Digital Radio Update – October 25, 2006


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Stay up to date on the latest IBOC news, business and technology information with the twice-monthly newsletter from Radio magazine.


Index:

  • World DAB Forum Convenes in Seoul
  • WIYY Sets Thousand-Station Mark
  • NPR, WGBH to Develop Digital Radio Aids for Sensory Disabled
  • XM-equipped Lexus' Roll into Dealerships
  • Rebate Program Poised to Boost Receiver Holiday Sales
  • MPEG Surround Awaits Acceptance
  • Digital Broadcast Flag: Recording Industry Savior or Fools Errand?
  • IBOC by State: Colorado
  • An Introduction to the New Language Surrounding HD Radio
  • Fraunhofer's SX Pro Automatically Converts Material to 5.1

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    News

    World DAB Forum Convenes in Seoul
    Digital broadcasters and vendors involved with the Eureka 147 family of DAB and DMB technologies will meet for the 12th meeting of the World DAB Forum Assembly on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 at the JW Marriott Convention Center in downtown Seoul, ROK. Rho Jun-Hyong, South Korea's Minister of Communication and Information, will deliver the forum's keynote address.

    Another highlight of the two day event is a presentation on the success of Digital Mobile Broadcasting (DMB) in South Korea, where the commercial roll-out of DMB is expected to generate the sale of about two million DMB consumer devices by the end of December.

    Other sessions will discuss topics such as new audio coding for DAB/DMB, VHF spectrum allocation, growth in EU markets and DAB/DMB in China.

    A complete program of events can be downloaded at www.worlddab.org/events.php


    WIYY Sets Thousand-Station Mark
    Hearst Radio's WIYY-FM in Baltimore now lays claim to being the 1,000th station in the United States operating with an HD Radio digital hybrid signal. Ibiquity Digital CEO Robert Struble marked the occasion by noting that the number of broadcasters operating in HD Radio has nearly doubled in 2006, and that his company now expects the figure to reach 1,200 by the end of December.

    Some industry insiders have suggested that the four-figure milestone could be significant for HD Radio in terms of chipping away at the continued reluctance of automakers to integrate HD Radio-compatible receivers in OEM audio systems.

    Known locally as 98 Rock, WIYY is the radio flagship for Baltimore Ravens football, and features a hard rock format. No word yet on what's planned for the station's HD-2 multicast channel.


    NPR, WGBH to Develop Digital Radio Aids for Sensory Disabled
    The Department of Education's National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation and Research has awarded a federal grant to NPR and WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) to develop accessible radio technology for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired.

    The Accessible Digital Radio Broadcast Services grant--in the amount of $150,000 for the first year--will help fund an anticipated three-year research and development project to develop, test and assess radio technology designed to serve the needs of people with sensory disabilities.

    NPR and the NCAM will convene a group of experts from broadcasting, academia and non-profit service organizations to serve the needs of people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired with the overall goal of guiding the design of prototype digital radios to be evaluated by end users. At the conclusion of the study period, the design criteria will be given to receiver manufacturers and recommended as the "best operating practice."

    The project's total budget for the first year is $227,810. The Department of Education grant will cover 65 percent of the project costs for the first year, while NPR will fund the remaining 35 percent. Additional federal funding after the first year is dependent on congressional appropriations.


    Business

    XM-equipped Lexus' Roll into Dealerships
    Washington - Oct 25, 2006 - The first of the all-new Lexus LS series with standard, factory-installed XM Satellite Radio and XM Navtraffic are now available at dealerships. The Lexus LS 460 L long wheel base model is arriving at dealerships factory-equipped with XM Satellite Radio's 170 channels of coast-to-coast entertainment and XM Navtraffic's real-time traffic information system as standard features. Factory-installed XM Radio is also available in the 2007 LS 460, which includes the service in its navigation packages.

    XM Satellite Radio now has more than seven million subscribers to its satellite radio service. Its Navtraffic service provides alerts regarding traffic delays, detours and road closings through the in-car navigation system. Navtraffic is currently available in 44 major U.S. markets.


    Rebate Program Poised to Boost Receiver Holiday Sales
    Ibiquity Digital has teamed up with electronics retailers nationwide to roll out an HD Radio Holiday Rebate Program that will refund between $25 and $50 on the purchase of select HD Radio receiver products. The program applies to 20 HD Radio consumer products and will run through Jan. 14, 2007.

