Tag: "FEMA"

More on Alerts: Useful Weather Warning App

| June 20, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President   
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — You may remember a few weeks ago, I wrote about a set of PSAs released by FEMA that used the Emergency Alert System two tone attention signal.  I also stated that warnings on your cell phone were something I didn’t ask for and there is no way to get rid of this app.

Well, I just found an app that is a helluva lot more useful than what FEMA has mandated on your cell phone in regards to weather warnings.  And, it has great potential to be a tool for your broadcast operation, whether you’re on the street reporters, newsroom, or just the announcers and jocks are equipped with it.

The app is available for iPhones and Android devices, and is called Alert FM.

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My Professional Opinion: Do NOT Run the FEMA/Ad Council PSA!

| June 3, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President   
TALKERS
Technical Editor

Ad CouncilFEMANEW YORK — You may have seen my warning in Friday’s edition regarding a PSA that was released by the Ad Council, under the auspices of FEMA, extolling the virtues of the emergency alerts the public can now receive on their cell phones.  A great idea.  Worthy of getting the word out.  Even if the PSA promotes a service available on cell phones.

Only one problem.  The PSAs (there are several, and they are also available for television) use the EAS two-tone alert tone as part of the message.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

| June 3, 2013

missouribroadcastersFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Addresses Missouri Broadcasters Association on AM Revitalization.  FCC commissioner Ajit Pai wasn’t physically at the Missouri Broadcasters Association convention over the weekend but he delivered an opening statement before a panel discussion about revitalization of the AM band.  Referencing the recent tornados in Oklahoma and the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri two years ago, Pai pointed to Zimmer Radio’s KZRG, Joplin as an AM outlet that kept Joplin residents informed when most other paiajitforms over communications – cell phones and the internet – were knocked out by the power loss to the region.  Pai stated, “In the wake of the Joplin tornado, when mobile phone service and the Internet were all but wiped out, broadcasters led by KZRG-AM 1310 provided around-the-clock, uninterrupted coverage for nine consecutive days. KZRG told residents how to get disaster relief and connected people in need with people who could help. The residents of Moore, Oklahoma have a long road ahead of them, but if they need inspiration for how to rally and recover, they can look to Joplin as a model.”  As for the future of AM, Pai said, “But AM radio plays an important role in towns throughout the United States every single day. AM stations cover local politics and host debates about local issues.  They cover community events, such as high school sports.  And they reach out to all parts of society, with programming targeted at minorities, people who speak foreign languages, and the elderly.”  Pai reiterated his move to address the AM band in Washington, DC, “I proposed last year that the FCC launch an AM Radio Revitalization Initiative.  The last time the FCC comprehensively reviewed its AM radio rules was over two decades ago.  I think it’s time we do so again.  Since I made this proposal, I’ve been amazed by the outpouring of support from broadcasters across the country.  They’ve shared many ideas with me for improving the AM band, and I know that you’ll be discussing some of them today. Such as: How can the FCC make it easier for AM broadcasters to obtain an FM translator?  Should we eliminate the AM ratchet rule?  Should we replace the current minimum efficiency standard with a minimum radiation standard?  Should we modify community of coverage standards?  And what about the long-term future of the band?  Should our goal be to transition stations to all-digital? Or are there other options we need to think about? These are just a few of the questions that I hope you’ll address during today’s panel.”

