Posts Categorised: Technology

Says new insights will enable advertisers to measure and optimize ad campaigns

NEW YORK — The competition among broadcast groups for radio advertising dollars continues to escalate, due in no small measure to new technologies. The revolution began with the introduction of programmatic ad buying, which streamlined what had been a cumbersome process. At the same time, the drive towards better real-time analytics began. RW recently reported about Veritone’s announcement of partnerships with Beasley Media Group, Reach Media, the Tom Joyner Network, Townsquare Media and Results Radio, giving these broadcasters a license to use the Veritone aiWARE platform at their stations to process, transform, and review audio data in near real-time, with ad and content tracking, analytics.

The driving force behind much of this effort is bringing radio analysis to a parity with the traditionally more precise online media metrics. Now, iHeartMedia is jumping in with “iHeartMedia Analytics,” which it claims is the first fully-digital attribution service for broadcast radio. By leveraging the data from iHeartRadio’s digital ecosystem, the company claims, iHeartMedia will enable broadcast radio to measure and show results in the same way as digital media, giving advertisers easy access to campaign performance insights.

Brian Kaminsky, president of Revenue Operations and Insights for iHeartMedia, explained the logic behind this move: “We continue to see advertisers spend money on less effective mediums simply because they provide a perceived level of measurability and accountability. Now, marketers will be able to capitalize on the scale and reach of iHeartMedia’s more than 270 million monthly broadcast listeners. They can receive the same kind of real-time measurements, insights and custom reporting they are accustomed to getting from digital media, quantifying the full power of radio. In addition they can get attribution information that is missing from most of the digital marketplace.”

iHeartMedia Analytics is the latest addition to the company’s marketing optimization toolbox. It also includes SoundPoint, a programmatic real-time radio ad buying platform, and the recently introduced SmartAudio, which enables advertisers to do impression-based audience planning and dynamic radio ad creative that utilizes real-time triggers such as weather, pollen counts and sports scores.

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Organization says there will soon be 1 million cars equipped standard

The number of cars with DRM-enabled radio sets installed as standard equipment on  Indian roads is nearing 1 million, according to Digital Radio Mondiale.

All India Radio, the public broadcaster, has engaged in the past few years in what it calls the largest radio digitization rollout in the world; with 39 high-power DRM transmitters operational, AIR is covering a large part of the subcontinent and an estimated 600 million people, DRM says.

It argues that, like elsewhere in the world, digital radio in India is driven by listening in cars and is important for the success of India’s digital rollout program. DRM says the receiver industry has invested millions of dollars in development of DRM-capable receivers and that the rollout of DRM-equipped cars is “growing quickly by the month”

DRM also noted that Communications Systems Inc. of India, manufacturer of the Avion DRM digital receiver AV-1401 , has started its second production run after undertaking enhancements to the device.

The AV-DR-1401 has been upgraded with a new PCB design for enhanced sensitivity and an improved FM signal, it said. The manufacturer also upgraded the software for the Emergency Warning Functionality, so that it can be used when the receiver is in standby as well; and, the receiver is now able to pick up weaker signals and deliver those in better digital audio quality. Improvements have been done also on the antenna by providing a complete new design, also according to DRM news .

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Let’s take a look at the progress of DAB across Europe. The primary reference for this article is from the EBU , written by Ben Poor. As a broadcasting union, the organization does want to see broadcasting continue and even thrive, but that’s no reason to unduly charge them with news “spin.”

The year 2017 saw an increase in the number of available services: Figures from the EBU Media Intelligence Service’s Market Insights on Digital Radio 2018 show that the number of digital stations increased by almost 25 percent. Some 468 stations are only available via digital transmission. Most of these are commercial stations “indicating an increasing recognition by private broadcasters of digital radio as a cost-effective place to innovate and reach new audiences.”

