Broadcasting & Cable
Fey and Carlock behind show about wealthy dilettante who becomes mayor of LA
“We are so excited that this is the first NBC show we get to greenlight straight to series,” said George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy, co-chairmen, NBC Entertainment. “It’s with talent that we know and love and who have worked on some of the most beloved shows in our network’s history. We can’t wait.”
Danson stars in NBC comedy The Good Place, which begins its final season in the fall. He’s perhaps best known for playing Sam Malone on Cheers.
As NBC describes the Fey-Carlock show, “Once he wins he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his staff, and connect with his teenage daughter, all while controlling the coyote population.”
Fey and Carlock teamed up for 30 Rock on NBC and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix.
“We are thrilled to be back home at NBC and writing for one of the network’s greatest stars of all time, Mary Steenburgen’s husband, Ted,” said Fey and Carlock.
The project will be produced by Universal Television, Little Stranger, Bevel Gears and 3 Arts Entertainment. Carlock, Fey, Jeff Richmond and David Miner will executive produce. Eric Gurian, president, will oversee for Little Stranger.
Noah and Rhain Alisha bring a new member to the bush
“After six months on the mountain, the Wolfpack has fully re-dedicated themselves to the goal of total self-sufficiency they began in Alaska. But winter is closing in and it’s a race against the clock as the Browns set out to achieve their dream of a big mountain ranch,” said Discovery.
With land divided up among the Brown children, the family faces new wildlife threats as they race to complete homes for each sibling. With winter weeks away, it becomes even more critical as the Wolfpack grows with the birth of Noah and Rhain Alisha’s first child, Elijah. Noah’s resourcefulness is required as he works hard to create practical innovations for his baby, including a self-warming bath, a power-tool driven rocker and a castle house.
This season also brings Billy closer to his dream of running a fully-functional family ranch equipped with horses, a fortified bullpen and a winterized barn.
For Park Slope, executive producers are Paul Reitano, Terrence Sacchi and Doug Fitch. For Discovery Channel, executive producer is John Slaughter.
‘Versatile’ journalist, according to Goldston, comes from CNN
James Goldston, ABC News president, said in a note to staff, “She is a versatile and skilled journalist. Kaylee reported from the streets of Charlottesville when a white nationalist plowed through a crowd and killed Heather Heyer and returned a year later to interview her mother about the aftermath of the tragic events. She covered the developments of the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race and the 2017 United States Senate special election in Alabama, interviewed the grieving survivors of the Parkland and Sutherland Springs shootings and reported on extreme weather events including Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and wildfires in Malibu and Paradise, CA.”
Prior to her time at CNN, Hartung was a reporter at ESPN. Before that, she was at CBS News, working in the Washington bureau as a producer, editor and photographer, and an associate producer for Face the Nation, then hosted by Bob Schieffer.
Goldston noted Hartung’s “former side job as a backup singer in Schieffer’s country music band.”
Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman back for more misadventures
Season 23 of animated hit South Park premieres on Comedy Central Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The show launched in 1997. Trey Parker and Matt Stone created South Park.
New episodes can be streamed on South Park Studios and Hulu the day after they premiere. The whole of the South Park library can be watched as well.
The series features the misadventures of four foul-mouthed boys in a small Colorado town in the Rocky Mountains: Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman.
Parker, Stone, Anne Garefino and Frank C. Agnone II are the executive producers.
South Park is based on the animated short “The Spirit of Christmas.”
Low-key tough guy has long starred in Lee Child’s novels
Amazon Prime has won the rights to develop a Jack Reacher series. Author Lee Child is behind the two dozen books featuring Jack Reacher, including Bad Luck and Trouble, Blue Moon and Past Tense. Reacher departed the U.S. army and travels the country, taking on random jobs, investigating suspicious situations and tangling with bad guys.
Tom Cruise played Reacher in the 2012 film Jack Reacher.
Nick Santora will be showrunner and executive producer of the series, according to Variety, which reported that Amazon, Skydance Television and Paramount Television are producing the Reacher show.
Santora executive produces alongside Lee Child, Don Granger and Christopher McQuarrie, and David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross on behalf of Skydance.
Skydance’s TV projects include another Amazon series that spawned from a tough-guy book franchise in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. That premiered on Amazon Prime in August.
Move follows sale of Justice, Quest Networks
Veteran network programming executive John Ford is stepping down as general manager of NPact, a trade organization serving producers of non-fiction entertainment content.
The move is the result of the sale of Justice Network and Quest to Tegna for $77 million in May. Ford has been head of programming for the multicast networks since they were launched in 2015. Under Tegna, the networks are expected to hire producers to create original programming for the first time. That creates a conflict with Ford’s role at the association.
NPact said that Michelle Van Kempen, the group’s head of policy and development, will become interim general manager. A search for a permanent replacement is underway.
“John has been a peerless leader, helping transform a nascent organization with big dreams – and many strong, rowdy opinions – into a mature powerhouse association,” the NPact executive committee said in a statement.
“With some exciting opportunities on the horizon, John made the difficult decision to step down; he has our immense gratitude and best wishes for the future. During the transition, we know NPact will be in great hands with Michelle Van Kempen whose contributions have encompassed not just outreach to the community and expanding our membership, but creating opportunities and access to innovative companies and services from which we all benefit,” the statement said.
Ford, previously head of programming for Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel, became head of the Nonfiction Producers Association in 2015. It merged with PactUS, another producers organization, in 2017, creating NPact.
“The challenges of independent production are unrelenting, and to see the fellowship among NPact members is truly humbling. I couldn’t be prouder of my time with NPact and know Michelle and the team will continue moving the association forward with great energy and innovation,” Ford said.
Film looks at birth of company in Detroit on to its time in Los Angeles
Showtime will premiere the documentary Hitsville: The Making of Motown Aug. 24. Benjamin and Gabe Turner directed the film, about the story of Motown Records.
The Motown story is told through new and exclusive interviews with label founder Berry Gordy. The documentary focuses on the birth of the company in Detroit in 1958 until its relocation to Los Angeles in the early 1970s.
“Motown is critical not only to the history of music in America, but also the history of America itself,” said Vinnie Malhotra, executive VP, nonfiction programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “And you’ve never seen this bedrock of the music industry explored and remembered the way that Gabe and Ben Turner do it in Hitsville, with never-before-seen clips and interviews with the key players.”
The executive producers are Berry Gordy, Steve Barnett, Marty Bandier, David Blackman, Ethiopia Habtemariam and Michelle Jubelirer.
Motown Records is releasing a soundtrack, also titled Hitsville: The Making of Motown. It features the music of the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
Exec reports to Direct-to-Consumer & International Chairman Mayer
The Walt Disney Co. is combining its media sales and channel distribution operations under Justin Connolly, who has been named president, media distribution.
Connolly will be based in New York and report to Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International unit.
Connolly had been in charge of distribution for Disney-ABC Media Networks and that business is moving to the Direct-to-Consumer Group. Connolly will be adding responsibility for content sales that had been under Janice Marinelli, who announced she was leaving the company earlier this week.
"By combining all of our media, affiliate, content and syndication sales, and distribution efforts into the Direct-to-Consumer & International segment, we continue to transform the ways in which we distribute the great stories and characters created by The Walt Disney Company’s studios and media networks,” said Mayer. “I've had the great pleasure of working with Justin for many years and believe his experience makes him well-suited to drive Disney’s media sales and distribution efforts. He is a consummate professional, a fantastic dealmaker, and a great leader.”
Connolly will continue to oversee North American distribution and affiliate marketing for Disney and ESPN media networks, including those recently acquired with 21st Century Fox.
He will also work with the Direct-to-Consumer group’s international content sales teams, who now report to their regional leadership.
Connolly will have final approval on all content sales agreements for Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Animation, Disneynature, ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, National Geographic, FX Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, WABC, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.
‘MasterChef’ and ‘First Responders Live’ both go up
Fox won the top spot in Wednesday ratings, with MasterChef leading to a 0.7 rating in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 4 share. That got by the 0.6/3s that both ABC and CBS posted.
It was not a strong night for broadcasters' ratings.
MasterChef did a 0.8 and First Responders Live a 0.6, both a tenth of a point better than last week.
ABC had its game shows. Press Your Luck got a 0.7 and Card Sharks a 0.5, both down a tenth from their last airings, while Match Game scored a flat 0.6.
On CBS, Love Island did a 0.6 and Big Brother a 1.0, both level with last week. A SWAT repeat got CBS to the end of prime.
On Telemundo, Betty en NY rated a flat 0.5 and La Reina del Sur lost 14% for a 0.6.
Univision rated a 0.3/2.
The CW got a 0.2/1. A Penn & Teller repeat led into Jane the Virgin at a level 0.2.
New originals due end of year
In advance of the arrival of new episodes of Mad About You, Charter will be making all 164 episodes of the classic sitcom available to Spectrum subscribers starting Aug. 1.
Charter’s Spectrum Originals is creating a limited series that reunites Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. Those new episodes are expected to have their debut later this year during the holiday season.
Charter created Spectrum Originals as an added free benefit to retain its cable subscribers. The commercial-free service launched with L.A.’s Finest, a drama starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba produced by Sony and Jerry Bruckheimer.
Also available to Spectrum subscribers is the Spanish-language drama Todo por el Juego.
Upcoming projects include Manhunt: Lone Wolf from Lionsgate and Paradise Lost from Paramount Television.
Mad About You is produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with Comedy Dynamics.
Peter Tolan serves as showrunner, executive producer and writer. Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser executive produce with Brian Volk-Weiss, Michael Pelmont and Matthew Ochacher. Danny Jacobson, who co-created the show with Reiser, serves as an executive consultant.
Ten episodes in the works for new streaming service
HBO Max, the upcoming streaming service from WarnerMedia, has ordered 10 episodes of Gossip Girl, a reboot of The CW series that starred Blake Lively and Leighton Meester.
The show initially aired 2007-2012.
Joshua Safran, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are behind the remake, which will feature a new batch of private-school kids. Fake Empire, Alloy Entertainment, Warner Bros. TV and CBS Television Studios are producing.
Cecily von Ziegesar wrote the novel about teens in New York and their adventures.
The CW president Mark Pedowitz said at the TCA press shindig in January that there had been “a discussion” about bringing back the series.
Direct-to-consumer service HBO Max arrives in spring 2020. It will offer 10,000 hours of content from HBO, Warner Bros., CNN, TNT, TBS, TruTV, The CW and other networks and studios.
Katie Couric an exec producer along with novelist Michael Chabon
Netlflix drama series Unbelievable, starring Toni Collette as a detective investigating a home invasion and sexual assault, premieres on Netflix Sept. 13. Kaitlyn Dever plays teen Marie, who files the police report about the invasion.
Merritt Wever is also in the cast.
The story is based on a real-life event.
The article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” from The Marshall Project and ProPublica inspired the series. It also inspired the This American Life podcast “Anatomy of a Doubt.”
Netflix calls the series “a story of unspeakable trauma, unwavering tenacity, and astounding resilience.”
Showrunner Susannah Grant executive produces Unbelievable, from CBS Television Studios, along with Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, Lisa Cholodenko, Ayelet Waldman, Michael Chabon, Katie Couric, Richard Tofel, Neil Barsky, Robyn Semien and Marie.
WARSZAWA, POLAND, JULY 18, 2019 – Sebastian Pawlak launched Pawlaki Pro Audio to distribute audio products to top broadcasters in Poland, including the popular Eleven Sports Network. When a longtime supplier stopped offering a popular audio mixer/distribution product, Pawlak turned to Studio Technologies, manufacturer of professional audio, video and fiber-optic solutions. The company offered to add a software-based feature to support his need using the Model 5412 Audio Interface, a Dante®-compliant platform that provides excellent audio quality for Audio-over-Ethernet (AoE) network applications.
Pawlak needed to replace an analog audio interface used with cameras and associated control units that carried 4-wire intercom audio, mixing up to eight sources to one output and distributing one return source to up to eight destinations. This legacy product had been commonly used in Poland, as well as in worldwide markets, but became difficult for Pawlak to provide to clients.
“It was a widely used tool in this region, especially in outside broadcast van applications,” said Pawlak. “Suddenly, the manufacturer's product was no longer available, which presented us with a problem. Most intercom systems we offer provide digital audio transport via Ethernet, so we asked Studio Technologies if they had a compatible product. Following our suggestions, Studio Technologies suggested its Dante-connected Model 5412. The company made a few software changes and provided us with an excellent solution. The product ended up doing more than we expected, providing the needed features along with the flexibility to select just the number of channels required.”
Studio Technologies, at no additional charge, was able to quickly develop a firmware update to its Model 5412 that provided a perfect solution for Pawlak. The new capabilities are now part of the standard features offered by the unit. Using a browser-based menu selection, users are able to achieve the required intercom interface function. The Model 5412 is available in two versions, the -01 with eight inputs and outputs, and the -02 with 16 input and outputs versions. Both support analog line-level input and outputs with audio transport via Dante. Three Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and both AC mains and 12 volt DC powering allow support for a wide range of installations.
According to Pawlak, the Model 5412-01’s new flexibility allows it to be used as an eight-port intercom interface unit, as well as for six- or four-port applications. Remaining channels can be used for standard analog to and from Dante interfacing applications. Additionally, he highlighted the benefits of the unit’s compact, lightweight enclosure, which mounts in one space of a standard 19-inch rack.
“The Model 5412 has matched our previous interface solutions while also offering additional features in just one rack unit,” explained Pawlak. “Having that functionality along with less space, less weight, and a lower price is invaluable for applications using outside broadcast trucks.”
Pawlak’s first customer to use the Model 5412 is Eleven Sports Network. The station is part of Polsat, the biggest private broadcaster in Poland. The Model 5412 has served as the perfect replacement audio interface, as the network needs both analog and Dante capabilities.
“Our customers have already put the Model 5412 into their current and future budgets, thanks to its functionality,” said Pawlak. “Looking at market needs and the future of audio technology, Studio Technologies will be my number one audio interface for customers in Poland and worldwide.”
About Studio Technologies, Inc.
Studio Technologies, Inc. provides tailored, high-performance video, audio and fiber optic products for the professional audio and broadcast markets. Founded in 1978, the company is committed to designing and manufacturing dependable, cost-effective, and creative solutions for broadcast studio, stadium and corporate environments. Known for “designing for the way professionals work,” the company is recognized as an industry leader. Product categories include fiber-optic transport, intercom and IFB interfaces, announcer consoles, and loudspeaker monitor control systems. A growing line of audio-over-Ethernet products is receiving wide recognition. For more information, please visit the Studio Technologies website at www.studio-tech.com or call 847.676.9177.
Matrix, the only global ad sales platform built for media, today announced that The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group will implement their Monarch media ad sales platform across all television, radio, online properties, throughout all of their markets. The enterprise-wide adoption of the platform will deliver the Canadian broadcaster the connected transparency needed across their teams that will allow for a holistic view of data while simultaneously providing them the ability to automate processes throughout their workflow – saving both time and money.
The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group was in search of a solution that would enable them to identify, track, and manage new business prospects as well as provide a dramatic improvement in the management of customer information. This included adopting a solution that empowered them to identify and capitalize on up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Monarch not only meets the criteria sought by Pattison but, with its media-specific nature, will permit them to improve upon overall efficiencies and processes to ensure they are best utilizing their workflow to remain competitive in the industry.
“Matrix stood out among other CRM options that we investigated as a forward-thinking, integrated solutions-based tool that has a proven track record of improving results by reducing redundant tasks and increasing sales,” said Rod Schween, President, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. “Monarch will be a very welcomed and strategic tool for all of our sales leaders and reps moving forward.”
Serving as a centralized hub within The Jim Pattison Broadcast Groups’ operation, Monarch will provide a unified view for disparate data sources, including first and third-party data, throughout the workflow. Utilizing multiple integration points, coupled with data aggregation and normalization capabilities, Monarch will further provide the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group with enhanced real-time visibility into their data, enabling them to make smarter and faster business decisions.
“Our media ad sales platform technology delivers a very fast and effective ROI right out of the gate and I am confident that The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group will be able to hit the ground running, identifying sales opportunities and automating processes from day one,” shared Mark Gorman, CEO, Matrix. “And of course, it doesn’t stop there. We are continuing to evolve our product alongside the industry and as new forward-thinking features and functionality are introduced – we will roll them out to all users, in what is a very seamless process for all.”
For more information, visit: matrixformedia.com.
About Jim Pattison Broadcast Group
The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, with its head office in Kamloops, B.C. is the country’s largest private, western-based broadcast group, currently operating 47 radio stations, 3 conventional television stations and 17 online news portals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group is a proud division of the Jim Pattison Group, a diversified group of operating businesses, based in Vancouver, which has grown to become the second largest privately-held company in Canada. Please visit www.jpbroadcast.com for more information.
Matrix makes media happen by enabling efficiencies and working to uncover revenue so media companies can create content, entertain, and inform. Its flagship product, Monarch, is the only global ad sales platform built for media – transforming chaotic data into actionable sales information that delivers the insights necessary for prospecting, managing, evaluating and closing business. The company manages more than $13 billion in media ad revenue, offering its best-in-class analytics, sales intelligence, media-specific CRM and sales tools to more than 10,000 media sellers to more efficiently manage their workflow. For more information, please visit www.matrixformedia.com.
SMI estimates merged company would have 20% share of national revenue
Whatever the merits at this point of putting together CBS and its sibling Viacom, combining the media companies would create a leader in the national TV advertising business.
According to an analysis by Standard Media Index, CBS and Viacom combine for a 20.2% share of all national TV ad revenue this TV season.
CBS brings its big broadcast network, plus cable networks Pop and CBS Sports Network, while Viacom would kick in its once-youthful cable networks including MTV and Comedy Central plus its struggling kids network Nickelodeon and its kid brother Nick Jr.
Both CBS and Viacom are controlled by the family of Sumner Redstone and if a merger could be arranged, the new company would have a larger share of the national ad market than Comcast’s NBCUniversal at 184%, The Walt Disney Co., at 16.4, Discovery at 9.9, WarnerMedia--which last week jettisoned several of its top ad sales execs--at 9.8% and the new, slimmed down Fox Corp., with 9.4%.
Looking at shares of cross-platform ad revenue, a merged CBS and Viacom would again be the leader with an 11.4 share, according to SMI.
Following would be Disney with a 10.5% share, Google at 10.4, NBCU with a 9.4% slice, WarnerMedia getting 5.1% and Facebook with 4.9%.
The most recent reports indicate that CBS and Viacom have set a target date of August 8 to conclude merger talks.
The companies’ boards are not discussing how the stocks of CBS and Viacom would be valued, according to CNBC. That will be decided only after issues including who would lead the combined firm is settled. Both companies are scheduled to release and discuss quarterly earnings that day.
Many analysts expect the deal to be completed. Some think it might be a good idea to create a bigger entity at a time when the industry is consolidating to pursue scale in order to compete with tech companies and streamers like Netflix.