raytomTom Ray’s Professional Opinion:  Do NOT Air the FEMA/Ad Council PSA!  You may have seen TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray‘s warning in this past Friday’s edition of TALKERS  (5/31) regarding a PSA that was released by the Ad Council, under the auspices of FEMA, extolling the virtues of the emergency alerts the public can now receive on their cell phones.  A great idea.  Worthy of getting the word out.  Even if the PSA promotes a service available on cell phones.  Only one problem.  The PSAs (there are several, and they are also available for television) use the EAS two-tone alert tone as part of the message.  Why is this a problem?  According to Ray who writes in a scathing column posted today (6/3), “Well, FCC regulation 11.45 states that the EAS codes and the EAS two-tone alert cannot be used for any purpose unless directly associated with an actual EAS message or an EAS test.”  Ray continues, “I believe the FCC fine for using the tone outside an EAS message starts around $10,000.  I, along with numerous other persons around the country, sent out the alert NOT to air this PSA.  I even sent notes to the SBE and the NAB.  Around 4:00 pm on Friday, May 31, a notice was released by the FCC granting FEMA a waiver for one year to utilize the EAS two tone alert in their PSA’s.  It is apparently OK to air this PSA.  I’m wondering how you prove it is the one produced by FEMA and is legal.  I then received an email from someone at FEMA that stated, ‘See, we aren’t off our rockers.  This notice was supposed to come out before the release of the PSA.’  Three letters came to mind.  W.  T.  F.”  To read Tom Ray’s entire column, click here.

seltzerbrentBrent Seltzer and Meg McDonald Named “Official Greeters” of Talkers New York 2013. TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce that the Los Angeles-based husband and wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald have beenmcdonaldmeg named to serve as the “Official Greeters” of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 set this week for Thursday, June 6 in the Big Apple.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Brent and Meg are one of the most colorful and dynamic couples in the radio business today and the contributions they made to the past two California installments of the TALKERS conference in 2012 and 2011 proved to be invaluable.  We are absolutely delighted that they will be joining us in New York City Thursday for the big annual event and serving in this key role.”  Brent Seltzer is a legendary radio journalist/talent whose roots go back to the golden era of album rock radio when he established himself as one of the nation’s most successful and creative “rock ‘n’ roll radio newsmen.”  He was heard on such storied stations as KMET, KNX, KZLA and KMPC, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego among others.  A ubiquitous figure in the voice-over field since then, Brent is the main voice and writer of the widely heralded, short-form feature “Brent Seltzer: Still at Large” heard on XM Satellite Radio, Podjockey, and WSRO, Santa Rosa.  Meg McDonald APR, who serves as co-writer and co-performer on “Still at Large,” is the multi-award winning president and founder of McDonald Media Services, one of the premiere public relations firms on the West Coast for the past three-plus decades.  The beautiful and gorgeous-voiced daughter of popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser (“The Phil Silvers Show”) and famous film and TV dancer Ray McDonald, Meg has been in show business and media since birth.  According to Harrison, “Brent and Meg will be playing a significant role in the lineup of TalkersRadio – but we’ll save that story for later in the summer.”  The role of “Official Greeters” at the TALKERS conference consists of being the liaison between the directors of the conference and its attendees providing a vital link in keeping everything moving smoothly along its very tight and power-packed schedule.

washburndocWBT, Charlotte Drops Doc Washburn’s Evening Show.  Telling the Charlotte Observer that the program wasn’t cost-effective, program director Jason Furst announces that Doc Washburn’s 9:00 pm to 1:00 am talk show is being replaced by Premiere Networks nationally syndicated “America Now with Andy Dean.”  Washburn will remain a regular fill-in host on the station.