    National HD Radio retailers include Radio Shack, Tweeter, Amazon.com, Crutchfield and select Circuit City outlets. There are also a number of other regional and specialty retailers now carrying HD Radio products, including ABC Warehouse, Harvey Home Entertainment, Hifi Buys, Ken Cranes, Mickey Schorr Mobile Electronics, Showcase Home Entertainment and Sound Advice.

    Rebates of $25 are available on specific product models from Accurian (Radio Shack), DICE, Directed, JVC, Kenwood, Metra, Peripheral and Sangean.

    The $50 rebates are being offered on specific product models from ADA, Tune Suite, Alpine, Boston Acoustics, Cambridge Sound Works, Denon, Directed, Integra, Niles Audio, Panasonic, Polk Audio, Rotel and Sangean.

    Detailed information on the Holiday HD Radio Rebate program is available at www.hdradio.com.


    MPEG Surround Awaits Acceptance
    San Francisco – Oct 25, 2006 – Agere Systems, Coding Technologies and Fraunhofer Institute showcased their MPEG Surround audio compression technique at the Audio Engineering Society's 121st show Oct. 6 through Oct. 8. MPEG Surround is a compression technique for multichannel audio signals. The system provides full backward compatibility to stereo equipment and scalability in terms of the bit rate used for describing the surround sound image. Other features include a matrix surround mode for multichannel audio based on a stereo signal, and a binaural mode for spatial rendering and reproduction of multichannel audio on stereo playback devices.


    Eye On IBOC

    Digital Broadcast Flag: Recording Industry Savior or Fool's Errand?
    An interesting take on fee-free consumer capture, labeling and indexing of broadcast music recently emerged in the form of new piece of USB-based consumer gadgetry for the home PC. But unlike controversial HD Radio digital terrestrial or satellite broadcast recording functionality, the FM Instant Music Device from ADS Tech apparently takes advantage of analog or streamed broadcasts using the accompanying RDS title and artist data to help categorize, cut, sort and save individual music cuts.

    According to ADS Tech's press release, the Instant FM Music device "not only finds and records the user's favorite songs, podcasts and sporting events automatically, it separates and identifies the songs for easy playback…with a street price of less than $40, the Tivo-like device provides Windows XP users with a substantial savings over paying satellite subscription fees. By including both Instant Radio and Snaptune One software, users can tune to their favorite local FM or Web radio stations, sit back and watch as Instant FM Music finds and records a single song or schedules the automatic recording of a station's entire playlist."

    "With Instant FM Music, consumers can select any of their local FM radio stations or Web radio broadcasts from anywhere in the world," said Bill Baxter, president of Snaptune. "By including Snaptune One with this incredibly inexpensive and easy-to-use product, ADS enables consumers to capture their favorite songs, new music in their preferred genre or complete selections from their favorite artists. Coupled with the ability to transfer their selections to a mobile player, consumers can enjoy their recordings whenever and wherever they want."

    "Best of all, they can do it without having to buy special equipment or pay subscription fees," Mike McCoy, ADS Tech president said. "Satellite radio equipment costs can range from $49 to hundreds of dollars and then there are monthly fees of $10-$13; but with Instant FM Music, consumers have more features, more benefits and no fees."

    While the functionality and ultimate recording quality of such a low-cost device may fall short of the manufacturer's lofty claims, ADS Tech's product does highlight the fact that novel technology applications continue to lead attempts to fully control the flow of media content. With mass storage costs plummeting, what's to stop a vendor from providing consumers with a sophisticated, yet inexpensive platform for recording analog radio transmission, A/D converting it at high digital resolution and then using smart software to sort, catalogue and store individual music cuts for selective playback?

    No digital broadcast flag is going to fix this. The painful fact for content producers remains that attempts to control the flow of content through the use of technologic trap doors will always be one step behind the curve.

    Google's recent acquisition of You Tube ought to serve as a message to the recording industry regarding the futility of trying to hog-tie technological development through litigation and legislation, when it could instead be working productively with broadcasters to make radio an integral part of the audio content showcase and distribution system of the future.


    IBOC Across America

    IBOC by State: Colorado

    Ibiquity has a list of stations that have licensed HD Radio technology. IBOC by state will look at various states and list the stations that are making the transition.

