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Digital Radio Update - March 4, 2009
Hungary Expands DAB+ Trial
Antenna Hungária (AH), a major player in Hungary's broadcast service sector, says it's expanding the content available on its DAB+ terrestrial radio network, now operating on an ongoing trial basis in Budapest. The new addition of Sláger Rádió and Magyar Katolikus Rádió brings the total number of channels available on the current multiplex to eight.
DAB+ testing began in December 2008, and programming began airing on Jan. 23. Current coverage of single multiplex extends to roughly 30 percent of the country's population, according to a company press release.
AH notes that while there are currently four models of radio available for sale to the general public, they expect that number to double in the next year. The firm says it plans to expand the current multiplex with additional public and commercial channels as it pursues eventual adoption of the system.
DRM Featured at BES, NAB 2009
Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) was a feature attraction at last week's Broadcast Engineering Society (India) Expo International Conference held in Delhi, India. Roughly 40 engineers were expected to attend a special workshop focusing on the open-source technology, not surprising, given the fact that All India Radio (AIR) has committed to the open standard system in a multi-year conversion program. AIR Radio officially inaugurated its first regularly scheduled DRM service on Jan. 16 of this year.
Demonstration of over-the-air HF DRM transmissions from the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Trincomalle (Sri Lanka) and AIR were featured at the conference, along with DRM technology displays, equipment and receivers.
DRM says it will also host a technology panel discussion on Tuesday, April 21, during the 2009 NAB Show in Las Vegas. Those interested in attending should contact Continental Electronics, which is hosting the event.
Technology and Applications
ABU, Voice of Vietnam, Hosts HD Radio Trials/Workshop
The Asia Pacific Broadcast Union (ABU) and The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) Radio, recently sponsored a digital radio workshop with an HD Radio focus. The event highlighted FM and MW AM testing of IBOC digital transmission under the auspices of VOV, with cooperation from Ibiquity Digital and Nautel.
According to an ABU press release, IBOC AM is of particular interest to Southeast Asian broadcasters, who already have a well developed MW infrastructure. IBOC's backward compatibility with legacy receivers is a big selling point in Vietnam and other developing nations where the cost of digital receivers, even at a $75 - $100 price points, may be prohibitive for much of the population.
The ABU says it hopes the workshop succeeded in generating sufficient interest and expertise among attendees to allow them to arrange similar trials in their respective nations and markets.
BE Offering HD Radio and RF Courses in Quincy
Citing the need for a better understanding of high power RF and HD Radio technology among radio engineers and managers, Broadcast Electronics will offer three half-day courses in both disciplines at the company's new RF lab in Quincy, IL.
The first class, entitled RF Technology 101, will cover amplifier and tube operation basics, Smith Chart applications, passive components, quarter wave hybrids and TDR measurements as well as transmission line theory and resonant circuits in a lab environment. The RF class will begin its first run on March 23 and run again in late September.
IBOC Technology 101 will cover the fine points of both AM and FM IBOC digital transmission and data management, along with modulation techniques, combiners, filters and antenna systems. Associated equipment and systems will also be included. This class will run beginning on June 15 and repeat on Nov. 9.
IBOC Across America
IBOC by State: Pennsylvania
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 75 stations in the Keystone State broadcasting 124 HD Radio channels.
|Market||Station||HD1 Format||HD2 Format||HD3 Format||Owner|
|Allentown-Bethlehem||WAEB-FM 104.1||Adult CHR||New Hits||-||Clear Channel|
|Allentown-Bethlehem||WDIY-FM 88.1||Variety||-||-||Lehigh Valley Community Broadcast Associates|
|Allentown-Bethlehem||WSAN-AM 1470||Fox Sports||-||-||Clear Channel|
|Allentown-Bethlehem||WZZO-FM 95.1||AOR||Comedy - Joke Joke||-||Clear Channel|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WHKF-FM 99.3||Urban||Rock - Alternative Rock||-||Clear Channel|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WHP-AM 580||News/Talk||-||-||Clear Channel|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WJAZ-FM 91.7||Classical/Jazz||-||-||Temple University|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WNNK-FM 104.1||Hot AC||Urban - The Touch 95.3||-||Cumulus Media|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WRBT-FM 94.9||Country||Classic Country - Amy||-||Clear Channel|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WRVV-FM 97.3||Rock AC||Vinyl Vineyards||-||Clear Channel|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WTKT-AM 1460||Sports||-||-||Clear Channel|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WTPA-FM 93.5||Classic Rock||-||-||Cumulus Media|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WWKL-FM 92.1||CHR||-||-||Cumulus Media|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WXPH-FM 88.7||AAA||Modern Rock||-||University of Pennsylvania|
|Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle||WZXM-FM 88.1||Christian Contemporary||-||-||Four Rivers Community Broadcasting|
|Lancaster||WDAC-FM 94.5||Christian||Praise & Worship||-||WDAC Radio Company|
|Lancaster||WROZ-FM 101.3||Soft Rock||-||-||Hall Communications|
|Lancaster||WRTL-FM 90.7||Classical/Jazz||-||-||Temple University|
|Philadelphia||KYW-AM 1060||News||-||-||CBS Radio|
|Philadelphia||WBEB-FM 101.1||AAA||80s Channel||-||WEAZ-FM|
|Philadelphia||WBEN-FM 95.7||Adult Hits||Club Ben - Rythmic AC /Dance||-||Greater Media|
|Philadelphia||WDAS-FM 105.3||Urban AC||R&B Love Songs||-||Clear Channel|
|Philadelphia||WHAT-AM 1340||Adult Standard||-||-||Marconi Broadcasting Company|
|Philadelphia||WHYY-FM 90.9||News/Talk/Info||WHYY Arts & Info Service||-||WHYY, Inc.|
|Philadelphia||WIOQ-FM 102.1||CHR/Top40||Tropical||-||Clear Channel|
|Philadelphia||WIP-AM 610||Sports/Talk||-||-||CBS Radio|
|Philadelphia||WISX-FM 106.1||Rhythmic/AC||Smooth Jazz||-||Clear Channel|
|Philadelphia||WMGK-FM 102.9||Classic Rock||WMGK Deep Trax||-||Greater Media|
|Philadelphia||WMMR-FM 93.3||Rock||Live Rock - WMMR Archives||-||Greater Media|
|Philadelphia||WNUW-FM 97.5||AC||Classical||-||Greater Media|
|Philadelphia||WOGL-FM 98.1||Classic Hits||All 70s||-||CBS Radio|
|Philadelphia||WPEN-AM 950||Sports/Talk||-||-||Greater Media|
|Philadelphia||WPHT-AM 1210||Talk||-||-||CBS Radio|
|Philadelphia||WPPZ-FM 103.9||Gospel||-||-||Radio One|
|Philadelphia||WRDW-FM 96.5||CHR/Rhythmic||Dance Club Music||-||Beasley Broadcast Group|
|Philadelphia||WRFF-FM 104.5||Rock||eRockster||-||Clear Channel|
|Philadelphia||WRNB-FM 107.9||Adult CHR||-||-||Radio One|
|Philadelphia||WRTI-FM 90.1||Classical/Jazz||Classical /Jazz||-||Temple University|
|Philadelphia||WUBA-AM 1480||Tropical||-||-||Clear Channel|
|Philadelphia||WUSL-FM 98.9||Urban||Classic Hip Hop||-||Clear Channel|
|Philadelphia||WWDB-AM 860||Business News/Talk||-||-||Beasley Broadcast Group|
|Philadelphia||WWJZ-AM 640||Family Hits||-||-||Radio Disney|
|Philadelphia||WXPN-FM 88.5||AAA||Y-Rock||-||University of Pennsylvania|
|Philadelphia||WXTU-FM 92.5||Country||Country Next Generation||-||Beasley Broadcast Group|
|Philadelphia||WYSP-FM 94.1||Rock||News/KYW||-||CBS Radio|
|Pittsburgh||KDKA-AM 1020||News/Talk||-||-||CBS Radio|
|Pittsburgh||WBZW-FM 93.7||CHR/Top 40||Party Hits||KDKA-AM||CBS Radio|
|Pittsburgh||WDSY-FM 107.9||Country||All New Country||KDKA-AM||CBS Radio|
|Pittsburgh||WDUQ-FM 90.5||News/Jaz/NPR||Alternating MPS Jazz/News||Blues||Duquesne University|
|Pittsburgh||WDVE-FM 102.5||Rock||Blues||-||Clear Channel|
|Pittsburgh||WEAE-AM 1250||Sports||-||-||ESPN Radio|
|Pittsburgh||WKST-FM 96.1||CHR||Dance||-||Clear Channel|
|Pittsburgh||WLTJ-FM 92.9||Soft Rock||Classic Rock||Urban AC||Steel City Media|
|Pittsburgh||WPGB-FM 104.7||Talk||Smooth Jazz||-||Clear Channel|
|Pittsburgh||WQED-FM 89.3||Classical||-||-||WQED Multimedia|
|Pittsburgh||WRRK-FM 96.9||Bob's B Sides||Local Artists||-||Steel City Media|
|Pittsburgh||WWSW-FM 94.5||Oldies||Jammin Oldies||-||Clear Channel|
|Pittsburgh||WXDX-FM 105.9||Alternative||Adult Alternative||-||Clear Channel|
|Pittsburgh||WZPT-FM 100.7||Hot AC||All New Hits||KDKA-AM||CBS Radio|
|Reading||WFKB-FM 107.5||Classic Hits||Christian||-||Nassau Broadcasting Partners|
|State College||WPSU-FM 91.5||Variety||NPR - Music / News||-||The Pennsylvania State University|
|Sunbury-Selinsgrove-Lewisburg||WQKX-FM 94.1||CHR||-||-||Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WBSX-FM 97.9||Rock||-||-||Citadel|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WDMT-FM 102.3||Classic Hits||Rock - Live Rock||-||Entercom Communications|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WGGY-FM 101.3||Country||Blues||-||Entercom Communications|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WILK-FM 103.1||News/Talk||Jazz - Smooth Jazz||-||Entercom Communications|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WKRZ-FM 98.5||CHR||Comedy||-||Entercom Communications|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WMGS-FM 92.9||AC||-||-||Citadel|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WRTY-FM 91.1||Classical/Jazz||-||-||Temple University|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WSJR-FM 93.7||Country||-||-||Citadel|
|Wilkes Barre-Scranton||WVIA-FM 89.9||Classical||-||-||North Eastern Pennsylvania Educational Television Association|
|York||WARM-FM 103.3||Soft Rock||-||-||Cumulus Media Partners|
|York||WSOX-FM 96.1||Classic Hits||-||-||Cumulus Media Partners|
Eye on IBOC
A Tale of Two Studies
A couple of interesting pieces of research flitted across my monitor this week. The first arrived as a half-sheet press release from a New York City public relations firm with the heading "J.D. Power Survey Confirms Rapid HD Radio Adoption by Automakers." The gist of it was that a 2008 study by Power concluded that HD Radio penetration in new or leased vehicles model years 2003-2008 was about 5 percent, based on a survey with 19,000 respondents.