"While both companies face obvious pressures in the coming years (CBS has an NFL and SEC Football renewal while Viacom faces a threat of accelerated subscriber losses), we have long believed that the initial separation of these companies made zero sense,” said Michael Nathanson of MoffetNathanson Reserach in a report this week.
“We would hope new management (whoever that may be) would examine current plans to prove that current streaming and production strategies generate sufficient ROI to continue. We also would urge better financial disclosure going forward,” Nathanson said.
Bulls less bullish on price hikes, competition
Netflix stock dropped after it failed to meet expectations for subscriber growth in the second quarter but analysts are mixed on how cautious investors should be about the high-flying streamer in the longer term.
Judging from early reports, the bulls are a little less bullish, while those who doubt that Netflix can justify its already high stock price have a reason to say “I told you so.”
The number of Netflix subscribers the U.S. fell in the second quarter compared to Q1, the first drop since 2011. International sub growth was slower than forecast.
Analyst Jeff Wlodarczak of Pivotal Research headlined his report “Let’s Not Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill” and raised his target for Netflix stock to $515 per share.
“A healthy price increase in 2Q (highlighted by % growth in 2Q U.S. ARPU) + increasing effects of 2Q seasonality on a materially larger subscriber base + a less impactful content slate drove 2Q subscribers below expectations. However, the healthy price increases drove overall better than expected financial results in 2Q and guidance for 3Q,” Wlodarczak said.
“A clearly strong 3Q programming slate and the disappearance of price hike related churn in 3Q drove Netflix’s reasonable forecast for a major (much better than expected) rebound in subscriber growth in the 2H,” the analyst said.
“We are incrementally less bullish. But we remain Bulls, both medium-term and long-term, said analyst Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Market said.
“This isn’t our first rodeo, and this isn’t Netflix’s first miss.,” Mahaney said. “But Q2 results do highlight the importance of a strong content slate and at least raise the question of whether NFLX needs to be more restrained with price increase pacing.”
Some analysts, including Mahaney warned that Netflix stock could be impacted more than it should be when Disney+ gets launched later this year.
“Management suggested a variety of factors for Q2 sub miss, including pull-forward into Q1, content slate, and price increases,” said Todd Juenger of Sanford C. Bernstein. “We expect investors will mostly blame price increases. If so, the good news is, those are mostly behind us, management says churn has returned to previous levels, and first few weeks of Q3 net adds have significantly accelerated.”
But Juenger said the 2Q earnings report downt change the investment thesis that has him rating Netflix as “Outperform.”
“Does it make us more nervous? Of course. Especially given the timing of Disney+ launch. We don’t think the Disney+ launch will have anything to do with Netflix's success or failure. But if Netflix misses subs in the quarters after Disney+ launches, the market will make the correlation anyway, and we expect the downside effect on Netflix stock will be several times more than usual,” Juenger said.
MIchael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Reserach, who has been Neutral on Netflix, headlined his report “Doubters of the World Unite!”
“While we have never doubted the quality of the Netflix product offering, we have recently had a hard time finding comfort in Netflix’s equity value,” said Nathanson.
The second-quarter report should dampen some of the more ebullient long-term forecasts for Netflix, he said.
“The S-Curve in the U.S. may be finally be flattening after all these years of growth. As such, it will increased doubts about Netflix’s final resting subscriber base. Maybe it is 80 million vs. the 88.4 million in our prior valuation case,” Nathanson said.
“Te acknowledgement that the price increase hurt subscriber growth in the quarter also brings into question Netflix’s ultimate pricing power,” Nathanson said. “As more studios pull content from Netflix, the platform moves from being a digital video store in the cloud with unlimited versions of all your favorite shows to a premium cable network on steroids.”
Nathanson lower his Netflix target price by $35 to $220. “ Even under a “Blue Sky” scenario, we still can’t justify the stock price today,” he said.
Host/actor/producer signs development deal with Universal Television
Mario Lopez joins Access Hollywood and daytime show Access Daily as host September 9. Lopez has signed an overall development and producing deal for scripted and alternative programming with Universal Television and Universal Television Alternative Studio.
Access Hollywood and Access Daily are produced by NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. and distributed by NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution.
Kit Hoover is host of Access Hollywood, and Scott Evans is senior correspondent and Sibley Scoles is correspondent.
Hoover and Evans host Access Daily.
“Mario is a multi-talented television personality,” said Tracie Wilson, executive VP, creative affairs, NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution. “Drawing from his experience as an entertainment TV and radio host, actor, author and, of course, a father and husband, Mario brings a fresh voice and perspective with creative ideas to our business. Our viewers know him and love him, and we are so excited to have him as a part of the NBCUniversal family.”
Lopez hosts the iHeartMedia radio shows On with Mario Lopez and iHeartRadio Countdown with Mario Lopez, boxing podcast The 3 Knockdown Rule and travel food show Food Quest on A&E, and is host and producer of HGTV series Supersize My Pool. Lopez co-created and is executive producer of Netflix series The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia.
He was a host on newsmag Extra.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Mario’s caliber join our Access team,” said Maureen FitzPatrick, senior executive producer of Access Hollywood and Access Live. “Mario has grown up in the business and is able to offer our viewers a unique insight on the latest Hollywood headlines. Additionally, as a husband and father of three young children, he has a respect for the daytime audience who are looking for a break in their hectic lives with uplifting stories of everyday people transforming their lives and making a difference in their communities.”
Access Hollywood is in its 23rd season. Mike Marson and Stewart Bailey are executive producers.
Access Daily is in its ninth. Julie Cooper executive produces.
“I have long admired the team at NBCUniversal and all the shows being produced,” Lopez said. “I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to join in that success and develop scripted and alternative projects on their many creative platforms.”
Los Angeles, July 18, 2019: Bitmax, the digital media management and licensing company, has signed a multi-year agreement to provide content management and services to High Octane Pictures (HOP), a full-service film distribution and sales agency that cultivates relationships with distributors, financiers, talent agencies and various strategic entertainment partnerships to sell and distribute motion pictures.
As part of the deal, Bitmax will help High Octane maximize the revenue potential of their titles across the international VOD landscape, helping them get carriage on international platforms while advising them on monetizing their unique slate of content across a growing list of downstream distribution channels and partners.
“Bitmax is a demonstrated leader in content orchestration and distribution, and we look forward to working with them across all business models from TVOD to AVOD,” said High Octane Pictures' company president and founder, Galen Christy.
The HOP team draws upon their vast deal-making experience with a dedication to innovative sales and marketing techniques. HOP has brokered deals in over 80 countries across the world, focusing on sales, acquisition and distribution of completed content specifically made for kids, family and young adults as well as supporting and giving exposure to completed films that tend to be forgotten in an over saturated market, specifically documentaries, LGBTQ content, art house films and dramas.
“Bitmax is the perfect partner for High Octane Pictures, as they have great content and we have the technology and expertise to monetize it across VOD platforms.” said Jim Riley, Bitmax CRO. “We love their ethos of putting the film maker first and promoting and distributing compelling independent films.”
About High Octane Pictures
High Octane Pictures (HOP) is a full-service film Distribution & Sales Agency that cultivates relationships with distributors, financiers, talent agencies, and various strategic entertainment partnerships in order to sell and distribute a slate of commercially viable motion pictures.
Our primary function is bridging the gap between the producer and platform, retailers and/or distributors. As such, HOP provides full service to our filmmakers by offering distribution for their films or helping them secure distribution domestically and internationally while also, in certain cases, financing for projects in development and providing finishing funds.
The mission of High Octane Pictures is to build a partnership with the filmmaker by establishing a foundation of trust and commitment. The HOP team draws upon our vast deal-making experience with a genuine dedication to innovative sales and marketing techniques. HOP has brokered deals in over 80 countries across the world. We pride ourselves on our ability to introduce new product to the marketplace.
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 enquires, please contact:
+1 703 300 3054/+44 (0)7739920287
Some shows still see preemptions from Women's World Cup
There were very few ratings fireworks among syndicated shows in the traditionally low viewing Fourth of July holiday session ending July 7.
Arguably having the toughest time were the sitcoms. Warner Bros.' leader The Big Bang Theory hit the worst weekly numbers in its 8-year run in syndication, cooling down 10% from its prior orbit to a new series low 3.6 live plus same day national rating, according to Nielsen. Twentieth's Last Man Standing slumped 5% to a 2.1. Twentieth's Modern Family fell 6% to a new all time low 1.6. Sony Pictures Television's The Goldbergs remained at its series low 1.3 for a third straight week. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men moved down 14% to a 1.2, matching its series low and tying Twentieth's Family Guy, which stayed at its season low 1.2. Disney's rookie black-ish broke even at a 1.1. SPT's Seinfeld avoided shrinkage, staying at a 1.0. And Warner Bros.' Mike & Molly tumbled 10% to a 0.9, tying Warner Bros.' 2 Broke Girls, which was unchanged at a 0.9.
Elsewhere in off-net syndication, true crime paid for NBCUniversal's leader Dateline, which witnessed its strip shooting up 9% to a 1.2 and its category-topping weekly version surging 29% to a 3.1. SPT's off-A&E Live PD: Police Patrol was on par with its prior tour at a 1.1, while off Investigation Discovery's True Crime Files uncovered a flat 0.3. The sole scripted hour-long strip in syndication, NBCU's off-net police procedural newcomer Chicago PD, gave back 11% to a 0.8.
In first run, the survey said Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud led for a fourth consecutive week, although it sagged 7% to a 5.7. CTD's Jeopardy!, which has been without super contestant and major draw James Holzhauer since June 3, lost ground for the fifth week in a row, sliding 9% to a new season low 5.1 but still came in second among the game shows. CTD's Wheel of Fortune skidded 10% to a new season low 4.7. Further back, Disney's canceled Who Wants to Be a Millionaire went into the red, shedding 7% to a new season low 1.4 and Entertainment Studios' Funny You Should Ask didn’t question a 0.5 for the 17th week in a row.
Meanwhile, Disney's viral video show RightThisMinute downticked 8% to a 1.1.
Magazines were also mostly lower. CTD's Inside Edition surrendered 11% to a new season low 2.4, finishing just ahead of sister show Entertainment Tonight, which eased 8% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.' TMZ was flat at a 1.1. NBCU's Access relinquished 9% to a 1.0. Warner Bros.' Extra backtracked 11% to a new season low 0.8, tying CTD's DailyMailTV, which aired repackaged shows all week and also yielded 11% to a 0.8.
Twentieth's Page Six TV held its ground at a 0.5 and Trifecta's Celebrity Page deteriorated 33% from a 0.3 to a 0.2.
Turning to daytime, which bore the brunt of the soccer preemptions, CTD's Judge Judy, presiding over the household ratings season to date, continued to dominate the court show category an historic 1,189th week in a row despite being partly in reruns and dipping 5% to a 5.6. CTD's Hot Bench, in repeats for most of the week, stood fast at a 2.0 and ranked as the No. 3 show in daytime behind only Judy and CTD's talk topper Dr. Phil.
Warner Bros.' People’s Court recovered 8% to a 1.3. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis maintained a 0.9 for a third straight appearance, while Twentieth's Divorce Court settled for an unchanged 0.6.
In talk show action, Dr. Phil had the right medicine to lead the genre for the 148th straight week with five ties, even though it was in repeats on all five days and backed off 4% to a new season low 2.2. Among women 25-54, the Phil reruns were again first in talk with a 0.9 in the key demo.
Returning to households, Disney's on-hiatus Live With Kelly and Ryan, which did not air live at all, took second place honors in talk for the 19th consecutive week with two pre-taped and three repackaged shows, holding steady at a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Ellen DeGeneres, with encore episodes, stumbled 19% to a new season low 1.3. NBCU's Maury remained mired at its season low 1.2 for a fifth week in a row. NBCU's Steve slipped 10% to a new series low 0.9, tying NBCU's Steve Wilkos, CTD's Rachael Ray, and the retitled repeats of Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, renamed Wendy Williams World Cup, which were all flat at a 0.9. SPT's Dr. Oz hemorrhaged 11% to a 0.8, matching its series low. The diagnosis for CTD's The Doctors was also a series low, in this case 0.5 for an eighth straight week. Warner Bros.' The Real ratcheted down 20% to a new series low 0.4, tying Disney's Pickler & Ben, which bagged a 0.4 for the 24th consecutive week and NBCU's out-of-production Jerry Springer, which stagnated at a 0.4 for the 43rd week in a row.
Among the freshman, CTD's canceled Face the Truth was faced with a season low 0.6 for a fourth straight week. While Debmar-Mercury's renewed rookie court show Caught in Providence captured a 0.5, which was consistent with its previous case.
In addition, the July 15 premiere of the six week test run for comedy game show Punchline got socked with a 33% decline from its lead-ins to a 0.4 rating/1 share weighted metered market average on select Fox stations, although it was flat compared to its year-ago time periods.
Group tallies 213 blackouts with five months remaining in year
Meredith Corp.’s blackout of its 17 stations in 14 markets to Dish Network customers helped push the total retrans blackout tally to 213 so far this year, tying the previous record set in 2017 with nearly five months remaining in the year, according to industry group the American Television Alliance (ATVA).
Meredith stations went dark to Dish customers on July 16, the latest in what has been a string of retrans blackouts in the past three weeks. Since May 30, DirecTV has weathered the most blackouts -- about 142 stations in 111 markets in two retrans skirmishes with a group of 17 stations in 14 markets, many managed by Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group (125 stations in 97 markets). An additional 19 stations owned and operated by CBS could go dark to DirecTV customers on July 19 if a deal isn’t reached by then.
The retrans picture looked a lot brighter earlier in the year -- ATVA, which counts Dish and DirecTV among its members, said in June that the number of blackouts was down to about 62, and that the hope was the year would end with the number of blackouts slowing down. That wasn’t to be the case.
The tally for 2019 is well ahead of the previous year, when there were 165 blackouts, according to ATVA. The organization estimates there have been more than 1,000 blackouts since 2010. Here’s a year-by-year roundup, courtesy of the ATVA:
- 213 blackouts in 2019
- 165 blackouts in 2018
- 213 blackouts in 2017
- 104 blackouts in 2016
- 193 blackouts in 2015
- 94 blackouts in 2014
- 119 blackouts in 2013
- 90 blackouts in 2012
- 42 blackouts in 2011
- 8 blackouts in 2010
Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC affiliates in 12 markets affected
Despite a one-day extension made in hopes they could hammer out a deal, about 17 TV stations in a dozen markets owned by Meredith Corp. went dark to Dish subscribers Tuesday, adding to a growing list of station blackouts in the past few weeks.
The Meredith stations to go dark include CBS affiliate WGCL-TV in Atlanta; Fox affiliate KPTV in Portland, Oregon; Fox affiliate KVVU in Las Vegas; CBS affiliate KPHO in Phoenix; and CBS affiliate KCTV in Kansas City. Meredith had extended its retransmission consent agreement for 24 hours on July 15. But when no deal was reached, the stations went dark to Dish customers at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on July 16.
“Meredith has been trying for months to get Dish Network to negotiate seriously and reaching a deal is our top priority,” said Meredith Local Media Group president Patrick McCreery in a press release. “We know the vital local news, emergency information, and top-rated sports and entertainment programming we provide are important to Dish’s customers, and we hope Dish will make it a priority to reach a deal too. Meredith stands ready, willing and able to reach a fair deal with Dish. Meredith has successfully completed hundreds of carriage agreements, and there is still time for Dish to reach a deal too.”
Dish could be in for the long haul, if its past behavior is any indication. The satellite company withstood a nine-month service disruption with broadcaster Univision before reaching a deal in March. And it is still wrapped in a carriage dispute with premium channel HBO, which went dark to Dish customers in November.
“To be clear, Meredith Corporation chose to black out its own viewers. We offered an extension to keep the channels up while we reach a deal, but they refused,” said Dish SVP of programming Andy LeCuyer in a press release. “Instead, Meredith chose to turn its back on its public interest obligations and use its viewers as bargaining chips.”
Dish is providing free antennas to customers to capture the Meredith stations over-the-air, adding that "tens of thousands" of its customers have integrated OTA antennas into their Dish set-tops, allowing them to watch broadcast programming for free. They also save $12 per month on their Dish bill by not opting for a broadcast package.
“Integrating OTA-delivered local channels can unlock $144 savings annually for Dish customers,” LeCuyer continued. “Customers will see the local channels and show information for the most popular channels in the guide on the Hopper DVR, and can watch and record local channels using their Dish remote without switching inputs on the TV. Dish doesn’t save money, but consumers can.”
This is the third retrans blackout of a major satellite carrier in the past three weeks. On May 30, 17 stations in 14 markets went dark to AT&T’s DirecTV, Uverse and DirecTV Now customers, followed by a blackout of more than 120 Nexstar Media Group stations in 97 markets to DirecTV subscribers on July 3. Yesterday (July 16), CBS warned that its 19 owned and operated stations in 14 markets could go dark to DirecTV customers on July 19 if a retrans deal isn’t reached.
Here is a full list of the Meredith stations that went dark on Tuesday:
- WGCL, Atlanta (CBS)
- KPHO (CBS) and KTVK (IND) Phoenix
- KMOV (CBS) St. Louis
- KPTV (Fox) and KPDX (MYNetworkTV) Portland, Oregon
- WSMV (NBC) Nashville
- KCTV (CBS) and KSMO (IND) Kansas City
- WFSB (CBS) Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut
- WHNS (Fox) Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina
- KVVU (Fox) Las Vegas
- WALA (Fox) Mobile, Alabama-Pensacola, Florida
- WNEM (CBS) Flint-Saginaw, Michigan
- WSHM (CBS), WGGB-DT (Fox) and WGGB (ABC) Springfield-Holyoke, Massachusetts
Says pace of tech change is driving early review of kids privacy protection rule
The Federal Trade Commission is seeking comment on 2013 updates to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule) and whether more changes are needed.
The FTC says it usually reviews rules every 10 years but technological changes are driving the earlier review to make sure children are being protected.
COPPA's author, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is one of those arguing for the need to update its protections, including extending them to older children and youth.
The 2013 amendments included "an expanded definition of children’s personal information, including persistent identifiers such as cookies that track a child’s activity online, as well as geolocation information, photos, videos, and audio recordings."
The FTC says it wants input on a range of COPPA Rule-related issues, and will also hold a public workshop Oct. 7.
"We’re committed to strong COPPA enforcement, as well as industry outreach and a COPPA business hotline to foster a high level of COPPA compliance," said FTC chairman Joe Simons. "But we also need to regularly revisit and, if warranted, update the Rule.”
Questions that the FTC wants particularly answered include:
1. "Has the Rule affected the availability of websites or online services directed to children?
2. "Does the Rule correctly articulate the factors to consider in determining whether a website or online service is directed to children, or should additional factors be considered? For example, should the Rule be amended to better address websites and online services that may not include traditionally child-oriented activities, but have large numbers of child users?
3. "What are the implications for COPPA enforcement raised by technologies such as interactive television, interactive gaming, or other similar interactive media?
