Digital Radio Update - August 21, 2008


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Index:

  • Deadline for 2008 CPB Digital Upgrade Grants Approaches
  • Siport, NXP Tout New Digital Radio Chips
  • Radiopaq Rp5 Mixes On-Air/On-line Digital Radio
  • IBOC by State: Ohio
  • Wimax Merger in Dispute -- And What it Means to Radio
  • The New Language of Digital Radio
  • An In-dash HD Radio Receiver for Under $50?
  • News

    Deadline for 2008 CPB Digital Upgrade Grants Approaches
    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), along with is member station Digital Consultation Panel, has recommended an additional allocation of funds for the conversion of digital radio transmitters, and is actively soliciting grant applications from CPB-eligible organizations for digital transmission upgrades in its FY 08 funding cycle. Deadline for receipt of applications is Sept. 29.

    To date, CPB says it has approved funding for the digital conversion of 697 public radio transmitters. More than 400 public radio stations have completed conversions and are now transmitting digital signals. Of those, 127 are multicasting for a total of 168 multicast streams.

    For more information and application forms, go to www.cpb.org.


    Siport, NXP Tout New Digital Radio Chips
    Two HD Radio chip manufacturers are making noise regarding their latest products targeting the developing HD Radio market.

    Siport, a consumer electronics IC developer, is promoting that its SP1010 single-chip HD Radio receiver has completed comprehensive product qualification and received HD Radio Ready certification from Ibiquity Digital. The company says LG-Innotek is currently sampling an HD Radio module based on the new device.

    Siport is promising production quantity availability of the SP1010 later in September.

    Meanwhile, NXP Semiconductors, an independent semiconductor company founded by consumer electronics giant Philips, says it has developed a multi-standard radio integrated circuit (IC) for in-car digital radio reception. The company claims the new single-chip product, dubbed SAF3560, supports HD Radio, DAB, DAB+, DRM and T-DMB Radio reception with the goal of reducing development costs and logistics complexity for OEM car audio manufacturers.

    Development of the SAF3560 reflects the need of receiver manufacturers to address a fractious mix of digital radio technologies now being deployed worldwide. For example, automakers producing product for the European market are currently challenged by a weave of DAB, T-DMB, DRM, and even HD Radio now being broadcast there.

    NXP notes the new SAF3560 supports the latest HD Radio features, like Itunes Tagging, as well as provisioning for field software upgrades.


    Business

    Radiopaq Rp5 Mixes On-Air/On-line Digital Radio
    Radio lovers in the UK will soon have a new platform for exploring music on local analog and digital radio as well as a constellation of radio outlets on the Internet. Radiopaq's new Rp5 tabletop audio system allows users to listen to online radio via a Wi-fi connection, alongside analog and digital stations without the need for a PC. But what's really innovative about the new Rp5, according to company officials, is its ability to search for programming by name, genre, country or language.

    In February, the company launched Radiopaq.com, an Internet radio gateway site. The company promises its users thousands of radio stations from around the world, along with a comprehensive podcast library and dedicated news service. The Rp5 makes use of the website to achieve what Radiopaq president Prash Vadgama calls "seamless interaction between the website and the hardware."

    Other Rp5 features include an MP3 player with USB access, analog FM and DAB tuners, remote control, headphone jack, and a five-way speaker system with up to 25W of audio drive. Scheduled for delivery late next month, the Rp5 will retail for about US $468.


    IBOC Across America

    IBOC by State: Ohio
    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 89 stations in the Buckeye State broadcasting 143 HD Radio channels.

