Digital Radio Update - January23, 2008


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Index:


News

Wimax Rolls Out in Baltimore, DC and Chicago
Wireless carrier Sprint revealed at CES that it has begun a soft launch of its new Wimax wireless broadband service, under the brand Xohm, in the Baltimore; Washington, DC; and Chicago metro areas. The term soft launch means that only Sprint employees have been given network access to date, allowing the carrier to make evaluations and service adjustments before the service opens to public subscribers later this year.

Unlike some 3G wireless broadband services, Sprint's $5 billon Xohm network promises users broadband speeds as high as 70Mb/s with a service contour of up to 50km. But what really sets the service apart from current broadband offerings is Sprint's promise to make Xohm chipsets available to OEM's for the development and marketing of media specific platforms, such as mobile IP video and Internet radio applications.

Some analysts view Xohm as a do-or-die product for the wireless carrier, which has a substantial capital investment in the network infrastructure, and has recently experienced a change in CEOs.

Xohm is projected to role out to consumers with a subscription price point somewhere between $30-40/month.


Zaino to Head Programming at World Space Italia
World Space Italia appointed Roberto Zaino as content director for its mobile satellite radio service, now projected to begin service to the Italian marketplace late in 2008.

Zaino is described as a pioneer of Italy's radio broadcasting industry, having began his career with the launch of Radio Milano International more than 30 years ago. He also founded and ran his own media production company, where he worked on numerous broadcast projects for both radio and TV, winning national awards for best original radio programs in 1997, 2003 and 2005.

World Space Italia says it expects to begin satellite broadcast of 40-50 commercial-free music, news, entertainment, talk and sports programming channels across Italy in late 2008. The company announced an agreement with FIAT Group Automobiles in July 2007, in which Fiat will introduce World Space satellite radios as factory-installed, optional equipment on certain Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia models in late 2009. The company also plans to offer portable satellite radios to subscribers through Fiat's network of dealerships and other aftermarket channels.

World Space Italia is a majority-owned affiliate of World Space international satellite radio service.


Business

NPR, Harris, Towson University Partner on Sensory Disability Radio Project
NPR, Harris Corporation and Towson University have unveiled an initiative that supporters say will make radio more accessible to many millions of hearing and visually impaired people around the world. Announcement of the group's global accessible radio technology initiative came during a press conference and live demonstration of accessible radio technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The event also heralded the establishment of the International Center for Accessible Radio Technologies (I-CART) technology development center located on the campus of Towson University near Baltimore.

The joint initiative will employ HD Radio technology to provide text delivery of live radio content via closed-captions, available to the hearing-impaired on specialized IBOC digital receivers. Related applications will provide audio cues, voice prompts, and advanced radio-reading services for visually impaired and blind persons.

According to a press release, plans call for NPR to provide content with Harris working on transmission technology, while Towson conducts research into the needs of sensory-disabled populations.

The three founding groups will reportedly guide the organization with support from other initiative members, including Ibiquity Digital, Delphi, NDS, Radiosophy, Helen Keller Institute, Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH (NCAM), Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons, and the G3ict, an advocacy initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development. More information on the initiative can be found at www.i-cart.net.


HD Alliance's Warren Steps up to Executive VP Role
The HD Digital Radio Alliance has promoted its former vice president of marketing and communications, Diane Warren, to the position of executive VP.

Warren's previous responsibilities included directing the Alliance's advertising campaigns and marketing components associated with HD Radio's nationwide rollout. She also served as point person for the National Association of Broadcasters' HD Radio Marketing Task Force, and primary liaison for HD Radio marketing partners.

In her new role, Warren will manage relations with receiver makers, radio stations and press media on an expanded basis.

A 25-year veteran of the radio industry, Warren was previously senior vice president of public affairs for Clear Channel Communications and the founder and president of RadioAE.com. Her previous sales management duties included stints with US Radio, Dalton Group, Atlanta Cap Cities/ABC, Granum, and Infinity/CBS.


FCC Update

Chairman Martin: Sat Merger Decision Likely in 1st Quarter
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin reportedly says the FCC should be able to reach a decision on the long-debated merger between satellite radio operators XM and Sirius before April.

In a Jan. 19 article in FMQB, Martin was quoted as saying that he "would guess that the Commission will try to address (the merger) in the first quarter of this year." The article went on to say that Martin indicated the Commission could render its decision on XM/Sirius at any time, regardless of whether the DOJ has completed its own review and decision on the deal.

The FCC's shot clock for a final ruling on the merger expired last December.


IBOC Across America

IBOC by State: Michigan
Ibiquity has a list of stations with licensed HD Radio technology and notes those on the air now. IBOC by state looks at various states and lists the stations making the transition. There are 56 stations in the Great Lakes State broadcasting 81 HD Radio channels.

