Radio World 1243 - May 24th, 2023

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Welcome to the May 24th, 2023 issue of Radio World

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with a mission

Those call letters are not a coincidence. Get the zoomies! Larry Langford has a useful tip for ground-bound broadcasters worried about their tower assets. Artificial intelligence hits a sour note Craig Anderton wonders if AI should stand for “attorneys incoming.” Picture perfect Mike Pappas captures the romance of radio in an evening photo in Minnesota. Your guide to radio technology | May 24 2023 | $5.00



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Contributors: Susan Ashworth, David Bialik, John Bisset, Edwin Bukont, James Careless, Ken Deutsch, Mark Durenberger, Charles Fitch, Donna Halper, Alan Jurison, Paul Kaminski, John Kean, Larry Langford, Mark Lapidus, Michael LeClair, Frank McCoy, Jim Peck, Mark Persons, Stephen M. Poole, James O’Neal, T. Carter Ross, John Schneider, Dan Slentz, Dennis Sloatman, Randy Stine, Tom Vernon, Jennifer Waits, Steve Walker, Chris Wygal

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Sweet inspection, Alabama!

Here’s a no-cost way to raise your awareness of compliance issues

There’s a two-day seminar coming up that you might want to check out if you’re interested in the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program or just want to raise your awareness of compliance issues.

The seminar is offered by the Alabama Broadcasters Association Engineering Academy but it’s open to engineers from anywhere in the United States. And while its content is designed for current or prospective ABIP inspectors, any broadcast engineer who would like to keep up with rules and regs is welcome.

ABIP is a joint program between the FCC and state broadcast associations; its purpose is to help your station identify problem areas in your legal and technical operations and fix them before you are confronted with an actual FCC inspection.

The in-person seminar will be held in July in Hoover, Ala. The first day provides a review of the program including online public files, EAS and engineering reports and documents. The second day features mock inspections at local radio and TV transmitter sites.

The seminar is offered at no charge by the ABA (a $50 deposit is refunded upon attendance). And SBE members can receive recertification credit.

The instructors are John George, ABIP inspector for South Carolina and Georgia, and Larry Wilkins, Alabama ABIP inspector and the director of ABA Engineering Services and its academy. Larry also is a past recipient of the Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award, a good friend to engineers everywhere and a devotee to lifelong learning.

“Technology is changing at an increasing rate,” Larry reminds us. “It is extremely important for engineers to keep up with these changes, both technical and operational. In addition, understanding how we got to where are today gives engineers an appreciation of our broadcast heritage.”

For info and registration go to and click on the Engineering tab.


3 From the Editor

4 Newswatch

5 WHIV(LP): New Orleans’ social justice station FEATURES

10 Coverage issues? First understand the problem

11 Workbench: An eye in the sky provides new perspectives

18 The nighttime beckons

20 Timm steps away from state EAS duties


To inspect your tower, why not “go steady”?


29 Does AI stand for “attorneys incoming”?

Please recycle. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards.

No. 13
Vol. 47
24 2023
Future’s 2022 B2B Publication of the Year

AI @ iHeart

Some companies might choose to “go slow” with artificial intelligence, but iHeartMedia apparently isn’t among them.

“We plan to use it to its fullest,” said Chairman/ CEO Bob Pittman on an investor call discussing the company’s first-quarter business results.

“We and every other company are looking at how to use AI. I think AI can fundamentally change the cost structure of the company. That’s the primary value for us. It will turn employees from doing, you know, lots of employees doing rote work, to our employees doing more editing and more of the higherlevel work,” Pittman said.

“I think we’ll do stuff faster and our costs will be lower. We think AI will be a major productivity enhancer for American businesses and we plan to use it to its fullest.”

The company hasn’t disclosed any plans to use the technology to create AI DJs. It previously announced it would use AI to translate some of its podcasts into foreign languages; and in May it announced it would add “Daily Dad Jokes,” an AI-generated stand-up comedy show from Klassic Studios, to its iHeart Podcast Network.

Trautmann Steps Up

The radio board of directors of the National Association of Broadcasters is about to get a little bit of extra technical expertise. Conrad Trautmann, chief technology officer of Cumulus Media, has been appointed to fill the designated seat held by his boss Mary Berner.

