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IBOC Update - Mar 22, 2006
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Chairman Martin: IBOC R&O Due Soon
In his first press conference as FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin said he expects the Commission to issue rulemaking on IBOC digital radio in the United States fairly soon. Broadcasters currently transmitting HD Radio signals do so under a patchwork of special notifications, STAs and experimental authorizations.
In a response last week to a specific question on the topic, Martin hinted that his fellow commissioners were favorably disposed toward HD Radio across the board, and that the system's ability to offer multiplex services was a positive factor in forming that position.
Bills in Senate, House Restrict Localized Sat Content
A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last week would seek to codify satellite radio's role as a national level medium, a concept embraced when the FCC conceptualized the Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) in 1989.
The Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2006, co-sponsored by Senators Snow (ME-R), Baucus (MT-D) and Lott (MS-R) is said to be a near carbon copy of a bill introduced in the house at about the same time a year ago. That bill, HR 998, has languished despite its garnering of 110 co-sponsors.
Both bills seek to force the FCC to examine the potential for localized satellite content to adversely impact local broadcast radio. It also asks the FCC to issue a definitive rulemaking that would restrict XM and Sirius from offering locally differentiated content in accordance with the original intent of their licenses, which specifically identify SDARS as a national service.
Satellite radio broadcasters have already begun offering something like localized service in the form of traffic and weather information for specific markets beamed over the entire system. But industry observers claim that terrestrial gap-filler repeaters already deployed by Sirius and XM in urban areas could easily be used for the distribution of local-only content on specific channels. Likewise, XM's attempt to acquire16 blocks of wireless communication services spectrum from current license holder WCS Wireless have come under fire, because the NAB and Sirius believe that XM intends to use the new spectrum, adjacent to existing SDARS frequencies, as a platform for the creation of localized broadcast services. The FCC has not yet ruled on the proposed transfer, but is expected to do in the near future.
The bill's Senate sponsors say the intent of the legislation is to protect the integrity of local broadcast licensees and what the NAB describes as "the invaluable role played by free, local radio every day in communities all across America."
FCC Offers Online Resources for HD Radio Broadcasters
As radio broadcast groups push ahead with ambitious roll-out schedules for HD Radio, many of them may be overlooking a key source of vital information--an extensive collection of related documents offered by the FCC on its website. According to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Tech Check publication, the Commission has devoted an entire page on its website to the the HD Radio transition at www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/digital.
Among the many documents available for viewing and download are guidelines on HD Radio notification requirements for broadcasters, rules governing use of separate antennas for FM IBOC digital transmission, public comments and replies regarding AM IBOC digital nighttime operation, procedures for requesting FM HD Radio multicast operation and the entire text of the NRSC-5 HD Radio standard.
In addition, the site allows users to query the FCC's database regarding the IBOC digital status of AM and FM broadcast licensees, while those with additional questions will find e-mail addresses for Ann Gallagher and Charles Miller, the FCC Audio Division's resident experts on the new technology.
Radioscape: DMB, EPM Expanding Worldwide
UK-based digital broadcast developer Radioscape claims its new contracts to supply Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB) and Enhanced Packet Mode (EPM) infrastructure systems for mobile TV are evidence of an increase in international interest in the technology. The company provides research/test systems and field monitoring receivers for field evaluation as well as complete broadcast installations, and was recently involved with BT Movio, a DMB trial in England that multiplexed multimedia streams using EPM to deliver content to compatible mobile phone devices.
The DMB and EPM technologies are based on the technology of Eureka-147 digital audio broadcasting (DAB), including a large commercial DAB broadcast infrastructure deployment in the UK. Systems can be configured to support EPM and T-DMB via software selectable options. T-DMB can provide H.264 QCIF and QVGA-sized pictures at a frame rates from 15fps to 30fps using 384kb/s to 512 kb/s and, with the Windows Media format used by BT Movio, can be configured to even lower bit rates.
Radioscape said that it has recently been granted new DMB multiplexer contracts in China, where DMB systems are already broadcasting mobile TV and DAB audio. The company said it now has operational or near-operational systems at Beijing Jolon Digital Media Broadcasting, Shanghai Oriental Pearl (Group) and Guangdong Yue Guang Digital Multimedia Broadcasting. Radioscape has also supplied DAB/DMB research and test systems in Korea.
Other countries said to be following the lead of Korea and China with full broadcast multiplexes, trial systems or test equipment include the Netherlands, Germany, France, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the UK and Slovenia.