MarketStationHD1 FormatHD2 FormatOwner
Ann ArborWEMU-FM 89.1Jazz/News-Eastern Michigan University
Ann ArborWUOM-FM 91.7News/Talk/Info-University of Michigan
DetroitWMXD-FM 92.3Urban ACGospelClear Channel Radio
DetroitWDRQ-FM 93.1Classic HitsRhythmic HitsCitadel
DetroitWCSX-FM 94.7Classic RockDeep TraxGreater Media
DetroitWKQI-FM 95.5Top 40New CHRClear Channel Radio
DetroitWDVD-FM 96.3Hot ACAlternativeCitadel
DetroitWXYT-FM 97.1TalkRe-NewsCBS Radio
DetroitWJLB-FM 97.9UrbanClassic Hip HopClear Channel Radio
DetroitWVMV-FM 98.7Smooth Jazz/NACTraditional JazzCBS Radio
DetroitWYCD-FM 99.5CountryThe WolfCBS Radio
DetroitWNIC-FM 100.3ACToday's Best MusicClear Channel Radio
DetroitWRIF-FM 101.1AORRIFF2Greater Media
DetroitWDET-FM 101.9NPR/ProgressiveMusic MixWayne State University
DetroitWHTD-FM 102.7Urban-Radio One
DetroitWMUZ-FM 103.5Christian ContemporaryChristian PraiseCrawford Broadcasting
DetroitWOMC-FM 104.3OldiesHistory of Rock and RollCBS Radio
DetroitWMGC-FM 105.1ACMore MagicGreater Media
DetroitWDMK-FM 105.9Urban AC-Radio One
DetroitWDTW-FM 106.7CountryMother TruckerClear Channel Radio
DetroitWRDT-AM 560Religion-Crawford Broadcasting
DetroitWJR-AM 760Full Service-Citadel
DetroitWFDF-AM 910Children-ABC Radio
DetroitWWJ-AM 950News-CBS Radio
DetroitWDFN-AM 1130Sports-Clear Channel Radio
DetroitWXYT-AM 1270Sports-CBS Radio
DetroitWEXL-AM 1340Gospel-Crawford Broadcasting
FlintWFUM-FM 91.1News/Talk/Info-University of Michigan
FlintWRCL-FM 93.7Urban-Regent
FlintWWBN-FM 101.5Rock-Regent
FlintWCRZ-FM 107.9AC-Regent
Grand RapidsWGVU-FM 88.5Jazz-Grand Valley State University
Grand RapidsWBCT-FM 93.7Country-Clear Channel Radio
Grand RapidsWTNR-FM 94.5Country-Citadel
Grand RapidsWLHT-FM 95.7ACWNWZ-American MexicanRegent
Grand RapidsWMAX-FM 96.1VarietyRock - Classic AlternativeClear Channel Radio
Grand RapidsWLAV-FM 96.9Clsc Rock-Citadel
Grand RapidsWGRD-FM 97.9Modern Rock-Regent
Grand RapidsWFGR-FM 98.7Oldies-Regent
Grand RapidsWTRV-FM 100.5Soft AC-Regent
Grand RapidsWBFX-FM 101.3Classic RockAAAClear Channel Radio
Grand RapidsWVGR-FM 104.1News/Talk/Info-University of Michigan
Grand RapidsWSNX-FM 104.5CHRPop DanceClear Channel Radio
Grand RapidsWHTS-FM 105.3Hot AC-Citadel
Grand RapidsWOOD-FM 105.7ACClassicalClear Channel Radio
Grand RapidsWTKG-AM 1230News/Talk-Clear Channel Radio
KalamazooWMUK-FM 102.1Classical-Western Michigan University
Lansing-East LansingWDBM-FM 88.9AOR-Michigan State University
Lansing-East LansingWLNZ-FM 89.7AAAOldiesLansing Community College
Lansing-East LansingWKAR-FM 90.5Classic/Folk/Jazz-Michigan State University
Lansing-East LansingWITL-FM100.7CountryCitadel
Lansing-East LansingWKAR-AM 870News/Talk-Michigan State University
MarquetteWNMU-FM 90.1Classical-Northern Michigan University
MuskegonWMRR-FM 101.7Classic RockBluesClear Channel Radio
MuskegonWMUS-FM 106.9CountryNew CountryClear Channel Radio
MuskegonWSHZ-FM 107.9Bright ACUrban VarietyClear Channel Radio

Eye on IBOC

FCC Second NPRM open on SDARS Repeaters
The FCC is seeking public comments on a proposed rulemaking that would establish final rules for terrestrial repeaters planned and currently deployed by satellite radio providers Sirius and XM.

According to the Jan. 7 edition of the NAB's Radio Tech Check publication, the repeaters, which currently operate under STAs, have been controversial since their early deployment, with XM at one point admitting hundreds of its stations were operating outside parameters originally filed with the Commission.

At issue are a number of questions regarding what constitutes appropriate use of the repeaters. For example, should repeaters be permitted to be fed by a secondary VSAT network and operate outside of the primary footprint of the broadcast satellites (so-called stand-alone operation), and should locally originated content distribution via select repeaters be allowed?

Another point of contention revolves around acceptable signal overlap with lower powered stations in the Wireless Communications Service (WCS), located in contiguous spectrum above and below the SDARS allocations.

A full copy of the FCC's proceeding can be viewed here.


HD Radio Terms

The New Language of Digital Radio
necessary bandwidth: The bandwidth sufficient to ensure transmission and reception of a signal with a specified minimum quality or performance under defined conditions.

hermitian symmetry: A characteristic of radio frequency sidebands in which the frequency responses of the In-phase (real) components above and below center frequency are symmetrical, while the frequency responses of the Quadrature (imaginary) components above and below center frequency would be symmetrical but for the fact that the sign of one Quadrature sideband's response is inverted with respect to the other. Mathematically, this is also called conjugate symmetry, in which the sign of the imaginary component is negated on one sideband with respect to the other: conj(a+jb) = a-jb. In terms of phase and amplitude response, the amplitude response is symmetrical while the phase rotates in opposite directions above and below center frequency.

supplemental program service (SPS): The program service consisting of one or more Supplemental Program Audio streams paired with Supplemental Program Service Data. Unlike MPS, the SPS services do not have a corresponding host analog audio broadcast as a backup.




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