Integrates air and digital campaigns into a single platform
Broadcast business software developer Marketron has released NXT, a digital advertising management platform.
The company says that NXT was built specifically for radio business usage. It can manage radio station broadcast and digital campaigns.
Marketron CEO Jim Howard said, “The radio industry is in a period of rapid transition, and we are here to enable our industry to successfully bridge to the new future … With Marketron NXT, we have leveraged our deep knowledge in radio and digital advertising to create an offering that will bring the same success to radio groups of all sizes.”
Marketron says that NXT “consolidates all major digital categories into a single system that includes capabilities for proposal creation, order entry, execution of radio and digital, campaign reports and invoicing.” In addition it offers “easy-to-use proposal creation tool that gives broadcast sales representatives access to premium, third-party digital inventory. Within a single platform, sales teams are able to package all products and multiple tactics — air time, third-party digital display ads, non-spot revenue, O&O digital, sponsorships and more — into a single proposal with consolidated order entry, full invoicing and reporting.”
Marketron Senior Vice President of Product Jimshade Chaudhari said, “With the ability to create professional proposals in minutes and then show digital campaign ROI through detailed reporting, sales teams can demonstrate additional value to advertisers and increase the likelihood of renewals. Automatic creation of insertion orders reduces time and the potential for error, and Marketron NXT’s end-to-end workflow makes it easy for business offices to track invoices, payments and margins,”
Former KFMB is now part of iHeartMedia
iHeartMedia San Diego said it has completed the acquisition of KFMB(AM) from Local Media San Diego; and as of today the station, heard on 760 kHz, has changed its call letters to KGB(AM).
“As part of terms of sale, TEGNA Inc. retained ownership of the KFMB(AM) call letters, which required iHeartMedia to make the change,” iHeart stated in an announcement.
“The Federal Communications Commission has approved the use of new call letters KGB for AM 760.”
[Related: “San Diego Stations Hit by Wave of Firings and Potential Job Cuts,” Jan. 2020]
It quoted Market President Melissa Forrest noting that the KGB call letters are legendary in San Diego. The company already uses them on an FM signal in the market.
The AM format is talk; iHeartMedia began operating KFMB under a local marketing agreement in March.
iHeartMedia San Diego’s holdings now are KGB(AM), KGB(FM), KHTS(FM), KIOZ(FM), KLSD(AM), KMYI(FM), KOGO(AM) and KSSX(FM).
[Read about the earliest history of the KGB call letters in this 1980 history article.]
How can a music station respond to today’s cultural explosion?
Nationwide Black Lives Matter protests and police misconduct have hastened new conversations about race relations, from the White House to the boardroom to the control room. More media makers, including prominent organizations, are pledging to increase diversity in broadcasts and in staffing.
On June 9, Cumulus Media stations paused programming and, separately, nearly 200 stations together played Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” to commemorate the funeral of George Floyd. Since then, more stations have stepped up to commit to highlighting more African-American musical artists.
What is a music station to do in this era of social change? And how can DJs appropriately respond to the currents happening around us?
My encouragement is always to make programming decisions based on the long term, or as long term as things can be in radio. A commitment to featuring more diverse voices should start with 90-day goals you can be accountable for. Organizations should also take a holistic approach to programming beyond just musical artists. The diversity of staff and volunteers, sources for news and talk programming, leadership and donor outreach in part color this discussion.
Moreover, programming that features even a majority of black, indigenous or people of color as performers does not inherently make a station diverse. KPCC vaulted itself into its current phase with a bold effort noted in a 2015 study to remake the sound of the station. In examining who they spoke to and how they did so, station leaders realized they could make KPCC more accessible. This effort to diversify its audience proved successful. And, while not every station can be as ambitious, such willingness to look beyond just playlists is admirable.
Mike Henry at Paragon Media Strategies is one of those music station leaders thinking big about what this moment can be for radio. He organized a Facebook group for stations to collaborate amid the pandemic. He offers many insights today on how stations can remain relevant, even as audiences aren’t what they may have been pre-COVID.
For some stations this issue of programming may be an internal dialog about what music and which musicians get airplay. A recent Rolling Stone essay, in a somewhat clumsy and at points false way, highlights an issue radio has tussled with for decades: how should stations and DJs deal with content that could be seen as offensive and musicians whose off-stage lives are problematic. I wrote about this last year following the noncommercial music radio convention and allegations that emerged about Ryan Adams’ conduct. With radio’s varied governance and management structures, debates over freedom of expression, and celebrity culture and the public/private dichotomy, I found it difficult to find a prescription for radio as a whole. And I suspect owners, boards, managers and DJs have faced the same quandary. As a result, things are mostly the same. How noncommercial stations tackle this matter is an ongoing story.