“A recent EBU analysis of the distribution costs for covering national populations by FM, DAB+ and Broadband showed that digital broadcast using DAB+ was significantly more cost-effective than the alternatives – even when calculated conservatively,” the article goes on to say. Thus, as digital listening grows, so does the case for planning for DSOs in the various countries.

For Norway: “The predicted drop of daily reach as a result of the disruption turned out to be less than expected.” Bauer Media predicts by the end of 2018 total radio listening and commercial radio revenues in Norway will have increased, and public radio listening will have bounced back. “DSO is disruptive and terrifying but it’s going to have been successful for everyone,” according to Bauer.

Let’s interject another source here. As reported by , in a recent media survey, made by Respons, for Nordic Media Days, 57% of respondents are “negative” that FM was switched off and replaced with DAB. 27% of respondents expressed their positive attitude towards digitization, while 16% of respondents did not know. The survey also shows that many still have not acquired a DAB radio: about 28% of respondents respond that they do not have DAB; 33% have acquired such a radio; 37% have digital radios at home.

Switzerland –in recent years, Switzerland has significantly built out its digital coverage, ahead of a cut-off date for DSO by 2024. “However, thanks to a close collaboration between government, industry and broadcasters, it is expected that DAB+ will be the main distribution platform from 2020,” according to EBU. “…success factors have included ensuring new cars are line-fitted with DAB+ receivers, [and a] a public information campaign and a partnership between public and private broadcasters.” Another reason given is regional layer built out using ‘low-cost’ solutions based on the freely available DAB+ broadcasting tools from OpenDigitalRadio . This has enabled local services to support the move to digital, bringing audiences with them.

Denmark–Denmark has one of the lowest numbers of digital-only stations within countries usually considered as digital radio ‘leaders’, but a plan for a DSO has recently been floated.

“The plan proposes a shutdown of FM two years after digital listening exceeds 50 percent, or in 2021 at the latest. Current figures (2018) put this at 37 percent, up from 31 percent in 2015.” This has followed a full transition from DAB to DAB+ during 2017, and a reorganization of frequencies for existing transmitters. I should also note that this is just a plan—it isn’t written into the law .

United Kingdom—“Digital listening in the UK is huge, with big seasonal spikes in the sales of home receivers and nearly 90 percent of new cars being line-fitted with a digital receiver,” according to EBU. The number of digital-only stations is almost twice the number of its nearest rival, Switzerland, with around 110 stations.

“A long-awaited figure of 50 percent digital share of listening across all digital platforms is expected during 2018.” This should then meet government criteria defined in its July 2010 Digital Radio Action Plan, triggering a process to “consider a decision on whether to set a date for [DSO]”.

The BBC still accounts for around half of all digital listening time and is a key player in any decision on DSO. A widely misreported speech by the BBC’s Director of Radio and Music, Bob Shennan , at the recent Radiodays in Vienna struck an optimistic but cautious tone. Shennan said a DSO plan “should be “audience-led” and that currently “audiences are best served by a mixed economy” of digital broadcast, broadband and FM in a ‘hybrid’ model.”

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Its servers were hacked by unknown cryptocurrency miners during a fundraising drive

PORTLAND — An Oregon community radio station is still battling the after-effects of an April 28 cryptocurrency attack, according to Katie Shepherd of Willamette Week .

KBOO(FM) Community Radio’s servers were hacked by unknown cryptocurrency miners during the last week of the noncom’s fundraising drive. Because of its website’s 80% slowdown, KBOO reps said the station saw a decrease in online fundraising efforts during this crucial fundraising period.

However, the station did not have any of its files breached — a somewhat dim silver lining, all things considered.

[Read about The Wandering Engineer’s fears of the coming It Apocalypse.]

As of May 11, the station’s website is still down — more than two weeks later — as part of efforts to scrub the system of the malicious code. According to the Willamette Week, the station aims to be back online in the next day or so.

