BLOG

LATEST NEWS

LATEST NEWS

Posts Tagged: Radio News

Licensee allegedly failed to state that station operated at unauthorized power for more than a year

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission issued a notice of apparent forfeiture to a Michigan FM licensee for alleged unauthorized operation, a late-filed special temporary authority request and failure to disclose key information.

The problem seems to have started with flooding. Licensee Roy E. Henderson filed a silent STA application in February 2015 due to an incident of flooding at station WBNZ(FM) in Frankfort, Mich. He told the FCC that WBNZ was forced off the air in January 2015 when a broken frozen water main caused damage and interior flooding to the station. The station would need to remain off the air until repair needs could be determined, he told the commission.

As part of its investigation, the FCC asked for updates on the station’s operational status, but issues arose during the course of the investigation — including a late reply from Henderson regarding exactly when the station came back on the air, initially insufficient proof about how long the station has been off the air, and the revelation that the station was operating at reduced power.

The bureau found that while the station had not been silent for more than a year, the station had operated at an unauthorized power level. The station also failed to request an STA in a timely manner to operate at this reduced power level.

“Licensee merely stated that ‘WBNZ is currently operating at the reduced power of 1.4 kW,’ but failed to state that, in fact, the station had been operated with that unauthorized power reduction for nearly 17 months before filing the engineering STA application,” the FCC said.

After researching the issue, the Media Bureau found three infractions: that Henderson willfully and repeatedly operated WBNZ at variance from its license without commission authority; that he failed to timely file an STA; and he failed to disclose material information regarding the unauthorized operations.

The bureau concluded that Henderson is liable for a monetary forfeiture of $18,000 for the violations.

Specifically, the bureau proposed a $10,000 forfeiture for unauthorized operation, $3,000 for failing to timely file the required STA, and $5,000 for failing to disclose a material fact in the engineering STA — namely that Henderson failed to reveal that the station had been operated with an unauthorized power reduction for nearly 17 months before filing an STA.

Henderson has 30 days to pay the full amount or to file a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.

[Want more information like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get it delivered right to your inbox.]

Go to Radio Magazine Online

Just how cheaply can you operate a radio station?



Radio Birdsong “broadcasts” live from a moving vehicle

Quentin Howard is a man with a mission: To work out if he can run a fully-featured radio station on hardware that costs less than $99.

Quentin, who was chief engineer for the UK’s national Classic FM and instrumental in the UK’s adoption of DAB Digital Radio, is running his own radio station as a bit of fun — deliberately using cheap hardware.

“I wanted to run a fully-functional radio station — with a completely automated music schedule, station IDs, encoding and streaming, and pulling in external audio sources. I wanted it broadcasting the time signal at the top of the hour; and for me to be able to broadcast live if I wanted to,” he said.

The system that does this? A £70 (US$94) tablet computer, running Windows 10. The challenge that Quentin has set himself is to ensure that the system runs reliably, and the touch software remains responsive and usable on a 7-inch screen.


A cheap SD player

Keen to experiment, Quentin is testing this using a classical music format. 

“Classical titles are more complicated to music schedule — extreme durations, multiple artists, composers, different versions of same piece, segues in different keys, screeching sopranos, non-English alphabets — so it’s a good stress test of music rotation and playout, which is really what this is all about. If it can do all this well, any pop/rock format station is a doddle!”, he says.

“Announcer breaks are done on my mobile phone, uploaded to Dropbox from anywhere and played out a few minutes later which is, in effect, a one man live-assist OB.”

Playout is handled by PlayIt , a low-cost suite of radio software produced in Cambridge, England. 

“I’ve watched this product evolve over the last few years and I’m still impressed. It’s very stable and resource light. Standard playout software is free (non professional use), voice tracking and more sophisticated networked systems cost literally a few pounds. There’s lots of low cost playout systems of course — I’ve tested over 60! — but I rate this one highly.”

The station, which Quentin has christened “Radio Birdsong,” is streaming live on the internet. “You could hook this up to a £28 (US$37) FM transmitter, and have a fully-functional radio station for less than $140 — no larger than a hardback book,” he adds.

Elsewhere, low-cost radio solutions are already on the air. Ash Elford, manager of the small-scale Portsmouth DAB multiplex in the south of England used a small SD card player — costing less than $5 — to air one simple radio station for three months. The service, Sleepyhead Radio, was a set of looping programs for babies and their parents. The SD card player was purchased on eBay; the micro SD card was “just lying around,” he told me.

