Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

NAB 2012

Some comments on NAB 2012
(last update 4/30/12)


[4-15-11]  The 2012 NAB Spring show has come and gone.

This page will have some notes and information what is going on ... at least as much as can be assimilated by the owners of tired feet.

As a bonus, Alan Alsobrook has done some videography from the floor. You can access it here.


Day 0 - Sunday -

For nearly 200 folks Sunday meant the Nautel Users' Group, a gathering that has grown over the years as Nautel's products become the standard for more and more stations.

Among the highights: Nautel introduced a couple of products to "stretch" their line. In cooperation with ENCO, "Push Radio" was shown - a way to send all the program parts to the transmitter, to be launched there. This puts program content at the transmitter, where emergency power is usually available, and keep the programming rolling. Logs are sent back to the main studio.

RF Toolbox was another interesting service. Using the tool, you can display coverage of any FM station. Results are also stored for future use.

And, Nautel is set to release their latest transmitter on Monday morning.

Sunday afternoon was the first public meeting of the BWWG (Broadcast Warning Working Group). With attendees from the EAS receiver manufacturers and others, over two dozen met to consider how to improve the use of the EAS and reach out to more agencies.

A full round (square) table of EAS experts

Adrienne Abbott and Richard Rudman

More can be found at

Day 1 - Monday

The doors open! ....

Nautel's new transmitter did not disappoint. The NV LT (light) is a 3.5 top 10 kW line optimized for analog FM. It is not upgradeable to HD, but that is the only difference.

With a 72% AC to RF spec, and a price 20% lower than the digital-capable NVs, the transmitter will be pretty attractive to any station not planning to run HD.


Myat added another coaxial switcher to their line, and some very cost effective aluminum hardline for use in transmitter buildings.



Broadcast Electronics' Commotion seeks to being social media under control for broadcasters, so they can use it efficiently.

Comrex' LiveShot TV codec gathered a lot of looks in their booth, as did the USB connections upgrade to the ACCESS portable.

Logitek brought their new Roc console back, with a number of pre-release changes that include extremely easy setup software that makes setting up the digital console a snap.


Continental Electronics digital exciter, the 820E, was another product that has been anticipated for quite sometime.

Henry Engineering had their shelves full of products surrounding the new Talent Pod. 

Seen on the floor and around:


    Dick Burden & Kyle Magrill confer

Corny Gould evangelizing the Omnia 11

Kim and Bill Sacks


      Ron Rackley(!) and Tom Yingst                                          Frank Foti and Jack Sellmeyer



            Kurt Gorman and friends                                       RF Specialties celebrated their 30th Anniversary


EAS receivers were a hot topic all week                                        Someone talking to Patrick Campion

Larry Estlack and Alan Alsobrook

Over in HD-land, a new chip for cell phones was introduced. A lot of major broadcast company executives were seen ...

Meanwhile FCC Chairman Genachowski delivered another speech regarding his quest to push more spectrum to the wideband Internet use... and away from broadcasters. (Many were waiting to hear about the text-to-speech prohibition on EAS being lifted - and it was on Thursday - or the LPFM/Translator matters, or the EAS National Test. It is clear what the priorities are at this FCC.) Even the head of NAB pushed his perceived need for streaming to rescue radio from its current problems.

Alan Alsobrook has posted some video from the floor. You can access it here. There is more, but we got to meet and talk to a lot of friends on the carpet ... so tomorrow is time to try to plow through more of the floor. 

Day 2 - Tuesday - our 20th Lunch Gathering

You cannot  blame us for being a bit focused on the Lunch Gathering. This year we had over 85 join us ... filling the whole section of the Riviera Buffet. As in the past few years, Axia Audio, Comrex, Nautel, and Orban helped co-sponsor the event - the 20th time since a small group got together and talked about the challenges of running computers in the early 1990s.

Some good eating, chatting, and door prizes at the Lunch Gathering

To make this year special, Steve Scarborough of Bay Country Used Equipment decided to dispel the old story that "there is no such thing as a free lunch" - Steve brought ten envelopes filled with cash and awarded them to some happy folks. Steve also brought a bag of key holders for the group.