Radio has long held a unique place in culture and in capturing the musical tempo that goes with it. With radio formats as rigid as they are, and many radio DJs tending to specialize in genres, what social movements mean for many noncommercial and commercial stations, however, remains to be seen.
Hubbard Radio has requested another extension of WWFD's STA
The post Xperi Describes More Planned Tests at All-Digital AM appeared first on Radio World.
Hubbard Radio is asking the Federal Communications Commission to let it operate its experimental all-digital AM band station for another year. HD Radio parent Xperi supports this and has given the FCC some insight into the kinds of additional testing it wants to do there.
The station, WWFD in Frederick, Md., not far from Washington, has been a test bed for all-digital HD Radio transmission on an AM station since 2018, as we’ve reported. Its FM translator continues providing service to analog Listeners. (A second STA for all-digital was recently approved for Urban One station WTLC(AM) in Indianapolis.)
Chief Engineer and Program Director Dave Kolesar has said he hopes WWFD will never return to analog; and the FCC recently took comments on a proposal that would allow all U.S. AM band stations to use all-digital transmission if they wish.
“WWFD’s all-digital experiments over the past two years have sparked widespread positive interest in the radio industry,” Hubbard’s local arm writes in the application to extend Special Temporary Authority. It characterized industry support for the FCC proposal as overwhelming.
Meanwhile HD Radio parent Xperi Corp. says in a supporting statement that it plans to expand its testing of an HD2 multicast audio service, which would create a second audio service in addition to the main program services. “We would like to experiment with different audio bitrate sizes used, and audio formats (Parametric Stereo),” it wrote.
Xperi also wants to try different data services alongside those now deployed. It wants to test Emergency Alerts services and new advanced alerting services; test the performance of MA3 vs. analog in various all‐electric vehicles; and test changes to the MA3 all-digital waveform by reducing the power level of the unmodulated pilot carrier level. It also wants to compare building penetration for all-digital, hybrid digital and analog modes.
Hubbard and Xperi have been supported in this project by the National Association of Broadcasters Pilot program, Kintronic Labs and Cavell Mertz & Associates.
The post Xperi Describes More Planned Tests at All-Digital AM appeared first on Radio World.
Position eliminated due to pandemic and TiVo merger
Veteran marketer Rick Greenhut will leave Xperi at the end of this week.
Greenhut is known to many in the radio industry for his work promoting HD Radio for 12 years as director of U.S. broadcast sales at iBiquity Digital and then at Xperi. He told colleagues in an email that his position has been cut “due to the dual impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the merger with TiVo.”
Before crossing into the technology sector in 2008 Greenhut was VP of new media for Premiere Radio Networks, and before that held business roles with Westwood One, NBC Radio and Arbitron.
He hopes to consult broadcast groups on how to better market their stations to local and national advertisers.
“After years of making presentations to groups large and small, I often see people missing the opportunity to connect with the group they are speaking to by ‘winging it,’ as opposed to presenting a polished, professional presentation that shows they thought enough of the group they are speaking to, to actually prepare.”
The number of FM translators/boosters in the U.S. has grown 30% just in five years
The post Latest U.S. Station Totals Reveal Boom in Translators appeared first on Radio World.
I always look forward to the latest FCC totals of licensed U.S. radio stations; I guess I’m a radio geek. (I don’t run down the street yelling “The new license data are here,” at least not yet.) But whenever the latest numbers come, I like to dive back into the historical record to see how they’ve changed over time.
The fresh report from the Federal Communications Commission reveals that as of June 30, there were 4,570 licensed AM stations, 6,706 commercial FMs and 4,197 educational FMs, for a total of 15,473 full-power U.S. radio stations.
But of course the FM band is much more crowded than that because there are also 2,146 low-power FMs and 8,303 translators and boosters.
So how does that compare to the past?
For kicks I took historical FCC data from several points over several decades and put them into a table below. I thought you’d be interested in this. Note that the first two rows are from 1970 and 1990; and then starting in 2000 I took five-year increments. Totally arbitrary on my part … I could for instance have used 1996 as a year of particular note in radio regulation. Maybe next time.
Among the trends you can spot here are the growth and then dips in the AM numbers; the boom of the FM band of the late 20th century; the near-doubling in the number of NCE FMs over the past two decades; the launch and then growth of low-power FMs (though observers sometimes wonder how many of these licensees are active); and the explosion in the translator/booster category, up 30% just in five years (helped, though not solely driven by, the AM revitalization program).
