Digital Radio Update - February 4, 2009


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Index

  • UK Terrestrial Listening Up, Internet Listening Down in Late '08
  • Canadian Radio Gets on Board Iphone Stream Train
  • Sirius Coming to Your Iphone, for a Price
  • AD's Blackfin Angling for Share of Emerging DAB market
  • IBOC by State: Indiana
  • The New Language of Digital Radio
  • Frontier Silicon Extends DAB Product Line
  • Roll Your Own Internet Radio

  • News

    UK Terrestrial Listening Up, Internet Listening Down in Late '08
    Great Britain listened to a little more radio over the air and a little less off the net in the fourth quarter of 2008, says a recent article on guardian.com. But the numbers tell a story that's a bit less spectacular than the headline might suggest.

    According to Britain's Rajar audience research, analog radio listening was up from 68.4 percent in Q3 '08 to 68.6 percent in Q4. Terrestrial DAB listening during the same period was also reported up from 11.3 to 11.4 percent, while Internet listening fell from 2.2 to 2 percent.

    While that micro-trend may give hope to analog radio stakeholders, the year-over-year Q4 figures were less encouraging, as listening to unspecified digital sources jumped up from 16.6 percent in 2007 to 18.3 percent in 2008, even though total digital TSL actually fell about 1 percent during the same period. Reported ownership of DAB receivers was also up from 27.3 percent in Q4 2007 to 29.7 percent in Q4 2008.


    Canadian Radio Gets on Board Iphone Stream Train
    Canada's Corus Entertainment is boasting that it's the first radio broadcast group north of the U.S. border to stream its radio station's content with a native Iphone application. Working in partnership with Stream the World, a stream technology and services firm, Corus is offering its application via the Itunes Apps Store for both Iphone and Itouch products.

    Samuel Sousa, a spokesman for Stream The World, noted the application takes advantage of touch screen and interactive capabilities of the platforms, and uses the AAC codec for best 3G mobile network performance.

    Corus Entertainment is a publically traded integrated media and entertainment company with 52 radio stations clustered predominately in major Canadian markets.


    Technology and Applications

    Sirius Coming to Your Iphone, for a Price
    Iphone owners will soon be able to listen to their favorite Sirius/XM channels online, albeit for an additional $2.99 per month over their usual subscription rate. According to an article in Orbitcast, the new third-party USirius Starplayr application for Iphone is in beta testing, and ready for retail download pending final approval from Apple.

    But the buzz surrounding Starplayr's arrival isn't as glowing as it might be, given Sirius/XM's recent decision to levy an additional fee on their subscribers who choose to access their content online. The company's explanation as to why it's charging for a service that was once free to subs? Improved audio quality delivered via the AAC codec.

    While devoted satellite fans are hailing the move, pundits are asking whether Sirius paid subscriptions will realize a bump from the software's introduction at a time when free Internet radio applications for Iphone are being added on an almost daily basis.

    Free versions of the Starplayr apps are already available for Windows and Mac PCs.


    Business

    AD's Blackfin Angling for Share of Emerging DAB market
    Analog Devices is counting on the latest release of DAB/DAB+/DMB middleware from Factum Electronics to help its Blackfin BF5xx processors compete in the expanding DAB receiver market, according to a company press release.

    AD claims that its Factum powered Blackfin provides a single-chip module that offers DLS (Dynamic Label Segment), SLS (Slideshow), and EPG (Electronic Program Guide) data services together with audio, image and video decoding capabilities for new handheld mobile receivers or tabletop radios with displays.

    Inclusion of a complete TCP/IP stack, along with various popular audio decoders (MP3, WMA, Real, and AAC) running on Blackfin mean that Internet radio and Internet music services are supported by the new combo as well.

    Joan Warner, chief executive officer, of Commercial Radio Australia acknowledged AD's announcement by noting that her organization welcomed new competition and innovation in the DAB receiver market, as her nation prepares for a national DAB+ roll out in May.


    IBOC Across America

    IBOC by State: Indiana
    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 33 stations in the Hoosier State broadcasting 49 HD Radio channels.