Such appointments aren’t unusual if a board member has conflicts or commitments, though having a technology executive stepping in is less common. Cumulus and NAB didn’t state why Berner is stepping back.

Trautmann joined Westwood One in 2000 and was promoted in 2016 to SVP, technology & operations, of its parent Cumulus Media. In 2021 he was named CTO.

4 Newswatch

WHIV(LP): New Orleans’ social justice station

With only 36 watts ERP, New Orleans’ LPFM station WHIV 102.3 is not a heavy hitter in transmission power. But this community station seeks to punch above its weight in the Mid-City area.

Tune in on air or online at www.whivfm. org and you’ll hear volunteer-produced programming focused on human rights, social justice and disease prevention issues, among others.

“Our tagline is ‘WHIV is community radio, dedicated to human rights and social justice,’” said Dr. MarkAlain Dery, an infectious disease specialist and the executive director and co-founder of the station.

In fact, Dery chose WHIV’s call sign as a direct reference to human immunodeficiency virus, which attacks the body’s immune system; if not treated, it can lead to acquired

immunodeficiency syndrome, i.e. AIDS. The station call letters are a reminder of the disease and community efforts to destigmatize it.

Promoting public health

Dery’s interest in promoting public health is personal and longstanding. He is affiliated with multiple hospitals in The Big Easy including University Medical Center-New Orleans and Tulane Health System-New Orleans.

Dery has also served on many humanitarian medical missions over the years in response to events like Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2014–15 Ebola virus epidemic in Sierra Leone and the war in Ukraine.

It was during a ride in a Cambodian rickshaw that Dr. Dery heard a podcast about low-power FM stations. After learning that frequencies would be available in

“We are not a radio station with a mission, we are a mission with a radio station”
James Careless
The author wrote here recently about the use of Fathom artificial intelligence in podcasting.
5 | May 24 2023 Low-Power FM
Above Liana Elliott and Dr. MarkAlain Dery, co-founders of WHIV, interview Darryl “Dancing Man 504” Young.
fundraising image on the WHIV website.


Children from a local New Orleans music school perform live in the 102.3 FM studio.

New Orleans, he and his wife Liana Elliott applied for and received the WHIV license.

Worth noting: The station is a program of the New Orleans Society for Infectious Disease Awareness, or NOSIDA, which Dery founded in 2009. According to the WHIV website, “NOSIDA’s focus is to raise awareness about HIV and other infectious diseases through music. Such illnesses are completely preventable, yet disproportionately affect disadvantaged and marginalized populations.”


Iconoclastic broadcaster

“Very little about Dr. MarkAlain Dery could be described as ordinary.”

That was the opening of an article in Time magazine in 2016.

“The HIV specialist at Tulane University in New Orleans favors three-piece suits and French-cuff shirts to white coats, khakis and Crocs. Under his shirtsleeves, his arms are a canvas for tattoos — a fleur-de-lis, an old-school radio microphone, a sexy portrait of his wife. Standard modes of transportation aren’t for him, either. Stashed in the corner of his office is the four-wheeler he uses to get around town: his skateboard,” the article continued.

“Dery’s penchant for iconoclasm goes beyond appearances. As director of the Tulane T-Cell Clinic ... Dery is testing an approach to disease management that’s mostly unheard of at HIV clinics in the U.S.”

Read the story at

engage its listeners, with a heavy emphasis on social justicecentric spoken word content and music.

“We ask our DJs — a lot of them are local New Orleans musicians — to play music that focuses on human rights and social justice,” said Dery. That said, WHIV management doesn’t act as overseers of its shows: “I don’t babysit all the conversations and music. We just ask that they do it.”

Diverse content

It took a year for WHIV to go from license-winner to on-air broadcaster.

“Our studio in is New Orleans, mid-city area,” Dr. Dery said. “The transmitter and antenna are about a mile away.” Since then, the station has built up a solid roster of volunteer-produced programs to

In line with its progressive mission, WHIV has a diverse lineup of producers. “That’s important for us,” Dery said. “We have a 50% men/women gender split, along with many producers from non-white and LGBT communities.” Dery also produces his own programming/podcasts for WHIV, in an effort to counter anti-vaxxer rhetoric in the media.

Not everybody loves WHIV’s social justice content.

It touches us. It unites us. It brings us hope and helps us feel less apart.
that we’re here to support you.
” 6 | May 24 2023 Low-Power FM
“David Duke ... tweets against us every once in a while. We consider his attacks to be a badge of honor.

