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Dick Tauber to Retire from CNN and as Chair of WBU-ISOG


Oct 23, 2013 / TORONTO, Canada - CNN and broadcast satellite industry legend Dick Tauber is retiring at the end of this year. Tauber has been with CNN for over 32 years, starting as a satellite desk trainee in 1981 and working his way up through a number of positions to his current role as VP of Transmission Systems and New Technology for CNN Worldwide. NABA would like to thank him for his significant contribution to member-company Time Warner’s success, but also to NABA and the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) as well.

Tauber has represented NABA in a variety of capacities, including as an active member of both the Technical Committee (NABA-TC) and the former News & Operations Committee (NABA-NOC). He is indisputably best known though for serving as the Chair of the World Broadcasting Unions- International Satellite Operations Group (WBU-ISOG) since 1993. In this role, he has grown ISOG into a twice annual Forum held at broadcasting facilities around the world where many involved in news operations and/or special events coverage consider it a regular and informative must-attend event. On the policy front, WBU-ISOG has found success with many issues including a Carrier ID Standard, mitigating worldwide satellite interference and the interoperability testing of high definition HD video equipment required for the transmission of HD video globally. Little of this would have been possible without Tauber’s herculean leadership. Tauber’s final meeting as ISOG Chair will be at the upcoming Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Nov. 4-6, 2013) co-hosted by Brazil’s TV Globo and IAB. The WBU ISOG Vice-Chair Akira Ogawa of Japan’s NHK will be the interim Chair.

Tauber is also an active member of the Society of Satellite Professionals International and helped establish the Southeast chapter in 2005. He now serves as the President-Emeritus of the chapter’s Board of Directors. Tauber has also been recognized in our industry for this great work with a Technology Emmy, the IBC Innovation Award for Digital Newsgathering, a Broadcasting and Cable Technology Leadership Award, and earlier this year he was inducted into the Society of Satellite Professionals International Hall of Fame for his 30+ years of service. Michael McEwen, NABA’s Director General, will present to Dick Tauber formal congratulations on behalf of his many colleagues and friends from CNN, NABA, and the WBU at the upcoming Rio ISOG Forum.

About NABA:

NABA is a non-profit association of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada, work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues. For further information about NABA, please visit www.nabanet.com

About WBU-ISOG:

Founded in 1985, the International Satellite Operations Group is a committee of the World Broadcasting Unions. ISOG provides a global forum for members of the WBU to exchange information, outline requirements and resolve common operational problems. WBU-ISOG's mission is to identify, evaluate, and implement solutions for all operational matters associated with transmission (by satellite or any other means) of video, audio, and broadcast-related data material from sites of news, sports, special events and entertainment, and to work with all international groups, institutions, organizations, and appropriate bodies to achieve these solutions. For further information about WBU-ISOG, please visit http://isog.worldbroadcastingunions.org.

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PBS Joins NABA


April 22, 2013 / TORONTO, Canada - We are pleased to welcome PBS back as an Associate Member of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA). PBS joins with many other North American national broadcasters, regional networks and specialty service broadcasters who are NABA members in defining, debating and suggesting solutions to the myriad of issues and challenges broadcasters face both here in North America and around the world.

PBS will play an active role with NABA’s various Committees and Working Groups, particularly those looking at the next generation of television, work flow and multi-platform delivery. Also, we look forward to working with PBS through our reinvigorated Safety & Security Committee as they have a great deal of expertise and knowledge to share on matters of emergency preparedness.

“I am very pleased to welcome our PBS colleagues back to NABA. They play an important role in the broadcast landscape of the US giving them a thoughtful perspective on matters of current and future interest. I look forward to their innovative approach and a fresh point of view to the important challenges the broadcast community faces.”

-Michael McEwen, Director General, NABA.

Again, a big welcome to PBS from the NABA family!

About PBS:

PBS’ mission is to create content that educates, informs and inspires. PBS has transformed itself from a solely broadcast organization to a multi-platform leader that serves Americans through television, mobile TV, the Web, interactive whiteboards in the classroom and more. PBS reaches 120 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online each month. PBS is a private, nonprofit corporation, founded in 1969, whose members are America’s public TV stations – noncommercial, educational licensees that operate more than 350 PBS member stations and serve all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.

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SSPI Announces the 2013 Satellite Hall of Fame Inductees: R. Bausch, D. Tauber, and R. Zitter


SSPI to induct Romain Bausch, Robert Zitter, Susan Irwin, Prof. U.R. Rao and Dick Tauber into the Satellite Hall of Fame

13th Induction to Hall of Fame Will Take Place on March 19 at SSPI’s Annual Gala

New York City, February 5, 2013 – The Society of Satellite Professionals International announced five new inductees for the 2013 Hall of Fame, to be honored on March 19 during SSPI’s annual Gala. They will join more than 40 Hall of Fame members including Dr. Arthur C. Clarke, Dr. Harold Rosen, Olof Lundberg, Eddy Hartenstein, Frederic d'Allest, Sidney Topol, Takayushi Yoshida, Mary Ann Elliott, Mary Frost, Peter Jackson, and Robert Berry.

The 2013 Hall of Fame Honorees:

Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. Since joining SES in 1995, Romain Bausch provided the leadership that transformed SES from a regional satellite company offering direct-to-home TV distribution in Europe to a global satellite operator serving broadcasters, telcos, enterprise, and government customers. Under his leadership, SES became one of the big "consolidators” in the FSS industry, integrating among others Nordic Satellite AB, GE Americom and New Skies Satellites, and also providing significant investment and support to O3B Networks. He managed this expansion program while keeping SES on a solid financial footing, and took the company public in a successful IPO in 1998. Romain Bausch is also Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of O3b Networks, member of the Board of the European Satellite Operators’ Association (ESOA), and a Director of Luxembourg’s Business Federation. In 2002, he was honored as Via Satellite’s Satellite Executive of the Year.

Robert Zitter, Executive Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, Home Box Office. Robert Zitter is responsible for HBO’s technology interests worldwide, overseeing satellite-based distribution, origination, production operations and engineering. Zitter’s career has included spearheading the introduction of digital compression technology, the development and launch of HBO HD and HBO On Demand and the founding of HBO’s businesses in Latin America, Asia and Europe. "There are very few names that come to mind who have had as significant an impact on our industry as Bob Zitter,” said HBO president and COO Eric Kessler. "His accomplishments and innovation have helped transform not just the business at HBO but the entire landscape.” Zitter was inducted into The Cable Television Hall of Fame in 2006 and is a recipient of the NCTA’s Vanguard Award for his leadership in science and technology. He also served on the FCC’s Technology Advisory Committee and as a director of the North American Broadcasters Association.

Susan Irwin, President, Euroconsult US. Susan Irwin, one of the original founders and directors of SSPI, has more than 30 years experience researching and analyzing industry trends and developments on the use of satellite communications for voice, video and data. She is responsible for business development and management of Euroconsult’s U.S. business. For 25 years, she headed her own consulting firm, Irwin Communications, contributing her expertise in satellite markets and applications to start-ups, government agencies, NGO’s and private corporations worldwide. She was a pioneer of satellite distance learning, teleconferencing and business television and has been a key contributor to the commercial advancement of innovations such as DTH, digital compression and satellite broadband. Susan is widely published and a frequent speaker at conferences throughout the world. She has been Conference Chair of SATCON since its inception in 2001; Director Emeritus of the SSPI; Director Emeritus of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, on the Board of Governors of the Pacific Telecommunications Council, and was recently elected Vice President, International, of the American Astronautical Society.

Prof. U. R. Rao, Chairman, the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad. Prof. U. R. Rao is an internationally renowned space scientist who has contributed to the development of space technology in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources since starting his career in 1960. More than any other single individual, Professor Rao is responsible for the creation of India’s space and satellite capabilities and their application to the nation’s development. As head of the Indian Space Research Organization, Prof. Rao undertook the responsibility for the establishment of satellite technology in India in 1972. Under his guidance, beginning with the first Indian satellite 'Aryabhata' in 1975, over 20 satellites were designed, fabricated and launched. Rao also accelerated the development of rocket technology in India, resulting in the successful launch of ASLV rocket in 1992 and the operational PSLV launch vehicle. He has tirelessly promoted the use of space technology for broadcasting, education, meteorology, remote sensing and disaster warning. Rao, who has published over 360 scientific and technical papers in various journals, has received many honors and awards, including the Padma Bhushan Award, a very high civilian award of the Government of India.

Dick Tauber, VP Transmission Systems & New Technology for the CNN News Group. Dick Tauber, a former member of the SSPI Board of Directors, is the current President of the Board of Directors of the Southeast Chapter of SSPI, which he helped found in 2005. He has worked at CNN since 1981, when he joined the company as a satellite trainee. As the satellite technology leader for a global newsgathering and distribution business, he has implemented technologies and solutions that allow this organization to gather its content from any place on the planet, any time a news story unfolds. He has also been the Chair of WBU-ISOG since 1985. More recently, Dick has also served as Co-Chair of The Radio Frequency Interference - End Users Initiative (RFI - EUI), an organization that seeks to mitigate the risks of satellite interference and develop quality assurance practices that programmers and distributors require for the collection and distribution of their content. Tauber has received three Emmy Awards for his work at CNN - 1986 for his part in Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s Goodwill Games, in 2002 honoring CNN’s coverage of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and a Technical Emmy in 2007 for CNN’s mobile, IP newsgathering system.

The Hall of Fame was introduced in 1987 to recognize the valuable contributions of the visionaries and pioneers who have made possible the age of satellite communications — individuals who have devoted their careers to the advancement of technology and to helping build the political and commercial foundations of the industry.

Ceremony at Gala 2013

The Hall of Fame Ceremony will open the 2013 Gala dinner on March 19 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington DC. Hall of Fame members are selected by a committee of industry leaders, chaired by Richard Wolf, Senior Vice President, Telecommunications & Network Origination Services for ABC Television, and past Chairman of SSPI.

About SSPI The Society of Satellite Professionals International (www.sspi.org) is a nonprofit member-benefit society that serves satellite professionals throughout their working lives. With chapters in the Americas, Europe and Asia, SSPI works to attract new talent to the industry, helps satellite professionals advance in their careers, works to increase the professional standing of members and honors extraordinary achievement by satellite professionals and the companies they work for.

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Univision Joins NABA


January 22, 2013 / TORONTO, Canada - We are pleased to welcome Univision Communications Inc. as a new Full Member of the North American Broadcasters Association. Univision joins with many other North American national broadcasters, regional networks and specialty service broadcasters who are NABA members in defining, debating and suggesting solutions to the myriad of issues and challenges broadcasters face both here in North America and around the world. Univision is already playing an active role with NABA’s various Committees and Working Groups, particularly those looking at the next generation of television, content and rights protection, work flow and multi-platform delivery, where Univision has a great deal of expertise. The NABA Board of Directors enthusiastically welcomes this membership.

“I am very pleased to welcome our colleagues from Univision. Their experience and expertise strengthens NABA's ability to identify issues and provide solutions and practices which enhance our member's efficiency, quality and relevance to their markets. Univision’s participation strengthens NABA's voice on broadcasting issues faced by all North American broadcasters and further on to global forums and institutions. Along with our members from Mexico (Televisa and TV Azteca) Univision brings a unique perspective on serving Spanish speaking markets both in their domestic market and around the world. I look forward to their involvement in all aspects of our work.”

-Michael McEwen, Director General, NABA.

Again, a big welcome to Univision from the NABA family!

About Univision:

As the leading media company connecting Hispanic America to the content it loves Univision has been dedicated to the mission to Inform, Entertain and Empower Hispanic America. Now more than ever, Univision delivers the content Hispanic America craves, from news to novelas, from sports to reality shows, across television, radio, digital and mobile.

In recent years, Univision has grown exponentially with the launch of Univision Deportes Network, a 24/7 sports network, Univision telenovelas, a network dedicated to broadcasting the all-time best novelas, and ForoTV, a 24-hour cable network dedicated to news. Leaders in providing content Hispanics crave, ABC News and Univision News also recently announced an unprecedented multiplatform joint venture dedicated to informing, empowering and inspiring Hispanic Americans in English.

