Broadcasting & Cable
Former Disney communications chief will report to chairman Robert Greenblatt
Brockman most recently served as EVP of global communications for Disney/ABC Television. In his new position he will oversee all corporate and content communications initiatives worldwide across the company’s portfolio of networks and brands including HBO, Cinemax, TBS, TNT and truTV as well as the upcoming WarnerMedia direct-to-consumer streaming service.
“With more than 20 years of communications experience at the top of the television industry, Kevin has a unique skill for overseeing multiple brands that connect audiences of all ages to the entertainment that resonates with them,” Greenblatt said in a press release. “He will be an important part of the exceptional group I’m bringing together to help launch our exciting new streaming platform anchored by the premium content of HBO, Turner and Warner Bros.”
“It’s an exciting time to join Bob and his team at WarnerMedia as the company transforms and prepares to launch a direct-to-consumer service later this year, Brockman said in a press release. “My career has been built on understanding the power of brands, and my passion for supporting exciting and diverse voices in all forms of media — whether linear or digital — is in sync with this vision for expanding the reach of one of the best storytelling companies in the world.”
Bidding among a small, elite group of show runners has gotten a little competitive in the Golden Age of Television
DENVER -- With the major subscription streaming service providers, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, crowding into the television production market, competition for the small, elite cadre of top creative talent has gotten, well, a bit out of hand, according to veteran Showtime executive Tom Christie.
“There is a fairly limited number of show runners that people want to trust with this kind of investment,” Christie said during a fireside chat earlier this week at the Pay TV Show. “I don't think you can limit yourself to the group of 25 show runners in Hollywood who are established anymore.”
The competition is so fierce for these elite creatives, the Showtime COO called it “free agency on steroids.”
Christie has worked for the CBS Corp.-owned premium cable TV programmer for more than 25 years. So he has a somewhat unique perspective on Hollywood and how the demand for original programming wrought by the streaming age has impacted the industry.
“Other than the '30s, I don’t know when the business drove so many jobs,” he said. “It is snowballing. A lot of us are waiting to see if it slows down. Can it continue? I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
Christie, meanwhile, recalls sitting in the Philadelphia high-rise office of NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke back in 2009, just before Burke’s employer, Comcast, put in a successful bid for NBCU.
He remembered Burke gazing out the window and wondering what the television business would look like in 10 years.
“The iPad and iPhone had not been in the marketplace that long, and Netflix had just started to stream,” Christie said. “Then, the whole thing got disrupted.”
Indeed, powerful new digital competitors and delivery platforms have upended the business for Showtime, HBO, Starz and the rest of the premium cable ecosystem.
Still, Christie said Showtime will resist some new paradigms, such as the impulse to indulge the new bingeing habits of consumers by posting entire seasons of shows at one time.
Showtime, Christie said, will continue with its “drip strategy,” debuting one episode a week.
“If your show can get a water cooler thing going, it’s a phenomenon,” Christie noted.
With its all-at-once binge-supporting strategy, he said, “I’m not sure Netflix has created this kind of dialogue. A lot of their shows tend to come and go, and there’s not much of a conversation.”
Christie, meanwhile, was asked if Showtime ever received corporate pressure to license its shows to outside platforms like Netflix.
Mimicking an unnamed top-level CBS executive with a brusque voice, Christie recalled being asked to release Showtime series Shameless to the broader streaming marketplace.
He said he wasn’t supportive of selling that show (prior seasons are on Netflix), but he understands the broader revenue imperative. Christie noted the challenges Disney will face as it pulls back from licensing its shows and keeps them in-house for Disney+.
“It’s going to be no small task to replace all of those revenue streams Disney has relied on over the years,” he said. “That’s a lot of subscriptions.”
Christie also noted how network brands mean less in the streaming age.
“These shows take on a life of their own now,” he said. “Would you still be watching Game of Thrones if it wasn’t on HBO? I think you would.”
RSN to air 23 Sun games in 2019
Boston-based regional sports network NESN will televise 23 Connecticut Sun WNBA games in 2019 on NESN and NESNplus, the team and network said.
First up is the Sun vs Indiana Fever at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Tuesday, May 28, at 7 p.m. on NESNPlus. Bob Heussler will handle play-by-play for home games shown on NESN, joined by color analysts Sarah Kustok, Rebecca Lobo, Kim Adams and LaChina Robinson.
NESN is the TV home of the Boston Red Sox and Bruins and is owned by those teams' owners.
Show has aired for 17 years in syndication
Disney’s veteran game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, will end its run after this season, a spokesperson confirmed Friday.
“After a successful 17-year run, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire will not return in national syndication for the 2019-20 season,” said the spokesperson.
While it’s unclear whether Millionaire is being canceled to make room for Disney’s new one-hour talker, Tamron Hall, the ABC owned stations need to juggle an hour of syndicated programming to accommodate the new show.
Viral video show RightThisMinute will be back for another season, Disney confirms, and the Disney-owned stations in three markets that air CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray — WABC New York, WPVI Philadelphia and WTVD Raleigh-Durham N.C. — have renewed that show for another year. That said, RightThisMinute could be moved to a later time slot. Right now, on WABC New York it airs behind Millionaire at 2 and 2:30 p.m., with both shows repeating at 1:30 and 2 a.m.
Millionaire has been hosted by The Bachelor and The Bachelorette’s Chris Harrison for the past four seasons. When the show launched into national syndication in 2002 — after a blockbuster run on ABC in primetime with Regis Philbin at the wheel that started in 1999 — it starred Meredith Vieira. She hosted until 2013 — even while she served as an anchor on NBC’s Today — when she departed to launch her own eponymous daytime talk show.
Vieira proved hard to replace, with Cedric the Entertainer taking over in 2013, followed by Terry Crews, now starring on NBC’s Brooklyn Nine- Nine, taking over in 2014. Harrison, who is finishing out the show’s run, came on board in 2015.
In the week ended May 5, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire averaged a 1.6 in households, putting it far behind game’s top tier of CBS Television Distribution’s Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune and Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, all of which average household ratings that usually exceed the 6.0 mark.
Variety first reported this story.
Swan-song episode will demolish what ‘The Sopranos’ finale did a dozen years ago
As you may have heard, it is the series finale of Game of Thrones on HBO May 19. The show will set a new viewership record for HBO, something it’s been doing for some time.
The April 28 episode, “The Long Night,” drew 17.8 million viewers, which the network said was, for the moment, a series high in gross audience. That one had the battle between the Army of the Dead and the combined army of the living. The 17.8 million included two linear airings Sunday and streaming on HBO Now and HBO Go.
The show set another record May 12, the penultimate episode called “The Bells,” with 18.4 million viewers.
The finale will top that.
It’s notable that the May 12 number beat what the series finale of The Big Bang Theory did on CBS May 16. The Chuck Lorre comedy drew just shy of 18 million total viewers. It lasted for 12 seasons.
There are six episodes in the final season of Game of Thrones, its eighth season.
The show came up a few times during Upfront Week. At the NBCUniversal upfront May 13, late-night host Seth Meyers noted how Brooklyn Nine-Nine worked well for NBC after its run on Fox, and said Game of Thrones would do the same. “We should pick that up! I can’t believe they canceled it,” he said. “I think that show is very popular. I haven’t seen last night’s episode, but I think you can get a few more seasons out of the Cersei and Jamie relationship.”
Over at Univision, there’s an upcoming series called El Dragon. Steve Mandala, president of ad sales and marketing, mentioned that other dragon show on HBO. “Ours is going to kick some serious butt this year,” he said.
We’re curious how the Game of Thrones finale will compare to previous high-profile HBO series. This much we know--Game will obliterate finale ratings for its predecessors on the network.
The Sopranos finale in 2007 drew 11.9 million viewers.
The Six Feet Under closer in 2005 tallied 3.9 million, according to the Chicago Tribune (HBO did not share finale ratings for past shows.)
Sex and the City, meanwhile, wrapped in 2004. That finale got 10.6 million viewers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Those shows aired before Netflix and Amazon and Hulu, when viewers’ options were far more limited.
More recently, HBO series finales posted more modest numbers. The Leftovers in 2017 got just north of a million, said TV by the Numbers, while Veep last Sunday got 1.1 million, and 1.6 million when a replay and streaming was added. Those two series were adored by critics, and many fans, but are not quite the cultural touchstones that Game of Thrones and The Sopranos are.
So it’s Game on for the beloved dragon drama.
Nearly 18 million watch hit comedy’s finale
CBS easily won the Thursday ratings race, with the series finale of hit comedy The Big Bang Theory pacing the network. CBS had a 2.0 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 10 share. In second was ABC at 0.8/4.
Big Bang Theory got a 3.1, up 63% from last week, with nearly 18 million total viewers. The show lasted 12 seasons and amassed 279 episodes. The Young Sheldon season finale went up 47% to 2.2. Special Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell did a 1.8 and the SWAT season finale grew 43% for a 1.0.
On ABC, it was the Grey’s Anatomy season-ender at a flat 1.3 and the Station 19 closer down 11% for a 0.8. The For the People finale went up 25% to 0.5.
NBC rated a 0.6/3. Superstore did a 0.6 and the Superstore finale then did a 0.6, both down from last week’s 0.8/0.7 double run. Brooklyn Nine-Nine got a 0.5 and then its finale a 0.5, down from last week’s 0.6. The Law & Order: SVU season closer went up 14% to 0.8.
Telemundo and Univision both got a 0.4/2.
Fox scored a 0.3/2 with Paradise Hotel across prime. Paradise Hotel got a 0.5 last week.
The CW rated a 0.2/1, iZombie and In the Dark both rating a level 0.2.
New series, such as ‘Batwoman’, don’t automatically go to streaming giant
The CW’s distribution deal with Netflix is set to conclude, but The CW president Mark Pedowitz said the broadcast net is in good shape to thrive without the viewership boost Netflix gives its series.
The CW-Netflix deal was inked in 2011 and re-upped in 2016. It ends this spring.
The CW unveiled three shows at its upfront presentation May 16: Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Katy Keene. Those series are not set up to stream on Netflix. Deadline reported that they are being shopped to various streaming platforms. Netflix is free to bid on new CW programs.
Current shows will continue to stream on Netflix after the deal ends.
The CW’s parents are Warner Bros. and CBS.
Several media companies are set to premiere streaming products, such as WarnerMedia, which will do so early next year.
The CW is well set up for streaming on its own. Rob Tuck, executive VP of national sales, called The CW “the original multiplatform network” at the upfront show. He said the CW app is approaching 60 million downloads.
Pedowitz said the end of the Netflix pact does not affect The CW’s strategy. “We have a very strong brand, and it is really up to our studio partners to decide where the past seasons of our programming goes,” he said. “It’s important to note that The CW is a vital part of their ecosystem. We end up as a platform making these shows popular and they have increased value across the multiplatform system. The studio partner companies will figure out where they wish to do with the out-of-season rights.”
Tells FCC it is still working on some audible functionality for sight-impaired
The Google Fiber rabbit did not win the race to comply with a Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) requirement before an FCC deadline.
Google Fiber, the search engine giant's high-speed broadband service play, has told the FCC it needs more time to make its navigation devices, in this case consumer's cell phones and other devices, accessible to the sight-impaired.
It was under a December 2018 deadline for making "video programming guides and menus accessible on televisions, set-top boxes, and other devices used to view video programming," but sought more time.
Google wants a limited waiver for accessing video via the Fiber TV app on iOS and Android devices. The app allows a mobile device to act as a set-top navigation device/remote control.
Google said it can provide some, but not all, of the required functions for audible accessibility for the blind, the "not all" being "(1) activating video description (for certain programming); (2) adjusting the presentation and display of closed captioning; (3) display of current configuration options; and (4) activating set-top box configuration options."
Obviously, activating video description is a key function for the sight-impaired.
Google said it can resolve the first two in a matter of months--it wants a waiver until December 2019--and is still looking at how to provide audible triggers for the other two--it wants a waiver of either two years from the original December 2018 petition filing or until it can resolve the issue, whichever comes first.
Google filed the initial petition in December but said it would need to amend it. The FCC held off on putting the petition out for comment until that amendment, which has now occurred.
Comments on whether the FCC should grant the petition are due June 17 and replies July 1.
What do Marie and Pierre Curie, Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot, Gerty and Carl Cori, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser, and Alva and Gunnar Myrdal have in common?
Up until Thursday night they were the only five husband-and-wife teams to win a Nobel Prize.
Add Sheldon and Amy, at least in the Big Bang Universe, to that list with the pair winning the physics prize on the hour finale on CBS Thursday night, only the second married couple to win that particular prize after the Curies in 1903. OK, they didn't really win--Sheldon and Amy, that is.
The actual Physics prize for 2019 won't be announced until Oct. 8, no earlier than 11:45 a.m. local Sweden time, when they will be streamed live. By that time, Penny's mom will probably already know about the baby.
It was probably the most Nobel-centric night of prime time American TV ever. Young Sheldon followed the Big Bang with its own take on the awards, with Sheldon eagerly anticipating a broadcast of the announcement of the winners, likening the suggestion of just waiting to read about them to waiting to read about the winner of the Super Bowl.
The prize CBS is looking for is the nightly sweeps ratings crown, essentially a given.
That number would make it the top OTT ecosystem, usurping Roku
Amazon said it now has 34 million users of its Fire TV devices, which would make it the top OTT streaming player in the world.
Roku said it had 29 million active users as of the end of the first quarter.
Amazon said that Fire TV is the “No. 1 streaming media player family in the U.S., UK, Germany, India and Japan.”
The Amazon Fire TV “family” includes everything from a $25 streaming dongle to a $180 box that includes a 500 gigabyte DVR. All the newer Fire TV devices are enabled with Alexa voice support. Fire TV is also the native interface for smart TVs from Toshiba and Insignia.
Amazon’s revelation comes as other data points to potential dominance in the video business moving forward.
According to research company TDG, 38% of adult broadband users in the U.S. report watching Amazon Prime Video. TDG also estimates that 30% of direct-to-consumer video subscriptions occur through Amazon Channels, which is housed within Amazon Prime Video.
IFC Films Unlimited will cost $5.99 and be available only through Amazon Channels
IFC Films has announced the launch of its subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform, IFC Films Unlimited.
The streaming service will have a $5.99-a-month price tag and feature all-you-can-watch access to IFC’s indie and documentary film catalog, which includes titles such as Y Tu Mamá También, The Thin Blue Line, The Trip, 45 Years, and Two Days, One Night.
IFC Unlimited is launching in conjunction with the ongoing Cannes Film Festival and is available at this point only through Amazon Channels, the direct-to-consumer video app marketplace set up within Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon has not said what OTT platforms its SVOD app will support.
“Over our nearly 20-year history, we’ve been fortunate to have established a rich library of the best in independent film and we thought the time was right to create an IFC Films-branded platform,” said Lisa Schwartz, IFC Films co-president, in a statement. “Bringing together a broad collection of films that span our many labels and genres, IFC Films Unlimited will be a general entertainment destination for specialty film fans.”
Succeeds late Jack Galmiche at St. Louis public media firm
Amy Shaw, the senior VP and chief content officer at Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis, was named interim president and CEO after the sudden death of Jack Galmiche on April 16.
Shaw is recognized as a national leader and innovator in community engagement and public media, Nine Network said. She has led a team of talented content producers, project managers, and evaluators in groundbreaking work that leverages on-air, online, and community engagement for measurable impact around important and complex issues facing communities, according to the broadcaster.
Shaw has orchestrated national content initiatives that created durable change in local communities, including Facing the Mortgage Crisis, public media’s response to the national financial crisis, Nine Network said. Shaw currently spearheads the American Graduate initiative to rally communities to improve outcomes for youth, a groundbreaking national/local public media initiative. Shaw also oversaw the creation of a Community Engagement Guidebook designed to help public media organizations deepen their commitment as relevant and essential community institutions.
“Amy is an accomplished public media professional, capable of leading the Nine Network during this difficult transition. I’m confident in her ability to continue Jack’s legacy of inspiring the community through public media,” David Steward II, chair, Nine Network board of directors, said in a statement.
Nine Network Board of Directors has begun a national search for Nine’s permanent president and CEO.
Creator Ben Edlund hoping for a new home for show
The Tick has been cancelled on Amazon Prime. Season two began April 5. Ben Edlund created the series, about an offbeat superhero.
Peter Serafinowicz plays the main character. Also in the cast are Griffin Newman, Valorie Curry, Brendan Hines, Yara Martinez and Scott Speiser.
Edlund shared the news on Twitter: “I'm sorry to say Amazon has chosen not to proceed with @TheTickTV,” said @ben_edlund. “I'm not sorry to say I love this show, its cast, its story, and its message. Destiny demands that my compatriots and I now seek a new home for this series.”
Season one premiered in August 2017.
Variety previously reported The Tick’s demise.
A different series about The Tick, also called The Tick, ran on Fox in 2001-2002.
Leila Conners directs film about solutions to environmental crisis
The Leonardo DiCaprio environmental documentary Ice on Fire premieres on HBO June 11. The film has its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival May 22.
“Ice on Fire, an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis, goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming,” according to HBO.
George DiCaprio, who is Leonardo’s father, and Roee Sharon Peled are executive producers and Leonardo DiCaprio, Mathew Schmid and Leila Conners are producers. Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller executive produce for HBO.
Conners and Leonardo DiCaprio previously worked together on the climate change documentary The 11th Hour.
Ice on Fire “focuses on the cutting-edge research behind today’s climate science – and the innovations aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere,” according to HBO.
“My partners and I made Ice on Fire to give a voice to the scientists and researchers who work tirelessly every day on the front lines of climate change,” said Leonardo DiCaprio, who narrates the film. “We wanted to make a film that depicts the beauty of our planet while highlighting much-needed solutions across renewable energy and carbon sequestration. This film does more than show what is at stake if we continue on a course of inaction and complacency – it shows how, with the help of dedicated scientists, we can all fight back. I hope audiences will be inspired to take action to protect our beautiful planet.”
Filmed around the globe, the documentary checks in with the people at the forefront of the climate crisis, with insights from scientists, farmers and others.