KBOO was far from the only victim of the attack, known as “Drupalgeddon2.” Other affected organizations include Lenovo, the University of California at Los Angeles and the U.S. National Labor Relations Board. The hackers exploited websites that had not updated a patch that fixed a problem in the Drupal content management system.

This is another unfortunate reminder that stations need to pay close attention to cybersecurity protocols at all levels in order to reduce vulnerability, as cybercriminals become increasingly determined and inventive.

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It’s the first time smart speakers have been used for music research

LOS ANGELES — It was only a matter of time. The meteoric sales of smart speakers has brought radio — and music back into the home and made listening a social experience again. Someone was bound to figure out a way to use smart speakers to do music research. That day has apparently arrived.

Los Angeles-based technology developer Vipology  claims to have put all the pieces together for a new type of online research. By combining Amazon Alexa, the AI power of IBM Watson and proprietary software, the company claims to have created a platform that will deliver consumer emotional analysis to music testing. The system will be demonstrated at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Hollywood, Calif., on May 3-4.

Vipology says it has combined its own VS3 smart speaker system with software from recently acquired The company also partnered with Benztown in developing the platform, with Benztown providing a library of thousands of song hooks covering 14 formats.

Vipology recently introduced its smart speaker skills product, Vipology Smart Speaker System (“VS3”) to radio stations, as consumer adoption of smart speakers continues to grow at record levels. That product launched across 100 U.S. radio stations. VS3 deliverables include quickly securing the stations’ brands on smart speakers, as well as working with stations in a customer-informed process to maximize their placement on smart speakers for cash or barter.

Vipology claims that its VS3 + platform can bring music research into listeners’ homes and enable them to share their passion through emotional responses, thereby scoring listeners’ emotional feedback in ways legacy music testing cannot.

It will be interesting to see how this new testing fares in the already competitive music testing ecosphere. Privacy concerns surrounding smart speakers are already being raised. How will the privacy of research subjects be protected? And, isn’t most listener’s response to music emotional? How will this be different, and how well will it track with existing music research methodology?

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2018 Geneva Motor Show gave a glimpse into OTA radio’s place in the car of the future

GENEVA — The 2018 Geneva Motor Show has come and gone, and it provided a good opportunity to see how vehicle OEMs are treating over-the-air radio in the dashboard.

“Radio listening remains strong in cars, but the broadcast industry needs to consider cars as important a platform for digital growth as mobile apps and connected home devices have been in the past, get in the driver’s seat and make sure its services remain visible and attractive propositions,” according to the EBU .

Interestingly, there is a new requirement—called the eCall initiative–for all new cars sold in the EU from April onwards to have at least minimal connectivity for recovery and safety reasons, and it is likely that the OEMs see a new business in becoming service providers for media, according to the same article.

[Read about a new aftermarket head unit from JVC Kenwood featuring NextRadio.]

Options for reaching listeners in cars are now wider than ever; models with only FM/AM connectivity are in the minority, and DAB/DAB+ receivers are standard equipment (or at least as an accessory) across the majority of brands. Touchscreens often completely replace hard buttons, making the dashboard entertainment system look more like a tablet. Many vehicles also include Android Automotive or Apple CarPlay support, meaning that your phone could be used to entirely control the interface.

Some short videos showing examples taken from the floor of the show are: the Skoda ; the Toyota ; the Ford ; and the Citroen .

“The dashboard is changing faster than ever. The outlook for radio services is that they still form part of that, but perhaps not as the default audio option. A number of initiatives are seeking to improve this, from the , , and others. Broadcaster-created connected car apps that can respond to voice control may provide a means of prominence for certain key brands, but means of discovering others could suffer,” according to the EBU. “One thing is for certain — what happens to radio in the car during the next few years will be crucial.”

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No business is unaffected by cybertheft, State Department’s Strayer warns

WASHINGTON — Cyber-attacks on “critical infrastructure” and theft or espionage involving commercial intellectual property remain the top concerns of the global cybersecurity community, Robert L. Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State said April 19.