    MarketStationHD1 FormatHD2 FormatHD3 FormatOwner
    AkronWKSU-FM 89.7ClassicalFolk AlleyClassicalKent State University
    AkronWKDD-FM 98.1Hot ACAC - Rhythmic-Clear Channel
    AkronWAKS-FM 96.5Top 40KiWi Radio-Clear Channel
    CantonWRQK-FM 106.9RockLive Music-Clear Channel
    CantonWHOF-FM 101.7AC60s and 70s Hits-Clear Channel
    CincinnatiWRRM-FM 98.5AC/Soft Rock--Cumulus Media Partners
    CincinnatiWIZF-FM 101.1Urban--Radio One
    CincinnatiWGUC-FM 90.9ClassicalJazz-Cincinnati Public Radio
    CincinnatiWUBE-FM 105.1CountryCountry-Bonneville International
    CincinnatiWFTK-FM 96.5Rock--Cumulus Media Partners
    CincinnatiWKRQ-FM 101.9Hot ACInternational Hits-Bonneville International
    CincinnatiWLW-SM 700News/Talk/Sports--Clear Channel
    CincinnatiWEBN-FM 102.7RockNew Alternative-Clear Channel
    CincinnatiWYGY-FM 97.3CountryExtreme Rock and Hip Hop-Bonneville International
    CincinnatiWSAI-AM 1360Sports--Clear Channel
    CincinnatiWCKY-AM 1530Sports--Clear Channel
    CincinnatiWOFX-FM 92.5Classic RockAAA - The Summit-Clear Channel
    CincinnatiWMOJ-FM 100.3Urban AC--Radio One
    CincinnatiWNNF-FM 94.1Hot ACChill (Young and Hip)-Clear Channel
    CincinnatiWMUB-FM 88.5News/Talk/JazzJazzBBC World ServiceMiami University
    CincinnatiWKFS-FM 107.1CHRClassic Hip Hop-Clear Channel
    CincinnatiWSWD-FM 94.9Alternative--Bonneville International
    CincinnatiWVXU-FM 91.7News/InfoAlternative Rock-Cincinnati Public Radio
    ClevelandWENZ-FM 107.9Urban/Hip Hop--Radio One
    ClevelandWWMK-AM 1260Family Hits--Radio Disney
    ClevelandWNWV-FM 107.3Smooth JazzTraditional Jazz-Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting Company
    ClevelandWDOK-FM 102.1Soft ACSoft Rock-CBS Radio
    ClevelandWNCX-FM 98.5Classic RockSpanish CHR-CBS Radio
    ClevelandWGAR-FM 99.5CountryClassic Country-Clear Channel
    ClevelandWMVX-FM 106.5Hot ACJoke Joke-Clear Channel
    ClevelandWTAM-AM 1100News/Talk--Clear Channel
    ClevelandWCLV-FM 104.9Classical--Cleveland Classical Radio
    ClevelandWQAL-FM 104.1Hot ACTriple A-CBS Radio
    ClevelandWMJI-Fm 105.7Oldies50's and 60's Oldies-Clear Channel
    ClevelandWMMS-Fm 100.7RockActive Rock-Clear Channel
    ClevelandWZAK-FM 93.1R&B Oldies--Radio One
    ClevelandWKRK-FM 92.3Modern RockNew Rock-CBS Radio
    ColumbusWTVN-AM 610News/Talk/Sports--Clear Channel
    ColumbusWSNY-FM 94.7Lite Rock--Saga
    ColumbusWCOL-FM 92.3CountryNew Country-Clear Channel
    ColumbusWYTS-AM 1230Talk--Clear Channel
    ColumbusWCKX-FM 107.5Urban--Radio One
    ColumbusWRXS-FM 106.9-2-T.B.D.-Clear Channel
    ColumbusWNCI-FM 97.9CHRStevie's Boom Room-Clear Channel
    ColumbusWLZT-FM 93.3ACClassic Dance-Clear Channel