Rennes, May 15th, 2019
In order to develop technologies that protect video content, Viaccess-Orca, a subsidiary of the Orange Group, is joining b<>com. The first step in this long-term partnership is a unique innovation in watermarking that tracks pirates who redistribute illegal streaming services.
The development of streaming platforms has come with significant piracy threats for broadcasters.
As an example, according to a beIN Sports survey, 3.5 million people in France use illegal streaming sites to watch soccer matches, costing €400 million in revenue.
Fighting against pirates who redistribute illegal streaming services is therefore a strategic imperative for broadcasters.
b<>com and Viaccess-Orca have joined together to provide broadcasters with innovations that can meet this challenge.
Dynamic watermarking to fight new forms of piracy
Illegal streaming services are proliferating, and the threat is mutating, making it necessary to offer new technologies in order to fight this new type of piracy. That's why the teams at b<>com and Viaccess-Orca are working in tandem with the goal of developing a dynamic watermarking solution that addresses the various piracy threats that broadcasters face and makes it possible to directly identify the source of the piracy. This innovative, flexible tracking algorithm solution enables the real-time digital marking of video streams (including 4K formats) regardless of what device is used (TV decoder, tablet, smartphone, or web player).
b<>com's technological proficiency in cybersecurity is supplemented by Viaccess-Orca's expertise in content protection and pirate stream analysis.
The collaboration between the two entities is part of a long-term partnership.
The first technology demos by Viaccess-Orca and b<>com will be available at ANGA COM in Cologne, Germany, from June 4 to 6, 2019 in Hall 8 - Stand K31.
"b<>com is particularly proud and happy to count Viaccess-Orca among its members. Protecting content and people for a balanced, ethical use of digital technologies is of critical importance in our view
Since our creation, we have been working in the field of cybersecurity, and are developing solutions to address the major 21st-century industrial challenge that it represents.
The arrival of Viaccess-Orca strengthens our strategy and will enable us to define a broader ambition and provide cutting-edge technologies more quickly on a market that is changing at lightning speed," says Bertrand Guilbaud, CEO of b<>com.
"Content protection is critical for Viaccess-Orca. The emergence of new forms of piracy such as live restreaming of content on the internet means that we need to provide suitable solutions to our clients. This collaboration with b<>com is even more important for Viaccess-Orca in order to offer more innovative anti-piracy services that fit into our broader content security product offering and meet the expectations of content providers and rights-owners," adds Paul Molinier, CEO of Viaccess-Orca.
Created in late 2012, the b<>com Technology Research Institute is a tech provider and an innovation accelerator for every business that uses digital to increase its competitiveness. b<>com brings together multicultural disciplines and talents in augmented reality, virtual reality, and immersive media formats, in the fields of applied artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, 5G networks, Internet of Things, cognitive technologies, and e-health. Thanks to its world-class engineering team, its technology platforms and its unique mix of scientific and industrial knowhow, b<>com offers its clients technology solutions that give them an invaluable competitive edge. For more information, visit www.b-com.com and follow b<>com on Twitter at @IRT_bcom.
Viaccess-Orca is a leading global solutions provider of OTT and TV platforms, content protection, and advanced data solutions for a personalized TV experience. The company offers an extensive range of innovative, end-to-end, modular solutions for content delivery, protection, discovery, and monetization. With over 20 years of industry leadership, Viaccess-Orca helps content providers and TV operators shape a smarter and safer TV and OTT experience. Viaccess-Orca is part of the Orange Group and the company's solutions have been deployed in over 35 countries, reaching more than 27 million subscribers. For more information, visit www.viaccess-orca.com or follow the company on Twitter @ViaccessOrca and LinkedIn.
Atika Boulgaz | Global Communications Director | +33 1 44 45 64 60 | [email protected]
Light Iron, a Panavision company, has announced Jeremy Sawyer is returning to its Los Angeles facility as a senior colorist.
Light Iron, a Panavision company, has announced Jeremy Sawyer is returning to its Los Angeles facility as a senior colorist. The highly regarded Sawyer brings over 20 years of color finishing experience to his role. He joins Light Iron’s formidable talent roster as the facility manages a growing list of feature and episodic projects.
His extensive skills in post as well as a passion for photography bring a unique aesthetic to his visual approach. Sawyer’s arrival reunites him with an artistic group of Light Iron colorists, which includes Ian Vertovec, Steven Bodner, Corinne Bogdanowicz, Sean Dunckley, and Nick Hasson, among others.
“We are thrilled to have Jeremy back with us,” says General Manager Peter Cioni of Light Iron. “His vast experience managing innovative workflows in combination with his inspired visual instinct marries perfectly with our passion to serve the creative.”
“Light Iron fosters a collaborative, artistic environment,” notes Sawyer. “Their dexterity in response to constantly advancing technology and the relationship with Panavision offers an uncommon ability to bring post production to the set, where the intersection of art and science is happening. And being involved early on projects helps to produce an incredible end product. Panavision and Light Iron are at the forefront of making the entire production process smoother, faster, and more efficient, all with a nod toward the creative mindset.”
Light Iron colorists integrate with projects during pre-production, working closely with the cinematographer in a unified way to fully understanding the motives for the creative choices being made. “We think of ourselves as artistic partners in the process,” adds Cioni. “Not only can we build complex pipelines with custom tools and applications, but our colorists remain deeply embedded with the decision-making process, ensuring the intended look is carried throughout for maximum benefits to filmmakers.”
With multiple locations throughout North America, Sawyer also will be available to remotely collaborate with production teams on location, via the Panavision and Light Iron network.
For more information, visit www.lightiron.com.
Looks to lessen speech burden on cable operators
As expected, the FCC has proposed a major overhaul of its leased access rules, but it is also potentially taking a wrecking ball to the regs, asking for comment on whether the rules should be struck altogether given the First Amendment impact on cable speakers and the "dramatic changes in technology and the marketplace for the distribution of programming [that] cast substantial doubt on the constitutional foundation for our leased access rules."
That is according to a draft Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) posted on the FCC's website, as it does three weeks before items are scheduled to be voted on in a public meeting, in this case the June 6 meeting.
The R&O, which likely has three Republican votes for passage and thus will likely become the new law (make that rule) of the land--though perhaps only briefly--would, first off, vacate the 2008 leased access rules, which were challenged by cable operators, stayed by a court, and never went into effect anyway, in part due to ongoing Paperwork Reduction Act issues cited by the Office of Management and Budget, which must sign off on the reporting requirements in new regs.
As chairman Pai signaled in his blog this week, it would also eliminate the requirement that cable operators provide channels for part-time leased access.
Currently, small systems are only required to respond to "bona fide" requests for time (as opposed to requests for information). The order would extend that to all systems. It would also extend the time frame for responding to such requests from 15 calendar days to 30 calendar days and from 30 to 45 days for smaller systems.
Cable operators would also be able to charge up to a $100 application fee per request and charge a security deposit of up to 60 days worth of the lease fee.
It declined to require cable operators to carry leased access in HD, or to limit the insurance cable ops can charge leased access programmers.
It would require cable operators to provide leased access programmers with contact info for the person handling leasing, and "adopt common-sense modifications to our procedures for resolving leased access disputes."
The FCC would not require cable operators to carry a leased access channel on only a portion of their system. The draft agrees with Charter that leased access was never meant to be implemented in that "piecemeal" fashion. "Indeed, if the Commission permitted every leased access programmer to...request a custom service area, the ensuing technical and operational burdens on cable operators easily could become unmanageable," the draft said.
The FNPRM proposes to modify the leased access rate formula so that it is specific to the tier on which it is carried and "the statutory leased access requirements or the Commission’s other leased-access rules continue to withstand First Amendment scrutiny in light of the market changes discussed in this order? If not, what discretion does the Commission have to reduce the burdens."
The order makes it clear that the FCC is skeptical that the rules can pass constitutional muster, laying it out in a summation that should be music to the ears of cable operators long arguing that leased access and other must-carry mandates impinge on cable's editorial discretion.
"The changes in the video marketplace...call into question whether our leased access rules are consistent with the First Amendment," the order said. "Specifically, while the leased access rules were originally justified as safeguarding competition and diversity in the face of cable operators’ monopoly power, the growth in available platforms to distribute programming seems to have eroded this justification...
"We agree that dramatic changes in technology and the marketplace for the distribution of programming cast substantial doubt on the constitutional foundation for our leased access rules. We recognize that we rejected similar constitutional arguments in the 2008 Leased Access Order, which we vacate today [the order is looking ahead to a June 6 vote].
"Our analysis has changed because the facts have changed: The growth in alternative outlets for programmers—particularly on the internet—has exploded in the decade since the adoption of the 2008 Leased Access Order. Given this proliferation of new distribution platforms, we now find that the First Amendment concerns raised by commenters provide additional reason to interpret the statutory obligations of Section 612 in a manner that reduces burdens on the speech of cable operators. We do so here by, among other things, eliminating the Commission rule requiring that cable operators make leased access available on a part-time basis.
"While our rule changes are independently and sufficiently supported by the policy justifications above, we note that constitutional concerns rely on the same premise: that changes in the video marketplace have substantially weakened the justifications for leased access."
Said he hopes to make proposal a reality
FCC chair Ajit Pai suggested this week that the FCC is awaiting consensus among broadcasters and Microsoft before moving ahead with a proposal on freeing up the "white spaces" between and around post-incentive auction repacked TV channels for wireless broadband.
That came in an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee, where he said he hoped to bring the new white spaces regime to reality soon.
He was asked by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) about the status of the white spaces "experiment," who said that probably every part of his district has such white spaces.
Pai said he had seen the promise of white spaces technology in places like South Boston, Va., a town in rural southern Virginia,
The chairman said there had been a lot of "tricky" technical issues and policy issues the commission had been hammering out (a number of them involving how to use that spectrum without interfering with licensed broadcast transmissions nearby).
The FCC in March resolved a number of petitions to reconsider the remote sensing database works, which is how unlicensed mobile devices can use the spectrum without--hopefully--interfering with TV station signals. So far broadcasters have questioned the efficacy of that process.
The FCC is permitting the use of white space devices (notably computers), both fixed and mobile, in unused channels, ch. 37, guard bands between broadcast and wireless spectrum and between uplink and downlink spectrum in the 600 MHz band--which they are sharing after the incentive auction.
It is part of the FCC's focus on freeing up more spectrum for advanced wireless and closing the rural digital divide, which computer companies argue "white spaces" play a key role.
Pai praised Microsoft, the prime mover behind a white spaces rural broadband project, and the National Association of Broadcasters, who have agreed on a number of outstanding issues, though not on Microsoft's desire to use adjacent channels, which NAB has argued is too close for comfort.
"If there is a consensus that allows us to move forward, we would like to do so," he said, though he could not provide a timeline.
WUPPERTAL, Germany — May 16, 2019 — Riedel Communications supplied a comprehensive, integrated communications infrastructure for the Special Olympics World Games 2019 (SOWG) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Riedel's Artist digital matrix intercom system and Bolero wireless intercom were at the core of a massive comms deployment that spanned more than 30 venues and locations and included managed IT network services.
"It was an honor to be such a key player in this year's Special Olympics World Games, which included more than 7,000 athletes from over 195 nations," said Marc Schneider, Director Global Events, Riedel Communications. "This was the largest, most inclusive, and most unified World Games in the history of the organization, with activities held at nine competition venues and over 20 other locations for initiatives and programs across all seven Emirates. Our numbers speak to the sheer size and scale of this event: we deployed more than 30 Artist-64 nodes, which supported over 180 Bolero beltpacks on 56 Bolero antennas, plus another 170 C3 Digital Performer beltpacks, and 1,500 Tetra radios."
At the SOWG opening and closing ceremonies in Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City Stadium, Riedel provided seamless crew and announcer communications through 65 1000-Series control panels, 60 Bolero wireless beltpacks, and more than 250 Tetra radios. A preexisting MediorNet infrastructure greatly simplified the integration of the communications system in the largest stadium in the United Arab Emirates.
At all of the venues and locations, Riedel provided comms for all sports and medal ceremonies with an Artist mainframe and six Artist panels. The venue deployments marked the first time that the SOWG has achieved seamless communications without radios, with event crews relying solely on Bolero.
In addition, Riedel provided an IT infrastructure to support managed network services at seven SOWG venues. This included firewall management, broadband internet, more than 165 access points, and more than 80 switches.
Further information about Riedel and the company's products is available at www.riedel.net.
# # #
About Riedel Communications
Riedel Communications designs, manufactures, and distributes pioneering real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks for broadcast, pro audio, event, sports, theater, and security applications. The company also provides rental services for radio and intercom systems, event IT solutions, fiber backbones, and wireless signal transmission systems that scale easily for events of any size, anywhere in the world. Riedel is headquartered in Wuppertal, Germany, and employs over 600 people in 20 locations throughout Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Americas.
All trademarks appearing herein are the property of their respective owners.
Link to Word Doc: www.wallstcom.com/Riedel/190516Riedel.docx
Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/Riedel/Riedel-SOWG.zip
Photo Caption: Riedel supplied a comprehensive, integrated communications infrastructure for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.
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Kanye West sits with Dave for a long and lively chat
The second season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman premieres May 31. All six episodes debut that day. Guests will be announced later; Kanye West is one.
The show “combines humor, curiosity and in-depth conversations with extraordinary people,” said Netflix.
Letterman is host and executive producers are Lydia Tenaglia, Sandy Zweig, Chris Collins, and Chris Cechin-De la Rosa for Zero Point Zero Productions, and Tom Keaney and Mary Barclay for Worldwide Pants.
President Obama was Letterman’s first guest in the first season, premiering in January 2018. Netflix rolled out new episodes monthly. The season also featured George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern.
‘Chicago’ shows see some gain on NBC
CBS won Wednesday’s prime ratings, the Survivor finale leading to a 1.4 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 7 share. That topped the 1.0/5 that NBC scored.
Survivor did a 1.5 from 8 to 10:30 p.m., same as its December finale did, and the reunion special got a 0.9.
NBC had Chicago Med up 10% at 1.1, Chicago Fire at a flat 1.0 and Chicago P.D. up 11% at 1.0.
ABC had a 0.6/3 and Fox a 0.4/2. On ABC, Toy Story 2 did a 0.6 and Whiskey Cavalier slid 20% at 0.4.
On Fox, MasterChef Celebrity Family Showdown premiered at 0.5 and Paradise Hotel was down a tenth at 0.3.
Telemundo and Univision both did a 0.4/2.
The CW got a 0.3/1. The Riverdale finale got a 0.3 and Jane the Virgin a 0.2. Riverdale was flat and Jane lost a tenth of a point.
ABC affiliates in Providence and Lincoln get new owner
Standard Media Group agreed to buy two TV stations from Citadel Communications for $83 million, the companies said.
The stations involved are WLNE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Providence, R.I., and KLKN-TV, the ABC affiliate in the Lincoln and Hastings-Kearney, Nebraska market.
Deb McDermott, the veteran station executives was named CEO of Standard Media last year. She previously has been COO of Media General and CEO of Young Broadcasting.
“We are excited to work with the talented teams in Providence and Lincoln to grow the business with a strong focus on high quality local news,” said McDermott.
“We look at this acquisition as the first of many as we work to create a new competitive player in the consolidating broadcast TV industry,” she said. “I am honored that Phil Lombardo has chosen us to take WLNE and KLKN forward. He has been a long-time friend and mentor to me, and his contributions to the broadcast industry have truly helped to make it what it is today.”
Citadel sold three of its five network-affiliated stations to Nexstar Broadcasting Group in 2014
“It is gratifying to sell our remaining ABC stations to someone with whom I have enjoyed a long professional relationship, and who also has unique experience and insights in both markets,” said Phil Lombardo, Citadel’s CEO. “I am confident that our deal will serve as a catalyst for Standard Media’s plans to build a new, large station group.”
Reg reform item draft to be released later today
Making the same arguments he has made for deregulating broadcast ownership--changed marketplace, more video options--FCC chair Ajit Pai has signaled the FCC will try to loosen cable leased access rules.
Currently, cable operators with more than 100 channels have to set aside 15% of those channels for leased access, with smaller operators having to provide a smaller percentage.
The FCC will release the draft of the leased access item later Thursday (May 16)--it voted to launch the review almost a year ago--but Pai signaled in a blog post that the FCC would be voting on loosening or jettisoning some of the regs. He likely has the votes of his Republican colleagues, which is all he will need.
"The glaring problem with our leased access rules is that they’ve been in legal limbo for over a decade and haven’t been updated to account for the transformation of the video marketplace," he wrote. "Programmers now have a wide range of options for distributing their content, including a plethora of online platforms, so the need for burdensome leased access rules have dramatically diminished. I’ve therefore provided my colleagues with an order that would modernize our regulations to better reflect today’s video marketplace. For example, it would eliminate the requirement that cable operators make leased access available on a part-time basis since there are plenty of other avenues for content creators to make available short-form programming."
That part-time change will be a welcome one for ACA Connects and NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, both of which had argued for it, saying that the part-time rules are a regulatory invention that imposes added costs for which cable operators are not always sufficiently compensated and that the diverse programming that additional burden was meant to generate is being taken care of by forces in a market "which is more competitive and diverse than Congress or the Commission could ever have imagined." Pai clearly agrees with that assessment.
The Commission updated the leased access rules in 2008 [under then-FCC chairman Kevin Martin], but the Office of Management and Budget never signed off on them, and a federal court put them on hold. which meant the FCC was still operating under rules from 25 years ago, Pai had previously pointed out in launching the review last May.
Cable operators had challenged that 2008 update in court given that it had slashed rates by 75% (cable ops viewed Martin as having a "vendetta" against the industry). NCTA argued at the time that the result would be shoddy programming that viewers would not want to watch and that, under the new rate, cable ops might not be compensated for at all.
‘You have never seen Nancy Drew quite like this,’ promises Pedowitz
The Jonas Brothers opened up The CW upfront show at New York City Center to a robust ovation, performing two songs. Rob Tuck, executive VP of national sales, came out to slightly less fanfare. He spoke of distinguishing The CW from every other network that presented this week. That includes critical praise for CW shows, its multiplatform convergence strategy and young viewership.
