It’s a topic of conversation no one wants to have: a big transaction that a company hoped to close didn’t make it to the finish line.
That’s exactly what has transpired with multiple deals involving Deb McDermott and radio and television properties found across the Twin Tiers of Pennsylvania and New York; and TV stations that were to be sold by Bill Christian and Mike Reed.
A resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives last night by Rep. Cheri Bustos and 42 House Members thanking journalists for their reporting during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.
It’s been a radio station in the capital of the Old Dominion, pitching itself as a home of “Timeless Rock N’ Roll, Pop & Soul,” for the last few years.
Now, “Boomtown Richmond” is officially getting a little more oomph.
It is officially purchasing two AMs and an FM translator that were once part of Davidson Media Group’s Spanish-language holdings across the East Coast, operated via an LMA for nearly three years.
As 2021 began, the FCC formally objected to a Petition for Reconsideration of a Commission Report and Order that effectively eliminates the radio duplication rule for AM stations … and FM stations.
The petition was filed by three groups, who have come together to challenge the sudden re-inclusion of FM stations in the R&O, approved in August 2020.
Last week, the trio of groups submitted a joint “final consolidated reply” — as did a fourth group that’s been a NAB antagonist.
In November 2020, RBR+TVBR first reported on the October 16 signing of an Asset Purchase Agreement that would see the transfer of ownership of a pair of UHF properties to Soohyung Kim-led Standard Media Group from Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The FCC last week gave its blessing to the sale.
In one of the final acts of the Pai Commission, the FCC on Tuesday adopted a Report and Order modifying technical rules to promote the expanded use of distributed transmission systems, or single frequency networks (SFNs), by broadcast television stations.
As of today, Northern California Public Media has used a 120-watt signal to reach such Mendocino County towns as Healdsburg, Cloverdale and Windsor. To bring its programming to listeners in Santa Rosa, a 16-watt translator at 90.9 MHz was brought into the mix.
Soon, everyone north of San Francisco will be able to hear NoCal’s programming. It’s buying a Class B1 commercially licensed FM and converting it to noncommercial status.
On Twitter and via pen and paper, Ajit Pai offered words of thanks to FCC staff and the agency’s Commissioners, as his final act as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
Pai’s goodbyes came just hours after the Commission released a parting shot aimed at departing President Donald Trump: It denied a request to stay its unanimous decision to authorize Ligado Networks to deploy a low-power terrestrial national network using portions of its licensed spectrum.
A low-power FM station has agreed to enter into a consent decree and settle an ongoing investigation into whether or it violated the FCC’s underwriting laws. The resulting consent decree calls for the Athenian Multicultural Study Club to implement a compliance plan and pay a civil penalty of $10,000.
The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission received a complaint alleging that on May 13, 2019, Athenian — licensee of LPFM station WPLP(LP) in Athens, Ga. — broadcast an advertisement for a for-profit entity, a direct violation of the FCC’s underwriting laws.
In April 2020, the Enforcement Bureau issued a letter of inquiry to Athenian, complete with audio samples of the advertisements that were allegedly broadcast that day. An attorney for the licensee responded soon after and acknowledged that the station had broadcast underwriting announcements on behalf of for-profit entities between May 2019 and April 2020.
In addition, Athenian revealed that in the 12 months before receiving the letter of inquiry from the FCC, Athenian had aired nine announcements with similar promotional references.
The FCC gives special regulatory consideration to noncommercial educational stations — including LPFMs — by imposing fewer regulatory requirements and exempting them from annual regulatory fees. This is because noncommercial educational broadcast stations provide a unique service to the public and, via LPFM stations specifically, give the public a radio service that is both commercial-free and specifically focused on local communities.
“That flexibility, however, is not unlimited,” the Enforcement Bureau said in its investigation of the Athenian case, noting that FCC has long prohibited NCE stations from airing commercial advertisements.
In this case, the Enforcement Bureau agreed to enter into a consent decree with Athenian to end the bureau’s investigation into Athenian’s violation of the Communications Act of 1934 and the FCC’s underwriting laws. To settle this matter, Athenian admitted that it broadcast prohibited commercial advertisements in exchange for consideration. In addition to the civil penalty, the compliance plan calls on Athenian to designate an official compliance officer who can help the station develop, implement and administer the compliance plan and ensure that Athenian complies with the terms and conditions. That involves notifying employees about the consent decree, establishing a set of operating procedures and reporting any future noncompliance with the underwriting laws, among other rules.
The post Georgia LPFM Agrees to Consent Decree and to Pay $10,000 Penalty appeared first on Radio World.
On January 4, 2021, the newest entrant in the ever-expanding OTT universe bowed.
It’s Discovery+, from Discovery, and the promotional thrust of its rollout has been focused on, ironically, drawing consumers from MVPDs.
A marketing blitz is underway for Discovery+, and it is nearly exclusive to cable TV.
While online language learning platform Babbel remains the biggest user of spot radio, according to the latest data from Media Monitors, commercials tied to the continued prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 virus are now being joined by spots promoting vaccination.