4. "Should the Commission consider a specific exception to parental consent for the use of education technology in schools?
5. "Should the Commission modify the Rule to encourage general audience platforms to identify and police child-directed content uploaded by third parties?"
Streaming service adding networks, stations to lineup
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s streaming service Stirr has garnered more than a million downloads since its launch six months ago, exceeding the company’s forecasts.
Most of the viewing is coming to Stirr’s linear channels and the most popular network is the Stirr City channel, featuring news from local Sinclair TV stations and other programming, according to Adam Ware, general manager of Stirr.
Ware said Stirr will soon be adding Stirr City channels for markets in which Sinclair does not own stations. He did not disclose which station groups Sinclair is talking to. “We’re getting a lot of interest from other broadcast companies that are quite interested in becoming Stirr City affiliates,” he said.
He didn’t elaborate on the financial terms, but it is likely that Sinclair will sell the ads on the streaming station and split the revenue with the station owner.
Stirr will also be adding 10 additional national networks. At launch Stirr had about 20 channels. Since launch, among the most popular is the game show network Buzzr.
Ware said Stirr hadn’t expected to reach a million downloads until the end of December. Connected devices led by Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV account for 76% of the download and 85% of Stirr viewership is coming through connected TV.
Viewership is up 200% since launch, with the average viewing session rising from 30 minutes at launch to 60 minutes now.
Viewing on Stirr City tends to peak during times when Stirr streams local station newscasts. At other times, the station runs acquired programming ranging from Hell’s Kitchen to the old Lucy Show. The programming is customized on a market-by-market basis using the instant viewing data available to over-the-top programmers. “It’s metered-markets on steroids,” Ware said.
Mega-Ramp, Drop Tower, Air Cannon among the challenges
USA Network has grabbed a competition series called Cannonball, which it said “pits contestants against some of the highest, fastest and wettest challenges ever created, for a cash prize.” The network signed up for 10 episodes.
Cannonball is produced by ITV Entertainment and will premiere in 2020.
Each episode features 16 contestants competing in four rounds of challenges, from the speed slide Mega-Ramp to the Drop Tower to the Air Cannon. Ultimately, one champion remains.
“Cannonball is pure fun in the sun for the whole family to enjoy,” said Heather Olander, senior VP of alternative development and programming for USA Network. “Filled with splashes, laughs and friendly competition, we are all thrilled to add such an energetic series to our schedule.”
Cannonball is produced by Talpa Media USA and ITV Entertainment, is based on the original format by MasMedia B.V. and licensed by Talpa Global B.V. The series was created by John de Mol, who is executive producer along with Shye Sutherland, Keith Geller, Bernie Schaeffer and Stijn Bakkers.
USA is part of NBCUniversal.
Stock drops in after-hours trading
Net income was $271 million, or 60 cents a share, down from $384 million, or 85 cents a share a year ago. The results included a non-cash unrealized loss from foreign-exchange.
Revenue rose 26% to $4.923 billion.
Streaming content costs $18.5 billion, up from $18.4 billion a year ago, but down from $18.9 billion in the first quarter.
Netflix said global paid consumers rose to 151.6 million from 124.35 million a year ago and 148.86 million in the first quarter. The company expects to have nearly 159 million subscribers by the end of the third quarter.
U.S. subscribers were 601 million, up from 55.96 a year ago, but down from 60.23 in the first quarter. The company said it expects a return to growth in the third quarter and reach 60.9 million U.S subscribers.
The subscriber numbers were lower than Wall Street forecasts and Netflix stock dropped about 10% in after-hours trading
“Our missed forecast was across all regions, but slightly more so in regions with price increases,” the company said in its letter to shareholders.
“We don’t believe competition was a factor since there wasn’t a material change in the competitive landscape during Q2, and competitive intensity and our penetration is varied across regions (while our over-forecast was in every region). Rather, we think Q2’s content slate drove less growth in paid net adds than we anticipated,” the company said.
Netflix also forecast that third quarter net income would be $470 million on revenues of $5.26 billion.
The company also looked to damper speculation that Netflix will be adding advertising in the near future to raise revenue to help pay back the money it borrows to pay for programming.
“We like HBO, are advertising free. That remains a deep part of our brand proposition,” the company said in the shareholder letter. “When you read speculation that we are moving into selling advertising, be confident that this is false. We believe we will have a more valuable business in the long term by staying out of competing for ad revenue and instead entirely focusing on competing for viewer satisfaction.”
Untitled series shifts between modern day and 1959 Detroit, has Benj Pasek and Justin Paul to write tunes and produce
Alicia Keys will executive produce an untitled musical drama series on Showtime. Joining her in the exec producer ranks are Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman). Pasek and Paul will contribute music.
Produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, the project “traverses generations to tell an emotionally complex family story that interweaves modern-day and 1959 Detroit, centering on a mystery uncovered by a young musician who moves back to her childhood home,” in Showtime’s words.
Kyle Jarrow (The SpongeBob Musical) will write and executive produce the series. Marc Platt (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert), R.J. Cutler (Nashville) and Adam Siegel (Grease: Live!) will also executive produce.
“We have always been intrigued by the prospect of doing a Showtime musical series, but only if the songs could add to the depth and complexity of a great character drama,” said Gary Levine, president of entertainment at Showtime. “Nobody does that better than Pasek and Paul and Marc Platt…so when they came to us along with a global superstar like Alicia, a talented writer like Kyle, and excellent producers like Adam and R.J., we were all in.”
Singer/producer Keys has won 15 Grammys. Her acting work includes The Secret Life of Bees, The Nanny Diaries and Empire.
Powerful Reality Series Created by Stuart Goffman and Directed by Allen J. West, set to Premiere in Daytime on A&E with additional airings on FYI
A powerful new docuseries, “Addiction Unplugged,” will premiere on A&E August 17 at 1PM ET. Created by Stuart Goffman, produced by Addiction Buzz with Subculture Films, and executive produced by Stuart Goffman, Allen J West, and Brandon Dumlao the ten-episode docuseries will focus on a wide array of different addiction and recovery scenarios. Each episode will additionally air on A&E sister network, FYI.
A timely follow-doc that travels from city to city taking a compelling look inside the world of addiction and recovery, “Addiction Unplugged” shines a spotlight on the opioid epidemic, the deadliest epidemic in U.S. history. By uncovering topics and issues related to addiction, the series tells compelling stories of struggle, recovery and hope.
The half-hour episodes feature first-hand accounts from the perspectives of the addicts in recovery, their loved ones whose lives have been upended, and the stories of people, communities, corporations and organizations that are fighting for them.
The series deftly shows that no one is immune to addiction, and that it can destroy both the addict and their families. Representing a broad cross-section of people, the series features addicts and people in recovery - millennials, veterans, athletes, college students, celebrities, young professionals, former CEOs and lawyers, high-level executives, first responders, teachers, and soccer moms/little league dads.
Sean Reyes, Utah’s Attorney General and a national expert in combatting the opioid epidemic is the show’s narrator and expert commentator. He states: “I’m thrilled to be part of this show with its emphasis on connection and validation. Addiction Unplugged speaks to eliminating shame and judgment, so we can have real conversations and really begin to heal each other and society. At its core, it is hopeful and optimistic—precisely what we need amid so much anguish.”
“A+E has a long-standing commitment to addiction and recovery programming that brings to light inspirational stories,” said Jim Hoffman, EVP Program Partnerships at A+E Networks. “We’re proud to present this important series which highlights not only the very serious problems of addiction but critical solutions as well.”
The creator and executive producer Stuart Goffman commented, “Seventy-five thousand sons and daughters die each year from their addiction. Those who survive, and their families, are subjected to stigma and shame. By humanizing addiction and showing inspirational stories of recovery and hope, ‘Addiction Unplugged’ aims to shift this dynamic.”
“I am honored to direct the series that taught me so much about the human spirit,” said Allen J West. “Every episode has been both gut-wrenching and inspirational and has taught me that we as a society need to meet this epidemic head on with compassion, an open dialogue, and a commitment to make a difference in our individual communities.”
Allen J. West recently formed Essential Content, a television production company. West was most recently the Creative Producer of the TV series “GIVE,” which won the 2017 Daytime Emmy® award for Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Series.
Robert Blagman of Global Media Fusion will handle distribution, international syndication, and advertising sales for “Addiction Unplugged.” Blagman negotiated the deal on behalf of the creators and producers. A+E’s Jordan Harman served as Network EP on the series.
Learn more about Addiction Unplugged at www.addictionunplugged.com.
SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward back for another season in Bikini Bottom
Nickelodeon has ordered a 13th season of animated hit SpongeBob SquarePants. The next season will have 13 episodes. Vince Waller and Marc Ceccarelli are the showrunners.
Stephen Hillenburg created SpongeBob SquarePants. Voice cast members include Tom Kenny (SpongeBob), Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick Star), Rodger Bumpass (Squidward), Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs), Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy Cheeks) and Mr. Lawrence (Plankton).
The series debuted in 1999. It’s about a sea sponge who lives in a pineapple in an underwater place known as Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob is a cook at the Krusty Krab.
Anniversary special SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout, a mix of live action and animation, aired July 12. It drew 2.2 million total viewers on Nickelodeon, TeenNick and Nicktoons.
Nickelodeon is part of Viacom.
Resolve to fight effort to count nonmonetary obligations toward 5% cap
Over 200 mayors, Democrats, Republicans and independents, have voted to oppose the FCC's effort to let cable operators deduct nonmonetary obligations toward the 5% cap on franchise fees.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has scheduled a vote at the Aug. 1 meeting on a Report and Order (R&O) to "prevent local authorities from unlawfully evading the 5% statutory cap on franchise fees," said Pai.
The plan is to vote on an item that would make it clear that in-kind "exactions" by local franchising authorities do indeed count toward the cap. Those include "courtesy equipment, I-Net construction, network capacity, channels, grants, sponsorships, specially created programming, local retail facilities, cash 'contributions,' free advertising," and more according to NCTA-The Internet and Television Association, which backs the R&O.
"Excessive fees and inappropriate regulations imposed by local governments deter broadband deployment and discourage investment in next-generation facilities and services," Pai said of the planned R&O.
But at their annual meeting earlier this month in Honolulu, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a pretty self-explanatory resolution: “Supporting Local Cable Franchising Including Non-monetary Obligations.”
Among the "wherefores" and "be it resolved's" in the resolution are these salient passages:
"WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission is considering a proposal (05-311) that would allow cable companies to establish a market value for the nonfinancial franchise obligations and then allow the cable operators to deduct that amount from the franchise fees owed under the franchise agreements; and
"WHEREAS, the FCC, in the same proceeding is suggesting that a cable operator needs no additional permission nor comply with any additional requirements when it accesses city property to offer non-cable services; and
"WHEREAS, these FCC proposals undermine local authority, turn public property over to private interests and remove longstanding community benefits, resulting in consumer harm and impact to basic municipal services...
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors affirms the importance of cable franchising in granting permission for cable companies to use valuable public property for their lines; in providing needed protections for municipalities, the public, and cable customers; and in tailoring franchise requirements and services to meet local needs; and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors opposes any regulatory proceeding or legislation that seek to alter the terms of existing franchises, including any effort to require that non-financial obligations be subject to offset against franchise fees..."
Resolutions express the will and wishes of those voting for them, but have no effect beyond that.
The chairman almost certainly has the votes to pass the R&O, so it will be up to the states to comply and confine their fees to relevant monies or challenge the decision.
FCC would have to update Hill on capacity to handle new tech
Before the internet of things (IoT) becomes the internet of everything, a bipartisan duo of House members wants to make sure there is spectrum for that.
Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Congressman John Katko (R-N.Y.), co-chairs of the Internet of Things Caucus, have introduced the Internet of Things (IoT) Readiness Act.
The bill would require the FCC to figure out if there is enough currently available spectrum to meet the burgeoning demands of IoT devices, and how much more will be needed "if," but more like "when," that demand increases.
"As co-chair of the Internet of Things Caucus, I believe it is time for the FCC to include Congress in the spectrum planning conversation," said DelBene. "The United States can’t afford to wait around while other countries are implementing IoT readiness plans."
“Our nation’s networks must be prepared to handle advanced levels of usage as household connectivity demand expands," said Katko. "The Internet of Things Readiness Act enables the Federal Communications Commission to study the amount of spectrum required to satisfy current and future consumer demand."
Combines carrier data with internet 'lived experience" speed tests
The Open Technology Institute has added to the broadband mapping conversation with its own interactive mapping tool.
The United States of Broadband (USBB) map, which it unveiled Wednesday (July 17), will combine carrier-reported data to the FCC (form 477) on where high-speed broadband is deployed with what it claims are "billions" of speed tests.
The FCC has proposed a new mapping approach to collecting broadband data, combined with a public vetting element. Meanwhile, there are various bills to address the deployment data gap as a way to better bridge the digital divide.
OTI blogged about the effort. "There are plenty of policy proposals aimed at improving broadband penetration, but policy decisions should be based on accurate data, and there is widespread confusion about the ground truth when it comes to the speeds customers are getting from their ISPs," it said. The new mapping tool "aims to help clear up that confusion."
If so, there will be many in the carrier, regulatory, activist, and legislative communities who will be celebrating.
The map uses tests that OTI bills as "more accurately measuring people's lived experience of the Internet." That is because it is using data from M-Lab, a testing arm spun off from OTI earlier this year, which "runs a global set of servers located in the same data centers where many internet backbone networks connect with each other," often where Netflix and Amazon keep their servers. The centers are often where large content carriers like "Netflix and Amazon keep their servers, it says. (Netflix has prominently argued that carriers slow their traffic, while carriers argue it is Netflix slowing the traffic to try and get them to install Netflix equipment.)
And OTI argues that measuring speeds at the fingertips, as it were, rather than the backbone, may not be the best gauge of that "lived" internet experience.
It says form 477 "only reports the maximum speed of a hypothetical connection from a house to the ISP’s own local network," which it says is useful but not the only way to measure broadband speeds. "Often, customers are much more interested in how fast their connection is to locations throughout the internet, where the most popular and vital everyday online platforms have their servers."
Starts to replace WarnerMedia-owned premium net with its own on-demand movie channels
For Comcast, the Hitz are coming, albeit not all at once.
As it said it would in late May, the operator started today replacing Cinemax channels with its own on-demand movie network, Hitz.
According to a premium-tier customer in a Philadelphia suburb, three of his five Cinemax channels are now listed as “HITZ, HITZ2 and HITZ3.”
“I’ve confirmed everything is moving forward as planned,” a Comcast press rep told B&C
The largest U.S. cable operator announced on a marketing page in late May that it was going to replace WarnerMedia-owned premium channel Cinemax with Hitz, effective July 17.
Comcast is apparently just slow in updating its marketing collateral to reflect the transition.
As of this morning, Cinemax is still listed as being a part of the premium tiers for which it was supposed to be replaced by Hitz. For example, Cinemax is still listed along with sibling network HBO, Showtime and Starz in the 260-plus-channel Xfinity Premier bundle.
And notably, Cinemax is still included on a Comcast marketing page devoted to premium channels offered by the operator. These also include Epix and Showtime Networks-owned The Movie Channel.
Hitz, Comcast said, would replace Cinemax today, offering a rotating selection of 200 films from major studios on-demand. But it’s still not included on this premium channel page.
Effective today, the operator said, Cinemax is still be available to Comcast subscribers, but only as a $12-a-month premium add-on.
“After Hitz launches on July 17, the easiest way to find Hitz will be saying ‘Hitz’ into your X1 voice remote," Comcast said while announcing the channel. "Hitz can also be found in the Networks section of the On Demand menu. You can also see current Hitz movies in the on-screen grid guide — frequently near other movie services.”
Since Hitz was announced, Comcast reps have worked the message boards and tried explain the switch to customers, some of which are bereaved.
On July 4, for example, Comcast user “megdrex” complained, "We all know we're losing six channels and gaining one worthless piece of garbage.”
Verified employee “ComcastPhill” responded that the cable operator has the contractual right to “add, change and remove” channels.
He further explained, “Most of the movies on Cinemax have also aired on HBO, which creates a duplication since your TV package also includes HBO. By adding Hitz to your package for no additional charge, we’re offering a comparable number of movie titles to Cinemax.”
Said that should be FCC policy goal
The Free State Foundation has come out in support of secondary-market deals for C-band spectrum as a way to clear some or all of the band for 5G.
The FCC is committed to freeing up spectrum in the band, used for satellite program delivery by broadcasters and cable operators, but has been collecting input on just how to do it.
The C-Band Alliance, comprising the major satellite carriers licensed to use the C-band, has proposed a secondary market auction, rather than an FCC auction, saying that is the best and fastest way to free up the most spectrum. Free State, a Rockville, Maryland-based nonpartisan think tank promoting free market-oriented policies, generally likes the cut of that free-market jib.
"We believe that, at the end of the day, the tradeoffs involved in such a free market-oriented approach will enhance overall consumer welfare and reduce overall societal costs by maximizing the efficient use of this valuable mid-band spectrum," wrote Free State president Randolph May and visiting fellow Gregory Vogt.
May and Vogt said they recognize the FCC will have to work through some "nontrivial" issues related to that approach — "the amount of spectrum in the C-band to be reallocated, the legal basis for the market-based approach and whether a portion of the sale proceeds should be contributed to the federal government" (as the C-Band Alliance has proposed). But they also said that "by maximizing overall consumer welfare and reducing overall societal costs, it comports with the public interest." That should be the FCC's policy objective, they said.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has also acknowledged the repurposing is, well, complicated. But he did tell Congress recently that he hopes to have something ready by the fall.
Separately, legislation has been drafted by House Democrats that would require an FCC auction, plus a hefty contribution to the Treasury ($10 billion) to help close the rural digital divide.
Cable operators and competitive carriers also have a proposal that would include an FCC auction, as well as possible payouts to cable and broadcasters as well as satellite companies.
The C-band is the kind of midband spectrum — the sweet spot for 5G — that the FCC is under pressure to start clearing in greater abundance. President Donald Trump has directed his administration to come up with a new national spectrum policy plan with the goal of winning the race to 5G.
CBA has dubbed its private auction FUEL (Flexible Use and Efficient Licensing) and has said it would be a sealed-bid auction for "packages" of spectrum, private but overseen by the FCC, which could put conditions on the licenses if it chose. (The FCC has its own FAST (Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology) plan for getting spectrum into the hands of wireless broadband companies).
The CBA auction was designed by Auctionomics, which has worked with the FCC on its spectrum auctions.
‘Bring the Funny’ slips from premiere on Peacock
NBC won Tuesday prime ratings by a mile, America’s Got Talent leading the net to a 1.3 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 7 share. In second were ABC and Telemundo at 0.5/3.
Shows were up against the MLB All-Star Game a week before.
With Brad Paisley as a guest judge, America’s Got Talent went up 7% to 1.5 from 8 to 10 p.m., before Bring the Funny lost 17% from its series debut for a 1.0.