“The CW is the original multiplatform network,” he said. "The CW app is approaching 60 million downloads, he said, and marketers’ brands are “in a safe, advertiser-friendly environment.”
Mark Pedowitz, CW president, stepped on stage. He praised CW affiliates and then shared the clip for Batwoman. “Move over, Bruce Wayne,” said Pedowitz before introducing star Ruby Rose. She mentioned action and thrills in the series, and peeks into characters’ personal issues too.
Pedowitz called Batwoman “the perfect character” to expand the CW portfolio as the network continues to “defy convention.”
He played up The CW’s multiplaform attributes. “Free and ad-supported makes us the ideal companion,” said Pedowitz.
Pedowitz mentioned CW Seed programs and The CW Good initiatives. “We welcome all ethnicities and all orientations,” he said. “This is how The CW dares to defy.”
Pedowitz introduced All American cast members, including Daniel Ezra and Bre Z, before talking up new drama Nancy Drew. “Trust me--you have never seen Nancy Drew quite like this,” he said, before the trailer rolled and the cast stepped out.
Katy Keene, a spinoff of Riverdale, was next.
Pedowitz said The CW’s schedule is 70% original. “This is a trend we plan to continue,” he said.
Programming Sundays has been an “unqualified success,” said Pedowitz. Batwoman and Supergirl take over the Sundays slots.
Supernatural signs off after this season. “We cannot wait to see how the journey ends,” said the president. “After 15 years, what a long, strange trip it’s been.”
Supernatural cast members Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins came out. “We don't know where the road's gonna go just yet but we're looking forward to it,” said Ackles.
The midseason has Katy Keene, Roswell, New Mexico, In the Dark, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and The 100.
Pedowitz talked up the network’s daring content and varied distribution on linear and digital. “You know who we are,” said Pedowitz, “We are The CW.”
Cast members from several shows joined him for a hug, and 45 minutes after the Jonas Brothers stepped out, The CW was done.
Said it lacked sufficient time to make that call
The industry board overseeing the TV content ratings system has not been sufficiently accessible or transparent, but there is not enough evidence to conclude the ratings are inaccurate because the FCC did not have enough time to make that determination and meet its congressional deadline (It had 90 days to meet that deadline).
Those were the FCC's primary takeaways from a three-month, congressionally mandated, inquiry by the FCC's Media Bureau into the system. The report was due to Congress this week and was posted on the FCC Web site.
The FCC did note that virtually all the commenters were dissatisfied with "some aspect of the TV Parental Guidelines, the oversight of the television ratings, and/or the content of television programming," while the industry asserts that the system is effective, with "meaningful oversight."
Congress had asked the FCC to address "the accuracy of the television content rating system, known as the TV Parental Guidelines, and the ability of the governing body for TV ratings, the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board (Board or TVOMB), to oversee the rating system and address public concerns about it."
As to accuracy, the FCC said it was "unable to draw any definitive conclusions in the limited time we have been given to prepare this report," so suggested--it did not "urge"--the board undertake random audits or spot checks.
The report did not signal the FCC would take any more time independently to determine if the ratings are accurate. The FCC has not always been punctual in meeting such congressional report deadlines, but was in this case.
As to transparency, the FCC urged the board to hold at least one public meeting a year, better promote the existence of the board, and find a way to let the public know about the number and nature of the complaints it receives.
The report noted that the board did not even have a working phone for potential complainers, but that that had been fixed.
“We applaud the FCC for affirming the numerous, intrinsic failings of the TV content ratings system that we’ve been proclaiming for years," said Parents Television Council President Tim Winter. "We wholeheartedly agree with the recommendations put forth by the Commission to improve the ratings system and its oversight, but those improvements must not, cannot, simply be abdicated back to the very industry that has ensured the system’s failings thus far."
PTC called for the ratings review and has long argued they are inaccurate and don't give parents' sufficient help in navigating away from increasingly dicey TV fare.
Network shares its fall schedule at upfront presentation May 16
The CW presents its fall schedule at the City Center in New York May 16, introducing three shows: Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Katy Keene. Batwoman, from Greg Berlanti, will air on Sundays before Supergirl.
Mondays feature All American and Black Lightning. Tuesdays are The Flash and Arrow.
Wednesdays offer Riverdale and Nancy Drew and Thursdays have Supernatural and Legacies. Fridays feature Charmed and Dynasty.
“The CW heads into next season riding a wave of creative momentum and expansion, with more original programming all year round, and a new fall lineup boasting scripted series in every single time period across our six-night schedule,” said Mark Pedowitz, president of the network. “We have 14 returning series for next year and adding to that three exciting new shows, including our newest superhero, the thrilling Batwoman, the mystery and suspense of Nancy Drew and the aspirational Katy Keene, based on the Archie Comics characters.”
The Jonas Brothers perform at The CW’s upfront.
Batwoman has Ruby Rose playing the title character.
Katy Keene, a Riverdale spinoff, will premiere in the midseason, along with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, In the Dark, Roswell, New Mexico and The 100.
The CW’s fall season starts in October.
“As the original multiplatform network, combining our linear broadcast and our best in class ad-supported digital services with our ability to harness social like no one else, The CW’s distinct brand and programming strategy perfectly positions this network to grow and thrive in the current media landscape,” said Pedowitz.
Batwoman is set in a Gotham City in deep despair. Batman has disappeared and crime is rampant. But Batwoman is on the case. The show comes from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. The executive producers are Greg Berlanti, Caroline Dries, Geoff Johns and Sarah Schechter. David Nutter and Marcos Siega executive produced the pilot.
Nancy Drew is about a brilliant teenage detective whose sense of self had come from solving mysteries in her hometown of Horseshoe Bay, Maine – until her mother’s untimely death derails Nancy’s college plans. When a socialite is murdered, Nancy finds herself a prime suspect. Kennedy McMann plays Nancy.
Executive produced by Noga Landau, Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage and Lis Rowinski, Nancy Drew is a production of CBS Television Studios in association with Fake Empire.
Katy Keene follows the lives and loves of four iconic Archie Comics characters — fashion legend-to-be Katy Keene (Lucy Hale), singer/songwriter Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), performer Jorge Lopez/Ginger (Jonny Beauchamp), and “It Girl” Pepper Smith (Julia Chan) — as they chase their twenty-something dreams in New York.
Executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Michael Grassi, Sarah Schechter and Jon Goldwater, Katy Keene is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios.
Using machine learning, new option for full-featured OTT platform helps operators shield viewers from sensitive content without manual effort and enhances searchability
May 16, 2019 — Dübendorf, Switzerland: Insys Video Technologies has added powerful new capabilities to its comprehensive, over-the-top (OTT) video solutions that enable automated identification of celebrities and detection of inappropriate content in catch-up TV programming and on-demand video libraries. Viewers can find clips featuring a particular celebrity and jump to the exact point in the show where that person appears, while nudity and violence can be automatically flagged and blurred.
OTT video services enable media organizations to offer more content to their viewers than ever before. However, the huge volume of available content creates challenges for both audiences and providers. Consumers need efficient ways of discovering shows that interest them, which can be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Meanwhile, operators must ensure that all content meets their brand’s standards and regulatory restrictions for sensitive material, but the sheer number of clips makes manually reviewing them cost- and time-prohibitive. Recordings of linear channels for catch-up viewing are particularly challenging, as they typically do not include the same level of detailed metadata that accompanies “pre-packaged” on-demand programs.
Leveraging API integration with Amazon Rekognition, a solution from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the new features in Insys’ OTT platform can solve both problems. Content added to the operator’s library is quickly and automatically analyzed for recognizable people and sensitive content. Amazon Rekognition is a deep learning-powered video analysis service that can identify objects, people, text, scenes, and activities as well as detect any inappropriate content. The scalable service performs real-time video analysis using machine learning models that are trained to detect thousands of objects and activities accurately, and to extract motion-based context from video.
Insys’ rich front-end user experiences utilize the results of this analysis to allow viewers to search for shows or news clips that include particular celebrities or politicians. A timeline then allows them to jump directly to the specific moments at which those people are seen, while overlays in the Insys video player show the names of recognized individuals during playback. The Insys player window also displays markers on the program timeline to indicate scenes with nudity or violence, with the operator-controlled option to automatically blur the video during playback to obscure the offending content.
“Our new inappropriate content detection and blurring capabilities help operators automatically ensure content meets the expectations of their viewers and their brand,” said Insys CEO Krzysztof Bartkowski. “They also further expand our toolset for ensuring safe viewing for children, which we consider an important part of our corporate responsibility as a vendor. Meanwhile, the ability to identify celebrities and politicians within the video enhances content discoverability for service providers’ audiences, letting viewers spend less time finding relevant content and more time watching it.”
Insys Video Technologies offers a complete range of flexible OTT tools, technologies and white-label solutions that enable media enterprises to easily manage, monetize, distribute, and promote their content through branded, full-featured websites and apps. InsysGO lets MVPDs and service providers launch comprehensive OTT offerings encompassing many channels in as little as 30 days, while Insys OneChannel delivers similar functionality with a streamlined viewer experience tailored for presenting a smaller number of channels. Insys VoD allows content providers to easily offer their video libraries for on-demand viewing, while the modular Insys OTT Toolkit enables customers to build their own customized OTT platform using modular components.
For more information about Insys solutions, technologies and services, please visit www.insysvideotechnologies.com.
About Insys Video Technologies GmbH – Insys Video Technologies (www.insysvt.com) is one of the fastest-developing video integration companies in Europe, offering comprehensive implementation of OTT projects from strategy and design through to development, deployment and maintenance. For over a decade, Insys has implemented online video projects for satellite providers, telecommunications operators, television broadcasters and motion picture distributors. More than four million consumers use video services powered by Insys solutions.
May 15, 2019 — MX1, a global solutions provider of media services and a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES, announced today that Discovery Deutschland, a TV and digital media broadcast station based in Munich, Germany, will use MX1's managed media and distribution services to deliver an eighth German channel, HOME & GARDEN TV (HGTV), which will be available to viewers from 6 June 2019.
Discovery Deutschland has been relying on MX1 services and capacity on SES's ASTRA satellites for seven of its German TV channels. For this eighth and brand-new channel, MX1 is delivering fully managed playout, including advanced graphics, uplink, and distribution services. The free-to-air SD channel is distributed via SES's ASTRA 1KR satellite at the prime orbital position of 19.2 degrees East, which reaches over 118 million homes across Europe.
"MX1 is a valued supplier, and the contracting services and ASTRA satellite capacity for the eighth channel underlines the success of our work together on the seven channels MX1 already manages," said Alberto Horta, deputy general manager of Discovery Deutschland. "Advertisers have complex demands and expect a seamless integration into our broadcast, with which MX1 provides us. MX1's broad range of media services delivers world-class reliability and exceptional quality, which is essential for maintaining high standards and satisfying our advertising partners."
# # #
About Discovery Deutschland
Discovery Germany hosts the free-to-air TV channels DMAX, TLC, Home & Garden TV (from June 6th), and Eurosport 1, as well as the pay-TV channels Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Eurosport 2 HD Xtra. The network, which was founded in 1996, is based in Munich and reaches a total of 45 million households, 12 million Pay TV subscribers, and 4 million digital users. Behind Discovery Germany is Discovery, Inc. — the world's leading non-fiction media company with a reach of three billion viewers in over 220 countries. Further information is available at discovery-networks.de.
MX1, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), is a leading global media services provider. It works with leading media businesses to shape content into the ultimate viewer experience, ensuring it can appear on any device, anywhere in the world. MX1 offers a full range of content aggregation, content management, channel playout, online video/VOD, and content distribution services via its MX1 360 Unified Media Platform to amplify audience reach on any broadcast, online, or VOD platform.
MX1 has 16 offices worldwide and operates global state-of-the-art media centres on three continents, enabling customers to reach a potential audience of billions around the world. As well as managing more than 5 million media assets, every single day it distributes more than 3,600 TV channels, manages the playout of over 525 channels, and delivers over 8,400 hours of online video streaming and more than 620 hours of premium sports and live events.
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All trademarks appearing herein are the property of their respective owners.
Link to Word Doc: www.202comms.com/MX1/190515MX1.docx
InfoComm 2019 Product Preview, Riedel Communications, Booth 6261
At InfoComm 2019 in Orlando, Florida, Riedel Communications will showcase its latest innovations for communications and real-time signal distribution for a broad range of audiovisual applications, including live performance and broadcast. Riedel solutions — including the MediorNet decentralized network, Artist digital matrix intercom system, and Bolero wireless intercom — are used worldwide to handle events ranging from local events to global games.
NEW: Artist-1024 Intercom Node — 1024 Ports in Just 2 RU!
Riedel will showcase the new Artist-1024 node, a powerful new addition to the Artist intercom ecosystem. Artist-1024 features an incredible 1024 ports in just 2 RU and is targeted toward IP installations with its full SMPTE ST 2110-30/31 (AES67) compliance.
Artist-1024 introduces a range of technical innovations centered on software-definable Universal Interface Cards (UIC). This entirely new type of interface card combines networking, mixing, and management, and it can be configured to act either as an AES67 or MADI subscriber card, or as an Artist fiber/router/processor card. Changing the connectivity type is as easy as reconfiguring the UIC with the click of a button in Riedel's Director configuration software.
The Artist-1024 frame provides ten bays for UICs, with two being reserved solely for routing and networking UICs. The remaining eight bays can be equipped with UICs of various configurations to provide subscriber connectivity. The integral mixer on each subscriber card can be scaled from 8 to 128 ports per card and can access all 1024 ports of the Artist backbone. In addition, four expansion slots are available for various GPIO or synchronization applications.
Multiple redundancy schemes and flexible licensing round out the 1024's formidable feature set.
NEW: MediorNet Processing App
Riedel's new MediorNet Processing App provides an advanced suite of powerful, decentralized signal processing capabilities to every MediorNet network. Built on the MicroN 80Gb media distribution hardware, Riedel's newest app adds up/down/cross-conversion, color correction, and mulitviewers.
MicroN is designed to support 4K and IP workflows, and it uses software apps to extend the device from basic signal transport and distribution to full video router functionality. Standard integrated signal processing, including frame sync/frame store, audio embedding/de-embedding, test pattern generation, and audio/video delay, allows MicroN to simplify signal paths and workflows while eliminating the need for dedicated processing boxes. The decentralized concept of MediorNet allows hardware to be placed exactly where it's needed, leveraging the network for sources while reducing system complexity and overall cabling requirements.
The new Processing App includes two channels of up/down/cross-conversion, four channels of color correction in the RBG and YCbCr color spaces, and two multiviewer screens.
Bolero Standalone Wireless Intercom System
Riedel will feature its all-new Bolero Standalone Application, a license-enabled upgrade for the company's category-defining Bolero wireless intercom system that delivers several performance enhancements along with standalone capabilities. With the Bolero Standalone Application, antennas are daisy-chained to each other in a line or a redundant ring via a low-latency, synchronized TDM network.
Bolero is truly plug-and-play, with no IP configuration needed. A new external power supply can power up to five antennas, so power and data redundancies are easily achieved. A new single-RU, half-width external interface box, with six analog 4-wires and three GPIOs, can be directly connected to any antenna and then patched into an existing intercom system. The system is easily configured via a web GUI internal to the antennas. Other new capabilities provided by the Bolero update include individual rotary programming, Bluetooth headset support, and a new beltpack QuickMute feature that allows users to set the volume of all channels to zero easily.
"We always look forward to InfoComm, and this year is no exception. We are incredibly excited about the new Artist-1024 node and its astounding port density in just a 2 RU package. This new node is a perfect example of the power of IP infrastructures since it allows clients to keep their existing Artist frames and grow into IP by simply adding nodes. And we will have some colorful additions to our Bolero beltpacks, as well. We hope to see you in Orlando in June!"
— Joyce Bente, President, Riedel Communications North America
Riedel Communications designs, manufactures, and distributes pioneering real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks for broadcast, pro audio, live event, sports, theater, and security applications. The company's flagship Artist digital matrix intercoms, Bolero wireless intercom, and MediorNet signal distribution, routing, and processing systems scale easily for events of any size. Riedel is locally headquartered in Burbank, California, with its global headquarters in Wuppertal, Germany. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017, the company now employs over 600 people at 20 locations globally.
All trademarks appearing herein are the property of their respective owners.
Link to Word Doc: www.wallstcom.com/Riedel/190515Riedel.docx
The new Riedel Artist-1024 has 1024 ports and native IP support in its 2RU frame.
Riedel's new MediorNet Processing App brings powerful, decentralized signal processing capabilities to MediorNet networks.
The Bolero Standalone Application from Riedel Communications is a license-enabled upgrade that will provide several performance enhancements along with standalone capabilities.
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Broadcast network remains widely watched, and CBS All Access has corporation poised for future
Sports personalities Jim Nantz and Tony Romo kicked of the CBS upfront show, the pair starring in a “pre-game” video loaded with football/television double entendres.
“It feels like a Super Bowl,” said Romo.
Nantz, Romo, reporter Tracy Wolfson and Jo Ann Ross, president and chief ad revenue officer, then stepped on stage at Carnegie Hall.
“Hello friends, and hello friends with money,” quipped Nantz.
Ross, clad in shoulder pads and a football jersey, spoke next. “It’s been a wild ride since we last met,” she said, for CBS, the industry and the world in general.
She boasted “lasting stability” for clients of CBS. “Advertising on CBS gets you reach and scale,” she said.
She talked up CBS All Access, addressable TV, and brand-safe content. She boasted of Madam Secretary being awarded for its representation of females.
“There has never been a better time for all of us to lead the change we want to see,” Ross said.
David Nevins, chief creative officer, came out next. He spoke of deep engagement between CBS content and its viewers. He cited the “strategic course” laid out by Ianniello.
Nevins called CBS All Access “a place for passionate viewers.” He labelled Showtime “premium-cable royalty.” Smithsonian Channel, Pop and CBS Sports Network, he said, are “smart, sexy and sweaty.”