    MarketStationHD1 FormatHD2 FormatHD3 FormatOwner
    BloomingtonWFIU-FM 103.7NPR/ClassicalClassical-Indiana University
    CanneltonWTCJ-FM 105.7Top 40--Cromwell Group
    EvansvilleWGBF-FM 103.1AOR--Regent
    EvansvilleWPSR-FM 90.7Variety--Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation
    EvansvilleWDKS-FM 106.1Top 40--Regent
    EvansvilleWNIN-FM 88.3NPR/ClassicalRadio Reading Service-Tri State Public Teleplex
    Ft. WayneWOWO-AM 1190News/Talk/Sports--Federated Media
    Ft. WayneWBOI-FM 89.1News/Talk/InfoClassical from WBNIJazzNortheast Indiana Public Radio
    HuntingburgWBDC-FM 100.9Country--Dubois County Broadcasting
    IndianapolisWNOU-FM 100.9CHR--Radio One Inc.
    IndianapolisWFNI-AM 1070Sports--Emmis
    IndianapolisWLHKFM 97.1CountryBubba Country-Emmis
    IndianapolisWIBC-FM 93.1News/TalkDance/Top 40 - Radio Now-Emmis
    IndianapolisWTLC-FM 106.7Urban/AC--Radio One Inc.
    IndianapolisWJJK-FM 104.5Classic Hits--Cumulus Media Partners
    IndianapolisWFYI-FM 90.1News/Talk/ClassicalThe Point - Music, News and the Arts-Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting
    IndianapolisWNTR-FM 107.9Adult HitsBlues-Entercom Communications Corp.
    IndianapolisWZPL-FM 99.5CHRComedy-Entercom Communications Corp.
    IndianapolisWTLC-AM 1310Black Gospel--Radio One Inc.
    IndianapolisWKLU-FM 101.9OldiesDeep Cuts-Indy Radio LLC
    IndianapolisWFMS-FM 95.5CountryOldies-Cumulus Media Partners
    IndianapolisWRDZ-FM 98.3Top 40--Radio Disney
    IndianapolisWRZX-FM 103.3AlternativeClassic Alternative-Clear Channel
    IndianapolisWFBQ-FM 94.7AORClassic Tracks - Back of the Stack-Clear Channel
    IndianapolisWNDE-AM 1260Sports--Clear Channel
    IndianapolisWHHH-FM 96.3Urban/Hip Hop--Radio One Inc.
    IndianapolisWICR-FM 88.7Classical/JazzJazz/Classical-University of Indianapolis
    IndianapolisWRWM-FM 93.9Soft ACContemporary Christian-Cumulus Media Partners
    LafayetteWSHW-FM 99.7AC--Kaspar Broadcasting
    LafayetteWBAA-AM 920News/Jazz--Purdue University
    MadisonWORX-FM 96.7Hot AC--Dubois County Broadcasting
    South BendWAOR-FM 95.3Classic Rock--Federated Media
    VincennesWVUB-FM 91.1Hot ACSmooth Jazz - NPR-Vincennes University

    HD Radio Terminology

    The New Language of Digital Radio
    EBU: European Broadcasting Union
    EOC: ensemble operations center
    EPG: electronic program guide
    ESG: electronic service guide
    EWG: evaluation working group
    fc: center frequency
    FCC: Federal Communications Commission
    FEC: forward error correction


    Products

    Frontier Silicon Extends DAB Product Line
    Frontier Silicon is looking to extend its product reach in the area of DAB receiver chipsets with two forthcoming products. Making its debut at CES 2009 was the company's Touch Radio user interface, a touch screen application designed specifically around DAB receiver functionality such as electronic program guides (EPG), slide shows, tagging and other features.

    More recently, Frontier says it's investing $10 million on final development of its new Chorus 3, a low cost DAB chip designed to halve the power consumption of current products. The company claims their move is a response to recommendations contained in a recent UK industry report on DAB development that highlight the smaller form factors and power consumption needed to place DAB personal receivers on par with current analog FM technology.

    Frontier predicts that both products will become available sometime in 2010, and is currently projecting a price point on Touch Radio at $199. Price of the Chorus3 chip hasn't been announced, though the company says it expects it to be half that of current DAB chipsets.


    Roll Your Own Internet Radio
    In an era where electronic technology seems to have totally eclipsed basement experimenters, the introduction of the Microchip - DM183033 Internet Radio demonstration board may seem a pleasant blast from the past for those old enough to remember home audio kits from iconic names such as Heathkit, Dynalab, and Knight.

    But you won't need a soldering pen this time around. Distributed by UK-based Farnell, the U.S.-built demonstrator includes a PIC18F67J60, magnetic RJ-45 connector with status LEDs, VLSI VS1011E MPEG audio codec, two 256KB serial SRAMs, an OLED display (song title, author, station name and IP address), push button switches (station, volume and bass), along with connectors for power, headphones, and a socket to accommodate either an MPLAB ICD 2 in-circuit debugger or MPLAB Real Ice in-circuit emulator -- all for the quaint price of about $103.

    The creative aspect of case design is left entirely up to the builder.




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