AM Radio Fights For Survival

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AM radio, the scratchy medium that long ago aired Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats, soap operas and the day’s most popular music, is trying to avoid becoming static.

Across the country, stations are vying to hold on to listeners as AM radio’s audience slowly dwindles. The persistent technology, long dwarfed by FM, has weathered more recent threats including satellite and Internet radio. It is also contending with a new assault from smartphones.

How long before AM radio disappears, if ever, is anybody’s guess. But analysts say the fight for relevance is playing out in Los Angeles, the nation’s largest radio market by revenue. And KFWB-AM (980), a station founded by movie studio mogul Sam Warner back before the golden age of radio, might be in the thick of it.

After 46 years of presenting news and talk, the veteran station of the AM dial is switching to an all-sports format to rev up its paltry ratings. The change comes after years of erosion for an institution that once was one of L.A.’s top outlets, from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, when KFWB was known as “Color Radio,” to the years when it had news bureaus throughout California.

“This was one of the crowning jewels of news radio for four decades,” said longtime newscaster Phil Hulett, who hosted his last show for the station in late August at the Ports O’Call Waterfront Dining restaurant in San Pedro.

KFWB has been particularly hard hit as listeners have abandoned AM radio at a steady rate.

The station drew 172,000 listeners a week in July, a small sum considering that it broadcasts to a region that has millions of potential listeners. Top-rated music station KBIG-FM (104.3) pulled in nearly 3.5 million during the same time frame.

More via LA Times

Clear Channel Becomes iHeartMedia

iheartmedia

Media and entertainment company Clear Channel is today rebranding itself as iHeartMedia, picking up the new name from its digital business iHeartRadio. The latter was formed three years ago as Clear Channel’s key entry into digital music, and as of June has reached 50 million registered users, the company claims.

In addition, Clear Channel, now iHeartMedia, claims that its radio service has “70 percent consumer awareness” and is now the dominant national brand among the company’s assets.

The new name will be adopted by all of Clear Channel, including 859 radio stations in over 150 markets, with over 245 million listeners a month; iHeartMedia Digital, with more than 90 million digital monthly uniques; Premiere Networks, which syndicates 90 radio programs and services to more than 5,500 radio affiliates; the Total Traffic and Weather Network, reaching a majority of U.S. commuters; 20,000 live music events; and ClearChannel’s related companies, including Katz Media Group.

via TechCrunch.

ARRL Deploying Radio Kits to Hawaii to Assist in Lava Flow Response

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ARRL Headquarters is deploying Ham Aid kits to Hawaii as ARES volunteers stand ready to activate in the wake of the massive Puna volcanic lava flow that has been threatening some communities on the Big Island of Hawaii. The lava originated from new “vents” in the Earth as a result of the Mt Kilauea volcano, which began erupting more than 30 years ago. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J, said Tuesday that while he doesn’t believe an ARES activation is imminent, lava flows can be unpredictable, and things can change rapidly.

“Lava is a slow-motion disaster,” he said. “It’s not like a volcano, where the thing just blows up. It’s like a pot of soup.”

ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said the Ham Aid kits going out to Hawaii include HF gear as well as VHF and UHF equipment. “We’re deploying an HF kit — an IC-718 transceiver, a tuner, and a dipole — and a VHF/UHF kit.” The latter includes a mobile transceiver and power supply as well as several handheld transceivers that have been programmed with local frequencies that may be needed before they’re shipped. Corey said the Ham Aid kits are a resource available to ARRL section leadership to add capacity during a disaster or emergency response.

Schneider said that while there is no immediate need for the kits, “if they have it out there, and this thing changes, we’ll be prepared. It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

More via ARRL.

ARRL Simulated Emergency Test Set for October 4-5 Weekend

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The national ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) is slated for the October 4-5 weekend, although the window for local and regional exercises is September 1 through November 30 each year. All groups conduct their events over the course of 48 hours. The SET is a nationwide exercise in disaster response and emergency communication, administered by ARRL emergency coordinators and net managers, in which volunteers respond to a mock emergency or disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane. Members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), the National Traffic System (NTS), SKYWARN, the ARRL Field Organization, and other groups work together to plan and develop simulated emergency and disaster scenarios, in consultation with the various served agencies that rely on radio amateurs during emergencies.

The SET gives volunteer public service communicators the opportunity to focus on their capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses while interacting with NTS nets. It also provides a public demonstration — to served agencies such as the Red Cross, state and local emergency managers, and the news media — of the value that Amateur Radio provides. The SET helps radio amateurs gain communication experience using standard procedures and a variety of modes, under simulated disaster-response conditions. Participating groups earn points toward an overall SET score, adding a competitive component to the activity. Results are listed inQST (see pages 71-73 the July issue of QST for the 2013 SET results). Visit the ARRL Public Service/Field Services page and click on “SET Score Card” for an explanation of how points are earned.