Nevins mentioned the “depth and talent” in the executive ranks at CBS. “We are honored to be America’s most watched network today, as we have for the past decade,” he said, and plan to be for the future.
Entertainment president Kelly Kahl talked up the new programs. He spoke of CBS’ more diverse and “inclusive” series.
He singled out the 279 episodes of The Big Bang Theory. “This show is among the very finest comedies ever to grace this network,” he said.
The cast and Chuck Lorre were brought to stage, eliciting a standing ovation.
“This has been an unbelievable journey for us all, we’re very grateful,” Lorre said.
Kahl next plugged The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “Stephen is the most topical, influential and relevant voice in late night,” said Kahl.
Colbert said he read a four-page summary from William Barr about CBS. “Turns out Les Moonves is totally exonerated!” he quipped.
Colbert discussed new programs such as FBI: Most Wanted. “When it comes to finding new voices, CBS will take a chance with anyone who’s already on CBS,” he joked.
Colbert said Big Bang is going off the air so the cast can enter the Democratic race for the presidency. All are polling ahead of John Hickenlooper, he said.
Kahl brought out Thom Sherman, senior executive VP of programming, to talk about the new shows. He talked about the shows’ thought-provoking concepts, cultural relevance and inclusivity.
Cedric the Entertainer of The Neighborhood came out to discuss programming. He mentioned how many people approach him in public to discuss his show, a testament to broadcast TV.
Cedric introduced Bob ♥ Abishola, and cast members Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku.
Sherman then shared The Unicorn, with cast members Walton Goggins and Michaela Watkins, among others, stepping on stage. Goggins said the show is “about finding out who you are on the other side of loss.”
Carol’s Second Act has Patricia Heaton learning to be a doctor after getting divorced and retiring from teaching. Heaton, Kyle MacLachlan and the rest of the cast came out. “This is a comedy with heart, and America is going to love it,” said Heaton.
Susan Zirinsky, president of news, was out next. She mentioned the “one hell of a journey” her career has represented.
“We have the right people in the right places,” she said of CBS News. “The entire news organization feels energized.”
She spoke of the “hard news of the heart” on CBS This Morning, and praised Gayle King. She brought out the new CBS This Morning team, King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil.
“We will give it 110%,” said King.
Zirinsky then talked up new evening anchor Norah O’Donnell. “Norah has street cred like no other anchor in the business,” said Zirinsky.
O’Donnell spoke of the “hunger and thirst for news” in America. Moving the newscast to Washington, she added, is a “game-changer.”
James Corden, The Late Late Show host, was next out. He singled out the anchors for not starting their newscasts with, “You’re not going to believe this shit.”
Sherman then discussed the new CBS dramas. Legal drama All Rise shows judges, prosecutors and public defenders in Los Angeles. The cast, including Simone Missick, Wilson Bethel and Marg Helgenberger, trotted out. Missick likened the series to a roller coaster. “It is fast, it is fun, it will have you holding your breath one moment and laughing the next.”
Michelle and Robert King’s Evil looks at where evil deeds come from.
Star Katja Herbers called working with the Kings “a dream come true.”
Sherman shared the mid-season shows, including comedy Broke and dramas FBI: Most Wanted from Dick Wolf and Tommy, with Edie Falco as the LAPD chief.
Kahl brought out Noriko Kelley, executive VP of program planning and scheduling, to share CBS’ night-by-night schedule. Kelley called it “an aggressive 52-week plan.”
Kahl termed it a “classic CBS fall schedule,” plugged the CBS team, and wrapped things up.
The Environment and Energy Leader 100 (E + E 100) annually recognizes leaders, innovators, shaker-uppers and doers in the environmental and energy management space. Honorees are nominated by peers and selected based on their impact on the industry or the company in which they work.
May 15, 2019 (Exton, PA)—Derek DiGiacomo, senior director, Energy Management Programs and Business Contunity for The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and its global arm, the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE), and SCTE•ISBE lead for the cable industry’s Energy 2020 program, has been named to the Environmental + Energy 100 by Environmental Leader and Energy Manager Today.
DiGiacomo, who has spearheaded SCTE•ISBE’s leadership in helping the industry reduce energy costs and consumption and increase green-sourced energy, was among those recognized at ELEMCON, the Environmental Leader and Energy Manager Conference today in Denver. The Environment and Energy Leader 100 (E + E 100) annually recognizes leaders, innovators, shaker-uppers and doers in the environmental and energy management space. Honorees are nominated by peers and selected based on their impact on the industry or the company in which they work.
“From the very beginnings of our energy management efforts, Derek’s work has contributed immeasurably to our significant achievements on behalf of the industry,” said Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of SCTE•ISBE. “His well-deserved recognition within Environment Leader and Energy Manager Today’s elite group of change agents demonstrates that the progress we’re making in cable is being noticed by the industry at large.”
“I’m grateful for this honor, but let’s not forget that Energy 2020 is a team effort that’s been embraced by the entire industry,” said DiGiacomo. “Much of the credit for this award goes to the commitment of the Energy 2020 program leadership, as well as the continued hard work and dedication of the SCTE Standards Energy Management Subcommittee members who are producing the tools to help us reach our goals.”
As project director for the Energy Management Subcommittee (EMS), DiGiacomo helps to drive standards in such areas as: Facilities, Fleet, Microgrids; Alternative Energy; and Sustainability. At SCTE•ISBE’s Exton, PA headquarters, DiGiacomo has helped to engineer a 50% reduction in the dependency of grid-supplied power. A 20-year veteran of the cable telecommunications industry, he holds a Master’s of Science degree in Telecommunications and Network Management from Syracuse University and is an alumnus of the National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) Executive Leadership Academy Class of 2017.
Energy 2020 brings together cable operator and vendor expertise to create alignment on standards and operational practices, to drive design and implementation of equipment, and to create SCTE•ISBE training resources that will enable workforce teams to optimize technology for maximum efficiency. More information on Energy 2020 and the SCTE•ISBE Energy Management Program is available at http://www.scte.org/energy/ or by e-mailing [email protected].
LOS ANGELES — May 15, 2019 — Litepanels today announced that the company's Gemini 2x1 Soft LED panels and Sola Fresnel LEDs are being used at Sweden's TV4 for "After Five," a new two-hour evening show focused on daily happenings in Sweden and around the world. Supplied by Mediateknik and installed by independent lighting designer Martin Grafström, Litepanels' Gemini panels and Sola 4+ and Sola 6+ Fresnels provide the exceptional light quality and versatility needed to accommodate numerous setups for three in-studio commentator positions with minimal adjustment.
"Litepanels' Gemini and Sola offer incredible flexibility in controlling and focusing light, and their construction and compatibility with DMX control contribute to quick setup and easy adjustment in the live production environment," said Anders Johansson, founder and CEO at Mediateknik. "They are a great fit for a live weekday show like 'After Five,' and in the hands of a pro like Martin, they can very nicely cover 360 degrees of the studio floor and multiple sets."
"I knew the Sola lights would be a good choice because I have worked with them in other studios. The Gemini was new to me, and I've been very pleased with it. Both are well-built lights with excellent light quality," said Grafström. "For this show I used the Geminis as key light and the Solas as fill — which may be the opposite of traditional TV lighting, but I think it works very well. The Geminis add a nice soft key light, and the Solas add that extra touch to shape faces."
Grafström combined 19 Gemini panels and 19 Sola 6+ lights, all pole-operated, with nine Sola 4+ lights to cover the 15- by 9-meter studio. He created more than 15 different setups across three main positions using a fixed rig that eliminates the need for the show's vision engineer to continuously move and adjust lights. To accommodate the small size of the studio, Grafström made the soft light tight — taking advantage of the Gemini's 40-degree grid — so he could separate it from the background.
Litepanels' Gemini gives users a daylight-to-tungsten light foundation and then enables them to finely adjust color throughout the full 360-degree color wheel. As a result, users can match a broad range of ambient lighting conditions quickly and simply. Producing full-spectrum, directional illumination, Litepanels' Sola 4+ and Sola 6+ offer the controllability and light-shaping properties inherent in Fresnel lights, but at a small fraction of the power draw of conventional Fresnel lighting. The Sola range of LEDs provides cool daylight illumination with the unique ability to control both focus and intensity via standard DMX 512 protocol and without the heat generation of a traditional Fresnel.
More information on Litepanels products is available at www.litepanels.com.
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A Snapshot of Litepanels
Litepanels, a Vitec Group brand, was founded in 2001 by five professional gaffers and engineers who saw the future and pioneered LED lighting for motion pictures, television, and the audio-visual industry. Their Emmy® award-winning technology has now been used on thousands of productions worldwide and is trusted by the world's leading broadcast organizations. Litepanels continues to expand its suite of flicker-free, color-accurate, fully dimmable soft lights that talent and lighting directors admire. These environmentally friendly panels can pay for themselves with power savings and long life, setting a new standard in professional lighting. More information can be found at Litepanels.com.
All trademarks appearing herein are the property of their respective owners.
Link to Word Doc: www.wallstcom.com/TheVitecGroup/190515Litepanels.docx
Link to Photos:
Photo Caption: Photos of Sweden TV4's new studio and set, featuring Litepanels' Gemini 2x1 Soft and Sola LEDs.
TBS adding dramas to its comedy-rich schedule
WarnerMedia has ordered a second season for sci-fi series Snowpiercer. The first season premieres summer 2020. Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs star in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi series.
Snowpiercer will air on TBS, which is adding drama to its lineup.
“Snowpiercer is the perfect show to kick-off TBS’ entry into dramas with intricate storytelling, stunning visuals and first-class acting,” said Brett Weitz, general manager for TBS and TNT. “We believe in the longevity of this series and that audiences will be amazed by the fantastical world that brings to life such relevant social, political and environmental issues.”
The Snowpiercer movie came out in 2013.
Set after the world has become a frozen wasteland, Snowpiercer centers on the remnants of humanity, who inhabit a perpetually moving train that circles the globe. Class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival play out.
Season two writing will begin in June with Graeme Manson returning as executive producer and showrunner.
The series is produced by Tomorrow Studios, along with CJ Entertainment, which produced the film. The series is executive produced by Tomorrow Studios' Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements, Graeme Manson, director James Hawes, Matthew O’Connor, Scott Derrickson and the film’s producers, Bong Joon Ho, Miky Lee, Tae-sung Jeong, Park Chan-wook, Lee Tae-hun and Dooho Choi.
Said she has some cable, wireless buy-in
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Congressional Spectrum Caucus, said Wednesday (May 15) she is working on a bill, the WIN 5G Act, that would offer up a compromise approach to the thorny issue of freeing up C-band spectrum for wireless broadband.
Cable operators and broadcasters use the spectrum to receive programming from network distributors and could be dislocated in the process and fear potential interference to those transmission. The FCC has signaled, unanimously, that it plans to free up some of that spectrum for licenses wireless service, either through an auction, a market mechanism, or something else.
Matsui called it a "compromise, consensus-based" approach. Among the thorny issues that need resolving in the FCC's proposal are how much of the 500 MHz of spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 GHz mid-band to free up--200 MHz, 300 Mhz, or perhaps all of it--whether to auction it or allow for marketplace deals between spectrum license holders (all foreign companies) and carriers, or hold an FCC auction, which could bring in tens of billions to the treasury.
Matsui did not say how the bill resolved those issues, but did say it would "rapidly reallocate" the spectrum in a manner that addresses many of the concerns raised on the commission's record."
She also signaled there were cable, wireless and rural stakeholders "preparing to support" her bill, which she said would produce a "quick, equitable and consensus-based transition." She said Congress was not willing to accept an "undesirable result" from the FCC that could get tied up in court.
At the hearing, Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel signaled she thought it was time for Congress to step in and resolve the C-band issue, suggesting she thought that would be a way to goose the process of freeing up more mid-band spectrum, which she said the FCC needed to focus on--it has been auctioning lots of high-band, millimeter wave, spectrum.
Matsui's office had not returned a request for comment at press time.
With Expanded Camera Architecture and Powerful New AI Capabilities, TRACAB Is Validated as World's Most Accurate and Reliable Sports Tracking System
STOCKHOLM — May 15, 2019 — ChyronHego today introduced TRACAB Gen5, the newest generation of the company's Emmy® Award-winning TRACAB optical sports tracking system. TRACAB Gen5 features significant improvements in tracking data quality and accuracy, driven by completely redesigned tracking algorithms, a richer array of camera angles, and powerful new AI features for player, number, and colour recognition.
TRACAB Gen5 uses a distributed system of cameras installed around the field of play and advanced image processing technology to capture and deliver real-time tracking data on the movements of each player, referees, and the ball. As the world's most widely deployed optical sports tracking system, TRACAB has been installed in over 300 stadia and is currently used to capture live tracking data for more than 4,500 football/soccer and baseball games each year.
"TRACAB has always been the most accurate sports tracking system in the world, but with TRACAB Gen5 we've made it exponentially better," said Rickard Öhrn, president, sports, at ChyronHego. "We've overhauled and improved our AI-based image detection tracking algorithms from the ground up to ensure maximum accuracy and the lowest latency. We're combining these advanced algorithms with multiple high-resolution camera angles, which means we can deliver the highest quality data feed on the market — in real-time — and provide an even greater value for leagues, federations and teams, betting companies, broadcasters, and OTT rights holders producing virtual graphics and enhancements for better fan engagement."
TRACAB Gen5 includes an all-new distributed camera architecture in which cameras can be deployed on both sides of the field and behind each goal to capture action from four angles. With the flexibility of the system offering multiple camera views, Gen5 is able to track every object on the field at a much higher resolution. By stitching and utilising these camera views within TRACAB's industry-leading computer vision algorithms, Gen5 is able to deliver the highest accuracy of ball and player tracking data in the global sports market. The accuracy of player identities is further enhanced through TRACAB Gen5's AI capabilities, which enable the system to recognize and distinguish player numbers and jersey colours from any angle. Where preferred by clients, this capability also allows for the removal of operators from on-site operations.
TRACAB Gen5 has, on request by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL), been independently validated by the Technical University of Munich, which used the Vicon 3D motion capture system to measure the ChyronHego system's tracking and data collection accuracy. This is the industry standard by which tracking solutions are validated in the football market. The testing revealed that TRACAB Gen5 is able to track objects on the field with an average accuracy of 7cm (relative to the centre of mass of a player) and 100% tracking completeness. Coupled with a real-time latency of below 300 milliseconds, these are the highest performance results ever achieved by any sports tracking system in the world.
On the strength of these results, the DFL is currently rolling out TRACAB Gen5 to all 36 of its Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 arenas for the 2019-2020 football season.
The robustness and scalability of this data is key for stakeholders. ChyronHego provides this service through the TRACAB Gateway, an advanced cloud-based, automated delivery engine and database. The TRACAB Gateway provides an open architecture of APIs for real-time and post-match data integration, as well as the querying of data for all stakeholders within leagues, teams, betting clients, and broadcast or OTT media.
Building further on this high level of accuracy and real-time data delivery, ChyronHego is expanding the utility of TRACAB's deep convolutional neural network algorithms even further to deliver limb or skeletal tracking. This is done by identifying players' key body parts, such as heads, shoulders, arms, hips, knees, heels, and toes, to enable the creation of three-dimensional skeletal movements of players. The resulting multidimensional data, accurate enough even to define the position of the tip of a striker's foot, will be fed automatically into VAR (Video Assistant Referee) operations. This will allow offside calling decisions to be powered by instantaneous and automatic identification of situations. Additionally, this unprecedented level of data resolution and quality will be able to power many new stakeholder applications for fan-engagement and professional purposes, placing ChyronHego at the forefront of data innovation in sports.
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About ChyronHego Sports
ChyronHego's Sports Division, headquartered in Stockholm, specializes in creating, analyzing, and distributing sports data and sports video, as well as empowering the visualization of this content for a wide range of applications. ChyronHego offers some of the industry's most widely deployed sports technology solutions — including TRACAB™ optical and wearable sports tracking systems and Coach Paint for video analysis.
ChyronHego is a portfolio company of Vector Capital, a global leader in products, services, and solutions for the sports technology and broadcast markets. Headquartered in New York, with offices in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Norway, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Mexico.
For more information on ChyronHego, visit www.chyronhego.com.
Link to Word Doc: www.wallstcom.com/ChyronHego/190515ChyronHego.docx
Photo Caption: ChyronHego's TRACAB Gen5 features improvements in tracking data quality and accuracy, driven by redesigned tracking algorithms, a richer array of camera angles, and powerful new AI features for player, number, and colour recognition.
Tells Hill it would help FCC more swiftly align regs with marketplace reality
FCC chair Ajit Pai put in a plug Wednesday (May 15) for giving the FCC some fast track broadcast deregulatory authority.
In a House Communications Subcommittee FCC oversight hearing Wednesday (May 15), he was asked by deregulatory minded Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) to comment on the state of the media marketplace and whether the FCC's regs matched it.
Pai signaled no. The chairman said that the disconnect between a moving marketplace and the "stasis" of FCC rules was the fundamental issue the FCC had with its media ownership rules.
He reiterated a suggestion he had made for the FCC to be able to respond as rapidly to competitive marketplace changes in the broadcast space as it can in the telecom and cable space, where it has forbearance authority.
That means that rather than having to launch a proceeding to remove a regulation, the FCC can effectively eliminate it by forbearing from enforcing it so long as it can be demonstrated that competition renders the reg no longer in the public interest to retain.
Pai said that if Congress granted it that same authority over broadcasting regs that it had over telecom regs, as he suggested six years ago he pointed out, it would "enable the FCC to work with much greater dispatch, would allow us to align our rules with the realities of the marketplace, and would allow you to see the benefits of the innovation and investment that could take place if we didn't have rules on the books that were holding it back," he said.
The chairman has been using the regular proposal, notice, comment and vote process to deregulate broadcast rules, including eliminating cross-ownership prohibitions and loosening restrictions on ownership of two of the top four stations in a market. But local market duopoly restrictions, a national ownership cap, dual network ownership prohibitions, and other restrictions remain to be addressed through that regular order.
Introduce newest version of omnibus infrastructure bill
House Democrats Wednesday (May 15) are once again introducing an omnibus infrastructure bill, dubbed the Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow’s [LIFT] America Act, which includes allocating tens of billions of dollars for broadband deployment.
