Broadcasting & Cable
Pact averts blackout
The Walt Disney Co. reached an agreement in principle on a new retransmission consent and carriage deal with AT&T that would keep networks including ABC, ESPN and the Disney Channel glowing in homes with DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In the past few months AT&T has been involved in carriage disputes with CBS and Nexstar Media Group that have resulted in lengthy blackouts. The company’s CFO said that the blackouts--along with some price increases--contributed to the loss of between 300,000 and 350,000 subscribers in the quarter.
On Friday, another large station owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group, said it was operating under a temporary extension with AT&T and that its stations could go dark on Sept. 28.
Disney began warning AT&T subscribers of a potential blackout on Sept. 10.
“Our contract with AT&T for the ABC, ESPN, Disney and Freeform networks is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming. However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so,” Disney said in a statement at the time.
Said it is key to rural access
The Patrons of Husbandry that would be the National Grange is sending letters to all members and staff of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee telling them to renew the STELAR legislation it says preserves "basic broadcast network programming in places where over-the-air signals can’t reach."
STELAR is the latest name for the bill/law that dates from 1988 and that established the compulsory license that allows satellite operators to import distant network TV station affiliates into local markets where viewers lack access to them for a variety of reasons.
If Congress is going to continue that license, it must renew that portion of the STELAR law by end end of the year, and working days on the congressional calendar are dwindling fast. That means major, and disputed, moves like canning the license or attaching a raft of retrans-related elements, as MVPDs are pushing, will happen.
Media analyst Craig Moffet said in a C-SPAN interview this week that it is hard to be optimistic about any legislative efforts given that telecom issues that used to be bipartisan don't seem to be anymore. "Whether it is the [STELAR] reauthorization or C-Band bills."
"This important legislation will help preserve the connectivity of hard working, rural communities by providing them access to local news, sports, weather and other programming of their choice without interruption," the Grange is telling Congress.
MPVDs want the license to continue, while broadcasters argue it is time for it to sunset and for MVPs to have to negotiate for their must-have programming.
Puts in plug for proposed ALJ process upgrades
Free State Foundation president Randolph May said a potential benefit to the FCC's proposal to streamline the process for referring items to the FCC's lone administrative law judge (ALJ) will be to prevent that referral from becoming an easy way to kill a proposed merger without having to weigh into tough issues.
"Perhaps the most significant salutary impact of the streamlined procedures will be to reduce the likelihood that a formal trial-type adjudication process will be used by the Commission as a sure-fire “kill mechanism” to bury proposed mergers without the agency ever having to reach a decision on the merits of the proposed transaction," May wrote Friday (Sept. 20) in a guest blog for Yale.
Historically, when the FCC designates a merger for hearing--AT&T-T-Mobile back in 2011 and Sinclair-Tribune most recently--the parties see the handwriting on the wall, as in the FCC's predisposition not to approve, and a drawn-out proceeding extending beyond their agreed-upon deadlines for merger and with no guarantee of a positive outcome, and so they pull the plug, as Sinclair did.
May said that a streamlined hearing process could make those hearings an "adjudicative activity" that promotes "efficiency, fairness, and sound administration."
‘Downton Abbey’ special doesn’t do much on NBC
ABC and CBS tied for the top spot in Thursday ratings. A Phil Hartman special paced ABC and Big Brother did so for CBS. Both networks scored a 0.7 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 4 share.
ABC had a Celebrity Family Feud repeat leading into the two-hour The Last Days of Phil Hartman, about the comedic actor who was murdered by his wife in 1998. That did a 0.7.
CBS had repeats before and after Big Brother rated a flat 1.1.
Fox was just off the pace at 0.6/3. It had an MLB game across prime.
Telemundo and Univision both scored a 0.4/2. Telemundo had Exatlon Estados Unidos and El Final Del Paraiso at 0.4, both down a tenth of a point, and Preso No. 1 at a level 0.3.
Univision had La Rosa de Guadalupe at 0.3 and La Usurpadora at 0.5, both down a tenth from the night before. Sin Miedo a la Verdad rated a flat 0.4.
NBC scored a 0.3/2. Return to Downton Abbey: A Grand Event got a 0.4 and The Paley Center Salutes The Good Life a 0.2. An SVU repeat followed.
The CW rated a 0.2/1. The Outpost and Two Sentence Horror Stories both got a 0.2, Outpost flat and Two Sentence down a tenth.
Media Financial Management Association’s (MFM’s) September Distance Learning Webinar “Dealing with Advertisers in Trouble” will be held Tuesday, September 24, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. ET. Richard Hausmann, Senior Manager, Credit and Collections, Tribune Publishing, and Helen Sara Ward, Director, Cohen & Grigsby, P. C., will review potential 2019 retailer risks and actions to mitigate risk while continuing the revenue stream. They will also discuss remedies in the event of default or bankruptcy.
For media companies, retailers provide significant revenue, but with opportunity comes potential risk that must be identified and managed. The two have extensive experience in leading teams charged with credit, collections, and creditor rights.
“Taking steps to mitigate losses when advertising clients become a challenge is part of our members’ daily businesses,” said Mary M. Collins, president and CEO of MFM and BCCA, the media industry’s credit association. “The combined expertise of these two presenters will provide our seminar participants additional insights for preventing problems on the front end and dealing with defaults on the back end.”
About the Presenters:
Richard Hausmann, Senior Manager, Credit and Collections, Tribune Publishing
Richard Hausmann joined Tribune Publishing in 2014 as Senior Manager of Credit and Collections. During the course of his 35-year career he has managed the credit, collection, and cash application functions for companies in publishing, hazardous disposal, construction industries, and internet industry service providers. Hausmann has a reputation for successfully restoring companies’ distressed AR portfolios by implementing solid policies and procedures, building and monitoring metrics, and collaborating with sales and operational personnel to maximize revenue potential while minimizing risk.
Helen Sara Ward, Director, Cohen & Grigsby, P. C.
Helen Ward is a member of Cohen & Grigsby, P.C.’s Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights, Litigation and Corporate & Tax Groups. She has a diverse practice, allowing her to effectively represent and guide business clients through a wide range of commercial matters, including bankruptcy, litigation, consumer protection and regulatory compliance, and the enforcement of creditors’ rights.
About the Distance Learning Event
Eligible registered participants in the Distance Learning Seminar will also receive up to one CPE credit toward their certified public accounting (CPA) license. MFM is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.
The event is free to MFM Corporate Members, $50 for MFM Individual Members, and $75 for Non-Members. The deadline to register either online or via a printed registration form is Monday, September 23, by 5:00 p.m. CT. Registrations received after that time will be charged an additional $20 late fee.
More information and an online registration form may be found on MFM’s website.
About MFM and BCCA
Media Financial Management Association (MFM) is the premiere resource for financial professionals for media industry education, networking, and information sharing throughout the U.S. and Canada. More information about MFM is available on its website, https://www.mediafinance.org and via its updates on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Its BCCA subsidiary serves as the media industry’s credit association. BCCA’s revenue management services encompass a variety of credit reports on national and local media advertisers and agencies, including Media Whys, a credit report for media businesses which offers a credit score based on industry-specific aging combined with trade data from Experian or D+B. More information about BCCA is available at https://www.bccacredit.com as well as its updates on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Five-week extension expires Sept. 27
Sinclair Broadcast Group is warning that millions of subscribers to AT&T’s pay-TV services could be blacked out on Sept. 27 unless a new carriage agreement is reached.
Sinclair said its agreement with AT&T was set to expire in August and that it gave AT&T a five-week extension. A blackout would affect 136 TV stations and Sinclair’s Tennis Channel and subscribers to AT&Ts’ DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now.
AT&T has recently faced blackouts with CBS and with Nexstar Media stations and Sinclair said the way those negotiations played out should concern subscribers.
“AT&T is the largest MVPD in the country and seems intent on using its tremendous market power to dictate to viewers which programming from other content providers they can receive, even as they continue to acquire content providers and push their own content to viewers,” stated David Gibber, Sinclair’s senior VP and general counsel. “Despite the tremendous market power of AT&T, most consumers of AT&T and DirecTV do have some other alternatives to receive our in-demand programming. Although it would be unfortunate to lose AT&T and DirecTV as customers, we are simply not prepared to sell our programming to them at the below market rates they are demanding due to their overwhelming market power.”
By Sinclair's calculations if AT&T does not reach an agreement with Sinclair, almost 25% of AT&T’s subscribers will have suffered blackouts in the past two months.
AT&T recently said the blackouts and price increases will mean an additional 300,000 to 350,000 in lost subscribers in the quarter.
Sinclair said it will continue to negotiate in good faith with AT&T and try to avoid stations being dropped. “But AT&T’s pattern of insistence on terms that greatly undervalue the content of local broadcasters will deplete the availability of diversity of content, including local content, for viewers, the company said.
Seth Worley shows artists how to create a public access TV-inspired opening title sequence worthy of episodic television; hilarity ensues.
Portland, OR - September 19, 2019 - Red Giant has just published yet another tutorial, this week’s being inspired by some of the (intentionally) worst motion graphics ever featured in an opening title sequence, those of Better Call Saul. Seth Worley is at it again, bringing his wit and hilarity to a useful tutorial that will have any aspiring motion graphics artist creating campy effects in less than five minutes. In the newest tutorial now available on Red Giant’s YouTube channel, Seth shows us how to recreate the purposely bad look of the Better Call Saul title sequence using free fonts, iPhone camera footage and Universe AV Club.
“A couple years ago I became obsessed with the opening titles of Better Call Saul. I didn’t just pore over every article about them I could find, nor did I simply recreate them on my own from scratch - I did those things - but I actually tried to make a plugin based on them. And with the help of much smarter and more talented people, that plugin actually went on to become a tool in Red Giant Universe called AV Club,” Seth recounts in the video. “AV Club is designed to make texts and logos look like they’ve been run through a crappy old switcher in a cable access TV studio. I’ve since used AV Club on pretty much everything. But now I’m thinking it’d be fun to show you guys how to recreate all the other stuff in the opening titles from Better Call Saul, and not just, you know, the titles.”
Red Giant Universe is Red Giant’s collection of GPU-accelerated video effects and transitions plugins for motion graphics artists and editors, with 79 tools supported across eight host-applications. Universe AV Club, which was literally inspired by this very title sequence from Better Call Saul, lets artists recreate the lo-fi, noisy text usually found on ancient video tapes, old infomercials and local access cable channel shows, giving footage a classic low-budget look.
Request a Media Review Kit or Briefing
Members of the media are invited to review any individual tools or product suites from Red Giant. For more information or to request a product review kit or private press briefing with a Red Giant executive, please contact Nick Govoni at [email protected].
About Red Giant
Red Giant is a software company made up of talented artists and technologists who collaborate to create unique tools for filmmakers, editors, VFX artists, and motion designers. Our company culture is focused on finding balance between work and life – we call it “the double bottom line” – this philosophy helps us ignore complexity in favor of building simple tools that yield giant results. Over the last decade, our products (like Magic Bullet, Trapcode, Universe and PluralEyes) have become the standard in film and broadcast post-production. With over 200,000 users, it’s nearly impossible to watch 20 minutes of TV without seeing our software in use. From our experiences as artists and filmmakers, we aspire to not only provide tools for artists, but inspiration as well. Watch our films, learn from over 200 free tutorials, or try our software at www.redgiant.com.
Zazil Media Group
(p) +1 (978) 866-7354
But Senate remains hurdle
In a decision that could affect cable agreements with their subs, the House is expected Friday to pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act, H.R. 1423), but that leaves a Republican-controlled Senate to surmount.
The bill would eliminate mandatory arbitration clauses like those in consumer and employment agreements (including some broadband, cable and cell phone contracts) that attempt to foreclose class action suits by designating disputes to an outside arbitrator.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have been leading the charge for the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act of 2019, which would prohibit mandatory arbitration in "consumer, civil rights, employment, and antitrust' actions.
Among those who have been publicly pushing for the bill was are a DirecTV customer, part of a class action suit over fees, a dispute DirecTV says must be resolved by arbitration, and ex-Fox journalist Gretchen Carlson, who has talked about forced arbitration clauses and her sexual harassment claims against late Fox News head Roger Ailes. She has said forced arbitration was a harasser's best friend because it "silences all the victims."
Under former FCC chair Tom Wheeler, the FCC back in 2016 looked into the contractual requirements that a sub seek private arbitration, rather than lawsuits (particularly class action suits), to settle disputes with their cable or Internet service provider, but action was not taken to eliminate them. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has pushed back on the legislative effort.
"Corporate apologists for arbitration often say it is an alternative venue to obtain justice. But in practice, it just means cheated or abused consumers, employees and others are out of luck," said Public Citizen of the expected passage in the Democratically controlled House. "Today, the House finally stated: No more."
Its prospects are less bright in the Republican-controlled Senate, a point Public Citizen conceded. "We have no illusions about the challenge ahead," it said. "Preserving their forced arbitration get-out-of-jail-free card is a crucial priority of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big business. They are going to ratchet up their spending and lobbying, too. But the jig is up. People have caught on to big business’ schemes and aren’t willing to put up with them anymore. In the not-distant future, a mobilized public will overcome the Chamber and its ally, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and make the FAIR Act law."
Fremont, CA - September 20, 2019 - Blackmagic Design announced today that the Blackmagic eGPU Pro was used by SeeBoundless to help create the first large scale 3D augmented reality (AR) model of the Amazon rainforest. As part of an upcoming TIME exposé on the Amazon, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro was used daily to power stitching thousands of images together while on location in the Amazon.
SeeBoundless is a tech lab, design studio and communication firm, and its immersive storytelling and photogrammetry is used by news outlets, educators and organizations around the world. In 2016, SeeBoundless started developing the standards and practices for 360 narrative storytelling with The Weather Channel and The Washington Post and has recently begun offering mobile AR production for worldwide news organizations, non-profits and foundations.
SeeBoundless was recently hired by TIME to create an extensive ground to treetop photogrammetry AR model of large parts of the Amazon rainforest. Showcased in TIME Magazine, the TIME website, and most impressively on the brand new TIME Immersive app, the model allows readers to move through a high resolution virtual rainforest, exposing the realities and impacts of deforestation.
To do this, SeeBoundless traveled to the Amazon rainforest and shot at both the ground and treetop levels. Founder Steve Johnson and his team built a mobile AR production and post workflow from scratch, which included drones and ground level cameras.
“What we do is much different than what other companies do with satellites or shooting 2,000 feet above ground. We get right down to ground level, and in this case tree level too, and get hi res, 360 AR models that show every detail. We can bring natural wonders, architectural marvels, breaking news events, historic artifacts (to scale) and works of art into anyone’s living room, phone or laptop,” said Johnson.
“But it is not an easy process. Only a few years ago we would need to shoot on location and bring footage back to a post house or our labs and begin stitching images together. However, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro, attached to our MacBooks, now gives us the extra power we need and allows us to begin stitching millions of image points together right in the field. It is small and easily portable but also packs a lot of extra processing power,” he added.
Traveling and shooting in the Amazon required that Johnson and his team travel extremely light. The entire workflow included a peli case for the 20 megapixel camera gear, several drones, a laptop and now with the Blackmagic eGPU Pro the SeeBoundless team can bring desktop level graphics with them anywhere.
Once on location, the team mapped out the areas for shooting and built a grid and dome map. From there, they were able to map out how to photograph every ten degrees of space.
“The challenge facing us was how to capture the trees and deforestation on a large scale and how to shoot from just above the tree line when the trees were constantly in motion,” Johnson said. “Every day we would get between 1,000 to 1,500 images, and we were able to stitch them altogether on site thanks to the Blackmagic eGPU Pro’s power.”
“With the eGPU, we were able to fly a pattern, and by the end of the day, the stitch was ready. Shooting in the Amazon is incredibly difficult, and we knew that we had to get these huge panoramic shots and stitch them quickly because anything could happen. We even had birds attacking the drones, so every second I could save with the Blackmagic eGPU Pro was important,” he finished.
Product photos of the Blackmagic eGPU Pro, as well as all other Blackmagic Design products, are available at www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/images.
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.
Taking a cue from DTC challenger
"This trust deficit explains some of the ways marketers are changing the way they approach TV activation today. Smart marketers recognize the need to add a layer of control or personal oversight to the activation process." -Marc Goldstein, Simulmedia
Streaming, over-the-top (OTT), connected TV (CTV), internet-connected devices. The list of buzzworthy terms influencing linear TV viewing is growing fast, yet TV’s evolution remains a remarkably slow one. As such, the majority of viewing today is still linear and live, and the largest investments in the $72 billion U.S. television market are still being made in network television (Nielsen TAR).
Brian Wieser, GroupM’s global president, business intelligence, states it best in the September issue of Admap: “...no other medium has been as useful for advertisers who look to borrow the brand equity of content, use sight, sound and motion in support of the awareness of brand attributes and, ultimately, build or reinforce their brands at a massive scale.” Despite this slow pace of change, marketers are evolving in their relationship to TV advertising in healthy ways. With renewed focus on transparency and accountability, more and more they are participating actively in the decisions their agencies are making to ensure their investments in TV activation reflect ones they would make personally.
That’s good news. After all, most advertisers still negotiate TV investment via the historical practice known as the Upfront. This process, often chaotic and crammed into a 6-8 week period, forces mainstream brand managers to relinquish activation control to their Agency, allowing others to make “hundred-million-dollar-decisions” on their behalf.
While marketers give agency buying teams a lot of leeway with activation, a recent report in Digiday indicated that only 44% of marketers believe their agencies’ business interests align with their company’s business interests, and 40% said their interests were not aligned with their agencies at all.
This trust deficit explains some of the ways marketers are changing the way they approach TV activation today. Smart marketers recognize the need to add a layer of control or personal oversight to the activation process. Marketers at blue-chip companies that include PepsiCo, Bayer and Pfizer have assembled dedicated internal media teams consisting of subject matter experts who keep their media buying agency group in lockstep with their marketing expectations.
Other marketers are leaning into this approach as well. Results from a recent ID Comms 2019 Media Training Survey showed that 99% of those polled agreed that brands can gain a competitive marketing advantage by investing in training that raises their own internal media capabilities.
Today, we’re seeing marketers pay more attention to the details of their TV activation. This goes beyond just taking control of costs and fees through reliance on procurement teams and media audits. Those controls, while capable of summarizing expenditures, fail to incorporate the subjective value of a media buy versus its objective cost. As a result, marketers are starting to challenge their agencies more directly, asking to understand the details of what they are paying for.
Most importantly, mainstream marketers are embracing new technology by taking a digital approach to TV, like their up-and-coming, direct-to-consumer (DTC) challengers. They are taking charge of buying decisions by using integrated platforms that are becoming widely accepted national TV activation tools. Most of all, they recognize that legacy thinking is threatening the path to future growth.