Ash also ran a set of automated radio stations called Weather 24/7, which broadcasts the weather forecast on DAB multiplexes in parts of the UK, using reconditioned laptops.

At the other side of the world in Australia, radio technologist Anthony Eden has recently compiled a collection of over 20 pieces of free broadcast software .

From studio clocks, to silence detectors, DAB encoders or playout systems, there are a lot of freely-available pieces of software to assist radio stations. Anthony’s list includes many open-source projects, which enable individual radio stations to add more features to the software or integrate it into existing services.

Meanwhile, Quentin Howard continues to experiment with his service: taking his entire radio station mobile. “I used a Bluetooth data connection to a mobile phone, and was able to stream the station uninterrupted from a moving vehicle,” he said.

“One application I’m developing it for is disaster emergency broadcasting. Pre-programmed FM radio in a tiny box, ready to go and cheap enough to throw away.”

“You could do all this on an Intel core i7,” he adds. “But where would be the fun in that?”

James Cridland reports on international radio trends from Brisbane QLD, Australia.

Go to Radio Magazine Online

Joint presentation will address breakthrough solution for sports media storage and centralised access

DENVER — 14 June 2018 — Wazee Digital, a leading provider of cloud-native video management and licensing services, today announced that Senior Director of Customer Solutions David Candler will give a joint presentation at MESA Europe’s annual Hollywood IT Society (HITS) Europe Summit. The session will detail how major sports brands are using the cloud to make their media content instantly accessible to internal stakeholders, global broadcast and production partners, media and corporate sponsors and other global recipients both before, during and after international live sports events.

Candler will join fellow speakers from BASE Media Cloud, a UK company that offers a suite of ready-made cloud services for media companies. Together they will present “Racing to the Cloud — Sports Media Storage and Centralised Access.” Attendees will also hear Formula E describe its own incredible success story, which has attracted a growing international audience and high-profile investment from global brands, and how they are using technical partners like Wazee Digital and BASE Media Cloud to address the challenges of managing, storing and distributing content. The requirements for overcoming those challenges, the solutions identified and the reasons behind the decisions will also be discussed.

The 30-minute presentation will begin at 11:20 a.m. Presenters joining Candler will be Ben Foakes, managing director, BASE Media Cloud; Adam Kemp, broadcast and distribution manager, Formula E; and Ali Russell, director of media and new business, Formula E.

MESA Europe’s HITS Europe Summit 2018 will take place on 20 June at the Victory Services Club in London.

“In the high-paced world of live sports, the ability not only to store and manage assets internally but to immediately share them with stakeholders around the world is becoming more and more critical, but it’s easier said than done,” said Mr. Candler, Wazee Digital’s senior director of customer solutions. “By using the cloud solution from Wazee Digital and BASE Media Cloud, Formula E has proven that the content storage and centralised access part of its operation can be done effectively, affordably and at scale — and others in the sports world have taken notice. People who attend this presentation will hear first-hand how successful the solution has been for Formula E.”

A select number of industry trade press are invited to attend the event free of charge. Interested parties may contact Teresa Austerberry at teresa@mesaeurope.org.

More information about Wazee Digital’s products and services is available at www.wazeedigital.com.

# # #

About Wazee Digital
Wazee Digital enables rights holders to monetize and enrich their valuable content. Wazee Digital’s scalable solutions provide complete control over content so that assets reach their rightful audiences around the globe. It is the only asset management solution built from the ground up to run natively in the cloud, and the only one to make live moments available immediately for global publishing, syndication, advertising, and sponsorship. With more than 10 years of experience in digital content licensing, rights, and clearances, Wazee Digital has long-standing relationships with significant rights holders in the film, TV, sports, and advertising industries — all of whom rely on Wazee Digital for managing content that fuels their business.

About BASE Media Cloud
BASE Media Cloud is on a mission to help digital media companies work smarter and more cost-effectively by offering cutting edge cloud storage and media software tools, online and on-demand. BASE Media Cloud’s team has decades of experience in the media industry, working across production, post and delivery. BASE Media Cloud’s media industry-focused cloud solutions are built around world-class technology to provide clients with the highest security and quality of user experience, from anywhere, at any time.

