Digital Radio Update - March 7, 2007


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News

Online Listening Accelerates
The number of Americans who say they have listened to Internet radio during the previous month jumped 26 percent over the same period a year ago, according to the latest nationwide study from Bridge Ratings & Research. The survey also suggests that the number of consumers who report listening to some online radio during a given 30 day period rose from 45 million to 72 million during the past year.

Weekly Internet radio listening in January of this year was at 19 percent of the U.S. population, as compared of December 2006, when only 15 percent of all persons 12 and older were listening. That translates to 57 million listening to Internet Radio on a weekly basis in January 2007.

In last year's study, only 16 percent of those who listened online reported monthly listening to an AM/FM simulcast on the Internet, while 21 percent said they listened to an AM/FM simulcast in the current study. Time spent listening on the Internet was also up overall.

The study is based on a national sample of 3,000 persons age 12 or older.


Business

Ibiquity Adds Conversion Incentives for Small Groups
Ibiquity Digital has launched a new incentive program for broadcast groups upgrading to HD Radio technology. The program extends current discounts on license fees for groups meeting certain conversion commitments. The program also allows participating groups to lock in discounts on future station acquisitions.

Per the terms of the program, any radio broadcast group not currently licensed under a previous Ibiquity Digital station conversion incentive program will have their primary audio license fees capped at $10K per station (HD Radio license fees are scheduled to increase to $15K per station in July 2007 and then to $25K in July 2008).

Qualifying groups will commit to license and convert stations under the following terms:

  • All group stations currently licensed with Ibiquity Digital must be converted under the existing license terms
  • At least one group station not already converted must be converted by Dec. 31, 2007
  • 50 percent of all group stations with revenues in excess of $300,000 must be converted by Dec. 31, 2010, based on a schedule outlined in the License Commitment Agreement (LCA)
  • $2,000 of the $10,000 license fee for each station committed under the incentive is due by Sept. 30, 2007. The remaining $8,000 for each station is due at the time the station is licensed.

The discount applies to all group stations, pending execution of an agreement between the group owner and Ibiquity Digital by Sept. 30, 2007.


DRE Strikes Deal with China's TCL
Digital Radio Express (DRE) has entered into a strategic alliance with Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL. The partnership involves the design, development, production and marketing of a range of consumer digital appliances using DRE's FM Extra digital subcarrier technology.

The agreement will allow TCL to develop new transmission applications for data, video and audio distribution over existing analog FM broadcast facilities. As part of this plan TCL will implement FM Extra in several key Chinese radio stations to demonstrate and test system capabilities. Products using DRE's technology are projected to ship in mid-2007, and will be marketed under various TCL Group brands in the United States.

Unlike most IBOC digital broadcast systems, FM Extra can be added to standard analog FM broadcast base band signals, requiring no significant modification to transmitters or antennas.


Microsoft's Zune may get Wimaxed
In an attempt to keep up with Apple's ballyhoo over its new Iphone, rival Microsoft may be developing an offshoot of its Zune portable media player that integrates Wimax connectivity for mixed IP voice and media services. According to a recent article in BroadbandReports.com, Microsoft filed with the FCC early last month. The tip-off that a Wimax interface is in the works centers around Microsoft's specification of ODFM techniques to achieve mobile "consumer broadband access and networking" functionality in their FCC filing. This suggests it has a Wimax-connected device in the works, probably a based on the Zune platform that has yet to live up to the company's expectation. Critics of the Zune have complained that the platform's current Wi-fi interface simply doesn't measure up to consumer expectations.

An enormous amount of press buzz was generated by Apple's introduction of the Iphone at CES 2007 in January. Much more than a music phone, the Iphone claims to meld IP telephony with Apple's vaunted Ipod media platform, Internet access via Cingular broadband and an all touch-screen user interface.

Rumors on the Web hint that Microsoft may be trying to roll out its new product ahead of Apple's current June target for shipping Iphones.


Eye on IBOC

Radiosophy begins Shipping Multistream HD
Radiosophy's first shipments of its Multistream table HD Radio are on their way to consumers. The Multistream HD claims to be the first transportable tabletop HD multicast receiver.

With an MSRP of $269, the Multistream can be removed from its speaker-base dock and taken to the car or boat with the required adapter kit. External connections for existing audio systems include: optical digital (Toslink) out, stereo RCA and stereo mini-jack line outputs. Also included are full clock-radio functionality and external AM/FM antenna connections for better reception.

Scrolling text information, such as song titles, artist name, traffic updates, news alerts and weather forecasts are displayed on a large LCD display. A USB port has been included to allow easy updates of the software via the Internet.

More information on the Multistream HD is available at www.radiosophy.com


Want HD Radio? Get it at Wal-Mart
Retail giant Wal-Mart plans to add HD Radios to its shelves in 1,989 outlets in 85 markets, as it embarks on a joint marketing campaign with the HD Digital Radio Alliance. The move will be promoted in an advertising campaign that starts this week on alliance-member radio stations. The move is seen by many as a major step in mainstreaming the retail availability of HD Radio receivers.

Wal-Mart will initially stock the JVC HD-W10 Mobile HD Radio receiver and also provide sales programs and educational tools aimed at educating consumers about the advantages that HD Radio offers.

"We know our customers want mobile HD digital radio products," said Tim Clark, automotive buyer for Wal-Mart. "We're thrilled to offer a high-quality unit like the JVC stereo at a competitive price that will make it easy for customers to discover the great benefits of HD Radio."

The move by Wal-Mart got front-page headline billing on USA Today's March 4 business page, and will be supported by new radio spots in all of the 85 markets where the retailer will offer HD Radio receiver product.


IBOC Across America

IBOC By State: Iowa
Ibiquity has a list of stations that have licensed HD Radio technology and notes those that are on the air now. IBOC by state looks at various states and list the stations that are making the transition.

MarketStationHD-1 FormatHD-2 FormatHD-3 FormatOwner
Cedar RapidsKCCK-FM 88.3Jazz--Kirkwood Community College
Cedar RapidsKMRY-AM 1450Adult Standards--Sellers Broadcasting - KMRY
Cedar RapidsKZIA-FM 102.9CHRClassic RockSportsKZIA
Des MoinesKDRB-FM 100.3Jack--Clear Channel Radio
Des MoinesWHO-AM 1040News/Talk--Clear Channel Radio
Iowa CityKSUI-FM 91.7ClassicalNews/Info WSUI-AM-University of Iowa
Iowa CityWSUI-AM 910News/Info--University of Iowa
OkobojiKOJI-FM 90.7Classical--Western Iowa Tech Community College
Sioux CityKWIT-FM 90.3Classical--Western Iowa Tech Community College
Waterloo-Cedar FallsKBBG-FM 88.1Educational--Afro American Community Broadcasting

There are 10 stations in Iowa broadcasting 13 HD Radio channels.


HD Radio Terminology

An introduction to the new language surrounding HD Radio.
injector: used in a high-level combining system to add the signal from the digital transmitter to the signal from the analog transmitter.

isolator: a circulator with a matched load port.




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