“There’s a big famous racist from Louisiana named David Duke who runs a lot of white supremacy groups, and he tweets against us every once in a while,” said Dery. “We consider his attacks to be a badge of honor.”

Keeping the lights on

As a non-profit LPFM with just one paid staff member, WHIV can’t support itself on advertising revenues the way full-power commercial FM stations can. So Dery and his associates count on the New Orleans community for support through fundraising events, station memberships and donations. .

“When we started out, I was paying the bills,” Dery said. “But that couldn’t go on indefinitely, which is when we started fundraising. Even with the hit WHIV took during COVID — which cut into our volunteer base and revenues — we have managed to keep going. Still, we are living month to month, but we’ve become used to that by now.”

As long as the money and volunteer content keeps coming in, WHIV will stay on air. “It’s important that there’s another voice out there on radio,” said Dery. “Mainstream media focuses on maintaining the status quo. The people who are at WHIV are trying to fight that status quo.”

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ier-grade mic rowave radios for always-up operation in Digital Studio Transmitter Links for Radio and TV Broadcast and Point-to-Point Communications Links.
“We ask our DJs — a lot of them are local New Orleans musicians — to play music that focuses on human rights and social justice.
Left Participants at a station fundraiser dance to live music.
8 Low-Power FM
Copyright Dinah L. Rogers Photography

Coverage issues? First understand the problem

We asked Gary Cavell about tactics for dealing with signal issues

Gary Cavell is president of Cavell, Mertz & Associates.

We interviewed him for the ebook “Maximizing RF Coverage.” This is an excerpt.

What strategies are available to fill in gaps and fix other signal challenges?

Cavell: Before delving into possible solutions, make sure you understand the nature of the problem, unless it is painfully obvious. Look at the geometry of the transmitting location vs. the location of the areas of concern, along with the transmitting antenna height. Is there intervening terrain, foliage or cultural features like buildings that may impact a clear view into the community?

Then use reception prediction tools starting with optical shadowing studies, and Longley-Rice received signal studies. Be sure to crank in the program’s “land use / land cover” options. Also, know that the default receiving antenna height is typically 30 feet above ground. I prefer to use a more realistic 6 feet.

Once I create a Longley-Rice coverage map based upon the theoretical predicted levels and realistic receiving antenna heights, I ask the station owner to look at the map and tell me how this lines up with their actual reception experience and regions where there are perceived problems.

I also separately look at predicted INCOMING potentially interfering signals to see if the areas where coverage issues exist are really interference-driven, which may dictate the use of a different approach for resolution.

Finally, look at the locations of other stations’ transmitter sites within the “poor reception” areas. Is the problem localized brute force overload or receiver-induced intermodulation interference?

It is at that point that we then start looking at relocation, on-channel booster feasibility, fill-in translators, use of HD channels on other stations, and the like.

How can we be sure performance lives up to predicted coverage?

Cavell: It’s impossible to provide absolute assurance of performance, since there are so many variables to the transmission/reception equation, many

of which are beyond the station’s control. I feel that the best that we can do is to provide relative comparative information based upon the best available methods recognized and accepted by our industry.

Again, before contemplating any changes, I traditionally recommend creating a LongleyRice coverage map based upon the existing facility; theoretical signal levels for various levels of performance like urban vs. rural; expected building attenuation factors; and realistic receiving antenna heights and terrain factors. I then ask the station owner to look at the map, preferably driving around with it.

This establishes the “before” coverage conditions against a possible solution generated in an “after” coverage map — provided that the station owner “calibrates” their mind (and ear) using the “before” map. All of this assumes that the existing (and newly constructed) antenna and transmitting system is operating properly and as designed … otherwise the comparison will be flawed.

Another means is to do an actual before vs. after “in the field” measurement of the signal using scientifically based methods such as those set forth in the FCC’s rules — mobile ground-based measurements using the decades-old techniques and analysis means — or some of the newer automated signal analysis boxes using car-top receiving antennas. Both methods are subject to localized influences and errors that affect accuracy, with the “traditional” “FCC method” likely being the most defendable. While tedious and potentially expensive, this is perhaps the best method of scientifically assessing existing coverage and comparing it to the post-installation solution.