ABC had the special The Lion King: Can You Feel the Love Tonight at 0.7, with comedy repeats following.
On Telemundo, Betty En NY got a flat 0.5 and La Reina del Sur went up 17% to 0.7.
CBS scored a 0.4/2. Love Island slid 17% from its premiere to 0.5 and Blood & Treasure was a level 0.3. CBS News special Man on the Moon did a 0.3.
Fox and Univision both rated a 0.3/2. Fox had repeats and Univision was led by La Reina Soy Yo at 0.4.
The CW did a 0.1/1. Pandora premiered to a 0.1 and The 100 got a flat 0.2.
Underlying omnibus bill passes unanimously
The House Energy & Commerce Committee has voted unanimously to dramatically raise the per-violation fines for illegal robocalls. That was part of an omnibus bill, the "Stopping Bad Robocalls Act," which also passed unanimously (48-0)* as part of a markup for a couple dozen bills.
The bill, actually a combination of five bills, had passed unanimously out of the Communications Subcommittee June 25.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said she expected it would be the most popular bill the committee passed and urged passage in the full House ASAP.
Fines in the bill were raised from $1,500 per violation to $10,000 per. That came in an amendment co-sponsored by Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Jerry McNerney (D-Fla.). They said that might actually get robocall scammers to change their behavior rather than treat the fine as the cost of doing business.
Also approved was an amendment that creates a Hospital Robocall Protection Group within the FCC to concentrate on the scourge of scam calls to hospital staff and patients, which threaten both life and health as well as personal health information.
The underlying bill will help curb the estimated 48 billion robocalls Americans get each year, according to Communications Subcommittee chairman Bob Latta (R-Ohio). The builds on the FCC's action last month to essentially mandate robocall blocking technology, said Latta.
The bill allows for consumers to know which calls are being blocked and for increased information sharing between phone companies and the FCC to better trace unwanted robocalls to their source. It says the bill will protect consumers from bad actors while still preserving their access to life-saving information and other important data, he said.
Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA.) said that legitimate alerts and reminders represent only about 20% of the billions of robocall calls received each year.
House E&C chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) called the bill a great bipartisan effort.
What actually passed Wednesday (July 17) was a managers' amendment that included some technical tweaks (as well as the two amendments to that managers' amendment). Pallone said it also includes language on legitimate calls that get blocked because of technology issues. The bill now has transparency provisions as well as options for redress for calls that should not have been blocked.
* The vote was originally recorded as 47-0, then immediately changed to 49-0, then changed again to 48-0 in an email notice an hour or so later, where it stood at deadline.
Blackmagic Design today announced director and videographer Ben Hausdorff used the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K to shoot music videos for Pentatonix’s new Ariana Grande medley. Hausdorff also used the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K to shoot Kirstin Maldonado’s upcoming music video for her cover of Selena’s ‘I Could Fall in Love.’
Fremont, CA - July 17, 2019 - Blackmagic Design today announced director and videographer Ben Hausdorff used the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K to shoot music videos for Pentatonix’s new Ariana Grande medley. Hausdorff also used the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K to shoot Kirstin Maldonado’s upcoming music video for her cover of Selena’s ‘I Could Fall in Love.’
Pentatonix is a three time Grammy® Award winning and multi platinum selling group that has sold nearly 10 million albums worldwide and performed for hundreds of thousands of fans at their sold out shows across the globe.
Hausdorff is a director and videographer who has worked on a number of music videos, BTS videos for the band’s YouTube channel and concert videos for both Pentatonix and Kirstin Maldonado.
One of the most recent music videos he shot for Pentatonix was the band singing a medley of Ariana Grande songs. The music video captured the incredible harmonies of the five members of the group singing together, and was one of the fastest trending videos on YouTube in May, 2019, gaining more than five million views in less than a month.
“It was a simple shoot on paper, with each member of Pentatonix sitting on a single couch. We used three studio lights and I just tried to capture the moment,” Hausdorff said. “Even though it looks like an easy shoot, a lot of work had to go into it to make it perfect. The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K gave me incredible 4K images and great recording time.”
One of the aspects of the camera that Hausdorff found especially useful was the large monitor on the back of the camera.
“It is always better when the members of Pentatonix can see the result of each take, but with most camera’s monitors it is not possible because they are so small and do not show a quality image. But with the Pocket Cinema Camera’s large back monitor, they could all see exactly what they needed with each shot and they loved the quality.”
For Kirstin Maldonado’s new cover, Hausdorff used the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K with a larger lighting set up than with the Pentatonix video. This video was also run and gun style, with Hausdorff constantly moving and capturing Kirstin singing in front of five other musicians.
“We wanted to get a real cinema look and feel for the video, but also capture a warm feel to it. At the same time we did not have the budget to go out and rent a lot of gear. The Pocket camera produces cinema quality images in such a small design that I was able to just use that camera and be as mobile as I needed to be,” he said.
“The video is a mix of close ups of Kirstin and wide shots of her and the instrumentalists in the background. No matter what type of shot I needed, I was able to get it with the Pocket. The people in the background even looked crisp in f4 aperture,” Hausdorff said. “I love the quality and RAW capture, along with the built in LUTs with this camera. It really helped us up our game.”
Product photos of Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and all other Blackmagic Design products are available at www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/images.
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.
Gina Torres plays Jessica Pearson, Chicago mayor’s fixer extraordinaire
Suits spinoff Pearson begins on USA Network July 17, showing disbarred lawyer Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres, setting out for Chicago and working for the mayor as a fixer.
UCP produces both Suits and Pearson. Suits starts its ninth and final season July 17 too, leading in to Pearson.
Suits was created and is executive produced by Aaron Korsh. Daniel Arkin is the showrunner on Pearson, and an exec producer.
Arkin said he developed “a real rapport” with Korsh while working on Suits, including heading to Toronto to write the finale. “I really developed a chemistry with him,” said Arkin.
Torres, and Pearson, departed Suits after six seasons. The NY Times noted how Torres never really split from her character:
Torres found Jessica haunting her daydreams and realized she wasn’t finished with the character after all. And then her obsession with the presidential election and its strange bedfellows took flight.
“I started thinking of Jessica in terms of a political fixer, and what would she do in that situation, and I started writing it down and sorting it out,” she recalled.
Arkin described Suits as blue sky, and Pearson as kind of gray. “It’s meant to be a little more rough around the edges,” he said.
That includes touching on real-life, real-world issues, such as racism. Arkin said Pearson is not a “ripped-from-the-headlines” show, as the issues are always examined in a character-driven way. But they are touched on.
“We do the real issues in a real way,” he said. “Hopefully without doing a lot of preaching.”
I asked Arkin if Jessica Pearson is modeled after any real-life women. He didn’t name anyone, but did note the wave of African-American women coming to power in Chicago politics. “It feels like we’re in the zeitgeist,” he added. “Jessica is a woman of her time and place.”
Torres told the NY Times her Pearson character looks a bit like President Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway:
When I would see Kellyanne Conway — and she wasn’t the only one, let me just put it that way — I just kept trying to figure out, Who are these people, really? Like, are they true believers? Are they opportunists? Are they making a power grab? What motivates them? With Kellyanne, there were people that loved her, and there were people that loved to hate her. You just never quite knew which it was. And then I thought, Oh, she’s like Jessica. No one really knows at the end of the day: Can she be trusted? Is she a moral person or is she just about the power?
Pearson is shot in Los Angeles, and Arkin said they spent a week in October banking Chicago shots. “It’s always a challenge, finding the look, the lighting, the color of Chicago” in Los Angeles, he said.
Arkin said Bonnie Hammer, chairman, NBCUniversal direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises, has long been a fan of both Jessica Pearson and Gina Torres. That helped Pearson emerge as a spinoff. “Bonnie has always loved Gina the actress and Pearson the character,” he said.
Said site is progressing toward digital media responsibility leadership
The Parents Television Council, which has pushed Netflix to remove the show until it could demonstrate it could not pose a potential harm to children, praised its decision to edit out a suicide scene from the series' first season.
13 Reasons Why deals with the suicide of a high-school-age girl and the reasons she left behind.
“This announcement, and last week’s announcement about removing smoking from its programming, are two big steps in the right direction for the benefit of children; but they must not be Netflix’s only steps," said PTC president Tim Winter. "While we applaud Netflix for making this responsible decision, we call on the company to redouble its efforts to protect children from harmful content."
Winter said Netflix is "leading the way forward towards greater corporate responsibility compared to other digital media companies," but he said that needs to continue "despite challenging financial considerations or future competition.”
Vet to head domestic and international teams
The Motion Picture Association of America has named Emily Lenzner EVP for global communications and public affairs, succeeding Matt Bennett who exited to become VP and chief communications officer at American University in Washington.
Lenzner reports to MPAA chairman Charles Rivkin.
“Emily is one of the leading communications strategists in the media industry,” said Rivkin in a statement. “Her expertise in managing global, highly visible brands while navigating some of our industry’s biggest challenges will be invaluable not only to the MPAA but for each of our member studios."
Lenzner comes from Atlantic Media, where she had been SVP of global communications and external relations.
At MPAA, she will head of the association's domestic and international communications.
Her extensive communications resume includes director of communications for ABC News in Washington and a White House post as assistant to senior Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos, with whom she was reunited as head of PR for This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
Over 90% of employees sign union cards
Staffers of the Committee to Protect Journalists have joined the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE).
More than 90% of the 30-member staff signed union cards and CPJ management has recognized the guild as the staffers' bargaining agent, according to WGAE.
CPJ reports on threats to press freedom both abroad and, increasingly, at home. In fact, WGAE honored CPJ in 2009 with its Evelyn F. Burkey Award for "contributions [that] have brought honor and dignity to writers everywhere."
"Through its in-depth reporting, analysis and advocacy work, the Committee to Protect Journalists has been at the center of the fight to defend freedom of the press around the world," said the union.
“We are honored to represent people who devote their professional lives to protecting journalists, to telling the stories of journalists who do important and difficult work in perilous times," said WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson.
The CPJ organizing committee said they are looking to "strengthen our workplace culture and ensure that all staff--from longtime employees to new hires--have the necessary support and protection to carry out CPJ's mission."
It said that CPJ has "already taken steps to provide comprehensive benefits" and that staffers will be working with management on "equitable and transparent compensation structures; fair hiring, disciplinary, and termination practices; staff input in decision making; and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace."
The committee also said it was in keeping with CPJ's mission that the staffers "stand in solidarity with the unions that are advocating for journalists and newsrooms around the world, and to add our own voices to that call."
Media Financial Management Association’s (MFM) July Distance Learning Webinar “Understanding Cybersecurity” will be held Tuesday, July 23, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. ET. Dale Tuttle, partner and Anurag Sharma, principal at WithumSmith+Brown will discuss the current cybersecurity climate, issues media companies face, and how to deal with them. Cloud infrastructure, best practices in a cloud-based world, and third-party vendor considerations will also be covered.
“Wired Magazine reports that 2019 has already witnessed data breaches and attacks on a U.S. Customs and Border Protection contractor, a number of local governments, industrial manufacturing firms, and the American Medical Collection Agency, to name but a few. Cybersecurity must be a mission-critical issue for all companies today,” said Mary M. Collins, president, and CEO of MFM and BCCA. “Subject matter experts Dale Tuttle and Anurag Sharma live and breathe cybersecurity and will outline issues media companies need to be thinking about now.”
About the Presenters:
Dale Tuttle, Partner and the Practice Leader Withum Digital
Dale Tuttle is a Partner and the Practice Leader for the Withum Digital practice. Dale has more than 20 years of experience building and operating information technology services firms. At Withum, he helps operate the Firm’s cloud transformation business and works closely with other partners to grow its cloud-focused IT consulting business.
Anurag Sharma is a Principal of the Firm’s Cybersecurity practice and System & Organization Controls (SOC) practice based out of its Princeton, NJ office. Anurag is a regular speaker on Cybersecurity and SOC related topics at many State CPA Societies including NJCPA PICPA, CTCPA, FICPA, the AICPA, and other organizations. He has authored many articles dealing with cybersecurity challenges faced by small and medium businesses (SMB) and has been frequently quoted in NJ Biz Magazine, Boston Business Journal and PEI Private Fund Management Magazine.
About the Distance Learning Event
Eligible registered participants in the Distance Learning Seminar will also receive up to one CPE credit toward their certified public accounting (CPA) license. MFM is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.
The event is free to MFM Corporate Members, $50 for MFM Individual Members, and $75 for Non-Members. The deadline to register is Monday, July 22 by 5:00 p.m. CT. Registrations received after that time will be charged an additional $20 late fee.
More information and an online registration form may be found on MFM’s website.
About MFM and BCCA
Media Financial Management Association (MFM) is the premiere resource for financial professionals for media industry education, networking, and information sharing throughout the U.S. and Canada. More information about MFM is available on its Web site: https://www.mediafinancefocus.org and via its updates on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Its BCCA subsidiary serves as the media industry’s credit association. BCCA’s revenue management services encompass a variety of credit reports on national and local media advertisers and agencies, including Media Whys, a credit report for media businesses which offers a credit score based on industry-specific aging combined with trade data from Experian or D+B. More information about BCCA is available at https://www.bccacredit.com as well as its updates on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Season one finale gets touched up more than two years after it debuted
Netflix has deleted a graphic scene depicting suicide from the first season of teen drama 13 Reasons Why. The scene, in the final episode of the first season, showed main character Hannah cutting her wrists in a bathtub. It now shows Hannah looking in the bathroom mirror. Moments later, her parents enter the bathroom and find her body.
The first season premiered in March 2017. Season three starts later this summer.
“We’ve heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help--often for the first time,” Netflix said in a statement. “As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate about the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, we’ve decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers of 13 Reasons Why to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one.”
After season one debuted, Netflix formed an advisory team of people working in suicide prevention to discuss the show, reported the New York Times.
“No one scene is more important than the life of the show, and its message that we must take better care of each other,” said Yorkey in a statement. “We believe this edit will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers.”
Agreement Includes “Smart Cities Day” Presentation at SCTE•ISBE Cable-Tec Expo 2019
July 17, 2019 (Exton, PA)—The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), SCTE•ISBE’s global arm, the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE), and the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) today announced a multi-faceted partnership that is intended to pave the way for new initiatives by the cable industry in the areas of Smart Home and Smart Cities.
The agreement calls for SCTE•ISBE and CABA to drive standards creation, standards adoption and educational opportunities that leverage cable network capabilities to unlock Smart Home, Smart Cities and Internet of Things (IoT) services. The collaborative approach will be highlighted by a CABA-programmed presentation from Noon – 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3 – “Smart Cities Day” on the Innovation Theater stage at SCTE•ISBE Cable-Tec Expo 2019.
“A key part of cable’s commitment to 10G services is to provide the high speed, low latency, highly reliable, and highly secure services that are at the heart of intelligent buildings,” said Chris Bastian, Senior Vice President, Engineering and CTO for SCTE•ISBE. “As the leading international not-for-profit industry organization promoting advanced technologies in homes and buildings, CABA will be a key resource as we develop standards and training courses that ensure alignment between our industry and Smart Home and Smart Cities objectives.”
“Cable’s ubiquitous reach and its commitment to quality and reliable service dovetail perfectly with the CABA mission,” said Ron Zimmer, President & CEO of CABA. “We see this partnership as accelerating the footprint of Smart Home and Smart Cities technologies by enabling our members to take advantage of the training and standards that SCTE•ISBE already is creating for the cable industry.”
The CABA presence is part of an increased emphasis on Smart Cities at Cable-Tec Expo 2019. A key feature of the show floor will be a Smart Cities Pavilion sponsored by Spectrum and Liberty Global, with additional participation by Comcast and the support of the Smart Cities Council and US Ignite. Industry vendors will exhibit in the adjacent IoT Pavilion, and a cast of operator, vendor and industry connected community experts will outline the opportunity for the industry and the communities it serves during Smart Cities Day on Thursday, Oct. 3 in the Innovation Theater.
Scheduled this year from Monday through Thursday, Sept. 30 through Oct. 3 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, SCTE•ISBE Cable-Tec Expo is the largest and premier cable industry event in the Americas, annually attracting thousands of executive, engineering and operational attendees from 60+ countries. Featuring an innovation-rich show floor and remarks by scores of the industry’s most highly regarded executives and thought leaders, Expo showcases the technology advancement and workforce education that build value for the industry now and into the future. Information about SCTE•ISBE Cable-Tec Expo 2019 is available at http://expo.scte.org. Direct links are available for attendee registration (https://expo.scte.org/attendee-registration/), exhibitors ( and sponsorships (https://expo.scte.org/sponsorship-advertising/). Exhibitor personnel registration will be available in late June.
Wall Street sees earnings of 55 cents per share
Netflix will report its second-quarter earnings Wednesday afternoon, and Wall Street expects to see the streamer to continue to grow its subscriber base.
Analyst Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets expects Netflix to add about 300,000 subscribers, which is about what the company forecast, but 50,000 below the Wall Street consensus estimate.
Similarly, RBC sees Netflix gaining 4.7 million international subscribers, again in line with Netflix guidance, but below the Wall Street consensus of 4.81 million.
The company’s financial metrics should also be solid, with Mahaney expecting revenue of $4.93 billion and earnings of 55 cents a share, in line with both Netflix’s guidance and Wall Street sentiment.
“We believe that Netflix has achieved a level of sustainable scale, growth, and profitability that isn’t currently reflected in its stock price,” said Mahaney, who rates the stock as “outperform.”
“Netflix has a very robust original content slate in [the second half of 2019] with Stranger Things: Season 3, Orange Is The New Back Season 7 and 13 Reasons Why: Season 3 premiering on the platform,” he adds.
Richard Greenfield, analyst with BTIG Research, posted a number of questions he’d like to hear Netflix management answer.
“The narrative around content companies taking their content back-in house has been “the” topic this past quarter,” Greenfield said, noting Disney’s plan to tall all its content in house in the U.S. and the decisions by AT&T and Comcast to move Friends and The Office to their soon-to-be-launched competing streaming services.
The loss of popular programming could put pressure on Netflix’s original content, but Greenfield notes that only Disney appears to be taking a hard line on not selling domestic content to Netflix.
So Greenfield asks: “Has anyone other than Disney signaled they will not sell externally in the U.S.?”
And with 80% of Netflix sub growth taking place internationally, he asks, “what are you seeing outside the U.S.?”
Greenfield is also interested in Netflix’s growing relationships with would be advertisers. Observing reports that there were more than 100 brand integrations in Stranger Things 3, Greenfield want to know how significant the dollars are from integration in helping to pay for programming. He’d also ask: “Do you worry about annoying viewers with brand integrations?”
Another Greenfield wants to know is how Netflix will spend another $5 billion that’s going into the programming budget.
“The increase is actually even more significant dollar wise, as part of the existing $15 billion is being freed up as third-party licensed titles move away,” he notes. “Should we think of the increase from $15 billion to $20 billion annually being driven almost entirety by movies and local international content? Are there newer forms of original content that will see outsized investment such as Food, Lifestyle and/or Travel given recent success?”