For the week ending January 17, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention was the No. 2 paid advertiser using broadcast radio, behind Babbel. It accounts for some 56,300 spot plays detected by Media Monitors.
New at No. 7? An effort from Bristol Myers Squibb-Pfizer, as COVID-19 vaccines roll out from Pfizer and Moderna across the U.S.
What does the remainder of the Spot Ten look like? More of the same, with Progressive, The Home Depot, Bank of America and GEICO continuing their long string of activity at broadcast radio.
It’s been a challenging year for radio industry pure-play Saga Communications. But, after a late October 2019 dip of its stock to nearly $17 a share, this audio-focused company appears to be in recovery mode.
How it performed in the final three months of 2020 will be made known on the second Friday in March.
Chairman Ajit Pai issued this statement on departing the Federal Communications Commission today. Pai, a Republican, was named to the FCC by President Obama in 2012 and designated chairman by President Trump in 2017. Earlier he had worked for four years in legal roles in the general counsel office. He departs as President Biden prepares to take office.
“Serving the American people as Chairman of the FCC has been the greatest honor of my professional life. Over the past four years, we have delivered results for the American people, from narrowing the digital divide to advancing American leadership in 5G, from protecting consumers and national security to keeping Americans connected during the pandemic, from modernizing our media rules to making the agency more transparent and nimble. It has been a privilege to lead the agency over its most productive period in recent history.
“None of this—not a single action, big or small—would have been possible without the incredible staff of the FCC. They are remarkable public servants who brought to the task each day their expertise, diligence, and collegiality. As I’ve had the chance to tell them during farewell events over the past week, they are inspiring public servants. I’ll miss working with our engineers, economists, attorneys, 24/7 public safety staff, consumer outreach teams, policy experts, administrative staff, and many others. Their accomplishments are even more remarkable considering that they have been working from home for the past ten months, as the FCC became one of the first federal agencies to implement comprehensive telework. I thank each and every one of our staff for their outstanding service to the Commission and to the country.
“Thank you to the American people for their support during my time at the FCC. I look forward to the next adventure.”
The FCC wants to know what you think about FM geo-targeting … NAB’s David Layer talks about tech initiatives for 2021 … Joe D’Angelo on why Xperi is excited about DTS Connected Radio … WJMC rushes to put up an emergency antenna … and lots more.
From a news perspective, 2020 was a year like no other.
And, as Americans settle into the prospect of a fresh start in 2021, a divided nation still living in a pandemic continues to elevate the importance of news, particularly at the local level.
For Nielsen, it’s clear that consumers’ on-demand lifestyles are having an effect on leisure time video viewing, but the unsettled population in the U.S. has elevated the importance of news to consumers across the country looking to stay informed about everything from social unrest to the presidential election to the protests and riots at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Linear TV viewing is at a crossroads, given the shift away from scheduled, appointment viewing on TV, but consumers are voracious when it comes to wanting to stay informed,” says Justin LaPorte, VP of Local Audience Insights at Nielsen. “That elevates the opportunity for news programming across local, national and cable.”
LaPorte shared the details at a presentation given Tuesday at the NATPE virtual conference, based on fresh Nielsen Insights data.
Chicago is very much a competitive PPM market. While it is hard to be perfect, seconds of off-air time are costly, and minutes of off-air time are just not acceptable. If you’re not on the air with PPM encoded audio, you are losing ratings.
Handling emergency audio situations has evolved considerably since I first came to manage the engineering department here at Crawford Broadcasting’s Chicago operation six years ago. I remember early on that there seemed to be no plan. When something out of the ordinary occurred, like the automation system stopped playout, the operators seemed to have no plan what to do.
When this type emergency occurred, if it was a time when engineers were on duty, they would leave the room to try to find an engineer without putting anything on the air first.
Many times, when I walked into a control room, the staff would be throwing their hands in the air, saying something like, “I didn’t do anything!” to which my reply would be, “You’re right, you didn’t do anything!” In other words, why were you not getting any audio on the air before seeking or calling an engineer?
To me the priorities of every operator should be, Number One, making sure no objectionable material gets on the air — we don’t want a $325,000 fine — but Number Two, keeping the meters moving! It’s a competitive PPM market, and the minutes waiting to find an engineer to fix the issue are just not acceptable. The duty of every operator is to make sure we have audio on the air, then call engineering to get things fixed and back to normal audio.
About the only plan that seemed to exist among the operators was perhaps to find a CD to put on the air. Often, they didn’t know where the emergency CD was located, or they didn’t even know such a thing even existed.
Basically, there was no plan, and very little training for such events. The plan seemed to be call engineering and throw up your hands to make sure everyone knows it wasn’t your fault.
A few years back, we purchased USB thumb drive players to place at the transmitter sites for emergency audio. Using silence detection and macro programming in the Burk ARC Plus Touch remote control units, we designed a system that will play audio from the USB stick when both STL paths are silent for two minutes. Then, when normal audio is restored for a solid two minutes, it will revert back to it.
This is great for dire emergencies like the STL equipment being down or the studio generator not coming on during a power outage. However, for events like audio problems in the studio, when we have operators on hand, two minutes is an eternity!