And those who believe that the U.S. has an FM congestion problem will no doubt find it interesting that in 1990 the United States had 7,639 FM licensed signals (a number reached by adding 1990’s totals for FM commercial, FM NCE and translators/boosters).
But in 2020, thanks to significant growth of all three categories plus the addition of LPFMs, there are 21,352 licensed signals on the FM band. Wow.
All of this is just raw data and doesn’t reflect, for instance, the impact of the almost infinite variety in coverage footprint, power levels and so forth.
But maybe the current debates over synchronized boosters for geo-targeting and whether to allow translators to originate content will cause those numbers to spike further. Check back with me in 10 or 20 years.
[Related: “GBS Gathers Support for Geo-Targeting”]
The post Latest U.S. Station Totals Reveal Boom in Translators appeared first on Radio World.
Stations that haven’t updated will stop receiving EAS messages from IPAWS on Monday
There’s a technical change happening Monday (July 6), and if your equipment isn’t current, it could affect your station’s ability to receive EAS messages from IPAWS, the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System.
We’ve reported on this over the past year and a half but now a practical deadline is here. Radio World checked in with Deputy Press Secretary Janet Montesi of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Radio World: We understand that an older version of the Transport Layer Security protocol will be turned off next week and that some EAS devices in the field could be affected. Why is that?
Janet Montesi: Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a protocol that enables privacy and integrity for communications with web servers. In order to maintain compliance with DHS security requirements, IPAWS has updated the EAS feed servers to use the current and approved Transport Layer Security version (TLS 1.2). IPAWS will discontinue the use of older, less secure versions. Older versions of TLS have vulnerabilities that could compromise the integrity of EAS communications.
[Read more about the background of this story: “Broadcasters Need to Keep an Eye on Latest Updates”]
RW: What will happen if a device is not up to date?
Montesi: There may be some broadcasters who may not have updated their EAS receivers by July 6, 2020. These broadcasters would be out of compliance with FCC rules and will not receive EAS messages via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. It is their responsibility to ensure compliance and keep their EAS receivers updated. FEMA, the FCC and the EAS vendor community have provided ample time to make these updates.
RW: How many devices in the field might be affected?
Montesi: Each EAS participant is required to have at least one device. FEMA does not maintain information on the number of devices installed in broadcast facilities.
RW: How would a user know whether their device is current?
Montesi: This has been in the works for over 18 months, allowing device manufacturers to make the necessary updates to their devices. This has been communicated to broadcasters via EAS participant listservs as well. Broadcasters should work check with their device manufacturer to ensure their device(s) contain the most up to date versions of software.
RW: Anything else we should know?
Montesi: IPAWS has worked with the EAS vendor community for 18 months to ensure EAS receivers can support the current and approved TLS version. The 18-month timeframe was necessary for EAS vendors to create software updates and to give broadcasters enough time to update their EAS devices. IPAWS will implement the change on July 6, 2020.
More information can be found in the NIST Special Publication 800-52 Revision 2: Guidelines for the Selection, Configuration, and Use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) Implementations (https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.800-52r2)
An interview with the veteran engineer, recently named chief in the market
Beasley Media Group recently promoted Sherri Powers to chief engineer at its Detroit-based radio properties, overseeing the engineering and IT departments at the four-station cluster, which includes FM stations WCSX, WRIF, WMGC and WDMK, the last of which has three translators fed by its HD2.
Vice President and Market Manager Mac Edwards was quoted in the announcement as saying, “She epitomizes dedication to her craft and devotion to getting the job done right. Sherri has taken the lead on many significant projects in her storied career here.” That includes contracting with Greater Media to build new studios for WCSX(FM) and WRIF(FM) before she was hired full-time at the stations in 1998.
Radio World checked in with Powers to learn about her 29-year career to date. This is one in a series of interviews with radio technologists about their work.
Radio World: How have you reached this point in your career?
Sherri Powers: I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of Beasley Media, formally Greater Media, most of my career.
I started interning with WCSX(FM) in the summer of 1992. My first paid job was with WRIF, where I worked part-time setting up remotes. At the time, WCSX and WRIF were each with different companies.
I landed my first full-time engineering job in 1993 at WYCD, which was owned at the time by Alliance Broadcasting. While I was working there, I had the opportunity to help build the studios for Greater Media after they purchased WRIF. I finally officially came back “home” in 1998 and have been here ever since.
RW: What originally prompted your interest in broadcast engineering?
Powers: I actually got into engineering because I went to the wrong seminar! I signed up for an open house at Specs Howard School of Media Arts because I was really interested in video editing; but after hearing the benefits of engineering, I became intrigued.