The newest tool is the use of drone-based antenna pattern measurements, which is a technique we had a hand in developing. Where feasible, these are useful for verifying whether an existing antenna is having performance issues or is operating differently than intended, or to compare an “as-installed” antenna’s pattern to a replaced antenna’s pattern (pre- and post-construction checks), or that the as-installed antenna reproduces a vendor’s published azimuth and elevation patterns.

While the drone-based technique is usable in determining antenna pattern performance, antenna performance is but one part of the complex propagation / signal reception equation. As such, this alone should not be considered to be the sole indicator of ultimate reception in a station’s service area.

More Info Read the full interview in “Maximizing RF Coverage” at http:// radioworld. com/ebooks 10 | May 24 2023 FM Coverage

The author is in his 33rd year of writing Workbench. He handles western U.S. radio sales for the Telos Alliance and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.

An eye in the sky provides new perspectives

Dan Slentz says his new tower camera is good for more than watching the weather

Frequent Workbench contributor Dan Slentz just had a new high-definition weather camera — with full pan, tilt and zoom capability — installed about 200 feet up on his station’s thousandfoot transmitting tower.

Since the site is on a high point in northeast Ohio, there are numerous other TV and FM facilities nearby. So in addition to monitoring the weather, Dan occasionally has fun scoping out the surrounding towers as well as his own.

As the accompanying images show, Dan can eyeball a neighbor’s tower and zoom to the upper portion of its five-bay antenna. Dan also spotted some rust and peeling paint on another adjacent tower. With PTZ capability, he could even monitor the building below on a fine winter day.

A drone provides great images without the expense of a climber; but this fixed camera provides Dan an instant and constant live view right from his desktop. Neat, right? Let us know if you agree!

Better than Dick Tracy

The tip jar is open!

Workbench submissions are encouraged and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Email johnpbisset@

Continuing the camera theme, Radio World Editor in Chief Paul McLane recently sent me a headline from the website Engadget, reporting that Samsung has brought more “smart home” features to its Galaxy Watch devices.

Among other things, users now can view live feeds from their home and doorbell Ring and Nest cameras on their smartwatches. This is done via Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem.

left. He can even spot rust and peeling paint on another tower, above right.


building below.

Left Dan Slentz can make observations of nearby towers using his station’s new highdefinition weather camera. Above Dan can zoom on the nearby tower’s five-bay FM antenna, Pan, tilt and zoom functions allow Dan to check on the
11 | May 24 2023 Workbench

Users are also able to control an expanding selection of devices including smart air purifiers, thermostats and blinds. Galaxy Watch also supports TVs, air conditioners, lights and other devices.

When Paul read that story, he had a mental image of an engineer checking a feed from a transmitter site security camera. Now if only the Samsung can adjust PTZ!

Hot hot hot

Dan Slentz also shared a video that’s worth watching if you store or charge batteries at your studio or transmitter site.

A TV station had a fire break out in its studios, disrupting its ability to produce local newscasts. The flames started at about 1:30 in the morning, in a locker area where batteries were stored. You can see it happen, because the outbreak was caught on a security camera. Find it at https://

After you watch the news report, be sure to scroll down to see the complete video of the fire. Watch to the end. It’s hard to believe that a battery can cause all that damage!

A warty problem

Like many of us, Terry Skelton has boxes and boxes of wall-warts.


Use a white paint pen to label a black wall wart with voltage and tip polarity.

Below RectoSeal’s condensate trap with safety switch can be wired up to turn the HVAC system off before condensate flooding occurs.

Searching through them is a pain. Trying to read the embossed print on black is just about impossible — a guy could go blind, Terry says.

He finally started using a paintpen to mark their voltage and center pin polarity, as shown in the photo above. It may not be pretty, but then again, wall warts will probably be out of sight under a counter anyway. Finding the correct voltage at least gets you in the ballpark; then you can look visually for the right connector size and type.

Keep those drains clean

And Engineer Rolf Taylor shares a seasonable tip about air conditioning drains. It’s time to add a little bleach or anti-algae tablets to the

condensate trays. You’ll find tablets online and at big box stores.

If you are planning a new or renovated system with a condensate drain, Rolf recommends that you spec a RectorSeal EZ Trap with safety switch. As shown at left, the trap is clear plastic so you can see if an algae plug is beginning to form. The assembly also comes with a flexible bristle brush for cleaning the trap assembly. This rig can be wired through the control interlock of the air conditioner, so the HVAC system will be turned off before condensate flooding occurs.