The bill would provide $40 billion over the next five years for "secure and resilient broadband" and to expand access with baked in security.
A similar bill with a similar $40 billion for broadband was introduced by House Democrats in 2017, when they were in the minority.
Thirty billion dollars would be used to build out broadband in unserved areas, using a reverse auction to hand out the money. The remaining $10 billion would go to states to hand out through their own reverse auctions, but it does not designate whether that should go to unserved or underserved areas.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) talked about the bill at an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee.
He said the $40 billion would be going to both unserved and underserved, as well as "$12 billion for next generation 9-1-1, and $5 billion for financing new infrastructure projects."
Pallone also said the full committee will hold a hearing on the bill May 22 at 10 a.m.
‘NCIS’ strong on CBS and ‘Voice’ up on NBC
CBS and NBC split the win in the Tuesday prime ratings, both posting a 0.8 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 4 share. CBS was paced by NCIS and NBC had The Voice.
The two also tied on top last week, with the same score.
On CBS, it was NCIS up 10% at 1.1 and a pair of season finales: FBI at a level 0.8 and NCIS: New Orleans down 14% for a 0.6.
NBC had The Village at a flat 0.6 and The Voice up 11% at 1.0, then the New Amsterdam season finale up 13% for a 0.9.
ABC and Fox both scored a 0.5/2. ABC had American Housewife at 0.8 and The Kids Are Alright at 0.6, both comedies flat, then Black-ish off 14% at 0.6 and Bless This Mess at a flat 0.6. 1969 lost 25% for a 0.3.
On Fox, MasterChef Junior got a level 0.7 and Mental Samurai slid 20% for a 0.4.
Telemundo also got a 0.5/2.
The CW did a 0.4/2. The Flash’s finale got a 0.5 and The 100 a 0.3, both shows flat.
Univision did a 0.3/2.
Recommits to informing Hill if that ever happened
FCC chair Ajit Pai has told a House subcommittee that the President has not, to his knowledge, reached out to him about FCC licenses held by media companies whose news coverage he disagrees with.
That came in a House Communications Subcommittee oversight hearing Wednesday (May 15).
Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-N.M.) pointed to the President's April 5 tweet calling new media "truly the enemy of the people," saying he was concerned about the Presidents ongoing attacks on broadcast and other journalists and the President's public threats--via tweets--to licenses of outlets he has labeled "fake news."
When asked by Rep. McNerney, Pai and the other commissioners all said they did not share the President's view of journalists. Pai said that was not language he had used or would ever use, while the others said "no" or "absolutely not."
McNerney pointed out that Pai had appeared at a press conference not long after the President's April 5 tweet. Pai said the President had not raised any issues about unfair coverage at that time.
He also reiterated his earlier promise to a Senate committee that if the President did reach out on that issue, he would inform them.
Gamers get anime for 30 days
Anime service Crunchyroll has made a deal with Amazon’s video gaming platform Twitch to offer Twitch Prime members Crunchyroll Premium free for 30 days.
Crunchyroll, owned by AT&T’s Otter Media, said this is the first time Twitch Prime members have been offered something other than gaming-related “loot” as part of their rewards for being subscribers.
For Crunchyroll the arrangement is a way to attract new fans.
“While we constantly focus on delighting Crunchyroll fans, we also feel it’s our responsibility to continue to proliferate the popularity of anime to new audiences,” said Eric Berman, head of partnerships, Crunchyroll. “We pride ourselves on working with like-minded, fan-focused partners and are excited to offer all Twitch Prime members a free pass to Crunchyroll right in time for the huge spring anime season.”
Crunchyroll has worked with Twitch before, with Twitch live streaming Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards the past two years. Twitch also streamed the pre-show anime marathon, watched by more than 1.3 million viewers, according to the companies.
Twitch Prime membership is included with Amazon Prime.
AT&T data powers gains for McDonalds, VW
At its first upfront as WarnerMedia, executives from the AT&T unit told media buyers about all the content that it would create and how they can better connect advertisers with consumers.
WarnerMedia -- which is comprised of what was Time Warner’s Turner, HBO and Warner Bros. units, plus AT&T’s digital media brands -- is among the companies planning to launch a new streaming service to go with its traditional TV channels.
“We’re in the midst of a transformation at WarnerMedia, building upon our significant assets to create new capabilities and new possibilities – more connection, more insight and more value in the complex media landscape,” said Kevin Reilly, chief creative officer, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer and president of TBS and TNT.
“When we introduce our new WarnerMedia service early next year, you’ll see not only a very attractive new alternative in the SVOD marketplace. You’ll see a more integrated approach from WarnerMedia,” Reilly said. “The addition of our new streaming connection to the consumer, plus each of our networks’ distinct assets, distinct audience profiles and massive reach – all working together – will be an equation few, if any, will be able to match.”
Reilly said the second phase of the unnamed streaming service would be ad supported.
Donna Speciale, president of ad sales for WarnerMedia, said advertisers are already benefiting from the acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T. WarnerMedia has been working with AT&T’s Xandr advanced advertising unit to use AT&T data to create an enhanced version of its AudienceNow targeted ad campaigns and guarantee the business outcomes.
She talked about how working with WarnerMedia and Xandr, McDonald’s saw a double-digit lift in in-store visits and Volkswagen saw a 6.5% increase in dealership visits.
Overall she said an ad dollar invested with WarnerMedia had a return of $7.56 compared to an average for all of TV of $3.57. "I like it when the money I invest pays dividends," she said.
Xandr on Tuesday had its own presentation, outlining new products for advertisers.
“In this chaotic industry, we have simplified. All of WarnerMedia sales and partnerships are unified. Today you can have one holistic conversation about all of our content, across all of our platforms,” Speciale said.
“Today we are the new WarnerMedia. We’ve always had great content. Now, coupled with AT&T, we are a global powerhouse that reaches people wherever they are and delivers engaging content to every member of the family,” she said.
At the Upfront, Reilly emphasized the continuing value of the entertainment brands and massive audiences attracted annually, with TBS, TNT, Adult Swim, and truTV collectively generating 1.3 billion hours of engagement and reaching 239 million unique viewers each month.
Reilly also talked about the evolution of both TBS and TNT, with comedy oriented TBS adding dramas to the fold starting in 2020.
The first new TBS drama will be Snowpiercer. The network has already ordered two seasons of the show.
New comedy projects on TBS include Chad, a single-camera company from former Saturday Night Live cast member Nasim Pedrad, and a yet to be titled comedy from Amy Hoggart from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
TBS will also be returning The Last O.G. for a third season and Miracle Workers for season two.
TNT will be returning to the mat with a weekly telecast from All Elite Wrestling, an outfit featuring grapplers including Chris Jericho. Other new shows include Ann Curry’s Chasing the Cure (trailer), The Jenna Lyons Project and Shaq Life, about NBA on TNT personality and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.
TruTV greenlit its first animated series, This Functional Family, from comedian Jo Koy, and a sports comedy show Game Changers.
Vitec Production Solutions at Booth 15J
New! Litepanels Gemini 1x1 Soft LED Panel
Litepanels will showcase the all-new Gemini 1x1 Soft at Cine Gear 2019.The new light was introduced for the first time at the 2019 NAB Show, where it received a 2019 NAB Show Product of the Year Award.
Gemini 1x1 Soft is an all-in-one, cine-quality LED light that is easy to transport and quick to rig in the studio or on location. The new LED offers the highly accurate full-spectrum white light associated with all Litepanels fixtures and — as a full RGBWW light — delivers every color in the 360° color wheel and plus/minus green adjustment all in a single, lightweight, and easy-to-control fixture. Gemini 1x1 Soft builds on a foundation of daylight-to-tungsten light, providing accurate white light together with flexible and precise color adjustment. These features make Gemini 1x1 Soft ideal for lighting talent and rendering skin tones, giving users the ability to match a broad range of ambient lighting conditions quickly and easily.
Weighing in at just 11.7 pounds (5.31 kilograms), and with a maximum draw of just 200W, Gemini 1x1 Soft is the industry's most agile light for on-the-go filmmakers. The compact power supply means that Gemini is fast and easy to rig with fewer cables, and users can instantly switch the light from AC power to battery power — using V-Mount, Gold Mount, or XLR output batteries — while retaining similar lighting intensity.
New! Anton/Bauer Titon Battery Series
Also new for Cine Gear Expo is Anton/Bauer's Titon, an all-new series of Gold Mount and V-Mount batteries designed for on-location productions that provide customers with a cost-effective option to "power their story." Offered in both 90Wh and 150Wh models, Titon powers the leading DSLR, mirrorless, ENG, and digital cine cameras as well as LED panels — including Litepanels' new Gemini 1X1 Soft RGBWW light.
With P-TAP and high-speed Smart USB ports, Titon can also power accessories such as wireless transmitters, follow focus and lens controllers, monitors, and smart devices. Using the onboard LCD screen or the camera's viewfinder display, Titon users know, down to the minute, the exact runtime and remaining available power for the camera and accessories being powered.
Titon offers one of the widest operating temperature ranges in its class — from
-4 °F to 140 °F (-20 °C to 60 °C) — ensuring its reliability even in the world's most extreme conditions. Titon batteries are the ideal mobile power solution for on-location settings, where portable power is preferred to facilitate faster setups, or in remote environments, where outlets or generators are simply not available.
Other Vitec Production Solutions Products at Cine Gear Expo 2019:
OConnor: Entire Line, Including the 2560 and 1030D Tripod Systems
As the global camera support leader in the cinema industry, OConnor will showcase its entire line of tripod systems at Cine Gear Expo, including the 1030D and 2560.
The 2560 is the latest addition to the OConnor fluid head family, offering versatility for both lightweight and heavy rig setups, and enabling cinematographers to move more quickly and efficiently while still maintaining control and stability. The continuously adjustable 2560 offers sinusoidal counterbalance and fluid drag that together provide the ultrasmooth OConnor feel over the largest payload range. The 2560 offers cine-standard position of controls (including brakes) and a front-handle mount for intuitive, controlled positioning of the camera, as well as a lightweight magnesium housing and carbon-fiber cover for best-in-class performance, power-to-weight ratio, and reliability.
Anton/Bauer Dionic XT Battery Series
Available in both V-Mount and Gold Mount, the high-performing and compact Dionic XT is a 14V Li-ion battery capable of delivering up to 12A of continuous power. This highly dependable, long-lasting battery line is available in two models — the Dionic XT90 and the Dionic XT150 — and features ultrahigh-strength ABS and rubber construction that cushions and protects the battery and ensures industry-standard performance even in the most demanding conditions, including extreme heat, humidity, and cold. Dionic XT's superior cell technology is engineered for maximum cycle life, enabling the battery to be recharged many more times than competing batteries for superior ROI and the lowest management overhead.
Dionic XT batteries not only work with Anton/Bauer's complete line of battery-charging systems but also are cross-compatible with competing brands' charging systems and offer superior performance for powering accessories such as portable LED lighting.
Litepanels Gemini 2x1 Soft LED Panel
The accurate and versatile Gemini 2x1 LED panel can be set up in an instant to produce true, flicker-free, full-spectrum white light for any frame rate, shutter angle, or intensity, offering an ideal lighting solution for live broadcasts.
Rendering exceptional color, Gemini enables lighting professionals to "go bold" by lighting with any color in the 360° color spectrum. The light's most recent firmware update includes new cinematic effects, new gel modes, and advanced fan operation. An all-new lighting effects mode offers dynamic effects ranging from emergency lights, lightning, fire to pulsing, square, and strobe, all of which are fully customizable and easily saved to presets.
The versatile Gemini's lightweight design allows the light to be rigged virtually anywhere, requiring less cabling because the power supply is built-in. The production-friendly soft panel can also deliver full-intensity output even when powered by battery — an ideal complement to any of the Anton/Bauer battery lines.
"Our latest solutions are perfect for Cine Gear Expo attendees since they are designed specifically for indie filmmakers and production houses. The all-new Gemini 1x1 Soft LED is easy to transport and quick to rig, making this agile LED ideal for both in-studio or on-location shoots. Titon and Dionic, Anton/Bauer's powerful new battery lines, can withstand today's harshest environments and terrains. Both offer superior performance and outstanding reliability, giving on-the-go filmmakers the 'power' they need to capture exceptional imagery from anywhere in the world."
— Halid Hatic, Senior Vice President, Vitec Production Solutions
Headshot Link: www.wallstcom.com/TheVitecGroup/VitecGroup-HalidHatic.jpg
A Snapshot of Vitec Production Solutions
Vitec's Production Solutions Division designs, manufactures and distributes technically advanced products which give broadcasters, film studios, production companies and independent content creators total confidence in the production equipment they depend upon to capture world class footage. Products include video heads, tripods, lights, batteries and specialty camera systems.
Link to Word Doc: www.wallstcom.com/TheVitecGroup/190514VitecProductions.docx
Litepanels New Gemini 1x1 Soft RGBWW LED Panel
The All-New Anton/Bauer Titon Battery Series
OConnor 2560 Fluid Head
The Dionic XT from Anton/Bauer
Product Shots of Litepanels Gemini 2x1 Soft LED Panel
No punches pulled in opening statements
As expected, House Energy & Commerce Committee Democratic leaders used an FCC oversight hearing in its Communications Subcommittee to hammer FCC chair Ajit Pai over policies and actions with which they strongly disagree.
In his opening statement, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), chairman of the Communications Subcommittee, said the chairman had yet to explain to Congress or the American people what it was doing about mobile carriers sharing real time geolocation data, including to bounty hunters.
He said that was unacceptable, including that no carriers had been held accountable. "We need answers," he said.
He also slammed the inaccurate and deeply flawed broadband deployment data, old and faulty business broadband data, and warned the FCC not to act on a USTelecom forbearance petition using such data.
He said the FCC should auction the C-band spectrum, rather than hand that money to "four foreign satellite companies," which he said would be irresponsible.
Doyle said robocalls are out of control--going from 2 billion a month under the previous administration to $5 billion under the Trump Administration. "We are past the point of Band-Aids," he said.
Full committee chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) pulled no punches in his opening statement.
"[O]ver the last two years, this FCC has too often turned its back on the public – putting the big corporate interests first," he said.
He said the FCC under Pai had "heartlessly and needlessly proposed drastic cuts" to the Lifeline phone and broadband subsidy for low income Americans.
Pallone said the FCC had "slashed" media ownership rules, making it harder for minorities to own broadcast properties.
He used terms like "derelict" and "abdicate" to describe its deregulation of internet access service.
Pallone said the FCC had misled the public about the extent to which it had closed the rural divide, initially basing that assertion on flawed data and, citing reports, said Pai had "voted to release the Congressionally mandated broadband report knowing that the data in the draft was inaccurate."
Tells Hill legitimate calls should not be swept up in effort to stop scammers
Amid calls from Capitol Hill and efforts by FCC chair Ajit Pai to end the "scourge" of unwanted robocalls, Republican FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly is calling for a more measured approach that does not stigmatize robocalls in general.
In his prepared testimony for an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee, O'Rielly talked about a "surge" rather than a "scourge."
He signaled the FCC was right to try and weed out the bad apples, but suggested it should not be clear-cutting the orchard.
He called it important to take a "careful and nuanced" approach. " Not all robocalls are illegal or scams, and we must be precise in describing the actual problem at issue," he told the legislators, who he gave props for engaging in "careful rhetoric" in a recent robocall hearing, where the subcommittee considered half a dozen bills related to robocalls.
"Many honest, legitimate businesses use automatic dialing technologies to communicate needed information to their customers and doing so is perfectly within the scope and intent of the TCPA [Telephone Consumer Protection Act]," he said. "These legal and legitimate calls and texts share no part in the true robocall problem facing the nation’s communications networks."
He said whatever the Congress or FCC does, it should not expose legitimate robocallers to "potentially crippling legal risk."
O'Rielly has been a voice for not throwing the robocall baby out with the scammers' bathwater throughout his tenure and as the FCC under Pai has increasingly focused on the issue.
He said that "an aggressive few TCPA lawyers have taken advantage of the previous FCC’s expansive and unclear rules to obtain unfair judgments and extract enormous, disproportionate settlements from businesses in virtually all industries," and that "this trend continues."
He said he would welcome any help from Congress to codify a "clearer" approach to winnowing out the bad apples.
Using React Native and You.i TV’s cross-platform SDK, Redbox can provide better viewing experiences for consumers by enabling faster access to new features, a more compelling user experience and more consistency across platforms.
OTTAWA, ON Canada - May 15, 2019 - Redbox, America’s destination for new-release movies and games, has selected You.i TV to develop and deliver an improved user experience for the Redbox On Demand service, starting with its most popular platform – Roku.
The new application is the first in market to be developed for Roku using the highly flexible React Native development framework. Using React Native and You.i TV’s cross-platform SDK, Redbox can provide better viewing experiences for consumers by enabling faster access to new features, a more compelling user experience and more consistency across platforms.
A subscription-free streaming service that offers thousands of movie and TV titles, Redbox On Demand has continued the company’s innovative approach to content distribution.
“With Redbox On Demand, we want to make our great content available to as many viewers as possible on as many devices as possible,” said Lowell Bike, Director of Product Management, Redbox. “You.i TV’s technology makes it easier for Redbox to innovate. It enables us to provide the same great user experience from mobile to living room, regardless of where our viewers are watching, without the constraints of native development for every device.”
Breaking the mold of templated apps, Redbox will extend the React Native codebase that underpins the Roku app to improve the user experience across future platforms — including Android TV, tvOS, Amazon Fire, Xbox One, and Smart TVs like Samsung Tizen and LG.
“As it has done so often throughout its history, Redbox is using product innovation to drive business results,” said Andrew Emmons, Chief Technology Officer at You.i TV. “Its first-ever use of React Native to power apps on Roku and countless other devices will help it create improved experiences that can reduce investment costs and drive viewership.”
Download the new Redbox On Demand for Roku by visiting the Roku channel store.