And more from Promo Mojo, our exclusive weekly ranking of the programming networks are promoting most heavily
B&C has partnered with always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv to bring you a weekly chart we call Promo Mojo: exclusive data showing the top five TV promos ranked by ad impressions. These are the shows networks have been promoting most heavily to drive tune-in (our data covers the seven-day period through July 14).
On the strength of 222.7 million TV ad impressions, USA Network’s promo for political drama Pearson takes first place, bumping our previous chart-topper, FX’s Snowfall, to second. CBS hypes Love Island in third place (for the second week in a row), while promos for the new season of Restaurant Impossible (Food Network) and the 2019 ESPYS (ABC) close out the ranking.
Notably, Restaurant Impossible earns the highest iSpot Attention Index (140) in our ranking, getting 40% fewer interruptions than the average promo (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV).
Kent, UK, 17 July 2019 – Densitron, the global leader in innovative Human Machine Interaction (HMI) and display technology, has announced the acquisition of the Intelligent Display Systems (IDS) platform from Cambridge-based broadcast business IPE.
IDS combines proprietary hardware and software allowing broadcasters to connect, control and automate devices and activities in and around the studio. Information and content from the IDS platform can be displayed at any end point, integrating seamlessly with the wide range of Densitron or third-party displays. The IDS platform is secure, centrally administered and managed.
Densitron Managing Director Simon Jones said, “The IDS platform gives Densitron a further product innovation boost in the broadcast sector. IDS solutions are already deployed across a wide range of major broadcasters and together with Densitron’s global reach and the ability to invest will enable us to grow the customer base for IDS.”
The talented team of IDS sales and engineering specialists have also joined Densitron to ensure absolute continuity of service and further innovation in the IDS platform.
Reuben Such, Global Business Development Director for IDS said, “We have worked with Densitron for over 18 months already, co-exhibiting the IDS platform with Densitron HMI and display technology at a number of industry trade shows. The synergy of the products and teams across the two organisations was apparent, so we are excited to accelerate growth in IDS now that we can enjoy the support of the wider Densitron organisation.”
Densitron’s Global Product Director Martyn Gates added, “I share the industry’s respect of the elegance, versatility, and application of IDS and I’m delighted that it will now be part of Densitron’s burgeoning broadcast product portfolio.”
Densitron will showcase its range of display products, including IDS, at IBC 2019 in Amsterdam on Stands 8.B41 and 11.D30 from 13-17 September.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
View online: www.densitron.com/about-us/news
Founded over 45 years ago, Densitron is a display expert designing and manufacturing touch-based HMI (Human Machine Interaction) solutions tailored to the needs of customers around the world. In 2019, Densitron acquired the Intelligent Display System (IDS) product and brand from IPE Technologies. IDS is readily integrated into Densitron’s control surfaces and offers a fully scalable, network-based display and control system, which is a logical and seamless complement to Densitron’s existing product range. We collaborate with our customers to understand their particular requirements and then create bespoke products to address those. In November 2015 Densitron was acquired by Quixant plc which designs and manufactures highly optimised computing solutions and monitors principally to the global gaming industry. Together, the Company has offices in Asia, Europe and North America and experienced application engineers based worldwide, our global approach to innovation is always underpinned by a thorough local knowledge and understanding of cultural requirements. Our products can be found in a wide range of sectors including broadcast, medical, security, automotive, digital signage and gaming. More information can be found at www.densitron.com.
Speeds delivery of financial data for agencies
Comcast’s FreeWheel Advertisers unit said it has integrated Centro’s platform for buying digital media into Strata, which should speed the delivery of financial data to agencies.
The combination should also make the agency reconciliation process smoother.
“By design, FreeWheel uses an open architecture for our platform so that we can give agencies choice and flexibility to use the tools that they prefer for their business. Our integration with Basis is the latest example of this vision,” said Joy Baer, general manager of FreeWheel Advertisers. “In listening to our clients, it became clear that Basis was the digital platform of choice for many of them. We’re so pleased to be able to offer direct access to such an important partner and well-respected player in the market.”
FreeWheel will continue to support Adazzle, its own cloud-based platform for digital media management, and the Strata Buying Management System, which enables planning, buying, stewardship, optimization and billing.
“This integration will allow any Centro client who uses the Strata platform to automate the final stage of the campaign life cycle: billing actualization and reconciliation. This will make the work of media professionals much easier and more valuable,” said Shawn Riegsecker, CEO of Centro.
“Campaign teams using Centro will no longer have to log into third party systems, find campaign data, download massive spreadsheet reports, re-format data, and then send the data to finance teams. The integrated Basis and Strata platforms will execute these tasks automatically. It brings significant operational value to our shared client bases,” Riegsecker said.
Globecast, the global solutions provider for media, and one of the largest content distributors in the world with a portfolio of over 250 networks in 19 languages, has announced Berto Guzman as Vice President, Head of Content Acquisition Aggregation and Distribution (CAAD) for the Americas, effective immediately. Guzman is responsible for programmer partnerships and platform distribution to build upon the continued success of the company’s Content business throughout the Americas.
Guzman brings to his new position over 20 years of experience in content distribution and contract negotiation for numerous international and multi-cultural channels. His background includes content distribution for major media brands Starz and DirecTV, where he surpassed revenue and distribution goals. His most recent position was Senior Vice President, Content Distribution and Strategy for Zee TV Networks, where he negotiated distribution expansion and extensions with major platforms including Comcast, Spectrum, DISH, AT&T Uverse, Verizon and Fios. Prior to this, he was Vice President Content Distribution and Marketing at the music network REVOLT TV.
“Our CAAD business unites channels from around the world with local distribution partners, providing significant additional reach. We work across both broadcast and OTT platforms, aggregating content and handling the associated rights. Berto’s impressive experience will build upon our considerable success in this area, and we’re delighted for him to join our team,” commented Tim Jackson, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing the Americas at Globecast.
Globecast has a large and ever-growing portfolio of international content for distribution. Recent launches include Florida-based Hotwire Communications, which chose Globecast to deliver seven new Arabic channels to meet the need for fresh and new Arabic language content.
“It’s an honor to work for a company that’s considered the premiere source for international content. I’m excited to forge ahead with Globecast’s commitment to distribute premium content to traditional and OTT operators in every manner including SVOD, AVOD, and bundled packages throughout the Americas,” Guzman commented.
Guzman resides in Los Angeles and reports to Jackson.
34-year veteran was president of global content sales
Janice Marinelli, president of global content sales & distribution for the Walt Disney Co.’s Direct-to-Consumer & International unit, is leaving the company after 34 years.
Marinelli’s departure follows the acquisition and integration of 21st Century Fox.
No replacement was announced.
“Janice has contributed immeasurably to Disney over the past three decades architecting and successfully negotiating thousands of innovative deals that have benefited our company and will continue to do so for years to come,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International unit. “I am so grateful for her insightful counsel and steadfast collaboration over the past year as we laid the foundation for DTCI and the upcoming launch of Disney+. I especially appreciate her willingness to stay on and see us through this time of tremendous change.”
Marinelli joined Disney’s Buena Vista Television unit in 1985 as an account executive. She was promoted to her current job in 2018.
“I’ve observed many changes in our industry over the years, and it is changing at a speed never seen before,” Marinelli said. “While I have been considering this decision for some time, I was committed to seeing our team through the acquisition and integration of 21st Century Fox. Now that we’ve reached these important milestones, I believe the time is right for me to step down.”
Audinate, developer of the industry-leading Dante® audio networking technology, today announced that the new Dante AV Module™ and the Dante AV Product Design Suite™ are now commercially available for order by manufacturers. Patton Electronics, a US manufacturer and OEM/ODM supplier of networking and connectivity solutions for Pro-AV and Telephony, has announced that they will adopt the platform into a new generation of AV-Over-IP products.
Dante AV is an integrated audio and video networking solution, bringing to video all the benefits that have made Dante the market-leading audio over IP solution: discovery, ease-of-use and integrated control.
Dante AV solves the problem of networked video and audio synchronization by utilizing a single network clock for sub-microsecond accuracy. With Dante AV, audio and video signals are independently routable in a single, easy-to-use interface using the Dante Controller software. Manufacturers can also take advantage of Dante API to customize their management user interface. Dante AV solves time alignment issues and eliminates the need for audio de-embedders in applications such as sports bars, live events and multi-zoned AV systems, providing perfect lip sync everywhere.
“Bringing Dante AV to market is the culmination of our work to add the V to AV,” said Bob Ehlers, VP of product management at Audinate. “By adding video to Dante we are making it easier for manufacturers to add robust and integrated audio and video capabilities. In turn, that means a better AV experience for all end users who depend on – and have come to love – Dante and Dante-enabled products and solutions. We are incredibly pleased and honored to have Patton be one of the first to adopt Dante AV.”
Buddy Oliver, VP of Business Development for Patton spoke about Patton’s adoption of Dante AV: “Patton brought on the FiberPlex (aka LightViper) brand in 2017. Patton’s VoIP expertise combined with FiberPlex’s AV experience makes the addition of video a natural next step. We are excited to introduce video capable UC products to our existing markets as well as gaining access to new adjacent markets.”
The Dante AV Module supports one video channel and eight channels of uncompressed Dante audio. The Dante AV Module is ideal for manufacturers creating 1G video-over-IP products and includes Dante control, transport and synchronization. The architecture is completely codec-agnostic, so manufacturers can use the codec of their choice and still get the benefits of Dante.
The Dante AV Module is available with the Dante AV Product Design Suite, providing a complete AV-over-IP endpoint product design for manufacturers that wish to quickly get a product to market. The Product Design Suite incorporates the Dante AV Module and includes a comprehensive set of hardware documents and software to create complete, fully interoperable AV products quickly and reliably. The Dante AV Product Design Suite includes a JPEG2000 codec supporting 4K/60 4:4:4 video for visually lossless results with low latency over a 1Gbps network. Dante AV Product Design Suite also implements HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) to prevent copying of protected digital audio and video content as it travels across connections. The Dante AV Product Design Suite can be easily customized to suit an OEM’s specific requirements and provide competitive differentiation. Orders for the Dante AV Product Design Suite will be fulfilled in Q4 2019.
Interested manufacturers can get more information on Dante AV and contact sales by visiting the Dante AV website at www.audinate.com/dante-av.
The winners will be recognized Sept. 26 during the Radio Show in Dallas
The post NAB Announces New Marconi Categories, 2019 Finalists appeared first on Radio World.
The National Association of Broadcasters has released a list of the stations and personalities who made the cut as finalists for the 2019 NAB Marconi Radio Awards.
The prestigious broadcast award program has added two new categories “Legendary Manager of the Year” and “Best Radio Station Podcast” and also rechristened the “Noncommercial Station of the Year;” the category’s new name is “Best College Radio Station of the Year.”
Without further ado…
LEGENDARY STATION OF THE YEAR
KCBS(AM), San Francisco
KNX(AM), Los Angeles
KRTH(FM), Los Angeles
LEGENDARY MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas
Charlie Morgan, WQHT(FM), WBLS(FM) and WLIB(AM), New York
Dan Seeman, Hubbard Twin Cities and Hubbard North, St. Paul
Mark Anderson, WBZZ(FM) and WDSY(FM), Pittsburgh
Nick Martin, Big River Broadcasting, Florence, Ala.
NETWORK/SYNDICATED PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Bob Lacey & Sheri Lynch, Now Media
Elvis Duran, Premiere Networks
Rickey Smiley, Reach Media, Inc.
Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Networks
Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks
MAJOR MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Ebro Darden, WQHT(FM), New York
Ellen K, KOST(FM)/KBIG(FM), Los Angeles
Felger & Massarotti, WBZ(FM), Boston
Preston & Steve, WMMR(FM), Philadelphia
The Musers, KTCK(AM), Dallas
LARGE MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP(FM), St. Paul
Jack Harris, WFLA(AM), Tampa, Fla.
Mercedes Martinez, KMXB(FM), Las Vegas, Nev.
Mike Calta, WHPT(FM), St. Petersburg, Fla.
Mojo, WKQI(FM), Detroit
MEDIUM MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Brent Lane, WYCT(FM), Pensacola, Fla.
Buzz Jackson, KIIM(FM), Tucson
Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX(FM), Tyler, Texas
Jeff and Amanda, WKRZ(FM), Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Mike Street, WBTJ(FM), Richmond
SMALL MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Brent Carl Fleshman, WHUB(FM), Cookeville, Tenn.
Chris and Rosie, WUSQ(FM), Winchester, Va.
Glenner Anderson, KXLR(FM), Fairbanks, Alaska
Scotty and Catryna, KCLR(FM), Columbia, Mo.
Shags & Trevor, KCMG(FM), Columbia, Mo.
MAJOR MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR
KIIS(FM), Los Angeles
WWPR(FM), New York
LARGE MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR
KSTP(FM), St. Paul
KQMV(FM), Bellevue, Wash.
WMTX(FM), Tampa, Fla.
WXTB(FM), Tampa, Fla.
MEDIUM MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR
KIPR(FM), Little Rock
KRMG(FM), Tulsa, Ola.
WHKO(FM), Dayton, Ohio
WSSL(FM), Greenville, S.C.
SMALL MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR
KFGO(AM), Fargo, N.D.
KROX(AM), Crookston, Minn.
KWYO(AM), Sheridan, Wy.
WNDH(FM), North Canton, Ohio
WXLP(FM), Davenport, Iowa
BEST RADIO PODCAST OF THE YEAR
“Behind the Song,” WDRV(FM), Chicago
“Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO(AM), Minneapolis
“Garage Logic,” Hubbard Radio, St. Paul
“On the Table,” NET, Lincoln, Neb.
“What Had Happened Was,” WHIO(FM), Dayton, Ohio
AC STATION OF THE YEAR
KODA(FM), Houston, TX
KRWM(FM), Bellevue, Wash.
WMAG(FM), Greensboro, N.C.
CHR STATION OF THE YEAR
KRBE(FM), Houston, Texas
KTXY(FM), Columbia, Mo
WKZL(FM), Greensboro, N.C.
WQHT(FM), New York
CLASSIC HITS STATION OF THE YEAR
WMJI(FM), Cleveland, Ohio
WMMO(FM), Orlando, Fla.
WXGL(FM), St. Petersburg, Fla.
COLLEGE RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR
WHPC(FM), Nassau Community College, Garden City, N.Y.
WMSC(FM), Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J.
WRCC(FM), Rider University, Lawrenceville, N.J.
WRHU(FM), Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
WSOU(FM), Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J.
COUNTRY STATION OF THE YEAR
KUBL(FM), Salt Lake City
WQHK(FM), Fort Wayne, Ind.
NEWS/TALK STATION OF THE YEAR
KTMY(FM), St. Paul
WDBO(FM), Orlando, Fla.
WINS(AM), New York
WKXW(FM), Trenton, N.J.
RELIGIOUS STATION OF THE YEAR
KKJM(FM), St. Cloud, Minn.
KNWI(FM), West Des Moines, Iowa
KPWJ(FM), College Station, Texas
WRVL(FM), Lynchburg, Va.
ROCK STATION OF THE YEAR
KISS(FM), San Antonio, Texas
WPLR(FM), New Haven, Conn.
SPANISH STATION OF THE YEAR
KLNZ(FM), Los Angeles
KLZT(FM), Austin, Texas
WOJO(FM), San Diego, Calif
WYUU(FM), Tampa, Fla.
SPORTS STATION OF THE YEAR
URBAN STATION OF THE YEAR
KBLX(FM), San Francisco
WBLS(FM), New York
WHQT(FM), Hollywood, Fla.
The winners will be recognized Sept. 26 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show, held during the Radio Show in Dallas.
The post NAB Announces New Marconi Categories, 2019 Finalists appeared first on Radio World.
Firmware Version 89-34 addresses EAS time frame validity
Sage Alerting Systems has announced a free firmware update for its ENDEC model 3644.
Firmware Version 89-34 “addresses a changed requirement in the FCC EAS rules, Part 11.33(a)(10), which affects how the valid time frame of an alert is determined.” That modifies the current method of frame validation, according to the company.
The company adds, “This release does not affect the ENDEC’s reception and relay of the scheduled Aug. 7, 2019 National Periodic Test. Whether your ENDEC is running version 89-30, 89-32, or this new version 89-34, your ENDEC will relay the NPT.”
Go here for more information or to download the update.
Perhaps larger than this specific update is a notice from Sage of an upcoming September update that will address changes to the IPAWS server. That update will be a paid update. More information on that coming.
Read excerpts of iHeartMedia’s arguments to the commission about easing FM ownership rules
Big radio group owner iHeartMedia supports “targeted reform” of local radio ownership rules in the United States, including eliminating the limits on common ownership of AM stations or, at a minimum, removing AM subcaps. But the company told the FCC that it should reject an “exceedingly aggressive” proposal from the National Association of Broadcasters regarding limits on FM station ownership.
The following are excerpts about the latter from iHeart’s reply comments, filed in May as part of the commission’s quadrennial regulatory review. In sections preceding this excerpt, iHeart argued that the broadcast radio market is the relevant one for determining the need for modifying local radio ownership rules and that the FCC should reject the NAB’s “radical redefinition” of the relevant market.
The Record, Taken as a Whole, Demonstrates That the NAB’s Overly Aggressive FM Local Radio Ownership Proposal Attempts to Address a Competition Problem Beyond the Relevant Market and Would Be Ineffective in Doing So
The NAB’s proposal to eliminate the local ownership limits on FM stations in all markets below the top 75 and permit common ownership of eight FM stations (up to 10 with Incubator-related waivers) in the top 75 markets is designed to address a competition problem in a market consisting of broadcast radio, non-broadcast audio services such as satellite radio, and digital media platforms such as Facebook and Google. It makes no pretense of attempting to remedy competition problems within the relevant broadcast radio market. …
iHeart contends that the NAB’s prescription is not a solution for the competitive disparity between AM and FM stations, the only relevant market, but actually worsens that competition problem. Moreover, even assuming for the sake of argument that it might be proper to consider the broader audio ecosystem, there is a disconnect between the NAB’s solution that rests on cost efficiencies and economies of scale flowing from increasing the number of stations under common ownership in a market and what might be sufficient to enable broadcasters to meet the larger competitive challenge posed by digital media giants.
Many commenters share iHeart’s view that the relevant market is broadcast radio and radio broadcasters simply do not compete in the same market as Internet-based platforms such as Facebook and Google. In its comments, NABOB quotes at length from an August 2, 2018, article by Eric Rhoads, a recognized expert in the radio and network radio business, owner, operator and programmer for 30 years, and chairman of Radio Ink:
“The FCC is made up of very smart people who, hopefully, understand that giving more radio stations is not going to solve the Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat problem. I dare say that ship has sailed and that radio’s ability to compete with the Internet isn’t going to be impacted one ounce by having more stations per owner. … The only similarity between Google/Facebook and radio is that we are all in the advertising business. That’s where it stops. Their approach to advertising is so utterly different that no one is going to spend more in radio because Company A or Company B has more stations.”
