Broadcasters Begin Push for Radio Chips in Phones

On June 6, the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on “The Future of Audio” – an open-ended, quasi exploratory affair covering several subjects. Of note was the testimony of Jeff Smulyan, the President and CEO of Emmis Communications.

Emmis, in conjunction with iBiquity Digital Corporation and Intel, unveiled a prototype smartphone with FM-HD reception capability at the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention in April. The NAB itself has publicly acknowledged that getting FM reception into phones is its number one legislative priority this year. Read More

Broadcast Engineers: A Dying Breed?

A recent paper (PDF) from the Society of Broadcast Engineers paints a stark picture for the vocation of broadcast engineering.

The SBE notes that the number of broadcast engineers (especially those employed full-time) has been in a steady decline since the 1980s. This is when the FCC began getting rid of rules that required engineers to hold specific (and often multiple) qualifications to work at radio and television stations. Broadcasters could thus get by with fewer engineers, and many jobs which engineers used to do could now be done by lesser-qualified staff. Read More

Details Emerge of ZoneCast Pitch to FCC

This week a D.C. communications law firm working with Geo Broadcast Solutions (GBS) unveiled the company’s Petition for Rulemaking at the FCC, which proposes to allow FM radio stations to use multiple booster transmitters for the provision of “targeted” programming.

The proposal stands to dramatically reconfigure the nature of an FM broadcast station: instead of one large transmitter covering a single area, GBS’ ZoneCast technology would allow stations to deploy as many as seven booster stations on their parent frequency, with each booster targeting a specific region of a station’s primary coverage area. Read More

Broadcast Conglomerates Consolidate in Cyberspace

This week, Clear Channel (#1 in national radio station ownership) and Cumulus (#2) inked an agreement intimately linking their online broadcast strategies.

Cumulus will integrate the webcasts from its ~560 radio stations under Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio streaming platform, and will actively promote it on-air. In exchange, Clear Channel will cross-promote Cumulus’ SweetJack service, a Groupon-style business the broadcaster is developing in markets where it has stations, both on-air and online. Read More