RW asked John Price, corporate engineer for Entercom in Seattle, about his plans for the NAB Show just before the convention.
“I don’t go to buy, I just go to talk to these people; also some old acquaintances,” he said. “People you don’t see any time during the year, you get to see.” He adds, “The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all of Entercom and/or its stock holders.”
Meetings to attend: SBE Board of Directors, NRSC
Just for fun: I’m going to go to the Atomic Test Site Museum. They’re supposed to have an Area 51 exhibit.
Are there specific vendors or products you’re expecting to look at on the show floor?
Monday is almost exclusively on-the-floor time. FM antennas, folks at iBiquity, V-Soft and Wheatstone. Tuesday we’ve arranged to have an offsite meeting with a number of vendors: WideOrbit, Nautel, ERI and Harris and a few others.
What major technical projects is your organization working on now or in the coming months?
(1) Going green at our transmitter sites. (2) Artist Experience (iBiquity) testing. (3) Enhanced RDS, a joint project with Quu and Jump2Go. (4) Evaluating an existing MDCL installation. (5) Greater use of social media. (6) Evaluating an existing solar power generating facility. (7) Possible HD power increases. (8) WideOrbit Traffic installs (9) New two-tower AM diplex facility.
What are the two or three most important technical trends?
I’ll call them challenges — for radio managers in 2012? A better understanding of IT. Learn to be a better manager … For new managers, there needs to be a better understanding of legacy broadcast technology. Before there was Twitter and Facebook, there was streaming and websites. Before that, there was FM radio. And before that, there was AM radio. The foundations of today’s 21st century radio stations are the legacy FM and AM transmission systems that have to be on air 24/7. Sure, some have Control-Alt-Delete buttons associated with their remote control systems, but you don’t reboot a 35-year-old FM or 40-year-old AM transmitter. And you certainly don’t approach the high-voltage section of a 50 kW AM broadcast transmitter or a high-powered FM transmitter like you approach the 5V rail in a PC power supply … You need to know where you’ve been before you can navigate the future.
How do you think the NAB Show experience has changed over the years?
I think it’s stayed up with the times, but it’s been awhile since I’ve attended … I understand the NAB Radio Technology Committee is wrestling with “what to do about AM.” It seems to me that noise abatement and noise relief for AM should be part of that discussion. Papers have been written about noise, even its effect on FM radio reception. Noise and how it impacts the reception of broadcast radio should be seriously looked at by the Radio Technology Committee, or NAB’s FASTROAD group and maybe even the NRSC.