In its comments, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council quotes at length from Ronald Gordon and Ed Cherry’s op-ed in the July 25, 2018, edition of Radio World:
“How would buying an additional four or five stations in a market allow a broadcaster to take on Google or Facebook? Individually, these big tech companies dwarf the annual revenues of the entire radio industry combined. How exactly would gutting the radio ownership rules drive advertising money away from tech and into radio industry’s pocket? To the advertiser, what difference does it make who owns the station? Horizontal deregulation just shuffles the deck in favor of the big guys; it does nothing to improve radio’s ability to compete with big tech.”
Other broadcasters supportive of the NAB proposal make the same point as the NAB that non-broadcast audio and digital platforms compete for audiences and advertising revenue in a fragmented marketplace. They rely heavily on a study by Borrell Associates, “documenting the commanding position of digital advertising giants in today’s local advertising marketplace.” Like the NAB, they conflate the advertising market with the audio services market and even within the advertising market fail to differentiate among the different purposes and inherent capabilities of broadcast radio advertising and digital media advertising. …
[B]roadcast radio focuses on the top of the advertising funnel, reflecting its strengths in reach and branding. In essence, this strength of broadcast radio reflects the fundamental nature of the medium; it distributes content on a one-to-many basis. Digital media, such as Facebook and Google, are sought by advertisers because they focus on the bottom end of the advertising funnel where the vast amount of individualized data they collect from users gives them direct and often instantaneous impact on a one-to-one basis with prospective purchasers.
Moreover, digital platforms are the recipients of promotion from broadcast radio, further illustrating their complementary relationship. These fundamental differences between broadcast radio and digital media in advertising utility … are why broadcast radio and digital platforms are not substitutable even from an advertising perspective, much less from a holistic perspective.
As so much of the focus of the NAB and its broadcaster supporters is on competition for advertising revenue, one would expect that its justification for lifting the ownership caps would address specifically how its proposal would strengthen broadcasters’ ability to recapture lost advertising revenue to digital competitors.
Therefore, it is revealing that the BIA Study relied upon so heavily by the NAB to support its contention that radical reform of the ownership limits is necessary to compete for advertising revenue against Google and Facebook does not even attempt to quantify the purported impact of the changes it proposes on broadcast radio advertising revenue: “To err on the conservative side, however, we do not assume in our financial models below any increase in revenue per station resulting from the proposed combinations …”
Although the BIA Study characterizes its reluctance to assess the impact of increased common ownership as “conservative,” it also may be understood as an implicit admission that there is no evidentiary basis for concluding that lifting the ownership limits will enhance the broadcast radio industry’s ability to compete against digital platforms for advertising revenue.
In fact, power ratio studies performed by iHeart provide further strong evidence that more stations in a cluster does not increase a radio broadcaster’s ability to attract additional advertising revenue in that market. Power ratios are an accepted industry measure of how a radio station is converting its ratings into advertising revenue.
The power ratio is calculated by dividing a station’s share of the total ad revenue in a market by the station’s overall audience share. The higher the power ratio, the better the station is performing against expectations based upon audience share. For example, a power ratio of 1.0 would indicate that a station is performing consistent with expectations, whereas a station with a power ratio of 0.75 would be underperforming.
iHeart examined stations it licenses in 29 markets where common ownership of five FM stations is allowed under current law, compared to 25 markets where only four FM stations under common ownership is allowed. In the 29 markets where iHeart licenses five FM stations, the average power ratio decline between the top performing FM station and the least performing FM station was approximately 57%. However, that same measurement in markets where iHeart owns only four FM stations yielded a decline of only 42%. Marketwide, the results suggest a better average power ratio performance where iHeart licenses four stations as opposed to five. In fact, the markets in which iHeart licenses five FM stations exhibited a 0.15 comparative power ratio dilution compared to those markets where only four FM stations are licensed.
This power ratio study is compelling evidence that adding a sixth, seventh or eighth FM station to a cluster in a top 75 market, as NAB proposes, will do little to nothing to enable radio broadcasters to compete more effectively for advertising dollars. This confirms the long-held view that station rank within a market and pricing are the dominant factors in attracting local advertising dollars, and demonstrates the disconnect between the remedy advocated by the NAB and the competition problem, albeit not in the relevant market, that it seeks to ameliorate.
Having failed to link its proposed remedy directly to enhanced ability to attract advertising dollars, the NAB falls back on the contention that allowing more consolidation will create cost efficiencies and economies of scale that will free up more resources to compete with non-broadcast media and digital platforms. Yet, even here the BIA Study upon which the NAB relies suffers from obvious inadequacies.
For example, it fails to consider the costs necessarily incurred in the acquisition of new stations and their integration into existing operations. Based on its extensive experience, iHeart is very familiar with such expenses, including legal fees, due diligence and financing. Such costs also could include new construction or expansion of facilities, additional management personnel, and relocation and moving expenses. Such omissions from the net impact of consolidation are equivalent to a balance sheet showing only assets and no liabilities. They overstate the net benefits of the efficiencies and economies of scale that would flow from increasing the limits on FM stations or eliminating them altogether.
The BIA Study examines the extent to which AM stations are at a significant, indeed, distressing competitive disadvantage relative to FM stations. Its conclusions mirror those reached by iHeart. The BIA Study also recognizes that FM stations constrained by the current local radio ownership rules are far more numerous than AM stations and therefore the effect of eliminating or significantly relaxing those rules likely will be disproportionately felt in the FM band. However, the BIA Study fails to analyze the differential ramifications of that outcome. Had it done so, it should have concluded, as has iHeart and other commenters, most notably Salem Media Group and Crawford Broadcasting Company, that the NAB’s proposal regarding FM stations would lead to a further weakening of the AM band and the possibility of mass migration from AM to FM.
Adoption of the Overly Aggressive NAB Proposal for FM Stations Would Harm Competition in the Relevant Broadcast Radio Market and Would Not Be in the Public Interest
Many commenters express profound concern about the negative effect of adoption of the NAB proposal on the public interest. A subset of these commenters join iHeart in focusing on the harm to AM radio stations and the consequent harm to competition in the broadcast radio market, localism and diversity were the NAB proposal on FM station ownership reform accepted by the commission.
Salem Media Group, the nation’s largest religious broadcast radio group, opposes any deregulation of local radio ownership limits. Its rationale focuses squarely on the likely harmful impact on AM stations:
“Salem believes that a devaluation of the AM band could result if the commission were to deregulate subcap limits. This is because the possible resulting migration of leading radio brands to the FM band could accelerate a departure of the AM audience. Moreover, because the AM signal is far more amenable to wide area coverage, a policy decision that encourages station owners to consolidate their holdings in the FM band could leave many listeners disenfranchised, potentially eradicate certain formats, and increase risk in times of crisis.”
Salem’s comments delve into multiple major markets where sharp shifts in audience listening away from leading AM stations to sister FM stations have occurred. Salem describes the implications:
“If the AM band continues to be a ‘less traveled’ destination for listeners, diminishment would certainly result for popular AM brands. Should this occur, the AM band, instead of being a treasury of quality news and religious talk, sports and ethnic programming, will lose its audience appeal. The final result could be an asset devaluation of companies with sizeable AM radio station ownership.”
Crawford Broadcasting Company articulates the same deep concern about the ramifications of removal of the FM subcaps on AM stations. Crawford observes that
“[I]t is only the existing subcaps holding some licensees back from acquiring many more FM signals. We have no doubt that if the subcaps are removed, existing independently-owned FM stations will in short order be sold to larger groups that will move lucrative talk formats from existing AM outlets to those FM stations.”
Crawford then describes the foreseeable, indeed, probable consequences:
“The result will be much to the detriment of AM radio. With a drop in demand and an increase in supply, the value of AM stations will significantly drop, in many cases to less than the value of the land on which their antenna sites are built. That will in turn lead to stations going dark. In short, we believe that removal or easing of FM subcaps will do far more harm to AM radio than all the good the commission has so far achieved in its AM revitalization efforts. This will be a tremendous loss, one that could well start the short countdown to the end of AM radio as a viable medium.”
In reply comments, Crawford reiterates these concerns, explicitly agreeing with iHeart about the risk of harm to AM radio that likely would result from adoption of the NAB proposal regarding ownership limits on FM stations.
The MMTC also embraced the views of iHeart regarding the potentially devastating impact that adoption of the NAB’s proposal regarding FM ownership could have on AM stations. Quoting from the writings of African American broadcaster, Glenn Cherry, and Latino broadcaster, Ronald Gordon, the MMTC explained that greater FM common ownership would eviscerate “AM station asset value and marketability, and even repair-ability.”
In sum, there is abundant support in the record of this proceeding for the position expressed at length in iHeart’s comments that the risk of harm to AM radio and all of its public interest benefits, specifically advancing localism, diversity and national security, militate against adoption of the NAB’s overly aggressive proposal regarding FM ownership limits.
To use the English phraseology, “The INOmini is dead. Long live the INOmini!”
Inovonics has announced that it has completed a transition to the new INOmini line of monitor/receivers.
The company points to recently introduced models: 661 (DAB+), 673 (FM), 674 (AM), 676 (NOAA), and 679 (HD Radio — pictured) with new or improved features such as larger LCD displays, red alarm messages, independently adjustable analog and digital audio outputs, additional metrics and field upgradable firmware via USB.
According to INOvonics preceding INOmini models 633, 634, 636, 639, 660 are no longer available.
Legal experts dig into the updated translator interference rules, Summer of Products continues & more
Legal experts Dan Kirkpatrick and Keenan Adamchak dig into the newly updated translator interference rules. Our Summer of Products coverage continues, and Gary Kline shares some questions to consider when planning your use of codecs. Plus, read advice for making smart use of Cleanfeed. And iHeart explains why the FCC should reject the NAB’s FM ownership proposal.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers is keeping tabs on a number of spectrum issues facing radio. The FCC earlier this year adopted new FM translator interference rules and streamlined the complaint process, but other concerns remain including pirate radio, EAS compliance, ambient noise in the AM band, the C-band versus 5G, and what the SBE perceives to be FCC compliance abandonment.
Hooked on Startups, He Invented Infocast
Learn about Bill Von Meister, who along with two engineers devised an information network based on “piggybacking” digital data on FM radio broadcasts using a single sideband. The system, which von Meister named Infocast, could broadcast data up to the limit of an FM broadcast (about 75 miles).
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
- Ten Codec Questions to Consider
- Cleanfeed Offers Effective Remote Solutions
- Why the FCC Should Reject NAB’s FM Proposal
Here’s a story about something you might call “The Wireless Internet of 1978”
“Von Meister is a terrific entrepreneur, but doesn’t know when to stop entrepreneuring.” — Jack Taub, financial backer of Infocast
Bill von Meister grew up planning to be his own boss. He had a fine example in his wealthy father, who managed a company called German Zeppelin Shipping in Lakehurst, N.J.
After completing his (non-technical) education at Georgetown University in 1973, von Meister started a wholesale liquor company. He found this boring and decided that he should become a consultant.
Working family connections, von Meister was hired to create a database for Litton Bionetics. He knew only the basics of computers but completed a successful database. Once it was up and running, he lost interest and went looking for another consulting gig.
Word got out and Western Union contacted him; they needed someone to create a computerized billing system. Von Meister went to work on the system in 1974 and expanded his knowledge of computer applications with the help of Western Union engineers.
He was fortunate to have an intuitive sense for how various systems and equipment might be combined to serve brand-new purposes. An example of this can be found in his next job change.
TELEX AND TELEPOST
Western Union gave him an assignment that involved Telex. In it, he saw a way to speed up delivery of hardcopy business mail. A letter was transmitted to the city nearest its destination by Telex. A local teleprinter created a hardcopy, which was sent to its final destination via USPS Next Day Delivery. Customers could call in and dictate letters.
He offered the idea to Western Union. The company wasn’t interested, so von Meister found another backer for his idea, a company named Xonics. The service, called Telepost, was so successful that Western Union bought Xonics and rebadged it as Mailgram.
HOOKED ON STARTUPS
Von Meister wasn’t giving Telepost much attention by this time. It was characteristic of Bill von Meister that he could never be happy running a successful business. He was hooked on startups. A pattern emerged as he started a search for a backer for his next big idea.
The idea was a “least cost” long-distance service that he developed with an engineer from Western Union. The service cost less (thanks to a routing algorithm the two developed) and had more useful features than anything MCI or AT&T offered. Von Meister called the service Telemax and marketed it under the corporate umbrella of TDX.
Telemax soon reached a point where it required additional capital. Von Meister found a backer in a British company, Cable & Wireless, which was looking for an entry into the lucrative North American business telephone market.
The deal closed with von Meister drawing $70,000 per year to run TDX/Telemax. Within months, von Meister was eyeing two new businesses while neglecting TDX.
One combined Telemax with FAX and Express Mail to expedite collection letters. Letters were FAXed to the USPS Express Mail center in Chicago. From there, the FAX printouts were Express Mailed to recipients.
The other idea was probably the most revolutionary concept Bill von Meister ever had.
Von Meister and two engineers devised an information network based on “piggybacking” digital data on FM radio broadcasts using a single sideband.
The system, which von Meister named Infocast, could broadcast data up to the limit of an FM broadcast (about 75 miles). Dedicated receivers would decode Infocast data for display on terminals. As he told Businessweek, a network of 50 FM stations across the country, with data routed between stations by packet-switching networks over telephone lines, could reach more than 90% of businesses.
Von Meister’s plan was that Infocast clients would have private two-way data channels through which they could transmit anything, anytime. Infocast would lease equipment to clients, and charge for data traffic.
Von Meister formed a company called Digital Broadcast Corp. to produce and market Infocast — with Cable & Wireless money. (He would soon be forced out of TDX/Telemax over that.)
He lined up equipment sources, set up offices and a technical staff in McLean, Va., and put sales force to work marketing Infocast to corporations and institutions. In November 1977, WGMS(FM) of Washington, D.C., began on-air tests with Infocast hardware. Before long, FM stations across the country were broadcasting data for Infocast.
A California-based grocery chain called Lucky Stores signed up to send data to its stores on the East Coast. And there were other customers.
Infocast was a viable entity but more than a little tight for cash. Late in the year, von Meister found a backer for Infocast, an entrepreneur named Jack Taub.
Of course, von Meister’s master plan was for a consumer network — a system that would transmit news, weather, stock market prices, sports and other information from a central location, to be relayed to FM stations for broadcast.
Home users would tap into data broadcast with receivers and terminals rented from Infocast. Von Meister also planned to allow those same users to send data, and even exchange messages.
Essentially, it was a wireless public internet, 20 years ahead of its time.
But there was no way to fund an Infocast consumer network. Supplying 1,500 terminals to a corporate customer at a cost of a few million dollars was practical. Providing terminals to millions of consumers was not. Thus his dream faded.
But Bill von Meister had another idea, which was inspired by reports of personal computers flooding homes across America. He called his idea CompuCom. Later, the name would be changed to “The Source.” But that is another, fascinating, story.
This story is based on trade magazines and newspapers of the period, with supplemental information from Bob Ryan, president of The Source at its founding, and Jack Taub, a primary investor who took over the company and fired von Meister in 1980.
Michael A. Banks is the author of “On the Way to the Web” (APress, 2008), “Crosley and Crosley Motors” (Enthusiast Books, 2012), “Ruth Lyons, the Woman Who Created Talk TV” (Orange Frazer Press, 2009) and other titles.
New update aims to optimize use on Apple’s new Mac Pro
With an eye on optimizing the software for its new Mac Pro, Apple released Logic Pro X 10.4.5, the latest edition of its professional music production software.
Making full use of the Mac Pro hardware, Logic Pro X 10.4.5 will now support up to 56 processing threads, and reportedly can now run up to five times the number of real-time plug-ins compared to the previous generation Mac Pro. Logic Pro X 10.4.5 also increases the available track and channel count for all users, now supporting up to 1,000 audio tracks and 1,000 software instrument tracks.
Additionally, Logic Pro X now supports 1,000 auxiliary channel strips, 1,000 external MIDI tracks and 12 sends per channel strip. Responsiveness of the Mixer and Event List when working with large sessions is said to have been improved, and projects with numerous Flex Time edits and tempo changes should perform more efficiently under the new update.
The loop browser in Logic Pro X 10.4.5 can filter by loop type and allows drag and drop of multiple loops into your project simultaneously. Meanwhile, the redesigned DeEsser 2 plug-in provides more options to reduce sibilance on audio tracks, and now MIDI beat clocks can be sent to individual ports, each with unique settings like timing offset and plug-in delay compensation.
Logic Pro X 10.4.5 is available as a free update for all existing users, and is available on the Mac App Store for $199.99 for new customers.
FCC chairman signals “reforms” ahead for the low-power radio service
LPFM advocates, take note. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he has heard your arguments that “the service has matured” after nearly two decades on the air and that LPFM now “requires additional engineering options to improve reception.”
A new FCC notice of proposed rulemaking, he said, is intended to help while also meeting his goals of modernizing and streamlining media regulations.
He previewed the proposals in a July 10 blog post, when the chairman laid out the commission’s August meeting agenda. Subsequently, the commission’s Media Bureau opened MB Docket No. 19-193, “Amendments of Parts 73 and 74 to Improve the LPFM Radio Service Technical Rules” and released Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – MB Docket Nos. 19-193, 17-105, responding to a REC Networks petition of June 2018 and seeking comment on its own proposals.
Pai’s blog clarified his intentions: “I’m proposing reforms such as allowing expanded LPFM use of directional antennas and permitting LPFM use of FM booster stations. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking includes additional changes to increase flexibility while maintaining interference protection and the core LPFM values of diversity and localism.”
According to the NPRM, it would also remove the requirement for LPFMs and other radio broadcasters to protect television stations operating on TV Channel 6 after July 13, 2021, when LPTV stations are scheduled to transition to digital. Also, because there are few stations currently affected by these protective measures, the commission proposes to enact a waiver process for stations that would like to make related changes prior to the final transition deadline.
The NPRM also proposes a new definition for LPFM minor changes to include changes that involve overlapping 60 dBu contours of the station’s own existing and proposed facilities, in addition to the current rules that define it as a move that does not exceed 5.6 km.
Although there is currently a waiver option available, the NPRM would also propose to allow LPFM stations to retransmit LPFM signals over FM booster stations without a waiver.
The NPRM also takes the opportunity to otherwise clean up language and update information in Parts 73 and 74 covering interference issues.
However, the commission says it will not discuss issues previously raised in the February 2019 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Comparative Standards proceeding, which included non-technical matters concerning LPFM stations raised by REC Networks (and also mentioned in this petition).
Here’s what you need to know, including details of the revised complaint procedures
Radio World has reported previously on industry reaction to the FCC’s recent action on translator interference. Here, Dan Kirkpatrick and Keenan Adamchak of the law firm Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth detail the report and order in more depth.