There is an increased use of client dashboards that provide insights into reach, impressions, and GRPs amassed throughout a campaign. Marketers are also utilizing tools to report on specific business outcomes, and investing in performance analytics teams who will take a deeper dive into campaign KPIs. This provides greater visibility into results for things like return on ad spend, conversion lift, and unduplicated reach.
TV remains the most powerful medium to move markets and drive results. With new technology, and complete solution tools, mainstream marketers are empowered to participate in how media decisions are being made. They are taking back control and owning the activation. If it was your brand, and your money, wouldn't you want to own it, too?
Simulmedia is a New York-based TV ad platform that enables predictable, scalable customer creation.
Exec will continue as strategic advisor
Ben Tatta, president and co-founder of TV data company 605 will be leaving his day-to-day role, but will continue as a strategic advisor, the company said.
“Ben has been an important part of the development of 605 from an idea to start-up to becoming a fully-operational business with industry leading data and analytics capabilities,” said Kristin Dolan, founder and CEO of 605. “He has been a significant contributor to our success. In recognizing the progress 605 has made over the past three years, Ben feels it is the right time to leave us to pursue his passion for startups and new ventures. We look forward to continuing to work with him as a strategic advisor for the company.”
605 is backed by Dolan Family Ventures, the family that owned or owns stakes in Cablevision Systems, AMC Networks and MSG Network.
Tatta was president of Cablevision Media Sales prior to joining 605. Before that, he was with USA Networks, ABC, Lagardere Media, IBM and eBay.
“Helping Kristin transform our concept into a major force in the TV measurement & analytics sector has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career,” said Tatta. “We have a strong executive team in place with real momentum behind our advanced measurement solutions with brands, agencies and networks. I’m excited to continue advising 605 on a strategic level while re-focusing my day-to-day towards helping other new and emerging companies develop their operating structures, business models and growth strategies much like I have done at 605.”
‘Tonight Show’ vet will focus on all of the network’s late stuff
Katie Hockmeyer has been named executive VP of late night programming at NBC Entertainment. She’s been with The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since it began in 2014. She will guide programming strategy and act as the network liaison for all aspects of the late-night business.
Hockmeyer will report to George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy, NBC Entertainment co-chairmen. She’ll work on The Tonight Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, A Little Late with Lilly Singh and Saturday Night Live.
“It’s exciting for these shows to have someone with Katie’s insight and experience, thinking day-in and day-out about how they can continue to grow and innovate,” said Cheeks and Telegdy. “Our late-night programs are an indelible part of the NBC brand, and Katie’s strong leadership, keen insight and deep institutional knowledge is exactly what we need to continue their incredible legacy well into the future.”
Hockmeyer has been part of Fallon’s production team since the 2009 debut of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She has spent two years as showrunner on The Tonight Show.
Hockmeyer began her career as part of NBC’s page program, after which she began as an executive assistant in Lorne Michaels’ office at Saturday Night Live. She then worked under former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker.
Beverly Hills, California, September 19, 2019 — After years of experience specializing in film post-production and field work, Los Angeles-based TNT Film Productions recently upgraded its equipment arsenal with two RME Fireface UFX+ interfaces, two ARC USB remote controls and 170 feet of Alva MADI fiber optic cable.
Now, using RME's advanced MADI interface technology for film/audio editing, recording/overdubbing, audio sweetening, Foley sound, and tracking orchestral arrangements for film soundtracks, the redundant Fireface UFX+ interface and ARC USB remote control setup has helped optimize TNT's workflow both in the studio and in the field by eliminating the need for unnecessary equipment and streamlining TNT's operations into the future of film production.
Founded by Tony Spataro, who has made a name for himself in the film industry as both a director and editor, TNT Film Productions studio technician Dan Dukes said the Fireface UFX+ interfaces have allowed TNT to maintain the character and quality of their work without negatively affecting the techniques of their craft, which they developed using analog equipment.
"We are old school in that we enjoy traditional methods of recording film and audio," Dukes said. "But we chose RME because we were convinced of its true delivery on performance, which drove us to replace the old ways and achieve the high-end results we expect."
Redundant Recording In-Studio & Beyond
TNT Film Productions' new studio setup includes one RME Fireface UFX+ and ARC USB remote-control unit per studio, connected via 160 feet of Alva MADI fiber optic cable, allowing TNT to link the units for an extra level of redundancy during recording in either studio, along with providing traditional multiple tie lines between the studios, all kept in a digital domain.
“Having two RME Fireface UFX+ units allows us to work between studio rooms through MADI connectivity,” Spataro said. “And using the ARC to control whatever we assign makes it possible to perform instantaneous actions — with no delay and no latency — triggering whatever actions you need with the touch of one button. And, by placing control right in front of you, the ARC USB remote control saves you from having to lean over to try to find the function knob you need on a console, or in a DAW, no matter how high-end the console or DAW may be.”
When it comes to recording in the field, Spataro will remove a UFX+ unit and an Alva MADI cable from one of TNT's studios and bring it on their production truck with a one-patch setup. Noting the simplicity of a MADI cable hooked up into the workflow process, Spataro said, “We can work at a serious distance between the film truck/mobile studio and the stage/film set.”
“It’s a great field unit,” Dukes added. “With the DURec [Direct to USB Recorder], we can just bring a thumb drive back to one of the studios after recording and start editing the playback right away. It saves us a lot of time and legwork. We start working immediately, and in addition, we have a backup. So, in case one unit goes down, we can just patch it in. Not to mention that the thumb drive serves as the backup to the project. How cool!”
Streamlined Mixing Workflow
While TNT Film Productions previously used an external mixer, the high quality of the preamps in the RME Fireface UFX+, combined with the ease of using RME’s TotalMix FX software, have eliminated the necessity for TNT's additional external hardware, like a mixer, while, at the same time, the MADI fiber optic cable has replaced the need for patch bays.
Spataro commented, “Feedback comes with the turf in the audio business. We all know that, and traditional methods of recording and mixing has its share of accidental feedback,” he continues. “We have been impressed by how tremendously the UFX+ minimizes feedback with its intelligent routing system.”
“The UFX+ combines complex matrix mixing with a creative kind of linear, in-series mixing,” Dukes said, “so it’s having the best of both worlds, because you can utilize matrix (parallel) mixing, but then if you desire to insert linear circuitry into your signal flow, you can do that very easily."
Using RME's TotalMix FX, Spataro said, "Recalling mix setups is a breeze — and super convenient. We do this all the time."
“Since we do TV and film, it’s nice to have different mixes,” Dukes added. “So we’ll have one mix for mastering, one for TV, one for film and one for instrumental soundtracks. With TotalMix FX, the mixes take place simultaneously. So if we want to hear the different mixes by toggling between them, we can, without affecting or interrupting the true audio signal flows associated with those individual mixes. They continue flowing to and from their destinations, in the background, while we toggle listening to them. It’s pretty incredible.”
Dukes continued that they don’t use a mixer now, just RME’s TotalMix FX which comes with all RME interfaces.
“And we’re not even going back to the DAW to mix down,” he explained. “We’ll just take the outputs directly from the UFX+ and master onto whatever format the client wants, and this is because of RME’s high-end output and amazing dynamics.
“I have to also mention that when we output to the different studio monitors, RME allows us to EQ those separate outputs on the UFX+ units, resulting in us not having to insert a separate graphic, or parametric equalizer just before the amps/speakers. RME provides this for us on all outputs. We love and take advantage of this option, especially since we can tweak the all the settings right from TotalMix FX, among all the various effects TotalMix FX provides.”
For more on RME, visit rme-usa.com
About Synthax, Incorporated
Synthax Inc. is the exclusive USA distributor for RME digital audio solutions, Ferrofish advanced audio applications, myMix audio products, and ALVA cableware. We supply a nationwide network of dealers with these products for professional audio, broadcast, music industry, commercial audio, theater, military and government applications. For additional information, visit the company online at http://www.synthax.com.
$7.2B deal creates largest U.S. broadcaster
Nexstar Media said it completed its $7.2 billion acquisition of Tribune Media to create the biggest broadcaster in the U.S.
The combined company, with 197 full power, owned or serviced, television stations in 115 markets, will reach 39% of U.S. households, figuring in the FCC’s UHF discount. That’s after completing the sales of 21 stations for $1.33 billion to comply with government regulations.
With Tribune Media, Nexstar also acquired the WGN America cable network and 31% ownership of TV Food Network.
“The completion of our accretive acquisition of Tribune Media increases Nexstar’s geographic diversity and audience reach with national coverage and an expanded presence in top 50 DMAs, while offering complementary media assets and investments, scale driven synergies and further cash flow diversification,” said Nexstar CEO Perry Sook. “Nexstar Media Group is now the nation’s leading creator and distributor of local news, entertainment, sports, lifestyle and network programming through its broadcast and digital media platforms.”
Sook said the deal will increase free cash flow by 51%, enabling the company to begin reducing its debt.
Three members of Tribune’s management team have joined Nexstar:
Sean Compton has been named executive VP, WGN America, WGN Radio and director of content acquisition.
Dana Zimmer will serve as executive VP and chief distribution and strategy officer.
Gary Weitman has been named executive VP and chief communications officer;
“Today, the Nexstar team is comprised of more than 13,000 talented team members across America united by a common vision focused on localism, innovation and growth as well as a passion for professional excellence. Sean, Dana and Gary are recognized leaders in their respective fields and we welcome them to the Nexstar senior management team,” Sook said. “These appointments reflect our proven integration strategy of marrying best of breed practices from our existing operations with those from acquired entities. Our long-term strategy of appointing proven broadcast and digital media leaders has driven our industry-leading innovation, distribution and core revenue growth, seamless M&A integration and enterprise-wide cost management all of which are fundamental to our consistent growth.”
As part of the deal, Nexstar spun 11 stations off to Tegna, which also announced Thursday it had closed on that purchase.
The $740 million deal ups Tegna's portfolio to 62 TV stations in 51 markets.
The E.W. Scripps Co. acquired eight TV stations in seven markets from Nexstar including WPIX-TV in New York. Scripps now has 60 stations in 42 markets.
Ben Bailey back as host, and Bravolebrities abound
Mobile game show Cash Cab debuts on Bravo Oct. 7, occupying the 11:30 p.m. ET/PT slot. While it premieres on a Monday, it will air Sundays-Thursdays.
Comedian Ben Bailey hosts.
Cash Cab ran on Discovery Channel from 2005 to 2012, then again in 2018 and 2019.
Each episode will feature two to three games, with the contestant in the taxi. If the passenger can answer enough questions correctly before making it to their destination, they’ll win cash. Three wrong answers and they’re kicked out.
Contestants will get two shout-outs – one on social media and the other on the street -- where they can ask a stranger for help. Passengers who successfully make it to their destination can simply walk away with their money or can play a double-or-nothing video bonus round.
“In this series reboot, the questions will include more for lovers of pop culture and even a few appearances from Bravolebrities,” said Bravo.
Cash Cab is produced by Lion Television USA with Tony Tackaberry, Allison Corn, PJ Morrison and Stan Hsue the executive producers. Bailey exec produces too.
Bravo is part of Comcast’s NBCUniversal.
PALO ALTO, Calif. – September 17, 2019 – Wurl, the leading network of Internet-based video distribution and monetization, today announced that it is powering the delivery of This Old House to Samsung TV Plus. This Old House, the number one multi-platform home enthusiast brand, services more than 15 million consumers each month with its trusted information and expert advice through award-winning programming such as This Old House and Ask This Old House.
This Old House is the leading – and original – resource for DIY, home improvement and renovation on TV. As they expanded into over-the-top (OTT), Samsung TV Plus was one of the early platforms they worked with to launch their OTT channels, partnering with Wurl to set up virtual linear playout, hosting and ad insertion.
“Recently, working together with Wurl on the challenges inherent in OTT monetization and distribution structures has been a true collaboration. They are one of a few platforms at the front of OTT democratization—developing and implementing tech in response to rapidly evolving audience and ad insertion requirements. We’re fortunate to work with a partner like Wurl that is willing to get on the phone, roll up their sleeves and lend expertise to get the job done right in this, often challenging, world of OTT,” said Gunnar Waldman, General Manager, Digital Video, This Old House Ventures. “Wurl has been especially helpful sorting ad-tech and monetization issues, offering their ops and dev teams to collaborate on podding, waterfall, and fill challenges—even with third-party partners. Of course, each content provider necessarily encounters unique challenges, which makes bespoke help all the more appreciated.”
This Old House is one of many video services that saw an opportunity to reach more viewers via OTT. In fact, the Wurl Network has expanded tremendously in Q2 2019, distributing 20 new channels and securing increased viewing time per user to more than 4.5 hours per month, a 20% increase from the same quarter in 2018. Additionally, through the Wurl Network, customers have increased ad impressions by 150% in Q2 ’19 alone, making the expansion into OTT even more enticing to video services like This Old House.
“Growth in the OTT market, particularly via Connected TVs, continues to ramp up at a tremendous pace ,” said Sean Doherty, CEO of Wurl. “This Old House, with its powerful customer base, wanted to reach as many viewers as they could, and by selecting Samsung TV Plus as their initial platform, they succeeded. We’re thrilled to collaborate with them to help power their distribution and monetization in this ever-evolving environment.”
Wurl operates the market-leading Wurl Network — interconnecting the world’s top video producers, video services and advertisers. Wurl makes it effortless for video producers to build global distribution for ad-supported linear channels, live events, VOD and marathons. Wurl is headquartered in Palo Alto, California. For more information, please visit wurl.com, Twitter and LinkedIn.
HarrisX streaming survey finds content more attractive than low price
About 21% of U.S. households surveyed intend to sign up for Disney+ when it becomes available, according to a new study from HarrisX.
The study found that while there’s been much talk about Disney+ being offered for a low price of $6.99 a month, consumers are more interested in streaming services because of the content they offer.
Other upcoming streaming services have strong interest among consumers, with 11% of households saying they intend to sign up for AT&T’s HBO Max and 10% indicating they will sign up for Comcast’s free Peacock.
The reason cited most often by consumers for their interest in Disney+ is the library of movies the service will offer at 34%. Cost of the service was mentioned by 19% and original content by 18%.
Similarly, 25% of those interested in HBO Max said the movie library was exciting, followed by 23% looking for original content and 16% said cost of the service, which hasn’t officially been announced.
For Peacock the library of TV series was most exciting at 21%, with 18% looking for original content and 17% citing movies and the services cost.
Across the board, 11% to 12% of people interested in Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock said the were excited by being able to cancel other streaming services.
Disney+ is also the most popular upcoming option among people who already subscribe to the major SVOD services. For example of people currently subscribing to HBO Now, 38% said they were interested in Disney+, 30% said they wanted HBO Max and 22% were excited by Peacock.
Among Netflix subscribers, 27% said they were interested in Disney+, 13% were interested in HBO Max and 11% were interested in Peacock.
The HarrisX study was conducted between Aug. 6 and Aug. 12 among 6,621 U.S. adults.
With a career that spans back to his days in recording more than a decade ago, Production Sound Mixer José Frías has long-held a love for the audio industry. Although he got his start in music, he’s held many different audio production roles, which has led to his working on projects for high-profile clients, such as Motorola, IBM, ESPN, Time Magazine and more.
He shares his story in this latest installment of the DPA “Sound Insight” Q&A:
1. How did you get your start as a sound mixer?
I got my start as a production sound mixer about eight years ago. After working in the music industry for a few years, I decided to go back to school to explore other aspects of sound. While finishing my degree, an opportunity to work as a boom operator on a student film fell into my lap. The rest was history.
2. Please tell us about your background and your career, including any notable/favorite projects or any awards you have won for your work.
I first started in sound as a recording engineer for indie artists and musicians in the mid-2000s. After trying live sound, game sound, computer programming and post-production sound, I discovered production sound – and have felt at-home ever since.
During my time as a production sound mixer, I’ve had the good fortune to work in a wide variety of projects, ranging from indie features to docu-series to commercials and more. Some past work I’m very proud of includes the reality TV show Fire Island; Motorola’s MOTO Reissued branding campaign – featuring graffiti artist Futura; Time Magazine’s “2016 Person of the Year” interview; The Lion King on Broadway’s The Circle of Life in 360 and Aladdin on Broadway’s A Friend Like Me in 360 virtual reality experiences; IBM’s The Sounds of IBM immersive ASMR series; Ashe ‘68 virtual reality experience; and an upcoming ESPN documentary on retired NBA player and NBA Cares Ambassador, Felipe Lopez, to mention a few.
These days, along with all of my adventures as a production sound mixer, I also serve as a partner and head of production at Chapter Four, a full-service production company focused on immersive media.
3. What’s the biggest project you have worked on in your career?
I don’t know if it counts as the biggest project in my career, but most certainly one that holds a very special place for me from a creative, technical and historical perspective: Ashe ’68. This is a virtual reality experience about the first black tennis player to win the U.S. Open and premiered at last year’s U.S. Open in New York. It had its festival premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival as part of the New Frontier line-up.
This particular project was such a pleasure to work on due to the creative and technical challenges. We had to discreetly record, in sync, anywhere between one and seven actors, while simultaneously recoding as many sound effects, foley sounds, room tone, impulse responses and ambisonic sound recordings we could get our hands on. We wanted to supplement post with as much useful sonic information as we could. At the center of it all, were DPA’s 4060 and 4063 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphones, which served as the main tools to synchronously capturing the actors’ performances.
4. How long have you been using DPA? When did you first start using DPA and why?
I started using DPA mics around 2013, shortly after having read a very thorough article about Simon Hayes' use of them for Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables. I remembered having watched the movie and specifically noting how excellent the sound was. In this article, Simon praised the DPA lavalier mics for how close of a match they were to the company’s boom mics, and how the lavs played a key role in capturing every performance. I was sold! I had to try them out, so I bought a few 4060s and 4063s, and I put them to use immediately on a TLC reality television show I was working on at the time. I was blown away by how much better they sounded than my other lavalier mics. I ended up replacing most of my lavalier mics with DPA and, soon after, added some DPA boom and gooseneck microphones to my kit.
5. What productions or shows have you used DPA mics for? What DPA mics do you use?
DPA microphones can be heard on pretty much every project I produce. Every time I employ the use of a lavalier microphone, a 4060 is my choice. Every time I plant or stash microphones, especially in a car, I’m likely using a 4018 Supercardioid Microphone – with an MMP-G preamp and gooseneck shock mount, a 4098 Supercardioid Microphone or a 4080 Miniature Cardioid Microphone. My short shotgun of choice is the 4017 Shotgun Microphone.