About the ABB FIA Formula E Championship
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship is the electric street racing series and the world’s first fully-electric international single-seater category in motorsport. Formula E brings electrifying wheel-to wheel action to some of the world’s leading cities, racing against the backdrop of iconic skylines such as New York, Hong Kong, Paris and Rome.

The inaugural season of Formula E sparked into life in September 2014 around the grounds of the Olympic Park in Beijing. The fourth edition of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will see 10 teams and 20 drivers compete in 10 cities spanning five continents in the fight to be crowned champion. Hong Kong hosted the season-opener over the course of two days on December 2 & 3, with the championship coming to a close in New York in July.

Formula E is more than just a race to be the best – it’s a competitive platform to test and develop road-relevant technologies, helping refine the design and functionality of electric vehicle components and speeding-up the transition and uptake of clean transportation on a global scale.

For this season, more manufacturers have joined the electric revolution with reigning champion Lucas di Grassi looking to defend his title behind the wheel of the Audi-backed ABT Schaeffler team. More big-name manufacturers have also committed to race in Formula E — including BMW and Nissan in tandem with the new-look car and battery in season five, along with Mercedes-Benz and Porsche who also plan to join the following year.

Product or service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Link to Word Doc: www.wallstcom.com/WazeeDigital/180614WazeeDigital.docx

Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/WazeeDigital/WazeeDigital_ABB-Formula-E-DMH.png
Photo Caption: Racing to the Cloud — Sports Media Storage and Centralised Access

Follow Wazee Digital:
https://www.facebook.com/WazeeDigital
https://www.instagram.com/wazeedigital/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/wazeedigital
https://twitter.com/wazee_digital
http://www.youtube.com/c/WazeeDigital

Go to Radio Magazine Online

Feature enables users to view on a single screen all of the FM and HD-Radio Channels 1-8 from channel presets

FELTON, Calif. — Inovonics says it has released a free firmware update that adds “Listener Experience” to its INOmini 638 HD SiteStreamer, which enables users to monitor up to 30 sources of FM and HD programming over the Internet.

According to a company announcement, the new Listener Experience feature enables “users to remotely view on a single screen all of the FM and HD-Radio Channels 1-8 from channel presets on the unit” via the 638’s web interface.

Inovonics says users can now select and view info from the FM channel and the HD-Radio channels that are being transmitted on one screen. This information includes call letters, RDS messaging, artist, song title, album and genre. This is in addition to remote listening via a live stream of the station.

Users can download the 638 Firmware Update Rev 1.2.0.7 here.

Go to Radio Magazine Online

WUPPERTAL, Germany — June 14, 2018 — Orange Events, Malaysia’s premier event management company, has expanded its rental inventory with Riedel Communications’ Bolero wireless intercom and MediorNet real-time media network products. With MediorNet providing the integrated audio, video, and data communications backbone, Bolero will enable Orange Events to provide its customers with a fully integrated, point-to-point communications ecosystem and seamless roaming capabilities — critical requirements especially for complex, large media events.

“Our production landscape is challenging and ever-evolving. Our clients require reliable communications and signal transport solutions that offer guaranteed uptime coupled with the best sound quality,” said Blurr Wong, Managing Director, Orange Events. “Riedel’s Bolero and MediorNet offer all of this and more, together with the technology innovation and leadership that Riedel is so well-known for. We are very pleased to have invested in these outstanding products.”

Riedel’s Bolero is an expandable, full-roaming, DECT-based intercom system in the license-free 1.9 gigahertz frequency range. With the MediorNet real-time media network allowing for redundant and decentralized signal routing and transport, the Bolero wireless intercom provides comprehensive and reliable communications for crew and performers at any type of media event. Bolero offers a rich set of features and connectivity that can be applied three ways: as an exceptional wireless beltpack, as a wireless keypanel, and — in an industry first — as a walkie-talkie radio. Bolero is equipped with a high-clarity voice codec that facilitates higher speech intelligibility and more efficient use of RF spectrum, thereby supporting twice the number of beltpacks per antenna for the same audio bandwidth as other DECT-based systems.

