Debunking the Prometheus Top 10 Problems with HD Radio


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3. To make it work, digital broadcasters want to drown out everyone else.
This references the sideband power increase. Prometheus has latched on to the opponents who ask for more data and research. And while increased sidebands can cause interference to adjacent channels, the idea is that the hybrid mode of HD Radio operation is temporary. It also looks for all radio stations to use HD Radio technology.

4. Low power community radio risks losing the most.
Prometheus is protecting its own interests with this statement. Prometheus also says that "The same industry broadcasters who claim LPFMs will cause interference are claiming that HD Radio, already more powerful than LPFM, is no problem." Prometheus is ignoring the situation of existing stations adding HD Radio compared to new, shoe-horned LPFM stations.

5. Tons more stations, but no new public interest obligations.
Prometheus says, "With the advent of digital technology, there's room for many new stations on the dial (though all owned by the same broadcasters as the old stations, thanks to IBOC)." Well, sort of. If the entire radio spectrum were refarmed and a new digital transmission system applied, I agree that there could be more stations. That won't happen. Even if it did, IBOC wouldn't automatically hand the new stations to the existing broadcasters.

Prometheus goes on to play the serving the public interest card, saying that HD Radio gives existing broadcaster more spectrum but does not require more public service commitment. The commitment is the same because the spectrum is the same.

Prometheus wants the FCC to require full-power digital stations to "donate a portion of their new revenues to a public interest fund" or "share a portion of their new bandwidth with noncommercial, educational groups" or "produce eight hours of local programming per day." Donate revenue? I doubt it. Produce eight hours of local programming per day? That's not a terrible idea, but 'local programming' is as simple as a DJ playing music. Provide air time to noncommercial groups? That has some merit, and multicast makes it possible.

Prometheus apparently does not understand how HD Radio works when it says, "The spectrum used by HD Radio is another slice of the public pie served up to the private sector, for free." It's the same amount of spectrum. It's just used in a different way.

6. Anonymous interference.
Prometheus says, "Unlike regular interference between analog radio stations, interference from an HD [Radio] station just sounds like white noise, so there's no way for listeners to identify the problem station. With no way for listeners to complain, the FCC probably won't ever hear about most HD-caused interference."

And we all know that low-power stations are so good about identifying themselves as well. They can be even harder to find than full-power stations. And many of them do not operate full-time, so the interference they cause is intermittent.



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