On the Fire Island project, one challenge we had to overcome was that cast members would often end up shirtless, which was inevitable when you’re filming a show in a beach paradise. Initially, we considered using the off-the-shelf solution from DPA, the 4561 Necklace Microphones (now discontinued), but we opted to make custom necklace mic rigs so that we had more control over the way they looked. We collaborated with Rave from PerePaix Jewelry to build several necklace mics using the 4060 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphones. These made it possible to record sound in very difficult situations on this show.
6. What are some of the challenges of miking for the projects you work on? How does using DPA help solve these challenges?
The main challenge I face – whether it’s a scripted TV show, an unscripted documentary film, or a virtual reality experience – is making sure I’m able to capture the actor’s or subject’s performance during production as true and as transparently as possible. The microphones I use must be transparent, so a flat frequency response is a must. Additionally, with how dynamic the human voice can be, a low self-noise and wide dynamic range are a necessity for accommodating everything from a whisper to a scream (sometimes all within the same take). DPA produces the best microphones to meet these criteria.
7. Tell us about your working style and some technical details about your daily workflow:
I begin every project with a thorough conversation with the director or creator. My goal through these conversations is to fully understand the project, flesh out the creative goals and determine the technical requirements to achieve them. Once we’ve broken down some fundamental things – such as the number of cast members or subjects, locations, wardrobe, props, VFX, motion capture, etc. – I seek communication with the respective departments to accommodate the sound needs of the project. I also chat with the post department to establish workflow specs, including recording, sync, multi-tracking, metadata, mix for editorial, delivery, etc. Communication with post is a must, especially in more complex technical projects like in VR or AR. I find that the more time is spent in this stage, the more successful we are during production, and the better deliverables we give post.
On a day-to-day, my focus is figuring out the best way to capture sound for the scene or the action that we are tackling. Can it be achieved with just a boom mic or should I also wire someone? Can I stash a mic somewhere? Most times, I find myself problem-solving, particularly when figuring out how to make the location or environment work best (read: not be noisy). To me, technically, it is all about optimal microphone placement, with a transparent signal reproduction and signal-to-noise ratio. Creatively, it is about making sure that performances or real-life moments are captured.
8. What future projects do you plan to use DPA mics on? Can you tell me a little bit about them?
My company is currently developing a few interactive projects where we will likely use DPA microphones for sound recording, unfortunately I can’t mention any specifics at this point in time. However, I just finished production on an upcoming ESPN documentary on retired NBA player and NBA Cares Ambassador, Felipe Lopez. The project has been very special to me, both as a Dominican-born immigrant myself, as well as a basketball fan. To paint the picture: the very first professional basketball game I ever attended was a pre-season exhibition match between the Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves (the team on which Felipe played at the time) back in 2002 in the Dominican Republic. I remember that day perfectly – the Dominican-filled crowd cheered non-stop for Felipe, and the Timberwolves won the game. To work on a documentary about him nearly 20 years later feels like fate, and it will forever hold a very special place in my heart.
I wouldn’t have been able to capture all the vérité moments without the 4063 lavalier mic and the d:dicate 4017B shotgun microphones.
9. Where do you see the audio industry for TV and film going in the next five years? Do you see any major trends that will affect how you work in the future?
This is a tough question, and I don’t know that I have the right answer. It’s sometimes hard to see what lies ahead when you’re right in the middle of it, but I see and hope for growth both in the tools we use and in our creativity in how we use them. The language of filmmaking continues to evolve in such an impressive way, producing some breath-taking dynamic stories and cinematic styles. These can present a challenge to the sound department and how we are able to do our jobs, but I do believe that there are some creative solutions that can be achieved, especially when you have the entire crew on your side.
I think we will see more content that continues to push the boundaries, requiring the innovative deployment of boom, lav and plant mics. Higher multi-track count will probably become more widespread – and I’m not talking eight to 12 tracks, but upwards of 20 and 30 tracks. I do also hope to see bigger sound departments to help accommodate these new challenges.
Recruited into the DPA Master's Club by Leonardo Romero Velasquez, DPA’s Latin American sales director, and Christopher Spahr, DPA’s U.S. vice president of sales and marketing (on separate occasions), Frías has great praise and enthusiasm DPA’s lavalier microphones.
Panel looks at country radio, and why it doesn’t play more female artists
Ken Burns was on a panel to discuss his new PBS project Country Music Sept. 19. The event, at the Bank of America Tower in New York, celebrated the role of women in country music.
Bank of America underwrites Burns’ documentaries on PBS. “No one is going to give us 10 ½ years to make Vietnam, or 8 ½ years to make Country Music,” Burns said of his sponsor’s dedication to his films.
Susan Spencer, editor in chief of Woman’s Day, moderated the panel. Besides Burns, the director and producer of Country Music, the panelists were country artists Kathy Mattea and Sara Evans, Country Music producer Julie Dunfey and Live Nation president of Nashville Music Sally Williams.
The panelists spoke at length about the state of country radio, which several noted is reluctant to play women’s artists. Streaming audio platforms, the panelists said, have the same issue. One mentioned how a person in their 20s might have only heard “bro-country” on the radio throughout their life, songs about trucks and beer and pretty women.
The Burns film looks into the role several female artists, including Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris, have played in shaping country. Lynn, Burns said, “was way ahead of rock ‘n roll and folk” in terms of examining social issues in her music, such as “The Pill” and “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Loving on Your Mind).”
As the panel concluded, the panelists were asked to name a country song by a female artist they could listen to every day for the rest of their lives. For Burns, it was Parton’s “Jolene.”
Featuring eight parts, Country Music premiered on PBS Sept. 15. In an interview with Multichannel News recently, Burns spoke about how country is hardly the domain of white rural America, as many believe.
“Who would’ve thought that this music that conventional wisdom suggests is white and conservative is, in fact, all about race and class and strong women?” he said. “This was a wonderful revelation for all of us.”
Burns mentioned in the panel how all of his films, including The Vietnam War, Baseball and Prohibition, are “solely about the US—capital U, capital S.”
NCTA, others, said move away from decentralized DNS system in name of encryption is wrong one
Associations representing the major broadband providers, wired and wireless, have contacted Hill leaders to try and get them to stop Google from adopting a new encryption regime for domain name lookups in its Chrome browser and Android operating system, a move they said could give the company too much power.
The move is being pitched as boosting privacy by making Web surveillance more difficult.
Some children's privacy groups have also registered their concerns about the new DNS over HTTPS (DoH) system, which they say could make it harder to ferret out and stop online child predators.
In a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary, Commerce (Energy & Commerce in the House), and Homeland Security committees, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, CTIA and USTelecom, joined to warn of the possible repercussions of the new system "If not coordinated with others in the internet ecosystem."
"Google is unilaterally moving forward with centralizing encrypted domain name requests within Chrome and Android, rather than having DNS queries dispersed among hundreds of providers," they told the legislators.
They said that while they are aware of the upsides of encryption, the big downside would be Google's greater control over data use and the potential that it could "could inhibit competitors and possibly foreclose competition in advertising and other industries."
Congress is currently investigating how big edge providers, including Google, use their market power and technical expertise and whether antitrust laws are keeping pace with them.
They wrote about what they thought the consequences would be of Google's centralizing domain name encryption requests? ("the majority of worldwide internet traffic [both wired and wireless] runs through the Chrome browser or the Android operating system,":
"Over the last several decades, DNS has been used to build other critical internet features and functionality including: (a) the provision of parental controls and IoT management for end users; (b) connecting end users to the nearest content delivery networks, thus ensuring the delivery of content in the fastest, cheapest, and most reliable manner; and (c) assisting rights holders’ and law enforcement’s efforts in enforcing judicial orders in combating online piracy, as well as law enforcement’s efforts in enforcing judicial orders in combating the exploitation of minors," they wrote. "Google’s centralization of DNS would bypass these critical features, undermining important consumer services and protections, and likely resulting in confusion because consumers will not understand why these features are no longer working."
They also say having Google the centralized DNS gatekeeper would undermine cybersecurity.
The associations want the the committee to call on Google not to make its centralized encrypted DBS the default on its Chrome and Android platforms to adopt a more decentralized approach.
In a separate letter to some of the same legislators, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and more than a dozen other groups warned that moving away from the dispersed model of DNS functionality will make it harder for watchdog groups to identify what websites are hosting child sex abuse images, for example.
"To be clear," they wrote, "our aim is not to demonize technology, and we clearly recognize that Internet users’ data should be secure. Furthermore, we are not calling for DoH to be banned, and we acknowledge that Internet encryption can serve useful security and privacy purposes."
"While Google and others are rightly striving to protect privacy, they have failed to prioritize child safety by not adequately accounting for the potential unintended consequences of encryption."
Google had not responded to a request for comment at press time.
Commission wants to finish tweaks to make process easier
The FCC is giving broadcasters extra time to file their biennial ownership reports, saying it wants to finish up some technical improvements to the filing process that will benefit both broadcasters and the FCC's data collection.
Every two years, TV and radio stations have to provide current (as of Oct. 1) reports on who owns (all attributable interests in) the station (Form 323/323-E).
The FCC would have opened the filing window Oct. 1, but will now wait until Nov. 1. The filing deadline will be extended by two months from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31, meaning broadcasters will have almost three months to file rather than two, a longer window the FCC attributed to the fact that the new window now includes the holidays.
The move was not in response to a request by broadcasters but on the Media Bureau's own initiative.
Michelle Carey, chief of the Media Bureau, explained why in an order released this week. "Postponing the start of the filing window will ensure sufficient time to properly implement additional technical improvements to the [Reporting] Form, including copying and pre-filling capabilities within the Commission’s electronic filing system. We believe that filers will benefit significantly from these burden-reducing capabilities and that delaying the opening of the filing window will ensure these enhancements are available to all filers at the start of the filing window. Successful implementation of these improvements to the system will simplify the filing experience and ultimately enhance the data collection."
‘Brad Paisley Thinks He’s Special’ to feature Jonas Brothers, Carrie Underwood
Country superstar Brad Paisley will host and executive produce a prime special on ABC. The hour-long variety program, called Brad Paisley Thinks He’s Special, will air “later this season,” according to ABC, which did not offer further detail. It will happen at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville.
Sony Pictures Television is producing.
Kelsea Ballerini, Hootie & The Blowfish, the Jonas Brothers, The Bachelor host Chris Harrison, NFL legend Peyton Manning and country stars Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker and Carrie Underwood will take part.
“I am so excited for Brad to be able to turn this fun, down-home country idea into a reality on ABC,” said Rob Mills, senior VP, alternative series, specials & late night, ABC Entertainment. “We all know him as an award-winning country superstar, and now we get the chance to see his comedic talents as he brings this variety special to life with the help of an incredible roster of A-list talent.”
Paisley is a singer, songwriter and guitarist with three Grammys.
“Wait, I thought it was called the Brad Paisley Special. Who added the Thinks He’s? Oh well, I’m still psyched,” said Paisley.
Paisley, Jane Mun, RAC Clark, Bill Simmons and Kendal Marcy will executive produce.
New late-night host Lilly Singh gets prime special on NBC
NBC got the top score in Wednesday ratings, with the America’s Got Talent season finale leading the Peacock to a 1.1 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 6 share. In second was Fox at 0.8/4.
America’s Got Talent went up 25% to 1.5, with Kodi Lee getting the grand prize. Lee, who is 23, is a singer and pianist. He is blind and has autism. Special A Little Late with Lilly Singh did a 0.5. Singh had a cameo in the AGT finale. Her late-night show began Sept. 16.
Fox had the MasterChef finale across its prime. It was level with last week’s show.
CBS got a 0.6/3. Big Brother lost a tenth for a 1.0 and was followed by repeated dramas.
Univision rated a 0.5/2. La Rosa de Guadalupe got a flat 0.4, La Usurpadora a level 0.6 and Sin Miedo a la Verdad grew 33% to 0.4.
ABC and Telemundo both did a 0.4/2. ABC had repeats.
Telemundo aired Exatlon Estados Unidos and El Final Del Paraiso at 0.4. Preso No. 1 did a 0.3. All three prime offerings were flat.
The CW scored a 0.1/1. A Mysteries Decoded repeat led into Hypnotize Me, which was down 50% at 0.1.
Forward Allows Integrators to Complete Fully Optimized Rack Builds Five Times Faster Than a Traditional Install
FAIRFIELD, N.J. — Sept. 19, 2019 — Middle Atlantic Products, a brand of Legrand | AV, today announced its industry-recognized Forward installation solutions are now shipping. Built to install today's systems at tomorrow's speed, Forward is designed around an innovative new rackrail and Middle Atlantic's patented universal hole pattern that allow the family's blank and vent panels, cable management, lighting, and other rack solutions to be quickly installed without tools. With Forward, integrators can install everyday rack builds five times faster and with the reliability to ensure a satisfying and positive AV experience.
"When we asked installers where they spend a majority of their time and where they experience the biggest challenges, they told us it was inside the rack," said Paul Dolynchuk, director of product management at Legrand | AV - Middle Atlantic Products. "Using that feedback, we created Forward. The highly anticipated family of options cleverly solves the most time-consuming rack-building tasks — from working in pitch-black spaces, mounting panels, and anchoring unwieldy cabling spaghetti, to dealing with power blips — without ever picking up a drill. Now integrators can release their inner speed demons, building an AV rack system more quickly and efficiently than they ever thought possible."
The Forward accessory and options line addresses the entire system lifecycle and builds upon industry-leading products that integrators have depended on for decades.
The Forward family includes:
• Forward Lighting toollessly mounts in the rack to illuminate the entire workspace, assuring that integrators can work with the best visibility even in the darkest closets.
• Forward Cable Management and Power Bracket Solutions keep cable runs tidy with horizontal and vertical options, while the power bracket simplifies any button power strip installation — eliminating the need for tools.
• Forward Blank and Vent Panels simply click into the new rackrail to achieve optimal rack design in minutes and without needing hardware.
• Forward Small Device Mounting Clamps quickly mount and secure small non-rack mount devices vertically or horizontally using absolutely no hardware.
• Forward UPS base comes preinstalled, saving integrators' backs from lifting and placing the heavy and large unit into the rack.
Further simplifying the design process, Middle Atlantic is also offering a BGR enclosure that comes preconfigured with Forward installation solutions and can be ordered using one simple part number. This preconfigured option gives integrators the assurance of the industry's most trusted AV rack, packed with the benefits of Forward.
More information about Middle Atlantic Products is available at www.middleatlantic.com.
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About Legrand and Legrand, North and Central America
Legrand is the global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures. Its comprehensive offering of solutions for use in commercial, industrial, and residential markets makes it a benchmark for customers worldwide. Drawing on an approach that involves all teams and stakeholders, Legrand is pursuing its strategy of profitable and sustainable growth driven by acquisitions and innovation, with a steady flow of new offerings — including connected products stemming from Legrand's global Eliot (Electricity and IoT) program. Legrand is one of the most sustainable companies in the world, as ranked by the Corporate Knights, and is committed to achieving carbon, water, and waste reductions in its operations, deepening its community relationships, and continuously improving the environmental profile of its products. Legrand reported sales of around $7.1 billion (USD) in 2018. Legrand has a strong presence in North and Central America, with a portfolio of well-known market brands and product lines. Legrand is listed on Euronext Paris and is a component stock of indexes including the CAC40 www.legrand.us.
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A second chance for the dogs, a fresh start for parolees
Pit Bulls & Parolees returns to Animal Planet Oct. 5. Each episode depicts animal rescue, as Tia Torres and her family “provide a second chance for pit bulls and a fresh start for parolees,” according to Animal Planet, out of New Orleans-based Villalobos Rescue Center.
This season, Lizzy, Tania and Mariah create a "retirement center" at a warehouse to give senior dogs a place to call home, and for the first time, the rescue team celebrates their favorite holiday, Halloween, with an event to benefit the hundreds of dogs in their care.
The show debuted in 2009. This will be season 14.
Pit Bulls & Parolees is produced by 44 Blue Productions, a Red Arrow Studios company, and Rive Gauche Television. Rasha Drachkovitch, Billy Cooper and Jen Bies are the executive producers for 44 Blue Productions. For Animal Planet, Lisa Lucas is executive producer.
Legislators, journalists have trust issues, too, according to new report
High tech execs have been subject to a barrage of criticism from the legislators--including this week--over its size, how it got that way, and how that power is being used relative to competitors and the public that increasingly relies on technology for the internet of (every)thing, but both apparently have image issues with the public.
A majority of High Tech execs act unethically at least some of the time, or at least that is the perception of over 10,000 people who participated in a survey for Pew Research Center. It is unclear to what extent either the Hill attacks or the various breaches, data sharing missteps and other issues, have contributed to that perception.
In fact, members of Congress and tech leaders are rated lower in empathy, transparency and ethics than others including military, the police and school principal.
According to a new report, “Why Americans Don’t Fully Trust Many Who Hold Positions of Power and Responsibility,” 77% of respondents said that tech leaders act unethically all or some of the time, second only in apparent lack of trust to members of Congress, about whom 81% said that (see chart).
Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, religious leaders came in third at 69%, followed by journalists at 66%.
Among those who said those powerful figures were unethical all or most of the time, members of Congress topped that category as well at 17%, with journalists second at 15% and tech leaders third at 12% (10% said that about religious leaders).
Perhaps an unsurprising finding given the incessant attacks by President Donald Trump and some of his Republican Hill allies on journalists as liars and purveyors of fake news, there is a definite political split driving the responses about journalists.
According to Pew, only 31% of those who identified themselves as Republicans and Republican "leaners" said they believed journalists fairly cover all sides of an issue at least some of the time, while 74% of Democrats "leaners" said so, a 43 percentage-point gap.
There is no similar political disagreement when it comes to their view of tech execs. "Republicans and Democrats generally mirrored the views of the public as a whole," Pew said.
The survey was conducted Nov. 27-Dec. 10, 2018, among U.S. adults. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.
PARIS, DENVER, SINGAPORE, SAO PAULO, SYDNEY September 19 2019 – ATEME, the emerging leader in video delivery solutions for broadcast, cable, DTH, IPTV and OTT, announced today that NPC Media, Managed Services Operator and joint venture between Nine Entertainment Co. and Seven West Media, has implemented ATEME’s TITAN solution to offer Main Screen DTT and TV everywhere OTT channels in SD and HD to viewers across Australia.