“We are pleased to be working with Orange Events, with its outstanding reputation for top-of-the-line equipment and a dedicated, highly trained team of professionals. Orange Events’ selection of Bolero and MediorNet is just one more example of Riedel’s continued expansion across Asia,” said Rajveer Singh, Riedel Communications General Manager, Southeast Asia. “We are confident that our customers will benefit greatly from Bolero and MediorNet’s rich feature sets, reliability, and ease of use.”

Further information about Riedel and the company’s products is available at www.riedel.net.

# # #

About Riedel Communications
Riedel Communications designs, manufactures, and distributes pioneering real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks for broadcast, pro audio, event, sports, theater, and security applications. The company also provides rental services for radio and intercom systems, event IT solutions, fiber backbones, and wireless signal transmission systems that scale easily for events of any size, anywhere in the world. Riedel is headquartered in Wuppertal, Germany, and employs over 500 people in 19 locations throughout Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Americas.

All trademarks appearing herein are the property of their respective owners.

Link to Word Doc: www.wallstcom.com/Riedel/180614Riedel.docx

Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/Riedel/Riedel-OESB-Logos.zip
Description of Photos: Orange Events has added Riedel’s Bolero and MediorNet products to rental stock.

Go to Radio Magazine Online

The Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act provides additional tools to the FCC to address illegal radio operations

WASHINGTON — The PIRATE Act is one step closer to becoming law.

On June 13, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology unanimously voted to pass the PIRATE Act, otherwise known as the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act, which provides additional tools to the Federal Communications Commission to address illegal pirate radio operations.

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly applauded the move, which sends a “clear message that pirate radio ‘stations’ must be eliminated,” he said. “This bill rightfully increases the penalties, requires regular enforcement sweeps, and augments the tools available to the commission to stop illegal pirate broadcasters.

“Today’s mark-up is an important step forward in ensuring the PIRATE Act becomes law and I look forward to seeing the bill take the next step in the legislative process,” O’Rielly continued. 

The decision was also supported by the National Association of Broadcasters, who saluted co-authors Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) and Rep. Mike Tonko (D-N.Y.) for their bipartisan sponsorship of the legislation.

“The bipartisan legislation will increase the ability of the FCC to crack down on pirate activity by increasing fines, streamlining enforcement and placing liability those who facilitate illegal radio broadcasts,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton.

The bill now heads to the Energy and Commerce committee for consideration.

As reported in Radio World, the PIRATE Act proposes to hike the fine for violations to as much as $100,000 per day, with a maximum fine of $2 million. The rules currently allow the FCC to impose a maximum daily penalty of about $19,200 per day.

The bill has been endorsed by several groups including the New Jersey Broadcasters Association and New York State Broadcasters Association, with association President David Donovan telling lawmakers at a subcommittee hearing earlier this year that illegal operators are undermining the nation’s Emergency Alert System, causing invasive and insidious interference, posing potential public health problems due to overexposure to radio frequency radiation, and interfering with airport communications.

[Want more information like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get it delivered right to your inbox.]

Go to Radio Magazine Online

Inntot Technologies, GeekSynergy, Gospell Digital Technology and Communications Systems are all working on products



Avion DRM receiver

NEW DELHI — You will recall that All India Radio, the public service broadcaster in India, adopted the Digital Radio Mondiale standard for the digital terrestrial radio transmissions in the MW and SW bands. 35 MW transmitters of AIR, ranging in power from 20 kW to 1000 kW, continue to operate in using DRM in various fashions. Two more transmitters, 100 kW each, are under trial in Delhi and these are expected to be operational in a couple of months, according to DRM news .

DRM news has compiled a list of manufacturers of stand-alone DRM receivers from various manufacturers, that is of interest.


DRM in the dashboard

Inntot Technologies, a start-up enterprise in India, has developed a software-based DRM receiver, which is based on a generic processor, and meets all the specifications for the Minimum Receiver Requirements, supporting all DRM core functionality such as Journaline advanced text and Emergency Warning Functionality. The design has been field tested in number of cities in India. It is expected to be very cost effective.

GeekSynergy, another start-up, is working on the development of a “highly affordable yet full-featured” DRM receiver, which is likely to be showcased by summer 2018. The company is also working on incorporating DRM into smartphones using one of the most well-known chips installed in all the branded mobile phones.