Search RectorSeal Part Number 83210 EZT-210 on Amazon. Also you can see available variations of the trap at

14 | May 24 2023 Workbench
Left Users of Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 now can watch video from Ring or Nest security cameras on their watches.

The Nighttime Beckons

Radio World loves to receive photographs that capture the allure of radio.

Mike Pappas, VP of business development for Orban, took this picture at the five-tower site of WCTS(AM) in Maplewood, Minn., outside of the city of St. Paul.

The station, 50 kW by day, 4 kW at night, is licensed to the Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis and is heard on 1030 kHz.

Like many romances, Mike’s photo shoot had to be cut short. “I was being eaten alive by the Minnesota state bird, the mosquito. FedEx could have used them to deliver freight. That site is ‘wet.’ I left the car running because if it didn’t start they would have carried me off to their lair.”

Bug bites notwithstanding, we love this picture. The deepening evening sky, the silhouettes of AM towers, the lights coming on, the cozy transmitter building tell their own tale, in their own language, for radio people who know how to listen.

We welcome your own photos that capture the wonder of radio. Email

18 | May 24 2023 Radio World
19 | May 24 2023 Radio World

Timm steps away from state EAS duties

The longtime broadcast chair of Wisconsin SECC retires

Gary Timm recalls with pride that Wisconsin was the first state to file its required EAS plan with the FCC in 1996. It was submitted on a floppy disk.

The longtime broadcast chair of the Wisconsin State Emergency Communications Committee retired recently, ending a career steeped in public warning accolades including the inaugural Service Award from Wisconsin Emergency Management in 2022 and a Certificate of Commendation from the state governor in 2005.

Timm, 70, saw major changes in public warning throughout his 30 years as broadcast chair. The Emergency Broadcast System was succeeded by the Emergency Alert System, which in turn has been enhanced and is no longer just a daisy chain of radio stations cobbled together.

Timm retired from full-time broadcast engineering in 2010 after 37 years at Journal Broadcast Group in Milwaukee at WTMJ(AM) and WKTI(FM). He then worked part-time for several years as an alerts and warnings consultant with SRA International. And now he has stepped down from his SECC role, where his successor is Chris Tarr, group director of engineering for Magnum Media.

What got you interested in EAS in the first place?

Gary Timm: I started with alerting duties in the 1970s at WTMJ radio in Milwaukee, where I worked my entire broadcast engineering career. When the state chair was ready to retire, I volunteered for the role.

It’s been a great ride, with just the finest cooperation from all levels of state government and our stellar Wisconsin broadcasters all along the way.

Any specific highlights?

Timm: In 2011 as a FEMA contractor, I helped conduct the very first test of the Commercial Mobile Alert System, the predecessor of Wireless Emergency Alerts, from the New York City Emergency Operations Center. The test was a resounding success and our team was elated. It was one of the more exciting, cuttingedge moments in my life.

What are you most proud of in your 30+ years as Wisconsin EAS Chair?

Timm: I would say getting our Amber Alert program off the ground in

2003. This year we are celebrating the program’s 20th anniversary with a ceremony in Madison, where I will be the EAS Chair Emeritus guest of honor.

The FCC has made changes in EAS to move public warning forward. What are some of the more significant? And what might be next?

Timm: I was really happy to see the FCC adopt CAP prioritization, where EAS units receiving a legacy EAS message then check IPAWS for a CAP version and if found use that version.

For years we have been telling emergency managers that using IPAWS gets them more explanatory text in TV crawl messages, but that has only been true 50% of the time depending on whether the legacy EAS or IPAWS message arrives at the station first.

It will now assure alert originators that in the vast majority of cases their IPAWS message will be aired. Hats off to FCC for this move when it becomes effective Dec. 12, 2023.

The FCC also seems very focused on improving alerting to those with access and functional needs, and those not fluent in English. The recent CAP prioritization rule is an

Right Gary Timm visits with Michelle Vetterkind, president & CEO of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, on the exhibit floor of the 2022 Broadcasters Clinic.
20 | May 24 2023 Newsmaker
Radio World’s lead news contributor wrote about Futuri Media and RadioGPT in April.

