Digital Radio Update - May 24, 2007


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News

Mexico Moves toward HD Radio Approval
Ibiquity Digital reports that Cofetel, Mexico's Federal Telecommunications Commission has proposed that Mexican radio stations licensed within 200 miles of the U.S. border be permitted to voluntarily commence HD Radio hybrid transmission. The move is seen by some observers as an attempt to help Mexican broadcasters remain competitive in profitable cross-border markets.

Mexico's federal government must officially adopt Cofetel's proposal before broadcasters can begin operating with digital service. HD Radio has undergone previous testing in that country.


HD Alliance Hails Multicast Penetration
The HD Digital Radio Alliance is celebrating what it calls a major milestone in the roll-out of HD2 multicast formats with the addition of 15 cities, completing a promised roll-out in the top 100 markets. The achievement caps the alliance's stated goal of serving the nation's top 100 markets with multicast signals in less than 18 months since the push began.

"The HD Radio Alliance came together 16 months ago and has made significant strides in that time culminating with the achievement of the top 100 markets roll-out," said Peter Ferrara, president of the HD Digital Radio Alliance. "This notable achievement resulted from a collaborative industry effort, giving the consumer the opportunity to discover HD Radio virtually anywhere in the country."

The 15 new market additions include Gainesville, FL; Charleston, SC; Greenville, NC; Columbia, SC; Daytona Beach, FL; Des Moines, IA; Spokane, WA; Mobile, AL; Madison, WI; Colorado Springs, CO; Melbourne, FL; Tri-Cities, TN; Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL; and Lexington, KY.

One of the more innovative formats developed to date for HD2 channels is a product developed by Clear Channel for gay and lesbian listeners in the Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Miami, Hartford and West Palm Beach markets. Clear Channel claims that its "Pride" HD2 channel, a blend of music, entertainment news and celebrity gossip tailored for the gay community, has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response. The station's weekly "Ryan & Caroline" show has even crossed over to mainstream and analog radio channels in Denver and Vegas.


Business

Samsung to Offer Cell Phone-Capable HD Chipset
Samsung Electro-Mechanics intends to introduce a new chipset for use in portable and home HD Radio receivers. The company, an Ibiquity Digital IC development partner, anticipates that samples of the chipset will be available before the end of the 2007 with production projected for the first quarter of 2008.

Samsung claims that the low-power, high-performance chip will support all current and planned HD Radio technology features. It is being designed and manufactured using advanced technology and combines a System-in-Package (SIP) module and a CMOS, mixed-signal, single-chip tuner. Target HD Radio applications include mobile phones, portable media players, portable navigation devices, table radios and home audio-video components.

One application of the new chip set that has excited HD Radio proponents is said to be its potential for cell phone handset applications. "We believe the combination of the chip's low cost and high performance capabilities will enable us to make a profound impact on the marketplace for HD Radio products. Additionally, the low power and small footprint of our solution will help bring HD Radio technology to mobile phones and portable media players," said Jungsuk Han, a Samsung spokesperson.


Clear Channel Debuts Cell Phone Radio Services
Clear Channel radio has begun the roll-out of a previously announced service that allows wireless subscribers to receive free content from selected company radio outlets. Users will be able to send text messages to parent station studios, participate in contests, receive favorite song play alerts, make requests and dedications, and view recent play lists of the participating stations.

Clear Channel says that the technology is available on most cellular phones via carriers that offer SMS text features. Cell phones with even basic SMS capabilities will be able to participate via text messaging, while more advanced phones will be able to access the services via WAP with rich graphics and an enhanced user interface.

Listeners can sign up for breaking music alerts and tune-in times for specific content. Traffic reports and interactive feature will also be offered, along with station logos, DJ wallpapers and format specific ring tones starting in July.