I really like the idea of staying at a company for the long haul. Two of the things they kept stressing to the attendees was job security and the fact that engineers generally didn’t move around a lot. Upon completing my summer internship at WCSX, I was hooked.
RW: Any early mentors or particularly influential people in your career?
Powers: Yes, actually several. I have to say, all the chief engineers I’ve had made me the engineer I am today.
Bill Vellner, who at the time was the chief engineer at WCSX, gave me my first shot. He was willing to teach me anything I wanted to learn. Jeff Breitner, the chief at WYCD, also helped me realize my full potential. He taught me that radio was fun and would say, “It’s just radio, no one ever dies.”
The person I learned the most from was Mike Kernen. He’s not just a mentor or a boss, he’s my friend. I still talk to him several times a week. He’s actually helping me work on our transmitter build. He teaches me new things all the time. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.
RW: How has COVID-19 affected broadcast operations for Beasley in Detroit, and what do you think the long-term implications for facility management are?
Powers: Thankfully, we were prepared and able to get ahead of things, before the state of Michigan shut everything down.
We were able set up one of our station morning show hosts, who lives in Canada, with all the equipment he needed to do a live show with remote gear before they closed the borders.
In addition, we updated our automation system to WideOrbit, to enable personalities to record live breaks and import them into the system. This way, the PDs could go in and program them.
In the future, I think we just need to be conscious of ways to do things even better. Everyone needs to work together to improve what we are doing today to make us be even better tomorrow.
RW: Any significant technical projects on the horizon?
Powers: Prior to COVID, we installed WideOrbit. We are still getting familiar with the automation system and all it can do. I also have some big transmitter projects going on, including installing a new 30 kW GatesAir FAX transmitter for WDMK, the station we just purchased last year. And I am working on moving our backup transmitter site for them to our transmitter site across town. In addition, I am taking one of the transmitters we used for 105.9 and making that the backup site transmitter for 105.1.
If just installing the transmitter wasn’t enough to do, we have to rewire all the remote controls and make sure everything works like it should. So it’s been quite busy.
RW: Anything else we should know?
Powers: My husband and I love to travel! Whenever we have the chance to get away, we love to go to Mexico. Every time we go, I always say I need to start my Spanish lessons again. I wouldn’t mind retiring there one day.
[Related: Read the ebook “Radio Engineering in Crisis” for perspectives on broadcast engineering careers today.]
Failsafe UPS power switcher available
Henry Engineering’s BackUPS is a power controller for ensuring AC power to critical equipment that is powered with an uninterruptible power supply. BackUPS constantly monitors the output of the UPS, and automatically bypasses the UPS if its output fails or becomes unstable. This keeps the load powered-up, and allows the UPS to be disconnected for battery replacement or other maintenance.
BackUPS includes a delay timer that ensures the UPS output is stable before the UPS is switched online. Whenever the UPS output comes on, the system monitors its output for a preset time period. The UPS will be switched online only if the UPS output is stable during this delay interval. The unit can detect UPS power interruptions as short as 10mS. The delay time can be set from 10 seconds to 16 minutes, and can be defeated if it is not needed.
BackUPS is fully automatic once installed. The mode switch can select manual UPS bypass mode, or automatic operation with or without the delay feature. BackUPS can also be remotely monitored and controlled. The remote bypass input allows the unit to “force bypass” the UPS via a GPI control input.
BackUPS can also be used as a “remote reboot” device, to reset and reboot equipment via off/on power cycling. It can supply up to 15 amps of AC current to the load.
All-in-one package aims to engage listeners and viewers
The post Special Report: RadioPix Creates Visual Radio Shows appeared first on Radio World.
LAKELAND, Fla. — For the past 20 years, I have been involved in a variety of roles within the radio broadcasting industry, both in front of and behind the mic. Through my experiences, I have grown to appreciate and value the experience that radio creates for the listener. As the industry continues to evolve, so have the challenges for radio stations that feel the pressure to produce more engaging shows with video content while working with limited budgets.
There had to be an easier way than using the piecemeal systems everyone has been cobbling together, so earlier this year, I partnered with Broadcast Pix out of my passion to simplify the video streaming process for both the radio host and the station’s producer. This has enabled me to help create RadioPix, a turnkey video streaming solution designed for radio stations, large or small.
I now “take my own medicine” and use RadioPix every day in my role as broadcaster and producer for the “Shannon Burke Show.” As one of the hosts for JVC Broadcasting, we broadcast in three markets, with stations located in Florida and New York.