An EAS reminder

The FCC recently adopted a report and order to make messages from the Emergency Alert System more accessible and easier to understand. Check with your EAS hardware manufacturer to make sure your equipment is compliant by the Dec. 12, 2023, deadline.

attempt to make EAS visual messages more descriptive for those with hearing loss.

In mid-February, the chairwoman issued a news release seeking information on multilingual WEA messages. I expect more FCC efforts regarding multilingual EAS messages as well. The problem is that those non-English messages need to be crafted by the alert originators, who have expressed issues having a translation service available 24/7 in a moment’s notice.

I suspect the FCC may need to work with FEMA on solving that dilemma, possibly with grant money or other innovative solutions, but it is definitely a valid need.

You spent a long time working in broadcast engineering in Milwaukee radio and saw the technology evolve. What were those changes like?

Timm: There were so many advancements, but toward the end of my broadcast engineering career, I really missed the days when we used to build stuff. If you needed a relay panel, switching system or other gadget, you built it from scratch. Now everything is off the shelf.

My greatest gadgets were things we used every day, and it was rewarding to see them work as intended.

Did you have mentors to help you at the beginning of your broadcast career?

Timm: My boss at WTMJ(AM) was Jim Wulliman. He needs no introduction to most everyone in the broadcast engineering community who know his legendary contributions to SBE and its certification program. He was a great inspiration and example to all of us.

Nels Harvey, a WMVS(TV) engineer at Milwaukee Area Technical College, gave me my first broadcasting job as I finished school at WYLO — “Way-Low,” at 540 kHz. He was a patient and talented mentor, back in the days of 30-minute transmitter readings and the daily hike out to the tower doghouses.

You were a longtime AM guy. We have reported on automakers dropping AM broadcast radio from EVs and other cars. How would you respond to the auto industry and others who say broadcast is playing a smaller and less important role in alerting?

Timm: While this is scary for those of us in the EAS community, the public veering away from broadcast radio even when it is available is a reality. As Radio World has noted, the automotive industry is making attempts to access emergency information via other means, such as IPAWS alerts directly into the vehicle infotainment system.

All we can do as broadcasters is to continue to offer EAS alerting to our audiences and double our efforts to make our graphics and visual content in the automobile



as compelling as possible to compete with the many other offerings available.

The disappearance of AM radio in cars should be a major concern for FEMA, as they have spent millions of dollars on Primary Entry Point and so-called last-resort stations, which are almost all high-power AM stations. Perhaps FEMA will put their weight behind the efforts of some senators looking to require AM radios in cars.

What would be your advice to your successor and other state EAS chairs?

Timm: Build a strong SECC. Consciously bring in younger members to build in longevity, and have SECC members from all stakeholder communities: state broadcasters association, state emergency management agency, NWS, etc.

Involve your EAS participants. We have radio station and TV station representatives on our SECC, and the vice chair is from the cable TV industry. In 1996, we held an EAS Summit for participants to select the RMT times our SECC uses. We have continued to get great support from our EAS participants over the years.

Doing all these things, I left my EAS chair position with total confidence that the SECC is in good hands, especially with Chris Tarr succeeding me as EAS chair. We are so lucky to have him here in Wisconsin.

You signed off on your message to the EAS community informing them of your decision to step aside with best wishes: “God speed to you all in keeping IPAWS and our EAS strong down the road.” EAS and public warning really have been your life’s work.

Timm: This has been a great experience. I’ll just repeat what I said in my message. It’s been a privilege to volunteer my service all these years for the people of Wisconsin, and the EAS on a national basis. I will truly miss my EAS colleagues and friends, and thanks to them all for the support and rewarding relationships.

Volunteerism will remain important to you even in full retirement?

Timm: I’ve already started working with the Lake Park Friends, who help maintain the expansive lakefront park near my home in Milwaukee that was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York City’s Central Park. This past summer we celebrated his 200th birthday with a big park-wide party.

I accepted the Service Award from Wisconsin Emergency Management in 2022 by ending with this: Throughout life, and even in retirement, consider utilizing your expertise by volunteering. It is truly rewarding.

The new EAS handbook
here The FCC has published an updated EAS Operating Handbook. Access the PDF at www.fcc. gov/file/24607/ download 24

To inspect your tower, why not “go steady”?