ATEME provided NPC Media with a full-IP enabled solution, which includes the software-based TITAN Live, TITAN Mux, and ATEME Management System (AMS). The provided solution makes workflows simple, efficient and scalable while providing NPC Media with the following benefits:
· Superior Bandwidth Efficiency: the deployed solution allows high Video Quality at low bitrates enabling NPC to maximise DTT end-user experiences and increase OTT customer reach
· Future-Proof Solution: the software-only approach leverages ATEME’s continuous research and innovation in video quality, allowing for evolution as new video standards are adopted by the industry
· Full-IP Workflow Lowering OPEX and CAPEX: NPC utilises ATEME’s advanced capabilities and high density SMPTE 2022-6 inputs to optimise its workflow
· Partnership approach: ATEME will continuously support NPC in its holistic digital transformation to sustain its leadership in the Australian market
“NPC has developed a flexible and efficient, fully IP solution, servicing multiple customers and their specific needs. ATEME, for example, has enabled us to efficiently integrate Broadcast and OTT requirements, supporting the needs for quality, localisation and targeted audience delivery - key to our clients’ success,” said Chris Howe, GM Commercial and Technical, NPC Media.
“ATEME’s unparalleled technical solution and strong local presence has enabled us to meet the challenges associated with this landmark project. Kudos to the team at NPC Media and the technical team at ATEME Australia for the achievement. We are excited to continue the journey with NPC as the platform grows,” said Will Munkara-Kerr, ATEME’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand.
Oslo, Norway, 19 September 2019 - Nevion, award-winning provider of virtualized media production solutions, has announced today that GlobalConnect has deployed Nevion Virtuoso, the software-defined media node, and Nevion VideoIPath, the orchestration and SDN control software, for remote production and contribution applications. The leading provider of fiber network, data centers and cloud solutions, is using the solution to serve leading media providers of the Danish football league, Superliga, as well as support the remote production of other sports such as handball.
GlobalConnect required a new solution to replace its existing infrastructure that would include both compressed and uncompressed services with a clear path to an eventual migration to SMPTE ST 2110. Prior to deploying Nevion’s solution, GlobalConnect transmitted Superliga feeds using multiple audio, video and network cables from an outdoor cabinet to the OB van where only one 10G fiber connection in OB vans is used today.
The new solution features Nevion carrier-class Virtuoso MIs, which are used to encode and transport HD and 4K/UHD feeds (using JPEG 2000) in real-time from the football arenas. They are also deployed on a total of 4 OB trucks and 2 Mobile Units across the country to provide host feeds for GlobalConnect’s customers. Nevion VideoIPath manages and orchestrates the network, ensuring in particular load balancing and uptime.
Anders Kuhn Saaby, CTO at GlobalConnect said: “We have a long-standing relationship with Nevion during which time we’ve been able to feed feature requests into the products to fit our needs. As an integrated digital infrastructure provider, we have a great interest in the SDI to IP development and Nevion has been instrumental in our first phase of migration to IP.”
Hans Hasselbach, Chief Commercial Officer, Nevion, commented: “We have partnered with GlobalConnect since 2012 and have provided a number of solutions in this time, including VideoIPath, where we still expect to introduce more benefits with new features for our multitenant and mobile infrastructure components. We look forward to continuing to work with GlobalConnect in the future as it transitions to an IP production environment.”
For more information about Nevion and its solutions, please visit the Nevion website.
Broadcaster/cable latepayers face 25% penalty, plus interest
The FCC is reminding all regulated entities, which includes broadcasters and MVPDs, that their regulatory fees are due by midnight Sept. 24.
The FCC released its new fee schedule last month outlining how it will divide up the $339,000,000 in fee obligations it plans to collect in 2019.
In a fact sheet released this week on the process for getting good-cause waivers from the fees, the FCC said in bold print: "Regulatory fee payments MUST BE RECEIVED by the Commission no later than 11:59 PM, Eastern Daylight Time, on Sept. 24, 2019 (the "Due Date")." The explicit "or else" in that statement is the 25% late penalty on any late-payers, plus interest until it is paid, as well as dire consequences including "dismissing delinquent regulatees’ pending applications and actions, revoking delinquent regulatees’ authorizations and licenses, offsetting unpaid regulatory fee debt against monies owed by the Commission, and referring unpaid regulatory fee debt to the United States Department of Treasury for further collection."
And while the FCC also outlines its waiver process, relief will only be granted, it says, to those "unambiguously articulating ‘extraordinary circumstances’ outweighing the public interest in recouping the cost of the Commission's regulatory services."
The FCC pays for itself out of the fees it collects from regulated entities.
Divided FCC changed rules back in July
The FCC has released a guide to help smaller TV stations and entities comply with its changes to the revisions to its children's television programming rules.
Those include relaxed requirements and streamlined reporting requirements.
While the guide is not a shield, but following the guide can be used by smaller stations as a mitigating factor if the FCC takes any action for violation of the rules.
The FCC's new KidVid rule revamp took effect Sept. 16, except for the reporting requirements that must still get approval from the Office of Management and Budget. The changes must be vetted by OMB, per the Paperwork Reduction Act, to make sure they don't create too much of a paperwork burden for regulated industries.
A divided FCC adopted a Report and Order (R&O) July 10 to give broadcasters more flexibility in how they air that E/I (educational/informational) programming.
The R&O preserved the three-hour-per-week mandate for E/I programming, but allows a third of that to be aired on a multicast channel, rather than on the primary channel, as the rules had required.
Among other things, it also gives broadcasters an extra hour (formerly 7 a.m.-10 p.m., now 6 a.m.-10 p.m.) in which E/I programming satisfies the three-hours-per-week requirement and gives broadcasters the ability to count a "limited" amount of non-regularly scheduled weekly programming toward the requirement, though still requiring the "majority" of that programming to be regularly scheduled weekly, and allow a "limited" amount of short-form programming--PSAs, interstitials--but most still required to be at least a half hour.
Sen. Warner's office said he put together dinner meeting
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reached out to Congress to talk about what action Congress could or should take to protect data and promote competition.
Zuckerberg, who has been in the hotseat in Hill hearings over the social media giant's handling of user data and use by Russian election meddlers, has acknowledged new regs are needed.
That outreach is according to the office of Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), which said that at Facebook's request, the senator put together a dinner meeting in Washington for Zuckerberg and "a group of senators."
According to Warner spokesperson Rachel Cohen, "the participants had a discussion touching on multiple issues, including the role and responsibility of social media platforms in protecting our democracy, and what steps Congress should take to defend our elections, protect consumer data, and encourage competition in the social media space.”
Warner, who is ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a speech this week that the status quo in internet governance doesn't cut it any more. Warner said that view might seem surprising from the "tech guy" in Washington--he is a former tech exec and concedes he once shared the consensus view that those technologies "and the companies that built them" were "largely positive forces--but that in the wake of abuses by actors foreign and domestic, he signaled, "now, we see how the misuse of technology threatens our democratic systems, our economy, and our national security."
In an email to Multichannel News and other outlets, Cohen pointed out that the senator has introduced several bills to regulate social media platforms, including Facebook, as well as releases in a white paper on various approaches to the issue of internet governance.
Cohen also says there is another piece of legislation in the works--the senator plans to introduce it in the "coming weeks--which she describes as "bipartisan interoperability/portability legislation to encourage innovation, support competition, and actually give users more choices when it comes to social media."
In a Facebook post back in April, Zuckerberg said he believed we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability,"
Facebook has been under intense scrutiny in Washington over the Cambridge Analytica data sharing fiasco--which led to the recent $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission--and general angst about the size and power of social media and its exemption from liability (responsibility) for the content posted on its platforms.
Zuckerberg, who testified before Congress last fall, said he agrees with lawmakers that social media have too much power of speech. "I've come to believe that we shouldn't make so many important decisions about speech on our own," he said. That is why Facebook is creating an independent body that will review appeals of those content decisions.
But he also said the government could set baseline standards for prohibited speech "and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum."
Syndicated service measure impact stars have on promotion
Nielsen said it has expanded its Social Content Ratings product so that its measures the impact when show talent promotes TV programming on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The product gives media owners, marketers, agencies and talent more information about their social media power and strategies.
“For our clients, it’s critical to effectively manage the investments they are making across social platforms," said Sean Casey, president, Nielsen Social. "The true impact talent has on the social engagement around TV shows has always been a big blindspot. The challenge for us was crafting a methodology and technology that could determine the program relevance of talents’ social posts at scale for the tens of thousands of actors across thousands of TV shows. In conjunction with our relationships with Twitter and Facebook, Nielsen was able to deliver this measurement to the industry.”
Nielsen said almost 60% of all social engagement for TV programs is driven by posts by talent. Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings found that more than 6,000 talent accounts published more than 164,000 pieces of social content during the 2018 TV season. Those drove 170 million engagements for TV programs.
“Leaning into a trusted data source to better understand how our talent is engaging with their respective fan bases helps our teams scale these interactions and further drive to our programming,” said Don Robert, executive VP, research, at A+E Networks. “We recognize that our incredible talent has the power to influence consumer discovery and behavior, and Nielsen Social Content Ratings is an important tool that enables our social teams to refine strategies for increased efficiency and impact.”
Nielsen said that the top talents on social media last week were Kim Kardashian West, who had 1.1 million owned engagement promoting an appearance on The Tonight Show, Ellen DeGeneres, who got 926,200 owned engagements for her daytime show, and Gabrielle Union, who had 837,000 owned engagements for America’s Got Talent.
“As the producer of two of the world’s largest reality competition formats, America’s Got Talent and American Idol , we work with our talent to create extremely high levels of social engagement that keep our fans connected to these brands,” said JR Griffin, VP of digital marketing and business development at Fremantle, U.S. “By leveraging Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings, we are able to accurately measure our talent’s social influence and refine our strategies in real time in order to create the most impactful campaigns.”
OS 9.2 improves search and discovery
Roku on Thursday announced a new line of streaming video players, ranging in price from $29.99 to $99.99.
Roku also announced a new operating system for its streaming players--OS 9.2--which enables better search and content discovery.
The company is looking to maintain its position as the leader in the streaming market, while also enabling more cord-cutters and cord nevers to join the streaming party.
“We’re driven by the goal of delivering an exceptional streaming experience to our customers that includes endless entertainment and intuitive ways to find it,” said Mark Ely, vice president, players and whole home product management at Roku. “Our new streaming player lineup continues to offer a device for every type of streamer. Whether you’re streaming to your TV for the first time or are a cord-cutting power-house who wants our ultimate streaming device – we’ve got something for everyone.”
With the new operating system, users will see a new channel spotlighting 4K programming, a “Roku Tips & Tricks” channel.
“The Roku OS allows consumers to easily get to the content they want to watch so they can sit back and relax,” said Ilya Asnis, senior VP of Roku OS at Roku. “With Roku OS 9.2, we are giving our customers new content-rich experiences around 4K, voice and home screen controls.”
Roku has also added features to its voice remote controls, which will now offer a mute button, control over sleep timers, a headphone jack and programmable shortcut buttons. Users will also be able to use movie quotes to identify thousands of films.
The new Roku models include:
Roku Express, which is 10% smaller than its predecessor and efficient enough to run off a TV’s USB outlet. It comes with a simple remote control. Price: $29.99
Roku Express+ is available only at Walmart and adds a Roku Voice remote for $39.99
Roku Premiere delivers 4K and HDR streaming with a simple remote. $39.99.
Roku Streaming Stick+ offers portable HD, 4K and HDR video and a voice remote. $59.99
Roku Ultra LT, plays HD 4K and HDR video and comes with an Enhanced Roku Voice remote and Roku headphones. Price $79.99
Roku Ultra features an enhanced quad-core processor which delivers HD, 4k and HDR picture quality. The processor also makes channels launch faster. Its remote control features new programmable personal shortcut buttons. Comes with JBL headphones. $99.99.
Service features British TV programming
Acorn TV, AMC Networks' streaming service featuring popular British and international TV shows, now has more than 1 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, the company said.
“Since its launch, Acorn TV has led the way for streamers focused on a specialized audience," said Miguel Penella, president, global direct-to-consumer, at AMC Networks. "Surpassing one million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada is a major milestone which underscores that subscribers love the trusted Acorn TV experience filled with highly entertaining and captivating original and exclusive entertainment.”
“Acorn TV’s strong momentum, coupled with the growth of our other targeted SVOD services – Shudder, Sundance Now, and UMC – further underscores that the special interest SVOD market is growing and has vast potential, including some meaningful advantages over general interest SVOD. AMC Networks is just beginning to tap the potential universe for these services,” Penella said.
Some of Acorn’s recent growth can be attributed to increased availability on the Apple TV app, Roku Channel, Amazon Prime Video Channels, YouTube TV and Android TV. The service continues to be available via Chromecast, Comcast and apps on the App Store, Google Play, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
Acorn has also added original shows it co-produces and licenses, including Manhunt, Queens of Mystery, Agatha Raisin, London Kills, Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries and Mystery Road.
Exclusive programming includes Doc Martin, Line of Duty, A Place to Call Home, Jack Irish and Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears.
Also in charge of Barclays Center
Former Turner Broadcasting president David Levy was named CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center.
The move was announced by Joe Tsai, who completed the acquisition of both the NBA team and the arena on Wednesday.
Levy will also serve as president of J. Tsai Sports and be a venture partner of the company, which makes sports, media and entertainment investments.
At Turner, Levy played a key role in the network’s relationship with the NBA. He also made a deal with CBS and the NCAA to get Turner rights to air the the Men’s College Basketball Championships.
“David brings a unique combination of sports and media know-how, strategic thinking and operating skills to our sports and entertainment business. He is an entrepreneur at heart with the experience of managing and scaling organizations, and I really look forward to working with him,” said Tsai.
“I am excited and honored to join the Nets organization and look forward to working alongside Joe and the talented forward-thinking executives and team members across the entire organization,” said Levy. “Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson have done a terrific job instilling a winning culture and I am looking forward to supporting them as we build a sustainable foundation of success on and off the court. I am excited for our fans and can’t wait to get started.”
Net losing Cubs, adding Bulls, Hawks and Sox games
The Cubs Major League Baseball team is starting its own Marquee Network in a joint venture with Sinclair Broadcast Group next season, taking games off long-time broadcaster WGN-TV, WLS and NBC Sports Chicago.
But NBC Sports Chicago has already begun billing itself the exclusive home for the NHL's Blackhawks, the NBA's Bulls and the White Sox baseball team, effective Oct. 1, and said it will be televising more live games than ever.
The network said that with the change approaching, it has already secured about half of the network's subscribers with deals in place to be carried by Comcast Cable (Comcast is an owner of NBC Sports Net), RCN and WOW.
The regional sports network is also available on streaming services including YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, fubo TV and Sony PlayStation Vue.
"Currently, the channel will be distributed by Chicago’s three largest cable providers," the network said. "With the Blackhawks and Bulls seasons about to begin, we are working with urgency with every distributor to make sure Chicago sports fans don’t miss a single game.”
Dish said in a statement that “our goal is to keep NBC Sports Chicago available to our customers at a reasonable cost. We are unsure why NBC Sports Chicago has decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process, at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”
NBC Sports Chicago last week started running an ad campaign calling the channel “Your Home for Chicago Sports.”
“Fans in Chicago enjoy watching their favorite sports teams year-round on NBC Sports Chicago where they can find the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes access as well as the highest quality broadcast of our games,” the Blackhawks, Bulls and Sox said in a statement. “We’re excited as the network becomes the exclusive home for all three teams with more games than ever before. Chicago sports fans are the best in the world, and it’s important that they have access to all of our games on NBC Sports Chicago when, where and how they want to watch.”
Women want Food Network in Beta Research study.
Beta’s Basic Network Evaluation Study also found that cable subscribers found ESPN and Nick Jr. had the highest perceived value among viewers. Viewers pegged the value of each of those networks at $1.74 per month.
In this time of cord-cutting and as distributors look to make their bundles skinnier, the networks most in demand and valuable to subscribers are the ones likely to be able to avoid cuts in carriage and carriage fees.
In its ranking of must-have networks among men, ESPN was named by 47% of respondents. The sports giant was followed by History, Discovery Channel, Weather Channel, TNT, FX and ESPN2.
Among women, Food Network was listed by 36% of those responding. It was followed by Weather Channel, Lifetime Movie Network, Discovery Channel, FX, TLC and AMC.
In terms of average perceived value of cable networks following ESPN and Nick Jr. were Disney Channel, Investigation Discovery, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, Food Network, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1 and National Geographic Channel.
Beta also said that 19% of adults said they would definitely switch cable providers if Discovery Channel were dropped--the most of any network in the survey.
Discovery was followed closely by ESPN, History, Syfy, FX, National Geographic and AMC.
The Beta study was conducted during June among a national sample of 1,400 cable subscribers age 18 and up. The study measured 45 basic cable networks.
Alyson Hannigan, Rob Riggle, Mia Sinclair Jenness in voice cast
Disney Junior has ordered a third season of animated series Fancy Nancy. Season two debuts Oct. 4. The series is based on the books by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser. It premiered in July 2018,
Fancy Nancy follows six-year-old Nancy, a high-spirited girl whose imagination and enthusiasm transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. “Nancy uses ingenuity and resourcefulness to exemplify that even if life doesn't always go as planned, it's important to make the most of each day and encourage others to do the same,” said Disney Junior.
Almost every episode features original songs showcasing a variety of styles.
The voice cast includes Alyson Hannigan and Rob Riggle as Nancy's parents, Mia Sinclair Jenness as Nancy and Spencer Moss as sister JoJo. The recurring guest voice cast includes Christine Baranski, Kal Penn, George Wendt and John Ratzenberger (the latter two were on Cheers together).
Fancy Nancy is executive produced and directed by Jamie Mitchell with Krista Tucker as series developer, co-producer and story editor. The series is produced by Disney Television Animation.
Signs multi-year deal
Fox News has signed Maria Bartiromo to a new, multiyear, deal for duties on both Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel.
Bartiromo is currently anchor of FBN’s Mornings with Maria and Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street, as well as Sunday Morning Futures on FNC. She joined the network in 2014.
“Fox News and FOX Business have afforded me the opportunity to grow as a journalist and stretch myself in ways I’ve never imagined," said Bartiromo in a statement. "I am so grateful for the opportunity and look forward to many more incredible years ahead.”
Before joining Fox, Bartiromo spent 20 years with CNBC, including launching Squawk Box and anchoring The Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo and syndicated On the Money with Maria Bartiromo.
Her exceptional insights and incredible work ethic have been of tremendous value to Fox Business and Fox News and we’re thrilled to have her continue anchoring each of her stellar programs for many more years to come," said Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott.
Comes from Washington, where he was GSM at Fox duopoly
Mike Lewis has been named VP and general manager at Fox-owned WJZY-WMYT in Charlotte. He starts immediately and reports to Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations.
Lewis comes from Washington, DC, where he was VP and general sales manager of Fox’s WTTG-WDCA. Prior to that, he was general sales manager at Graham Media Group’s WKMG Orlando. Before that, Lewis was VP and general sales manager at then Fox-owned WRBC Birmingham.
“Mike has done a great job for us in sales and I know that his experience and passion for the business will ensure the success of these important television stations,” said Abernethy.