Gospell receiver and dongle

The Chinese company Gospell Digital Technology has presented a very well-reviewed DRM Receiver, the GR 216, which is already in production. These units can receive DRM signals in the AM as well as the VHF bands for large-area and local services, respectively. Core DRM features such as Journaline advanced text and EWF — with automatic device-wake-up from deep-standby are supported. Gospell is developing a DRM receiver dongle, GR-227, which can be plugged in the existing audio systems in the automobiles on USB ports or Aux input to receive DRM signals. The receiver model will allow legacy cars already on the road and with analog AM and FM reception to be upgraded to DRM digital reception through this simple add-on device. The unit is likely to go into production shortly.

Communications Systems is the first radio manufacturer in India to domestically develop and produce a DRM receiver (AV-1401), an “ambitious full-featured” digital radio. It supports all the DRM-specific features including Journaline advanced text and Emergency Warning Functionality. As part of the company’s continued commitment to DRM in India, the model was recently updated and easily meets DRM’s minimum receiver requirements as recommended by the DRM Consortium. 

Go to Radio Magazine Online

This year’s event has double the learning opportunities, planners say


WASHINGTON — Government Video Expo planners have announced “an expanded schedule of live sessions in two theaters on the expo floor.”

“Not only are we focusing on the latest technology from the video and AV/IT marketplaces, but we are also looking at future-facing opportunities and best practices in order to give attendees a multidimensional experience they can’t find anywhere else,” Future B2B U.S. Chief Content Officer Joe Territo said in a press release.

According to the announcement, attendees will learn about trends, build skills and broaden their professional network.

Programmed by the content directors of Government Video, TV Technology, Digital Video and the Creative Planet Network, sessions on the show floor are intended for audiences active in video production, broadcast and professional AV, with topics including:

  • Emerging production/post-production video technologies;
  • Business strategies for media professionals;
  • Immersive journalism and new storytelling tools;
  • Production advances for higher education;
  • Live event and streaming production;
  • Virtual reality and its potential in education and enterprise;
  • 2019 professional and consumer technology trends;
  • Drone/UAV photography.

Headlining this year will be a keynote conversation with PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff. She will discuss the media climate of 2018 and her high-profile role in it.

“We’ll explore how video technology is transforming government, education and business, creating incredible potential for the professionals, manufacturers and service providers serving this ever-expanding market,” said Future B2B U.S. Managing Director of Content Paul McLane.

The 23rd GV Expo will be collocated with DC Post|Production Conference and the Government Learning Technology Symposium and is scheduled for Nov. 27–29 at Washington’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Registration for the event opened in mid-May.

The event is produced by Future US, an information and event producer for the professional communications, entertainment and education technology markets.

Go to Radio Magazine Online

He says 48 dBµ would be a more appropriate value than 54 dBµ

WASHINGTON — In comments to the FCC, Crawford Broadcasting Director of Engineering W. Cris Alexander argued that the broadcaster “has interests on both sides of the FM translator interference issue” — meaning that the company and its affiliates currently are licensees of 15 AM and nine FM commercial stations plus nine FM translators. This, Crawford says, means they have a “unique perspective on the issue and perhaps a more balanced view.”

In light of that, Alexander submitted comments on behalf of Crawford regarding the proposed amendment of Part 74 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding FM Translator Interference (MB Docket No. 18-119). He expressed support for the commission’s reform efforts and offered additional suggestions. (Cris Alexander also is a contributor to Radio World, which was not involved in the filing.)

[Read about the commissioners’ opinions on the proposed changes.]

First, Alexander, writes: “We believe that the provisions of §74.1203(a) and §74.1204(f) should be harmonized so that predicted interference to existing listeners outside the translator 60 dBµ contour can be addressed prior to grant of the translator application. What constitutes ‘interference’ is well defined in the FCC’s rules by means of codified protection ratios, and we believe these ratios should be applied to predicted interference cases prior to grant of a legitimately-objected translator application.”

He notes that this is advantageous because it would help to prevent “drawn-out and often expensive interference complaint prosecution” by eliminating cases in which “a proposed translator will ‘pass the test’ provided by §74.1204(f) because there is no predicted interference to existing full-power station listeners within the translator 60 dBµ contour, but after operation commences, existing listeners located outside the translator 60 dBµ contour begin receiving interference.”

Additionally, this is important, Alexander says, because ofen “the damage is done in fairly short order after the translator signs on — those existing listeners displaced by the translator interference often tune elsewhere and may not ever return.”

