Mexican Radio Owners Want Digital Switchover Date

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A broadcast trade group in Mexico has asked government regulators to impose a digital radio conversion date that corresponds to the country's DTV transition, now slated for 2015.

According to a series of articles in El Universal, Rafael Borbon, president of CIRT (Mexico's counterpart to the NAB) is lobbying the nation's communication and transport ministry (SCT) to add radio to the digital transition date the government has already set for TV. The newspaper also noted that the government still has not yet officially specified a digital radio standard -- something it previously committed to complete by September 2009.

IBiquity Digital's HD Radio IBOC standard appears to be the leading contender for adoption in Mexico, with a number of AM and FM stations near the U.S. border already operating under interim approvals. Even though IBOC hybrid digital radio has been recognized as a standard in n the United States for the better part of a decade, adoption mandates have yet to be seriously considered by regulators or industry officials here.

SCT Minister Juan Molinar responded to the CIRT request by saying his agency would take the matter under advisement, but that more technical and economic studies of potential impacts are needed before it can propose any digital radio transition deadline.

Critics of the CIRT request say a transition mandate is totally unrealistic, given the adverse economic conditions now being experienced throughout Mexico.

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