In remarks at the Media Institute’s monthly luncheon in Washington, Strayer emphasized, “No business is unaffected by cybertheft” and warned that “we will continue to see threats to the digital ecosystem.”

Strayer declined, when asked by MCN, to specify media or telecom operators, including cable TV, as part of the “critical infrastructure.” But he acknowledged that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies are constantly examining ways to foil “bad actors” who could disrupt or hack into the operations of American companies.

He said U.S. and global partners “have to think of all the misuses” of cyber systems. He emphasized the growing role of the digital economy and noted that international groups such as the G7 and G20 nations “are increasingly looking at technology issues” such as blockchain, that are affecting traditional global systems.

“As we look around the world, we want to assure an open flow of data,” Strayer said, but at the same time “it is absolutely critical to preserve a decentralized model.” He emphasized that many countries want to regulate the internet, but that U.S. policy will continue to “push back against that.”

Strayer acknowledged that in the US and most democracies, the digital infrastructure is in the hands of the private sector.

“We should not expect companies to operate in cyberspace any differently” than they do in conventional environments, Strayer said, but he warned that the task – including public/private collaboration – may be very challenging.

New cybersecurity standards will be “voluntary,” he said, adding that “industry is driving the solution.” He cited the need “to achieve maximum economic value” as companies battle cyberattacks.

Strayer cited Europe’s “General Data Protection Regulation” that goes into effect on May 25, restricting many ecommerce and digital media practices in an effort to assure consumer privacy. He did not offer an opinion about whether such restraints may eventually emerge in the U.S., especially amid the current furor over activities at Facebook, Google and other companies that collect personal data.

He focused, instead, on ways that federal enforcement agencies are developing systems “to improve our defenses” and create a “cyber-posture” to fight cybercrimes. He said that systems are now “so interconnected that these threats can race around the world” almost instantly.

To battle such scourges, Strayer explained that the State Department and other U.S. agencies have about 150 “digital economy officers” at embassies and other locations worldwide to identify potential cybercrimes and to development enforcement tactics, often in collaboration with host countries.

Strayer also cited forecasts that estimate about 200,000 people will be needed to handle America’s cybersecurity requirements in the coming years — a significant job creation stimulant.

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NewBay Launches Time2 Show

November event for video, AV and IT professionals will encompass GV Expo and three other conferences

WASHINGTON — NewBay has announced a new event for video, AV and IT professionals, to be held in Washington in late November, called the Time2 Show .

It said the Time2 Show will serve professionals focused on “Transforming Information & Media for Entertainment and Enterprise” — hence the “e2”.

The event will comprise four concurrent shows: the 23rd Government Video Expo, the DC Post | Production Conference and two new shows: AV Technology Live and Creative Planet Con. It will be held Nov. 27–29 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

GV Expo 2018 will be the centerpiece of the Time2 Show and will again include the National Drone Show.

NewBay Managing Director of Content Paul McLane was quoted in the announcement: “From security to communications, video technology is transforming government and enterprise, creating incredible potential for the professionals, manufacturers and service providers serving this expanding market.”

AV Technology Live is for AV and experiential design professionals. The conference is an expansion of NewBay’s 2017 AVIT Summit.

Creative Planet Con will be a free showcase for video creators “at every level of experience and professionalism.”

DC Post | Production Conference is a production/postproduction training and educational event developed in partnership with Future Media Concepts.

NewBay Chief Content Officer Joe Territo said, “Not only are we focusing on the latest technology from the video and AV/IT enterprise marketplaces, but we are also looking at future-facing opportunities and best practices in order to give attendees a multi-dimensional experience they can’t find anywhere else.”

For example, the floor will feature three theaters featuring content about technology, best practices and tutorials, as well as new “Need to Know” segments focused on cybersecurity, blockchain, 5G and AI, as well as a returning Drone Cage.

By collocating the events, NewBay said it expects to double overall attendee traffic from past Government Video Expos. It said the DC location provides proximity to many video, AV and IT pros who live within 150 miles of the federal capital.

