More details have emerged about Sprint’s deal with broadcasters to include FM receiver functionality in some of its mobile devices. In simple terms, broadcasters have cobbled together a package of subsidies to the nation’s #3 wireless carrier in order to buy access to that market.
Sprint will enable FM radio reception capability in at least 30 million phones over the next three years, using Emmis Communication’s NextRadio app as the interface.
In exchange, broadcasters will pay Sprint 30% of any "interactive" advertising revenue generated via the app on those phones. Emmis sweetened the deal by pledging Sprint $45 million in advertising inventory over three years ($15 million per year, allocated quarterly). Continue reading “Sprint's Radio Deal: Some Context”
We’re going into HD Radio‘s 11th year on the air. So far, the technology’s proliferation has been underwhelming, to put it mildly. However, proponents of HD are working on several projects which they hope will break it into the mainstream. They are: Continue reading “HD Radio's Multifaceted Search for Traction”
GeoBroadcast Solutions, developer of the "ZoneCasting" FM transmission system, will conduct a full-scale commercial test in Florida next spring or summer. The test-station will be WRMF, an independently-owned adult-contemporary music outlet in West Palm Beach.
Although the FCC has yet to grant experimental authorization for this test, GeoBroadcast and Palm Beach Broadcasting have already secured FM booster-transmitters and a simulcast coordination system from Harris and are negotiating tower leases for the boosters. Continue reading “ZoneCasting: Commercial Test in 2013”
Radio World reports that GeoBroadcast Solutions, the company behind “ZoneCasting” technology, will commence long-term field trials on a station in southeast Florida this fall and is preparing for a “commercial launch” as of now left undefined.
[For those just tuning in, ZoneCasting uses FM booster stations to break up a full-power station’s primary coverage area into “zones,” each one covered by its own booster. This allows the parent station to program each zone separately, offering geo-targeted advertisements, news, community information, and emergency messages.] Continue reading “ZoneCasting Prepares Further Field Trials, Eyes Official Launch”
Radio World has followed up on a report released this spring by the Society of Broadcast Engineers that examined the aging nature of the profession.
The article explores several explanations for why young folks aren’t going into the technical side of radio and television: in addition to consolidation and automation, employment-competition from industries such as information technology and wireless telecommunications has also had an impact. Especially when jobs in those fields generally pay (much) better and offer a stronger sense of job security. Continue reading “Dearth of Broadcast Engineers Felt Beyond Station-Level”
A proposal by Geo Broadcast Solutions to use FM booster stations to originate programming in a networked configuration attracted a paltry dozen comments to the FCC. None of the country’s major commercial or noncommercial broadcasters filed their thoughts on “ZoneCasting,” although those who did comment unanimously supported the idea and urged regulators to move forward with a rulemaking proceeding to allow this radical new use of boosters. Continue reading “Tepid Response to ZoneCasting's Petition for Rulemaking”
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. Continue reading “Broadcasters Begin Push for Radio Chips in Phones”
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. Continue reading “Broadcast Engineers: A Dying Breed?”
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. Continue reading “Details Emerge of ZoneCast Pitch to FCC”
It’s not just the AM dial that’s being considered for reconfiguration.
A company called GEO Broadcast Solutions has developed a technology called “ZoneCasting,” which effectively allows FM radio stations to split up their coverage areas into unique regions featuring hyper-local content and advertising. Continue reading “ZoneCasting's New Twist on FM Broadcasting”