As it seems to be every year, the NAB Show in Las Vegas was the big story for April. The attendance for this year’s show was pegged at 92,112, just a few hundred more than last year. Traffic on the show floor seemed relatively light, but I did not hear any vendors complain about the lack of customers this year.
I flew into Vegas on Saturday so I could take in Nautel’s user group meeting Sunday morning. Nautel provided food and beverages with a good session on new transmitter technology. There were some good discussions on the industry’s move to remote IP graphic interfaces for their new digital products.
Sunday afternoon, I attended the relatively new EAS group, called the Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG), headed up by industry veteran, Richard Rudman. The meetings primary purpose was to create a Sample State EAS plan that would meet the requirements of the new CAP provisions of Part 11. There was plenty of discussion about the pending reversal of the FCC’s decision to exclude Text-to-Speech (TTS) capabilities for CAP. The official rule change permitting the use of TTS came on Thursday, the last day of the show. You can read more on the groups work and development athttp://eas.radiolists.net/ .
Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (MDCL) was a hot topic at this year’s NAB. The technique can substantially cut the operating costs for high powered AM and shortwave transmitters by reducing the carrier level with audio modulation. While the technique can introduce some distortion and reduction in signal-to-noise, it can also produce substantial savings in operating power costs. This is particularly important to broadcasters faced with ever increasing energy costs. Look for MDCL implementation with some of our high powered Vashon AM transmitters.
FM reception on cell phones was a hot topic with a number of currently available phones on display at the HD Radio booth. One of the broadcaster arguments favoring the FM option on phones is the capability of receiving radio broadcasts in the event of a disaster that brings the cellular phone networks down. There were some prototype phones being demonstrated that were capable of receiving the HD sub-channels as well.
There were several demonstrations of 3D television displays that did not require viewer glasses. It is interesting technology, but, in my opinion, not quite there yet. More impressive was large screen OLED displays being demonstrated by Sony with incredible resolution with very high contrast ratios.
Since the NAB show, the FCC has passed a rule to require television stations to go online with their public files. While only major network TV stations in the top 50 markets will be initially affected, it is expected that all broadcast stations, including AM and FM broadcasters will eventually be required to post their public files online. The NAB’s biggest objection is the requirement that the station’s political file will have to be posted online. Broadcasters say this a big problem with real-time political campaign advertising information.
From the Editor, 73s
Jim Dalke W7PB