Everyone who came also got a bottle of ScreenDr, a cleaning solution especially for portable electronic devices. ScreenDr includes a microfiber cloth which is stored in the bottle cap.

Perhaps the highlight came when Orban's surprise door prize was announced: an Optimod-PC 1101. All in all, we had a great time and look forward to 2013 and our next Gathering.

Want to see more of the pictures from the Lunch Gathering? Alan Alsobrook kindly took some video and the whole gang is visible here on the web.

In the short time we had on the floor we stopped by to see BW Broadcast's new STL package and the Belar's FMCS-1 and FMHD-1 monitoring solutions. If you really want to know what your station (or someone else's) is doing, you will see it on this display.

Over in the discussion area, the NAB called for more deregulation of the industry ... taking off the caps and crossownership rules to combat competition from the Internet.  Another panel called having FM and HD chips required in cell phones would make radio competitive again.  And the press toward auctioning TV space first continues.


Finally, kudo's to Manny Centano for a good presentation in the FEMA booth regarding the National EAS Test last November and some of the lessons learned.


Now, if only the FEMA and the FCC as organizations could find it in their hearts to make it a policy to start really communicating with the industry during emergencies and tests - rather than leaving us in the dark when it would be so easy to provide a short announcement to clarify matters. (Think EAS reporting on the National Test, the Part 11 rules, and the rather obscure questions that persist in the Renewal Form, - apparently for no other reason than to set stations up  for fines.) 

Wednesday - Day 3  A lot of our attention was given over to the FCC and FEMA, for information on a couple of topics of real interest to broadcasters.

During the regulatory session, both the TTS (text-to-speech) and National EAS Test report matters were considered.

The FCC indicates that a motion is on circulation and is supposed to be acted on by Monday the 23rd.

For those of you worried about the FCC and the National EAS Test reports:

We spoke with an FCC lawyer this during the NAB show. He said that no station need be anxious unless they purposely did not do the National EAS test nor report.

At this time, there is no policy in place about citing for violations. Mainly they want to get the reports ... But they will not beg.

For those who want to check their status: As has been said before, the proper way to handle this is to email Tim May <> and ask about the status of your station(s). Use your facility number, calls, and location.

There may not be an instant answer, because of the volume of requests, but there is no need to panic. 

If Mr. May responds that they do not have your reports on file, there is still no reason to panic. A paper report can still be filed .. just take the data from your EAS logs, etc... and file.

Discussions are under way to determine when enforcement action will be appropriate, but those who have been and are trying now in good faith, will not have any trouble. In other words, more info will come before fines.

Back on the floor, if you still thought RDL made nothing but small "stick-ons," their new HR-MCP2 should dispel that once and for all.

The ENCO-1 server puts 100 inches of rack servers into 5 Rack Units of space.

Up to 15 workstations can be attached to the server, keeping all fan noise out of control and production rooms.

Thursday - Day 4 - The short day. The day Frank plays the music!

A trip past the Omnia booth brought me face to face with the creator of the Omnia 9, Leif. a really nice guy, Leif explained that the Omnia 9 is a very interesting processor design, not only from where it comes, but in its philosophy. Few processors have as many tools as this one does. You literally can spend weeks learning all its capabilities. Among them, the ability to unclip audio. And it works!

It takes at least two full screens to see what is going on inside the Omnia 9

Automation products from very mature (and some of them expensive) to modest to ... well ... no cost were shown. The Rivendell project continues, with Fred's disk turning almost any computer into a linux-based automation server.

The Elenos booth was one of several from foreign manufacturers who are trying to interest the US market in their products - designed and built to work reliably. Elenos featurers consoles to transmitters;  AEQ is another with extremely flexible, high quality products. Both have US-based parts and tech support, so worries about dealing with language issues are greatly reduced from prior years.

A last run around the floor in the wake of the FCC's announcement that they were abandoning the Text-to-speech ban - denounced by virtually everyone - brought a quick review of the CAP/EAS boxes. Digital Alert Systems, Trilithic, TFT, and the others were relieved that they would not have to deal with the ill-advised ban.

The NAB announced that attendance was 91,932 this year. International attendees were 27% of that total. Exhibitors totalled 1600.

Stay tuned - we have more pictures ... and perhaps more video from Alan to share!




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