Study: Sat Radio Appeal Remains Limited
A February 2006 survey of consumers across the United States finds that a vast majority of Americans remain uninterested in the idea of subscribing to satellite radio services. The study, conducted by Glendale, CA,-based Bridge Ratings, found that overall, only 3 percent of the adult respondents 18 years of age or older indicted that they were likely or very likely to subscribe to satellite radio, while 78 percent said they were not at all" likely to subscribe.
Among the reasons given by those who were "not at all" or "not very likely" to subscribe, the majority (34 percent) said that they didn't feel any need for better audio quality, while 30 percent said the expense of subscription was the most prohibitive factor.
Based on the numbers, Bridge Ratings said that satellite radio could attract about 8 million new satellite subscribers this year, bringing the current subscriber count to 17 million by year-end, but that building the subscriber base significantly beyond that point may be a problem for satellite providers.
Of all demographic ranges surveyed, those in the 35-54 year old range were the most likely converts to satellite radio, while those 55 or older were among the least likely.
IBOC Across America
IBOC By State: California
Ibiquity has a list of stations that have licensed HD Radio technology and notes those that are on the air now. IBOC by state will look at various states and list the stations that are making the transition.
|KPRX-FM 89.1||Clscl/NPR||Bakersfield||White Ash Broadcasting, Inc.||No|
|KTQX-FM 90.1||Span/Varty||Bakersfield||Radio Bilingue, Inc.||No|
|KQVO-FM 97.7||Nws/Tlk/Inf||Calexico||San Diego State University||No|
|KFJK-FM 105.9||Jack||Fresno||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KLLE-FM 107.9||SpA/Reg/HHp||Fresno||Univision Radio||No|
|KMGV-FM 97.9||Oldies||Fresno||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KMJ-AM 580||Nws/Tlk/Spt||Fresno||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KOQO-FM 101.9||Span/Mexcn||Fresno||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KSJV-FM 91.5||Span/Varty||Fresno||Radio Bilingue, Inc.||No|
|KSKS-FM 93.7||Country||Fresno||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KVPR-FM 89.3||NPR/Clscl||Fresno||White Ash Broadcasting, Inc.||No|
|KWYE-FM 101.1||CHR||Fresno||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KXSR-FM 91.7||Classical||Groveland||California State University||No|
|KABC-AM 790||Talk||Los Angeles||ABC Radio||No|
|KAHZ-AM 1600||BNw/Eth/ASt||Los Angeles||Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Group||No|
|KAZN-AM 1300||Asian||Los Angeles||Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Group||No|
|KBIG-FM 104.3||AC||Los Angeles||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KBRT-AM 740||Chrst/Talk||Los Angeles||Crawford Broadcasting Company||No|
|KCRW-FM 89.9||Educa/News||Los Angeles||Santa Monica Community College||Yes|
|KCSN-FM 88.5||Classical||Los Angeles||California State University||Yes|
|KDIS-AM 1110||Children||Los Angeles||ABC Radio||Yes|
|KFI-AM 640||News/Talk||Los Angeles||Clear Channel Radio||No|
|KHHT-FM 92.3||Urban/RhyBl||Los Angeles||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KIIS-FM 102.7||Top 40||Los Angeles||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KKBT-FM 100.3||Urban||Los Angeles||Radio One Inc.||Yes|
|KKGO-AM 1260||Adlt Stndrd||Los Angeles||Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters, Inc.||No|
|KKJZ-FM 88.1||Jazz||Los Angeles||California State University||Yes|
|KLAC-AM 570||Sports||Los Angeles||Clear Channel Radio||No|
|KLOS-FM 95.5||AOR||Los Angeles||ABC Radio||No|
|KLVE-FM 107.5||Span/AC||Los Angeles||Univision Radio||Yes|
|KLYY-FM 97.5||Span/Trpcl||Los Angeles||Entravision||Yes|
|KMXE-AM 830||Span/Talk||Los Angeles||Radiovisa||Yes|
|KMZT-FM 105.1||Classical||Los Angeles||Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters, Inc.||Yes|
|KNX-AM 1070||News||Los Angeles||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KOST-FM 103.5||AC||Los Angeles||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KPCC-FM 89.3||Nws/Tlk/Inf||Los Angeles||Pasadena Area Community College||Yes|
|KPWR-FM 105.9||Rhymc/CHR||Los Angeles||Emmis||Yes|