    ColumbusWODB-FM 107.9Oldies--Saga
    ColumbusWBNS-FM 97.1Hot AC--RadiOhio
    ColumbusWJZA-FM 103.5Smooth Jazz--Saga
    ColumbusWJYD-FM 106.3Gospel--Radio One
    ColumbusWBWR-FM 105.7RockFull Metal Racket-Clear Channel
    ColumbusWNKK-FM 107.1Country90's Alternative-Wilks Broadcast Group
    ColumbusWOSU-AM 820News/Talk--The Ohio State University
    ColumbusWOSU-FM 89.7ClassicalNews/Talk-The Ohio State University
    ColumbusWCLT-FM 100.3CountryNews/TalkNews/Talk/Sports (WCLT-AM)WCLT Radio
    ColumbusWXMG-FM 98.9R&B Oldies--Radio One
    CoshoctonWOSE-FM 91.1ClassicalClassical-Ohio State University
    DaytonWMMX-FM 107.7Hot ACChristian AC-Clear Channel
    DaytonWTUE-FM 104.7RockDeep Tracks and Live Rock-Clear Channel
    DaytonWYSO-FM 91.3AAA/NewsAAA-Antioch University
    DaytonWCSU-FM 88.9Urban/Jazz/Gospel--Central State University
    DaytonWFCJ-FM 93.7InspirationInspirational and Praise music-Miami Valley Christian Broadcasting Association
    DaytonWLQT-FM 99.9Lite ACOldies from the 60s-Clear Channel
    DaytonWDKF-FM 94.5Top 40Urban Variety-Clear Channel
    DaytonWDPR-FM 88.1Classical--Dayton Public Radio
    DaytonWIZE-AM 1340Sports--Clear Channel
    DaytonWDSJ-FM 106.5Smooth Jazz--Clear Channel
    DaytonWXEG-FM 103.9AlternativeAll New Alternative-Clear Channel
    DaytonWEEC-FM 100.7ChristianSouthern Gospel-World Evangelistic Enterprise Corporation
    GenevaWKKY-FM 104.7Country--Music Express Broadcasting Corp. of Northeast Ohio
    GreenvilleWDPG-FM 89.9Classical--Dayton Public Radio
    KentWNRK-FM 90.7Classical--Kent State University
    MansfieldWOSV-FM 91.7ClassicalNews/ClassicalClassicalOhio State University
    MarionWOSB-FM 91.1ClassicalClassical-Ohio State University
    Port ClintonWXKR-FM 94.5Classic Rock--Cumulus Media
    PortsmouthWOSP-FM 91.5ClassicalClassical-Ohio State University
    ToledoWCWA-AM 1230Sports--Clear Channel
    ToledoWIOT-FM 104.7RockRock "Nitro"-Clear Channel
    ToledoWKKO-FM 99.9Country--Cumulus Media
    ToledoWRQN-FM 93.5Oldies--Cumulus Media
    ToledoWWWM-FM 105.5Hot AC--Cumulus Media
    ToledoWVKS-FM 92.5CHRTop 40 Dance-Clear Channel
    ToledoWSPD-AM 1370Sports/Talk--Clear Channel
    ToledoWRVF-FM 101.5AC"Aimee" Adult Contemporary-Clear Channel
    ToledoWRWK-FM 106.5Alternative--Cumulus Media
    Youngstown-WarrenWNCD-FM 93.3Classic RockT.B.D.-Clear Channel
    Youngstown-WarrenWHOT-FM 101.1CHR--Cumulus Media
    Youngstown-WarrenWQXK-FM 105.1Country--Cumulus Media
    Youngstown-WarrenWYFM-FM 102.9Classic Rock--Cumulus Media
    Youngstown-WarrenWMXY-FM 98.9Mix ACT.B.D.-Clear Channel
    Youngstown-WarrenWYSU-FM 88.5Classical/News/InfoClassical-Youngstown State University