Alexander also supports “the proposed modification of Section 74.1233(a)(1) of the Rules to define an FM translator’s change to any available channel as a minor change as a means of mitigating legitimate interference to an existing full-power broadcast station.” This is consistent with the idea that it’s important to offer “fast and complete resolution of interference issues.”

He also concurs that six is a good minimum number of listener complaints to be used to claim translator interference, saying that a “station bringing this many complaints undoubtedly has a real interference issue.”

Regarding the complaints themselves, Alexander agrees that listener complaints should include sufficient information “for the translator licensee to follow up… determine the listener’s exact location, and make measurements and tests at that location.” He notes that this would also ensure that the complainant is not affiliated with the full-power station.

In fact, Alexander writes that it would be bettter to remove the middleman — the complaining listener — from the process as soon as possible because complaining listeners “ may be uncooperative,” hard to contact or could even be bribed to withdraw their complaint.

Instead, he suggests, the resolution should be determined through “a technical showing that all interference has been eliminated.” Specifically, he writes, “any showing by the translator licensee should include a U/D study based upon the F(50, 50) and F(50, 10) field strength charts contained in Section 73.333, unless the use of the Longley-Rice propagation model is indicated based upon established criteria.”

Also, Alexander argues “there should be a full-power station field strength value beyond which no complaint of actual or predicted interference will be considered actionable.” However, he says that they do not “believe that 54 dBµ is the appropriate value for this cutoff field strength.” Rather, Crawford says, “a better compromise would be 48 dBµ, which represents an electric field strength value of 250 µV/m. We believe this value to be appropriate for all classes of FM stations and do not recommend that a different value be adopted for class B or B1 stations.”

He explains that a recent listener survey indicated that “92% of the respondents regularly listen in areas beyond the 54 dBµ contour and with predicted field strengths well below that value;” and he said the same is likely the case for class B1 stations which are protected to 57 dBµ, “it is likely that there are listeners to even lower field strength signals than to those with a 60 dBµ protected contour.” He cited also cited a 1975 study and report that indicated there was “some argument for a value of 47 dBu” field strength as a cutoff for interference complaints.

Read his comments online here. Comments on MB Docket No. 18-119 are due July 6 and reply comments are due Aug. 6. 

Go to Radio Magazine Online

Making the important decisions and executing the plan

This article is the second in a series about mitigating the impact of the spectrum repack, as told by iHeartMedia Los Angeles Vice President of Engineering Doug Irwin. Read the first installment here. 

BASIC GUIDELINES 

Not long after this news about the Deer Park construction go-ahead came out, our SVP of Engineering Tom Cox let me know the basic framework of the project — what we wanted to achieve, and how much the budget was. It was up to me to meet the goals within the budget framework.


This room seemed tailor-made for our needs. Note the already-in-place ATS. Outside was its associated generator set. We did decide to replace the old air conditioner.

One question that needed to be addressed was just how long we had to put all of this together. I did reach out to local TV engineers, as I mentioned earlier, but none really had finalized plans. The best I could get was “We’ll be doing that over the summertime.” 

So — since summer officially starts on June 21 — I decided that the end of May was a reasonable goal for the new site to be ready. Somewhat random, I will admit, but there was very little else to go on.

Early in the project we worked on deciding if we wanted to use two antennas fed from two separate 2-channel star combiners; or alternatively, a single antenna with a 4-channel combiner. Eventually we decided to go with the single antenna. The reasons are quite, simple really.

CBS TV used to maintain some satellite uplinks up at CBS lane, and they had a special room built in “the house” to accommodate the control gear. Sometime earlier all of it had been abandoned in place. In typical CBS fashion, it was all put together very nicely, and seemed nearly custom made for our needs. 

It already had an ATS and generator outside, as well. The contacts in the ATS are limited to 150A though; and considering the ERP and antenna gain we would have to work with (for the single 8-bay antenna) the amount of current needed by the transmitters was going to fit comfortably within that limit. 

If I had opted for lower antenna gain, I would have needed more transmitter power, which would have necessitated an upgrade to the electrical system. For this reason we decided to go with the 8-bay antenna.


The old channel 2 batwing, and KCBS-FM’s tertiary antenna.