NewBay is the parent of brands like Government Video, Radio World, Radio magazine, TV Technology and Creative Planet Network. It is now part of Future PLC after being acquired earlier this month.

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“Connected” means more than just transmission and reception of data, according to NAB Show session

LAS VEGAS — The word “connected” in the topic of connected cars represents more than just transmission and reception of data. That was the focus of the Sunday NAB Show Digital Futures Exchange session “New Business in Connected Car.” Attendees learned that those data connections provide much more than just information — they provide an opportunity to reach the audience behind the windshield with personally relevant information.

Audi Development Engineer Christian Winter (shown at right) spoke about the company’s hybrid radio that is featured in European versions of the Audi A8 and A6. Winter showed the system capabilities. The system is based on the RadioDNS architecture; Winter is a member of the RadioDNS steering board.

He says that the hybrid radio system for North American versions provides capability for AM and FM HD radio reception. “We love radio. It is still the number one button and the first tile on the shortcut [menu] screen.”

A demonstration of the system is located at the RadioDNS booth (N6021).

General Motors Director of Global Data Monetization Saejin Park was responsible for the rollout of 4G LTE data capability in GM vehicles. In her presentation, Park said GM has around 13 million vehicles with the OnStar system on the road today, and 8.5 million of those vehicles are 4G LTE-capable. That scale provides an opportunity to broadcasters. “You can get information on what the consumer inside is listening to, along with GPS data. When you have that kind of data, that kind of information, you can understand their listening habits.” Because of this capability, she said, “The automobile and radio industries have a chance to become more interesting and meaningful” in the coming years.

Avis Budget, one of the biggest automobile consumers, has embraced the connected car as a way to better connect with its customers. Panelist Jeff Kaelin, global vice president for product and customer experience for the Avis Budget Group, described his idea of a connected car: “a vehicle that we are able to interact with leveraging telematics equipment, and that allows us to gather information from the vehicle and communicate with the vehicle.”

Kaelin said that connectivity filters down to the entertainment options so Avis can provide “a personalized and customized experience for our consumers.”

The company has a fleet of more than 60,000 connected cars around the world; it expects to have more than 100,000 such cars by the end of summer 2018 and has committed to a global 100-percent connected car fleet by the end of 2020.


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Need to Know: Blockchain

As digital footprints grow and cyber infrastructures mature, more industries are exploring potential uses for blockchain

From using an app to order your morning latte to reading an eBook before bed, we’re living more of our days — and our lives — online. As digital footprints grow and cyber infrastructures mature, more industries are exploring potential uses for blockchain. Blockchain is shared ledger technology for recording transactions and protecting the integrity of digital information.


Imagine having a ledger book and inputting all relevant data about a purchase. Instead of sliding that ledger onto your bookshelf, you make it public and give a tiny piece of it to hundreds of others. The ledger can be seen as a data, but it is secure due to its advanced encryption. Blockchain is that distributed ledger, and it is not housed on one server. No one person or one server contains it. It is fundamentally decentralized.

Let’s say you want to buy a new track from your favorite band. You’d buy the digital file online using your Visa card. Visa would store that transaction, and the place you are purchasing the music from would store it. It would then be housed in two locations. On a blockchain, the transactional information doesn’t live in only two locations, it lives in hundreds, thousands, or even millions of places — living on the peer-to-peer computers running the blockchain encryption. A blockchain system replaces human guesswork and vulnerability of digital transactions with algorithms and advanced cryptography. It’s harder to hack. It’s a whole new way of thinking and a brand new method for securing digital information.

To recap: Blockchain creates a permanent record of digital transactions; it stays secure because the data is verified and encrypted. Blockchain operates on a decentralized peer-to-peer network, and its model is scalable. The blockchain’s digital ledger can be viewed and distributed, but it cannot be altered.