    Eye on IBOC

    Wimax Merger in Dispute -- And What it Means to Radio
    Champions of open-network mobile broadband may be getting a taste of the frustration advocates of Sirius XM's merger felt when the deal stalled for almost 18 months while the NAB heavily lobbied the FCC to quash the deal. An interesting parallel to that misadventure began just a few weeks ago, when AT&T filed their own petition with the Commission opposing a pending multi-billion dollar deal between carriers Clearwire and Sprint/Nextel designed to launch a nationwide Wimax 4G wireless broadband service.

    Like the protracted sat radio merger debate, the current controversy centers around spectrum use and a bitter race to establish a distribution model for the delivery of U.S. mobile entertainment and information content. The story is a significant one for broadcasters, because a successful rollout of Wimax is certain to launch a new wave of dedicated audio and video appliances designed to pull content directly from the Web to consumers, no matter where they go. With networks speeds of up to 2mbps, Wimax would be poised to offer consumers a delivery pipe vastly superior to that of HD Radio or satellite radio.

    Those unfamiliar with the Wimax saga should note that the system is essentially an open standard, with a family of IEEE specifications supporting it. As originally envisioned, Wimax takes the familiar network transparency of Wi-fi and extends the range of each node by many kilometers through the use of high power transceiver sites. Unlike current 3G wireless broadband networks where the carrier ultimately controls which devices can access the network (think AT&T/Iphone), Sprint has promised its new Wimax service will be an open, high-transparency network, with Intel-produced chipsets available to just about any manufacturer that cares to imbed them in their product. In theory at least, this would allow consumers with a service plan to operate a variety of devices on the network with full access to a galaxy of content and services.

    But Wimax's launch, with all its populist appeal, has been an exercise in delays. While Sprint originally tried to go WiMax alone with its Xohm venture, it quickly realized it lacked the capital, infrastructure and spectrum to achieve the critical mass needed for a successful startup. That's where Clearwire, a mobile broadband provider with additional spectrum and cash, enters the picture. Last May, the two entities agreed to partner in the creation of a new carrier bearing the Clearwire name, and the deal gained momentum with a $3 billion cash infusion from Intel, Google and several Cable TV firms. Between them, the two parent companies now have Wimax networks beta testing in Baltimore, DC, Chicago, and Portland, OR, with build-outs currently underway in several other markets.

    All this leads up to the current dilemma facing the FCC as it ponders final approval of the Sprint/Clearwire deal. On July 24, telecom leviathan AT&T filed a petition with the Commission requesting denial of the merger on the grounds that the new broadband provider could substantially impact competition in the mobile communications market. Although it might not be a deal killer, a lengthy approval delay could blunt Wimax's momentum, while AT&T and Verizon improve their positions.

    Critics of AT&T's petition claim that AT&T is acting purely out of self-interest, because it may not be able to get its own proprietary 4G EDO broadband network off the ground for at least a couple more years. But the core of AT&T's objection centers on Clearwire's leases of spectrum in the former Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS), now referred to as the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) in the desirable 2.5GHz band. The crux of AT&T's argument is that EBS spectrum leased from EBS license holders would give the newly emerging Clearwire an unfair advantage in the race to establish true high-speed mobile broadband. And that could be a point with the potential to flummox a lame-duck FCC Chair.

    While the outcome of AT&T's petition on the FCC's disposition on the Sprint/Clearwire merger is unknown, one thing is certain: Broadcasters, particularly radio broadcasters, need to keep a sharp eye and an open mind tuned in on the Wimax rollout. With more than a dozen models of dedicated Wi-fi radios now on the market, Wimax dashboard radios, along with a host of other mobile applications, can't be far behind. Savvy owners and programmers would do well to begin planning on how to ride -- rather than be buried by -- what could be a building Wimax wave.


    HD Radio Terminology

    The New Language of Digital Radio
    L1 block: A unit of time of duration TMsub>b. Each FM IBOC L1 frame comprises 16 L1 blocks. Each AM IBOC L1 frame comprises eight L1 blocks.

    L1 block pair: Two contiguous FM IBOC L1 blocks. There is no AM IBOC counterpart. A unit of time duration Tp.

    L1 block pair rate: The rate, equal to the reciprocal of the Layer 1 block pair duration, at which Tp selected transfer frames are conducted through Layer 1.

    L1 block rate: The rate, Rb, equal to the reciprocal of Tb.

    L1 frame rate: The rate, Rf, equal to the reciprocal of the L1 frame duration, Tf at which selected.


    Products

    An In-dash HD Radio Receiver for Under $50?
    It's true, says mail order electronics vendor Crutchfield. In a bit of late summer serendipity for audio fans, the company is currently offering JVC's KDHDW10 in-dash CD Receiver for $99.99. Clever buyers who purchase an extra item to take their order over $100 are eligible to receive a $20 markdown for coupon code "3A825". But the big markdown comes when the buyer submits a $50 rebate coupon available from the HD Radio Alliance's website, bringing the buyer total after rebate to just $29.99, plus taxes, shipping and handling -- which still leaves the total cost at under $50.

    The deal reportedly ends Aug. 31.

    UPDATE
    Since this story was posted, Crutchfield discovered the unintentional loophole that was created to provide the very inexpensive price. The offer was removed once the situation was realized.




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