When I received one of the first RadioPix systems in late March 2020, my plan was to install it in the “Florida Man Show,” WDYZ(AM/FM) 660 kHz/105.5 MHz, studio, but the coronavirus outbreak caused me to change my plans, installing it instead in my home studio, from where I now broadcast.
It took less time than I expected. RadioPix is an out-of-box solution that is easy to install with your current radio setup. The small form-factor server was indeed plug-and-play.
It includes PTZ cameras and a dedicated user interface. I connected my mics via Dante and the system output to our IP switch and I was streaming. Besides Dante, the system also works with Wheatstone WheatNet and Axia Livewire protocols.
The behavioral intelligence software works as advertised, by using mic activity to trigger the preconfigured visually aware macros, my voice is all that was needed to trigger camera moves, videos, lower-thirds and more. It is really that simple.
My personal favorite is the “boredom” macro that automatically triggers if my guest is speaking for longer than a minute. It starts a sequence of video production moves; the camera shot pulls back, brings up the lower-third title graphic, goes to a wide shot, and then goes back to a closeup. It’s great and lets me stay focused on my guest, while RadioPix automatically creates entertaining live video.
I now use on RadioPix every day and so far, I am impressed by its ease of use and dependability — the system just runs by itself. By pushing the “Live Stream” button, my show is streamed live to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or Periscope. It has significantly reduced my workload; more importantly our viewers really seem to love it. We have been getting some great feedback.
We created RadioPix to be the perfect way to create live visual radio streaming, easy to install and set up in any existing radio station environment and our plan is to continually refine its features and content.
For information, contact Tony Mastantuono at BroadcastPix in Massachusetts at 1-978-600-1100 or visit at https://broadcastpix.com.
Jeff Adams is executive producer for the “Shannon Burke Show” and RadioPix product manager for Broadcast Pix.
The post Special Report: RadioPix Creates Visual Radio Shows appeared first on Radio World.
Says the two Boston-area operators agreed to shut down, pay fines and destroy their gear
The Federal Communications Commission says it reached a settlement with two operators of pirate radio stations in the Boston area.
It said Acerome Jean Charles and Gerlens Cesar admit fault, will pay fines and agreed to 20-year compliance commitments. And they’ll dispose of their radio equipment.
It’s an unexpected development. In December the FCC issued notices of apparent liability to the men for operating Radio Concorde and Radio TeleBoston, respectively.
“The Enforcement Bureau negotiated the two Consent Decrees, which provide for a strict compliance plan over a period of 20 years to prevent Jean Charles and Cesar from ever resuming unlicensed broadcasting,” the commission announced.
“Jean Charles has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $4,000, and to pay a further penalty of $75,000 if he violates section 301 of the Act or violates the terms of the Consent Decree; Cesar has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $5,000, and agreed to pay a further penalty of $225,000 if he violates section 301 of the Act or violates the terms of the Consent Decree.”
One might imagine the two men feel they got off lightly. In December the FCC proposed forfeitures of $151,005 and $450,000 in this case, the latter being the largest fine ever proposed by the FCC against a pirate radio operation. [Read details here.] And subsequently, federal law was changed to allow even higher penalties in pirate radio cases.
The FCC said then that Cesar, operator of Radio TeleBoston, had allegedly broadcast three unauthorized transmitters on two different frequencies, which led it to propose the maximum penalty amount for all three transmitters.
Chairman Ajit Pai said in December that the NALs in this case were intended to send a strong signal that the FCC will not tolerate unlicensed radio broadcasting. In each case, he said then, the operator in question was given multiple warnings that he was violating the law.
Now both have ceased broadcasting and “have agreed not to materially assist anyone else committing such acts,” according to the FCC.
I give a resounding "NO" vote to all-digital AM
Dear Radio World:
First some background: I grew up in a small city in Kentucky, where my first job was at the local radio station. It was only AM at the time.
When they got a CP for an FM station, I was in college. The best summer job that I ever had was building that FM station.
It is still on the air today, with the same ownership.
I regularly listen to the local news back in Kentucky from my current home 900 miles away. Radio: “The Sound Medium.” May it always be thus.
I give a resounding “NO” vote to all-digital AM.
One question in closing: Is there still only one all-digital AM in the U.S.?
If so, why only one??
Lewis D. Collins (Retired), Peabody, Mass.
SGrecast and AudioLogger get improvements
StreamGuys has added new capabilities in its flagship SGrecast live stream repurposing and podcast management platform that help broadcasters expand their revenues by automatically converting live streams into podcasts without needing to manually tag midroll ad breaks in the results.