Lewis succeeds Mike McClain in Charlotte. McClain took on the VP/general manager position at the Fox-owned duopoly in Orlando.
“Leading WJZY and WMYT is a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to helping further the growth of these stations’ market influence and prominence,” said Lewis.
It is latest move in effort to better establish eligibility for subsidy
The FCC said an automated system linking the Medicaid program and the FCC's Lifeline subsidy program has now gone live.
Lifeline is the advanced communications subsidy for consumers in low-income households. It provides a $9.95 monthly subsidy for phone and/or broadband.
The link is part of the FCC's effort to better verify eligibility for the as a way to combat waste, fraud and abuse.
Medicaid is one of the programs--the school lunch program is another--that qualifies a recipient as a low-income resident eligible for the monthly Lifeline subsidy.
The FCC in 2016 created a third-party eligibility "Verifier" process to independently verify participants, rather than relying on carriers with a conflict of interest, i.e. the incentive to inflate the numbers and pocket the extra.
"Establishing automated connections with existing state and federal programs by which applicants can demonstrate eligibility for Lifeline is key" to that verifier, the FCC says.
The FCC has already established an automated connection with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (eligibility for subsidized housing is also a test of Lifeline eligibility) and a dozen states.
“This partnership between Medicaid and Lifeline is a major step in the implementation of the Verifier,” said FCC chair Ajit Pai in a statement. “I would like to thank Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma for her agency’s work with us to bring the economic, educational, and social benefits of Lifeline-enabled broadband to low-income Americans, while helping us reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the program.”
Pai has long argued the Lifeline program needed changes, including better mechanisms for verifying eligibility.
Last month, Pai circulated to the other commissioners for a vote a final order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that takes steps to strengthen the Lifeline program against waste, fraud and abuse--including making sure subsidies go to folks who are actually still living. But it does not not address the FCC's 2017 proposal to cap the fund, exclude wireless resellers from the program, or create a mandatory minimum contribution by subs toward the cost of the service. Senior FCC staffers speaking on background said those issues are still "pending."
The order was billed as an administrative "clean-up" order, which is why it does not tackle those larger issues.
Cooking show shot in the Hamptons
A new season of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like A Pro begins on Food Network Sunday, Oct. 27 at noon ET/PT. Ina Garten hosts.
The show is shot at her home in East Hampton, New York. Garten explores Italian dishes and holiday brunches this season.
"Ina's new season starts with casual fall meals and takes us right through holiday celebrations," said Courtney White, president, Food Network. "Our audience is sure to be inspired by her signature tips and recipes to create their own home-cooked dishes."
The season premiere is about store-bought ingredients that can create easy dishes.
"I'll show everyone how to go to a grocery store, buy perfectly good ingredients, and make delicious, easy dishes that will delight everyone at their table," said Garten.
Garten has authored 11 cookbooks, including Cook Like a Pro.
Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc.
Changeover set for Sept. 30
Katz Networks said it rebranding its Escape digital broadcast network as Court TV Mystery on Sept. 30.
Under the Court TV Mystery brand, the network will continue to aim for the same women 25-54 viewer that Escape had targeted.
Katz launched a new version of Court TV in May.
“Court TV Mystery will continue to focus on true-crime programming but will now be powered by one of the most recognizable brands in television history,” said Jonathan Katz, president and CEO of Katz Networks, part of the E.W. Scripps Co.
“While increasing consumer recognition, aligning the two networks also creates increased marketing and co-promotional strength and the ability to naturally share content,” Katz said. “We have begun producing true-crime docuseries and documentaries for Court TV, drawing from the nearly 100,000 hours of footage in the original network library. This compelling content will premiere on Court TV then have a home on Court TV Mystery, giving the millions of consumers who are hungry for the real-life drama of true-crime programming more opportunities to watch and enjoy it.”
Escape is available in 103.5 million homes, or 94% of the U.S
Programming on Court TV Mystery will include The First 48, Forensic Files, American Greed, FBI Files, Crime Watch Daily and Unsolved Mysteries.
Big growth for ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ finale on ABC
ABC and NBC shared the Tuesday ratings title, ABC with the Bachelor in Paradise finale and NBC with America’s Got Talent. Both networks did a 1.3 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 7 share.
Bachelor in Paradise went up 18% to 1.3 across prime.
America’s Got Talent grew 14% to 1.6 from 8 to 10 p.m. and the Bring the Funny closer scored a level 0.7. The AGT finale happens September 18.
CBS and Univision scored 0.5/3s.
CBS had repeated dramas.
On Univision, it was La Rosa de Guadalupe at a flat 0.5, La Usurpadora up a tenth from its premiere at 0.6 and Sin Miedo a la Verdad up 33% to 0.4.
Fox and Telemundo both scored a 0.3/2. Fox had repeats of The Resident and 9-1-1.
Telemundo had Exatlon Estados Unidos down 20% at 0.4 and El Final Del Paraiso at a flat 0.4, then Preso No. 1 off 33% at 0.2.
The CW did a 0.2/1. Pandora got a 0.1 and Mysteries Decoded a 0.2, both level with last week.
New bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Reed, would create new ODNI 'response center'
Presidential candidate and Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar has teamed up with Rep. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to try and combat foreign influence--Russia particularly comes to mind--in U.S. elections.
Klobuchar, who has backed a bill to increase political ad transparency online in the wake of Russian 2016 election meddling, is ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee--it has jurisdiction over federal election issues--and Reed is the ranking member on Armed Services.
Russian meddling included setting up bogus online social media accounts and posts--Twitter, Instagram, Facebook--and buying digital ads in an effort to sew dissension and help then-candidate Donald Trump win the election, the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded. U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that Russia and others could try to reprise those efforts for the upcoming 2020 election.
Their bill, the Combating Foreign Influence Act, would create the Malign Foreign Influence Response Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to coordinate a response to influence operations, taking the kind of whole-of-government the U.S. has taken with counter-terrorism.
“We know that foreign governments and their agents have executed extensive and sophisticated influence campaigns that are designed to sow division, spread disinformation, and mislead the American people—we need a collaborative, comprehensive approach to protecting our democracy from information warfare,” Klobuchar said Wednesday (Sept. 18).
“Russian information warfare and malign foreign influence operations are ongoing and pose a serious threat to both our national security and democracy. The U.S. must step up efforts to counter this increasingly sophisticated and evolving threat," added Reed.
The bill, which would expire in eight years unless renewed, would:
1. "Direct the ODNI to establish a Malign Foreign Influence Response Center to serve as the primary organization for analyzing and integrating all intelligence possessed or acquired on foreign influence operations and campaigns.
2. "Coordinate efforts at combating foreign influence operations conducted by Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China.
3. "Identify and close gaps across the departments and agencies with respect to expertise, readiness, and planning to address foreign influence operations and campaigns.
4. "Make information available to the public on disinformation campaigns.
5. "Improve information sharing with allied intelligence partners.
6. "Direct the Center to submit an annual report to Congress on the activities of the Center and their implications on privacy and civil liberties."
7. Direct the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community to conduct an Annual Independent review of the activities of the Center and its implications on privacy and civil liberties. [The provisions on privacy and civil liberties is likely key since Democrats have on occasion criticized what they saw in the counter terrorism sphere as the sacrifice of liberties in the name of national security].
8. Establish an Oversight Board composed of representatives from relevant departments and agencies to ensure the Center is achieving its mission.
Metric fits all video platforms
Hearst Television said its stations will begin selling TV ads based on audience impressions, a shift away from traditional ratings.
Hearst said impressions better reflects how many people watch programs and commercials and are more comparable to metrics being used on other video-viewing platforms.
Industry trade group the TVB has been push for impressions and some ad agency buy local media that way. Last month the NBCU/Telemundo stations said they would no longer sell ads based on ratings but would shift to impressions.
“We have always focused on providing large, quality audiences to our advertisers,” said Jordan Wertlieb, Hearst Television’s president. “Today’s video marketplace requires contemporary measurement metrics.”
The change increases the opportunity for television companies to provide inventory into widely used programmatic digital-advertising platforms and to participate more seamlessly in cross-market, regional and unwired network ad campaigns, Hearst said.
“This is without question one of the most dynamic times in the history of our industry,” said Eric Meyrowitz, Hearst Television senior VP, sales. “Helping facilitate a change that ultimately allows for easier transaction across multiple platforms is something we are excited and eager to be a part of.”
Hearing will also deal with spectrum management
The House Communications Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on supply chain security and spectrum.
“Legislating to Secure America’s Wireless Future" is scheduled for Sept. 24 at 10:30 a.m.
No witness list yet for the hearing.
“In order to pave the way for America’s wireless future, our networks must be secure and employ cutting edge technology to harness the power of our airwaves,” said House Energy & Commerce Committee Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Subcommittee chair Mike Doyle (D-Pa.). "We look forward to pushing ahead with legislation to root-out suspect network equipment nationwide and explore ways to improve coordination and management of spectrum resources to better serve the American people.”
The FCC, Congress and the Trump Administration have taken steps to address the presence of suspect tech, particularly from Chinese telecoms, in U.S. networks.
Common Sense survey finds lower-income kids at greater disadvantage
Common Sense polled over 1,200 teachers and the consensus is that there is a continuing broadband "homework" gap that disproportionately disadvantages lower-income students.
That came from a new study, "The Homework Gap: Teacher Perspectives on Closing the Digital Divide," which found a continuing educational digital divide.
The survey was conducted in May 2018, but Common Sense said the gap remains.
"As long as the homework gap persists, teachers cannot prepare the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow," said James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense."We cannot afford to shortchange lower-income students and students of color, simply because of a lack of broadband and computer access at home."
The study found that four out of 10 teachers said "many" of their students don't have "adequate" home access to a computer or the internet and among teachers in schools with more than three quarters of students of color (Title I schools) said that a majority (more than 60%) of students don't have access to either a computer or the internet.
The online and focus group study was conducted among 1,208 U.S. K–12 teachers in May 2018.
FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who has made closing the homework gap one of her signature issues called the report a "welcome contribution" to that effort.
“Today, homework and high-speed internet service go hand-in-hand," she said. "But as this report makes clear, too many students are struggling because they lack the broadband access they need to complete nightly schoolwork, said Federal Communications commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. “This homework gap is the cruelest part of our new digital divide."
Studio association drops "America" from title
Following in the footsteps of other Hollywood icons like Marion Morrison (John Wayne) and Arthur Geline (Tab Hunter), the Motion Picture Association of America has changed its name.
Saying it better reflects its worldwide advocacy for content producers and distributors, MPAA has changed its name to Motion Picture Association to o square with its branding internationally.
An updated version of its logo will now be used by all regional offices.
“In the nearly 100 years since our founding, the film and television industry has rapidly grown and evolved, and the stories we tell now reach every corner of the world,” said Motion Picture Association chair Charles H. Rivkin of the rebranding. “The Motion Picture Association has evolved too, as have the challenges we face – from defending the creative expression of storytellers, to protecting our members’ content, to expanding access to international markets. "
Headquartered in Washington, MPA has offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brussels, Mexico City, Brasilia, and São Paulo.
Then MPA was founded in 1922 as the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America and changed to MPAA in 1945. It has gone by MPA internationally since 1994.
Xfinity Flex streaming video product available free
Embracing its growing number of high-speed internet customers, Comcast will give its broadband-only customers an X1 box and voice remote control and make its Xfinity Flex programming package free.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference Wednesday, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the object was to differentiate its broadband product from competitors.’
“Streaming is more friend than foe for Comcast,” said Roberts, adding that the company’s X1 video platform is “the best way to get video in the world.”
Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit on Tuesday announced that the new streaming service it will be launching will be called Peacock, after NBC’s famed logo.
Peacock will be ad supported-- and Comcast will use its current relationships with customers and distributors to get quick penetration. It also called on Sky for expertise on direct-to-consumer streaming products.
Using Comcast and NBCU’s advanced advertising capabilities, Roberts said that going with an ad supported model--rather than a subscription product--offered the fastest path to profitability at the lowest cost.
Roberts noted that Comcast spends about $14 billion on content and that some of that content will be repurposed for use on Peacock.
Peacock will offer shows including The Office, Saturday Night Live and possibly the Olympics when it launches next year, Roberts said.
Roberts said that using X1 will make it easier for broadband customers to find the things they want to watch and identify which programs they have already have access to through the subscriptions they have to services including Peacock, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO and Showtime.
Xfinity Flex, introduced last year provides viewers with 10,000 free TV shows and movies.
Selected winners will receive funding to build a prototype of their design
The post NAB’s Pilot Seeking Proposals For AI-Inspired Innovation Challenge appeared first on Radio World.
Now in its fourth year, NAB’s Pilot Innovation Challenge, part of the association’s business incubator, Pilot, is now accepting proposals and has announced a new component for this year’s program. For the first time, Pilot will provide support to a pair of winners so they can develop a prototype to be presented at the 2020 NAB Show.
The prompt for this year’s Pilot Innovation Challenge is to build an AI character that can have conversations with individual viewers, listeners or consumers, with character traits that can be defined and trained by the broadcaster.
Individuals, teams, companies, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations are eligible to submit proposals, with up to five finalists selected by a panel of judges by the end of November. Of those five, two winners will be granted as much as $150,000, relevant mentorship and feedback during the development of their prototype. They will also be invited to the 2020 NAB Show, April 18–22, in Las Vegas to demonstrate the prototype.
The deadline to apply for the Innovation Challenge is Oct. 18. Interested applicants can review the judging criteria and apply here.
The post NAB’s Pilot Seeking Proposals For AI-Inspired Innovation Challenge appeared first on Radio World.
Community radio should keep labor fairness in mind
Community radio attracts so many talented individuals who devote time managing and shepherding stations through many adventures. Virtually all of these people do what they do for the love of their local stations. So, at a time of the year when many community media organizations are nearing the end of the fiscal year, this is a gentle encouragement to think about these selfless individuals and their futures.
To be sure, no one is getting rich off running a community radio station. But that isn’t an excuse for keeping them destitute either.
My timeline the last few months has been dotted with stories of talented community radio general managers, journalists and other leaders leaving for greener pastures. The departures all have a similar ring: opportunities you can’t pass up and offers that are too good, among other reasons. Less in the public eye are issues stations can improve upon.
Not every station has the resources currently to afford staff. But if your community radio station does have staff, attracting gifted people and keeping them happy means more than promising them a fulfilling role. It means valuing their contributions by treating them like professionals who care about your organization.
Not enough of us give thought to drawing in and retaining the best people. Moreover, having limited resources is used not as a challenge to do better, but a rationalization to do nothing. Thus the backchannel stories are troubling: staff who had to take extra jobs to support their families on a station salary; stations that asked for 60-hour work weeks and little appreciation; stations that would not offer health insurance; unions that failed to advocate for even a cost of living increase in a decade or more. The most problematic boards and senior leadership in these scenarios suggest a community radio job as a privilege and other audacious proclamations directly opposed to labor fairness, diversity and equity.
And we wonder why stations struggle. Look not much further than turnover and a lack of investment in people who care.
I speak about these matters from a place of compassion for stations, but also direct experience with station myopia. I worked for a community radio station for years without a penny extra in wages. Like many station staffers, I accepted such because the organization was meaningful to me. However, I suspect a lot of station staffers make similar excuses. In the end, this acceptance does not make for forward-thinking dynamics. It may contribute to dissatisfaction instead. And the people who should act to make these situations better are only emboldened to advocate for quasi-austerity or, worse still, inaction.
As many nonprofits get ready to kick off the new fiscal year, don’t be that station. Don’t treat the people who love your organization and give so much of their time and ideas to its betterment like people whose lives you should not care about. And don’t fall back on the collective shoulder shrug to address the needs of community radio.
Different community radio stations are faced with different local conditions, so it is impossible to be prescriptive about how organizations should remedy these matters. However, a commitment to change is a start. From staff evaluations to studying area pay trends to investigating healthcare options, there is a lot boards and senior leaders can do. Equity and fairness starts at home.
The new edition has AoIP tips, emergency operations kits for public radio stations, the transmitter remote controls of yore, battle lines in the translator interference debate, our preview of the Radio Show in Dallas and much more. DALLAS PREVIEW “Tech Tuesday” and Lessons From the Cowboys Read about the convention’s fresh new feel, its day […]
The new edition has AoIP tips, emergency operations kits for public radio stations, the transmitter remote controls of yore, battle lines in the translator interference debate, our preview of the Radio Show in Dallas and much more.
“Tech Tuesday” and Lessons From the Cowboys
Read about the convention’s fresh new feel, its day devoted to technology, and highlights of the three-day event including business ideas from Dallas Cowboys’ Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson.
Stitcher’s Flexible New Facility in Manhattan
The company moved into new headquarters and built studios for creating podcasts; find out what’s in them.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
- Smart Speakers Grow Even More Important
- Jay Tyler’s Top AoIP Trends
- About the EBU Media Technology Pyramid
Get the lowdown from Tim Wright on using the Raspberry Pi in a broadcast environment
The post Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic Preview: Raspberry Pi appeared first on Radio World.
The Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic, Oct. 15–17, is a highly anticipated annual event for radio broadcasters. Like a miniature NAB Show it offers a wealth of information from a show floor along with useful sessions. Radio World is previewing several of those upcoming sessions.
Tim Wright is a senior engineer for the Cumulus Radio Station Group in Chicago. He’s taking a look at the using the Raspberry Pi computer system in a broadcast environment in “Nuts and Bolts: Building the Perfect Pi,” Oct. 15, 7 p.m.
Radio World: The Raspberry Pi is still unknown to a lot of radio broadcast engineers. What is it and how can it be of use in a radio broadcast environment?
Tim Wright: The Raspberry Pi is a single board SOC (system on a chip) computer that is about the size of a deck of cards. It runs a ARMCore version of Debian Linux in a standard configuration but can also run Ubuntu Linux, several other more obscure OSes, and Windows 10 IOT (If you like the Microsoft [non]security model). The basic Raspberry Pi model lists at $35 US so it is a very cost effective solution for those broadcast applications that would normally require a full blown PC to just loaf along and do one thing.
RW: What is a good and useful studio project?
Wright: I have implemented several applications for the Raspberry Pi for our studios and transmitters for Cumulus Chicago. We will be showing, hands-on, several of these applications at the “Nuts and Bolts” session of the Wisconsin Broadcasters fall show. My first application was porting Anthony Eden’s Livewire Simple Delegation Switcher to the Pi. At that point it only ran on Windows in a windowed configuration. I needed a border-less configuration with large buttons to use as a monitor routing panel to select which audio went to overhead speakers in Sales, Promotions, and common areas. Since the code is open source, I modified it to fit my needs. Since that time, Anthony has posted Raspberry Pi configuration instructions on his GIT repository web site.
