliance's oversight management committee are Clear Channel Communications president and CEO Mark Mays; Greater Media president and CEO Peter Smyth; and Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander.
HD radio eliminates the static, hiss, pop and fades associated with analog signals, so for listeners, AM-band broadcasts sound like FM and FM-band broadcasts have digital CD-like quality. The wireless data feature enables text information on songs to be broadcast directly to receiver display screens. HD Radio also enables radio broadcasters to segment a single, existing radio frequency so that it can carry multiple, simultaneous, higher-quality AM and FM broadcast streams as well as wireless data.
Member companies have agreed to coordinate the use of all multicast HD2 channels to create the greatest diversity of formats. The goal: create new, unique and compelling content within a high-quality listening experience across a broad spectrum of music, news and entertainment programming. HD2 channels will be locally programmed in each market. And HD2 programming will initially be commercial-free. No subscription is required to hear HD digital radio broadcasts.
HD digital radio technology is enjoying strong momentum: Nearly 600 radio stations in the U.S. are already broadcasting their primary programming signal in HD digital quality. More than 15 manufacturers are creating digital receivers, including ADA, Alpine, Boston Acoustics, Day Sequerra, Delphi, DICE, Eclipse, JVC, Kenwood, Panasonic, Polk, Radiosophy, Rotel, Sanyo, Yamaha and Visteon. Receivers are available now from the following in-store and online retailers: ABC Warehouse, Audio Adviser, Bjorn's, Boston Acoustics, Car Toys, Great Indoors (a unit of Sears Roebuck & Co.), Harvey's, eBay, J & R Music, Listen Up, Magnolia Audio Video, One Call, Ovation AV, Radiosophy, Tweeter and Ultimate.
About the HD Digital Radio Alliance
Garneth M. Harris
Newsletter archives are available online.
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Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Societies, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE and SMPTE Newsletter is published approximately twelve times per year. It is prepared with a combination of text and graphic data. Submission deadline is 10 days before the last day of each month. Other SBE or SMPTE chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and/or the Denver SBE/SMPTE Newsletter.