So we wanted to give the operators a way to do the same thing we had at the transmitter site, but this time in the studio.Dedicated fader
To achieve this, we added USB thumb drive players in the studio. We again put emergency audio on thumb drives and these were attached to the players by chains so they wouldn’t be lost.
While this was a better plan than CDs that would get lost in the studio, we still found operators not remembering in an emergency where to locate the drives, how to get the fader on the board changed to the player, and how to get it on the air. By the time this all took place, the two minutes were up, and the transmitter site player was already on the air.
I knew that the WheatNet-IP blades offered internal audio players, but we were still in a mixed infrastructure with the control rooms still having G5 Wheatstone control surfaces connected to the legacy TDM system. We also had some WheatNet-IP blade infrastructure with interconnections to the TDM system.
Still, it was going to be an issue for the operators to use the internal players if they had to dial up a fader on the old G5 surfaces
We went through our studio rebuild this past year and now have an entirely WheatNet-IP infrastructure. With that, we are now using the LXE control surfaces, which also took us from 16 faders to 20 faders. This allowed me to have a dedicated fader just for an emergency audio source.
We purchased four licenses, one for each station, and activated the Audio Player tab on each of the M4 microphone processing blades in the control rooms.The audio player screen in the Wheatnet Navigator app.
We then assigned them to the very last fader on each of the LXE control surfaces.
Now here’s the catch: We wanted to make things as easy as possible — to have an emergency audio source that the operators could get on the air with one button. This means we had to make it difficult for the operators to change the fader to any other audio source.
One cool thing about the LXE control surfaces is that they are very programmable. Just about every button on the surface can be customized to the need.
Well, the first thing I did after assigning the emergency audio player to Fader 20 was to defeat the source select knob to remove the ability to change to the source at all on that channel. I also programmed the soft key to only select the emergency audio player.
I then took the program bus select button on the channel and made it into a tally-only button, showing that the fader is in program. Hitting the button does nothing to turn the fader program on or off. I instead used the second soft key button to be the program assign button on the fader.The emergency channels are on the far right on the LXE surfaces.
The idea is that this fader is always in program and can’t be easily taken out of program without special knowledge. We still have conscientious operators who turn the program bus assignment off on what they deem unnecessary faders at the beginning of their shift, a practice that you usually only find with our very experienced operators but is not desired in this instance.
I, of course, enabled all the necessary steps so the player is remote started. The result is that the operators have an emergency audio source that only takes two steps: Turn up the fader and push the “on” button.
In my mind, this should mean that anything more than 10 seconds of silence is unacceptable. If the main audio source stops playing, that first instinct should be to immediately press that “on” button and then call engineering.
This article originally appeared in the Local Oscillator newsletter of Crawford Broadcasting.
Rick Sewell, CSRE, CBNT, AMD is engineering manager for Crawford Broadcasting–Chicago. Radio World welcomes tech tips and story ideas at email@example.com.
Starting March 1, Emmis‘ Indianapolis radio stations will have a new Market President.
It is a woman who has spent 22 years with Emmis in a variety of radio sales and promotions leadership roles.
She’ll replace a 11-year veteran who will be moving on.
The Pearl TV broadcaster business group is applauding the decision by the FCC to give broadcasters more flexibility when using a Distributed Television System (DTS) for NEXTGEN TV broadcasts using ATSC 3.0.
Public and commercial broadcasters had sought the refinement of Commission rules, in order to ensure that a local broadcaster could better serve its market of viewers.
CHICAGO — WGN America, the cable network that’s getting a major news-focused overhaul under new owner Nexstar Media Group, has selected a VP of Creative Marketing and Brand Communications to help growth the operation’s presence even further in 2021.
The E.W. Scripps Company has appointed a veteran television sales executive to serve as its new Chief Revenue Officer.
Today marks his first day in his new role.
Landing the position is Michael Teicher.
He’ll be responsible for developing the company’s ad sales strategy for all the Scripps networks across all platforms, including general market, direct response, programmatic/digital, long-form and sponsorship advertising.
He reports to Jonathan Katz, chief operating officer and head of entertainment for Scripps networks.
Teicher joins Scripps from 20th Television, where he served as EVP of Media Sales, overseeing the syndication for all Fox and Debmar Studios Syndicated television shows, including Modern Family, Family Guy, Family Feud, and The Wendy Williams Show.
Teicher was previously EVP/Media Sales for Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution, leading the sales efforts for all of the company’s syndicated television shows.
He also spent more than a decade in ascending roles with Turner Broadcasting Sales, where he developed new, incremental revenue streams around the Turner and Time Warner portfolio while also helping to create and run the company’s marketing solutions group.
Teicher also had successful sales stints with Major League Baseball Productions, Replay TV and Harmonic Communications.
“Michael is one of the industry’s most widely-respected and seasoned sales executives, having successfully brought to market some of the most popular shows on television,” Katz said. “As we bring ION into the fold and combine our networks, his experience positioning top brands and creating unique and powerful marketing solutions for advertising partners across multiple platforms will be a tremendous asset.”