Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Radio Waves Podcast #86

K-Beach (88.1 HD3), the student-run HD radio station on the campus of California State University, Long Beach wants more. More awards, more opportunities for graduates to get jobs in the industry, more equipment and more programming.

To do that, they plan to raise money. All this weekend, beginning Thursday, June 18th at 8 a.m. and running all the way through midnight on Sunday, June 21st, they are hosting an 88.1 hour marathon featuring live programming simulcast on both the HD station and their online stream at KBeach.Org.

This is a break from normal. The online stream usually has its own separate programming, and the on-air HD signal (you need an HD Radio to receive it; many newer cars and trucks have such tuners built in) tends to run taped programming (one of my few complaints about K-Beach ... radio should be live whenever possible).

The goal is to raise at least $5000 for the station’s operating budget. Donations may be made through the station’s website via a PayPal link.

“The entire weekend will be music-intensive,” station manager Danny Lemos told me. “The programs will run three-hours each and all will be live except for a taped concert running Sunday evening.

“The hosts will be playing their favorite music on each shift along with promoting the various programs that air on K-Beach,” he said.

Lemos says that there is excitement and support from everyone ... from the students at K-Beach to the staff at KKJZ, which hosts the station via their HD radio signal. Even Turkish Airlines is supporting the event by donating a trip to anywhere in the world Turkish Airlines flies; that prize will be given away via a drawing from those making donations.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a reunion of CSULB radio alumni, including those from K-Beach as well as the former student-run station forced off the air by inept University staffers in 1981, KSUL. Many of those involved with KSUL and K-Beach have gone on to careers in radio and television ... meaning that KSUL and K-Beach have done exactly what a student-run radio laboratory should do.

Problems at Nielsen

The problem with the PPM system of collecting ratings data at Nielsen was dealt another blow this week when it was announced that Canada has asked all member stations to cease using the controversial Voltair system to boost station ratings.

Voltair is a system added to a station’s on-air signal that essentially boosts a PPM encoding signal, making it easier for a PPM -- Portable People Meter -- to “hear” and correctly decode and credit a station’s listenership.

The problem for Nielsen is that Voltair does seem to work. And if it works, Nielsen has a flawed system ... meaning the ratings collection and calculations used since PPM was adopted are just slightly better than worthless.

In Canada, stations using Voltair were asked to cease using it pending the outcome of a study expected to take about 60 days. Having an even playing field is the issue involved.
Here in Los Angeles, it appears no station wants to necessarily admit using it, but I am told by insiders that many do. And I wouldn’t blame them ... a lot of money is riding on the ratings. Nielsen could be in for some trouble.

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