Read more: http://corporate.univision.com/corporate/#ixzz2Id46gfkY

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NABA Remembers Preston Davis, Former ABC Executive


Preston Davis Passes Away at Age 63

Dear NABA Member,

It was a shock today to learn of the passing of Preston Davis, a man many of us have known and respected for years. His contributions to, and leadership of, our industry were both a legend and an example to us all. As a friend, mentor, and colleague he will be missed by us all, but his accomplishments live on at Disney|ABC and throughout our industry. In an earlier email Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks and President Disney|ABC Television Group paid tribute to her former colleague:

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I am very sad to report that Preston Davis, our wonderful, retired president of Broadcast Operations & Engineering for ABC, passed away yesterday. Our thoughts are with his wife Michelle and their children, Ashley and Preston III, and I hope they know how very much Preston will be missed by his ABC family, too.

For 35 years at ABC, Preston was a mentor and an advisor, to so many of us, but most importantly, a dear friend. Preston led by example, and was the true definition of integrity.

In 1993, Bob Iger promoted Preston to lead ABC’s Broadcast Operations & Engineering, making him the first African American president of any ABC/Cap Cities division in the history of the company. Bob asked that I express his condolences and share with you how he will remember Preston. “Preston and I started at ABC around the same time. He was a talented and tenacious leader who earned wide respect for his abilities, and was revered for his impeccable integrity. When I had to choose someone to lead BO&E into the future, there was no question Preston was the right person, and he led that team to great achievements for the better part of two decades. Preston was a class act and a great guy who had a tremendous impact on everyone who knew him.”

Preston joined ABC in 1976, beginning as an engineer in Washington, DC, and subsequently moving into various positions of increasing responsibility involving field and studio operations in Washington, Atlanta and New York. In 1988, he was promoted to Vice President, Television Operations, East Coast, where he directed the efforts of studio and field operations, electronic news gathering, telecommunications and the RF Operations & Engineering Group. In 1993, he was named President of ABC’s Broadcast Operations & Engineering Group, and retired from that post in 2011.

Preston served in the U.S. Army as a specialist in communications technology and was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He sat on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Minority Interests in Media, Inc., which provides programs for bringing talented minority youth into the communications industry. He also served on the Board of Junior Achievement of New York, was a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Museum Of Television and Radio, and served as a member of the President's Council of Cooper Union College of Science & Art.

We will pass along any details that the family shares with us regarding services.

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Sad news, indeed and I know you join me in extending our deepest sympathies to Preston’s family.

-Michael McEwen, Director General, NABA.

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Glenn Reitmeier Elected ATSC Chairman of ATSC Board for 2013


NBCU tech chief will lead industry organization

CARMEL, IND. -- The board of directors of the Advanced Television Systems Committee has elected Glenn Reitmeier to serve as the Chairman of the ATSC Board for 2013, it was announced Wednesday.

Reitmeier is senior vice president of Advanced Technology at NBCUniversal, leading the company's technical efforts related to industry standards, government policy, advanced engineering and anti-piracy technical operations.

Reitmeier is widely recognized as a pioneer of digital television. He spent 25 years in digital video research at Sarnoff Labs, where he led the development of one of the original digital HDTV system proposals.

He played a leading role in the formation of the Digital HDTV Grand Alliance and the development of its best-of-the-best system that culminated in the ATSC Digital Television standard. Since joining NBC in 2002, Reitmeier was involved in the creation of NBC's first high-definition cable channel, Universal-HD, launching DTV multicast programming, the creation of mobile broadcasting and the Dyle joint venture, and the distribution of NBCUniversal content to new digital consumer devices.

“Glenn has been a key contributor to the ATSC for many years and a great leader of strategic planning efforts for the organization,” said Mark Richer, ATSC president. “We’re pleased to welcome him back as the board’s chairman. ”

Reitmeier previously served on the ATSC board of directors from 2004-09 and as its chairman from 2006-09. He is also a board member of the North American Broadcasters Association, a contributor to TV Everywhere standards as president of the Open Authentication Technology Committee and a contributor to the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem work on the UltraViolet digital ecosystem.

He is a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and is a recipient of the Society ’ s Progress Medal and the Leitch Gold Medal. In 2012, he received the National Association of Broadcasters Television Engineering Award for lifetime achievement. He is also a charter member of the (Consumer Electronics Association ’ s Academy of Digital Television Pioneers and received Broadcasting & Cable Magazine ’ s coveted Technology Leadership Award. He holds more than 50 patents in digital video technology and is recognized in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.

ATSC board members for 2013 are: Mark Eyer of Sony Electronics; Richard Friedel of Fox; Kevin Gage, NAB; Ira Goldstone, Univision: Brett Jenkins, LIN Media; Jim Kutzner, PBS; Brian Markwalter, CEA; Sam Matheny, Capitol Broadcasting/WRAL; Glenn Reitmeier, NBC Universal; Andy Scott, NCTA; Robert Seidel, CBS; Dave Siegler, COX Media Group; Peter Symes of SMPTE; John Taylor of LG Electronics USA; and Yiyan Wu of the IEEE.

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Rogers Broadcast Joins NABA


January 23, 2013 / TORONTO, Canada - We are pleased to welcome Rogers Broadcast as a new Associate Member of the North American Broadcasters Association. Rogers Broadcast joins with many other North American national broadcasters, regional networks and specialty service broadcasters who are NABA members in defining, debating and suggesting solutions to the myriad of issues and challenges broadcasters face both here in North America and around the world. Rogers Broadcast looks forward to playing an active role with NABA’s various Committees and Working Groups, particularly those looking at the next generation of television, work flow and multi-platform delivery, where Rogers has a great deal of expertise in Canada. The NABA Board of Directors enthusiastically welcomes this membership.

“I am very pleased to welcome our colleagues from Rogers Broadcast. Rogers’ participation strengthens Canada's voice on broadcasting issues faced by all North American broadcasters and further on to global forums and institutions. Rogers will initially focus on technical and operational areas of NABA’s work and I look forward to their innovative approach and a fresh point of view to the important challenges the broadcast community faces.”

-Michael McEwen, Director General, NABA.

Again, a big welcome to Rogers Broadcast from the NABA family!

About Rogers Broadcast:

Rogers Broadcast is a division of Rogers Communications who are a diversified Canadian communications and media company. They are Canada's largest provider of wireless voice and data communications services and one of Canada's leading providers of cable television, high speed internet and telephony services. Through Rogers Broadcast they are also engaged fully in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines and trade publications, sports entertainment, and digital media. For further information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit www.rogers.com.

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DOLBY Joins NABA


January 23, 2013 / TORONTO, Canada - NABA is pleased to welcome Dolby Laboratories Inc. as an Affiliate Member. Dolby joins many other service providers and vendors who are involved in the business of broadcasting and have a direct interest in many of the items in the NABA Work Plan via NABA’s Committees and Working Groups. Dolby also looks forward to playing an active role in the WBU’s International Satellite Operations Group (WBU-ISOG).

The NABA Board of Directors enthusiastically welcomes this membership.

“In joining NABA, Dolby brings to the discussion a worldwide recognition as a leader of audio/video standards and products and their delivery and distribution. Their work with broadcasters and the entertainment industry makes their experience and advice most welcome. Support for the work of our Association and comments on the issues of the day are always welcome from our Affiliate members and I’m very pleased that Dolby has added their voice. Welcome!

-Michael McEwen, Director General, NABA.

Again, a big welcome to DOLBY from the NABA family!

About DOLBY:

Dolby Laboratories (NYSE:DLB) is the global leader in technologies that are essential elements in the best entertainment experiences. Founded in 1965 and best known for high-quality audio and surround sound in environments from the cinema to the living room to mobile devices, Dolby creates innovations that enrich entertainment at the movies, at home, or on the go. For more information about Dolby Laboratories or Dolby®technologies, please visit www.dolby.com

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NAB Elevates its Membership in NABA


January 23, 2013 / TORONTO, Canada - We are pleased to announced that the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has elevated its membership in the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) to an Associate Member. NAB will continue to work at an enhanced level with many other North American national broadcasters, regional networks and specialty service broadcasters who are NABA members in defining, debating and suggesting solutions to the myriad of issues and challenges broadcasters face both here in North America and around the world.

The NABA Board of Directors enthusiastically welcomes this elevated membership.

“I am very pleased to welcome a strengthened role for NAB within NABA. Their experience and expertise enhances NABA's ability to identify issues and provide solutions and practices which benefit our industry as a whole. . As we face the broad challenges of new technologies and shifting policies and regulation, the NAB will play an important role in helping NABA members meet these challenges.

-Michael McEwen, Director General, NABA.

Again, a big welcome to NAB from the NABA family!

About NAB:

The National Association of Broadcasters is a non-profit trade association that advocates on behalf of local radio and television stations and broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and other federal agencies and the courts. Learn more at www.nab.org.

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ATSC Elects Three NABA Board Members to their Board of Directors


Kutzner, Friedel, Goldstone, Matheny, Reitmeier Terms Begin in January

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2012 – Members of the Advanced Television Systems Committee,Inc. (ATSC) have elected four new members of Board of Directors. Ira Goldstone; Univision; Richard Friedel, Fox; Sam Matheny, Capitol Broadcasting/WRAL; and Glenn Reitmeier, NBCUniversal have each been elected to three-year terms, beginning January 2013.

James Kutzner, PBS; was re-elected to serve a second term on the Board of Directors. He will also continue to chair Technology Group 3 (TG3) on the development of ATSC 3.0.

Other current directors whose terms continue in 2013 are: Lynn Claudy, NAB; Mark Eyer, Sony; Brett Jenkins, LIN Media; Brian Markwalter, CEA; Andy Scott, NCTA; Bob Seidel, CBS; Dave Siegler, Cox Media Group; Peter Symes, SMPTE; John Taylor, LG Electronics; and Yiyan Wu, CRC (representing IEEE).

The ATSC thanks retiring board members whose terms expire at the end of 2012: current Chairman John Godfrey, Samsung; Jay Adrick, Harris Broadcast; Tony Caruso, CBC, Craig Todd, Dolby Laboratories; and Wayne Luplow, Zenith (representing IEEE).

Ira Goldstone, Vice President of Engineering for Univision Television group, is a long-time participant in the ATSC and industry digital TV efforts, including previously serving on the Board of Directors. Goldstone is the 2004 recipient of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Engineering Lifetime Achievement, recipient of the Tribune Broadcasting Company’s Onward and Upward award for leadership and implementation of HDTV to the Tribune family of television stations; he also received the 2001 Broadcast & Cable magazine "Technology Leadership Award" for outstanding contributions to TV technology. He is a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and continues to serve on numerous technology-related boards and committees including the NAB Television Engineering Committee, OMVC Technology Advisory Group, and STE. He has also served in various capacities as advisor to Emerson College, including serving on Board of Overseers, supporting the College in development of new facilities and curriculum for students.

Richard Friedel oversees FOX Networks Engineering & Operations, the News Corporation unit responsible for engineering, operations and technology supporting FOX’s national and regional television businesses. He manages the FOX Network Center in Los Angeles, which provides facilities and technical services for FOX Broadcasting Co., FOX Sports, FOX Cable Networks Group, Fox International Channels including MundoFox and the Twentieth Television syndication division. In addition, Friedel is in charge of the Fox Network Center-Houston, home of FOX Sports’ regional networks, as well as providing technical support for their regional production centers. Prior to FOX Networks Engineering & Operations, Friedel was a member of the team that launched FOX News Channel. Before joining FOX, he served in various positions at Capital Cities/ABC, NBC News and several television stations. A graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Friedel is a fellow of the SMPTE and a member of AES, SBE and SCTE. He serves as President of the Video Services Forum, is a member of the IEEE BTS Adcom and is the FOX representative on the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) Board of Directors. Friedel contributes to the ATSC S6, S6-3 and S6-4 working groups.