StreamGuys says that its AudioLogger (pictured) already offers multiple and flexible methods for transforming live streams into podcasts including both schedule-based automation and manual control enhancements in the SaaS solution’s recording feature. Now it offers a fully automated, metadata-driven podcast publishing workflow.
Previously requiring producers to manually place inline ad markers into its 24/7 live recordings before publishing the resulting podcast, the upgraded AudioLogger gives users the option to preserve midroll ad break metadata from the live stream — thus enabling subsequent dynamic ad insertion in the published podcast without manual effort. The enhanced AudioLogger also supports metadata-triggered recording, giving users more flexibility than prescheduled recordings.
Fans of NIST signals cite benefits including understanding the near-Earth environment
Last year was one of both celebration and uncertainty for WWV, the station adjacent to Fort Collins, Colo., that transmits automated time broadcasts on the shortwave bands.
On the plus side, it marked the 100th year of WWV’s call letters, making the site, operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the world’s oldest continually operating radio stations.
On the negative side, WWV and its sister time station WWVH in Hawaii nearly missed this centennial. That’s because NIST’s original 2019 budget called for shutting down the pair, along with WWVB, the longwave code station co-located next to WWV, as a cost-saving move.
Fortunately, these cuts never happened, and WWV, WWVH and WWVB seem likely to keep broadcasting the most accurate time from NIST’s atomic clocks, at least for the immediate future. (No further cuts have been threatened.)
That’s good news for the stations’ many supporters, who say that time broadcasts still matter in the Internet Age.
What They Have to Offer
Today, listeners around the world can get the most accurate time possible via WWV and WWVH’s broadcasts on the shortwave bands.
To make this happen, “WWV broadcasts continuously on six shortwave frequencies: 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 MHz,” said Glenn Nelson, an electronics technician at WWV and WWVB. “WWV has 11 operational HF transmitters (including standby equipment), eight transmitting antenna towers, and associated time and frequency distribution equipment.”
Located on the southwest portion of Kauai, WWVH “broadcasts 5 kW on 2.5 MHz and 10 kW on 5.0, 10.0 and 15.0 MHz,” said WWVH Station Engineer Dean Okayama. “The time/frequency systems and transmitters are similar to WWV.”
Both stations are known for the automated voices that tell the current time; WWV uses a male voice, while WWVH uses a female one, both timed to speak one after the other whenever both stations are heard on their shared channels.
This NIST service also broadcasts standard time intervals, standard frequencies and other information including solar conditions affecting radio propagation. Both stations report the time using the Coordinated Universal Time zone, a.k.a. Greenwich Mean Time, which is five hours head of Eastern Standard Time.
In the early days of radio, WWV/WWVH’s standard frequencies were used by commercial broadcasters to calibrate their transmitters to their assigned frequencies.
“In the 1930s, WWV began broadcast standard time interval pulses,” said Nelson. “In the 1940s, the U.S. Navy granted WWV permission to broadcast time of day announcements (this had been the exclusive responsibility of the Naval Observatory up until then). Voice announcements of time were added in the 1950s and a digital time code was added in 1960. In the ’70s, the WWV audio signal was made available by telephone at (303) 499-7111, and this service has continued to the present day.”
Why They Still Matter
The possible closing of WWV, WWVH and WWVB did not pass unnoticed. Tens of thousands of supporters signed petitions opposing the move, for a variety of reasons.
Even today, WWV and WWVH’s standard time broadcasts and frequencies are a great help for engineers calibrating equipment.
“While time-of-day information can nowadays be obtained through the internet, the combination of circuits involved in internet distribution can result in delays,” said Dr. Kim Andrew Elliott, retired Voice of America broadcaster and audience research analyst, and now producer of the experimental broadcast Shortwave Radiogram.
“These delays usually involve fractions of seconds, but that is enough to be significant in certain endeavors such as high-speed trading. For a lack of delay, nothing beats terrestrial radio. It is held back only by that pesky speed of light.”
WWV/WWVH’s audio tones are also precise and thus useful.
“On WWV, the 440 Hz tone (the musical note A above middle C) is broadcast once each hour, during Minute 2 on WWV, and Minute 1 on WWVH,” Elliott said. “You can tune your violin using WWV.”
On a more scientific note, these reliable signals play an important role in forecasting “space weather,” which can have a serious impact on the world economy whenever it gets “stormy.”
“As WWV’s signals move from their transmitter site in Fort Collins to shortwave receivers, they pass through the ionosphere and undergo slight delay and frequency changes,” said Dr. Philip Erickson of the MIT Haystack Observatory’s Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Group.
“These changes, if measured carefully, contain much information on waves, density changes and other phenomena that form space weather known to affect national telecommunications, long-distance power grids, and human spaceflight.”