My second project was for the transmitter sites. I developed a temperature sensor (thermometer) that outputs SNMP data for ingestion into my icinga2/Grafana-based “Heads Up Display” in the TOC. I have also developed several types of multistream monitors for web streams, and a studio clock that interfaces with Livewire right now, and WheatNet is in the works.
Additional applications that are possible but not necessarily practical, include an IP-based STL/TSL, decoding HD Radio using a Pi and an SDR dongle, DHCP server, multimedia displays, KODI home theater, etc.
Use your imagination, or as they say, “Imagine the Possibilities.”
RW: Can it be used in networking?
Wright: The Raspberry Pi family, with the exception of the $5 Pi Zero, support networking. The currently available versions 3B and 4 support both wired and wireless networking, with the 3 at 100 Mbps and the 4 at gigabit speed.
In addition there are third-party hardware additions that allow POE (Power over Ethernet) of the Pi. Since it is a full-blown Linux system, you can do anything that Linux is capable of.
RW: Its simplicity, small footprint and low power consumption would seem to make it a natural for backup uses. Tell us about that.
Wright: Not just backup uses. I have a web server that has been running on a Pi original model for years quite happily.
I did an analysis of PC vs Pi, since any of the projects discussed in the session can and will run on PC hardware as well. In bottom line terms, what can be done for $900 with a PC can be done for $130 with a Pi and is a tiny fraction of the space. A typical PC consumes 150 W of power and the Pi is 5 W. Do the math — total cost of ownership.
RW: Have you worked with the new Raspberry Pi 4 yet?
Wright: I just purchased a half dozen of the Raspberry Pi Version 4 in all the various models (1 GB, 2 GB and 4 GB RAM versions) specifically to use at the WBA for hands-on demonstrations. It took four trips to Micro Center to get them all, because they cannot keep them in stock. Needless to say they are a popular commodity. Be warned, the Version 4 Pi requires a different HDMI cable, power adapter and case, since, following the Apple mantra, why would we want to be backwards hardware-compatible. The larger memory footprint is really only necessary in the minority of applications since Linux runs quite fine with the standard 1 GB. I can imagine that with the dual HDMI ports on the Version 4, the increased CPU speed and cores, and the gigabit networking capability, the Pi could even be used as a digital audio workstation. I have successfully run, as an experiment, a 24-track editor on the Pi 3, so the 4 is even better.
I am setting up all the demo systems with VNC access and Webmin access via HTML, so attendees can use their laptops to play with the systems as if it were a local PC.
The post Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic Preview: Raspberry Pi appeared first on Radio World.
Whatever you want us to do, we can do it using AoIP logic controls, codecs and connectivity
Radio World’s new ebook “AoIP for 2020” is our biggest to date; find it at radioworld.com/ebooks. This article is one in a series exploring that topic. Author Dee McVicker handles marketing and communications at Wheatstone.
There is far more to AoIP than routing and connecting things. It is because of AoIP that we can pan studio cameras at exactly the right moment or load an entire studio of controls onto a tablet, for example.
Where is this all going?
Here are the top five AoIP trends, according to Jay Tyler, Wheatstone’s director of sales, who has been involved in hundreds of studio projects.
Native AoIP across distances. There’s a lot of sharing going on these days, from sharing VOs and bumpers between sister stations and sports venues to putting everything into one main operating center for several stations scattered across a region. Being able to move native IP audio and control across distances is why. The cost savings are significant in terms of staff, infrastructure and workflows, and disaster recovery doesn’t get much better than having your essential operation up in a cloud or in another ZIP code while dealing with a disaster situation in the studio. “We don’t care where music lives,” Tyler said. “We can pull it in or we can control it remotely. We can mix it remotely, send it to your transmitter site, bypass the studios, whatever you want us to do, we can now do it using a combination of AoIP logic controls, codecs and connectivity.”
Native IP for phone-ins, too. Connecting VoIP phones directly into the AoIP network without hybrids or stepping through analog-digital conversions means you can do so much more than just route one or two mic feeds down the phone line. You can split feeds, set up multiple sends, customize talkbacks, routing and conference feeds — all possible now that VoIP phones can connect directly into the native IP audio environment.
SNMP everything. “Everyone wants to know what everything is doing, and they’re doing it with SNMP,” he said. SNMP is a set of standards used for monitoring and managing data from servers, printers, hubs and switches. AoIP networks and devices that are SNMP-enabled have MIB files that define relevant data points for monitoring bitrates, temperatures, signal flow and other network details.
For example, WheatNet-IP BLADE I/O units have MIB files with data points for monitoring as well as alerting if a particular port is dropping packets or if a device is heating up and about to fail. In addition to devices containing MIB files, an SNMP browser or management tool is needed for managing networks.
Virtual interfaces into the network. UIs into the IP audio network are taking many forms today, from signal monitoring and switching control panels to news desks complete with talkback button, metering and weather, sports and stock market feeds. Meanwhile, according to Tyler, standalone virtual mixing consoles such as Wheatstone’s Glass LXE are popular in mid-market production rooms because they’re affordable to set up and use, and extremely serviceable for today’s production needs. With native audio IP able to cross distances as mentioned earlier, we can now tap into and control signal streams inside or outside a facility from any user interface available, whether it’s a multi-touch flatscreen or a mobile phone.
AES67 Everywhere. AES67 is no longer an afterthought. This audio transport standard is becoming an important part of the AoIP landscape as we move more and more audio between network systems. Also up and coming are complementary standards based on NMOS and AES70, which promise to add discovery, control and connection management to the interoperability mix.
Comment on this or any story to [email protected].
The WorldDAB IBC conference focused on digital radio distribution strategies
The post Using Digital Radio to Boost Listening Figures and Revenues appeared first on Radio World.
AMSTERDAM — The WorldDAB conference “Radio Distribution Strategies for a Connected World” focused on new and innovative ways to reach and attract audiences in a connected world.
During the event, Jørn Jensen, senior adviser at NRK, highlighted how the advent of digital radio reversed the trend of radio listening figures in Norway. For years the overall listening values had been slightly decreasing, similar to what was happening in the rest of Europe.
In 2019, after the completion of the FM switchoff, the listening figures began to rise again, he explained. Clearly, the need to replace a legacy radio receiver with a new, digital-capable one did not scare Norwegians, driving them to leave radio behind and massively embrace alternative audio platforms.
“DAB gave Norwegian listeners a much wider choice,” said Jensen. “Apart from moving from three to 15 national radio channels, 35% of all radio listening is now to ‘digital only’ stations, which previously did not exist.”
Norwegian broadcasters were able to design new stations for smaller target groups outside the mainstream market. The NRK station P1+ (targeting listeners over 55), for example, rose to 6th position during its first week on air.
Also, radio commercial revenues can benefit from the digital radio adoption. Even if the United Kingdom experienced a false start with DAB, after 2010 digital radio definitely had a stable comeback there, and now the U.K. is a leading market for DAB.
Overall radio commercial revenue (including FM) followed the rising trend of digital radio popularity. Patrick Hannon, WorldDAB president, emphasized that overall commercial revenues climbed up by 24% from 2014 to 2018.
“Commercial broadcasters usually see more competition and more costs in the
DAB market,” Hannon said. “But DAB gave them the opportunity to establish national brands, which are transforming the perception of commercial radio in the U.K.” In his opinion, national brands are at the heart of the revenue growth.
The WorldDAB session also focused on the need for broadcast digital radio to secure its place through a fluid distribution mix of the advanced markets are now experiencing all around the world.
The session’s speaker panel also included Graham Dixon, head of radio at the EBU); Michael McEwen, director general for NABA; Simon Mason, head of broadcast radio technology at Arqiva, Andrew Murphy, lead research engineer at BBC R&D; Jordi Gimenez, project leader 5G at Institut für Rundfunktechnik; and Jacqueline Bierhorst, on behalf of Radioplayer Worldwide.
All the speakers agreed that a multiplatform digital radio strategy is necessary to preserve the value proposition of radio in a connected and evolving world.
“We have to maintain trustability and relevance — our content has no value, unless people are using it,” Jørn Jensen concluded.
The post Using Digital Radio to Boost Listening Figures and Revenues appeared first on Radio World.
Sorting out sticking points and maintaining forward momentum
The author is CEO of SSR Communications, owner of WYAB(FM) in central Mississippi.
A proceeding currently before the Federal Communications Commission to provide eligible Zone II Class A commercial FM broadcasters an opportunity to upgrade from 6 kilowatts to 12 kilowatts has not attracted a great number of headlines this year, but that has not prevented the FM Class C4 proposal from making some significant strides as of late.
Most noteworthy, the Class C4 FM idea has attracted some powerful allies. In January, the proposal won the backing of the Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, sitting chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Congressional body that maintains direct oversight over the FCC. Sen. Wicker noted that the power increase could be of particular benefit to “small and rural radio stations” in a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. In his February, 2019 reply, Chairman Pai agreed by saying that the FM Class C4 option “could be especially important for small, minority-owned stations that currently cannot serve their entire communities.”
Sen. Wicker now joins the list of approximately 130 small broadcasters who filed comments in full support during the FM Class C4 Notice of Inquiry (MB 18-184, FCC 18-69) filing windows in September, 2018. Several years prior, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai first advocated for the new station class in September, 2016 at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Nashville, Tenn., and going back further, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) supported the effort in 2013 when it helped author the original proposal.
Predictably, a turf war has erupted between the small broadcasters that the FM Class C4 proposal would benefit, and larger license holders who generally control the biggest signals in any given market. The National Association of Broadcasters did not support the introduction of a new station class, which is unsurprising, as that same organization vehemently opposed the creation of the FM Class C0 allotment type some 20 years earlier. Although larger companies stopped short of endorsing the idea fully, some nationwide broadcasters did come out in support of the FM Class C4 concept, including Educational Media Foundation, while iHeartMedia did not oppose the new station class in its comments.
The current sticking point in the FM Class C4 proceeding appears to stem from a component of the proposal that would give certain underbuilt Section 73.207-licensed stations a Section 73.215 designation, provided that the affected station has operated under its maximum antenna height, power level, or equivalent thereof, for a period of ten years or more. Under the current FCC rules, a neighboring station looking to upgrade that is adjacent to an underbuilt Section 73.207-licensed station must treat that station as if it were fully built out, whereas a Section 73.215 station can be protected assuming its actual antenna height and power level.
The practice of treating underbuilt stations as if they were fully constructed can have large implications for smaller adjacent stations wanting to upgrade in power or situate their antenna sites more favorably. For example, a full FM Class C1 station is able to broadcast with 100 kilowatts of power from an antenna height above average terrain of 299 meters. If that station were to have an antenna height of only 200 meters above average terrain, then its primary service contour would be about 5 miles short of what a fully built FM Class C1 facility could reach. Any competing neighboring station looking to upgrade is compelled to protect that underbuilt station for five extra miles of coverage that it does not (or if underbuilt for more than 10 years, likely will not ever) serve.
In August, 2019, SSR Communications Inc., which co-authored the FM Class C4 petition with MMTC, presented a revised version of the Section 73.215 aspect of the proposal to the FCC’s Audio Division. The amended plan would still call for redesignation of certain underbuilt Section 73.207 licensed stations as Section 73.215 authorizations, but would also provide a 3 dB protective “buffer zone” to allow the affected stations an opportunity to relocate or build out more fully in the future. The buffer zone would create a protective bubble around underbuilt stations, usually amounting to anywhere from 3 to7 miles, depending on how severely underpowered or under-height the affected station may be.
This 3 dB buffer zone “compromise” would resolve the controversial aspects of the FM Class C4 proposal and should allow the proposal to advance. The buffer eliminates almost all scenarios in which an affected reclassified Section 73.215 facility could be hemmed in and blocked from making future service improvements or tower relocations. It would also disincentivize the Section 73.215 conference procedure for stations seeking such towards neighboring underbuilt Section 73.207 facilities in almost all cases, except for those involving Section 73.207 stations that are the most decidedly underbuilt with respect to their class. Indirectly, the buffer prevents almost any scenario in which a secondary service could be affected by the Section 73.215 component of the FM Class C4 idea.
Meanwhile, an alternative waiver-based path towards a FM Class C4 equivalent facility may also soon exist. In July, 2018, WRTM(FM) 100.5 MHz asked the Federal Communications Commission to consider allowing the station to double in power from 6 kilowatts to 12 kilowatts. If granted, the WRTM waiver application would establish new precedent and provide certain Class A FM stations an opportunity to enjoy an improvement in coverage.
Unlike the FM Class C4 proposal, the WRTM application (BPH-20180716AAC) suggests that, in order to double in power, a Class A FM licensee should guarantee that its upgraded signal would not impact vital LPFM and FM translator services. Also departing from the Class C4 FM proceeding is the idea that a neighboring Section 73.207-licensed station could still be reclassified as a Section 73.215 facility if it is not built out fully, but only if that station has been operating below its antenna height or maximum power level for a period of 30 years (the FM Class C4 proposal states that a 10-year window is appropriate). The WRTM filing backs this argument by saying, “No zoning problem, FAA issue, or cost consideration could not be resolved within 30 years if the desire is truly there to build out fully.”
Whether moving forward “as is,” as an amended proposal with a 3 dB buffer zone consideration, as a waiver-based procedure for eligible stations, or something else altogether, what will happen next in the FM Class C4 proceeding is anyone’s guess. What is clear is, however, that hundreds of FM Class A stations would be able to double in power and would gladly do so if given such an opportunity. With support in high places, it seems as if a breakthrough is just around the corner, and it could be sooner than later that the FM Class C4 idea moves from concept to reality.
Radio World invites industry-oriented commentaries and responses. Send to Radio World.
Enforcement Bureau agents alleged painting and lighting issues
The post Small AM Station Hit With Violation Notice Over Tower and Station ID appeared first on Radio World.
A recent visit to the small agricultural town of Hughson, Calif., led Enforcement Bureau staff to note that one Spanish-language station was in alleged violation when it came to lighting and painting its tower/antenna and noting on-air proper station identification.
The agent noted that on more than one occasion, there was no station identification announcement at the hour for KLOC(AM) 1390 kHz, which is licensed by La Favorita Radio Network. FCC rules say that broadcast station identification announcements shall be made hourly and as close to the hour as feasible.
The agent also noted several alleged tower and antenna issues, including irregular painting on an antenna installation, inadequate lighting, failure to notify the commission about inoperable lighting and faded painting.
The FCC Rules lay out specific requirements when it comes to painting and lighting towers and antennas — even relying on a paint tolerance chart created by the Federal Aviation Administration and given the heavy name of an In-Service Aviation Orange Tolerance Chart. FCC Rules also say that antenna structures should be cleaned and repainted as often as necessary to maintain good visibility.
So, too, are the FCC rules clear on tower lighting. A tower must be painted for visibility during daytime; during the night, a series of top flashing red obstruction lights and midpoint sidelights must be lit and operational. When those lights are not operating for some reason, the owner of the antenna structure has to report the problem to the FAA unless the lights are corrected within a 30-minute time frame. That notice — called an FAA Notice to Airmen — hadn’t yet been filed by the station, the Enforcement Bureau said.
The FCC has given La Favorita 20 days to submit a written statement explaining the violations and to clarify what action will be taken from here. The commission said it may take further action if warranted, including issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture.
The post Small AM Station Hit With Violation Notice Over Tower and Station ID appeared first on Radio World.
Deadline to submit reimbursement requests is Oct. 15
The post FCC: The Time to Request Repack Reimbursements Starts Now appeared first on Radio World.
When it comes to requesting a reimbursement for repack-related expenses, the clock starts now.
Low-power TV, translator and FM radio stations have a pool of $150 million from which to request funds after the Federal Communications Commission voted in March to allocate additional funding for those adversely impacted by the post-incentive auction TV station repack. The FCC Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau have since outlined procedures for reimbursing those left out of the first round of funding from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund.
The first step, according to a webinar hosted by Hillary DeNigro, deputy chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force, is to get a reimbursement form filed in the LMS database (known as FCC Form 2100, Schedule 300). The deadline for that filing is Oct. 15. That form includes an eligibility section as well as a broadcaster relocation reimbursement estimates section.
Next up: file a banking form (Form 1876) in the CORES incentive action financial module database to clarify where funds should be sent.
In the webinar, attorneys and specialists from the FCC walked listeners through the eligibility requirements charts for this process, noting that are unique and separate rules for LPTVs, translators and FM stations when it comes to eligibility.
See the charts for eligibility requirements for both LPTV/TV translator stations and FM stations.
But DeNigro stressed stations should not wait to receive feedback on whether or not they are eligible for stations to start submitting expenses. “You should not wait to receive feedback on eligibility,” she said. “We encourage you to not wait but to [go ahead and] submit the forms because we are reviewing materials as we receive them.”
How much can a station expect to receive? That will be dependent a number of factors, DeNigro said, including the number of stations that file, the aggregate dollar value of verified estimates received by the commission, and the amount available for reimbursement based on that category of stations.
Payments will be made on a rolling basis; so get your invoices in, she said. “You don’t need to until you have everything together before you submit payment.”
Once a station’s move is finalized and all expenses have been accounted for, a final form 399 is needed to let the commission know that you’re closing out your account. The deadline for those forms is July 3, 2023.
The post FCC: The Time to Request Repack Reimbursements Starts Now appeared first on Radio World.
Also, read about Tom Norman and the case of the hidden capacitor
“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
Component old age is not the only cause of equipment failures. Another, more disgusting, one is vermin infestation, which will become common again now that cooler weather is upon much of the nation.
If you haven’t taken steps to place bait traps and moth balls around your remote transmitter site, now is the time. All sorts of animals are attracted to the warmth of your transmitter building; and they will quickly set up home, sometimes in or on your equipment. See Fig. 1.
Stop the problem before it begins. Rodents like to travel along walls; place your glue or bait traps there to snag them before they get into your equipment racks.
Little black mouse droppings on the floor of the building or enclosure are a signal for action. If you find that your site has been infested, protect yourself while removing nest and droppings. Wear gloves, a gown and above all a mask to avoid breathing hazardous airborne pathogens.
John Wells has written a useful tutorial on illnesses spread by rodents and offers useful tips to ensure their removal. The URL is in the caption for Fig. 2. YouTube also has a number of videos; search “removing mouse infestation” for tips.
Broadcast engineer Tom Norman read with interest our discussion about Frank Hertel’s experience with electrolytic capacitors in an FM exciter. It brought back memories that may be useful for other readers.
Tom remembered an instance in which a remote control system failed. His tests couldn’t produce a reason, but its operation remained horribly intermittent. Tom decided to station himself at the transmitter site until he could figure out what was wrong.
He started with the usual, checking power supply voltages using a VOM. No issues. He checked the same power supply rails with the ’scope. Still nothing wrong.