Glenn Reitmeier is Senior Vice President of Advanced Technology at NBC Universal, leading the company’s technical efforts on industry standards, government policy, commercial agreements, anti-piracy operations and advanced engineering. A former ATSC Chairman, Reitmeier spent 25 years in digital video R&D at Sarnoff Laboratories. Early in his career, he was instrumental in establishing the ITU 601 component digital video standard that is the basis for SDI and HD-SDI. Glenn led the Sarnoff-Thomson-Philips-NBC development of Advanced Digital HDTV, which pioneered the use of MPEG compression, packetized transport, and multiple video formats. He was a key member of the Digital HDTV Grand Alliance, which ultimately lead to establishing the ATSC digital television standard. Reitmeier served as Chairman of the ATSC from 2006-2009. He is President of the Open Authentication Technology Committee, and a NABA Board member. Reitmeier is a Fellow of the SMPTE and is a recipient of the Progress Medal and the Leitch Gold Medal. He is also an inaugural member of CEA’s Academy of Digital Television Pioneers and a recipient of the NAB Television Engineering Award for lifetime achievement. He holds more than 50 patents in digital video technology and is recognized in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is an international, non-profit organization developing voluntary standards for the entire range of advanced television systems. The ATSC member organizations represent the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite, and semiconductor industries.

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Canada's Supreme Court Rules Against Retransmission Fees for Broadcasters


The highest legal bench said the CRTC, the country's TV regulator, has no jurisdiction to order so-called value for signal compensation from cable and satellite TV providers.

TORONTO – Canadian cable and satellite TV operators have won their fight in the Supreme Court of Canada against having to pay out retransmission fees for local TV signals.

The high court on Thursday in a narrow 5-to-4 decision ruled the CRTC, the country’s broadcast regulator, has no jurisdiction to impose a so-called value for signal regime on the broadcast industry.

“The provisions of the Broadcasting Act, considered in their entire context, may not be interpreted as authorizing the CRTC to implement the proposed value for signal regime,” Supreme Court justices McLachlin, LeBel, Fish, Rothstein and Moldaver said in their majority decision.

The win for cable and satellite TV operators marks a reversal from an earlier Federal Court of Appeal ruling that held the CRTC can allow domestic broadcasters to negotiate first-time compensation from carriers for their local TV signals.

The CRTC started the country’s retransmission debate when it referred the issue to the Federal Court of Appeals to secure the right to impose carriage fees for local TV signals.

As in the U.S., Canadian broadcasters have sought first-time compensation from cable and satellite TV operators as they argue their business model can no longer be sustained by advertising revenue alone.

But the Supreme Court, in ruling over-the-air TV should remain free for TV viewers, criticized the CRTC for over-reaching.

“Policy statements are not jurisdiction conferring provisions and cannot serve to extend the powers of the subordinate body to spheres not granted by Parliament,” the high court wrote.

Supreme Court justices Abella, Deschamps, Cromwell and Karakatsanis in a dissenting opinion said the CRTC’s regulatory jurisdiction under the Broadcasting Act did extend to allowing a proposed value-for-signal regime, and that there was no conflict with the federal Copyright Act, as cable and satellite operators argued.

The latest stage in Canada’s retransmission debate follows industry consolidation, which has seen major cable and satellite TV operators like BCE and Shaw Communications now avoid paying for local TV signals to newly-acquired conventional TV networks.

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Supreme Court Nixes 'Fee for Carriage' Broadcast Plan


Canada's highest court has struck down a fee for carriage system that could have seen cable companies required to pay TV stations for their signals, a cost that could have been passed on to consumers.

On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court of Canada weighed in on a long-running dispute between cable companies and private television networks.

Under the current system, cable companies are allowed to pick up private channels' broadcast signals and retransmit them on their networks without having to pay for them.

The networks have argued for years that the current system is unfair, and that they deserve compensation if the cable companies retransmit their signals. They want to implement a system similar to the one seen in the U.S., where networks like NBC, CBS and ABC have been able to offset declining advertising revenues by getting more money from cable providers for giving them content.

For their part, the cable companies say the proposed system amounts to a "TV tax," and that consumers should expect a fee hike of a few dollars per month on their cable bills if they're obligated to comply.

Cable provider Rogers Communications welcomed the ruling, which it said was good for consumers.

"There have been dramatic changes to the industry in Canada since the CRTC first looked at the issue more than two years ago," said Phil Lind, vice-chairman of Rogers Communications.

"We believe that value for signal has no place in today's broadcasting landscape where the major players are enjoying significant profits."

But Bell Media, which owns CTV and 30 specialty TV channels, said it was disappointed. The broadcaster said a fee-for-carriage system would have given local TV stations much needed money at a time when advertising revenue is no longer enough to cover costs.

"Local news, entertainment and other programming distinguishes Canadian broadcasting from everything else on TV," said Mirko Bibic, Bell's chief legal and regulatory officer.

In 2010, Canada's major "over the air" networks went to the CRTC and asked the broadcast regulator to allow them to implement fee for carriage — also known as a "value for signal" system.

Canada's broadcast regulator agreed, but first asked the Federal Court of Appeal if it had the right to do so. That court said it did, but the cable companies appealed that, punting the issue up to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Fee issue may not be over

In Thursday's decision, Canada's highest court overturned that decision.

"The value for signal regime would rewrite the balance between the owners’ and users’ interests as set out by Parliament in the Copyright Act," the court said in its decision. "Because the CRTC’s value for signal regime is inconsistent with the purpose of the Copyright Act, it falls outside of the scope of the CRTC’s licensing and regulatory jurisdiction under the Broadcasting Act."

Effectively, that's the court's way of saying that the issue falls outside the CRTC's mandate.

"The creation of such rights is too far removed from the core purposes intended by Parliament and from the powers granted to the CRTC under that act," the court ruled in the 5-4 decision.

The ruling brings an end to this legal question, but the issue could still be taken up through other means, such as a move by the federal government. So the door is theoretically still open to a system of fee for carriage in future, but the court has decided the CRTC is not the proper agency to do it.

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HBO Names Xbox Co-Founder Berkes CTO


HBO has elevated Otto Berkes, one of the original creators of Microsoft’s Xbox game platform, to the position of chief technology officer to take over the reins from longtime CTO Bob Zitter, who is stepping down from the post in March 2013.

As CTO and executive vice president of technology, Berkes will be responsible for overseeing all technology efforts worldwide, including consumer technology, distribution, origination, production operations, engineering and IT.

Berkes joined HBO in 2011 as senior vice president of digital products, heading up the development of HBO’s consumer technologies, including HBO Go, Max Go and HBO.com. He and his group also formulated the technical strategy for HBO’s consumer technology and advanced software development aimed at delivering the most innovative technology and experiences possible.

“Over the last year, Otto’s experience and functional expertise have helped elevate HBO’s technological agility, enabling us to meet the growing needs of our subscribers in an era of constantly emerging new media platforms,” HBO president and chief operating officer Eric Kessler said in a statement. “Under his leadership, we believe that HBO will remain at the forefront of the industry.”

An 18-year veteran of Microsoft, Berkes held a number of positions at the software giant, including senior software developer, partner-level architect and general manager. He is one of the four original founders of Xbox.

Berkes’ responsibilities at Microsoft included leading the DirectX and OpenGL graphics technology development organizations in Windows, developing mobile architectures and user interfaces in Microsoft Research, and driving advanced development reporting to Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie.

HBO's TV Everywhere service, HBO Go, is available to subscribers via the Xbox 360 as well as other devices, including iPads, iPhones, certain Android smartphones and tablets, Samsung Smart TVs, Amazon.com Kindle Fire tablets and the Roku Internet set-top.

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HBO CTO Zitter to Step Down


Bob Zitter, the technology virtuoso who helped build HBO into a powerhouse cable brand, is retiring after more than 30 years at the premium network.

Zitter, HBO’s executive vice president of technology and chief technology officer, is credited with leading the charge on several industry firsts—including the adoption of satellite distribution, digital video, HD and video-on-demand.

To Zitter, the biggest innovation he’s been involved with over the course of his career is the transition from analog to digital TV.

“There’s been no bigger change in the television industry,” he said in an interview with Multichannel News. “For HBO, it meant we could do multiplex [services], which was important for our business, and digital TV has been a precursor to on-demand and everything that’s followed.”

Zitter, 65, will officially step down as HBO’s CTO on March 31, 2013, and will continue consulting for the company for several months afterward “while my successor gets up to speed.” HBO is expected to name a replacement for Zitter as early as this week; network representatives declined to identify the new CTO.

“Bob is one of very few in any industry where you can legitimately pose the question ‘what would we have done without him?’. His contributions in technology crafted the consumer experience that is taken for granted today,” Richard Plepler, newly named HBO CEO, said in a statement. “He is brilliant, insightful and a gentleman in every sense of the word. We thank him for all he has done and for the amazing team he groomed and leaves to carry the HBO tradition of excellence forward.”

Born in Los Angeles, Zitter moved with his family to East Meadow, N.Y., on Long Island when he was 5 years old. Originally, Zitter was planning to be a medical doctor: He attended Colgate University, studying on a pre-med track and earning a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1968. But he became hooked on electronic media when he managed the school’s radio station and then launched its on-campus television station.

Zitter joined HBO in 1981 as director of network operations. Two years later, he oversaw the rollout of the network’s nationwide satellite scrambling program and acquired the company's satellite capacity. Since then, he has led the launch of HBO’s HD feed, the first national high-definition cable network, in 1999; and the industry’s first subscription VOD service, in 2001. More recently he established the technology underpinnings of the programmer’s TV Everywhere services, HBO Go and MAX Go.

In addition, Zitter was part of the executive team that established HBO’s businesses in Latin America, Asia and Europe.

Zitter is the recipient of several industry honors, including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Vanguard Award for leadership in science and technology in 2004, and was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2008. Zitter said he’s actually taken more personal satisfaction when members of his staff are recognized in the industry.

“I feel proud I’ve been able to assemble a great team at HBO and what this team has been able to accomplish,” he said.

Before joining HBO, Zitter worked for Schurz Communications, where he ran the company’s cable system in Hagerstown, Md., before heading its electronic media operations. Prior to that, he supervised network operations for ABC in New York, where his first job was typing the network schedule for $85 a week.

He currently serves on the FCC’s Technology Advisory Council and is a director of the North American Broadcasters Association, duties he expects to relinquish next year. Zitter also is president of the board of the Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford, Conn.

“When you love what you do and you love the people you do it with… It’s been very difficult for me to figure out, ‘Well, when do I want to stop?’” Zitter said. “It’s best to do it when you’re at the top of your game.”

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Sirius FM-4 Broadcasting Satellite Donated to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum


One of the first satp>ellites designed to provide space-based digital radio service to consumers in the United States and Canada was donated by SiriusXM Radio and Space Systems/Loral to the Smithsonian today. The Sirius FM-4 broadcasting satellite was built as a flight-ready back-up for a constellation of three satellites developed by SiriusXM and manufactured by Space Systems/Loral. The FM-4 satellite will be on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar of the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

"The availability of a flight unit like Sirius FM-4, which was never launched, is extremely rare and will be a significant addition to the museum’s collection," said Martin Collins, space history curator. "Whether experienced in our cars or homes, the remarkable innovations offered by satellite services are often taken for granted—one indicator of how the space age has changed our lives."

"We are honored that our FM-4 satellite will help the National Air and Space Museum tell the story of modern satellite communications and its powerful impact on everyday life," said Robert Briskman, SiriusXM co-founder and technical executive. "Satellite radio now takes its place as one of the great innovations of our time to inspire the next generation of broadcasters."

"Rob Briskman’s concept of three satellites in a Highly Inclined Elliptical Orbit was an extremely inventive solution for providing programming to millions of listeners," said John Celli, president of Space Systems/Loral. "It is an honor to participate in the donation of the original spare satellite, which we are pleased to say was never needed to assure continuous service."

Historically communications satellites have been the space-based application most robustly developed and integrated into day-to-day life. A field that at first consisted mostly of government-related programs began shifting in the mid-1970s to private industry. By the end of the Cold War, this move toward private activity and the provision of satellite service directly to individuals accelerated and has become a defining feature of the satellite business. SiriusXM was part of this development, providing digital satellite radio service to individuals. For a century, radio was mostly a local medium, defined by the limited reach of ground-based transmission towers. Using space-based technology, SiriusXM has greatly expanded the scale and reach of commercial radio to cover most of the North American continent.

The National Air and Space Museum is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25).

