... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer
Notes from NAB 2018
With 244 first-time exhibitors among the 1800+ companies sharing nearly one million net square feet of space making up the 2018 NAB Spring Show, the expected 103,000 attendees will have to cover a lot of ground to see everything.
The theme this year is the M.E.T. Effect or Media, Entertainment, Technology, where the three aspects converge with new ways to bring broadcasting to the marketplace.
The events, as usual, started early with the PREC (Public Radio Engineering Conference) program on Thursday and Friday. Sunday morning was the Nautel Users' Group (NUG) and GatesAirs' program was in the afternoon.
On Monday, along with opening day, press conferences, and big crowds on the floor, the Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG) held a meeting with National Weather Service (NWS) and the FEMA to discuss ways to improve the EAS and WEA systems and coordination.
Several FCC Commissioners have given comments during the NAB, as usual. Also, the FCC released a Report and Order on Part 11 changes that will surprise more than a few.
Chairman Pai made the NAB and many owners happy with his report that the FCC has made more actions against pirate stations, as well as a continued commitment to remove old media rules from what he called "The Analog Age." Responding to complaints about interference from the 1000 or so translators that have gone on the air as part of the AM Improvement, Pai now says he will advocate a simpler, faster complaint process for stations affected - but also require them to be "legitimate" complaints.
Commissioner Mike O'Rielly continues his advocacy of relaxing local market sub-caps to allow larger clusters. The thinking is a long the lines of higher caps would allow clusters to buy more FM stations without sell/closing their AM stations.
Commission Brendan Carr lauded the way broadcasters stop everything and go local and wall to wall during emergencies and disasters, such as the shooting in Las Vegas last fall, the fires in California, the hurricanes, and the resulting floods. He also touted the review of rules, and noted the end of the Main Studio Rule as one of several major moves forward.
On the other side of the aisle, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel spoke about Press Freedom and her goal of sustaining it.
In a live demonstration Nautel, PILOT and Beasley's Las Vegas FM KKLZ are showing the ability to transmit multiple IBOC sidebands within the station's signal, using Nautel HD Multiplex. The experimental demonstration, conducted in partnership with PILOT (NAB's coalition of innovators, educators and advocates dedicated to advancing broadcast technology and cultivating new media opportunities) and Xperi, provides two independent IBOC sidebands on each side of KKLZ's regularly programmed analog FM carrier.
The demonstration encompasses several minute-long loops of audio content, intentionally placed on the "even" dial positions surrounding KKLZ (which is on 96.3 MHz). The four digital sidebands are located at 96.0, 96.2, 96.4 and 96.6 MHz, frequencies that are not normally associated with standard FM radio stations in the U.S., and provide capacity for up to 12 HD Radio audio services in addition to the FM carrier. Beasley suspended its regular HD Radio programming during NAB Show exhibit hall hours to support the live demonstration.
The Continental Electronics booth had a TV transmitter, but also hosted RFE from Italy with their transmitters.
A number of new items were on the floor, from software updates to the Omnia series and Orban's newest offering, to new consoles and virtual consoles from Wheatstone, LAWO, and Axia.
Inovonics had their new RFS Encoder, the Model 732 on display as well as did Worldcast.
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