Many ARES groups across the country will be participating, and all ARES members are invited to support the national SET and their local ARES group’s activity.

During this year’s SET, participating ARES/NTS members can earn SET bonus points by participating in the ARRL Centennial QSO Party. During the October 4-5 SET weekend, ARES and NTS field members and appointees are encouraged to get on the air and call “CQ Centennial.” The exchange is signal report, name, location, and your designator. There will be a special bonus for groups that include Centennial QSO Party participation. Each station making at least 5 contacts is worth an additional 3 points toward  your group’s SET score. Those taking part in a SET on another weekend may participate on the national SET weekend and count it later (or submit an amended SET report form).

See page 78 in the July issue of QST, and page 75 in the September issue of QSTfor more information on the SET. — Thanks to the ARES E-Letter

Podcast Episode 37

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The Technology Geek – Episode 37

Today in this podcast we discuss Larry Ellison leaving Oracle. We talk about iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6.Microsoft buys Minecraft. FCC turns down petition to create a 4 meter band in the US and ARRL Simulated Emergency Test set for October 4-5 weekend. We talk about the technology news of the week and answer your questions.

Join Me Today As I Respond to Your Calls and Discuss…

  • Larry Ellson Steps Down CEO Of Oracle
  • Apple Shutting Down Beats
  • iOS 8
  • New iPhone 6
  • Microsoft buys Minecraft
  • FCC Turns Down Petition to Create a 4 Meter Band in the US
  • ARRL Simulated Emergency Test Set for October 4-5 Weekend
  • Microsoft Courts iOS 8 Users With OneDrive Free Space Promotion
  • Google+ accounts no longer needed for new Gmail users
  • SwiftKey Vs. Swype
  • Adobe Acquires Photo-Editing Platform Aviary
  • Skype Gets An iOS 8-Friendly Update With Interactive Notifications
  • Avira Vulnerability Puts Users’ Online Backup Data At Risk
  • Adobe Releases Critical Security Updates for Acrobat and Reader
  • Malicious Kindle Ebook Let Hackers Take Over Your Amazon Account

Join Me Today As I Answer Your Questions…

  • What series do you watch on Netflix?
  • How can I Keep Your Data Secure in the Cloud?
  • Are iOS 8 alternative keyboards secure?
  • What streaming box should I buy?
  • How can I restore my backup quickly from Carbonite?
  • How can I bookmark my audiobooks in iTunes?
  • What website host should I use?

Remember to be on a show like this one just pick up your phone and call (570) 630-0744. The best way to improve your chances of being on the air is ask your question or make your point up front, then provide details.

Sponsors For Todays Show..

NWS Binghamton Winter Weather Preparedness Webinar

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NWS Binghamton Winter Weather Preparedness Webinar Thursday September 25th 2014 1 pm

Register Today

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/209515346

For audio on this call…

Dial: 1-203-607-5026
Passcode: 636205

In order to prepare for the upcoming winter season, I wanted to invite you to a webinar that will cover
the following topics:
– Winter climatology
– Types of Winter Storms
– NWS Winter Weather Products and Services
– Proposed changes to winter storm criteria.
– Snow squalls alerting program.
– Winter 2014-15 Outlook: an early look.
– Winter Preparedness including NY and PA winter weather awareness weeks.
Title: NWS Binghamton Winter Weather Preparedness Webinar Thursday September 25th 2014 1 pm
Date: Thursday, September 25, 2014
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

Podcast Episode 36

podcast1

The Technology Geek – Episode 36

Today in this podcast we discuss and review Office 365 and talk about lots of security news. We talk about the technology news of the week and answer your questions.

Join Me Today As I Respond to Your Calls and Discuss…

  • Google Chrome 64-bit Browser Finally Released As a Stable Version
  • TwitPic Going Out Of Business
  • Apple iCloud hack
  • Home Depot Data Breach
  • Dairy Queen Data Breach
  • Firefox 32 Debuts With Public-Key Pinning, Several Security Fixes
  • Microsoft Fixes Broken Security Patch MS14-045
  • PlayStation Network Back Online Following DDoS
  • UPS Admits 51 Stores Hit With Malware For Five Months
  • Fake Flappy Bird App Planted by Hackers to Steal Photos from Device
  • MSN New Look
  • Fake Cell Phone Towers Could Be Intercepting Your Calls

Join Me Today As I Answer Your Questions…

  • What’s the best phone for someone losing their sight?
  • How can I do a live podcast with a dozen of my friends?
  • Can I use bluetooth with old flip phone?
  • Why is there no metro app for firefox on windows 8.1?
  • Should I buy a Chromebook for school?
  • What should I buy for my first ham radio?
  • Who do you think has better original programing Amazon Prime or Netflix?
  • With winamp gone from android whats go app for mp3?