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Extraordinary IBC 2012 Gathering Yields Unprecedented Standards Collaboration Across Media Ecosystem, Speeds Key IP-Related Initiatives


AMWA, EBU, IEEE BTS, NABA, SMPTE, VSF and WBU organizations pledge to meet regularly, coordinate efforts, and accelerate foundational FIMS and MXF standards development

White Plains, NY, 5 October 2012 – As the use of Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks for real-time workflows accelerates, the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE), the worldwide leader in motion-imaging standards and education for the media, entertainment, communications, and technology industries, the European Broadcast Union (EBU) and the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) are intensifying their collaboration with other industry organizations to coordinate efforts and to simplify an increasingly complex – and interconnected – digital landscape.

The effort already has accelerated two key initiatives with cross-industry application: the Framework for Interoperable Media Services (FIMS) and the Materials eXchange Format (MXF). That acceleration was the outcome of an extraordinary meeting held at the IBC 2012 where executives representing the Society, EBU, AMWA, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Broadcast Technology Society (IEEE BTS), North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), Video Services Forum (VSF), and World Broadcasting Unions (WBU).

This is a who’s who of leading broadcast organizations focused on one thing: coordinating our standardization efforts as critical shifts and evolutions emerge across all sectors of the motion-imaging industry,” said Brad Gilmer, AMWA executive director. “I’m pleased to say that we’re already making advances on two key efforts – FIMS and MXF.”

“Just as important as working together, these groups are also committed to creating educational opportunities for the next generation of talent who will provide leadership across the digital media ecosystem,” said Hans Hoffmann, head of the unit on Media Fundamentals and Production Technology in the EBU Technology and Development department and SMPTE vice president of standards.

Leaders of Industry Organizations Praise Effort

Leaders representing media enterprises and industry organizations spanning the digital media ecosystem praised the joint meeting convened during IBC 2012 – and also emphasized the critical role of collaboration in accelerating globally compatible standards and ensuring industry health.

“VSF's contributions to the SMPTE 2022 video transport standard shows the value of collaboration between industry organizations and standards bodies,” said Richard Friedel, president of the VSF and executive vice president and general manager, Fox Networks Engineering and Operations. “VSF fully supports the coordination of industry efforts as the media business continues its move into a connected IP-based world.” IEEE and WBU leadership also praised the proactive effort between the different associations following the IBC gathering to accelerate their collaborative efforts.

"The global distribution of content has long demonstrated the inherent weakness in incompatible standards. Digital technology provides the opportunity to eliminate many of these,” said William Meintel, president of the IEEE BTS. “Meetings like the one held at IBC this year help to establish the relationships, share knowledge, and encourage collaboration necessary to reach consensus and create globally compatible content and standards."

"Cooperation between broadcasters, technologists and standard setting bodies has never been more important. Education, defining requirements and speaking with a common voice will help us all adapt and thrive. We are pleased to be a part of this cooperative initiative,” said Robert Plummer, vice chair of the WBU and NABA technical committees.

FIMS: Moving Toward Cross-industry Standardization

The concept of FIMS is straightforward: as digital tools become more widely used in broadcast, production, post production and archiving, broadcasters need to ensure that they can communicate easily while avoiding unnecessary tasks and redundant operations.

The FIMS specification was initiated as a joint project between the AMWA and the EBU and supports content stored as files transmitted around IP networks. At IBC 2012, FIMS was approved as an EBU Technical Document and an AMWA specification. Both organizations then announced that they will jointly submit the work to the SMPTE as a Registered Disclosure Document (RDD) as a step toward standardizing the FIMS specification. SMPTE will begin its review of the document in October 2012 and expects the process to take about six months.

MXF for Versioning (AS-02)

MXF, like FIMS, takes aim at interoperability but from the content side. Often described as a wrapper it allows, among other things, a file to be passed among multiple video editors without an operator having to worry about the format in which the file was originally created. It is the result of a collaborative effort between manufacturers and industry, standards organizations, including the Pro-MPEG Forum, the EBU, and the AAF (Advanced Authoring Format) Association (now the AMWA).

As new digital devices and formats continue to proliferate, there is a need for MXF to keep pace. Thus the new MXF for Versioning specification (AS-02) helps overcome issues associated with the lack of a common file format – particularly issues related to codecs and essence – in facilities that need to handle many input formats and create multiple output formats.

At IBC 2012, the AMWA agreed to submit its work on MXF for Versioning (AS-02) to SMPTE as an RDD.

For more standards updates, read the September issue of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, available in the SMPTE digital library at http://library.smpte.org

Updates on SMPTE Standards: 2012 SMPTE Annual Technical Conference

More updates about standards, as well as foundational technology initiatives across the broadband, broadcast, and cinema industries, will be shared at the 2012 SMPTE Annual Technical Conference, which takes place 23 – 25 October in Hollywood, CA., USA. A special pre-conference symposium – High Frame Rates for Digital Cinema – will take place on 22 October. Registration and program information are available at www.smpte2012.org.

As the premier event for motion-imaging industry, the annual SMPTE conference enables technical and high-level business professionals hear from and engage with academic, engineering, executive, and standards thought leaders across the broadcast, cinema, and IT industries.

The SMPTE Annual Technical Conference lives up to this standard, with scheduled presentations from the BBC, Belden, Cisco, Dolby Laboratories, Ericsson, FUJIFILM, Harmonic, Harris, HBO, IBM, Microsoft, NHK, NVIDIA, Motorola Mobility, Qualcomm, Snell, Skywalker Sound, Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Technicolor, and Verizon. Also participating will be leading vision-science researchers from around the world – as well as representatives from the EBU and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

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Shaw Communications Joins NABA


September 1, 2012 / TORONTO, Ontario - We are pleased to welcome Shaw Communications Inc. as an Associate Member of NABA. Shaw Communications joins many other North American national broadcasters, regional networks and specialty service broadcasters in NABA who are in the media business and will participate and add insight to many of the items in the NABA work plan, including the sharing of best practices, which is a part of NABA’s collective agenda. Shaw Communications looks forward to playing an active role with NABA’s various Committees, particularly the Technical Committee, and involvement with the WBU’s International Satellite Operations Group (WBU-ISOG). The NABA Board of Directors enthusiastically welcomes their membership.

“I am very pleased to welcome our colleagues from Shaw Communications. Their experience and expertise strengthens NABA's ability to identify issues and provide solutions and practices which enhance our member's efficiency, quality and relevance to their markets. Shaw's participation strengthens Canada's voice on broadcasting issues faced by all North American broadcasters and further on to global forums and institutions. I look forward to their involvement in all aspects of our work.” -Michael McEwen, Director General, NABA.

Calgary-based, Shaw Communications includes: Shaw Media; Shaw Cable, Canada’s largest cable company; and Shaw Direct, providing satellite direct-to-home service. Shaw Media properties include both conventional and specialty television. Global Television is one of Canada’s largest private television networks with eleven local television stations across Canada and offers a mix of hit entertainment programming and international and local news. Shaw Media also operates 19 of Canada’s most popular specialty channels including: History; HGTV Canada; Food Network Canada; National Geographic Channel; Lifetime; and Showcase. Further information can be found at: www.shawmedia.ca.

Again, a big welcome to Shaw Communications from the NABA family!

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ViaSat Joins NABA


May 1, 2012 / TORONTO, Ontario - We are pleased to welcome ViaSat Inc. as an Affiliate Member of NABA. ViaSat joins many other service providers and vendors who are involved in the business of broadcasting and have a direct interest in many of the items in the NABA work plan. ViaSat also looks forward to playing an active role with the WBU’s International Satellite Operations Group (ISOG). The NABA Board of Directors welcomes their membership.

“In joining NABA, ViaSat brings expertise in delivery and distribution to our discussions both within NABA and at the WBU-ISOG Committee. Support for the work of our Association and advice on the issues of the day are always welcome from our affiliate members and I’m very pleased that ViaSat has added their voice. Welcome!” -Michael McEwen, Director General, NABA

For those not aware, ViaSat delivers fast, secure communications, Internet, and network access to virtually any location for consumers, governments, enterprise, and the military. The company offers fixed and mobile satellite network services including ExedeSM by ViaSat, which features ViaSat-1, the world’s highest capacity satellite. Further information can be found at: www.viasat.com

Again, a big welcome to ViaSat from the NABA family!

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Glenn Reitmeier wins Television Engineering Achievement Award at NAB


April 18, 2012 / LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Please click on the link below to view a news release acknowledging Glenn Reitmeier of NBCU on his Television Engineering Achievement Award that he received today during a Technology Luncheon at the NAB Convention in Las Vegas.

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Robert Briskman inducted into the CE Hall of Fame


April 9, 2012 / NEW YORK, New York - Please view the link below to access a letter from the Consumer Electronics Association congratulating NABA's own President, Robert Briskman on his induction into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.

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Michael McEwen Appointed NABA's Director General


March 20, 2012 / TORONTO, Ontario - Today in New York on behalf of the Board of Directors of the North American Broadcasters Association the NABA President, Robert Briskman, announced the appointment of Michael McEwen as its Director General.

Briskman noted McEwen’s broadcast experience including a distinguished career with CBC/Radio-Canada both in production and in the executive offices, a long association with NABA as a past Director, President and Secretary General and an innovator in implementing new technologies such as the introduction of Digital HD Television in Canada. “Michael brings to NABA a depth of broadcast experience and understanding of the industry at a time our members are challenged by change in our markets, services, technologies and regulations. We look to him to use that experience and consensus making skills to help our members come to unified positions on the issues of the day and to take actions beneficial to our industry.”

Over the past six years McEwen has been a Director and since 2010 the Chairman of the UK based Media Asset Capital, a consultancy for the industry. In resigning that role and taking up his new duties with NABA, McEwen welcomed “the opportunity and privilege to again work with NABA members in developing broadcast leadership on the major industry questions which members are dealing with both in North America and around the world.”

McEwen will begin his duties on March 26th and have a brief transition period with the retiring Secretary General, John Harding. The Board of Directors thanked John for his professional and tireless work as Secretary General of NABA. They also acknowledged the leadership role he played as Head of the World Broadcasting Unions on behalf of the seven member Unions including NABA. The Board wished him continued success and every good wish in his future endeavours.

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Robert Briskman to serve as NABA President


February 2, 2012 / TORONTO, Ontario - The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is pleased to announce that Sirius XM Radio Inc.’s Technical Executive, Robert D. Briskman, has been elected unanimously to serve as NABA’s new President, succeeding Leonardo Ramos of Televisa. His two-year term will begin at the NABA Annual General Meeting on February 29, 2012.

NABA’s Board of Directors is confident that Mr. Briskman’s passion, vision and guidance will provide the Association with leadership at this time of industry change. As a longstanding member of the NABA Board of Directors and Executive, Mr. Briskman has developed a great appreciation for the rapid pace of innovation and commitment in this collaborative forum.

Robert Briskman has been with SiriusXM since the founding in 1991 as Satellite CD Radio Inc. As the technical innovator of mobile satellite radio services, he was responsible for the original development, implementation and operation of the SiriusXM broadcast distribution system. He previously was a founding member of COMSAT and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Mr. Briskman is also a Fellow of both the IEEE and AIAA and has been inducted into three Halls of Fame.

Re-elected as NABA Vice-Presidents were Michael Starling, Executive Director & CTO, National Public Radio (NPR) Labs and Robert Winteringham, Deputy General Counsel, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Michael Starling is responsible for spearheading new public service technology initiatives on behalf of NPR and has worked in both private and public service broadcasting. Mr. Starling also serves as Chair of NABA’s Technical Committee. Robert Winteringham joined CPB in 1997 and has previously held positions at a variety of communications, law and advertising firms. Mr. Winteringham also serves as Chair of NABA’s Legal Committee.

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Vassilios Mimis to be NABA's ITU-R Representative


September 6, 2011 / TORONTO, Canada - The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is pleased to announce that Vassilios Mimis, the association’s Director of Technology, will serve as NABA’s Head of Delegation, leading its international activities at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland. This follows a recent NABA Board of Directors’ decision.

The ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). Its responsibilities include global radio spectrum and satellite orbit allocation, the development of technical standards that ensure networks and technologies interconnect seamlessly, and improving access to ICTs by underserved communities worldwide.