On May 9, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission issued a report and order in which it adopted new procedures used to resolve interference complaints against FM translator stations.
Sections 74.1203(a) and 74.1204(f) of the commission’s rules outline the procedures required for resolving complaints of actual and potential interference, respectively, against FM translators. The new rules are designed to streamline and shorten the highly contentious and protracted FM translator interference complaint process and to consolidate the disparate procedures for actual and potential interference complaints.
As explained more fully below, we expect the new rules to go into effect by mid-August. This article breaks down the changes to the FCC’s existing FM translator interference complaint procedures.
New FM Translator Interference Complaint Requirements:
Minimum Number of Listener Complaints. The FCC adopted a requirement for a minimum number of bona fide (i.e., actionable) complaints ranging from six to 25 depending on the population served by a complaining station. The commission based the complaint minimums on an approximate increase of one complaint for every 100,000 people in the complaining station’s service area — i.e., six complaints for a population of 1–199,999 to 25 complaints for a population of 2,000,000 or more. Previously, FM translators could be forced off the air as a result of a single unresolved interference complaint brought against the station, or multiple unresolved interference complaints from a single location. As a result, the FCC now requires translator interference claims to be based on “separate receivers at separate locations” — whereby multiple listener complaints from a single location will not count beyond the first complaint towards the prescribed complaint minimum.
Contents of Each Listener Complaint. Under the FCC’s existing complaint procedures, there are separate requirements for demonstrating that individual potential and actual interference complainants are bona fide. This has resulted in protracted and contentious proceedings as to which individual complaints had to be resolved by the translator licensee — many times before the technical aspects of the interference complaints were even addressed.
In the report and order, the commission streamlined the individual complaint requirements by defining an actionable listener complaint as a complaint that is signed and dated by the listener and contains the following information:
- The complainant’s full name, address, and phone number
- A clear, concise and accurate description of the location where interference is alleged to occur (e.g., map coordinates, street addresses, street intersections, etc.)
- A statement that the complainant listens to the complaining station using an over-the-air-signal at least twice a month to demonstrate that the complainant is a regular listener
- A statement that the complainant has no legal, employment, financial or familial affiliation with the complaining station (social media contacts with, participation in promotions/contests held by, volunteering for, or donating to a complaining station are no longer deemed as disqualifying) to demonstrate that the complainant is disinterested
Complaints adhering to the above requirements enjoy a presumption of validity — which the translator licensee bears the burden of rebutting.
The FCC also eliminated the requirement that listener complainants must cooperate with translator licensees in resolving their interference complaints. In the past, listener cooperation was essential for the complaint to be bona fide — thus resulting in protracted and contentious proceedings as to the level of the listener’s cooperation.
Contour Limit on Interference Complaints. The commission adopted a contour limitation on translator interference complaints, setting the complaining station’s 45 dBµ signal contour as the outer limit for both actual and potential interference complaints. In other words, all individual interference complaints must now allege interference from a location within the complaining station’s 45 dBµ contour to be actionable.
Under the FCC’s existing complaint procedures, there are no geographic limitations on actual interference complaints, and the existing rules only require that each individual complainants’ address fall within the translator’s 60 dBµ service contour in order to be bona fide. The commission adopted the 45 dBµ contour limit due to concerns that out-of-market stations were using the lack of geographic limitations on complaints to extend their reach into markets which they otherwise would not have.
In the report and order, however, the FCC stated that waivers of the 45 dBµ contour limit would be granted in extremely limited circumstances. To obtain a waiver, the complaining station would have to include at least 20 individual complaints from outside the 45 dBµ contour. In reviewing such requests, the FCC would also take into account relevant factors including a demonstration that: (1) geographic features enhance reception at the relevant listener locations; and (3) the listener expectation of service is well-established.
Other Complaint Requirements. Under the new procedures, complaining stations must also include the following with their interference complaint:
- A map plotting the specific locations of alleged interference in relation to the complaining station’s 45 dBµ contour
- A statement that the complaining station is operating within its licensed parameters [not including pursuant to Special Temporary Authority (STA)]
- A statement that the complaining station’s licensee has used commercially reasonable efforts at resolving the interference issue with the translator’s licensee
- Undesired/Desired (U/D) data demonstrating that at each listener location the ratio of undesired to desired signal strength thresholds (co-channel and first, second, and third-adjacent stations as appropriate) are satisfied
Previously, the map and the technical showing requirements only applied to potential interference claims — not claims of actual interference. Moreover, the commission noted that the certification that the complaining station was operating pursuant to its licensed parameters was necessary because operating outside of the station’s licensed parameters “could affect its actual versus its licensed 45 dBµ signal contour and therefore alter the permissible scope of its interference claim.” Nevertheless, the FCC failed to state in the report and order whether the actual or licensed 45 dBµ contour was required for an interference complaint.
Finally, the commission noted that the certification regarding the private resolution of interference complaints would encourage parties to resolve complaints before a complaint proceeding was initiated at the FCC.
New Complaint Remediation Procedures
The commission also drastically changed the existing translator interference complaint procedures to speed up and streamline the process. Under the new rules, translator licensees may resolve each listener complaint by either working with: (1) a willing listener to resolve reception issues; or (2) the complaining station to resolve signal interference issues using suitable techniques.
Working with Willing Listener Complainants. Translator licensees are permitted to resolve individual listener complaints by adjusting or replacing the listener’s equipment. This option, however, is only available if: (1) the listener’s equipment is determined to be the primary cause of the interference issue; and (2) the listener is willing to cooperate with efforts to eliminate the interference. Otherwise, translator licensees are required to work directly with the complaining station to resolve interference complaints.
Working with Complaining Stations. The vast majority of translator interference complaints must now be resolved by translator and complaining station licensees working together using suitable techniques to resolve the interference issue. Such suitable techniques include, but are not limited to usage of: (1) the U/D ratio methodology previously applicable only to potential interference complaints; (2) the FCC’s standard contour predicted methodology specified in Section 73.313 of the commission’s rules; (3) on/off testing; and (4) on-site field strength measurements. The FCC noted that lack of interference may be demonstrated by either on/off testing or on-site field strength measurements, and alternative translator technical parameters that would eliminate interference could be derived from on/off testing.
The commission intends to provide translator and complaining station licensees flexibility in the interference testing and remediation techniques and therefore leaves it to the parties to settle upon mutually-acceptable techniques. If the translator and the complaining station licensees are unable to agree on which methodologies to employ, the parties may engage a third-party engineer to conduct interference testing and remediation. The results, however, are to be jointly submitted to the FCC — which will make a final determination as to whether interference has been resolved. Unilateral or contested data, however, will not be permitted to be presented to the commission as a remediation showing — or to dispute such a showing.
The FCC declined to adopt a universal interference resolution deadline, instead deferring to the Media Bureau to establish specific deadlines for each interference complaint. The commission, however, established a target deadline of 90 days from the date the bureau completes its initial review of an interference complaint to resolve complaints.
In practice, the bureau will issue a letter notifying the translator licensee that the interference complaint has passed its initial review, and will set a specific remediation deadline along with any necessary intermediate deadlines (e.g., remediation plan deadline). If all interference complaints are not resolved by the set deadline, the FCC may order the immediate suspension of translator operations or power reduction.
The commission adopted the proposal to allow FM translator stations to remediate interference issues (either caused to or received from another station) by changing channels to any available same-band frequency. Such channel changes would now be deemed minor changes and would be permitted upon a showing of actual or predicted interference to or from any other broadcast station. Previously, translators were only permitted to move to first, second, and third or intermediate frequency (IF) channels to resolve interference. The expanded channel-change options will provide translator licensees with increased options for resolving interference — without having to undergo protracted complaint proceedings or being forced off the air for failing to eliminate interference.
Treatment of Pending Complaint Proceedings
The commission explicitly stated that any FM translator interference complaints pending as of the effective date of the new rules would be decided under the new rules.
Once the new rules become fully effective, the commission will permit parties to pending complaint proceedings to submit supplemental materials to address the revised rules. Presumably, this will serve as an opportunity for complainants to make the necessary modifications to their complaints to adhere to the new complaint requirements, and for defending translator licensees to seek dismissal of the complaints for their failure to adhere with the new procedural requirements.
The amended rules should become effective in mid-August. The report and order was published in the Federal Register on June 14, which would make the effective date of the rule amendments that do not constitute “information collections” Aug. 13 (we note that the initial Federal Register publication reported the effective date as July 15, but FCC staff has confirmed that was in error, and a correction will be published).
As stated in the report and order, however, the bulk of the new complaint procedures deal with “information collections” and therefore require the further approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act, and will become effective only after the FCC publishes a notice of OMB approval in the Federal Register. FCC staff has indicated that they expect that approval to also be obtained by mid-August, so that all of the rule amendments can take effect at the same time.
Should you have any questions regarding the new FM translator interference complaint procedures, or require assistance navigating a current complaint proceeding, please contact your attorney.
This article originally appeared on the blog of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth.
Important points to take into account when implementing codec technology
The author is owner of Kline Consulting and former corporate director of engineering and broadcast IT for several radio companies.
The large choice of codecs available on the market can be overwhelming. Here are some important points managers should take into consideration when defining their audio transport strategy and shopping for new gear.
In today’s terms, does everyone on the team understand what a codec is and how it is used?
This might seem like a basic question that anyone can answer; but often, depending on the person you ask, the definition will vary. Years ago, we thought of a codec as a simple singular compression and decompression scheme or device. But the term “codec” has taken on a more general definition, which can sometimes be interchanged with STL, microwave, transmission path, etc. So before you go down the path of integrating new codec technology into your facility, make sure everyone on the team is familiar with the current models and configurations of the codecs on the market. Codecs today comprise many technologies and come in various sizes, shapes and price tags.
Is this a simple codec replacement project or something bigger in scope?
In my consulting practice, I meet many managers who start off by asking about a simple codec recommendation. By the time we finish talking, we both realize that there is a bigger picture to consider involving several codec brands and models. By asking the right questions and walking through the technical workflow of the building, we learn that there are pending, among other things, STL, remote broadcast and even on-air telephone system needs, all of which could involve codec purchases. So before the codec selection and quoting process begins, ask yourself whether this is a limited scope project or something broader. You may save money and increase efficiency on your capital spend by reviewing the larger picture up front.
If this is a broader physical plant codec review, have you defined your goals and requirements?
Defining your requirements goes together with the above question. Without specific goals, how can you determine whether a codec makes sense for a particular situation?
Obviously, a simple remote broadcast codec solution is easy to determine. But a larger, sophisticated codec upgrade and replacement project does require you to identify your goals and requirements.
Some requirements might include:
- cost savings over telecom fees
- audio quality
- increased density so that multiple audio channels can be accommodated with lower cost
- improved workflow
- redundancy against existing legacy audio transport, metadata and control
- integration into AES67/AoIP/Dante infrastructure
- cost savings over non-codec/IP solutions
- reduced maintenance requirements
- interoperability/interconnectivity within the plant or third-party studios
- portability in the field
- integration (or replacement) of on-air phone systems
- additional methods for listener interaction (using mobile apps, etc.)
Those are just a few examples. Any of these requirements can be combined into a matrix to help determine if or when a codec purchase should be made.
I don’t trust my audio to the public internet for delivery. Is that a valid concern?
Ten years ago, many engineers had their doubts about the reliability of using IP codecs for critical audio applications over the public internet. At the time, they might have considered using the public internet as a backup path only. This was due to internet speed, reliability, cost and a lack of availability at rural locations, such as transmitter sites.
One could have ordered dedicated point-to-point IP circuits, but 10 years ago those costs were much higher than they are today. Also, some codec models didn’t have a redundant second carrier or aggregation option which meant everything had to rely on a single internet provider.
Today, however, public internet generally is reliable and can be ordered as a business class service with higher speeds. It is usually inexpensive and is available in more places including rural transmitter sites.
Most codec units on the market now — including single remote broadcast units — have options for integrating and aggregating multiple carriers, which make using the public internet safe and reliable. A number of codec installs using the public internet have been installed with few problems. In some very high-profile mission critical situations, I have ordered a point-to-point Ethernet circuit to be used as the primary carrier with a public internet line as the second carrier. Dedicated Ethernet circuits guaranteeing increased supervision by the carrier are a lot less expensive today. So if having a dedicated circuit is a mandate for you, like a traditional T1, this is absolutely possible.
Broadcasters use a combination of public internet, point-to-point Ethernet, MPLS and RF to connect their codecs.
Can a codec operate using RF?
Yes. Typically, a data radio is used at each end, which provides a private Ethernet path for the station between two points (typically between the studio and the transmitter site). This allows for audio transport, metadata, Ethernet and remote monitoring.
The RF data radios are usually bidirectional, as are the codecs, so return audio can be passed back to the studio for confidence monitoring, etc. The RF path physical distance can be short or go for several miles.
There are different radio models with different costs depending how much bandwidth is needed and how far the transmission path is. For shorter distances, these radios utilize smaller dishes. If a proper path is designed and the appropriate radio/antenna combination is selected, the RF system will be very reliable. Some systems can be installed without a license from the spectrum regulatory body and in other cases may require one.
The cost to implement an RF link for codec usage is very competitive compared to traditional analog microwave gear, in some cases much less expensive.
Are there any new practical codec technologies?
Yes. Here are some of the features you’ll find in codecs today: AES67 and Dante compatibility, AoIP compatibility with console manufacturers, transport of FM MPX composite over IP, higher-density transport containing multiple audio channels using the same piece of hardware, smaller physical sizes, carrier aggregation for redundancy and improved connection reliability, improved usage of cellular including 4G LTE and easy-to-understand GUIs.
In addition, most units now feature integration with on-air phone systems for improved caller audio, iOS and Android apps for remotes and news gathering as well as enhanced listener and VIP participation, reduction in cost per audio channel, and cloud-based switchboard servers to make connecting codecs even easier by eliminating certain firewall or router issues.
The FM MPX over IP feature is very helpful to those who wish to move their audio processing back to the studio or for those who want one audio processor to feed multiple locations. MPX over IP may also be interesting to those who employ SFNs.
Apps for the smartphone or laptop make remotes, newsgathering and listener call-ins sound better and are easy to implement. Cellular bonding makes broadcasting from rural areas and large events (concerts, sports) more reliable because it helps mitigate network congestion.
Are there advantages to having an AoIP plant as it relates to codecs?
Yes. There are several codec boxes today that are compatible with AoIP consoles and audio routing systems. This allows for high-density audio paths without all the extra wiring.
A well-designed AoIP plant will incorporate seamless integration into the switching and control aspect of all installed codecs. For example, a large complex with many studios can use just a handful of codecs by utilizing dynamic allocation and switching available within an AoIP system. This saves on the expense of purchasing more codecs than otherwise might be needed.
AoIP also allows for the automatic control and manipulation of codecs for linking remote studios together or to send programs from one city to another. The macros and automation available in a typical AoIP infrastructure can tie together the features of your automation playout system, console routing and codec allocation to facilitate very powerful audio transport within your plant or to the outside world. Modern radio distribution networks are being built around this concept. IP codecs are increasingly being used for program backhaul, satellite replacement, and regular program distribution at great cost savings and efficiencies.
Besides the purchase of the codec equipment, what other technical matters should be considered?
There are a few key ones.
One is your firewall. Codecs that talk to other devices in the outside world need a way to get through your firewall. Each codec has its own set of ports and special routing requirements so they can connect reliably to the far end. The requirements are not complicated, but someone with knowledge of firewalls and routers will need to manage this. The use of cloud-based switchboard/transversal servers can eliminate some or all of this, so they are a good option.
You should also consider redundancy for mission-critical paths. This is good practice whether you are using a codec or any other type of transport device. One method is adding additional carriers for what is known as “carrier redundancy.” The other is physical hardware redundancy, which means you will have a second physical codec or legacy device in place to backup the primary codec.
Another key consideration is your internet provider. You should allow for enough bandwidth inside your facility to handle all the requirements not related to codec usage plus your total possible codec utilization.
Do not ignore your upload speeds; this is particularly important for codecs that are sending IFB audio to the field. Some facilities have installed a separate internet line solely for their codecs or to be used as a backup, although this is not absolutely required.
Every situation is unique, so it’s impossible to cover them all here. These are just a few of the more common approaches. The bottom line: Redundancy is good engineering practice in addition to having a well-designed IT infrastructure.
Do I need to be a scientist (or hire one) to install and program codecs?
No. The GUIs and setup screens in codecs today are easy enough to understand and navigate.
In addition, because IP codecs have been around for several years, there is a lot of institutional knowledge out there. It is easy to find someone on staff or locally who can assist with the programming and setup of any popular codec device.
There are also excellent online resources in the public user groups and on manufacturer websites. Most program directors and on-air talent regularly broadcast from the field using an IP codec without any technical assistance. Some codecs even allow for remote control so that someone back at the studio can diagnose minor issues in the field for an added measure of support.
I have a codec; which audio algorithm should I use?
Use the highest quality (least compressed) algorithm that will reliably work given your particular speed, network congestion and program material. In other words, choose for the best audio quality without risking dropouts or glitches.
Most codecs have settings to buffer and lock in a solid connection even under challenging situations, so don’t be afraid to start at the top and work your way down. Using more than one carrier simultaneously (aggregation) can improve robustness. Music programming usually requires higher quality while speech can get away with lower bandwidth in many cases.
Your codec manufacturer can walk you through the steps necessary to activate carrier aggregation.
Learn more about the Georgia Association of Broadcasters’ ongoing events
The post RW Gabs With Bob Houghton About 85th Anniversary Tour appeared first on Radio World.
The Georgia Association of Broadcasters is in the midst of the GAB 85th Anniversary Tour. Each stop features a presentation from GAB President Bob Houghton about the history and future of broadcasting in Georgia, and will also include GAB ABIP Inspector and engineer John George, who will address radio license renewals.
Radio World reached out to learn more about the tour and GAB’s goals from Houghton in an emailed Q&A, shared here.
Radio World: Why is the Georgia Association of Broadcasters doing an 85th anniversary tour?
Bob Houghton: The GAB decided to do this statewide tour of outreach with eight different media regions in the state.
RW: Who thought it up?
Houghton: We are always looking for reasons to get out and meet with our members, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that. The 85th anniversary allowed us to have one consistent theme and agenda throughout the state.
RW: Why GAB is including engineering so prominently in this event?
Houghton: Every eight years, stations have to renew their license with the FCC. This year, radio license renewals are due and next year, TV license renewals will be due. We want to ensure that our members are fully prepared for this.
Engineers are the cornerstone of every TV and radio station, but they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. So for our convention this year, we have also created a full day of engineering-only sessions just for them. We are using this tour to promote and encourage them to attend.
RW: How is this tour different than others?
Houghton: It’s been an honor for the GAB to have served the broadcasters of Georgia for 85 years. Our last stop on this tour will be July 23 in Savannah. This stop is especially significant because we’ll be holding the event at the same hotel where the GAB was founded 85 years ago.
