President's Message
November 2002

1.  The FCC has voted 4-0 to adopt a digital radio technology created by iBiquity Digital Corp, a company backed by large broadcasters including ABC and Viacom. It will be in-band, on-channel, coexisting with regular FM broadcasts. (It will probably mean further SCA-like degradation to the analog FM, but who cares at this point?--DBH). Proponents say the new technology will bring CD-quality* (Hah!) to FM broadcasts , and an end to static, and new data features. Broadcasts will be free, unlike satellite services. (AP 11Oc02)

2.  Under the title "Car-audio training covers installation, all the basses" the Boston Globe profiles the Ritop School for Mobile Electronics in Boston. Recently the antinoise group Noise Free America put the Mass Dept. of Education on its "Noisy dozen" list for licensing a "boom car academy", saying that boom cars are destroying many neighborhoods across the country. They are making people sick and depressed." Joe Boston, Ritop's director, said the school turns out professional who can install stereos, alarms, monitors and other technology in cars. He pointed out that Noise Free America considers movie trailers to be a form of noise. (The group's Web site describes those film previews as "thunderous.") "It's not about noise,' said Boston. "We just don't go out and 'boom, boom, boom,' all the time."

Rich Inferrera, owner of Rich's Car Tunes (next door) (profiled in BASS 20-1), started Ritop in 1985 (that's Rich Inferrera's Team of Professionals). The eight week program attracts students from as far as Japan.

Mark Huber of Noise Free America, who lives in Richmond VA, said that Ritop teaches skills that bring more noisy stereos into the street, violating his civil rights. "Where I live, those boom cars are shaking building all over the place...There's a whole culture surrounding these cars, and it's very misogynist and overtestosteronized."

One of the few women in the program, Brianna Matthews, drives a silver 2002 Honda Civic with a Kenwood Excelon head unit, MTX speakers and MTX Thunder 8000 subwoofers, and a Memphis Belle 5-channel amplifier, which she drives in her commute to UMass Amerst while listening to the haunting sounds of VAST, an electronic rock band. She did not install the equipment, but now knows how. (19Se02)

3.  Meanwhile Hawaiians are losing sleep over a tiny male tree frog know as coqui, the size of a quarter. The high-pitched shriek - co-KEE! co-KEE! co-KEE! - was piercing enough to awake Gail Souza in the middle of the night. "The frogs have driven our neighborhood nuts," said Mrs. Souza who runs a small nursery in her backyard, and who may have unknowingly imported the first of the amphibians to her neighborhood. Because the females lay several eggs at a time, and make no sound, the frogs have continued to multiply. The only remedy has been to spray concentrated caffeine in their habitat, stimulating them to death. (NYT)

David Hadaway

President, Boston Audio Society


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updated 11/11/04