Mr. Mimis’ depth of ITU experience and technology knowledge will serve the association well at this time of great international industry change.

NABA is a member of ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R).

ABOUT NABA

NABA is a non-profit association of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada, work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

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For more information, contact Jason Paris (+1-416-598-9877 / jparis@nabanet.com)

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Vassilios Mimis Appointed as NABA's Director of Technology


June 10, 2010 / TORONTO, Canada - The North American Broadcasters Association’s (NABA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Vassilios Mimis as its Director of Technology. Mr. Mimis’ depth of technology knowledge and the international issues facing broadcasting will serve the association well at a time of great industry change.

Speaking on the new appointment, Leonardo Ramos, Director of Technology Televisa and President of NABA said “Broadcast technology developments present unique opportunities and challenges to our business models. In this rapidly changing environment, Vassilios is uniquely qualified to serve the needs of broadcasters and assist NABA members in the introduction of new radio and television services, and in protecting existing facilities and broadcasting spectrum.”

Recently, Mr. Mimis served as Director of Broadcast Technical Policy and Planning with the Canadian Department of Industry. During his 30 year career, Mr. Mimis has acquired in-depth experience in broadcasting and satellite technology and international regulatory and spectrum issues while consistently exceeding goals. Mr. Mimis lives in Ottawa with his family and he holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ottawa.

ABOUT NABA

NABA is a non-profit association of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada, work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

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For more information, contact Jason Paris (+1-416-598-9877 / jparis@nabanet.com)

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Leonardo Ramos to Serve 2nd Term as NABA President


March 1, 2010 / TORONTO, Canada - The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is pleased to announce that Grupo Televisa’s Director of High Technology Projects, Leonardo Ramos Mateos has been elected to serve a second term as NABA’s President. NABA’s Board of Directors is confident that Mr. Ramos’ passion, vision and leadership will provide the Association with stable leadership at this time of industry change. As a longstanding member of the NABA Board of Directors and Executive, Mr. Ramos has developed a great appreciation for the rapid pace of innovation and commitment at work in this collaborative forum.

Also elected as Vice Presidents were Michael Starling, Executive Director & CTO, National Public Radio (NPR) Labs and Robert Winteringham, Deputy General Counsel, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

In addition to the Executive above NABA also elected the following members to the Board of Directors at their Annual General Meeting held at HBO in New York City on February 25th.

Those additional Board members include:

  • Dany Harrison, General Manger, Technical Production, CBC/Radio Canada
  • Joe Flaherty, Sr. VP, Technology, CBS
  • Hanno Basse, Vice President, Broadcast Systems Engineering, DIRECTV Inc.
  • Andy Setos, President, Engineering, Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.
  • Bob Zitter, Executive VP & CTO, Technology & Operations, HBO
  • Glenn Reitmeier, VP, Technology Standards, Policy & Strategy, NBC Universal
  • Robert Briskman, Technical Executive, Sirius XM Radio Inc.
  • Sergio Sarmiento, VP, Editorial Committee / Editor-in-Chief, TV Azteca
  • John Harding, Secretary General, NABA (ex officio)

ABOUT NABA

NABA is a non-profit association of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada, work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

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For more information, contact Jason Paris (+1-416-598-9877 / jparis@nabanet.com)

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John Harding Appointed NABA's Secretary General


March 1, 2010 / TORONTO, Canada - At the recent North American Broadcasters Association’s (NABA) Annual General Meeting, John Harding was appointed the new Secretary General of the organization. Mr. Harding has been serving as NABA’s Executive Director since August 2008 where he has applied a unique set of skills, depth of knowledge and organizational leadership that has served the Association well during a time of great industry change.

Speaking on the new appointment, Leonardo Ramos, Director of High Technology Televisa and President of NABA said "the NABA Board of Directors is very pleased with this appointment of Mr. Harding as Secretary General. It recognizes the many contributions he has made over the past 18 months to the Association, and our confidence that he will continue to make an impact in his new and important position.” Mr. Ramos continued "Mr. Harding is a respected thoughtful leader recognized for driving consensus, building relationships and managing change in rapidly shifting environments."

Prior to his involvement with NABA, Mr. Harding served in the broadcast industry as President of the Radio Marketing Bureau and before that as Executive Vice President of the Institute of Communications & Advertising.

Mr. Harding will continue to work out of NABA’s headquarters in Toronto.

ABOUT NABA

NABA is a non-profit association of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada, work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

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For more information, contact Jason Paris (+1-416-598-9877 / jparis@nabanet.com)

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Kevin Klose Receives 2009 NABA International Achievement Award


May 28, 2009 / TORONTO, Canada - Kevin Klose will be honoured by the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the broadcasting industry at a luncheon during its Conference & Annual General Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Thursday June 4, 2009.

The NABA International Achievement Award is presented annually and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in broadcasting and commitment to the organization’s goals and principles.

A former editor, and national and foreign correspondent with The Washington Post, Klose is an award-winning author and international broadcasting executive. Prior to joining NPR in December 1998, Klose served successively as Director of U.S. International Broadcasting, overseeing the U.S. Government's global radio and television news services (1997-98); and President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), broadcasting to Central Europe and the former Soviet Union (1994-97). Klose first joined RFE/RL in 1992 as Director of Radio Liberty, broadcasting to the former Soviet Union in its national languages.

Under Klose, NPR became the United State’s premier non-profit source of fact-based, contextual journalism for radio, the internet, cell phone, and satellite delivery systems. NPR’s national radio audience doubled from 13 million weekly listeners in 1998 to 26 million weekly listeners today, a growth rate unmatched by any U.S. broadcast or cable network.

Klose is also the author of Russia and the Russians: Inside the Closed Society, winner of the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award; and co-author of four other books. Since April of this year, Klose has assumed the position of Dean of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Mr. Klose’s focus on the value of international broadcasting news and information has been in the best tradition of NABA, whose mission is to promote the interests of North American Broadcasters internationally through cooperation and coordination with the world’s broadcasters as well as international regulatory and policy bodies.

The 2009 NABA Conference & Annual General Meeting (AGM) being held in Washington, DC from June 3-5th, and provides an excellent forum to recognize Mr. Klose’s many accomplishments as broadcast industry leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States gather for this important conference. The award will be presented during the International Achievement Award Luncheon on June 4th from 12:30 – 14:30 EDT at the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel.

About NABA

NABA is a non-profit union of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues o an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

NABA’s members represent some of the most successful broadcasters in North America. Public and private network broadcasters in the United States, Mexico and Canada working together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community.

# # #

For further information, contact Jason Paris (+1-416-598-9877 / jparis@nabanet.com)

For more information on the 2009 NABA Conference & AGM, please visit www.nabanet.com.

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Super Hi-vision on Show at WBU-ISOG


The ABU President, Yoshinori Imai, addresses WBU-ISOG participants at an NHK reception.

The ABU President, Yoshinori Imai, addresses WBU-ISOG participants at an NHK reception. Photo by Alan Williams (Asiavision, ABU).

Tokyo, JAPAN (May 15, 2009) – The latest high-definition technologies were on show when broadcasters, satellite operators and service providers from around the world met in Tokyo in May.

Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, hosted the meeting of the World Broadcasting Unions International Satellite Operations Group (WBU-ISOG) on 13-15 May. It brought together nearly 100 people.

The meeting focused on the latest in newsgathering technologies. It included a visit to NHK’s Science and Technical Research Laboratories for a look at Super Hi-vision, an experimental digital video format under development by NHK.

With 4,000 scanning lines, the format offers large, wide-screen images that make viewers feel as if they were at the broadcast site.

Participants visit NHK’s Science and Technical Research Laboratories.

Participants visit NHK’s Science and Technical Research Laboratories. Photo by Alan Williams (Asiavision, ABU).

The meeting also looked at the challenges facing broadcasters in the digital age, including the problem of interference to their satellite signals. WBU-ISOG’s Chairman, Dick Tauber of CNN, said the problem was continuing to get worse.

“In a digital world, it doesn’t take much to mess up your signal,” he said. “Broadcasters need to act in unison on this. We need to keep doing what we can.”

Participants heard that causes of satellite inference included Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) systems, poor equipment standards, improper installation and a lack of incident coordination.

Representatives of major satellite companies Intelsat and SES said they were working together to fight the problem. Patty Constantino of Intelsat said it was important for the industry as a whole – satellite operators, their customers and broadcasters – to join the fight.

NHK staff with the broadcaster’s latest satellite newsgathering vehicle.

NHK staff with the broadcaster’s latest satellite newsgathering vehicle. Photo by Alan Williams (Asiavision, ABU).

Among the steps needed to combat satellite interference were better training and certification for uplink operators and more effective ways of tracing the source of interference, the meeting heard.

On the cost of leasing satellite space, representatives of three satellite operators predicted that C-band capacity would cost more over the next few years because of high demand.

Other topics covered at the meeting included mobile video applications, portable satellite broadband, digital broadcast systems and new developments in fibre optic services. The BBC and CNN were among the presenters.

To the envy of many, NHK presented its latest satellite newsgathering (SNG) vehicle for high-definition television. A smart four wheel drive topped with a mini antenna and packed with equipment, it weighs only half a traditional SNG truck and is much easier to manoeuvre.

[Article and photos by Alan Williams (Asiavision, ABU)]

ABOUT WBU

The World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) is the coordinating body for broadcasting unions who represent broadcaster networks across the globe. It was established in 1992 as a coordinating body at the international broadcasting level. Since then, the WBU has provided global solutions on key issues for its member unions. The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) acts as secretariat for the WBU.

The broadcasting unions who belong to the WBU are the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB/AIR), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), the Organización de la Televisión Iberoamericana (OTI), and the Union des radiodiffusions et télévisions nationales d'Afrique (URTNA).

For further information contact:
WBU Secretariat
+1 (416) 598-9877
info@worldbroadcastingunions.org

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NABA’s 2009 Conference & Annual General Meeting (AGM)
 Confirmed for June 3-5, 2009 in Washington, DC


Toronto, Ontario, Canada (February 20th, 2009) – The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is pleased to announce that their 2009 Conference & Annual General Meeting will be held in Washington, DC this June 3-5, 2009 at the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel.

Forward-thinking industry leaders will tackle the timely theme of “Harmonization in the Digital Age” via insightful panels and exciting presentations that get to the core issues affecting the future of broadcasting. Some of the topics to be discussed include:

  • New Technology: new platforms/new devices, which add value to broadcasters and consumers, which do not?

  • The Regulators Speak: North American harmonization, what are the key issues and how are they prioritized?

  • Satellite Interference Threats to Services

  • Terrestrial Broadcasting & Spectrum Issues

  • Radio Issues & Opportunities: Integration and harmonization in the multimedia space

  • WIPO, Intellectual Property, Watermarking & Fingerprinting

  • Mobile Handhelds: Where are we headed?

For registration details, please go to www.nabanet.com. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Anh Ngo at: +1-416-598-9877, x225 (ango@nabanet.com).

ABOUT NABA

NABA is a non-profit union of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada, work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

For further information contact:
Jason Paris, NABA
+1 (416) 598-9877, jparis@nabanet.com

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John Harding Appointed NABA's New Executive Director


August 18, 2008 / TORONTO, Canada - The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is pleased to announce the appointment of John A. Harding as Executive Director effective August 26th, 2008. NABA’s Board of Directors is confident that Mr. Harding’s unique set of skills, depth of knowledge and organizational leadership will serve the Association well at this time of great change in the industry.

In the new appointment, David Baylor, NABA’s Secretary General, to whom Mr. Harding will report, said: “John brings extensive experience in serving the needs of broadcasters. He’s a creative leader who will assist NABA in addressing the changing broadcast environment.”

Recently, Mr. Harding served as the President of the Strategic Marketing Group. Prior to that he was President with the Radio Marketing Bureau where he was recognized for driving revenue and membership growth during a period of tremendous industry consolidation. Mr. Harding has over 20 years experience in highly visible leadership roles with a consistent record of dramatically exceeding goals. Mr. Harding takes over the role from Carol Darling who served as NABA’s Executive Director since 2004.