While not cheap, these Canon binoculars deliver amazing results

Have you ever suspected antenna failure or lightning damage to a coax cable, and paid a tower crew to go up to take a “look-see”?

They climb up, take pictures, come down and give you a report. Only then can you obtain the items needed for repair (assuming your crew even found a problem). Then they come back to fix the issue. Not cheap at all. Or maybe you’ve paid someone to deploy a drone for the same purpose.

Here is an alternative that in certain cases may help you avoid paying for that first costly inspection.

I’m sure you’ve seen high-powered telescopes and binoculars. But most of them have a limitation: The greater

the optical power, the harder it is to keep the image steady enough to scrutinize what you see. You’ve also seen news cameras using high magnification that have a telltale picture shake because the lens is “stretched out.” Or maybe you’ve tried to view something on the ground from a helicopter using binoculars; it’s hard because of the shake at high magnification.

Image-stabilized binoculars can overcome these issues and give you a really close look at what’s happening up there on your tower.

I’ve been using a set of Canon 18x50 stabilized binoculars. Their mechanical devices compensate for hand tremors and shift the inside prisms to give a rock-steady view even at 18 times magnification.

According to Canon, the 18x50 IS model is “great for big-game hunters, spectators of extremely distant sports such as surfing or extreme skiing, or anyone hankering for incredible pulling power that can actually be enjoyed without the use of a tripod.”

My uses are more prosaic, but practical.

I inspected a translator antenna 250 feet up, as described in a previous column, and I could actually see the gamma match ribbon blowing in the wind.

I’ve spotted lightning damage on coax cable 290 feet up.

I discovered that bolts were missing on the upper portion of a 350-foot tower.

I was able to see that a rigger had installed a dipole with the wrong end down; that was at 400 feet.

After a bad ice storm my super-glasses revealed that 1/2-inch coax had been pulled from the base of a fiberglass whip 420 feet up. All this without having to spend a dime for a tower crew just to look.

Also, there are camera mounts available that will hold your cell phone to the eyepiece. So in the case of that dipole, I was able to document conclusively that the installation had been botched.

These glasses are not cheap; they cost around $1,500. In my case they’ve paid for themselves; but lower-powered versions are almost as effective and cost less than half as much.

26 Tech Tips
Larry Langford Owner/Chief Engineer WGTO(AM)/ W246DV(FX) Cassopolis, Mich.

The glasses use two AA batteries and only activate when you press a button near your right index finger. The best results are obtained when you go some distance from the tower and look at it from different angles.

The design is water resistant. The manufacturer notes that “extended periods of observation are best enjoyed with some form of support,” so it does provide a tripod socket. Also, if you’ll be using your binoculars in very cold weather, Canon recommends you use lithium batteries instead of alkaline.

Tech Tips

The glasses are threaded for 58 mm filters such as polarizers for use around water. Canon adds that for extremely bright or humid conditions you can use a pair of 58 mm lens hoods to help shield the objective lenses from dew and stray light, improving contrast.

You can find Canon stabilized binoculars on Amazon. The B&H Photo site ( also carries them and helpfully lists useful accessories including tripod, heavyduty harness strap and a smartphone “digiscoping” adapter.

Happy zooming!

27 | May 24 2023
28 | May 24 2023


Does AI stand for “attorneys incoming”?

In music as in radio, the use of these tools raises so many questions

The author writes for our sibling publication Mix, where this commentary originally appeared.

Artificial intelligence is reshaping the world at an exponential rate. Soon, AI-related articles will need to be time-stamped in date:hours:minutes.

When social media was just a glimmer in the internet’s eye, no one knew it was going to rip apart the fabric of society. No one with a cordless phone saw the straight line between that and Kodak going bankrupt. AI is already raising legal questions for which no one has an answer.

Intellectual property disputes over AI-generated content are heating up. For example, according to Reuters, Getty Images has initiated legal proceedings against Stability

AI. Getty alleges the copying of millions of its images. In a statement, Getty Images said that Stability AI “chose to ignore viable licensing options and long-standing legal protections in pursuit of their stand-alone commercial interests.” Stability AI fired back that “anyone that believes that this isn’t fair use does not understand the technology and misunderstands the law.”

Today, it’s about images. Tomorrow, add music.

Bits and pieces of existing recordings would be recognizable, but content from engines that analyzed chord progressions and melody lines would be more likely to obscure infringement, even if done consciously.