clearchannelClear Channel Announces Debt Restructure Terms.  The bond exchange that Clear Channel announced back in mid-May has been completed and the terms are as follows.  A new $5 billion Term Loan D has been created as Term Loan B lenders and/or Term Loan C lenders agree to push the maturity of a portion of their loans due in 2016 to January 30, 2019.  The company states that “approximately $6.7 billion in aggregate principal amount of term loans was submitted for extension in the offer and, accordingly, the amount of each lender’s term loans that was accepted for extension was reduced by a proration factor of approximately 74.6808%.”  Upon the closing of the offer, CCU’s cash flow credit facility consisted of an approximately $3 billion Term Loan B facility which matures on January 30, 2016, an approximately $198.2 million Term Loan C facility which matures on January 30, 2016 and a $5 billion Term Loan D facility which matures on January 30, 2019.  Concurrently with the closing of the offer, CCU entered into an amendment to the agreement governing its cash flow credit facility, which permits CCU to make AHYDO catch-up payments beginning in May 2018 with respect to the new Term Loan D facility and any notes issued in connection with CCU’s previously announced exchange offer with respect to its outstanding 10.75% Senior Cash Pay Notes due 2016 and 11.00%/11.75% Senior Toggle Notes due 2016.  The new Term Loan D facility has the same security and guarantee package as the outstanding Term Loans B and C and borrowings under the new Term Loan D facility bear interest at a rate equal to, at CCU’s option, adjusted LIBOR plus 6.75% or a base rate plus 5.75%.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Boasts Digital Ratings Peak.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago reports the station achieved its highest digital ratings ever Wednesday, May 29 during its coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Western Conference Semifinals Game 7 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings.  The historic game registered 22,917 simultaneous digital listeners at 10:00 pm, the peak of the thrilling overtime playoff victory by the Blackhawks.  WGNRadio.com shattered its previous streaming record of 11,771 recorded on May 27, 2013 and the next closest was 10,318 during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run on June 2, 2010.  The station says it will continue to broadcast on all of its digital platforms as it covers the 2013 NHL Western Conference Final featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

wproWPRO, Providence Takes Page from the Papers.  Cumulus Media’s “Newstalk 630 AM and 99.7 FM” WPRO, Providence and its website 630WPRO.com, begins a regular column called “Your Voice, Your Turn,” an op-ed platform where “Rhode Island’s most intriguing voices will share their opinions with the people of the Ocean State.”  The first column in this ongoing series features the state’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah A. Gist with a piece titled, “The Truth About Testing.”  WPRO program director Craig Schwalb states, “As Commissioner of Education, Ms. Gist’s voice is prominent in, and important to, Rhode Island which makes her the perfect choice to launch the ‘Your Voice, Your Turn’ Op-Ed platform on 630wpro.com.”  The station says it “looks forward to showcasing the views of other notable Rhode Islanders on a regular basis.”

Friday, May 31, 2013

| May 31, 2013

cumulusOKCumulus Media Raises Close to $4 Million for Oklahoma Tornado Relief.  This number could keep changing as more pledges come in after the Wednesday effort that saw all 525 Cumulus Media-owned stations soliciting funds for tornado relief via the United Way of Oklahoma City that so far has totaled $3.77 million.  Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay reports the company’s 84 country outlets aired a special, one-hour edition of “American Country Countdown” hosted by Kix Brooks live from the “Healing in the Heartland” concert on Wednesday evening that aired on NBC-TV.  Numbers aren’t final for pledges received during the televised concert fundraiser but are reported to be in the $6 million range.

cellalertEmergency Alert for Cell Phones PSA Violates FCC Regulations.  TALKERS columnist and broadcast engineer Tom Ray of Tom Ray Consulting reports a public service announcement touting emergency alerts sent to cell phones raytomthat some stations may be airing violates FCC regulations.  Ray tells TALKERS, “A PSA was released today about the emergency alerts you can receive on your cell phone.  It uses the EAS two-tone alert.  Airing this PSA would be a blatant violation of FCC regulation 47CFR11.45 which specifically prohibits the use of the EAS code bursts or the two-tone alert signal unless they are transmitted as part of an actual EAS alert or EAS test.  And according to the Ad Council website…this PSA is sponsored by FEMA.  Shame on them!  They should know better.”  Ray advises stations not to air the PSA.

