David Bialik, celebrating his 21st
consecutive year as AES Convention
Broadcast Chair, has expanded the
scope to also include webcasting.by Steve Harvey.
The program of sessions and workshops is already beginning to take shape for the 127th AES Convention, which will be held in New York from October 9 through 12. This year, David Bialik, celebrating his 21st consecutive year as Broadcast Chair, has expanded the scope to also include webcasting. “This year, it’s called Broadcast and Streaming Sessions,” reports Bialik. “I insisted that streaming is just as important, if not more so, than broadcast.”
The automobile has been one of the driving forces (pun intended) behind the expansion of the listener base for surround sound music, which is distributed on certain satellite radio channels and via Neural Audio and other codecs. Bialik believes that automakers will also play their part in the migration of streaming audio into vehicles.
“You have to remember that the car companies are working very hard to put a web GUI into the car,” he says. “When you bring a web GUI into the car it’s going to level the playing field between the broadcasters and the streamers.”
Bialik is putting together a program that covers all the bases in broadcast and streaming audio, as far as possible: “Obviously, we can’t cover every aspect, but we’re trying to touch on all of the them. We’re planning to have sessions that will cover topics ranging from facility design, program production, inception and content, to processing, distribution and the audience experience.”
There will be a number of innovative sessions as a result of the wider focus of this year’s program, including Audio Processing for Internet Streaming. “This is the first time I can remember of any major show dedicating a full session to audio processing for streaming. We’re going to have all the major players; it should be good,” says Bialik.
Ray Archie, director, streaming operations at CBS Radio, will chair a session called, Stream Playback and Distribution. “One of the major things about internet streaming is that you have to worry about what player people are using and also how you are distributing your stream,” offers Bialik.
Innovations in Digital Broadcasting will cover radio for the deaf, surround sound, HD channels for radio and television, and other nascent technologies and formats. On the subject of new tech, Jim Kutzner, chief engineer for PBS, will demonstrate Mobile Television, which is scheduled to debut around that time, in separate session.
A couple of sessions will present underexposed topics, says Bialik, including the production of a television show. “I’ve got the people from One Life to Live and All My Children working on putting that together. It’s never been looked at from the soap opera aspect, and that’s probably one of the busiest audio jobs you can have.”
Media technology consultant Skip Pizzi is organizing Audio for News Gathering. “That’s going to cover radio and television as well as streaming,” says Bialik. “I can’t remember the last time someone has done a session on audio for news gathering.”
Bialik, with John Storyk, is assembling a panel to discuss the practicalities of designing a fictional media facility, Studio Design and Acoustics: a Case Study. “We’re going to have all the people involved, from John, an acoustician, to someone doing HVAC, someone doing wiring, someone doing furniture. We’re going to do it in a mock court setting. It should be fun.”
As for infrastructure, there will be a two-part session, Digital Audio Networking In and Out of the Studio. “Part one is going to be audio networking in the studio, like the use of IP audio for consoles and routing systems and so forth. Part two is going to be audio out of the studio–the use of codecs, digital STLs and so forth,” explains Bialik. Additionally, Andy Butler, CPBE from PBS, is putting together a session entitled, Signal Management for Digital Television.
As for the listener experience, says Bialik, there will be a session focusing on audience retention that will include psychology professor Ellen Sheffield and independent broadcast consultant Ted Rosetti. “We’re doing a session on listener fatigue and longevity. That’s a pretty popular session as well.”
Indeed, certain topics have become perennials at the AES Convention. “I have Jonathan Abrams of Nutmeg Studios chairing a session called the Lip Sync Issue, which has been pretty popular and has only gotten to become a bigger and bigger issue. As the screens get larger, people are noticing that they’re hearing the words but they’re not matching the lips. We’ve highlighted that issue for the last three or four conventions,” notes Bialik. Another popular session from previous shows, making another appearance, will be on the art of sound effects, he adds.
Bialik concludes, “We’re trying to make the broadcast and streaming sessions the essential destination of the broadcast and streaming engineer.”