Plans vote at June meeting
FCC chairman Ajit Pai is proposing to provide carriers legal certainty that they are allowed to block robocalls, an effort he has teed up for a vote at the FCC's June 6 public meeting.
He has circulated a declaratory ruling to the other commissioners for their vote.
Under the proposal, the FCC would allow phone companies to block calls to their customers by default and could allow those customers to block calls not on their contact lists. The would also be a draft Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) would propose a "safe harbor" for "providers that implement network-wide blocking of calls that fail caller authentication under the SHAKEN/STIR framework once it is implemented."
The chairman outlined the proposal to reporters in advance of his planned testimony before the House Communications Subcommittee FCC oversight hearing Wednesday (May 15). Last month, the subcommittee held a legislative hearing on a half dozen bills to battle the "scourge" of unwanted robocalls.
Pai said carriers would have to let consumers who don't want them to block their calls to opt out. He said the proposal should make a "significant dent" in unwanted robocalls.
The chairman did not quantify how significant that dent would be, but said the fact that call blocking would be allowed explicitly would encourage broader development and adoption. He said he wanted to set a clear legal foundation for default blocking.
The chairman encouraged carriers to offer the service for free, but anticipated in any event the cost to carriers would be less than the current regime of downline call blocking. He said he did not anticipate a cost would be passed on to the consumer.
The FCC is under pressure from Congress to help consumers weed out unwanted robocalls--for one thing, legislators keep pointing out that they get such calls during the hearings they have been holding about how to stop them--but it has also been a priority for the chairman.
In prepared testimony for Wednesday's hearing, he pointed out just how much of a priority: "During my tenure as FCC chairman, I’ve had the opportunity to set the agenda for 27 monthly meetings," he said. "At almost half of those meetings, we’ve voted on measures to fight unlawful robocalls and caller ID spoofing.
Just in the past couple of weeks, the FCC has scheduled a robocall summit for July, threatened regulation if carriers had not implemented the SHAKEN/STIR caller ID framework for combating such calls and issued a BOLO (be on the listen out, as it were) for "one-ring" robocalls that rack up charges from recipients that call back.
Pai said the FNPRM safe harbor should help encourage carriers to quickly adopt the SHAKEN/STIR regime. The safe harbor means that to the extent that a carrier uses SHAKEN/STIR, a call that is blocked by default would not trigger legal liability.
The chairman said that if carriers don't implement the SHAKEN/STIR framework by year's end, he is ready to regulate compliance.
On their stand, Bitmax will be discussing with independent producers and filmmakers their seamless process for licensing and selling content across platforms such as iTunes, Prime and Netflix. Utilising Maestro, Bitmax’s new content orchestration system that launched at NAB in April, content owners and distribution partners are able to:
· Plan and execute monetisation strategies across all OTT platforms including transactional view based SVOD to ad-supported AVOD
· Log in and initiate order and track assets across the supply chain
· Create Avails
· Customise and auto ingest asset package elements
· Confirm carriage confirmation
· Process royalties
Michael Ashley, Bitmax EMEA Commercial Director, said: “We are really excited to showcase the services Bitmax offers content owners and producers in the UK market at the Media Production Show. Our decades of experience coupled with our media management systems makes us the perfect partner for content owners and producers to monetise and license their content across all OTT platforms.”
Bitmax is a time-proven leader in digital media management and licensing, with decades of expertise supporting leading content owners and digital distributors the world over. The company is made up of professionals from all areas of the digital content supply chain who are skilled in new tech solutions and are committed to customer service excellence.
Bitmax reduces the friction and complexity inherent in the digital content supply chain by utilizing smart online tools and systems. Their products and services are designed to help customers optimize today’s evolving business models including, TVOD, SVOD, AVOD and Direct to consumer (DTC), at a fraction of the cost of legacy providers.
For more information, please visit www.bitmax.net.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Clare Plaisted/Sally Reid
+1 703 300 3054/+44 (0)7801752224
ORLANDO, MAY 15, 2019 – Marshall Electronics introduces High Dynamic Range (HDR) support for its CV420-CS, a compact true 4K60 camera, at InfoComm 2019 (Booth 3725). Built around a 12.4-Megapixel, 1/1.7-inch sensor, the Marshall CV420-CS delivers crisp, clear 4096x2160p video with vibrant colors and fast frame rates. Now with support for HDR, the CV420-CS provides a heightened dynamic picture quality, with better contrasts between bright white and dark black, producing a more realistic image quality.
The CV420-CS is suitable for use in live events, where large projection screens require true 4K resolution image capture and HDR capabilities, as well as a range of pro AV, production, sports broadcasting and any other 4K video workflows. The Marshall CV420-CS also offers true 4K resolution in 4096x2160p at 60/50 fps, and comes packaged in a sturdy, discrete design that features a wide range of picture adjustment controls. It has outputs of 12G/6G/3G/HD-SDI and HDMI 2.0, and has a varifocal or fixed CS/C lens mount capability with DC Auto-Iris plug-in for custom lens adaptions.
“As HDR becomes more prevalent in the pro AV space, we reviewed our camera offerings in order to start to integrate support into our existing product line – the addition of HDR into the CV420-CS was the natural first step for us,” says Tod Musgrave, director of cameras at Marshall. “We look forward to showcasing this updated product at InfoComm 2019.”
Remote control for the CV420-CS is operated by RS485 (Visca) or OSD menu joystick, and a wide range of picture adjustment settings are available such as Paint (Red/Blue), White Balance, Gain, Pedestal (blacks), Gamma, Shutter and more.
For over 30 years, Marshall has been a trusted provider of high quality and reliable video, audio and multimedia systems for Broadcast Video, Pro A/V, Pro Audio and OEM applications worldwide. Marshall is dedicated to supplying the Pro A/V market with innovative POV and PTZ cameras, format converters, conferencing microphones and production equipment at great value without sacrificing quality or reliability. Marshall Electronics, Inc. operates manufacturing facilities in the US, China, Japan, Korea and Russia. For more information on Marshall Electronics, visit www.marshall-usa.com.
Makes no mention of ATSC 3.0, incentive auction status or other broadcast issues
FCC chair Ajit Pai's prepared testimony for the House Communications Subcommittee's FCC oversight hearing Wednesday (May 15), which he said he was updating on "the work of the Federal Communications Commission to advance the public interest," was notable for what he didn't say as what he did.
The chairman talked about the race to 5G and cybersecurity and freeing up spectrum for wireless broadband and blocking robocalls and closing the rural digital divide and public safety. But there was scant mention of broadcasting or cable, and none about the FCC's efforts toward the ATSC 3.0 advanced transmission standard, or the status of the post incentive auction repack, or the FCC's consideration of further broadcast deregulation as part of the congressionally-mandated quadrennial review, or the removal of some of the legacy cable and broadcast reporting requirements the FCC has jettisoned.
In fact, the only mention of broadcasters and one of only two brief mentions of cable, was hardly a glowing one. It was in relation to the emergency alert testing the FCC has been conducting--the requirement that broadcasters and cable operators notify the FCC if they have messed up and sent a false alert. The other cable mention was in a list of Connect America Fund applicants.
New shows ‘push the boundaries’ for what one might expect from CBS, said Kahl
CBS has shared its 2019-2020 prime schedule, which features four new dramas, four new comedies and 24 returning series. Five shows will premiere in the fall. They include Bob ♥ Abishola from Chuck Lorre, starring Billy Gardell; Carol’s Second Act, starring Patricia Heaton; and The Unicorn, starring Walton Goggins. The two fall dramas are Evil, a psychological mystery from Michelle and Robert King, starring Katja Herbers and Mike Colter; and courthouse ensemble All Rise.
The new shows debuting later in the season include the dramas FBI: Most Wanted from producer Dick Wolf and starring Julian McMahon; and Tommy, starring Edie Falco; and comedy Broke, from producer Jennie Snyder Urman and starring Jaime Camil and Pauley Perrette.
“Our new lineup features both classic CBS shows and genres that viewers love, as well as some new series that push the boundaries of what you might expect from us,” said Kelly Kahl, president, CBS Entertainment. “We are also saving some very strong series for the second part of the year as part of a strategy to roll out new and returning series throughout the season.”
Thom Sherman, senior executive VP, programming, said the new shows have “thought-provoking stories, culturally relevant themes and tremendous casts, from award-winning producers and writers. We are also building on the diverse series we launched last season with more leading roles for women and more inclusive storytelling across all of our new comedies and dramas.”
Kahl called the schedule “stable but not sleepy, aggressive but not reckless.”
Mondays feature The Neighborhood and Bob ♥ Abishola, followed by All Rise and Bull.
Tuesdays are NCIS, FBI and NCIS: New Orleans.
Wednesdays are Survivor, SEAL Team and SWAT.
Thursdays are Young Sheldon and The Unicorn, Mom and Carol’s Second Act, then Evil.
Fridays are Hawaii Five-0, Magnum P.I. and Blue Bloods.
Saturdays offer Crimetime Saturday.
Sundays air 60 Minutes, God Friended Me, NCIS: Los Angeles and Madam Secretary.
CBS announced that Madam Secretary will conclude after ten episodes this fall.
Bob ♥ Abishola is a love story about a middle-aged compression sock businessman from Detroit who falls for his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant, while recovering from a heart attack. Billy Gardell, Folake Olowofoyeku and Christine Ebersole are in the cast.
Carol’s Second Act is about a woman who embarks on a unique second act after raising her children, getting divorced and retiring from teaching: pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. Patricia Heaton, Kyle MacLachlan and Ito Aghayere are in the cast.
The Unicorn is a single-camera comedy about a tight-knit group of friends and family that helps Wade (Walton Goggins) embrace his “new normal” in the wake of the loss of his wife. Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins are also in the cast.
All Rise follows the chaotic, hopeful and sometimes absurd lives of its judges, prosecutors and public defenders in Los Angeles. Simone Missick, Wilson Bethel and Marg Helgenberger are in the cast.
Evil is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. Katja Herbers, Mike Colter and Aasif Mandvi are in the cast.
RW’s new ebook shows how various stations look in various new car models
Our latest ebook is “Today’s In-Car HD Radio Experience.” It provides a visual walkthrough of how digital and analog stations appear in numerous 2019 car models.
Radio World and Xperi, sponsor of the ebook and parent of HD Radio, decided to put images of receivers tuned to various stations in various cars side by side. Although we talk often about the importance of knowing how your station is experienced by listeners, few radio managers in fact have really had a chance to take a comprehensive look at how their digital or analog stations are displayed today.
I found the process even more instructive than I’d expected. Flipping through the photos leads me to a few obvious takeaways, and they’re not just limited to HD Radio considerations.
It’s clear to me that:
- For a driver, the experience of finding and tuning into a radio station is far different today than it was even a few years ago.
- The context in which radio stations today are heard — and seen — varies greatly from carmaker to carmaker.
- Radio stations have worried about becoming “just another icon” among dozens of choices on car screens. It’s a valid concern, but I was pleased to see that FM radio is still prominent in most of these models, and that AM, when still provided, is easy to find too.
- However, radio industry leaders must continue to invest time and effort building relationships with car companies in hopes of retaining the highest possible profile on these platforms.
- HD Radio stations show up better than analog ones on today’s displays.
- But whether or not your station has chosen to broadcast in HD Radio, you and your management really can’t judge how the station is being seen by your listeners without sitting in front of a lot of different dashboards. Engineers and GMs should be visiting local car dealers together and asking to sit in front of various displays. (Make it part of a station sales call at the dealer.)
- Radio stations, analog or digital, must pay close attention to what they’re sending via their digital or analog data platforms. Longtime readers have heard Radio World preach about this since the earliest days of RDS. Who in your operation is assigned to establish and monitor how you appear to the public?
- HD Radio stations should consider whether they’re taking full advantage of the features that the platform offers. At least be aware of the various ways that your branding, show and talent names, station URL and logos can be displayed and combined.
- If you have invested in HD Radio, the issue of whether to add Artist Experience seems like a no-brainer. The engineering section of HDRadio.com has papers on how to implement AE. Xperi reminds stations that they also can use the feature to pair client logos with their on-air promos as a revenue generator.
None of this discussion gets into questions of reception quality, but if you are already an HD Radio station, remember, too, that for your listeners to have the best audio experience, your station needs to pay close attention to its time and level alignment. If you need guidance on that, check out the current National Radio Systems Committee’s guideline on that very topic.
Putting pro level remote sports broadcast tools into a single package
The post Best of Show Up Close: Henry Engineering SportsCaster appeared first on Radio World.
“Best of Show Up Close” is a series about nominees and winners in the annual Future Best of Show at NAB Award program.
Henry Engineering nominated its SportsCaster unit. We talked to founder Hank Landsberg.
Radio World: We learned during the Best of Show process this spring that Henry Engineering now offers the SportsCaster. You says that it simplifies audio for covering sports on radio or TV. How does it do that?
Hank Landsberg: The SportsCaster (used with Henry’s Sports Pods) integrates the three essential functions of play-by-play audio: (1) program audio mixing, (2) headphone audio mixing and distribution, and (3) intercom. By integrating all three functions into one comprehensive rackmounted system, you eliminate the need for multiple mixers, DAs, headphone amps, intercom systems, power supplies, etc. Instead of “reinventing the wheel” with a carload of gear at each broadcast, the SportsCaster system handles all functions with one device in one place, which can be easily operated by one person!
RW: Tell us about the product — what is it and what sets it apart from similar offerings in its product class?
Landsberg: The SportsCaster is the only product on the market that does all this! When used with Sports Pods, the system mixes the talents’ mics and other audio sources. That is the easy part. The hard parts are (a) creating a different headphone audio mix for each announcer, the producer, the field reporter, and for camera operators, and (b) integrating a duplex intercom system into the headphone audio so that all members of the broadcast team can communicate, off-air, without interrupting the play-by-play audio.
The producer can give cues to the play-by-play announcers. The spotter can give player stats to the announcers via the intercom. The producer can cue the field reporter, and insert his report into the live coverage. The announcers can cue the field reporter directly, off-air, to coordinate live sideline reports. The producer can call the shots to the camera ops. Everyone hears what they need to hear, without hearing coms meant for someone else. SportsCaster does all of these things, in an easy to use format. It installs quickly, using Henry Engineering’s Cat-5 linking protocol, so wiring is minimal.
RW: What does it cost? Is it shipping?
Landsberg: List price is $1,295. It is in stock and shipping now.
RW: Is this you in this great history photo on your website?
Landsberg: Yes! When I was CE at Drake-Chenault, circa 1974!
RW: What else should we know about the Sportscaster or Henry Engineering’s business these days?
Landsberg: The SportsCaster was designed in response to requests from guys who produce sports broadcasts for high schools and colleges. This is very popular, because schools can webcast their games, in addition to broadcasting them on conventional TV. Many high schools, middle schools, and even elementary schools now have very comprehensive video production programs and curricula. The video equipment is mostly PC-based, making it inexpensive and easy to use. But the audio … that’s a different story! SportsCaster fills the void, and makes play-by-play audio as efficient and easy to run as the video is now.
Meanwhile, Henry Engineering continues its tradition of building products that solve problems for radio, and now TV too!
The Future Best of Show Awards program honors and helps promote outstanding new products exhibited at industry conventions like the spring NAB Show. Exhibitors pay a fee to enter; not all entries win. Watch for more coverage of participating products soon. To learn about all of the nominees and winners, read the 2019 Best of Show Program Guide, due out in June.
The post Best of Show Up Close: Henry Engineering SportsCaster appeared first on Radio World.
But group wants stiffer penalties for landlords
The post PIRATE Act a Good First Step But More Needed, NJBA Says appeared first on Radio World.
While the PIRATE Act has its share of supporters, there are some that feel the legislation isn’t going far enough.
The New Jersey Broadcasters Association said that while passage of the act in a Senate committee is a step in the right direction, it fails in one key way. More needs to be done to hold landlords accountable for permitting illegal pirate activities on their property.
“While this is a step in the right direction, the act fails to allow the FCC to hold landlords accountable for allowing these dangerous illegal broadcasters to operate,” said NJBA President Paul Rotella. “[This enables] illegal pirates to continue to plague the airways. We hope this will be rectified in future legislation.”
The act proposes to hike fines for violations up to $100,000 per day (up from the current maximum daily penalty of about $19,200) and would give the government the authority to impose a maximum penalty of $2 million for illegal radio broadcasters.
Other provisions include creation of a yearly report by the FCC summarizing the implementation of the legislation and related enforcement activities; the introduction of annual sweeps for of the top five radio markets with pirate radio activity; and giving the FCC the authority to skip the warning known as a Notice of Unlicensed Operation and go straight to issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability.
The legislation also calls for creating a publicly accessible online database that lists all U.S. stations as well as all entities that have received notice that they are operating a broadcast radio station without authority.
This week the PIRATE Act cleared yet another hurdle when members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation voted unanimously to support S.R. 1228 and refer it to the full Senate for a vote. Illegal pirate radio continues to be a problem in New Jersey and New York, Rotella said.
An identical version of this bill, H.R. 583, passed the House of Representatives earlier this year.
The post PIRATE Act a Good First Step But More Needed, NJBA Says appeared first on Radio World.
Move could help AM stations to retain and attract listeners, NAB says
The post NAB: Time to Look Closely at All-Digital AM HD Radio appeared first on Radio World.
It’s time for the Federal Communications Commission to formally look into allowing AM radio stations to voluntarily (and solely) broadcast in all-digital, so says the National Association of Broadcasters.
The NAB supports the comments submitted by Bryan Broadcasting, which asked the commission to initiate a proceeding that would look at allowing AM stations to solely operate in the MA3 all-digital mode of HD Radio service. According to a May 13 filing by the NAB, such a service would “provide substantially improved sound quality that could help AM stations to retain and attract listeners in the increasingly competitive audio marketplace.”
According to NAB, the combination of industry interest, experimental testing and real-world implementation of all-digital AM means the commission should consider revamping rules in a way that could help facilitate broadcasters’ voluntary transition to all-digital AM service.
In March, Bryan Broadcasting Corp. asked the commission to initiate a proceeding to authorize an all-digital mode of HD Radio for interested AM radio stations. According to its petition, this kind of modernization would give AM broadcasters a “needed innovative tool with which to compete” without impairing other competitors in either the broadcasting or general spectrum-usage ecosystem.