|KROQ-FM 106.7||Alternative||Los Angeles||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KSCA-FM 101.9||Span/Mexcn||Los Angeles||Univision Radio||No|
|KSPN-AM 710||Sports||Los Angeles||ABC Radio||No|
|KTNQ-AM 1020||Spn/Nws/Tlk||Los Angeles||Univision Radio||Yes|
|KUSC-FM 91.5||Classical||Los Angeles||University of Southern California||Yes|
|KWIZ-FM 96.7||Span/Trpcl||Los Angeles||Liberman||Yes|
|KWVE-FM 107.9||Christian||Los Angeles||Calvary Chapel Church Inc.||Yes|
|KYSR-FM 98.7||Modern AC||Los Angeles||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KZLA-FM 93.9||Country||Los Angeles||Emmis||No|
|KCBC-AM 770||Christian||Modesto||Crawford Broadcasting Company||No|
|KMPO-FM 88.7||Ethnic||Modesto||Radio Bilingue, Inc.||No|
|KCRY-FM 88.1||Educa/News||Mojave||Santa Monica Community College||Yes|
|KAZU-FM 90.3||News/Info||Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz||California State University||Yes|
|KHDC-FM 90.9||Variety||Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz||Radio Bilingue, Inc.||No|
|KSQL-FM 99.1||Span/Mexcn||Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz||Univision Radio||Yes|
|KUSP-FM 88.9||Variety||Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz||Pataphysical Broadcasting Foundation, Inc.||No|
|KWAV-FM 96.9||AC||Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz||Buckley Broadcasting||No|
|KCRU-FM 89.1||Educa/News||Oxnard-Ventura||Santa Monica Community College||Yes|
|KPSC-FM 88.5||Classical||Palm Springs||University of Southern California||Yes|
|KCRI-FM 89.3||Educa/News||Riverside-San Bernardino||Santa Monica Community College||Yes|
|KUOR-FM 89.1||Jazz||Riverside-San Bernardino||The University of Redlands||No|
|KVCR-FM 91.9||Educational||Riverside-San Bernardino||San Bernardino Community College District||No|
|KDND-FM 107.9||CHR||Sacramento||Entercom Communications Corp.||No|
|KIID-AM 1470||Children||Sacramento||ABC Radio||No|
|KQEI-FM 89.3||Nws/Tlk/Inf||Sacramento||KQED, Inc.||Yes|
|KRXQ-FM 98.5||AOR||Sacramento||Entercom Communications Corp.||Yes|
|KSEG-FM 96.9||Clsc Rock||Sacramento||Entercom Communications Corp.||No|
|KSSJ-FM 94.7||Smooth Jazz||Sacramento||Entercom Communications Corp.||No|
|KVMR-FM 89.5||Variety||Sacramento||Nevada City Community Broadcast Group||Yes|
|KWOD-FM 106.5||Alternative||Sacramento||Entercom Communications Corp.||No|
|KXJZ-FM 88.9||Jazz/News||Sacramento||California State University||Yes|
|KXPR-FM 90.9||Classical||Sacramento||California State University||No|
|KGB-FM 101.5||Clsc Rock||San Diego||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KOGO-AM 600||Tlk/Nws/Spt||San Diego||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KPBS-FM 89.5||Nws/Tlk/Inf||San Diego||San Diego State University||Yes|
|KALW-FM 91.7||Nws/Tlk/Inf||San Francisco||San Francisco Unified School District||Yes|
|KCBS-AM 740||News||San Francisco||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KCSM-FM 91.1||Jazz||San Francisco||San Mateo County Community College||Yes|
|KDFC-FM 102.1||Classical||San Francisco||Bonneville International Corp.||Yes|
|KFOG-FM 104.5||AAA||San Francisco||Susquehanna Radio Corp.||Yes|
|KFRC-FM 99.7||70s & 80s||San Francisco||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KGO-AM 810||News/Talk||San Francisco||ABC Radio||No|
|KIOI-FM 101.3||80s Hits||San Francisco||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KISQ-FM 98.1||Rhythm/Blue||San Francisco||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KITS-FM 105.3||Alternative||San Francisco||CBS Radio||Yes|
|KKSF-FM 103.7||Smooth Jazz||San Francisco||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KMEL-FM 106.1||HpHop/RhyBl||San Francisco||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KMKY-AM 1310||Children||San Francisco||ABC Radio||No|
|KNEW-AM 910||Talk||San Francisco||Clear Channel Radio||No|
|KOIT-FM 96.5||Soft AC||San Francisco||Bonneville International Corp.||Yes|
|KPIG-AM 1510||AAA/Rck/Amr||San Francisco||Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters, Inc.||No|
|KQED-FM 88.5||Nws/Tlk/Inf||San Francisco||KQED, Inc.||Yes|
|KQKE-AM 960||Talk||San Francisco||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KSAN-FM 107.7||Clsc Rock||San Francisco||Susquehanna Radio Corp.||Yes|
|KSFO-AM 560||Talk||San Francisco||ABC Radio||No|
