Guest Commentary

Fybush: Prometheus’ Assault On Translators Hurts The Little Guys More Than The Big

In the last two translator windows, I handled applications for more than a dozen clients, and it seemed like I heard from all of them (and most of their lawyers) on Thursday after the news broke about the Prometheus informal objection that was filed against roughly a thousand pending translator applications nationwide. Whether or not it was done on purpose, the objection’s timing couldn’t have been worse. The two-week waiting period for petitions to deny against the first of the Auction 100 applicants just ran out last week, which means the Audio Division had just started to issue construction permits to station owners who had been waiting months (or even years) to start building out their new FM signals. My clients, for the most part, aren’t the “big guys.” T...[Read More]

A Holiday Message From Dan Mason

A Ross on RadioInsight guest article from Dan Mason, Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The giving time of year is upon us and radio stations across the country have been conducting drives to raise money and awareness for the charitable causes that help their communities. That’s part of radio’s public service, and we do it earnestly and well. Radio is a call-to-action medium. We know how to rally our audiences to help others. What happens, though, when the victim is one of our own? When an unforeseen misfortune befalls a member of the broadcasting community? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of American can step in to help. The Broadcasters Foundation is the only charity devoted exclusively to helping broadcasters in need. Our grant recipients are your colleagues. Br...[Read More]

The Looming Engineering Age Crisis

Broadcast companies are standing on the train tracks, watching a train from a mile away making its way towards them. “Boy, that thing’s going to kill us! Should we jump? Should we run? Well, I’m pretty busy…I sure hope someone pushes us out of the way before the train hits us!” And that’s how the end will be. The surprise? The train isn’t “new media” or the internet. The train is our inability to act. There’s something we’ve been talking about in the industry for years – it’s the lack of new Engineering and Technical talent. We all know the problem is there. We know that it’s already a big problem. The issue is we keep waiting for someone to do something about it. We need to act. We need to do it now. I know of two small market stations that were off the air for an entire day. One of them ...[Read More]

Dick Taylor: What if the problem isn’t PPM?

[alert-note]Reprinted with permission from[/alert-note] I’ve been reading a lot lately about PPM (Nielsen’s Personal People Meter) and how it may not be capturing all the listening in a radio market. In Las Vegas at the NAB2015 show, Telos Alliance was demonstrating their Voltair.   This additional “black box” in a radio station’s audio chain will correct for times when the PPM isn’t properly watermarking a radio station’s signal. As I understand it, some formats that have pauses – like talk radio formats, classical formats – aren’t being encoded with the audio watermark the PPM encoder is supposed to transmit to be received by the PPM device a listener in a Nielsen panel carries (or not) with them. OK – let’s take a time out here. PPM is now the radio measurement system...[Read More]

It’s Okay To Steal Online Content?

By Matt Haze I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile.  And finally, I’m going to say it. IT IS NOT OKAY FOR YOU TO RIP SOMEONE ELSE’S VIDEO AND UPLOAD IT AS YOUR OWN. PERIOD. Video copyright infringement has been running rampant on Facebook for awhile now.  But over the last few months, I’ve noticed RADIO has gotten into the game.  Which is funny, because I thought it was all about the music and nothing but the music with PPM?  Hmmmmm. The main culprit is someone finding a “viral” video on a Facebook page or YouTube video, using software available online to download it, and then uploading it to their own page without giving any sort of credit, acting as if it’s their own. Why?  Because “viral” is the hot term and some consultant said...[Read More]

How Translators Changed the Format Landscape

By Sean Ross For years, the easiest way to gauge the fortunes of a particular radio format was to track the format-change activity around it. Was a format hot enough that owners would entrust their multi-million dollar property to it? Was a format so hot that broadcasters might blow up a viable radio station to get there before a competitor? (Think of oldies WCBS-FM New York becoming Jack-FM nearly a decade ago.) In the mid-’90s, three new alternative stations in a week were a clear sign of the “new rock revolution,” and about as fevered a pitch as you could hope for. Last week, there were three new alternative stations in top 50 markets. But while alternative is considered to be on an upswing at the moment, two of those new alternative stations were on lower-powered FM t...[Read More]

Fixing Radio: The Importance of Keeping it Local

This guest entry originally was posted on LinkedIN. A year or so after I lost my job as the midday DJ on KNRK in Portland, Oregon, I wrote this article for the Huffington Post about how corporate radio could be improved with simple, inexpensive measures that seemed to make a lot of sense to everyone who read it. Except for people in corporate radio, apparently, if they paid any attention to it at all, because things have only gotten worse since that blog was first posted. As I say in the Huffington Post piece, radio is our last free medium, and it needs to be valued. It will always exist in some form, so why do the big radio corporations seem hell-bent on killing it instead of bringing it roaring back to life? My suggestions on localizing radio aren’t crazy by any measure, and audien...[Read More]

Fybush: FCC Policy & The State Of AM

The following is reprinted with permission from this week’s Northeast Radio Watch by Scott Fybush. It’s easy to point the finger of blame for AM’s troubles these last few decades on the FCC itself. There have certainly been some misguided policy moves that have ended up hurting AM more than they’ve helped. The complicated “ratchet rule” that took effect in the 1980s was designed to reduce overall AM interference, but in practice has served largely to prevent older AM stations from being able to move to new transmitter sites from which they might offer better service. The breakdown of the old clear channels and addition of minimal night power for hundreds of former daytimers raised the noise floor across the band dramatically. The failure to settle on an AM stereo standard in the 1980...[Read More]

A Missing Child… And Your Station’s Social Media Presence

The following commentary was submitted by a programmer who wishes to remain anonymous Today, I witnessed an event somewhere in the U.S. radio landscape that truly upset me and made me question if some of us in our business truly remember precisely why we are on the air to begin with. How many of us have been told throughout our career that our number one duty was to “protect the license of the radio station”? I would hope that each person reading this has been given that speech at least once, otherwise the rest of this article won’t make a lick of sense. You see, we – unfortunately – live in a world where people make really bad decisions and do awful things, such as, in this case, abducting a three-week-old child from their parent’s car while they were inside of a small-town post office fo...[Read More]