The NAB filing detailed the technical challenges facing broadcasters, ranging from the proliferation of noise-causing devices like fluorescent light bulbs, computer monitors and other Part 15 devices. This higher noise floor is causing pervasive interference to AM radio stations, the NAB said.
“In turn, AM listenership and station revenue have significantly declined and show few signs of recovery,” the NAB said. “As [Bryan Broadcasting] explains, a voluntary transition to all-digital AM service could help to reverse this trend by enabling broadcasters to provide a pristine signal, free of the interference that plagues analog AM service and deters listeners.”
The NAB submission is part of a record of commentary from the industry on the issue.
Radio World recently published an ebook on the question “What’s Next for All-Digital AM?” Ben Downs of Bryan Broadcasting was among those commenting in that publication; the ebook includes comments from skeptics as well along with reviewing some of the obstacles to possible implementation.
Comments on the issue can be found in the FCC’s ECFS database using Media Bureau docket RN-11836.
The post NAB: Time to Look Closely at All-Digital AM HD Radio appeared first on Radio World.
Summer 2019 edition lets readers travel radio bands worldwide
Teak Publishing has released the 12th edition (Summer 2019) of the “Global Radio Guide” electronic book.
Available on Amazon, the book, formerly known as the “International Shortwave Broadcast Guide,” provides readers with this summer’s 24-hour schedule and frequency information for “selected medium wave and all known long- and shortwave” radio stations.
Author Gayle Van Horn (W4GVH) says it also lists hourly schedules that includes all language services, frequencies and world target areas for more than 500 stations, as well as specifying DX radio programs and internet website addresses for many of the stations in the book.
New for the 12th edition is a “Summer 2019 Propagation Forecast,” written by international radio propagation expert, Tomas Hood (NW7US). In this feature, Hood looks at summer radio conditions and the new solar cycle.
Also, Gayle and Larry Van Horn have teamed up to pen a story on monitoring the Venezuelan political crisis, including broadcast and military frequencies.
Other articles in this edition include a feature on summer radio programming by Fred Waterer and an article detailing an “easy home-brew antenna support construction,” written by Richard Fisher.
In addition, Larry Van Horn looks at “Who’s Who in the Shortwave Radio Spectrum,” which is designed to assist the reader in monitoring global radio activity outside the broadcast radio spectrum. According to Van Horn, the article also provides an updated Teak Publishing HF 1000+ non-broadcast frequency list.
The Global Radio Guide electronic book is available worldwide from Amazon and their various international websites at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R81NJHD/.
The price for this latest edition is US$8.48.
NABA paper lays out steps to help radio protect and grow its place online and in the connected car
What should the role of radio in our connected world be? And what should your business do now to be part of that?
Those questions are explored in a 37-page paper released in March by a working group of the North American Broadcasters Association titled “The Value Proposition of Radio in a Connected World” and discussed in a session at the Broadcast Engineering & IT Conference at the NAB Show.
The paper makes for thoughtful reading by anyone interested in the overall direction of the radio industry and how it uses technical platforms. What follows is a summary of its major points based on my reading of the document and attending the session.
According to the authors, the paper, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/NABA2019, is intended to help radio broadcasters protect their market position and capitalize on their strengths — but also to consider “strategic adjustments” in the face of technical and market changes. It is intended to “address thoughts about the North American radio industry, including major issues facing practitioners in Canada, Mexico and the United States.”
The primary contributors were NPR Vice President of Distribution Michael Beach; TagStation and Broadcaster Traffic Consortium President Paul Brenner of Emmis Communications; Xperi Corp. Executive Director Broadcast Business Development Jeff Detweiler; Emmis Director of Broadcast Engagement Michael Englebrecht; NABA Senior Coordinator, Committees Jenn Hadfield; NAB Vice President, Advanced Engineering David Layer; and NPR Senior Director, Strategic Planning Maryfran Tyler.
Organizations also contributing insights included HERE Technologies, Corus Entertainment, Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Bell Canada and Entercom.
First, note that in the context of this paper, “radio” encompasses both over-the-air and online technologies. “If content is king, distribution is queen” was declared early in both the paper and the session.
Radio’s preeminent position in the dashboard of nearly every North American car accounts for much of OTA radio’s success. However, the “allure of new markets and products” delivered via IP (especially mobile broadband) compels broadcasters to accept IP as well.
In doing so, there are two important considerations:
- Distribution costs and quality of service will have an effect on the continuing rollout of IP-based services
- And perhaps more important, “If local broadcasters cede the airwaves, they lose the market limitations imposed by the FCC barriers to entry, and the ability to easily differentiate themselves from the masses of ‘internet radio’ broadcasters.”
After all, radio (and TV) licenses are effectively “franchises” limited by government policy. Even if the value of that franchise diminishes over time, there’s no reason to give it up in the foreseeable future.
To maintain the value of radio (in both physical media), the paper presents several ideas and technologies.
OTA radio excels in the one-to-many distribution model, and the paper suggests that many new mobile technologies being developed can actually be accomplished in the same fashion.
“While many functions require a bidirectional communications path, a significant portion of the data burden could be off-loaded to broadcast radio by doing what the frequency band does best: delivering one-to-many content,” the paper states.
We already realize that information can be transmitted efficiently utilizing a data network over in-band, on-channel digital FM or even the Radio Data System digital subcarrier over analog FM. And, as the paper states, “A significant advantage of digital radio is the ability to simultaneously deliver continuous content of both audio programming and data.”
Many mobile infotainment systems employ multiple receivers that scan and aggregate data from multiple broadcasts. “Broadcasters will have the opportunity to leverage station apps in the connected car to derive and ingest listener profiles for automated presets and infotainment preference.”
We also need to look outside of the world of “infotainment.”
“As digital radio’s presence continues to grow, the technology becomes a logical avenue to extend power grid load management, established initially with analog RDS digital FM subcarrier services,” the paper states.
“As the connected car and autonomous vehicles become reality, road infrastructure updates will become a mainstay of one-to-many data delivery. Updates for digital signage, traffic flow, weather, road conditions and fuel prices are great applications of radio-delivered, geographically limited data,” it continues.
“IBOC digital, when compared to RDS subcarriers, affords significant benefits in throughput, integration capability and signal availability. It could also become an additional revenue source to stations.”
Skeptics wonder why companies would consider “old-fashioned” radio broadcasts when inexpensive unlicensed links abound. According to the paper, “WiFi connectivity is particularly susceptible to localized interference. While not completely immune to interference, digital FM radio has the advantage of higher signal-to-noise ratios, therefore making it more robust. Higher-power signals and digital carrier redundancy afford a higher reliability of service and better building penetration than cellular.”
METADATA AND THE CONNECTED CAR
Metadata includes more than just title and artist information. It is now often the means by which a listener can be presented with graphics associated with programming. Research presented in this paper indicates that enhanced data sharing substantially increases listening hours.
Emmis Broadcasting shared information gathered from its NextRadio platform, showing greater listener engagement related to the broadcast of dynamic metadata (see Fig. 1).
“Listeners spent more time with stations that supplied at least a static logo, than those that did not. Listeners spent even more time with stations supplying dynamic metadata than those that only supplied static metadata,” according to the paper.
In addition, radio station apps could include “clickable” buttons by which the listener could access additional information about the programming, such as a website, or to sites related to content, providing a new potential revenue source.
Hybrid radio refers to the convergence of broadcast and IP technology, and makes even more thorough use of the connected car. According to the paper, the development of hybrid radio provides the following benefits to radio broadcasters:
- Better integration of OTA radio and metadata received via the internet
- Support for “service following,” whereby a hybrid radio receiver switches from the OTA signal to a streamed version of the same program as reception conditions permit
- Keeping broadcast as an important media choice in the minds of not only users but of OEM manufacturers
Automobiles that include network connectivity (whether it is native or brought in by a driver or passenger) are thought of as connected cars. The nature of the broadband connection allows users to interact with and select more sources of content; and likewise, broadband affords a means by which the service source can gain data about the listener.
“User-analytics is a large, competitive and important industry that is beyond the scope of this document, but content providers can profit in many ways from information about numbers and locations of listeners,” according to the paper.
The paper makes recommendations regarding digital audio, non-broadcast audio, “proximity,” hybrid radio, metadata, connected cars and business strategies. See the accompanying box for a summary of NABA’s recommendations. It also offers an interesting “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis” of radio that’s worth reading.
There’s a lot there, so I recommend you take the time to read the entire paper, which you can download at https://tinyurl.com/NABA2019.
Among the recommendations of the NABA working group:
- Radio station management should take steps to offer content generated by the station(s) or station groups (networks) through as many technological media forms as possible.
- FM radio stations should at a minimum adopt static RDS tools to enhance listener experience.
- It is the opinion of the work group that radio stations should adopt at least static metadata, but preferably dynamic metadata.
- Stations should strongly consider adopting HD Radio hybrid IBOC mode per the NABA position paper on a Voluntary North American Digital Radio Standard.
- Management of radio stations and networks should support the work of NAB and others in working with automakers to maintain the prominence of radio in the vehicle and to improve radio’s functionality by supporting hybrid radio technologies.
- The management of radio stations and networks should immediately begin supporting internet-based content for use by hybrid radio receivers. Strong broadcaster support is vital for adoption of hybrid radio technology, especially with automakers.
Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously to support S.R. 1228
The PIRATE Act has cleared yet another hurdle. Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation voted unanimously Wednesday to support S.R. 1228 and refer it to the full Senate for a vote.
In response to the passage, National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith released a statement saying, “NAB thanks the Senate Commerce Committee for unanimously passing the PIRATE Act. The bill would better equip the FCC to combat pirate radio operations that interfere with legal broadcasts and pose a threat to air traffic control communications. We appreciate the leadership of Sens. [Steve] Daines and [Gary] Peters on this issue and strongly urge Senate passage of the PIRATE Act.”
New York State Broadcasters Association President David Donovan also thanked the committee and said, “With this unanimous vote, we move another step closer to giving the FCC the tools it needs to address the growing illegal pirate radio problem. Illegal pirate radio continues to be a problem in New York. They interfere with airport communications and Emergency Alert Services. Illegal stations disregard all FCC and consumer protection laws. While the FCC has increased its enforcement efforts, additional tools are needed to address this vexing problem.”
An identical version of this bill, H.R. 583, passed the House of Representatives unanimously earlier this year. However, the bill was previously introduced to the 115th Congress in July 2018, and it stalled there. Broadcast associations appear to have more hope for progress in the 116th Congress.
Telos alum hired as SVP of R&D and innovation
Cleveland-based SaaS technology developer Futuri Media has tapped an audio processing guru to serve as senior vice president of R&D and innovation.
Cornelius “Corny” Gould will tackle the newly created role, which Futuri says will involve “leading the development of new Futuri products, performing research and testing on product concepts, and continuously evolving the feature set and design of Futuri’s suite of audience engagement and sales intelligence solutions.”
In the announcement, Gould summed up his mandate: “My mission at Futuri is to launch features and products that will take our partners to new heights of success.”
Gould’s most recent claim to fame is co-creating the Telos Alliance’s Omnia.11 audio processor. He served as senior algorithm developer and was a Telos employee for 11 years. Prior to that, Gould founded a streaming company and worked as an engineer for CBS Radio.
“Corny has a deep passion for innovation in the broadcast technology space and beyond,” said Futuri Media CEO Daniel Anstandig. “He consistently thinks beyond the limits of today’s technology into the future. His track record speaks for itself, and we look forward to innovating and developing solutions for the next generation of broadcasters and content creators.”
For the past 25 years, Gould has also volunteered for educational and noncommercial broadcasters. He also hosts “The Rocketry Show” podcast, which highlights his enthusiasm for amateur rocketry.
Will expand sales reach as international sales manager
To develop its European sales reach, Calrec has appointed Andy Birkinshaw as international sales manager, effective immediately.
Birkinshaw, who is based at the Calrec headquarters in Hebden Bridge, England, is managing the firm’s broadcast sales in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway and Sweden. According to the company, Birkinshaw’s goal is to help Calrec establish these markets and to grow the overall business.
Birkinshaw has 30 years of sales experience across the broadcast, studio and live production industries in the U.K. and other parts of Europe. Before joining Calrec, he held the position of sales and marketing/tour manager at Diane Shaw Partnership for 15 years.
Prior to this, he worked as European sales manager for AMEK/TAC/Rupert Neve covering sales of large format audio consoles and sales director at Concert Systems Ltd.
“Andy’s wealth of technical experience in live event production and studios, coupled with his rich history and varied skillset in the professional audio industry make him the ideal fit for this job,” said Dave Letson, V.P. of sales at Calrec.
“As the industry evolves, this level of technical knowledge and experience is crucial. Andy’s keen understanding makes him an incredible asset to Calrec and our customers around the world.”
Will the Windy City’s million dollar translator twins be a victim of new interference rules?
The author is owner of WGTO(AM) and W246DV(FM), South Bend. Ind. He has been in radio since 1965. His commentaries on radio issues such as those facing AM owners are a recurring feature. Read his past articles by searching for “Langford.”
W236CF is an FM translator located high atop Chicago’s Willis Tower with a highly directional antenna and 60 watts ERP. Don’t let the 60 watts fool you. With its antenna at 1,417 feet it is no slouch and covers more than half of Chicago and some suburbs with its 50 dBu contour. The translator was purchased along with W236CG at the west edge of Chicago with 250 watts at 146 feet. The two translators operate in sync to provide a very impressive coverage area. Purchase price for the pair $3.5 million.
Using the HD2 signal of WLEY(FM), the pair are on the air as “Club Steppin’” and cater to African-American listeners looking for a particular adult style of music not found on full power Chicago analog stations.
But the future of the translator twins may be in jeopardy based on the new interference rules passed by the FCC.
The 95.1 MHz frequency is also home to WIIL(FM) a 50,000 watt Class B licensed to Union Grove, Wis. It puts out a good signal from Milwaukee to Chicago.
The 45 dBu interference limit contour of WIIL actually encompasses the Willis Tower site of W236CF in Chicago, as well as the transmitter site of W236CG just outside Chicago in Elmwood Park. WIIL or “Will-Rock” as it’s called, enjoyed a very listenable signal over most of Chicago until “Club Steppin’” severely impacted Chicago coverage.
Sources tell me that WIIL was already working on a complaint filing under the old interference rules.
Meeting the complaint minimum might not be hard with thousands of households affected by the interference area. W236CF and W236CG already use very tight directional antennas away from WIIL(FM). Since both antennas are inside the 45 dBu contour of WIIL, the only solutions that appear to be available would be moving farther away from WIIL or changing frequency. With 95.1 being used by other stations south of Chicago, moving farther out is not a good option. And with FM congestion so severe in Chicago, a frequency change that would still allow the coverage from Willis Tower might be impossible. And the pairing of the two translators might be impossible to maintain if one can change frequency and the other cannot. Without the super height of a downtown skyscraper, W236CF’s commercial viability is in serious jeopardy along with the multimillion dollar investment.
Anytime a translator can be shoehorned into a market like Chicago at 1,400 feet downtown , it’s an engineering accomplishment. But it remains to be seen if “Club Steppin’” can stand the challenge or will the multimillion dollar investment be the first casualty of the FCC’s new interference regs. Stay tuned!
Here are links to products discussed in our new webinar about the recent NAB Show
Radio World’s 2019 NAB Show Product Report Webinar is now available on demand. Below is an alphabetized list of links to the products discussed in the webinar. You can view the actual webinar here.
New bill gives broadcasters access to transmitter, studio facilities during emergencies
The post Washington Becomes 11th State With Formal First Informer Status appeared first on Radio World.
More and more broadcasters are playing a larger role when it comes to responding to emergencies now that Washington state has signed a new first informer broadcast bill.
The decision makes Washington the 11th state in the country to pass such legislation. The bill was a culmination of three years of efforts by broadcasters, the Washington State Association of Broadcasters (WSAB) and the state’s Emergency Management Division to ensure broadcasters can gain access to transmitter and studio facilities during time of a declared emergency.
The bill was unanimously passed through both chambers of the Washington state legislature before being signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in late April.
To participate in the program, broadcast technicians must be registered as a First Informer Broadcaster as part of the Washington Business Re-Entry System. They will then have authorization to access to their studio and transmitter facilities to restore broadcast operations and disseminate safety and recovery information to listeners and viewers.
Broadcasters are still required to follow the direction of incident commanders as it relates to safety issues in declared emergency zones. Key language in the bill prohibits authorities from confiscating resources — fuel, food, water and other essential materials — brought to the site by a first informer broadcaster, WSAB said.
“This legislation is really impactful for broadcasters,” said Janene Drafs, chairwoman of the board of WSAB. “Access to our transmitter sites and studio facilities during time of emergency allows us to broadcast important safety and recovery information to the communities we serve across the state of Washington.”
A mini documentary that aired during the National Association of Broadcasters’ State Leadership Conference in February details the role that local radio and television broadcasters serve as first informers during times of emergency. This film focuses on broadcasters’ response to Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, which hit the southeastern U.S. in the fall of 2018, causing evacuations and billions of dollars in property damage. It showcases footage of the storm as well as “examples of broadcasters’ valiant efforts to provide life-saving emergency information and community assistance,” wrote NAB Senior Vice President of Communications Ann Marie Cumming in a blog post about the video.
Other states with first informer legislation include Missouri, which voted in 2016 to give broadcasters priority in restoring, repairing or resupplying facilities following a disaster in 2016. That bill, known as SB 732, established a program for training and certifying broadcast engineers and technical personnel to allow them to act as first informer broadcasters if the need arises. The Washington legislation is similar to the Oregon State First Informer Bill that was passed in 2015.
Changes to the “Robert T. Stafford Relief and Emergency Assistance Act” in 2018, part of a federal appropriations bill, furthered the issue. The bill included language updating the definition of those essential service providers who have access to disaster areas during federally declared emergencies. Mobile telephone service, internet access service, radio or television broadcasting, cable service or direct broadcast satellite service are now considered essential service providers, according to the document, allowing them to gain access to vital infrastructure, including transmitter sites, when disaster hits.