eff logoPatent Holder Personal Audio Targets Podcasters; EFF Takes ‘Patent Troll’ Fight to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  If you’re a podcaster and you’ve been approached by a company called Personal Audio claiming you’re using patented technology and you have to pay up, you’re not alone.  According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), podcasters including Adam Carolla and “How Stuff Works” have been “shaken down” by Personal Audio which claims it holds a patent on technology used by podcasters.  The EFF is fighting back, saying it is “is mounting a new, focused campaign to bust the dangerous patent” the company has been employing against end users – including podcasters. carollaadam Here’s what EFF says: “Claiming it owns the patent that broadly covers podcasting technology, Personal Audio is the classic example of a patent troll that neither makes nor sells anything, but uses its patent as a weapon to threaten lawsuits and extort settlement fees.”  EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels says, “Patent trolls have been wreaking havoc on innovative companies for some time now.  But this particular breed of troll — targeting end users, small businesses, startups, and even individuals like podcasters for simply using everyday products — is a disturbing new threat.”  Wondering what part of the process on which this company claims to hold the patent?  The TALKERS legal department tells us that the patent generally relates to a system whereby a server provides media content to client devices over the internet.  On the server, the provider maintains a ‘compilation file,’ which is essentially a list of available media files.  The compilation file generally includes the URL for each available media file in a series and may also include descriptive text.  This compilation file may be static, such as a simple web page with links to each available file to which new files are added, or may be customized for a particular user, perhaps only showing them content from feeds to which they have subscribed.  The claim that has been asserted against podcasters to date is called Claim 31.  The EFF goes on to say, “As with so many patent troll cases, the troll is asking for money despite having contributed nothing to the industry.  By its own admission, Personal Audio tried and failed at its attempt to make an audio player.  Having failed at actually making something, it became a shell company that does nothing but sue on its patents.  And now it wants a handout from those who worked hard to create popular podcasts.”  EFF is organizing a Help Save Podcasting campaign.  You can find that information here.

kqrs logoFormer KQRS, Minneapolis Personality Michael Gelfand Sues MetLife and Cumulus Media Over Disability Claim.  Michael Gelfand was formerly part of the Tom Barnard morning show on Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis.  He exited the station after his medical condition made it impossible to function and now he’s suing Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Cumulus Media for long term disability benefits.  Gelfand suffers from delayed sleep-phase syndrome – a condition that throws off the body’s circadian rhythm – and prevents him from functioning well or maintaining physical health working the early morning drive shift.  In brief, MetLife denied the claim and Gelfand is suing both companies seeking retroactive long term disability benefits.

barksingaInga Barks Exits KMJ-AM, Fresno.  Bakersfield-based talk show host Inga Barks recently joined the program schedule at Buckley Brodcasting’s KNZR, Bakersfield for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program but she’s no longer with Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM, Fresno where she’s been hosting a show since 2005.  The Fresno Bee reports Peak management is not commenting on Barks’ exit but notes the station added Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin show in place of it.

wexlerlisaGracie Award Winning Talk Host Advises Colleagues to Add Writing to their Communications Toolbox.  WFAS, Westchester host Lisa Wexler says that writing op-ed pieces for newspapers is an excellent way for talk show hosts looking to expand their net and make a difference.  In a piece posted today (5/31) Wexler says, ”If you are going to be a thought leader, then simply speaking on the radio is not enough.  The written word carries a different kind of weight.  Radio is a rush — there is nothing like the spontaneity of an actual conversation, the nuance and humor of the human voice communicating through the airwaves to the lone listener on the other end.  But radio is also ephemeral; despite podcasts and the ease of reaching audio files, people rarely re-listen to the same broadcast.  They do, however, read an article more than once, and pass it on to friends.  Your column has the potential to go viral in a way your radio show may not.”  To read Lisa Wexler’s entire article, click here.

lewisbretKFWB, Los Angeles Sports Anchor Bret Lewis Retires.  Today is the last day at KFWB, Los Angeles for sports anchor Bret Lewis who is retiring from the station.  The longtime Los Angeles broadcaster will be replaced by Bill Seward, currently afternoon sports anchor.  Bob Harvey will assume Seward’s afternoon role.  During his career, Lewis has served as a sports anchor on the TV side at KNBC-TV and KCBS-TV.  He also hosted a talk show at crosstown KLAC.