At one point in the circuit, one of the power supply voltages was further regulated using a three-terminal regulator. Scoping the output of that regulator, he hit the regulator with freeze mist. The tiny amount of ripple disappeared. Tom is not sure what possessed him to check the input terminal of the regulator, but when he did he saw significant ripple. Why was there more ripple on the input of this chip than was present at the output of the regulated power supply feeding it? He froze the chip again and it calmed down.
Tom replaced the chip. No difference. That’s when he considered what was attached to the input and output terminals of the chip. You guessed it: There was a small electrolytic on the input. Tom replaced it. The power supply calmed down, but he still had erratic behavior from the remote control unit.
Tom’s next step was to freeze mist all the active components. He was about to freeze a 741 Op Amp but inadvertently touched it with the little straw from the nozzle of the can of mist. The remote control unit went from erratic to totally dead. He poked the Op Amp again, no difference. He froze it. Back to erratic operation. Tom replaced the Op Amp. Operation was still erratic. Checking the schematic, he noted power supply bypass electrolytic capacitors on the power supply pins. Tom replaced those capacitors. Still erratic.
Pulling out what little was left of hair, he removed the Op Amp and stuffed in a fresh one. Problem solved.
This all took place shortly after a huge electrical storm during which Tom had witnessed multiple direct strikes to the tower.
Although not certain, Tom sees two issues here. One is that lightning can affect components deep inside a circuit, where normally you’d expect them to be safe and sound. His guess is that the electrolytics, being old, failed due to the exacerbating influence of the lightning. Then, for reasons he cannot fathom, one or the other of the Op Amp’s power supply bypass capacitors became inductive and caused oscillations whose peak voltages exceeded the limits of the 741 Op Amp, thus frying it. Although this is speculation, it reminds us that electrolytics should be replaced every seven years or so.
Tom also recalls that as a station engineer, when he found Mallory-brand electrolytic capacitors in a piece of equipment, he would shotgun all of them. He said he’d had so much difficulty with Mallory electrolytic capacitors that he specified that new equipment must not contain any electrolytic capacitors of that manufacture.
Tom writes that he still carries this prejudice, even while acknowledging that things may have changed since then. He doesn’t do much bench work now, but from time to time he will design little circuits for use in his home environment, and when he orders capacitors, he selects another manufacturer — which is funny, because Tom has never had a Mallory Sonalert fail.
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John Bisset has spent 50 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles western U.S. radio sales for the Telos Alliance. He holds CPBE certification with the Society of Broadcast Engineers and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.
Is a compact multichannel IP audio transport solution for radio broadcasters
The post From IBC: Tieline Unveils Gateway Multichannel IP Codec appeared first on Radio World.
At IBC2019, Tieline unveiled the new Gateway IP audio codec, which the company says, is a compact and powerful multichannel IP audio transport solution for radio broadcasters. The Gateway streams up to 16 IP audio channels with support for AES67, AES3 and analog I/O as standard.
Featuring Tieline’s SmartStream PLUS redundant streaming and Fuse-IP data aggregation technologies, Tieline promises the Gateway will “herald a new era in multichannel IP codec streaming.”
Tieline Gateway is suitable for STL, SSL and audio distribution applications, as well as managing multiple incoming remotes at the studio. The compact unit is interoperable with all Tieline IP codecs and compatible over SIP with all EBU N/ACIP Tech 3326 and 3368 compliant codecs and devices.
“The new Gateway codec delivers up to 16 mono channels or eight stereo streams of IP audio in 1RU to increase efficiency and reduce rack space requirements,” said Charlie Gawley, Tieline’s VP Sales APAC/EMEA. “The Tieline Gateway interfaces with legacy analog and AES/EBU sources, as well as newer broadcast plants with AES67 IP audio infrastructure. An optional WheatNet-IP interface will also be also available.”
Configurable through an embedded HTML5 Toolbox Web-GUI interface, the Gateway can also interface with the TieLink Traversal Server for simpler connections and is fully controllable using Tieline’s Cloud Codec Controller.
The post From IBC: Tieline Unveils Gateway Multichannel IP Codec appeared first on Radio World.
Is scheduled to commence in October
Joe D’Angelo, senior vice president of broadcast radio at Xperi, announced during the Xperi HD Radio market update held on the Nautel booth at IBC that HD Radio tests for FM will begin in New Delhi shortly.
“We worked with Nautel to get the authorization required to install a test station in Delhi,” D’Angelo said. “We expect to start on-air trialing within a couple of weeks and continue into next year.”
The FM station will broadcast an HD Radio multicast hosting up to four HD signals. According to D’Angelo, in India there is a remarkable interest in second- and third-language programming, mainly due to the large number of languages spoken throughout the country.
The HD Radio test will demonstrate the entire feature set of the digital radio standard, such as dynamic visual content, station logos and emergency alerts services.
“We will run the trial using standard broadcast equipment from Nautel with the same configuration adopted in the United States, as well as with standard commercial receivers, including the first HD Radio-capable cellphone, named BeatBoy,” D’Angelo explained.
He added that many of the vehicles shipped to India are equipped with the same HD Radio receiver they feature in the U.S. So, even if it’s disabled by default, local dealers can easily activate it. This means thousands of vehicles will potentially be able to receive India’s first HD radio broadcasts once the service begins.
New generation includes three two-way models and a 10-inch three-way
KRK’s popular and affordable Rokit line of near-field studio monitors has now reached its fourth generation, replacing the G3 models and ushering in a significant redesign. The new lineup includes three two-way models, the Rokit 5 G4 (5-inch woofer), Rokit 7 G4 (7-inch woofer), Rokit 8 G4 (8-inch woofer), and the three-way Rokit 10-3 G4 (10-inch woofer). The 4-inch and 6-inch models in previous lineups have been dropped from the line, while the company has added the 7-inch version.
For this review, KRK sent me a pair of both the Rokit 8 G4 and Rokit 5 G4, so we’ll focus on those.
The G4 models are physically similar to their G3 predecessors. The black composite cabinets are close in height, width and depth to the models they’re replacing. The monitors themselves are lighter, however, thanks in part to redesigned Class D power amps that are smaller and lighter. The total weight of a Rokit 5 G4 monitor is about one pound less than the Rokit 5 G3. The Rokit 8 G4 is about four pounds less than the Rokit 8 G3.
Another significant difference is the composition of the woofers, which are now made of Kevlar instead of the glass Aramid composite of the G3 Series. The G4 tweeters are also Kevlar. According to KRK, the Kevlar not only reduces distortion but offers superior damping capabilities and is more resistant to resonances and ringing.
Like the G3, the G4 monitors are front-ported. However, KRK enlarged the ports and made them wider and taller. The company describes the new ports as being “scientifically tuned.” I had to chuckle when I read that, because what else would you use besides science to tune a speaker port? All kidding aside, the point they’re trying to make is that they used their expertise in speaker development to design the port and other physical characteristics of the monitors to work harmoniously and create the best-sounding result.
The G4 monitors feature isoacoustic pads on the bottom panel, just like on the G3 line. These are designed to help decouple the monitors by reducing the transfer of vibrations from the cabinet into your desk or monitor stands. Though not as thick as dedicated third-party monitor pads, they definitely help and are a nice extra.
DISPLAY OF PLENTY
Other than the larger ports and tweeters now in the familiar KRK yellow (the tweeters on the G3s were black), the G4 monitors don’t look all that different from the front compared to their predecessors. On the back panel, however, you’ll find some pretty significant differences.
For one thing, instead of separate 1/4-inch balanced and XLR inputs, you now get a combo input. What’s more, KRK no longer includes the third input option from the G3s, an unbalanced RCA input. From my point of view, that’s no great loss. If you want to connect the monitors to the line out of your stereo system, you can always get adapters.
More importantly, the EQ and volume knobs that were on the back of the G3s have been replaced with an LCD display and an encoder knob. The G4s are equipped with DSP Room Tuning EQ, which can be accessed with the encoder, with a visual assist from the display. You also get a range of setup features, which make the G4s more customizable than previous versions.
Pressing the encoder turns on the LCD, and shows a home screen, which features a volume control along a frequency graph that will show any EQ settings you’ve already made. Turning the encoder adjusts the volume, which is represented in the LCD by a slider and a numerical readout making it easy to set precisely (a much better solution than some monitors on the market, which sport analog volume knobs that aren’t detented). Pressing the encoder lets you select the EQ or setup categories.
The EQ section offers five different filter types for customizing the frequency response to your room acoustics. You get four presets plus flat in both the low EQ and high EQ categories. This arrangement makes dialing in adjustments easy, but doesn’t allow you to customize the boosts and cuts or the corner frequencies.
Low Shelf is designed for situations where you have a bass boost due to placing the monitors close to a wall or corner. Its presets include a –3 dB or –2 dB cut at 60 Hz. You also get a low-shelf option that boosts by +2 dB at 60 Hz.
Low Peak is a peak filter that cuts –2 dB at 200 Hz with a wide bandwidth. KRK refers to it as a “desk filter,” because it’s meant to reduce muddiness caused by reflections off of a console or table. There’s also a setting that combines the Low Shelf and Low Peak filters in one.
For cutting or boosting highs, you get both shelving and peak EQs. These include High Shelf, which cuts by –2 dB at 10 kHz. Another combines a high-peak filter cutting –1 dB at 3.5 kHz and high-shelf filter cutting –1 dB at 10 kHz. On the boost side, you get a similar shelf/peak combination, which boosts +1 dB at those same frequencies, plus a high-shelf filter that boosts 2 dB at 10 kHz. The LCD shows a frequency graph for each setting, which gives you a visual representation of the effect of the selected filter.
The setup menu offers adjustment for backlight brightness and contrast for the LCD. You can also choose whether to light the logo on the front of the monitors, factory reset and settings, lock options and the standby function. With standby on, which is the default, the monitors will sleep when they’ve seen no signal for 30 minutes. They wake up automatically when a signal is detected, but it takes several seconds. (When I first encountered a wake-up situation with the monitors, I thought something was wrong with my system, because I hit play and no sound came out. Then it popped on, and I realized that the monitors had been in standby.)
I have been using the Rokit 8 G4 and Rokit 5 G4 monitors in my studio for the last couple of weeks. Because my studio acoustics tend to reduce bass, I ended up setting the EQ to the low shelf +2 dB boost at 60 Hz.
I started just by listening to a lot of different types of musical styles, switching back and forth between the 8-inch and 5-inch — everything from bass-heavy styles like hip-hop and EDM to midrange-heavy rock music to genres with wide frequencies and dynamic ranges such as jazz and orchestral music.
On the 8-inch monitors, the bass sounded full but not flabby. Mids were vibrant, and the highs were plenty bright. They were almost bright enough that I considered cutting them with the EQ, but I decided against that.
The 5-inch models impressed me right off the bat with their bass response. Although they obviously don’t go as deep as the 8-inchers, the bass was present and didn’t feel like it was dropping off the table when I switched to them from the Rokit 8 G4s. They are quite punchy-sounding, too. For example, kick drums cut through nicely. Overall, their frequency response was surprisingly full for 5-inch speakers.
KRK says that the matching Kevlar drivers provide a consistency in imaging, which I found to be the case. The speakers have a wide sweet spot.
The company also claims that new models create less ear fatigue. That’s a harder one to judge, and I didn’t come away with an opinion one way or the other about it.
I monitored with the 8-inch and 5-inch G4s exclusively on a couple of mixes I was working on. One was a rock song with guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, and the other a country-influenced instrumental track with pedal steel, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass and drums.
After I mixed the songs, I gave them the old “car test” and also listened on my living room speakers. I was pleased to discover that both mixes translated well. The balances remained accurate from one system to the next, and nothing jumped out as sounding out of whack. The KRKs were clearly performing as designed.
I was definitely impressed with the 5-inch and 8-inch Rokit G4 monitors and would have no problem using either in my studio on a regular basis. I like the sound of the new drivers and the redesigned power amps and cabinets. The LCD/encoder interface and the DSP-based EQ are easy to use and let you precisely match settings between the left and right speakers.
Although I didn’t try out the 7-inch model, it features the same design, so I’m guessing that it will offer similar, accurate sound reproduction. I can’t speak definitively to the Rokit 10-3 G4, because it’s a three-way monitor and therefore a somewhat different animal. That said, based on the upgrades to the two-way models, I have a feeling it, too, will surpass its G3 predecessor in performance.
KRK has raised the prices a little on each model in the series, but the speakers are still quite reasonable and are one of the better monitor values on the market.
Rokit 5 G4 and Rokit 8 G4
+ Accurate and consistent sound quality
+ Tight-sounding bass
+ Rokit 5 G4 offers good bass response for its size
+ DSP-based EQ offers plenty of room-tuning options
+ Encoder/LCD interface allows for precise L/R matching
+ Acoustic pads on bottom help with decoupling
+ Good value for the money
– Slightly higher prices compared to G3 monitors
– EQs offer preset values only
Prices: Rokit 5 G4 ($179 each);
Rokit 8 G4 ($299 each)
Contact: KRK Systems/Gibson at 1-800-444-2766 or visit www.krksys.com
Almost 60,000 gather in Amsterdam for new product launches
AMSTERDAM — As IBC2019 draws to a close, the giant conference and exhibition once again showed why it describes itself as “the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show”.
Across 15 halls of the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam, almost 60,000 broadcast professionals gathered from around the world to see new products launched and to debate key media topics.
This year’s exhibition saw a focus on AoIP products and cloud-based “radio-as-a-service” solutions. The Telos Alliance used IBC to launch the Axia Quasar sixth-generation AoIP console. Available in sizes from four to 28 faders per frame, with support for up to 64 faders in multiple linked frames, the console is powered by a new native AoIP Quasar Engine.
Meanwhile, Broadcast Pix launched RadioPix, an integrated production system for visual radio applications. “We felt it was time to produce a dedicated product for visual radio featuring a complete toolset and a streamlined user experience,” said Tony Mastantuono, product manager for Broadcast Pix. Multiple macros can be assigned to each microphone, which allows the system to select between camera shots to create more dynamic productions.
Elsewhere at the exhibition, Netherlands-based Broadcast Partners showed SmartRadio, a web and cloud-based, radio-as-a-service platform, consisting of newly-developed micro services, running in the cloud. The system comes in modular form, allowing users to scale up or down on a monthly basis.
Finland’s Jutel demonstrated RadioMan 6 Live, which it describes as “a virtual browser-based radio production, editing and playout system, where the audio processing is done in the cloud, so that no specific hardware is needed.” The latest version adds new cloud-based tasks: audio contribution streaming, on-air playout and production mixing in the cloud, along with web-based audio editing without the need for browser add-ons.
Xperi’s stand offered a preview of how the new over-the-air in-vehicle Hybrid Radio experience will look with DTS Connected Radio. The system, which is set to launch in 2020 supporting analog, DAB+ and HD Radio, includes real-time broadcast metadata for all programming types, and can also gather new data on how listeners are engaging with broadcast content in the vehicle.
Two events focussed on the development of Digital Radio Mondiale. On Friday, Gospell unveiled five new products that all include DRM technology, including a portable receiver, car adaptor, and a high performance active HF antenna. Then on Saturday, on the Nautel stand, Fraunhofer IIS launched the latest R7 edition of its ContentServer head-end technology for DRM and DAB+.
At the IBC conference running alongside the exhibition, Monday morning saw a WorldDAB session on “Radio Distribution Strategies for a Connected World,” led by Patrick Hannon, the organisation’s president. It explored broadcast digital radio’s place in the distribution mix, including a case study of Norway’s multi-platform strategy, and reports from recent broadcast 5G trials in the U.K. and Germany.
IBC also saw Rise, the advocate group for gender diversity within the broadcast manufacturing and services sector, announce the winners of its new Rise Awards. Woman of The Year was Morwen Williams, Head of UK Operations for BBC News, and recently also appointed chair of the World Broadcasting Unions’ International Media Connectivity Group.
Study finds listeners are paying attention to the rise of smart speaker
The post Smart Speakers in the Car: Challenge or Opportunity? appeared first on Radio World.
Listen up when it comes to smart speakers. Because that’s the way a growing number of U.S. consumers are now getting their music and news.
A new study released by the media marketing company NuVoodoo Media Service found that not only are smart speakers continuing to gain a foothold in the market but are now found in a majority of U.S. households — including future iterations that will make their way to the car.
The study (called NuVoodo Ratings Prospects Study 14) found that as of June 2019, 51% of surveyed consumers aged 14–54 across all PPM markets reported at least one smart speaker in their homes, an 8% increase in smart speaker penetration since January 2019.
The survey asked respondents to describe how they listen to their smart speakers and found that 42% of respondents said they use the speakers to listen to FM radio, up 3% over a six-month period from January to June 2019. FM radio was listened as the most-listened-to medium of the bunch.
Following close behind was Spotify — 36% of respondents said they have used their smart speaker to listen to that streaming service — followed by Amazon Music (32%), Pandora (28%), audio books (27%), AM radio (19%) and podcasts (16%). In in all seven of those categories, the survey found an increase in consumption from January 2019 to June 2019.
While there are lots of things you can use smart speakers to do — from ordering online to checking the weather — “They’re called smart speakers, so lots of people use them to listen to things,” said Leigh Jacobs, executive vice president of research insights for NuVoodoo Media Services, noting that percentages are up for every listening category.
“And now smart speaker technology is coming to the car,” she said, alluding to the introduction of the Echo Auto, an aftermarket solution designed to bring the Alexa smart speaker to automobiles. The solution is only being sold to consumers on an invitation-only basis. But automakers are paying attention. Several auto brands tracked by the research and advisory company Gartner in a 2018 auto report noted that they planned to integrate an Amazon smart speaker system into future cars.
“With Alexa in the car, the barrier to selecting FM/AM vs. Spotify vs. podcasts and/or audiobooks is gone,” said Carolyn Gilbert, president and chief executive officer of NuVoodoo Media Services. “If you think of it, it’s usually an easy matter to get Alexa to play what you want. That dynamic presents radio with a real challenge or an incredible opportunity, depending upon what stations choose to do about it.“
The issue will be up for further discussion as part of a NuVoodoo Fall webinar series based on the company’s most recent ratings prospect survey. The NuVoodoo Fall 2019 Contesting and Marketing Guide will look at issues surrounding contests, promotions and marketing. The next webinar will be Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. ET. Radio professionals can reserve a spot at www.nuvoodoo.com/webinars.
The new study was fielded in June and represents the opinions of more than 3,000 respondents ages 14-54 from across all PPM markets.
The post Smart Speakers in the Car: Challenge or Opportunity? appeared first on Radio World.
Broadcast executives also to explore implications of federal deregulation
A day devoted to technology-oriented sessions is a new feature of the Radio Show coming up in Dallas. That’s one of the efforts by the National Association of Broadcasters and Radio Advertising Bureau to freshen and reimagine their annual event.