The post Washington Becomes 11th State With Formal First Informer Status appeared first on Radio World.
Information requested by FCC must be submitted by May 28
The post SBE Issues Reminder For C Band Dish Users To Register appeared first on Radio World.
There are fewer than three weeks until C Band operators are required to submit information on their use of C Band receive-only station as part of a public notice by the FCC. The Society of Broadcast Engineers has issued a friendly reminder for all of those who may still be outstanding on that request.
The public notice calls for operators of fixed-satellite Earth stations in the C Band that are licensed or registered in the IBFS database must certify the accuracy of all information reflected in the IBFS on their licenses or registrations. However, as the SBE points out, new or modified licenses filed in the C Band filing window of April 19, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2018, are not required to submit certification.
For the rest of the FSS earth station operators — including temporary-fixed or transportable earth stations — certifications must be provided in the form mandated by the FCC. Information required includes call signs, file numbers, applicant or registrant name and a signed certification statement. Temporary-fixed or transportable stations must submit additional information: address where equipment is typically stored; the area in which the equipment is typically used; how often equipment is used; duration of typical use; number of transponders typically used in the C Band; extent of use; and a point of contact.
All earth-station operations, even those exempt from the filing requirement, must update their information in IBFS.
The public notice can be found on the FCC website.
Deadline for submitting information is May 28.
The post SBE Issues Reminder For C Band Dish Users To Register appeared first on Radio World.
"Police raided our tower and confiscated the transmitter, now we wait for our day in appeals court"
The author is partner of Navette Broadcasting.
NASSAU, The Bahamas — URCA, The Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority in the Bahamas has canceled our Sportsradio 103(FM) spectrum license. We were the country’s only sports formatted broadcaster and the police shut us down by raiding our tower and confiscating the transmitter!
My partner and I started Sportsradio 103(FM) nine years ago as an all sports radio station. It was a joint venture between former Olympian, Frank Rutherford and Phil Smith and my partner Cheryl Braynon. We entered an agreement in 2009 with Rutherford/Smith supplying their government issued “letter of authorization for an FM license,” and Cheryl and I providing the funding and operations. It seemed to be a perfect fit.
When we presented Rutherford’s letter, we learned that it pre-dated the new Communications Act of 2009 and could only be grandfathered into the new URCA regime enacted the same year, empowering URCA with the authority to license radio stations. We discovered at that time that the new Act could only license incorporated companies and so we used our company, Navette Broadcasting, to get licensed.
We restructured the shares in the spirit of our 50/50 agreement giving Rutherford and Smith shares and director positions. This, consequently enabled us to begin broadcasting in 2010 with a spectrum license issued to Frank Rutherford and Phil Smith for Navette Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
Our company operated for eight years as such, maintained an amiable relationship with URCA, paying the annual fees, and never committing an infraction. We were also listed on URCA’s website as the spectrum owner. By 2017, URCA was five years into a self-imposed moratorium on issuing FM licenses in the small island city of Nassau, having issued 22 spectrum licenses to date for the small market and population of only 300,000.
The business environment was very challenging and Sportsradio, though popular, was not providing investor returns as projected and by 2018, Rutherford/Smith wanted out of the deal with Navette Broadcasting. They subsequently applied to URCA for the “change of control of ZSR 103.5(FM).” URCA appeased and came up with what my partner and I regarded as the most unfair and improbable resolution.
URCA reasoned that there was no need for a “change in control,” declaring our license void and defective, reissuing the same spectrum frequency license (103.5) to Paramount Systems Ltd., the new Rutherford/Smith partnership with casino operator Sabas Bastian.
My partner and I were told three months after Rutherford’s new company had received the green light, learning by industry rumors that a new 103.5(FM) would be testing shortly. We went headfirst into survival mode appealing URCA’s decision, “to cancel our license without due process or a fair hearing.” We stood our ground, not turning off our transmitter in defiance of URCA’s request protected by our court actions to fight the decision until URCA eventually seized the police on us to raid the transmitter tower.
We sought and lost relief from the supreme court on the grounds of jurisdiction with cost; sought and lost relief from URCA appeals tribunal with cost. And, again on the grounds of jurisdiction, we were refused an application for leave to apply for judicial review by the supreme court with cost, due to “delayed” filings.
From what we initially envisioned as a clear case of the regulator overstepping its bounds, the regulator’s attorneys have skillfully misdirected this into our defending procedural moves in appealing their decision, avoiding a hearing so far on the substantial case.
Our Attorney, Khalil Parker, president of the Bar Association in the Bahamas, has filed an appeal and contends that URCA adjudicated on matters entirely outside of its jurisdiction, The act mandated applicants must be incorporated entities and URCA failed to acknowledge the license was clearly marked “for” Navette Broadcasting Company.
The license in dispute was clearly a civil matter and Navette was entitled to due process before being deprived of its license. URCA ought to have recused itself as opposed to acting as arbiter in a private dispute wholly unrelated to regulation. Mr. Parker claims URCA erred in their interpretation and use of the Communications Act 27(1)(a) to vary the license if the applicants license was void as alleged, as revocation would have been appropriate in the circumstances.
Therefore “curing” the alleged defect, issuing the same license to Paramount Systems is merely an unlawful and unconstitutional taking of the Applicants property. We at Navette Broadcasting are out of the radio business. Our company is eager to have our day in court so the substantial case can be heard. We are presently waiting for a date for the appeals court in the Bahamas.
Radio World has invited the regulator to reply to this commentary and will share any response.
Aims to expand the firm’s footprint in Europe, Africa and beyond
Win-Group Software, manufacturer of the WinMedia automation software suite, is expanding with the recent addition of Jesus Vazquez as the group’s sales manager for Europe, Africa and Asia.
In his new role, Vazquez, who is based in Paris, is responsible for business development in these regions as well as the management of the company’s Europe- and North Africa-based distributors. He also oversees the sales efforts of Win-Group staff based in Johannesburg and Singapore.
Previously, Vazquez worked as international sales manager for French firm StudioCast, where he was responsible for global marketing and sales of the company’s visual radio solution. Prior to that, he was international sales coordinator for AEQ in Spain.
According to Win-Group, Vazquez, who has spent most of his career in the broadcast sector, brings his expertise in sales and marketing along with a good grasp of industry trends, which it says, will drive future business.
“Thanks to his vast experience and knowledge of the market, Jesus is the right person to promote Win-Group’s new products,” said Stéphane Tesoriere, Win-Group CEO.
Win-Group recently debuted the WinCam visual radio system and an enhanced version of the WinSales CRM and ad traffic system.
Student productions prompt questions for community radio
One of community radio’s most enduring conversations, and one that it is hardly settled, is the matter of youth radio. Moreover, it is a question of how young people should be involved in community radio.
Among National Federation of Community Broadcasters member stations, youth radio — shorthand for high school and college student producing content at stations — is a topic that always sparks intense interest. NFCB has held many conference sessions about it, and even held a parallel conference for young people in community radio a few years ago. On email lists and online forums, youth radio prompts discussion because it speaks to past and future values of community media itself.
What makes a sustainable and effective youth radio effort? At my old community radio station, I launched and ran a youth radio initiative for several years. Ultimately, it fizzled out. Why it failed in the end may inform your station’s ongoing dialog on how to involve those 18 and under in your organization.
Community radio tends to attract its share of mavericks, people who do not like being told what to listen to, what to play or what to do. There is a peculiar beauty to this archetype, which has been wholly subsumed by big business hectoring around freedom of choice. Its aesthetics play out in stations around the nation. Some of community radio’s biggest fights tend to be over authority and pecking order. With the maverick approach also comes a variety of sometimes problematic assumptions. The biggest of these? That everyone, naturally, wants to do whatever strikes their fancy, too.
I confess to approaching youth radio from this position. I heard from any number of people that told me young people should get to choose what they do, create what they want to create, and tell the story in their voices. Sounds great, right? In theory, community radio would then sound like what young people think, listen to and discuss. In practice, not so much. Ultimately, it proved to be all our good intentions’ undoing.
Why? As someone who trained many high school and college aged young people, I can tell you many do not always have the skills at this point in life to choose a passion and stick with it for any length of time. They’re also not attuned to even what their peers enjoy, because they are still developing their own basic life discernment talents. That was my experience at least. Giving a student trainee complete freedom to create radio that they, and possibly their peers, found intriguing would be a novelty for a month or two. Then they drift off.
The reasons they vanished were not hard to determine. School, friends and afterschool activities were time consuming. At least two of those three would impact them for years to come. In a few cases, youth radio was an outlet because their parents liked radio and pushed them to go. Yet radio, while fun, was not as important in their young lives. Maybe they’d want a recommendation, but the leadership skills, technical talents and intellectual proficiency my station wanted to instill, without metrics, was hard to quantify. High school juniors and seniors were thinking about college. My station’s youth radio was not recognized or accredited by area school districts. Although community radio experience might show civic involvement, tests, academic programs and district accolades for programs meant more.
As an audio trainer of students, I was humbled to realize schools have curricula for a good reason. Veteran teachers realize students need structure, simple and spelled out objectives, and critical thinking opportunities that offer scaffolding for a young person to learn. Youth radio projects must center that kind of organization as a key to success.
Then there was the matter of content. The truth is that what high school and college students listen to and talk about may not be what a station’s core audience is interested in, or even believes to be community radio. I found that young people needed a lot of coaching to find suitable subjects to build into radio. That, in turn, prompts the existential question of whether youth are creating radio, or creating what adults think they should be creating to represent what young people think of radio. It’s a question to which easy answers do not exist.
Finally, it was hard to contend with the power of social media. Put simply: if a student’s peers are on Instagram, for example, and go there all the time, because they can post what they want, when they want, and how they want, and they’re already broadcasting to the school this way, why does radio, with its rules, adult gatekeepers and conventions, mean anything to them beyond that aforementioned novelty? Again, it is a question to which I found few great answers.
None of this is an argument against youth radio. Rather, it is an encouragement to tackle the most challenging questions. Together, for the betterment of communities, I am hopeful community radio is capable of forwarding dynamic answers.
Also, build your own pocket-sized white noise generator
There are a lot of instances in which large bulky XLR connectors just won’t do — when working in tight spaces or trying to minimize the “footprint” of the connector, especially in our age of video in the studio.
Switchcraft has designed a series of low-profile male and female XLR connectors, part numbers AAA3F-BLP for the female and AAA3M-BLP for male connectors.
Broadcast supplier Pro Audio, formerly Crouse-Kimzey, has been featuring these connectors and has them in stock. Shown in Figs. 1, 2 and 3, the connectors sell for $5.99 each.
If you’re not on the ProAudio email list, learn about new products like this by calling them at (800) 979-3311 or visit www.proaudio.com.
Now, with your new low-profile XLRs in hand, you can get ready to solder them up.
At my Workbench presentations, I’ve shown pictures of a “third hand” using a spring-clip office clipboard. You use the spring clip to secure the connector body. The clip holds the connector secure as you solder the wires.
I’m quick to remind you not to forget to put the wires through the outer shell before soldering. None of us has ever done that before (yeah, right).
Some of my best soldering jobs were completed with the connector shell lying on the workbench. Talk about frustrating.
Tommy Holmes is market chief engineer for Cumulus Media in Columbia/Jefferson City, Mo. He writes with a suggestion he calls the “backwoods engineer’s third hand.”
He says his former co-worker Lloyd Collins, CPBE, now retired, came up with the gadget pictured in Fig. 4 about 15 years ago. The block of scrap wood holds the connector ends of a male and female XLR. Cost: about 25 cents — not including the connector cores.
Drill a couple of holes, add some epoxy to hold the connectors in place and simply slip the connector to be soldered onto the appropriate plug as shown in Fig. 5. It’s not very pretty, but it works like a charm.
Frank Hertel, principal engineer with Newman-Kees RF Measurements and Engineering, comes up with some amazing finds. His most recent tip is a case in point.
Frank subscribes to the free Analog Devices Analog Dialog newsletter, which has been published monthly since 1967, the second year after the founding of the company. It exists as a forum for exchanging ideas on real-world circuit design.
In the June 2018 issue, Frank writes that readers will find details on building a pocket-sized “white noise” generator, used for checking equipment frequency response.
Aaron Shultz is an applications engineering manager with Analog Devices; he co-authored the article with independent instrumentation consultant Peter Haak. In addition to the generator project, the article covers a number of “why” questions regarding white noise in audio circuit measurement.
You can obtain your free weekly copy of Analog Dialog by clicking the “subscribe” tab at the link above.
Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips and high-resolution photos to [email protected].
Author John Bisset has spent over 50 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles Western U.S. Radio Sales for the Telos Alliance. He is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.
Commission says new rules are fair and reliable
The Federal Communications Commission has moved ahead with its new guidelines for resolving FM translator interference complaint issues, a move that the National Association of Broadcasters said is a “common-sense compromise.”
It its May meeting, the commission adopted a Report and Order that it says streamlines and improves the FM translator interference complaint and resolution process due to the increasing number of FM translator stations and their growing economic importance for AM and digital FM stations.
In attempting to improve the rules governing FM translator interference complaints the order has solidified the following rules.
- Translator operators can now change frequency to any available same-band channel as a minor change in response to interference issues;
- A station is now required to submit a minimum number of listener complaints when submitting a claim of interference. And those numbers must be proportionate to the population the station serves;
- The rules now standardize the contents of each listener complaint;
- New interference resolution procedures now permit (but do not require) complaining listeners to cooperate with remediation efforts. In addition, a new process is in place for demonstrating that interference has been resolved;
- And an outer contour limit of 45 dBμ has been established so that any complaints beyond that contour will not be considered. The commission also instituted a waiver process for certain situations.
The NAB said the FCC deserves credit for endorsing a common-sense compromise for reviewing FM radio listener complaints that may arise from FM translator interference. “FM translators have been enormously helpful extending the reach of AM radio stations,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton. “We’re pleased the FCC continues to embrace ideas that foster the revitalization of AM radio.”
Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said that even though translators receive only secondary protection, “They are crucial parts of our radio landscape.”
“This item considers the robust record to try to balance interference concerns with the need for both FM stations and translators to continue to provide service to listeners,” he added.
There has been ongoing discussion by broadcasters and industry stakeholders about the final contour limits that the FCC planned to establish. The FCC had initially discussed an outer contour limit of 54 dBμ, though organizations like the New Jersey Broadcasters Association expressed concerns about how that proposed limit would impact stations. “We feel that any weakening of the protections that full-service licensees have and were originally granted would substantially create an impairment on the licenses and permits in derogation of the Communications Act,” said Paul S. Rotella, president and CEO of the NJBA.
The commission determined that setting a complaint limit at the 45 dBμ contour “best balances full-service, secondary service, and listener interests by providing a contour limit that encompasses the bulk of full-service core listenership while limiting complaints at the margins of listenable coverage,” the FCC said in its proposed draft order.
“By establishing a fixed ‘contour’ for the timeline needed to resolve complaints, we add an even higher level of predictability to the process,” said Commissioner Michael O’Rielly.
Via DAB+ the station targets listeners outside the Wallonia region
On May 2, French-language public radio RTBF launched RTBF MIX. Broadcasting on DAB+, the station airs political, economic and sports information alongside music from the Wallonia-Brussels region to the Flanders (Dutch-language) region.
Targeting the French-speaking audience outside Wallonia, RTBF MIX broadcasts programs from La Première, Classic 21 and VivaCité.
“When RTBF stopped its AM broadcasts on Dec. 31, we began looking for a way to broadcast our content in Flanders in high-quality audio,” explained Frédéric Gerand, head of RTBF’s radio and audio on demand. “FM reception of our radio channels was poor in most of Flanders, and we wanted to offer an alternative other than the internet — DAB+ was the answer.”
RTBF MIX’s basic roster includes La Première between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays, VivaCité’s sports programs (Viva Sport) on weekend nights, and Classic 21 between 10 a.m. and 05 a.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m during the weekend.
For RTBF MIX’s broadcasts on the 5A/5D DAB+ multiplex through network provider Norkring.
“Initially, there was an agreement on reciprocity with public broadcaster VRT Radio 1 broadcasting in Wallonia, and RTBF La Première airing in Flanders,” continued Gerand. “In the end, BBC World Service got a DAB+ frequency in Flanders, leaving the RTBF without access to DAB+ there. When in October 2018 Norkring obtained a license for a second multiplex covering Flanders and Brussels, the company offered us a spot as part of a five-year contract. It’s quite an investment but an important part of our mission to reach our audience even beyond Belgium’s language borders,” he said.
“DAB+ technology allows us to reach the Classic 21 audience in Flanders with a supreme quality in reception,” added Etienne Dombret, Classic 21’s editorial chief. “Alongside the rock format, listeners will benefit from the new content of RTBF ‘Mobilinfo,’ which provides traffic reports from the north of the country.”
Now includes possibility to stream a full composite FM signal including pilot and RDS over IP at lower bitrates
UDEN, Netherlands — Thimeo Audio Technology says Stereo Tool 9.30, the latest version of its FM, AM, HD, DAB+ and streaming audio processor, contains many new features and improvements.
MicroMPX, a codec to stream a full composite FM signal including pilot and RDS over an IP connection at lower bitrates, is now built into Stereo Tool, making it possible to stream directly from Stereo Tool to the transmitter. At the transmitter site, explains the firm, all that is needed is a decoder that feeds the transmitter.
In addition, the company has improved the FM final clipper, which Thimeo says sounds much fuller, louder and more transparent.
The company says it has also made improvements to create a more consistent and natural sound in the dynamics section, and for tracks that lack mid-bass, there’s a new mid-bass synthesizer that generates natural sounding mid-bass so that listeners on small speakers still hear bass.
Moreover, Thimeo has added features to the RDS encoder, which now supports EON for large nationwide networks of FM stations, and ODA, used for example, to send traffic information to navigation systems.
The new “The BIMP” module is a built-in microprocessor, which communicates with the rest of the processing to reduce the total processing latency. Microphone and normal processing combined can be done in under 6 ms for the low latency monitoring output.