Suppose Disney starts using AI to generate movie soundtracks. Then, suppose that AI generates the title song for a movie with a prominent melody line that’s identical to “Yesterday.” Disney could argue that it was unintentional,

Writer Craig Anderton The author is a musician and an internationally recognized authority on music and technology. PhonlamaiPhoto/Getty Images More Craig
29 | May 24 2023 Artificial Intelligence
more from the author, visit www.mixonline. com/author/ craig-anderton

but there’s the precedent of George Harrison’s infringement case involving “My Sweet Lord.” He was found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism.” No intent was implied, yet he had to pay damages.

So, in the fictional Disney case, who gets sued? Probably Disney, for not noticing the melody was identical. But could Disney then turn around and sue the company that created the AI engine by claiming negligence and a disregard of copyright law that put Disney in jeopardy? Or sue the “composer” who entered the search terms that came up with the song, then passed it along to Disney?

Or suppose an AI engine writes a hit song. Who gets the royalties? The song would not have existed without the AI engine. But it also would not have existed without someone specifying the parameters under which the AI engine

How to submit Radio World welcomes comment on all relevant topics. Email radioworld@ with “Letter to the Editor” in the subject field.

and the big bucks will be in plumbing and road services, because AI can’t fix a broken pipe or change a flat at 3 a.m. What’s old is new again, and perhaps that relates to something of interest to us all: product reviews and tech articles.

I’m already seeing web content about music technology that looks suspiciously like ChatGPT should be credited as a co-author. But as we all know, AI can give incorrect answers, whether as text or in an image of a guitarist with eight fingers. What’s worse, incorrect answers then get folded indiscriminately into an existing body of knowledge and inch closer to being accepted as correct. I know for sure this will happen — because Nostradamus was my grandfather, and I’m a Nobel Laureate. Welcome to the George Santos-ization of information.

Will this mean that publications with editors and a staff that vets articles will regain their former positions of authority? Maybe consumers will start to look at any random “content” on the Web as suspect, and yearn for something like, well,, where they know the material was vetted by humanoid bipeds who have a track record of accurate reporting.

I’m seriously thinking of adding the following disclaimer to all my articles: “This article was written, researched and proofed for accuracy by one or more human beings.”

Welcome to 2023. Cue sound effect of genie exiting bottle.

created the song. And what about the music the AI engine “borrowed” to create the song? Are the original rights holders owed anything?

How will copyright laws change? Adding a little © isn’t going to cut it. Maybe artists can include a key in any digital work that indicates to cooperative AI engines that the material is off-limits for scraping. But any attempt to do that will be challenged by those engines’ creators and ignored by pirates. Or maybe artists will encrypt their digital media, and consumers will buy a key to unlock the encryption. But what prevents a company from paying for the key and then adding the content to its AI engine?

If the internet alone didn’t mean the end of copyright as we know it, “AI + internet” will create unlimited controversies and legal maneuvering around copyright law. Will “fair use” just throw up its arms and say anything that any artist releases into a digital space is fair game for anyone to use in any way they want? Will any mechanism provide financial compensation to the musicians and artists from whom AI engines draw their material for commercial purposes? I have no answers. Neither does anyone else. Stay tuned.

The world is turning upside down. Job security used to mean doing creative work that could never be displaced by automation. Oops. In the future, maybe job security

Readers’ Forum

Paying for AM radio?

Maybe subscriptions to radio in the dash is the answer; but then government should force a mandate that ALL of the payment for that local, stationgenerated program service go to the broadcast station, NOT to the car manufacturer. That would help stabilize the increasing costs of operating a full-service local AM or FM station.

But my opinion is that this would not be good for the public’s service and safety. It wouldn’t benefit all segments of the public, only the rich who could afford to pay for it.

Radio works well as it is, benefiting all society, from young to old, whether they’re able to pay for it or not. I grew up on local radio as a kid in a poor, hard-working family. Local radio and the public schools educated me into becoming a productive citizen of society.

I am nearly 81, a longtime small-market station owner, now retired. I’m still listening and enjoying local LIVE radio. Living in a small rural town, I have a great selection of stations with local, state and national news that I can trust. Please don’t take that away from the American people.

“AI + internet will create unlimited controversies and legal maneuvering around copyright law.
30 | May 24 2023 Opinion Section

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