The initiative kicks off in New York with WHTZ-FM Z100 (Contemporary Hits Radio), WAXQ-FM Q104.3 (Classic Rock), WKTU-FM 103.5 (Rhythmic Adult Contemporary), WWPR-FM Power 105.1 (Urban) and WLTW-FM 106.7 (Adult Contemporary). Clear Channel expects to launch similar programs on as many as 100 more of its radio stations by the end of 2008, beginning with stations in Salt Lake City and St. Louis in the next 60 days.


Sprint Partners with Pandora to Offer Personalized Music
Sprint Nextel has joined with online streaming service Pandora Media to offer Pandora's service to Sprint wireless subscribers, according to a May 23 Associated Press report by May Wong.

Wong says that the Pandora streaming service, which suggests new artist and songs to users based on past preference, has become so popular that the DOD decided to ban it from military access on the basis of bandwidth concerns. Now Sprint hopes that Pandora's powerful online appeal will generate enough interest to induce its subscribers to pay an additional $2.99 a month to be able to receive the service on their cell phones after a 30-day free trail period. If the service is a financial winner, Pandora will likely expand it to include other major wireless carriers.

Pandora officials have also announced a simultaneous plan to offer a branded MP3 player that will link to a music download service.

But there's a potential spoiler looming for both services as well as Pandora's ultimate online survival. A recent decision by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to raise sound recording performance royalty rates is scheduled to go into effect on July 15. While parallel legislation in the House and the Senate would abrogate the CRB established rate structure, it's not clear that either bill will garner enough support to ensure quick passage. Pandora founder Tim Westgren says that without relief from the from the newly elevated rates, the company's current business model may not remain viable.


IBOC Across America

IBOC by State: Oklahoma
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.

There are 21 stations in the Sooner State broadcasting 31 HD Radio channels.

Market Station HD1 Format HD2 Format Owner
Bartlesville KYFM-FM 100.1 AC - KCD Enterprises
Lawton KCCU-FM 89.3 Classical Classical Cameron University
Nowata KRIG-FM 104.9 Country - KCD Enterprises
Oklahoma City KTOK-AM 1000 News/Talk - Clear Channel Radio
Oklahoma City KOSU-FM 91.7 Classical - Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma City WWLS-AM 640 Sports - Citadel
Oklahoma City KTST-FM 101.9 Country New Country Clear Channel Radio
Oklahoma City KJYO-FM 102.7 Top 40 CHR - All New Clear Channel Radio
Oklahoma City KXXY-FM 96.1 Country Country - Classic Country Clear Channel Radio
Oklahoma City KHBZ-FM 94.7 Rock Rock - Indie Rock Clear Channel Radio
Oklahoma City KKWD-FM 104.9 CHR/Rhythmic - Citadel
Ponca City KJTH-FM 89.7 Christian Contemporary - Love Station
Tulsa KWGS-FM 89.5 News/Talk/Info Jazz University of Tulsa
Tulsa KWTU-FM 88.7 Classical - University of Tulsa
Tulsa KTBZ-AM 1430 Sports - Clear Channel Radio
Tulsa KMUS-AM 1380 Children - ABC Radio
Tulsa KAKC-AM 1300 Business News/Talk - Clear Channel Radio
Tulsa KQLL-FM 106.1 Oldies 60's, 50's Clear Channel Radio
Tulsa KMOD-FM 97.5 AOR Rock Variety Clear Channel Radio
Tulsa KIZS-FM 101.5 Span/Oldies Spanish Hits Clear Channel Radio
Tulsa KTBT-FM 92.1 Rhythmic/CHR New CHR Clear Channel Radio

HD Radio Terminology

An introduction to the new language surrounding HD Radio.
after-market: A radio designed for purchase and installation some time after purchasing an automobile.

all-digital IBOC: The third of three modes in the Ibiquity FM IBOC system that increases data capacity by adding additional digital carriers. All-digital FM IBOC uses four frequency partitions and no analog carrier. In this mode, the digital audio data rate can range from 64kb/s to 96kb/s, and the corresponding ancillary data rate can range from 213kb/s for 64kb/s audio to 181kb/s for 96kb/s audio.




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