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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Dec. 19, 2001

Satellite Must-Carry Rule Upheld - The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the ruling that forces EchoStar and DirecTV to offer every local station anywhere the satellite providers choose to serve with local TV coverage. Satellite providers previously carried only the major networks and occasionally UPN and WB, but now they will be forced to add competing channels of home shopping, religious programming and other content that may duplicate what they already carry - in which in many cases they have part ownership. The two satellite companies claimed the decision limits their ability to roll out local broadcast services in additional markets. They may take the matter to the Supreme Court.

"Instant Replay" or "Rewind Radios" Coming to UK? - Britain, like Canada, is heavily committed to digital radio (while in the U.S. it's still pie-in the-sky). The BBC has plans for five new digital radio stations and next year a £99 digital kitchen radio is expected to kick-start mass-market digital receiver sales. Britain is also one of the few countries where people listen to specific scheduled radio programs - rather than the continuous sameness of most "formatted" U.S. radio stations.

This means that many listeners wish to time-shift radio programs for convenience; much as viewers the world over time-shift TV programs using their easy to-use VCR timers. Recording radios have not been available, and there is nothing that makes recording radio programming as easy is recording with a VCR. So far the PVR manufacturers have not considered making it easy to time-shift radio programs along with TV programs. However a British company is considering Instant Replay or Rewind Radios. Either a small hard disk or even a solid-state memory chip is built into a radio, and it continually records the last few minutes of everything tuned in. Then when a listener hears a tune he likes but misses the title he can press a button and hear the tune starts playing from minutes ago with its introduction. Hopefully it could also be recorded unto another media permanently at that point or later.

TV Time Losing Out to Net Time - The UCLA Center for Communication Policy conducted a study that found out that 72.3 % of Americans now have internet access and on the average spend 9.8 hours online a week. That number is up slightly from a study done in 2000. The most popular Net uses were email, instant messaging, Web browsing, shopping, finding entertainment information and reading news. The climbing Net use time has to come from somewhere, and the Center's director says it is coming from TV viewing time. Adults surveyed said their children definitely watch less TV once they start to use the Net.

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