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February 27, 2006

Its a little thing called competition

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On my daily trawl through the BBC news website I came across this article about the commercial radio stations claiming the BBC is a threat to them and that the increase in license fee could force them out of business. Ok, they have a right to complain, its in there interest to, but some of the claims in the report make it sound like by increasing the license fee there killing off the creativity and variety of UK radio.

Come on they must be having a laugh. Most commercial radio stations play the same old dribble piped down to them from GCap media, apart from the idents and adverts its hard to tell the difference between some stations and to be fair if mercia fm packed up shop tomorrow becuse of it, I wouldn't miss tham there still be The Bear.h

I don't see ITV and Channel 4 complaining as much as this about the TV market, I mean after all competition is good for the listener and maybe it will help get rid/improve some of the local commercial radio's content instead of just playing the same old network songs from Gcap media. Also, I didn't see the BBC complain when capital radio group merged with GWR last year.

September 14, 2005

IBC 2005: DRM is coming to the UK!

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Finally a manufacture out there, Texas instruments has decided to produce a radio that can do DRM as well as DAB, FM (RDS) and AM making it basically futureproof and there going to be sold in the UK.

The great thing about DRM is the relatively small bandwidth typically 10kHz which is same as AM normally compared and I believe it uses AAC audio encoding or something along those lines which allows you to broadcast in pretty good stereo quality on par with that of FM and even DAB without taking up the 1.1MHz bandwidth which Dab does.

Saw the UK trials taking place at Radica at the start of the summer and must admit I was really impressed and glad there is now a retail radio soon available hopefully encouraging more broadcasters to take the hint and broadcast in this medium

And the BBC have announced they are starting to broadcast in DRM starting with the world service in Europe (where DRM has really hit off a lot more popular than DAB) and even commercial stations in the UK are starting to show some interest if only Ofcom would get themselves up to speed and start offering a comprehensive DRM licensing program.

Incidentally they expect the radios to sell for £169 but I imagine that price chipset so other manufacturers can make cheap DRM radios.

IBC 2005: HHB have pulled one out of the hat with a great professional digital recording microphone

I know I haven't blogged for a while but when I have a much work on as I currently have (a lot) I will procrastinate about anything.

And the subject about this post the IBC 2005 (International Broadcasting Convention for you non-media geeks out there), held in Amsterdam this year.

Unfortunately didn't get to go this year, but from speaking to people who did apparantly it was really good for techies due to all the tech developments taking place in the world of broadcasting at the moment.

But back to subject. HHB (a british company) launched a great new product called a flashmic there. It combine a sennheiser omnidirectional condenser mic with 1 gb of flash memory. The amount of settings you can control seem pretty comprehensive. !

I must admit not too keen on it being omnidirectional with it being aimed at reporters for interviewing use would be tempted to change the mic capsule if possible (i doubt it but never tried) to something a bit more select if it turned out to pick up too much background, but the ease of use with one button recording, no cables etc. and the large memory allowing over a day recording at high quality mp3 which in my opinion is good enough for most recording purposes (although it does of course do wav as well) really sells it.

It even has a heaphone socket presumably minijack on the base to listen back and stuff and knowing HHB it wouldn't surprise me if they have thrown basic editing features into it as well.

If only RaW hadn't just bought a Marantz PMD 660, i would recommend snapping one of these up straight away, and providing budget allows and price is right (below £350) it has to be a must buy for reporting and interviews.

It has pretty much same features as PMD660, (a sense a bit of copying going on there) including time stamping, so if you wanted to be really clever you could get a couple of these and record something from a variety of angles and mix it down later with no laying of cables setting up a multitrack recorder etc.

It even left Ian Piper and Chris McWhinnie of the BBC speechless and their article on highlights from the IBC can be found here .

And the best bit you don't need to buy a mic as it is one!

Blog entries about my american journey so far will appear on the blog in due course when I get around to writing them up, hopefully the 1st three weeks will be done soon(ish)

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