Remember to be on a show like this one just pick up your phone and call (570) 630-0744. The best way to improve your chances of being on the air is ask your question or make your point up front, then provide details.

Sponsors For Todays Show..

Home Depot confirms security breach

home-depot

On Monday Home Depot confirmed they had a breach in security and that customer payment data that occur at its stores puts millions of its customers could be at risk of fraud.

Customers who shopped at the home improvement chain in the U.S. and Canada since April may be affected. The retailer said they are working to determine the full scope of the breach but as of now there is no evidence that PIN numbers for debit cards were compromised.

“We want you to know that we have now confirmed that those systems have in fact been breached, which could potentially impact any customer that has used their payment card at our U.S. and Canadian stores, from April forward,” the company said in a statement posted to its website. “We do not have any evidence that the breach has impacted stores in Mexico or customers who shopped online at HomeDepot.com.”

Over the past few months, arts and crafts retail chain Michaels Stores, department store Neiman Marcus, Sally Beauty Supply, and restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s and Dairy Queen revealed they were victims of security breaches aimed at stealing customers’ credit card information.

ARRL May Seek HF Data Privileges for Technicians

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Among other actions taken by the ARRL board of directors at its July meeting, it tasked its executive committee with looking into the possibility of seeking “limited RTTY/data privileges for Technician licensees on 80, 40, and 15 meters,” according to a summary in the ARRL Letter. Techs currently have only CW (Morse code) privileges on those bands.

http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-board-lauds-unforgettable-milestone-formalizes-lotw-policy-honors-award-recipients

Backup Power and Generators

Generators

Generators come in two basic types: standby and portable. The source of backup power you ultimately choose will be determined by many factors, including your power requirements.

A standby generator is permanently installed outside your home or commercial building and wired directly into the electrical system to provide power to some or all of your home’s circuits during a disruption of normal utility power. Depending on the model, they may start automatically when the power goes out and stop when the power returns. Standby generators are fueled by liquid propane or natural gas and require professional installation, often with a permit.

The number of circuits to which a standby generator can provide power–and the number of appliances you can run on those circuits–is determined by the power capacity of the generator.

Standby generators are typically fully enclosed and vary in size. Check the dimensions carefully. A standby model may cost as little as $1,500 or as much as $15,000 or more–the greater the power capacity, the higher the cost.

Standby generators create from 5,000 to 25,000 watts or more of power. You’ll have to choose a generator that supplies sufficient peak and continuous wattage for the appliances on the circuits you need to power. You can choose between an air-cooled and a liquid-cooled model standby generator. Generally, liquid-cooled models are bigger and create more power.

Portable generators are versatile. You can use them for emergency power at home, for power in remote locations where utility power is unavailable, or for recreational purposes, like boating or camping.

Portable generators are fueled by gasoline and include 120-volt power outlets like the ones in the walls of your home. When the generator is running, you can plug appliances and tools directly into these outlets. Some generators also include 120/240 or 240-volt outlets. These are especially useful for running powering into a transfer switch.

Portable generators range in cost between a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the capacity and features.

A small 1,000-watt portable generator may be all you need for recreational purposes. And you may use up to 8,000 watts if using a generator to power tools on the jobsite. Because you plug appliances directly into a portable generator, you’ll also want to make sure that your model has the number and type of outlets you need. The size of the fuel tank also is crucial. The bigger the tank, the longer your generator can run without refilling and produce power. If you want to use a portable generator to power specific circuits in your house, a transfer switch is required. For running an entire house, follow the guidelines for choosing a standby generator.

If you want to use your generator to power part or all of your home, you’ll need a sufficiently sized generator and a transfer switch. The transfer switch safely closes off the utility power line to your house’s electrical system and opens a direct line to the generator and reverses the process when utility power is restored.

Standby models can work either with a manual or an automatic transfer switch. The benefit of an automatic transfer switch is that it senses when utility power has been lost and automatically switches to generator power.

Every home should have a backup power source a generator is a great choice. Backup power is very important if you have family or friend s with health problems so they can run equipment like dialis machines and respirators. If you have a home with a well you will need the generator to power the pump. This is a great purchase for any pepper, survivalist or home owner.