Mr. Harding lives in Toronto with his family and attended Ryerson University for Business & Commerce. Mr. Harding is also a former Committee Member of the Bureau of Broadcast Measurements and a former Director for both the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and the Canadian Association of Broadcast Representatives.

ABOUT NABA

NABA is a non-profit union of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada, work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

For further information contact:
Jason Paris, NABA
+1 (416) 598-9877, jparis@nabanet.com

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NABA Appoints New Executive


Grupo Televisa’s Director of High Technology Projects, Leonardo Ramos New President of North American Broadcasters Association

Michael Starling, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Director of National Public Radio Labs and Terry Snazel, Vice President Technology for Bell ExpressVu named as Vice Presidents.

March 04, 2008 / TORONTO, Canada - The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is pleased to announce its new executive. Mexican high level executive Leonardo Ramos Mateos, Director of High Technology with Grupo Televisa Mexico was appointed by the NABA Board of Directors as President.

Mr. Ramos takes over the role from Ray Carnovale, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for CBC/Radio-Canada who served as NABA President from 2006 to present.

Mr. Ramos comes to the NABA Presidency at a time of great change for the broadcasting industry. As a longstanding member of the NABA Board of Directors and Executive, he has developed a great appreciation for the rapid pace of change and innovation at work in this collaborative forum. Mr. Ramos brings a vision for change and cutting edge expertise in the design, inspection and operation of satellite, radio and television networks and systems. Mr Ramos noted at NABA’s recent Annual Meeting:

“The Broadcasting industry is turning an important corner as it embraces new service opportunities that several years or months ago were not considered as part of a broadcaster activity, but today must be seen as a challenge and opportunity for all of us. Through NABA, broadcasters in North America provide leadership in this new convergence ensuring that we are able to offer our content and services to everyone, everywhere and in the format that our audiences or users want. Ensuring that television and radio broadcast spectrum and services are protected and well positioned as new products and business models emerge, continues to be of highest priority for NABA.”

As the current Director of High Technology Projects at Grupo Televisa Mr. Ramos is responsible for the service evaluation, development and implementation of state of the art systems and technology for the transmission and distribution networks. Prior to joining Grupo Televisa Mexico, Mr. Ramos worked for Ericsson & NEC where he developed systems for cellular communication, satellite services, microwaves, digital video and fiber optics links.

Michael Starling, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Director of National Public Radio Labs in the United States, was re-affirmed for another term as Vice President and Terry Snazel, Vice President, Technology, Bell ExpressVu, in Canada was also appointed as Vice President.

The NABA Board of Directors confirmed the new executive at their Annual General Meeting and Conference held at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia on February 25th.

ABOUT NABA

The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is a non-profit union of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

For further information contact:
Anh Ngo, NABA
(416) 598-9877, ango@nabanet.com

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Eddie Fritts Receives 2008 NABA International Achievement Award


February 11, 2008 / TORONTO, Canada - Edward (Eddie) Fritts will be honored by the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the broadcasting industry.

Mr. Fritts will be presented with the Association’s prestigious International Achievement Award at the Award Ceremony and Dinner on February 26th during NABA’s Annual General Meeting and Conference, February 25-27th in Atlanta, Georgia. (For more information on the NABA AGM and Conference, please visit www.nabanet.com).

Mr. Fritts was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) from 1982 until 2006. As a local broadcaster from Mississippi, Eddie brought real world experience to his tenure as head of NAB, where he led the organization to become one of the most respected and effective lobbying entities in the United States and was a prime force in the reassessment of media ownership rules and regulations by the US Government, resulting in fundamental changes for broadcasting.

Chief among his achievements was his leadership role as catalyst for the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The Act’s goal is to let anyone enter any communications business -- to let any communications business compete in any market against any other. Generally regarded as the most important legislation regulating media ownership in the past 50 years, this Act became the starting point for sweeping regulatory reforms that have continued since its passage. He started a grass-roots effort in Washington, DC to educate lawmakers on decades-old regulations that onerously constricted broadcasters and tightly limited ownership. Mr. Fritts modernized and expanded the NAB organization enabling it to work closely with lawmakers in navigating the changing landscape; thus, securing this important reformation of telecommunications law in the United States.

Beyond the 1996 Telecom Act, Eddie Fritts is credited with passage of the 1992 Cable Act; passage of legislation that rolled back an FCC low-power FM initiative; elimination of the fairness doctrine, and passage of legislation allowing satellite companies to deliver local TV stations. Throughout his over 20 year tenure, he has acted tirelessly to unite the broadcast industry, even when factions of the industry were not cohesive. Eddie’s personal belief in the responsibility of broadcasters to provide public service has been an earmark of his involvement in the industry. He is also engaged in many civic and charitable efforts outside of the broadcast industry.

After twenty-three years at NAB, Eddie launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 where he continues his work in the telecommunications arena offering strategic counsel in the areas of political consulting, government relations, international affairs and public relations. Eddie’s passionate and significant contributions to the broadcasting community will have great impact for years to come.

The NABA International Achievement Award is presented annually and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in broadcasting and commitment to NABA’s goals and principles.

For more information on NABA and its AGM and Conference, please visit www.nabanet.com.

ABOUT NABA

The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is a non-profit union of the most influential broadcasting organizations throughout North America committed to advancing the interests of broadcasters at home and internationally. Network broadcasters, both public and private, in the United States, Mexico and Canada work together to provide a common voice for the North American broadcast community. As a member of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), NABA creates the opportunity for North American broadcasters to share information, identify common interests and reach consensus on issues of an international nature. NABA provides representation for North American broadcasters in global forums on topics including journalism issues, protection of content, spectrum related concerns, the territorial integrity of broadcasters’ signals, and digital transmission issues.

For further information contact:
Anh Ngo, NABA
(416) 598-9877, ango@nabanet.com

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NABA International Achievement Award Recognizes Chris Cramer


February 13, 2007 / TORONTO, Canada - Chris Cramer will be honored by the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the broadcasting industry.

In conjunction with NABA’s Annual General Meeting and Conference, March 5 - 7 in Mexico City, Mr. Cramer will be presented with the Association’s International Achievement Award at the Closing Dinner on March 7. (For more information on the NABA AGM & Conference, please visit www.nabanet.com.)

Mr. Cramer is recognized for his commitment to the safety and welfare of journalists around the world. His achievements with BBC and CNN International over the past 40 years have inspired broadcasters worldwide. This is a year where the United Nations’ Security Council has made a resolution demanding that world leaders recognize the importance in ensuring journalistic rights and safety are respected, a resolution that NABA and the World Broadcasting Unions strongly supported. We honor the work Mr. Cramer has done and hope that the legacy he has put in place will continue to inspire greater protection for our news personnel overseas and at home.

In the early 1990s, as the Persian Gulf War and conflicts in the former Yugoslavia started to exact its toll on the physical and mental welfare of journalists, Cramer became the industries’ advocate for both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder counseling and safety training for journalists working in hostile environments. His advocacy of these causes has seen an industry once based on macho risk-taking and skepticism take a long hard look at itself.

Mr. Cramer was instrumental in the creation of INSI, the International News and Safety Institute, which promotes safety training, materials and assistance to journalists and media staff. Mr. Cramer pioneered research into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for media workers and was honored by the Dart Foundation, which funds the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma. He is also honorary president of INSI and co-author of Dying to Tell the Story, a tribute to journalists who died during the Iraq War of 2003.

Mr. Cramer is retiring as the executive vice president and managing director of CNN International where he has overseen all of CNN’s international broadcasting and newsgathering. He has enabled CNN to lead the television industry in the development and use of Digital Newsgathering (DNG) and championed other new technologies for newsgathering. In his quest for efficiency and flexibility of journalists in the field, Mr. Cramer pioneered the use of the revolutionary Toko box for live reports from Kandahar airport on the release of hostages on Millennium eve. He made the 7E Talking Head and Inmarsat M4 satellite phone available for live coverage. What followed was the launch of BGAN service. This light weight, highly portable equipment gave CNN unparalleled coverage options during the Lebanon conflict. These new technologies have not just released journalists from being tethered to the satellite truck but has allowed them to take back the art of reporting by being “on the spot” and sending back stories while still on the scene. This new technology has also made it safer for journalists to travel.

Mr. Cramer’s influence has done much to change the mentality of news organizations to embrace safety and care off staff. His dedication to international journalism, his commitment to the safety of journalists and his support of the use of the latest technology has left its mark on the industry around the world.

The NABA International Achievement Award is presented annually and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in broadcasting and commitment to NABA’s goals and principles.

For more information, contact:
Chris Laursen
Executive Assistant
North American Broadcasters Association (NABA)
+1 (416) 598-9877, claursen@nabanet.com

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EBU Applauds UN Resolution on Journalist Safety


December 24, 2006 / Geneva, Switzerland - The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) warmly welcomed the unanimous adoption of a resolution, on journalist safety by the United Nations Security Council on 24 December.

The resolution, which was first tabled at UN Headquarters on 5 December 2006 by France and Greece and backed by Britain, Slovakia and Denmark, urges states to do their utmost to prevent crimes against journalists and to investigate all crimes committed against media professionals. Increasing numbers of journalists and media staff are being killed in pursuit of their profession and very few cases of murder are ever pursued.

"We are delighted that the UN has recognised the importance of journalists' safety," said Jean Réveillon, "The protection of journalists in conflict zones is crucial to ensuring freedom of expression and opinion. The media can give a voice and visibility to peoples suffering in conflict zones. The resolution will help ensure full and balanced reporting".

The EBU has campaigned for more than two years with INSI and the International Federation of Journalists for a Security Council resolution on journalist safety. It also runs a course, Hostile Environment and Safety Training, for its Members, which aims to help journalists operate securely in a conflict area.

Click here for the press release.

[Source: EBU News]

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INSI Welcomes UN Action to Safeguard Journalists


Brussels - The International News Safety Institute today welcomed an historic action by the United Nations Security Council to protect journalists working in conflict zones.

The Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning deliberate attacks on journalists and called for an end to such practices.

To ensure that the issue remains on the Security Council agenda, the resolution asks the Secretary General to address the safety and security of journalists in his regular reports on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

"The resolution is a vitally important step in addressing the spiralling death toll of journalists and other news media staff covering conflict," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.

"It could not come at a more critical time, with 2006 heading towards an all-time record number of news media killed trying to tell the story."

As of 21 December, INSI counted 147 journalists and critical support staff killed as they tried to keep the world informed. Most were local journalists working in their own countries and the great majority were murdered.

The Iraq war continues to exact a heavy price with 161 dead since the start of the conflict almost four years ago.

INSI congratulated the Greek government, which leaves the Security Council at the end of the year, for having joined with France in leading the push on the Security Council for action. Although UN agencies like UNESCO have drawn attention to problems facing journalists over the years, this is the first time one of the main bodies of the United Nations has taken up the matter.

A draft resolution on journalist safety was drawn up by the International Federation of Journalists, the European Broadcasting Union and the International news Safety Institute. The three organisations had been lobbying for support for almost two years.

The draft was presented to outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan a year ago at the World Electronic Media Forum, alongside the UN Summit on the Information Society.

The resolution as adopted "condemns intentional attacks" against journalists" and calls upon "all parties to put an end to such practices."

The Security Council stresses that the deliberate targeting of civilians "may constitute a threat to international peace and security" and reaffirms its readiness "to consider such situations and, where necessary, to adopt appropriate steps."

The resolution "urges all parties involved in situations of armed conflict to respect the professional independence and rights of journalists, media professionals and associated personnel as civilians."

It also urges warring parties "to do their utmost to prevent violations of international humanitarian law against civilians, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel."

The resolution emphasises that there are existing prohibitions under international humanitarian law against attacks intentionally directed against civilians, including journalists, "which in situations of armed conflicts constitute war crimes."

The resolution asks the Secretary General to address the safety and security of journalists in his regular reports on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

Hailing the resolution, IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said: “This last point is significant. From now on we can expect the United Nations to identify and highlight those nations that are failing to protect journalists.”