gaskinsjohnKNTK, Lincoln Names John Gaskins Program Director.  Home Field Communications announces “Gaskins and Stephens” show co-host John Gaskins is named program director for sports talk KNTK, Lincoln “93.7 The Ticket.”  The station also fills its PM drive slot with former KCSP, Kansas City personality Mike Welch who will host his “Drop the Mike” beginning June 5.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates WPNN, Pensacola; KYRO, Troy, Missouri; and KCAA, Loma Linda, California…..Talk Radio Network-syndicated “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is added to the program lineup at WLEE, Richmond…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara reaches the 200-affiliate mark with the help of recent partners KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KBET, Las Vegas; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WFTL, West Palm Beach; and KJCE, Austin.

rosenjamesDOJ Investigation of Journalists Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 27-31.  The Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists – from Fox NewsJames Rosen to the Associated Press – and Attorney General Eric ap logoHolder’s request for an off-the-record meeting with news organizations was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 this week was the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax exempt status.  Following at #3 was the rise in the number of Americans on disability and at #4 was the Chinese hacking of U.S. weapons systems.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week, is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

etheridgegracieMelissa Etheridge Brandishes Her Gracie. Musician and radio show host Melissa Etheridge (r) is pictured here with Rory Kennedy (l) (who won for her documentary film “Ethel” about her mother) at the annual Gracie Awards Gala in Los Angeles where she won a Gracie Award for her nationally syndicated program, “The Melissa Etheridge Show.”  Etheridge won in the Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information category.  Etheridge says, “I have won Grammys and an Oscar, but there is something especially meaningful about being recognized with a Gracie.  I love radio, and it’s important to me to bring the voices of women to our audiences, as they share their respective truths about life, love and family—and as I share the same with them.  It’s also a great pleasure to provide a forum where we can connect with each other about the music that moves us.  I’m honored that people are responding to the show across the country and I thank the AWM Foundation for this award.”  Etheridge’s five-hour daily show is syndicated by Benztown.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

| November 10, 2011

National EAS Test Proves What Many Suspected.  The national Emergency Alert System test that happened (in many places, anyway) at 2:00 pm ET yesterday, showed where the holes are in the system.  There were numerous places where the primary entry point stations did not receive the test and therefore whole regions did not air the test.  But that’s what yesterday’s exercise was all about.  A joint statement from the FCC and FEMA noted, “The Nationwide EAS Test served the purpose for which it was intended – to identify gaps and generate a comprehensive set of data to help strengthen our ability to communicate during real emergencies.  Based on preliminary data, media outlets in large portions of the country successfully received the test message, but it wasn’t received by some viewers or listeners.  We are currently in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and will reach a conclusion when that process is complete.”  Stations have 45 days to report to Washington how the test went at their station or in their market.  For those markets where the test did go off, there were complaints about poor audio quality that made it hard to understand what the message was.  In other places the audio was missing completely.

Restructuring at Cumulus Media Networks Ousts Maureen Lesourd.  With the company since 2009, Maureen Lesourd joined then-Citadel Media Networks as vice president of programming and distribution and was in charge of its 24-hour music formats.  She exits along with 24/7 formats operations director Chris Miller, affiliate relations staffers Brian Curry and Dave Allison as well as finance manager Brian Kaefer.

Former ABC News Political Director Hal Bruno Dies at Age 83.  Hal Bruno served as political director at ABC News from 1978 through his retirement in 1999.  His election coverage and political reports were a staple of ABC Radio’s news content during that time.  Bruno fell on Friday, November 4 and died after complications from the incident on November 8.

 

Euro Zone Jitters/Financial Markets Activity, Penn State Scandal, Herman Cain Accusations/GOP Debate and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9).  The concern over the Euro Zone’s ability to fix its debt problem and the effect on the world financial markets, Joe Paterno’s firing and the Penn State abuse scandal, Hermain Cain’s defense against accusations of sexual misconduct and the GOP debate plus Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.