Initially, these changes could only be detected using professional-grade receivers. But times have changed.
“Atomic clock signal accuracy at the Colorado and Hawaii transmission sites means that modest receivers using inexpensive, modern technology can use these time signals as beacons to sense ionospherically induced changes,” Erickson said.
“This allows the formation of a distributed space weather network in the backyards of thousands of amateur radio enthusiasts across the continental U.S.”
Such a concept is being realized now by the Ham Radio Science Citizen Initiative (HamSCI; www.hamsci.org), which is developing a personal space weather station for use by citizen scientists.
They Would Be Missed
These benefits would come to an end should NIST’s time stations ever go dark.
“The ideas I’ve outlined, plus other similar concepts, naturally extend WWV’s 100-year historic mission into the 21st century, and form an important part of national infrastructure in both the professional and emerging citizen science field,” said Erickson.
“It is vital that these signals continue to operate for the benefit of advancing human understanding of our near-Earth space environment.”
It’s not just WWV and WWVH that would be missed: “The general public will take notice if NIST station WWVB shuts down as its 60 kHz signal controls self-setting clocks known as ‘atomic’ clocks,” said Thomas Witherspoon, editor of the shortwave radio website the SWLing Post.
“Many don’t realize it, but a large portion of wall clocks, alarm clocks and watches, not to mention weather stations, cameras and potentially a number of other devices, have a built-in receiver that self-calibrates,” he said.
“NIST notes that there are more than 50 million radio-controlled clocks in operation and another few million wristwatches that rely on WWVB for self-calibration.
“The thing is, these devices are so embedded in our lives here in North America we scarcely notice them, and many consumers likely assume they’re set by the internet. They’re not.”
A Defense Against Fake News?
WWV and its sister stations could also have relevance now for another reason.
“The internet has become infamous as a purveyor of false information and counterfeit sites,” said Kim Andrew Elliott. “This is true even during emergencies, including the coronavirus outbreak.
“WWV and WWVH can be useful transmitters of emergency information: They are much more difficult to spoof than a website,” he told RW. “If a fake station tries to transmit on WWV/WWVH frequencies, co-channel with WWV and WWVH, the listener will hear immediately that something is not right. If the fake station comes from overseas, it will usually sound distant, compared to the signal we are used to hearing in North America.”
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Iqoya Connect service links remote contributors and studios
Codec and audio network equipment maker Digigram has a new cloud-based service for linking remote contributors to studios.
Iqoya Connect will link equipment and users along with providing management and monitoring tools for remote codec fleets and the destination studio codecs.
According to Digigram for the remote user, perhaps a journalist, Iqoya Connect “features a unified web platform where the user’s custom profiles and audio settings are saved.” Connecting back to the studio is kept as a simple mostly automated two-step process.
For reception personnel back at the facility, Iqoya Connect uses a global monitoring interface that provides “real-time monitoring of the codec fleet on one screen … as well as direct access to devices in the field if required.” Codecs can be programmed and live support enabled as well.
“When designing Iqoya Connect, our goal was to simplify the audio professionals’ daily experience while offering more flexibility, security and efficiency,” said Xavier Allanic, Digigram’s vice president of sales.
Supports DASDEC-II or One-Net SE EAS devices
The post Digital Alert Systems Releases V4.2 of EAS Software appeared first on Radio World.
Digital Alert Systems has made available the latest software version, V4.2, of its Emergency Alert System software for its DASDEC-II and One-Net SE EAS devices.
The new version of the software offers features and improvements that are designed to expand the security measures already built into the software. This includes additional communications protocols for EAS-Net, the DAS communications protocol software that enables EAS data and audio transmissions over a TCP/IP network for up to eight EAS-Net compatible platforms.
Another new feature is the software Secure Socket Layer HTTPS certificate management functions, which allow users to perform things like selecting the web server certificate, adding new cert and key certificates, selecting different certificates and deleting a certificate. Users can also load and/or delete their own key/cert pairs.
There are also separate control toggles as part of V4.2 that enable users to control digital signatures selectively from various Common Alerting Protocol servers, with improved logging between servers for more information about CAP files. In addition, communication improvements for users of DAS’ Homogenous Alert Overseer are also available.
Any DASDEC-II or One-Net SE customer running V4.0 or V4.1 can download V4.2 for free. For customers not yet upgraded to V4, DAS has a price relief program that offers a discount on the normal upgrade fee, ranging from 20% to 60% through Sept. 7.
The post Digital Alert Systems Releases V4.2 of EAS Software appeared first on Radio World.
