Digital Radio Update - March 18, 2009


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Index

  • Mendenhall to Present High Power IBOC Paper at NAB Show
  • France to Require Digital Radios after 2013
  • Iheartradio Downloads Break 1 Million Mark
  • World Space Purchased by Group Controlled by Former CEO
  • IBOC by State: West Virginia
  • The New Language of Digital Radio
  • Sirius XM Introducing Iphone App
  • Siport Debuts Production of Low-Power HD Chips

  • News

    Geoff Mendenhall

    Mendenhall to Present High Power IBOC Paper at NAB Show
    Longtime FM transmission expert Geoff Mendenhall, currently serving as VP of Transmission Research & Technology at Harris Broadcast Communications, will present "HD Radio Implementations and Improvements Part I," a paper delving into high power hybrid IBOC amplification, at the 2009 NAB Show's engineering conference in Las Vegas.

    Mendenhall's work directly addresses the conundrum facing many broadcasters now operating digital hybrid transmitters as they become eligible for digital power increases, if and when the FCC approves a proposal to allow digital signal components to grow by a whopping 10dB. While such a proposal might go a long way toward improving digital coverage, financially strapped broadcasters will need to be thorough as they consider potentially expensive options for boosting digital signals.

    A recent NAB Radio Tech Check article gives some interesting previews of the paper's main points, centering on Mendenhall's thesis that modern vacuum tube technology presents the most efficient and economical approach to high linearity, high-power hybrid amplification.

    The presentation will take place on April 19, 2009, starting at 10:30 a.m. in room S226/227 of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and will also be included in its entirety in the 2009 NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference Proceedings, on sale at the show and from the NAB Store online.


    France to Require Digital Radios after 2013
    The nation of France has committed to a firm digital radio migration date and has new laws to prove it. Although media regulator CSA won't officially release its digital radio migration plan until June, a press release from the World DMB Forum indicates that recent legislation means the French government is serious about getting digital receivers into consumers' hands.

    The new timeline begins with September 2010, the point at which any non-automotive receiver capable of displaying multimedia content must have digital radio capability. Two years beyond that date, all non-automotive receivers must be multimedia capable, including digital radio, and by September 2013 all receivers, including automotive, must be fully digital-compatible. The law goes further still to require that every car sold in France after September 2013 be equipped with a digital radio.

    The CSA plans to release an initial list of phase1 digital licensees in April, to be followed by a comprehensive road map and schedule of digital transmission facilities to come on-line during the transition period.

    Government officials have justified their aggressive regulatory approach in the name of ensuring the nation's cultural plurality and diversity, saying that digital radio will play an important role in achieving that goal.


    Business

    Iheartradio Downloads Break 1 Million Mark
    Clear Channel Radio says more than 1 million users have downloaded its Iheartradio application for Apple's Iphone in less than six months since the product's launch. The privately held radio group boasts that Iheart use has been growing by an average of 13 percent per week during that period.

    Separately, the company has announced that a beta version of Iheartradio for the RIM Blackberry is now available at iheartradio.com. The application, built by Clear Channel in consultation with RIM engineers, includes a full array of Iheartradio content for the Blackberry Pearl, Curve and Bold models.

    Clear Channel streams Iheart at 64kb/s using the AAC audio codec.


    World Space

    World Space Purchased by Group Controlled by Former CEO
    The tortuous bankruptcy saga of pioneer satellite radio broadcaster World Space has concluded with an interesting twist, say recent reports in Rapid TV News. The March 6 sale of the now defunct organization's satellites and uplink facilities by a Delaware bankruptcy court transferred those assets to a familiar buyer: Yenura Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based corporation controlled by none other than former World Space CEO Noah Samarra.

    News of the sale isn't likely to calm continuing legal turmoil surrounding World Space and its former subsidiaries, nor is it likely to give the international satcaster a fresh start with former business partners such as Italy's Fiat Motors or XM Satellite radio, now Sirius XM.

    XM's issues with World Space reportedly stem from a multi-year agreement by the latter to supply XM with four channels of programming. Siruis XM now claims that World Space breached the terms of the contract when it ceased programming on Feb. 6 without prior notice.


    IBOC Across America

    IBOC by State: West Virginia
    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 16 stations in the Mountain State broadcasting 16 HD Radio channels.

    MarketStationHD1 FormatOwner
    BeckleyWVPB-FM 91.7AC/NewsWV Educational Broadcasting Authority
    BeckleyWJJJ-FM 88.1ChristianShofar Broadcasting
    CharlestonWKAZ-FM 107.3OldiesWest Virginia Radio Corp.
    CharlestonWVPN-FM 88.5News/Talk/InfoWV Educational Broadcasting Authority
    CharlestonWKWS-FM 96.1CountryWest Virginia Radio Corp.
    CharlestonWVAF-FM 99.9Hot ACWest Virginia Radio Corp.
    Elkins-Buckhannon-WestonWVPW-FM 88.9News/Talk/InfoWV Educational Broadcasting Authority
    Huntington-Ashland-KYWVWV-FM 89.9News/Talk/InfoWV Educational Broadcasting Authority
    MartinsburgWVEP-FM 88.9News/Talk/InfoWV Educational Broadcasting Authority
    Morgantown-Clarksburg-FairmontWVPM-FM 90.9News/Talk/InfoWV Educational Broadcasting Authority
    Morgantown-Clarksburg-FairmontWVAQ-FM 101.9CHRWest Virginia Radio Corp.
    Parkersburg-Marietta-OHWVPG-FM 90.3News/Talk/InfoWV Educational Broadcasting Authority
    PetersburgWAUA-FM 89.5News/Talk/InfoWV Educational Broadcasting Authority
    RidgeleyWDYK-FM 100.5ACWest Virginia Radio Corp.
    WheelingWWVA-AM 1170News/Talk/ReligiousClear Channel
    WheelingWVNP-FM 89.9News/Talk/InfoWV Educational Broadcasting Authority

    HD Radio Terminology

    The New Language of Digital Radio
    IC: integrated circuit
    ID3: tag embedded in MPEG I Layer III files
    IDFT: inverse discrete fourier transform
    IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission
    IETF: Internet Engineering Task Force
    IP: Interleaving Process or Internet Protocol


    Products

    Sirius XM Introducing Iphone App
    Cnet's Dawn Kawamoto is reporting that a long-rumored Iphone application for Sirius XM's content family is under construction and slated for a June launch. Details of the pending release surfaced during a corporate conference call with financial analysts.

    The deal is seen as key for Sirius XM's survival in an economic climate that's been disastrous for new car sales, hitherto a prime mover for satellite subscriptions.

    Kawamoto says the move will consummate a romance that Sirius has been pursuing with Apple for more than four years.

    The new application will be available on domestic Iphones, and to Sirius XM subs and Ipod Touch Wi-fi users. No word yet on pricing or whether the Sirius' new $12.95 Internet fee will apply.


    Siport Debuts Production of Low-Power HD Chips
    Chipmaker Siport says its new SP1010 HD Radio IC is now available in production quantities to OEM, ODMs and module manufacturers. Touting the single chip product as the lowest-power HD Radio device available, company executives note that the CMOS IC combines tuner, baseband, memory, and DC-DC converters in a single package that consumes about 100mW, while handling all decoding, synch, error detection and correction functions.

    Clear Channel Radio Executive VP Jeff Littlejohn welcomed the announcement, saying that the product will extend HD Radio's reach to a new family of mobile and portable devices.




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