    MarketStationMain FormatHD2 FormatOwner

    Aspen

    KUUR-FM 96.7

    Soft AC

     

    CO Radio Marketing

    Colorado Springs

    KCBR-AM 1040

    Chrst/Talk

     

    DRJ Broadcasting, LLC

    Colorado Springs

    KCCY-FM 96.9

    Country

     

    Clear Channel Radio

    Colorado Springs

    KCME-FM 88.7

    Clscl/Jazz

     

    Cheyenne Mountain Public Broadcasting House

    Colorado Springs

    KCMN-AM 1530

    Adlt Stndrd

     

    DRJ Broadcasting, LLC

    Colorado Springs

    KIBT-FM 96.1

    Urban/HpHop

     

    Clear Channel Radio

    Colorado Springs

    KKLI-FM 106.3

    Soft AC

     

    Clear Channel Radio

    Colorado Springs

    KVUU-FM 99.9

    Hot AC

     

    Clear Channel Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KALC-FM 105.9

    Hot AC

    Comedy 

    Entercom Communications Corp.

    Denver-Boulder

    KBCO-FM 97.3

    AAA

    Perfomance Studio C Sessions 

    Clear Channel Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KBPI-FM 106.7

    AOR

    All New Rock 

    Clear Channel Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KCFC-AM 1490

    News/Talk

     

    Colorado Public Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KCFR-AM 1340

    News/Info

     

    Colorado Public Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KDDZ-AM 1690

    Children

     

    ABC Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KGNU-AM 1390

    Eclectic

     

    Boulder Community Broadcast Association

    Denver-Boulder

    KHOW-AM 630

    Talk

     

    Clear Channel Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KIMN-FM 100.3

    Hot AC

    Jammin' Oldies 

    CBS Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KJMN-FM 92.1

    Span/CHR

     

    Entravision

    Denver-Boulder

    KKFN-AM 950

    Sports

     

    Lincoln Financial Media

    Denver-Boulder

    KKZN-AM 760

    Talk

     

    Clear Channel Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KLDC-AM 810

    Cst/Rlg/Gsp

     

    Crawford Broadcasting Company

    Denver-Boulder

    KLTT-AM 670

    Christian

     

    Crawford Broadcasting Company

    Denver-Boulder

    KLVZ-AM 1220

    Chrst/Span

     

    Crawford Broadcasting Company

    Denver-Boulder

    KLZ-AM
    560

    Sports

     

    Crawford Broadcasting Company

    Denver-Boulder

    KMGG-FM 95.7

    Top 40

    Spanish Oldies 

    Clear Channel Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KMXA-AM 1090

    Span/Varty

     

    Entravision

    Denver-Boulder

    KOA-AM 850

    Nws/Tlk/Spt

     

    Clear Channel Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KOSI-FM 101.1

    Lite Rock

    Blues 

    Entercom Communications Corp.

    Denver-Boulder

    KPOF-AM 910

    Inspiration

     

    Pillar of Fire

    Denver-Boulder

    KQMT-FM 99.5

    Prgvs/ClRck

    Live Rock 

    Entercom Communications Corp.

    Denver-Boulder

    KTCL-FM 93.3

    Alternative

    Classic Alternative 

    Clear Channel Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KUVO-FM 89.3

    Jazz

     

    Denver Educational Broadcasting

    Denver-Boulder

    KVOD-FM 90.1

    Classical

    News-KCFR 

    Colorado Public Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KWLI-FM 92.5

    Country

    Willie - Heritage Country 

    CBS Radio

    Denver-Boulder

    KXKL-FM 105.1

    Oldies

    50's & 60's 

    CBS Radio

    Ft. Collins-Greeley

    KTRR-FM 102.5

    AC

     

    Regent

    Ft. Collins-Greeley

    KUAD-FM 99.1

    Country

     

    Regent

    Ft. Collins-Greeley

    KUNC-FM 91.5

    Public

     

    Community Radio for Northern Colorado

    Vail

    KPRE-FM 89.9

    News/Clscl

     

    Colorado Public Radio

    Products

    Fraunhofer's SX Pro Automatically Converts Material to 5.1
    Erlangen, Germany – SX Pro from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits automatically converts stereo material into 5.1 surround sound. To create surround sound from regular stereo music, SX Pro analyzes the audio signal and identifies characteristic sound elements. An algorithm redistributes these elements to create a natural surround sound listening experience without adding artificial reverberation.

    The incorporation of SX Pro processing into professional media production and audio editing tools will allow surround versions of existing stereo source material to be produced using the creative control over the upmix process offered by SX Pro. Radio broadcasters offering new surround services may also convert their existing content to surround sound automatically, to match the presentation of new surround tracks.

    SX Pro will be available for integration in software, consumer electronics and professional hardware by the end of 2006.


    HD Radio Terminology

    The language surrounding HD Radio
    system control: Data from Layer 2 specifying service mode and analog diversity delay.

    system control processing: The function that generates the system control data sequence.




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