An experienced broadcaster and veteran of faith-based radio
There’s a new general manager as well as a new chief engineer at WIHS(FM) in Middletown, Conn. And both are the same person: Steve Tuzeneu.
Connecticut Radio Fellowship announced that Tuzeneu will take those roles at the Christian station beginning July 15. He replaces GJ Gerard, who has held those roles for 25 years and is retiring.
“Tuzeneu brings over 45 years of diverse radio station experience, from announcing to engineering to management,” the organization announced. “His career is coming full circle, because he worked for WIHS from 1985-1991 when the station was located in downtown Middletown.”
It noted that Tuzeneu (“TOO-zen-oo”), a native of New Jersey, has held staff positions at faith-based radio stations in Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin. He most recently was a network staff engineer for the Bible Broadcasting Network, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He has a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcasting/business administration, CBT certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers, an FCC General Class Radio Engineering License and an Extra Class Amateur Radio License.
The announcement was made by Drew Crandall, president of Connecticut Radio Fellowship.
[Read Steve Tuzeneu’s 2015 article “In Search of Engineers.”]
Radio engineers and managers, send news of promotions, hirings and job changes to [email protected].
Says FCC should also ease usual penalties for late payment
Again the National Association of Broadcasters is blasting the Federal Communications Commission for a planned increase in certain regulatory fees on U.S. radio and TV stations.
NAB submitted reply comments responding to the FCC’s current proposed rate structure. The filing reiterates arguments the association has already made against the fees, in some cases over years. A sampler of phrases in NAB’s latest filing gives you the gist:
“utterly fails to explain its rationale”
“jeopardize the ability of struggling broadcasters to stay on the air”
“violates the law”
“fly in the face of the statutory mandate”
“increases … created from whole cloth as a means for the FCC to solve a math problem”
“the timing could not be worse”
“inequities in its regulatory fee approach”
“an additional, potentially insurmountable hurdle”
The association repeated its many earlier arguments, including that the FCC proposal doesn’t provide a basis of fee increases; that there has been no change to the total amount of fees the commission is required to collect; that broadcasters are subsidizing unlicensed spectrum users that require a lot of FCC resources; and that the pandemic highlights the unfairness of the FCC’s approach.
The NAB also said it supports suggestions from broadcasters for additional temporary reforms, for instance to allow waiver requests via a single filing; allowing stations in default to seek a waiver of this year’s fees; and a waiver of the automatic 25 percent penalty for late payment of regulatory fees.
Multichannel IP codec in a 1 RU package
Codec manufacturer Tieline has added a new codec to its product lineup.
The Gateway IP audio codec is a 1RU multichannel IP audio transport solution for radio broadcasters. It can stream up to 16 IP audio channels with support for AES67, AES3 and analog I/O as standard.
The Gateway’s applications include STL, studio-to-studio and audio distribution missions, as well as managing multiple incoming remotes at the studio. It is interoperable with all Tieline IP codecs and compatible over SIP with all EBU N/ACIP Tech 3326- and 3368-compliant codecs and devices.
Tieline VP Sales, APAC/EMEA, Charlie Gawley said, “The new Gateway codec increases channel density with 16 bidirectional mono or eight bidirectional stereo streams of IP audio in 1RU to reduce rack space requirements.”
The Gateway also has Tieline SmartStream PLUS redundant streaming and Fuse-IP data aggregation technologies.
It is configurable through an embedded HTML5 Toolbox Web-GUI interface, the Gateway can also interface with the TieLink Traversal Server for simpler connections and is controllable using Tieline’s Cloud Codec Controller.
An optional WheatNet-IP card is also available.
Baker Broadcasting uses it to manage remote broadcasting problems in the pandemic era
From our “Application Notes” page:
Baker Broadcasting is using ENCO WebDAD to solve remote broadcasting problems in the pandemic era.
Baker, based in Fort Smith, Ark., was an early adopter of the DAD automation product family. Now ENCO says in a press release that Baker’s adoption of WebDAD “has allowed flagship station KISR(FM) and KREU(FM) — the only Spanish-language station in Northwest Arkansas — to continue on-air operations without interruption or limits.”
The site usually has about 20 employees but ENCO said Chief Engineer Ayrton McPhail was one of a few team members allowed onsite for two months.
The manufacturer quoted McPhail saying staff can remotely connect to their workstations and coordinate automation from home. “The ability to directly upload audio files into rotation also simplifies our programming,” he said.
He also noted the system’s access to libraries; direct uploads of audio files instead of third-party applications; the ability to remotely voice track; and the option to record audio in-app.
[Related: “New Ebook Explores Broadcasting From Home”]