In a time when even SSL-protected environments are breached, blockchain’s transparent, decentralized approach to cybersecurity is increasingly attractive, according to Mike Walker, research director at global intelligence firm Gartner Research. Walker views blockchain as a “potentially transformative digital platform.”

Walker, also an author of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2017, explained that blockchain’s traceability is another element of its growing appeal. “The Honduras government will use blockchain to secure land titles,” he said. Other use cases for the digital ledger include blockchain-enabled voting machines, online music payments, asset transfer, and cloud storage. Samsung SDS blockchain technology will work to bring more transparency to the city of Seoul. From to charity giving to insurance markets, any industry using all-digital assets is poised for disruption by blockchain.


The technology was created to support the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and its peer-to-peer model is best suited for similarly digital-only ecosystems.

“First-order applications for blockchain are purely digital,” explained professor Christian Catalini, founder of the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab at the MIT Sloan School of Management. The reason we see it at scale in the financial sector, supporting online banking and accounting, is because “blockchain is good at digital verification,” he said.


Beyond the financial sector, blockchain is a candidate for any application that relies on digital value transactions. New sectors embracing blockchain are supply chain management and logistics, “file storage, data storage, bandwidth, and even electricity grids,” according to Catalini. “File storage online is easy to meter and measure,” he explained, and therefore an appropriate application for blockchain.

Gartner Research suggests that the “blockchain revolution promises to touch every industry,” but the realities are nuanced. While we see this technology being embraced to support auditable voting, currency, software, and digital data transactions, the all-digital nature of these ecosystems is why blockchain is both feasible, scalable, and makes economic sense. Where there is mix of physical data and digital data, however, requiring users to port information stored offline into an online system, blockchain’s adoption will take more time. Sectors such as education and healthcare are increasingly interested in blockchain — deploying pilots and experiments — but the evolution will be slower.

Established heavyweights and startups alike are exploring ways to leverage this technology to solve problems. Dell EMC Global CTO John Roese said that blockchain has “forced us to rethink how we deal with sharing technology and how we develop database architectures.” Google, IBM, Cisco, Bosch, and Oracle are a few notable examples of companies who have joined blockchain alliances, pilot programs, or are pursuing proprietary solutions of their own.


Blockchain is available in open-source platforms and it offers quantifiable benefits for all-digital environments, but don’t mistake it for the panacea, warned a 2017 report from Tractica, a market intelligence firm that focuses on human interaction with technology. In that same report, Tractica analysts urged businesses to “avoid jumping on the blockchain bandwagon and instead view blockchain as a series of technological modules and concepts to selectively choose, apply, and/or complement other emerging technology trends.”

Blockchain also has limits beyond the digital-only prerequisite. A diversity of nodes will help defend against the so-called “51 percent” attacks that could compromise blockchain-supported data. A “51 percent attack,” according to Coindesk author Frederick Reese, “would find a single entity introducing a version of the blockchain that it controls and is accepted as valid.” But on one small college campus or in one building, is the required physical diversity of blockchain peers possible? What makes it an ideal platform to scale may also limit it for smaller use cases.


While blockchain is already disrupting the financial sector, perhaps its greatest promise is how it radically reimagines a digital information infrastructure. With its decentralized, broadly distributed model, the immutability of its transactions, and vetting of online identities, blockchain builds trust into the very architecture of its system.

Blockchain may not be the right fit for every industry, nor is it an immediate answer to the question of how to safeguard digital information, but its paradigm shift is already inspiring next-level innovation. 


Catalini, Christian and Gans, Joshua S., “Some Simple Economics of the Blockchain ” (September 21, 2017). Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 2874598; MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 5191-16. Available at SSRN.


The Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017

Practical Blockchain: A Gartner Trend Insight Report

Tractica: Three Myths about Blockchain

Understand the Fundamentals of IBM Blockchain


Have a burning question about blockchain — or maybe request for a different topic you’d like to see us tackle? Email us at, and we’ll put our top minds on it!

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