|KSJO-FM 92.3||Span/Oldes||San Francisco||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KVVZ-FM 100.7||SpnAC/Rhymc||San Francisco||Univision Radio||No|
|KYLD-FM 94.9||CHR/Dance||San Francisco||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KZBR-FM 95.7||Clsc Hits||San Francisco||Bonneville International Corp.||Yes|
|KCNL-FM 104.9||Span/AdHts||San Jose||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KFFG-FM 97.7||AOR||San Jose||Susquehanna Radio Corp.||Yes|
|KLOK-AM 1170||Span/Trpcl||San Jose||Entravision||No|
|KUFX-FM 98.5||Clsc Rock||San Jose||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|KVVF-FM 105.7||SpnAC/Rhymc||San Jose||Univision Radio||Yes|
|KCBX-FM 90.1||Public||San Luis Obispo||KCBX, Inc.||No|
|KQSC-FM 88.7||Classical||Santa Barbara||University of Southern California||Yes|
|KRAZ-FM 105.9||Country||Santa Barbara||Knight Broadcasting, Inc.||Yes|
|KUOP-FM 91.3||Nws/Tlk/Inf||Stockton||University of the Pacific||No|
|KYKL-FM 90.7||ChrsContemp||Stockton||Educational Media Foundation||No|
|KDSC-FM 91.1||Classical||Thousand Oaks||University of Southern California||Yes|
Eye on IBOC
Competition for the Digital Radio Consumers Gets Ugly
Ladies and gentlemen, grab your entrenching tools. The battle for control of the digital radio landscape is underway, and if recent events are any indication, it will be a vicious little war fought mainly in the trenches. One item that surfaced last week came by way of some user reviews of a new aftermarket satellite/HD Radio/CD car audio component manufactured by a company thus far held in high regard by HD Radio proponents. The reviews, posted on Crutchfield's website, noted that the new model was incapable of ANY functionality UNLESS the Sirius HD Radio system was authorized. In other words, we'll sell you this fine CD player and HD radio receiver chassis, but if you don't subscribe to Sirius, it won't be useful for much other than serving as a wheel chock. To add insult to injury, the same receiver is incapable of receiving HD Radio multicasts.
Was all this the intent of the manufacturer? Or are other hands on the levers? Inquiring minds want to know.
Then there is the case of the phantom OEM HD Radio receivers. "Sorry," says the auto dealer, "but we've never heard of HD Radio, and oh, by the way, that model you want is only shipping with XM/Sirius (pick one) in the dash."
Now, everyone knows that for HD Radio to have any chance to make a positive impact for terrestrial digital broadcasters, the technology has to be available on the dealers' showroom floor. So far, that just hasn't happened. We're told it's lack of demand, but at this stage of the game, one begins to wonder if that's all it is.
Remember, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
HD Radio Terminology
An introduction into the
language surrounding IBOC.
MPA: Main Program Service Audio
ADA Launches High-end Home/Pro HD Line
Audio Design Associates' (ADA) HDM-1 HD Radio tuner module will begin shipping in April. The module is compatible with new and existing ADA products including the TSS-1 single tuner, Duo Tuner, Tune Suite Quadritune, and the Suite 8100 multi-room receiver and HD Pro tuners now scheduled to ship in May.
"One of the ways that ADA differentiates itself from the competition is through our revolutionary system architecture," said Philip Nubile, an engineer at Audio Design Associates. "Much like the modular design found inside the PC, ADA's simple 'building block' approach makes it possible to quickly incorporate new technologies such as HD Radio as they become available. The tuner modules are independently data controlled, and when enabled with the HD Radio module, capable of receiving multicast programming and displaying associated program information."
Consumers have their choice of single or multiple tuner module configurations ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $4,400 price points.
The HD Pro Tuner, targeted at professional users such as broadcasters, is packaged in 2RU with two HD tuners; balanced analog outputs; balance digital audio outputs; optical digital audio outputs; RCA Audio outputs; built-in front panel 15W headphone amplifier with A/B switch and volume control; dual stereo 20-step VU meters; and split-mode capability for simultaneous analog and digital comparison.
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