THE TOWER ISN’T STRONG ENOUGH

Once we had the antenna picked (an 8-bay, half-wave spaced ERI Axiom) we went back to ATC and let them do the mechanical study. Unfortunately, the results were not good: The tower as-it stood was not strong enough to hold up our chosen antenna.

However, ATC has all the resources at hand to study the issue and to come up with the fixes needed. In addition, since we had picked ERI already, the two engineering teams worked together to come up with the pole needed to hold up this rather large antenna, and the more specifically, the modifications needed to the tower to make it work for the application. The pole, the tower modifications, and installation of both were on ATC’s dime. 

The only real question was whether or not that part would get done on time.

CHOOSING THE COMBINER AND TRANSMITTERS 

Dielectric, ERI, and Shively were all solicited for bids for the antenna and combiner. Naturally, I had to consider pricing, but with the upcoming re-pack work, I also had to consider how long the various companies would take to deliver the antenna and/or combiner. In the end I ended up choosing Shively for the combiner, and (as I already wrote) ERI for the antenna. Both had good combinations of pricing and delivery time.

The transmitter choice was pretty easy for me, since we already had two Nautel GV-series transmitters in place and on-air (for KOST and KYSR). 

Clearly, Nautel isn’t the only brand that can do what it does; however, it’s easier from an on-going maintenance perspective to have the same transmitters across our stations —from spares to software updates to staff knowledge. 

Working backwards (from the antenna down) and knowing the ERP we were looking for on each station, I chose two GV10s, a GV5, and a VS2.5 with the VS-HD. Yes—we were adding HD to all the stations as well. The footprints of these transmitters would also be easily accommodated with the space in the old CBS satellite room, along with three racks.

THE STL SYSTEM

Our stations on Mt Wilson each have three STLs to choose from (not including our VSAT system) and it was my intention to have all three of them also available at Deer Park.

Additionally, we have transmitter-site versions of our automation system — the idea being that they are ready to play-out audio in the event we have a system meltdown in Burbank— and I wanted that audio to be available at Deer Park as well. The reality is that I wanted to “copy” whatever I was doing up on Video Rd, and to “paste” it down at Deer Park.

At last year’s Radio Show, I was introduced to the newest member of GatesAir’s IP link family — the IP MPXp. By simply sampling the composite outputs of our current set of audio processors — with their custom settings are particular on-air qualities — we could literally do the “copy and paste” method I was after. 

By using the MPXp, we would have access to our main and backup audio processors, each of which is driven by the output of a 4X1 AES selector, thus:

  • Giving us access to all three STLs down at Deer Park
  • And making sure the Deer Park transmitters sound identical to the Video Rd. transmitters
  • By adding RDS to the appropriate inputs on the audio processors, we have access to it as well at Deer Park

So as you can see, there was no need to buy additional audio processors or RDS generators. The MPXp units are configured to use a 132 KHz sample rate, thus giving them an audio bandwidth of 60 KHz — more than enough to include all the stereo information and RDS.

CONNECTING THE SITES

Since Deer Park is .6 miles west of the main sites at Video Rd., we clearly needed some way of making them communicate. I opted for a licensed radio solution; however, the time to implement such a system ended up being more than we had to work with. For that reason, we opted to install a parallel 5.8 GHz radio link between the buildings as well.

Three of our four stations are in the Post Office building on Video Rd.; however, KBIG is next door in the Poole building. We had no fast communications between the buildings (though they are on the same AT&T switched Ethernet circuit — thus providing 10 mbps of connectivity between the two). 

Since we had the IP MPXp to pass information from the Poole building to Deer Park, it was clear we needed to connect the Poole building to the Post Office before anything else. We ended up doing that with yet another unlicensed radio — this time at 60 GHz. It was an experiment that worked out well enough for us to keep it going. To be fair, this radio includes yet another 5.8 GHz radio, embedded, so that it can keep passing data even if the 60 GHz portion fades or fails.

Next time: we start putting it all together.

Go to Radio Magazine Online

SOCIAL NETWORKS

Follow us on Social Media

NEWSLETTER

BLOG CATEGORIES

Categories

COMPANY

ABOUT MYSTICAL ROSE MEDIA

Our goal is to provide simple, affordable solutions to your technology problems.

LATEST POSTS

SUBSCRIBE

Join our mailing list for updates

Follow us on Social Media

© 2011-2017, Mystical Rose Media. All Rights Reserved

Go to Radio Magazine Online