This tour is also different because it allows broadcasters to network with one another. We are excited about this opportunity to get out and meet with our members while celebrating this milestone.
RW: What do you hope to accomplish/how will you define success?
Houghton: The tour has already exceeded our expectations. We hope to reach nearly 500 broadcasters by the end of this tour! Even if we only make a difference at just one of our member stations, we’ll call it a success.
RW: Anything else you think readers should know?
Houghton: In the world of broadcasting today, we just don’t have the time to get out and network with each other. This tour has brought an unexpected comradery that we are so thankful for. The GAB is proud of our industry’s past and the success of our association. We are and looking forward to what the future holds.
The post RW Gabs With Bob Houghton About 85th Anniversary Tour appeared first on Radio World.
It hasn’t changed the call sign, but not much else is the same in 2019
“We’ve come a long way from being that crazy ‘Tiger Radio’ back in the 1960s and ’70s playing top 40, to being a more responsible station that talks about today’s news,” says Program Director John Quincy. “WTMA(AM) is still here and thriving.”
Our story begins 80 years earlier.
On June 15, 1939, WTMA, Charleston, S.C., signed on the air, the second station in the market to do so. WCSC(AM) was the first (signing on in 1930), but while that station still exists, it has changed call letters several times, something WTMA has never done. Coincidentally, the two stations now share a tower site.
WTMA originally broadcast at 1210 on the dial and had its early studios on 10th Street in Wagener Terrace, with its first broadcast originating from the Dock Street Theater. In those years, WTMA operated at 250 watts, but because there was little interference from power lines, that signal was enough to blanket Charleston and beyond.
The original owners were insurance men Y. Wilcox Scarborough and Jesse W. Orvin, but they owned the station for only a few months before selling it to the local newspapers. And what did the call letters stand for? Stay tuned to find out, as the early announcers might have said.
Today, WTMA is 5,000 watts non-directional during the day, and 1,000 watts directional at night with two towers. The station moved its dial position to 1250 in 1941 and has had multiple owners over the past eight decades including a brief stint with Ted Turner. Today, WTMA runs a news/talk format and is part of a five-station cluster owned by Cumulus Media, with studios in north Charleston.
Quincy has been with the station since 2002. Having come to appreciate WTMA’s rich history, Quincy took it upon himself in 2003 to establish a website devoted to celebrating its personalities and community service: www.wtmamemories.com.
“After years of carrying NBC soap operas and other network fare, WTMA adopted a top 40 format in the early 1960s that was very successful,” said Quincy. “In fact one of the ‘Mighty TMA’ DJs back then had a 70 share in the Arbitron survey! As FM became more popular with music listeners in the late 1970s, WTMA switched formats a couple of times before adopting the current news/talk format on June 1, 1989.”
STORM’S SILVER LINING
Hurricane Hugo arrived just three months after that format switch, and while it was a disaster of immense proportions, Quincy said it was the event that put the “new” WTMA on the map.
“The station was off the air for a day, as everyone in the city was evacuated,” he said. “Our engineer, Bruce Roberts, was first to return, and he used a generator-powered hair dryer to help drain the transmitter after the flap on the vent opened during the storm.
“For weeks until Charleston residents all returned home and power was restored in the region, WTMA carried all the news, and then at 7 p.m. the program manager, Dan Moon, would go on and open up the phones. The people called in and talked, and Moon stayed on the air every night until that evening’s calls dropped off,” he said.
“The other Charleston stations were playing music and commercials, but WTMA provided information and kept people company throughout the evening. Eventually, this led to Moon becoming the morning show host, a job he held until 2003.”
REMEMBERING THE FUNNY, TOO
But in the course of 80 years of broadcasting there had to be some funny station stories, right?
“At one point WTMA and its sister WSSX(FM), formerly WTMA(FM), were in the same building,” said Quincy. “But there was an RF problem that caused the AM signal to get into the FM studio’s board. According to then-DJ Moon, the FM staff would surreptitiously reduce the AM daytime power from 5,000 to 1,000 watts, which alleviated the RF problem in the FM control room but caused other issues.”
And according to Quincy, former top 40 personality Bob “Booby” Nash performed some of those wonderful stunts that made the format so much fun in the ’60s.
“He allowed himself to be ‘buried alive’ at a local drive-in, and he broadcast one show underwater from a tank at a mall. Nash had buttons made and distributed to listeners that said ‘I’m a Booby Lover.’”
The previously mentioned website, WTMA Memories, is a great source of other station trivia. For example: When broadcast personality Connie Neal McPhaul (air name “Big Mack”) was a 14-year-old radio enthusiast growing up in Charleston, he put a pirate station on the air. Unwisely, he used a 75-foot tower and pumped out 250 illegal watts, knocking off any station within a half mile of his house. An FCC field rep busted him and seized his equipment, but suggested the lad enter radio legitimately when he was a little older.
Eighty years after the station signed on, WTMA still serves Charleston. On June 15, 2019, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared its 80th anniversary as “WTMA Day” statewide.
But what do the call letters “WTMA” stand for? Nothing at all — they were randomly assigned by the Federal Communications Commission.
Ken Deutsch describes himself as a former disc jockey, program director and master of ceremonies at local animal moltings.
Updated version lets stations easily carry out an inventory check
MAROLLES EN BRIE, France — Software developer NeoGroupe has released a new version of its NBSSmart application.
NBSSmart, which works with NeoGroupe’s asset tracking system, allows radio stations to easily
carry out an inventory check. It also lets staff scan an item and immediately access its historical information, including details about the vendor as well as scanned documents including invoices, a picture of the item and more.
With NBS, technical teams and administrative staff can easily communicate with each other regarding assets. In addition, the company says, keeping information current is “effortless.”
The application runs on smartphones and tablets and is available for iOS and Android.
For information, contact NeoGroupe in France at +33-9-72-23-62-00 or visit
PEG radio and television endangered by FCC moves
Community media advocates are working overtime to call attention to potential Federal Communications Commission efforts that could impact local media forever.
The latest FCC endeavors affect public, educational and governmental access, or PEG, media and have been the subject of protests, petitions and editorials. However, with the commission considering regulations set forth through the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, the ongoing pressure from PEG leaders and advocates remains persistent these days week, and into the future.
At issue is the aforementioned Cable Communications Act and what cable providers are bound by law to give back. Title VI, Section 622 of the act sets a ceiling on the fees cities can charge cable companies at five percent of companies’ gross revenue from that cable service. Last year, the FCC set off a firestorm of criticism when it announced a move to allow cable companies to deduct nonmonetary requirements they are compelled to adhere to by the act. This would include providing PEG channels’ capacity and associated costs.
The casual observer might not even know where his or her local PEG channel is among the dizzying list of networks a cable operator offers. When one does look, a cornucopia of critical local content awaits. Whether it is televised city council and school board meetings, college courses or local public-affairs programming, PEG channels are a vital part of a city’s media choices. PEG channels are even more indispensable for working families, the elderly, those with limited transportation or other mobility issues, for whom PEG outlets give a window into our democratic procedures. In addition, because so many PEG channels also offer training in media and equipment, they may be the first place someone can go for an education in media that is more affordable than a big-city college. This learning as well as educational programming is doubled in a scattering of cities where PEG outlets offer both television and radio broadcasts.
In the end, the changes mean less funds available to PEG channels and less for the public, at a moment when money is already scarce.
While cord-cutting and the emergence of streaming — thus far excluded from franchise agreements, even if they’re offered by the same cable companies — is already eating into the monies cities once got, the pressure these changes put on PEG channels is enormous. As Jen Ramsey of Easthampton Media recently told the Daily Hampshire Gazette, “In the past five years, there’s been a 20% drop in cable subscriptions in the two towns that we service. So that translates to a 20% drop in our budget. Our budget is dwindling already.”
Moreover, an affected channel leaves many satellite communities reeling. “Going from having franchise fees to not having them, typically what happens in that case is the public access goes away,” Amanda Mountain of Rocky Mountain PBS told the Colorado Sun. “And eliminating that will leave a huge void where some will feel it more than others.”
Maryland’s Montgomery Community Media is among many PEG channels to produce videos explaining PEG stations’ importance and how the existing rules are beneficial. Groups like the Alliance for Community Media, hosting its national conference in Portland this week, have been out in front the last few months to demand accountability from FCC Chair Ajit Pai and commissioners.
We live in an era where the public’s access to information is challenged as never before. Newspapers are closing. Social media is awash in misinformation and detritus. Virtually every media outlet has a spin of some kind on the news of the day. States are even changing laws to restrict access to proceedings. PEG channels are our last outpost for an unfiltered glimpse at city hall and our community. Even if there may be a valuable conversation to be had about fee structures for cable companies, yanking the rug out from cities and towns simply is not the answer.
With the financial support PEG outlets get from fees, this remixing of generations’-old rules could be lethal to community access. PEG channels quietly uplift local economies, providing skills and nourishing the arts, business and many other fields. PEG channels’ funding should not only be held firm, but expanded, given their service to community media and Americans everywhere.
Familiar face will have expanded role in many RF fields
A familiar face at many an NAB engineering session, Nautel’s Philipp Schmid will be taking on a new, expanded role at the transmitter maker.
As chief technology officer he’ll “lead research teams in the development of new technologies for broadcast, navigation, sonar and high-power RF applications,” an announcement says. In addition, “Schmid will remain active in select engineering projects and will also continue his industry role as a passionate voice for the advancement of digital transmission technologies.”
Nautel CEO Kevin Rodgers said, “Philipp has been instrumental in the development of Nautel’s industry-leading HD and DRM+ technologies. … This new role both recognizes his contribution to Nautel and positions Nautel and Philipp to continue to lead the industry in digital radio technologies as they are adopted globally.”
He was recognized in 2017 by the National Association of Broadcasters for Best Paper” at the BEITC (Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference). The award-winning presentation covered research on single-frequency networks for HD Radio.
Schmid has also garnered multiple industry awards for Nautel in digital broadcast technologies over the past 10 years. The announcement says that he was the first to investigate peak to average power reduction for hybrid HD Radio transmission which led to Nautel’s patented HD PowerBoost technology. Some recent projects have included research and testing of all-digital AM (DRM & HD Radio); extended HD Radio FM service modes; Nautel HD Multiplex, with up to 15 HD channels on one transmitter; and the development of IP STL technologies for HD Radio.
New VP of media relations has been with NAB since 2011
NAB’s Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton has announced that Zamir Ahmed is being promoted from his current position of NAB director, media relations, to vice president, media relations.
In his new role, Ahmed will be tasked with shaping the messaging for NAB Communications in the public policy arena and occasionally serve as a spokesman with trade and consumer press. He will work with Senior Vice President, Communications Ann Marie Cumming, and report to Wharton.
Ahmed has worked for NAB since 2011, when he joined the organization as manager, media relations. He was later promoted within the organization to senior manager and then director, media relations. Prior to joining NAB, Ahmed was an intern in the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and then worked two years as deputy press secretary for the House Committee on Small Business.
“We’re pleased to reward Zamir for his loyalty to NAB, his intellect and strong work ethic, and his excellent writing skills,” said Wharton. “He’s a terrific asset to our organization and to free and local broadcasting.”
Company discontinues manufacturing of its current lineup; adds Lawo representation
Business changes are in the works at radio equipment manufacturer Radio Systems Inc.
Industry engineers had spotted an announcement on the company’s website that states “Stay Tuned for New Radio Systems Products and Services Coming Soon,” and they speculated about its meaning in discussions on social media and listservs.
Radio World reached out to its president, Dan Braverman.
He said Radio Systems has begun a new relationship as Lawo’s exclusive sales representative to the radio broadcast industry in the United States. Meanwhile his company has discontinued manufacturing its existing product line due to the termination of a licensing agreement with its tech developer. He declined to provide details.
Lawo AG, based in Germany, makes networking, audio, video and control technologies for several markets including broadcast. Radio Systems is based in New Jersey near Philadelphia; its offerings are led by the StudioHub+ Cat-5 wiring product line and Millenium studio consoles.
Lawo Radio Product Manager Mike Dosch confirmed the outline of the relationship and said that the company was pleased to have Braverman representing it. He said Lawo’s products seem a good fit as a new anchor around which Radio Systems would become a reseller again and build in a new direction.
Radio Systems over the decades has made several console lines and shipped approximately 6,000 units. Other products have included distribution amplifiers and preamps, clocks and timers, cart and DAT machines, low-power AM transmitters and studio accessories. The company also has been involved in a number of major industry facility projects and turnkey installations.
Braverman said most Radio Systems dealers continue to have its products in stock. A dealer list is found on the website. He said the company will continue to support its legacy products with service and parts, and that most employees will remain on staff in its new iteration.
He added that Radio Systems had made its first Lawo package sale, to Connoisseur Media in Connecticut.
All about new gear that has come onto the market recently
It’s new equipment season!
This annual feature is all about new gear that has come onto the market in recent months, especially during spring convention season.
Check out this installment of products.
Neumann NDH 20 Headphones
Microphone maker Neumann has finally released a pair of headphones that the company feels are worthy of the Neumann name.
The NDH 20 is a closed-back circumaural design with large memory foam earpads aimed at making long listening sessions comfortable.
The Duofol drivers are 1.5-inch with high-gauss neodymium magnets. The company says that frequency response is 5 Hz–30 kHz.
The adjustable headband is made of flexible steel while the ear cup covers are machined from lightweight aluminum. The headphone is foldable and can be placed into the supplied soft cloth bag for transportation.
It ships with two detachable 10-foot cables (one straight, one coiled) and a 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch adapter is also included.
Shively Labs 2930 Branched Combiner
Shively Labs says that its 2930 low-power branched combiner is the best solution for multiple stations.
The company can custom-engineer a client’s system using either 2914 or 2916 bandpass filtering that will provide higher spectral purity, flat in-band frequency response and typical isolation values of 50 dB or higher — even for frequencies 0.8 MHz apart.
Each combined system is designed to provide high performance in the smallest space possible and are fully IBOC compliant, Shively says.
On-Hertz Lumo Virtual Radio Studio
A new name for many, On-Hertz has introduced its virtual radio studio: Lumo.
Running on standard IT infrastructure, offering a web-based UI and optimized for touch interfaces, Lumo integrates a playout solution into one unit. It also comprises a 10-channel mixing console and AoIP features, including a phone hybrid and a transmission codec.
The Lumo radio studio, On-Hertz says, “boosts radio broadcasters’ production capabilities with mobility and enhanced workflows at a fraction of the cost of traditional equipment.”
The Lumo platform features a scalable pricing structure, a redesigned user interface, a gain-sharing auto-mixer and enhanced DSP. Thanks to its modern APIs and various integration possibilities, Lumo can be integrated within an existing ecosystem of professional broadcasters.
From the show host’s couch at home to the basket of a hot-air balloon a thousand feet above the ground, or simply to create a more relaxed atmosphere in the main facility, On-Hertz points out that Lumo lets users focus on producing quality radio content.
Says streaming and satellite radio are the new “must-haves” for media in the dash
The post Strategy Analytics Report Finds In-Car Terrestrial Radio at Risk appeared first on Radio World.
The In-vehicle UX (IVX) group at market researcher Strategy Analytics has issued a new report on car owners’ usage of, and interest in, audio infotainment sources in the car.
In a study carried out across the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and China, it discovered that after several years of “explosive interest,” consumer demand for smartphone mirroring systems has leveled off.
“As more mirroring systems come to market in high-volume cars, and more non-early-adopting segments are exposed to them, their limitations are becoming apparent,” the report stated. “But despite this, most embedded systems still do not provide better UX [user experience] than smartphone mirroring systems.”
According to the study, radio usage is in “fast decline” across the U.S., Europe, and China, even though in the west it remains important for some key consumer segments. It also finds that car owners are sending mixed signals on the next-best “must have” after radio. “Flat user interfaces which allow easy access to all audio/media sources will be more important than ever for the next model turn,” it found. In addition, the report exhibits that in the “search for a next successor to the CD player, streaming media has shown a remarkable surge in usage and interest,” as regards owned media on portable devices.
“The UX of embedded systems still does not exceed smartphone mirroring systems, essentially driving car owners to CarPlay and Android Auto leaving infotainment devoid of any brand differentiation,” commented Derek Viita, senior analyst and report author. “Given these shifting infotainment usage habits and consumers’ shifting interest in what is a ‘must-have’ for the next car purchase, designers and product planners must tread carefully in future product lines.”
The post Strategy Analytics Report Finds In-Car Terrestrial Radio at Risk appeared first on Radio World.
DARC digital console is cornerstone for company radio station
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On May 6, the Humana Audio Visual Services team launched Humana Radio, an internally streamed radio station, featuring music, podcasts and wellness breaks, in Louisville, Ky. Humana Radio is broadcast to the nationwide employee population of Humana Inc., composed of almost 50,000 employees.
In 2017, AV Services began an overhaul of space and technology within their headquarters, which gave birth to the Video Enterprise Collaboration Suite, a location where any and every employee was invited to bring their talent, passion and creativity to work on video and audio projects with their teams. The suite included a green screen studio, edit bays featuring Adobe products and an audio booth, all available for checkout and training.
As employees poured in to use the available services, many teams began creating podcasts to share internally with their teams at Humana. AV Services Manager Trey Pennington along with Kellie Stephens, myself and other members of the team began to brainstorm a solution and spark a vision for how these informative podcasts, many containing information which could be beneficial to Humana as a whole, not just specific silos, could be shared company-wide. We wanted to deliver interconnectivity to our company, regardless of location, and we wanted to inform, encourage and empower each member of our Humana family. From there, Humana Radio was born, and the podcasts on a plethora of different topics began to flow in greater numbers than they ever had before.
Along with finding the correct personnel to help man the station, our equipment had to meet the needs of broadcasting 24/7 as well. We began looking for a great solution that would be powerful yet graceful, and are proud to say that we arrived on the DARC console from Arrakis Systems.
We love this product because it was easy to learn for both novices as well as experienced radio professionals. We didn’t have to be absolute experts on the situation, as we learned the ins and outs of the DARC. We were able to set it up according to our own personal needs, inputs and styles to help us accomplish the task of generating a new form of communication within Humana.
Everything from having routing control of specific channels, along with having the physical board working in collaboration with a digital setup to how seamlessly it matched up with Arrakis’ Apex automation made our installation a breeze. We were excited to learn and to take our project to the next level, and for the questions we did find ourselves wondering about, the customer support at Arrakis made us feel like family. They were there to make sure we had all the tools we needed to be successful for our launch and into the future.
As we look to the next phase and coming months and years of Humana Radio, we have no doubt in our minds that we made a smart choice by choosing the DARC system along with Apex, to help us facilitate discussion, real talk, diversity of thought and creativity, from, with, and for all employees.
For information, contact Ben Palmer at Arrakis Systems in Colorado at 1-970-461-0730 or visit www.arrakis-systems.com.