Any questions about this news release should be addressed to Rodney Pinder rodney.pinder@newssafety.com or mobile +44 7734 709 267

See the UN Security Council Resolution 1738 (on the INSI website)

[Source: INSI (International News Safety Institute)]

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CBC/Radio-Canada VP & Chief Technology Officer New President of NABA


April 20, 2006 / TORONTO, Canada - The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) is pleased to announce that it has a new executive. Ray Carnovale, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for CBC/Radio-Canada, has been named NABA’s new President.

He takes on the role from Peter Smith, Vice President, Advanced Technology, NBC Universal, who was elected to serve as one of two Vice Presidents for NABA. Leonardo Ramos, Director, High Technology Projects for Televisa was re-elected for another term as Vice President.

The NABA Board of Directors confirmed the new executive at their Board meeting on April 4.

For further information contact:
Chris Laursen
Executive Assistant
North American Broadcasters Association (NABA)
+1 (416) 598-9877, claursen@nabanet.com

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NABA International Achievement Award Recognizes Eddy Hartenstein


March 24, 2006 / TORONTO, Canada - Eddy Hartenstein will be honored by the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the broadcasting industry.

In conjunction with NABA’s Annual General Meeting and Conference, April 4-5 in Los Angeles, Mr. Hartenstein will be presented with the Association’s International Achievement Award at the Opening Dinner on April 4. (For more information on the NABA AGM & Conference, please visit www.nabanet.com.)

Mr. Hartenstein is recognized as a visionary and driving force behind the development of Direct Broadcasting Satellite (DBS) direct-to-home (DTH) services, now a major means of television distribution around the world. He pioneered both the regulatory and technology shifts to lead the entry of the first small dish DBS service in North America. His vision and leadership resulted in a new outlet for broadcasting services, and provided a foundation for the launch of many new programming choices for the public.

He was DIRECTV’s President from its inception in 1992 and served as Chairman and CEO from 2001 to 2004. During that time, he assembled the financial support and management expertise to launch the first digital DBS service to consumers. DIRECTV’s high power Ku band DBS service paved the way for hundreds of channels of digital television to be provided to millions of consumers worldwide without connecting to a cable system. He also lead the regulatory push changing the US law to allow local broadcast stations to be rebroadcast into local markets over DBS. Under Hartenstein’s leadership DIRECTV grew from a concept to a vital service with over 14 million customers.

Mr. Hartenstein was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Class of 2001, and in 2002 he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. DIRECTV was awarded three Technical Emmys for outstanding achievement under his leadership.

Mr. Hartenstein began a long career at the Hughes Aircraft Company as a satellite engineer, moving to Hughes Communications where he led the growth of commercial use of Ku Band satellites and the spin-out of DIRECTV as a stand alone Hughes division. He retired in 2004 after building a successful company and a thriving industry that has significantly changed the complexion of television broadcasting. He continues to provide industry leadership, serving on the boards of Thomson Multimedia, XM Satellite Radio, the Consumer Electronics Association and SanDisk Corporation.

The NABA International Achievement Award is presented annually and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in broadcasting and commitment to NABA’s goals and principles.

For more information, contact:
Chris Laursen
Executive Assistant
North American Broadcasters Association (NABA)
+1 (416) 598-9877, claursen@nabanet.com

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World Broadcasters Call on Heads of States and Governments
  to Help Bridge the Digital Divide


November 18, 2005 / TUNIS, Tunisia - The 300 participants in the World Electronic Media Forum (WEMF II) gathered in Tunis this week on the key role of broadcasting in bridging the digital divide between developed and developing nations globally. They expressed commitment to an open and participative information society and called on heads of states and governments attending the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) for specific actions:

  • to develop the information society in the spirit of freedom of expression, media pluralism, cultural diversity, and public service as set out in theWBU Broadcasters’ Declaration of 2003;


  • guarantee free and open access to editorially-independent media outlets;


  • support development of technology, software and open standards to enable quality, low-cost media content tailored to needs of local populations;


  • promote training and restructuring initiatives to take advantage of “digital dividend” offered by new technologies;


  • provide support for urgent action to preserve the world’s audiovisual heritage of local social and cultural history;


  • affirm the vital role of the media as communicators of information and dialogue between cultures;


  • foster different forms of local media including associative radio to improve dialogue and democratic participation particularly in rural areas with poor infrastructure;


  • encourage transfer of competence and technology through regional and international cooperation and solidarity, particularly through the worlds broadcasting unions;


  • collaborate with broadcasters in addressing global development and humanitarian issues; and


  • promote before the UN Security Council an initiative to improve the security and physical integrity of journalists, media collaborators and associates in situations of armed conflict, and support practical efforts, such as safety training, for all situations where journalists are at risk because of their work.

WEMF II was held 15-16 November leading into the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), 16-18 November 2005.

The World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) is the coordinating body for broadcasting unions who represent broadcaster networks across the globe. Members include: Asia- Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), Asociación Internacional de Radiodifusión (AIR), Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), Organizacion de la Television Iberoamericana (OTI) and Union des Radiodiffusions et Televisions Nationales d’Afique (URTNA).

Message from the World Electronic Media Forum (WEMF) II to the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) (Nov. 16, 2005) [English | French]

For more information, contact:
Chris Laursen
Executive Assistant
World Broadcasting Unions (WBU)
+1 (416) 598-9877, claursen@nabanet.com

World Electronic Media Forum: www.wemfmedia.org
Includes video in English and original languages from all panels during the Forum.

World Summit on the Information Society: www.itu.int/wsis

World Broadcasting Unions: www.worldbroadcastingunions.org

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David Baylor Named NABA's Secretary General


October 10, 2005 / Toronto, CANADA - David A. Baylor has been named the North American Broadcasters Association’s Secretary General.

Mr. Baylor brings over 30 years of experience as a broadcast executive to the leadership of NABA. Mr. Baylor’s work history contains many “firsts.” In 1992, he was recruited as the 34th employee of DIRECTV, creating a television distribution arm for Hughes Electronics as they entered the direct-to-home satellite business. As DIRECTV’s Executive Vice-President, Technology and Operations, Mr. Baylor led technology and systems development and operations in the United States and Latin America. Under Mr. Baylor’s leadership, DIRECTV was awarded three Technical Emmy Awards, and he was named Black Engineer of the Year in 1997 for his career achievements.

As Vice-President, Broadcast Operations NBC from 1986 to 1992, he directed the enhancement and operation of network television’s first and only Ku-band satellite distribution system and was responsible for all technical and production operations at NBC’s New York studios. During his tenure at PBS from 1973 to 1986, he pioneered Line 21 closed captioned for hearing impaired viewers and implemented U.S. network television’s first satellite distribution system.

“David is recognized within the North American broadcasting community for his leadership in dealing with challenges and opportunities presented by technological change,” said NABA President Peter Smith. “We are very happy to have an experienced NABA Board member to assume the Secretary General post,” he added, noting that Mr. Baylor represented Associate members on the NABA Board from 2000 to 2004.

For more information, contact:
Chris Laursen, Executive Assistant, NABA
(416) 598-9877, claursen@nabanet.com

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Broadcast Dialogue Profiles NABA's Carol Darling


In the Press: February 15, 2005
Broadcast Dialogue magazine, February 2005.
Article by Daphne Lavers (Reprinted with permission.)

February 15, 2005 / Toronto, CANADA - When Carol Darling finished university, she graduated with a degree in civil engineering complete with the Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) designation, a degree still not all that common for women. And for her first job, the Ottawa native landed a position with Bell Canada as a manager in plant construction for the telephone company.

Carol Darling doesn’t seem to be the type to kick over the traces that delineated traditional career choices for women; it’s far more likely that she was never so harnessed to begin with.

Carol Darling has moved through the telephone, telecommunications and television industries, designing, building and operating communications systems ranging from underground telecom to broadcast television. Along the way, she’s dealt with, belonged to, and in many cases run, the leading broadcast technical organizations and committees including the full alphabet soup of ABSOC, CDTV, ACATS, ATSC, and CRC. (More on these later!) And the basic creativity inherent in much of the core work of engineering has begun to emerge into exploration of the graphic arts – specifically, painting and watercolours – in off-duty time, of course!

In 2004, Darling was appointed executive director of the North American Broadcasters Association. For her – and for those few Canadian companies that belong to the organization – NABA expands perspectives and horizons beyond our borders.

“...it’s not just about our little business in Canada,” she said. “It’s about what’s happening in the world relating to product development, service development and world issues that affect all these things. At the core of the work is how do we understand how the future is unfolding, protect our businesses, move businesses in the right direction to continue to be viable – and provide a valuable and good service for viewers around the world.”

As broadcasting has evolved in many respects into a national and a global business, the responsibilities of NABA have also evolved. As executive director, Darling oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization, formed in the early 1970s. NABA is an association of broadcast networks from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, representing traditional private and public networks, direct-to-home providers, specialty and cable networks, national broadcast associations, telecommunications operators, and, in a continued evolution, new media.

All the major U.S. networks, two major Mexican networks and Canada’s CBC hold full membership and form the NABA Board of Directors. Associate members include satellite operators Bell ExpressVu, DirecTV and Sirius Satellite Radio, the Canadian and American broadcaster associations (CAB, NAB) and software giant Microsoft. Affiliate members include a host of service providers and vendors ranging from Dolby Labs to Intelsat, from Panasonic to Telesat Canada, and from Loral Skynet to Sony.

Darling works with NABA Secretary General Michael McEwen, former long-time CBC executive and long-time head of the Canadian CDTV (Canadian Digital Television Inc.) consortium, and with NABA President Peter Smith, vice president of Advanced Technology for NBC.

The global connections don’t end there. NABA also acts as Secretariat to the World Broadcasting Unions, of which McEwen is head.

All of which means that Carol Darling has her work cut out for her overseeing NABA’s four primary committees – technical, news and operations, legal, and integrated media – as well as overseeing the operations of the WBU.

Launch of a Television Executive

“I always liked to build things and make things that you can see and feel and touch,” Darling said, which contributed to her university choice of civil engineering. Right out of university, with her P. Eng. designation, she went to work for Bell Canada as a manager in plant construction.

“It was a really satisfying job to start with right out of school because it had autonomy,” she said, “and responsibility for projects with outside contractors, and when things went wrong you could fix them… That thrust me into an environment that was traditionally male-based, and I think probably made me rise to the occasion.”

As an engineer, Darling was to move in male-dominated fields for much of her professional career. With Bell Canada’s focus on managerial training, Darling moved further into telephone plant construction as a supervisor in conduit and manhole projects, a work experience she enjoyed immensely. It was outside work in which she designed the projects, commissioned and oversaw the construction.

“I’ve said that I liked to start at the bottom – which was underground!” she said, with her characteristic low-key sense of humour.

The next logical step was into telecommunications, specifically design and construction of telecom plant “so I spent my fair share of time in wet, dripping manholes!”

In Bell Canada’s Engineering and Economics department, Darling oversaw and prepared filings for regulatory approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), among the most intensive and comprehensive areas the Commission oversees. Applications included proposals for traditional copper cable, satellite services, carriage of broadcast services and cable television systems, which also provided the opportunity for exploring and designing cable plant.

After a number of years with Bell Canada, Darling ended up as project manager for business development. And other opportunities began to appear.

Tongue in cheek, she describes the process of moving on from Bell. “I was keen and anxious to take on the world at a young age and it was going to take me a long time to become vice president of Bell Canada!” she said. “An opportunity came along to work in business management consulting, drawing on the expertise that I’d learned in the telecommunications and broadcasting environments.”

The opportunity was with Nordicity, well-known Ottawa-based consulting firm that works extensively in broadcasting, an opportunity that expanded her increasing expertise in the business side of communications. Projects included new business consultation, and new broadcasting and telecom applications which involved even more business analysis and financial expertise.

Advanced Television and the Launch of WTN

It was at this point that Carol Darling started to become immersed in advanced broadcast technologies. As an engineer who cut her teeth on telecommunications, Darling was an excellent choice to start and head up the new Advanced Broadcast Systems of Canada organization (ABSOC), an industry consortium formed to look at new television systems.

“The mission (of ABSOC) really was to get the Canadian television industry up to speed related to the transition to new television technologies,” she said. “We thought we were going to be dealing with high definition television which at that time was analog, and in fact the whole digital transmission revolution came along. It turned out that our focus became educating ourselves about digital video compression (DVC). We were very much involved in the industry’s implementation of that and learning about it, and in fact Canadian services implemented DVC before U.S. services.”