That certainly caught my eye. With 1 million or fewer total HD Radio receivers in the market at the end of 2008 that percentage seemed, well, surprisingly high. The last paragraph summarized by offering the data as "another proof-point to HD Radio's momentum." Predictably, reprints of this piece popped up on various radio sites across the Web. Chalk one up for IBOC.
But then I came across another study. This one was the first annual Public Radio Tech Survey, designed and conducted by Jacobs Media on behalf of Public Radio. This study boasted about 30,000 respondents (all public radio listeners). The survey was initiated to help public radio program directors calibrate their strategies for building and holding their listener base.
Now, public radio has made an enormous investment in IBOC technology. In fact, one might argue that public radio has really driven the development and refinement of key HD Radio applications, such as multicasting. And public radio has led the charge in promoting HD Radio receiver sales. So I expected the study, conducted late in 2008, to say some positive things about HD Radio adoption and how it is becoming a factor in shaping how listeners use public radio. But what I found was something quite different.
Among the items listed under Key Findings, online listening is of growing importance to public broadcasters. Podcasting is said to be making an impact, with more than half the respondents owning some form of portable file player. Satellite radio listening, running at about 12 percent for public radio listeners, was described as playing a role but far from being a mass appeal delivery system.
And how was HD Radio use characterized? With only about 3 percent of respondents reporting access to an HD Radio receiver, the technology was succinctly defined as remaining in the embryonic stage.
But wait, there's more. The report's Summary Observations section goes further, suggesting "the HD Radio initiative's impact is miniscule, and fraught with several practical barriers that may hamper future growth."
If you think carefully about just the numbers, these two articles are not all that far apart, particularly since sample error increases greatly when you’re talking about small percentages within a set of survey data. But these are sharply contradictory messages, designed for very different audiences and purposes. Together they speak volumes about where IBOC digital radio stands today. As radio (like the TV and publishing industries) is forced to re-conceptualize its business model under economic duress, it's time to discard old assumptions and open ourselves to all the possibilities that exist for the delivery of compelling audio content. IBOC digital is (and is likely to remain) just a part of a complex new iteration of a medium we call radio.
So in the months ahead, look for Digital Radio Update to take you down some of those alternate paths, and how they will test broadcaster's technological savvy as never before. Uncertainty about where our industry is heading may be unsettling, but it's sure to make for some interesting reading. Stay tuned.
HD Radio Terminology
The New Language of Digital Radio
IAAIS: International Association of Audio information Services
IBOC: In-Band On-Channel
IBAC: In-Band Adjacent-Channel
I2E: Importer to exporter
IANA: Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
IAT: International Atomic Time
Iheart Radio Now Available on Verizon Hub
Clear Channel Radio's Iheart Radio portal, already available to Iphone users via AT&T, is now being offered via Verizon Hub. Featuring feeds from Clear Channel Radio large market stations, available formats include music, sports and talk, as well as the Verizon New Music Channel. Company CEO John Hogan says the firm's initial line-up of 14 stations will be expanded over the next 30 to 60 days.
Verizon describes its Hub system as a communications command center that bridges wireline and wireless connectivity and runs on any broadband connection (FiOS, Internet or DSL).
Verizon Hub users can click on the Internet Radio button, which has been downloaded automatically over the broadband connection, located under the V Cast icon on the applications screen.
Customers require a wireless service plan from Verizon as well as a Verizon Digital Voice plan for the Verizon Hub, which must be purchased as a separate hardware item.
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