Show planners announced during the spring NAB Show that the fall show would get a new look and a more casual feel. The conference also puts a more visible emphasis on voice, podcasting, streaming and other technologies in the modern consumer audio ecosystem. Organizers are aiming for “a convergence of all who thrive in the audio and media space.”
Among highlights, veteran broadcaster Mary Quass will be honored. And the broadcast financial community will discuss implications for radio of the current deregulatory environment in Washington.
Tech Tuesday is free for NAB and RAB members; others pay $199 pre-show, slightly more on site. The day’s content is aimed at engineers, technology professionals and managers involved in radio station operations.
Topics promised include audio-over-IP, RF transmission, visual radio, streaming audio, remote backhaul, audio production and processing, data acquisition and protection, and hybrid radio applications. Tech Tuesday registration includes access to show exhibits, which are open the ensuing two days; there were about 70 registered exhibitors as of late August.
Here are highlights of Tech Tuesday:
Opening and Keynote: 10 a.m. — NAB Radio Engineering Achievement Award recipient Gary Cavell will speak about the importance of technology and of continuing education for engineers. He’ll be introduced by NAB EVP/CTO Sam Matheny.
Vender Breakouts: 10:35 a.m. — Attendees can hear from RCS President/CEO Phillippe Generali about the company’s Zetta Cloud Disaster Recovery offering, which the firm calls a “cutting edge safety net” for radio operations; and from Comrex veteran Chris Crump about ensuring reliable transmission of IP audio using the internet.
AM Radio’s All-Digital Future?: 11:20 a.m. — Radio World readers know about the tests and early deployment of digital-only signals on the U.S. AM band. This session brings together several experts including NAB VP of Advanced Engineering David Layer; Hubbard Broadcasting Senior Broadcast Engineer Dave Kolesar, who switched off the analog on WFED(AM) in Frederick, Md.; and Xperi Senior Manager of Broadcast Engineering Russ Mundschenk, recipient of the most recent Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award.
Lunch: 12 noon
Vendor Breakouts: 1:30 to 4:10 p.m. — There are several sets of concurrent presentations during the afternoon hours. They include Dielectric Senior RF Engineer Derek Small exploring the “black magic of filter tuning”; Nautel Sales Manager (Central) Jeff Welton discussing ways to optimize an installation with HD Radio; a presentation by ENCO Systems; GatesAir Product Line Manager Kevin Haider providing a “walkthrough” to understand the differences between Generations 3 and 4 of HD Radio technology; and Telos Alliance Senior Solutions Consultant Kirk Harnack highlighting the latest implementations of IP technology for networked audio and control.
Networking Break: 3 p.m.
“What’s Next in Radio Tech?”: 4:15 p.m. — A panel of industry veterans share insights into where our industry is going. Moderated by Radio World Editor in Chief Paul McLane, the group includes iHeartMedia Strategic Partnerships Group President Michele Laven; New York Public Radio CTO Steve Shultis; RadioDNS Project Director Nick Piggott; Xperi SVP of Radio Joe D’Angelo; and Goldman Engineering Management President Bert Goldman.
Closing Remarks, 5 p.m. — Wrapup by NAB VP of Technology Education and Outreach Skip Pizzi.
Reception, 5 to 6 p.m. — Hosted by NAB’s Sam Matheny and Skip Pizzi.
MORE SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
Here’s a sampler of other notable events.
Pillsbury holds its annual Broadcast Finance event on Tuesday. The theme: “Radio Unleashed: Preparing for a New Regulatory World.” Firm partner Scott Flick moderates a discussion of the opportunities for broadcasters presented by deregulation, like the elimination of the main studio requirement and the FCC’s potential relaxation of local ownership rules.
Flick was quoted by organizers saying, “That the FCC is recognizing radio’s challenges where listeners’ audio alternatives — and the competition for ears and advertisers — have grown exponentially may be as big a game-changer as the new competition itself.”
The panel includes Bill Hendrich, EVP of radio for Cox Media Group; Garret Komjathy, SVP of media and communications for U.S. Bank; Beth Neuhoff, president/CEO of Neuhoff Communications; Susan Patrick, managing partner of Patrick Communications and co-owner of Legend Communications; and David Santrella, president of broadcast media for Salem Media Group. …
Plenty has been said and written about the explosive growth in podcasting; but how does podcasting really fit into the business goals of Radio Show attendees? A Wednesday session “The Podcast Revolution” will include Carter Brokaw, president of iHeartMedia’s digital revenue strategy; Neal Carruth, NPR’s general manager of podcasts; and Oren Rosenbaum, emerging platforms and podcasting agent at United Talent Agency. The moderator is Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network. …
NRG Media Chairman/CEO Mary Quass will receive the National Radio Award during the Wednesday luncheon “2020 and Beyond: Insights from the Top.” Quass formed New Radio Group in 2001, later named NRG Media, which has 45 stations in the Midwest. Her career began in the late 1970s when she worked as an account exec. She purchased her first radio station in 1998, forming Quass Broadcasting Co., which became part of Capstar Broadcasting and, in turn, Clear Channel.
The luncheon program features a conversation with broadcast leaders Mary Berner of Cumulus Media, David Field of Entercom and Bob Pittman of iHeartMedia about strategies for a constantly shifting audio landscape.
Fred and Paul Jacobs will lead a Wednesday session, “You’re Not Just in the Radio Business Anymore,” to learn from people who have made successful career transformations. Fred launched Jacobs Media in 1983 and is credited with creating the classic rock format. Paul is president of jacapps and VP/GM of Jacobs Media. …
Charlotte Jones Anderson is executive vice president and chief brand officer of the Dallas Cowboys, and the Radio Show convention is happening in her backyard; she’s a logical speaker to share strategies for “building a world-class brand around the customer experience.” She speaks on Thursday. …
Author Gary Vaynerchuk, aka Gary Vee, will talk Thursday on the topic “Attention Is the New Currency.” He is chairman of communication firm VaynerX and CEO/co-founder of VaynerMedia. …
Thursday also brings a session led by David Fisher on the art of storytelling, for which the media industry has gained fresh appreciation in an era of podcasting, smartphones and smart speakers. Fisher, who began his career writing for Joan Rivers, is the author of more than 80 books and is an accomplished ghostwriter. The session is called “Sound. Voice. Story. Success.” …
Also on Thursday, Edison Research will present research on driving audience engagement and leveraging audio trends. “The Secret to Longer TSL” will be led by Vice President Megan Lazovick and deal with attracting and retaining listeners and best practices to optimize advertising. “Lazovick will also provide exclusive analysis of audio listening trends and content preferences and offer insight on how radio can effectively compete with and embrace other platforms,” organizers said.
They noted that while radio’s reach remains strong across all ages, time spent listening to radio has fallen much faster among younger listeners than older ones, according to Edison. The company has done interviews with young listeners about their attitudes about commercials, audio platforms and radio programs. …
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Marconi Radio Awards. Organizers invited several previous honorees back as emcees and presenters. Delilah, Rickey Smiley and Tom and Kristi of “The Bob and Tom Show” will do the honors.
IF YOU GO
Where: Hilton Anatole, Dallas
When: Sept. 24–26
How Much: $499 pre-show rate for NAB/RAB members, up to $949 for non-members onsite. See site for packages for groups, students, young professionals, spouses.
Exhibits are open Wednesday Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Listings are as of late August. Check onsite resources for complete list.
ABC Radio 211
Adder Technology 224
Bob and Tom Radio Network 144
Bonneville Distribution 216
Broadcast Depot 232
Broadcast Software International 229
Broadcasters General Store 100
Burli Software, Inc. 248
Calrec Audio Ltd. 234
Cool Radio Streaming 146
DJB Software Inc dba DJBRadio 213
Elenos Group 112
ENCO Systems, Inc. 133
ERI-Electronics Research, Inc. 200
FirstCom Music 247
Jutel Oy 219
Logitek Electronic Systems 225
Matrix Solutions 246
Miller Kaplan 217
Moseley Associates, Inc. 135
NAB Member Services 155
NAB Public Service 156
Podcast Studio 159
Powergold Music Scheduling 244
Premiere Networks 150
Radio Advertising Bureau 154
RF Specialties Group 227
Rohde & Schwarz 226
Second Street 145
Shively Labs 132
Sierra Automated Systems & Eng. Corp. 223
Specialty Data Systems Inc. (SDS) 245
Streann Media 152
SuiteLife Systems/NFB Consulting 202
Sun & Fun Media 209
Tieline Technology 102
Veritone, Inc. 243
WAVSTAR, LLC 228
Weather Metrics, Inc. 222
Wedel Software 230
Wheatstone Corp. 204
Win-OMT Software 249
WorldCast Systems 203
Worldwide Communications Consultants, Inc. 218
XPERI/HD Radio/DTS 113, 138
YEA Networks 147
Here are the Radio World winners
The post Radio World Announces “Best of Show” Awards at IBC2019 appeared first on Radio World.
The recipients of the Best of Show Awards at IBC2019 have been announced.
The following products won for Radio World International. Watch for the “Best of Show” Program Guide, including pictures and text about all the nominees, which covers products nominated to Radio World International, TVB Europe and PSN Europe.
Radio World International Best of Show Awards at IBC2019:
- Broadcast Partners SmartRadio
- DEVA Broadcast DB4005 FM Modulation Analyzer and Monitoring Receiver
- GatesAir Intraplex Ascent AoIP Transport Platform
- Jutel RadioMan 6 Live
- NeoGroupe NeoWinners Portal
- The Telos Alliance Axia Quasar AoIP Console
- Tieline Gateway Multichannel IP Audio Codec
- Wheatstone StreamBlade
- WorldCast Systems Audemat DAB Probe
- Xperi DTS Connected Radio
The post Radio World Announces “Best of Show” Awards at IBC2019 appeared first on Radio World.
32-output streaming device to debut
Wheatstone is expanding its Blade offerings with the StreamBlade, a WheatNet-IP appliance that accepts up to eight input steams of native WheatNet-IP audio directly from a soundcard or AoIP driver as well as RTP sources and can output each in four streams; providing up to 32 total streams per device.
Output choices include Opus, AAC and MP3 encoders. The company says it is cloud-ready and compatible with standard CDN and streaming platforms, including Icecast, Wowza and RTP.
The StreamBlade has onboard processing with a six-band parametric EQ, a five-band AGC, a two-band final limiter and a stereo width control.
Wheatstone says that the AGC is designed for streaming. Jeff Keith, senior product development engineer for Wheatstone’s audio processing line explains, “Fast time constants (compression) can add intermod sidebands around a sustained note or bass note, which the codec has to spend bits on instead of the signals that are actually part of the program. That can be bad for any stream, but it’s especially bad for low bit-rate streams that don’t have a lot of data bits to begin with.”
StreamBlade can be configured and managed from a laptop and web browser using WheatNet-IP Navigator software. The box has two Ethernet ports, one for direct connectivity into the WheatNet-IP audio network on one end and another for connectivity into a WAN for streaming to a CDN or other service provider.
IBC Stand: 8.C91
Latest release of head-end technology available in Fraunhofer’s OEM partner products
The post Fraunhofer IIS Releases ContentServer R7 for DAB+, DRM appeared first on Radio World.
Fraunhofer IIS’ newest available product is the latest version of its ContentServer head-end technology for DAB+ and DRM digital radio, the ContentServer R7. The recently released R7 is designed to assist with getting audio content and data services on air, while also utilizing the latest standard upgrades and new productivity features.
Some of the new features available via the ContentServer R7 include the automatic Audio Loudness Normalization and Monitoring and additional IP-based Audio Streaming Source Interfaces. This loudness normalization feature is based on Fraunhofer Sonamic technology and is supported by the unit’s internal audio encoders or attenuates the incoming audio to obtain and maintain the target loudness level per Loudness Units relative to Full Scale.
Of the additional IP-based audio sources, the inputs now comprise Livewire/Ravenna/AES67-based raw audio streams and consumer-type Icecast/SHOUTcast streams. The ContentServer can also be used as an end point for RTP-based audio bridges to accept uncompressed or compressed audio streams without external devices. There’s also support for audio level monitoring, audio source remote listening through HTML5 browsers and silence/clipping detection.
Additional functionalities for the ContentServer R7 include an interactive graphical system status overview; EWF with CAP import; JSON/XML RPC management and data interfaces; audio cross-redundancy; EDI Switch for DAB; localized multiplex output; automatic creation of playlists as Journaline pages; DAB V2.1.1 compliance; and stream monitoring.
ContentServer R7 is available as part of Fraunhofer’s OEM partners products.
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Bethany Relay Station approaches 75 years
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The author is president of the West Chester Amateur Radio Association (WCARA), a division of the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting dedicated to advancing the amateur radio hobby. He’s also a volunteer-at-large at the museum. His call sign is N81DA.
Her six massive transmitters may be quiet, but she is far from silent.
Amateur radio operators routinely talk to the world from station WC8VOA in West Chester, Ohio, located about 25 miles north of Cincinnati. This former VOA relay station is now the National VOA Museum of Broadcasting with collections from the Gray History of Wireless Museum; Powel Crosley Jr., and Cincinnati radio and TV broadcasting history; and the Voice of America. Next week the museum celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Bethany Station Saturday, Sept. 21, with a fundraiser to make the first floor of the museum accessible for people for all abilities.
The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting is open every weekend from 1 to 4 p.m. Tours are given continuously on weekend afternoons by knowledgeable docents. It houses the Bethany station’s last control room and one of the remaining 250 kW Collins shortwave transmitters.
You can sit at the massive audio console that controlled the six shortwave transmitters and literally take a tour inside one of the Collins transmitters. You can view the massive switch gear, built during World War II, which changed Bethany’s 24 rhombic antennas to its six transmitters.
At one time Bethany Station covered a square mile of property that was once farmland. Today the museum sits on 14 acres and the antennas are gone, but with surrounding park acreage, you get a sense of the massive scale the site covered with towers and the miles of transmission lines and antenna wire.
The museum houses a large collection of radios from the early part of the twentieth century, including names such as Hallicrafters, National, Drake and Collins. A large collection of Drake amateur radio products is always a must-see by visiting radio enthusiasts and ham radio operators.
Drake radios were produced nearby in Miamisburg, Ohio. An area dedicated to the Crosley Corp. shows off many of the Crosley brothers’ radio, TV and household products that were manufactured in Cincinnati. Crosley contributed heavily to the war effort during World War II, with the production of tens of thousands of portable radios for the U.S. Army and millions of proximity fuses for antiaircraft ordinance.
Not only did Crosley develop radios, but content as well, with its on-air radio station WLW, which still broadcasts today on 700 AM. WLW transmits from its original site and the large Blaw-Knox tower can be seen from the VOA museum. The museum contains the original 50 W AM transmitter that WLW started with in 1922.
WLW was the only U.S. station allowed to operate at 500,000 watts of power during the 1930s. The collection includes a bright red Crosley Hot Shot sports car, too. Crosley Corp. developed a number of vehicles during the late 1930s and resumed production after World War II until shutting down in 1952.
An additional area of the museum houses artifacts and memorabilia from the early era of Cincinnati radio and TV broadcasting. The Cincinnati Media Heritage section includes many of the celebrities who got their start at WLW and other local broadcasting outlets. These WLW radio stars — many of whom transitioned from radio to TV—include Rod Serling of “Twilight Zone” fame; sisters Rosemary and Betty Clooney; Eddie Albert; Doris Day; The Mills Brothers; and Ruth Lyons.
Housed in three of Bethany’s old transmitter vaults, the history of broadcasting section showcases the talent and equipment that made Cincinnati an early nursery for radio and television entertainment. Artifacts include equipment from a 1930s radio station; a 1950s AM station, including disc jockey’s audio console and turntables; and a 1,000 W transmitter. A very early and massive RCA Victor color television camera is on display, along with other television and video equipment.
Our amateur radio station is operated under FCC license WC8VOA and is manned by the West Chester Amateur Radio Association. The station has seven operating positions equipped with modern and vintage amateur radio gear. Antennas cover the radio spectrum from two meters down to 160 meters. The former VOA receiving satellite dish has been converted to 10 GHz transmit and receive capabilities for EME (Earth Moon Earth) bounce. Signals are sent to the moon and the dish used as a passive satellite to communicate with other amateur radio operators.
The club participates in radio contests, portable operations and local STEM events. It averages some 6,000 contacts per year, covering modes of voice and digital and CW. The club also operates two FM repeaters on two meters and 440 MHz.
Operators are in the shack every weekend and hold an open house every Wednesday night for radio enthusiasts and those interested in obtaining a ham radio license. Our WC8VOA call sign is recognized by many of our fellow radio amateurs around the world. We have made contacts from all seven continents and hundreds of countries.
Radio is still an important part of our lives; whether it is listening to AM, FM or satellite services, radio remains a viable source of our news and entertainment.
Voice of America broadcasts were never intended for Americans. They were targeted to people living in oppressed countries where media was censored with the intention to change people’s minds by providing sourced and accurate news. In fact, the VOA Charter (Public Law 94-350), which was passed in 1976, during from the Pres. Gerald Ford administration, states that VOA news will be” accurate, objective, and comprehensive.” It will also “represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.” Lastly, the VOA is mandated to “present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.”
VOA news and feature stories are still broadcast and transmitted today to more than 275 million people weekly in 40+ languages in nearly 100 countries. VOA programs are delivered on multiple platforms, including radio, television, web and mobile via a network of more than 3,000 media outlets worldwide.
Broadcasts have aired continually for more than 75 years, along with sister stations of Radio Free Europe; Radio Liberty; Radio Free Asia; and Radio Marti.
Here is the crux of the matter for all of us at the VOA museum: Once Bethany Station began operation during mid-World War II, an infuriated Adolf Hitler was quoted as saying on one of his radio broadcasts to never listen to those “Cincinnati Liars.” We’re proud to be part of the VOA heritage we are entrusted with and even more proud to be related to those “liars” from Cincinnati.
But while we’re proud of our heritage, I must be honest. The museum is housed in an aging, uninsulated, 75-year-old building that constantly needs repairs. We receive no federal funding and this is our big fundraising push for the year. Our workforce of docents, conservators and maintenance crews are all unpaid volunteers. And many of our volunteers come from our local radio club, the West Chester Amateur Radio Association.
Please help us out with a donation; better yet, plan a long weekend vacation and come on out to West Chester for our Sept. 21 fundraiser! We include a friendly community of shortwave radio aficionados always eager to make more friends. We’ll have on hand auction and silent auction items; dinner-by-the-bite; museum tours; and a table-to-table Trivial Pursuit game, all with the relaxing strains of jazz in the background.
For information on the museum and how you can help with donations, visit our website. Please purchase tickets or donate today. If you’re interested in our amateur radio group, additional information is at West Chester Amateur Radio Association website.
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