Starting part-time as director of research and committee operations, she became program director in 1992 and then chair of ABSOC in 1995.

In the meantime, Darling had moved to Winnipeg to help launch a new television channel, WTN – Women’s Television Network – in 1994, as vice president, engineering and operations.

“We had a great run with (WTN),” she said. “It was a once in a lifetime kind of experience. We had the opportunity to build the business in an area we were passionate about. That doesn’t happen all that often!”

It was a fascinating time to launch a new television service. Digital television was still on the horizon and high definition remained a gleam in the eye for most television producers. WTN launched with the core of its video plant in digital, using a router that could switch between digital and analog. WTN became part of a shared satellite uplink facility in Winnipeg, a challenge in itself, and eventually located a StarChoice uplink facility right in the WTN building.

And WTN was itself something of a radical concept.

“We were ahead of a whole movement for the advertising industry to start marketing to women,” Darling said. “It has almost become the norm now to recognize women as a key audience to target.”

With engineering and operations as her initial focus, Darling subsequently picked up responsibility for affiliate relations and then, responsibility for business development.

The Alphabet Groups

Darling maintained her work and involvement with ABSOC at the same time that she was helping launch WTN, and throughout the 1990s. Her involvement with the alphabet committees and organizations began to increase.

She was invited by a former U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman to join a task force on advanced television as the Canadian industry representative. ACATS was the FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service. She co-chaired the ABSOC Joint Technical Committee, chaired the ABSOC Advanced Television Implementation Task Group, was on the executive committee of the U.S. Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), and was a member of the federal Heritage Canada Task Forces on both the Implementation of Digital Television, and Implementation of Digital Radio. With the latter group, she was a member of the technical working group. In the same year that WTN launched, 1994, she also joined the Board of the Canadian Satellite Users Association, and subsequently CSUA’s executive committee.

In 1998, she took over the chairmanship of the CDTV (Canadian Digital Television, an industry consortium) technology working group. In 2000, she joined the CDTV Board, and in the same year, she joined the Board of the federal Communications Research Centre (CRC), on-going activities she continues to maintain.

The WTN Finale

In 2002, with 40 to 45 staff members and six million subscribers, WTN was sold for $205 million to Corus Entertainment. Corus changed the name to W and the programming orientation towards commercial network prime-time.

WTN had just built a new facility, which remains empty.

And Carol Darling left Winnipeg, a city she had enjoyed immensely because of the excitement and challenges of starting and running a national network and because of the qualities of the city. A life well-balanced between work time and personal time was possible because of easy five-minute commutes, a manageable cost-of-living, easy parking, a strong and active cultural community, and endless summer days where the sun sets so late in the evening that every day after work feels like a mini-vacation.

“It was really hard to let go because we had a vision of where we wanted to take it to and we weren’t there yet,” she said. “It makes me really sad, I loved it there… Adapting to Toronto has been much harder than adapting to living in Winnipeg. It was a great run, a wonderful experience and I learned a lot, in terms of my own growth.”

Taking a couple of years off – more or less – following the purchase of WTN, Darling moved into broadcast consulting on a range of projects including consumer HDTV marketing and education, satellite space segment proposals, and master control automation. She also created several paintings in acrylics and watercolours, continuing the creative bent which began with sketching buildings and telecom plant for Bell Canada.

In April, 2004, she became executive director of NABA. And from her initial career activities working underground in telecommunications conduit, she moved onto the world stage, involved with global organizations and initiatives such as the WIPO treaty (World Intellectual Property Organization), the WBU (World Broadcast Union), and a host of ITU (International Telecommunications Union) issues and programs.

Protection

Moving towards the end of her first year as NABA’s Executive Director, it seems that a number of issues and initiatives that Darling is confronting focus on various incarnations and implementations of protection. That’s perhaps not surprising considering heightened global insecurities on a number of fronts.

At NABA, protection issues arise relating to the safety and security of broadcasters and broadcasting; the safety of journalists in practice; the safety and security of broadcasting signals in terms of both frequency interference and intellectual property and copyright protection. It’s a theme running across a host of activities in the post 9/11 world.

In late 2004, NABA’s board approved investigation of a possible new committee on safety and security in broadcasting. The proposal is currently in the exploratory stages: it may look at developing practices and guidelines for the North American broadcasting community focussed on disaster planning for broadcast facilities and on staff safety; and could also examine the processes and procedures of getting critical messages to the public in the event of an emergency.

South of the border, the FCC and Homeland Security started an organization entitled the Media Securities and Reliability Council (MSRC) – pronounced MISRICK. The launch of that organization had much to do with the broadcasting facilities destroyed and broadcasting staff who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Centre, and the host of broadcast facilities and transmitters the towers supported.

The proposed NABA effort would complement and expand on the activities of MSRC, with, of course, a continental focus. Both natural and man-made disasters impact broadcasting from the north pole to the equator. The power black-out in 2003 in the eastern half of the continent, security arrangements for the Olympics and the impact on broadcast crews, natural disasters such as earthquakes in Mexico, and to some degree the SARS outbreak in Canada, all pointed to the need for much better disaster liaison and co-ordination.

Safety of Journalists

Another thread of the protection tapestry at NABA is the protection of journalists on a global basis. NABA is part of the co-ordinating committee of world press freedom organizations – the only broadcasting organization involved with this primarily print journalism group.

“If you believe that the public has the right to hear the story and journalists are the people to get you the story, how can the community provide them better protection?” asked Darling. “Right now in Iraq, journalists can’t move without an entourage of 12 security guys around them because some of the terrorist groups are targeting journalists. The safety of journalists is a hugely important issue for all broadcasters and this is certainly an issue being discussed by the Secretaries General of the WBU to see if there’s an opportunity to make input to the UN to raise the profile of this safety issue.”

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was convened in Geneva in 2003; the next meeting is planned for Tunisia in 2005. The World Press Freedom Committee, to which NABA belongs, presented a declaration calling for adoption of an essential principle – “freedom of expression (which includes) access to information, maximum dissemination of information and the freedom of the news media” according to the WSIS Web site. The declaration deals specifically with press freedoms, and more significantly, the rights of a free press which the committee states includes editorial independence, protection of sources, access to information, freedom to publish and freedom of movement, to name only a few.

Protection of Broadcast Rights

Also on the international front, NABA sent delegates to the November, 2004 WIPO conference which focussed on “development of a treaty to update intellectual property standards for broadcasters in the digital age”, according to a WIPO press release.

“The old treaty of 1961 – it was a different world then,” said Darling. “Technology has changed, the environment has changed, businesses have changed, so much of it just doesn’t provide the legal tools anymore to protect broadcasters’ signals in the years ahead. This is seen as a fundamental concern to the broadcasting community – it’s signal protection. One of the differences in this treaty vs. 1961 is to give broadcasters the ability to be able to control their signals beyond their borders. The basic premise for all of this content protection stuff is the average person does not have a right to distribute content that doesn’t belong to them.”

Broadcasters world-wide continue to operate under the 1961 Rome Convention on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations. The goal of the November, 2004 meeting was nothing less than creating a new broadcasting treaty to deal with intellectual property rights in the information age. Discussions on the new treaty include such contentious issues as the scope and duration of copyright and whether that should be 20 years to 50 years of protection; whether and how protection should extend to webcasters; exceptions and limitations to rights for the purposes of education, libraries and disabled persons.

“The hope is that we can be ahead of the game enough to ensure that the Napsterization of the television business doesn’t happen,” said Darling. “Internet capacity and the growth of computing device capabilities to deal with advanced compression are advancing at such a pace that the industry has to be ready to deal with protection of content. And it’s more of an issue now because we’re starting to spit out really high-quality content into the consumer household, like HD.”

Content Protection

“The challenge is to get administrations … and broadcasters in all regions of the world to protect content when it needs to be protected,” Darling said. One of NABA’s first projects, she described, was a committee that put together a presentation on what in Canada, and elsewhere, is called Redistribution Control Signalling – the “broadcast flag” developed by the U.S. is only one incarnation of this process.

The broadcast flag, primarily an on-off signal, triggers protection systems in consumer devices that can initiate a variety of actions such as determining the number of copies that can be made, eliminating content transmission over an Internet-connected device, or encrypting an entire program or signal.

With new-release, in-theatre movies pirated and available on the Internet virtually within days of release, the driving force may originate with Hollywood studios, but it is broadcasters who need to put in place some of the protection mechanisms.

“The message NABA will be bringing over the next months to come is that a method to protect broadcast signals is absolutely critical to protecting content,” Darling said.

Technical Protection

One of the most critical issues facing broadcasters, particularly in North America but rapidly becoming a global concern, is electronic interference with broadcast signals.

As more and more electronic devices and services are developed, it was only a matter of time before some of those services and devices began to impinge on broadcast signals. Digital television, expanded satellite capacity and frequencies, digital and satellite radio, cellular telephones, and now wireless systems city-blocks or miles in dimension are filling up the frequency spectrum. The newest devices still on the drawing boards utilize ultra-wide-band (UWB) frequencies and sometimes frequency-hopping.

Typically, government administrations deal with interference concerns on a national basis or, at the ITU, on a global basis. But NABA is involved with the UWB issue now.

“The reason why we got into UWB is because the FCC is authorizing sales and operations of UWB systems on a licence-exempt basis,” she said. “The restrictions they’ve put on those licenses in terms of frequency protection, the broadcasting community feels are not adequate. They’ve gone ahead and done this, so the huge consumer electronics industry is seeing this as great potential and are moving forward to develop chips and products that will hit the marketplace. Meanwhile, research that’s been done with simulations indicates there could be a potential interference problem both in C-band and with some of the radio bands.

“The concern is that once a lot of these devices are in a particular area, they could really toast an incoming or outgoing C-band satellite signal or satellite radio,” Darling said. “In Canada, our L-band terrestrial radio falls into those frequencies as well.”

For broadcasters, perhaps particularly Canadian broadcasters, the movements of the American industry could have destructive potential.

Protection of Content Production

In addition to Darling’s responsibilities at NABA, she continues to chair the Canadian Digital Television consortium’s technology networking group. Even in that activity, the protection theme is running through its work on guidelines for aspect ratios and production formats.

“In terms of the Canadian industry, the issue of feeding the system with content that’s going to stand the test of time is really important,” she noted. “Some of the networks are starting to get into high definition but there’s an opportunity to not just get into high definition, when HD isn’t possible, to at least commission product in wide screen and to move the product along… In any product that you want to sell on the international market, if it’s not widescreen it’s not going to cut it. If it’s not HD, you will limit yourself in some markets. The days of four-by-three (television images) are over and the fact that we’re continuing to feed our system with that kind of (product) – it will have no shelf life.”

Engineering and Art

While only Canada’s national broadcaster, CBC, is a full member of NABA, the organization’s annual general conference next May will provide other Canadian broadcast networks with the chance to catch up with their international colleagues. For the first time, NABA’s annual conference will be held in Canada, in downtown Toronto. With sessions on such high profile issues as HD best practices, HD news, journalistic freedom and digital radio, to name only a few, it’s a golden opportunity for Canadian networks.

And to Carol Darling, those in the Canadian industry bring a unique perspective to the global broadcasting community. While the country is big, the market – and the broadcasting community – is small.

“To have a business that survives – with the size of our market – we have to understand the big picture,” she said. “As an industry, we typically have to understand how the pieces all fit together. Coming from a small place like Canada, we can bring a big perspective to things.”

While Carol Darling, P. Eng., is bringing her own unique telecom and network operations experience as well as high-level management and team-leading capabilities to the North American Broadcasters Association, she is also utilizing a different kind of perspective in the creation of her own artwork.

“A lot of my drawing has engineering roots, because I think in terms of scale,” she said. “I think a lot of people in the engineering field are extremely creative people. When you’re working with solving problems all the time, you need a certain amount of creativity to find new solutions for those problems… you have to be able to step back outside the box and make links from a number of areas in order to solve your problems.”

For Carol Darling, the links are now global, and the box has expanded to world-scale.


Senior writer Daphne Lavers is a Toronto-based freelancer. She may be reached by e-mail at dlavers@passport.ca.

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