IBOC Update - Apr 19, 2006
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CPB Opens Conversion Grant Window
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is going to allocate as much as $13 million for the FY 2006 in its latest round of Digital Radio Conversion Fund grants. All CPB qualified stations may apply for conversion grants until the current round window for applications closes on May 26, 2006.
Applicants are encouraged to review grant program details and application materials at www.cpb.org/grants/06digitalradioconversion.
Internet Radio Outnumbers Satellite; Terrestrial Holds On
Internet radio is outpacing satellite radio in terms of growth rates and total listener numbers while conventional AM/FM broadcasting continues to hold its ground, according to The Infinite Dial: Radio's Digital Platforms, a study just released by Arbitron and Edison Research.
While terrestrial radio executives fret about static revenues and pop media's fixation with satellite radio, Internet radio has quietly been building momentum with a monthly audience (12+) now exceeding an estimated 52 million. That's an increase from an estimated 37 million people in 2005. And survey data suggest that estimated weekly Internet radio audience numbers increased 50 percent during the past year, with 12 percent of the total U.S. population age 12+ (an estimated 30 million) reporting some level of Internet radio listening during the previous week.
Satellite Radio's growth during the same time period was also strong, as nearly one in five non-subscribers to satellite radio said they are "very" or "somewhat" likely to subscribe to satellite radio in the next 12 months. The Arbitron/Edison study also suggests that awareness of XM and Sirius satellite radio is about equal for both carriers at about 61 percent among those aged 12 and older. Even so, combined XM and Sirius subscriptions are not expected to break the 20 million mark by the end of 2006.
Gains in Internet and satellite radio listening do not seem to be coming at the expense of conventional AM/FM radio, however. Daily radio time spent listening (TSL) is two hours 45 minutes for the average consumer, down only slightly from the 2005 average of two hours 48 minutes among those who have experienced some form of digital radio (Internet stream/podcast or satellite). Meanwhile, 77 percent of Americans said they expect to listen to AM/FM radio as much as they do now despite increasing advancements in technology.
More than one-third of survey respondents said they are "very" or "somewhat" interested in HD Radio. More than a third of those surveyed who were interested in HD Radio said they would be likely to purchase an HD Radio receiver at a $100 price point, while 58 percent of those interested said they would be likely to purchase at $50.
Study results were based on a Jan. 13 – Feb. 12, 2006, telephone survey of 1,925 people. Respondents age 12 and older were chosen at random from a national sample of Arbitron's Fall 2005 survey diary keepers. Supplemental random samples were taken in some areas.
HD Radio Makes Paris Debut
HD Radio has landed in France. According to Broadcast Electronics (BE), the company has installed one of its HD Radio transmission systems on an independent station in Paris, France, operating under a test license granted by Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA), France's broadcast authority.
The facility, owned by Towercast, France's first privately held tower company, in partnership with independent broadcast syndicate SIRTI and NRJ Group, recently began broadcasting an HD Radio signal on 88.2MHz using a BE low-powered transmission system. In the next phase of the trials, Towercast plans to multicast two or more channels of programming.
SIRTI is a professional organization of 123 independent local and regional broadcasting operators. NRJ Group is a European broadcast group with four major radio networks in France and a TV station.
CSA has also granted Towercast an experimental license to broadcast HD Radio on 93.9MHz. The group plans to add a single channel of digital audio on 93.9MHz in the next month, and will eventually add another program channel to test HD Radio multicasting and study any unique issues the technology may pose under France's channel allocation plan.
Ibiquity Certifies HD Radio Field Strength Meter
Ibiquity Digital has granted certification Audemat-Aztec's Navigator HD mobile FM and HD Radio field strength meter. The Navigator HD is a portable unit designed for field surveys as well as on-site/studio monitoring of a station's analog and HD Radio FM signal.
Audemat-Aztec claims the Navigator HD can decode SPS, SIS, PSD and measure level, time and phase alignment between the analog and the digital signals. In FM analog mode only, the Navigator HD enables multi-station RF surveys and the monitoring of modulation, pilot and RBDS SCA injection level.
WGUC-FM Multicasting with Neural Codec Pre-Conditioning
WGUC-FM 90.9, Cincinnati's Classical Public Radio, reports that it's now multicasting using Neural Audio's Neustar Plus Digital Codec Pre-Conditioner. WGUC, known for its heritage classical music programming, recently added a 24-hour jazz service on its HD Radio multicast channel.
"Codec pre-conditioning improvements are sometimes subtle, transparent and not very obvious," said Mark Seigle, Neural Audio president. "The point is that content is never created equally."
The Neustar Plus was developed to improve HD multicast transmission as well as other reduced bit-rate audio paths in use by broadcasters such as Internet streams, ISDN/POTS, satellite, DAB or DRM broadcasts.
Ibiquity Certifies Second Generation Reference Receiver Design
Ibiquity Digital has released an upgraded HD Radio Reference Design for tabletop and home receiver manufacturers. Boasting improved AM/FM sensitivity and reduced bill-of-material costs, the HDM1181 HD Radio Reference Module Version 2.0 provides a fast-track manufacturing option for OEM/ODM consumer electronics manufacturers looking to integrate HD Radio technology into current radio product lines.
Ibiquity says that more than 20 Asia-based radio manufacturing companies are now involved in developing HD Radio receiver products. The list includes Kiryung Electronics, Rockridge Sound Company, Orient Power, City Electronics, Opus Art and Technology, Sangean, Jazz Hipster, Wistron-Neweb and Zylux Acoustic.
The module is now certified and available to all HD Radio licensees.
Clear Channel Launches HD Radio Promo Set
Clear Channel Radio and other members of the HD Digital Radio Alliance are betting that consumers won't turn a deaf ear on HD Radio. To help get their point across, Clear Channel Creative Services Group has made its latest HD Radio promo set available at no cost to radio stations owned by the 12 radio groups that comprise the alliance. The theme of the current promotion campaign is built around a youth/humor "are you def yet?" tagline with customized production earmarked for Rock, CHR, News/Talk, AC and HipHop/Urban formats.
The HD Digital Radio Alliance, formed in December 2005, announced at its inception that it would devote more than $200 million in member station commercial inventory in 2006 alone to promote digital radio as well as HD2 multicast channels.
Samples of the new promo can be heard at www.areyoudefyet.com.
Eye on IBOC
HD Radio Happenings Abound at NAB2006
As broadcasters around the world pack their suitcases for next week's NAB extravaganza in Las Vegas, our e-mail inbox is bulging with HD Radio related press releases. Here are just some of the opportunities attendees will have to see, hear and touch the latest in IBOC digital radio applications:
Representatives from NPR Labs will be available at the booth during exhibit hours.
And the list even includes one distinctly non-HD Radio IBOC technology. For the first time ever at NAB, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) will showcase live international broadcasts on multi-standard DRM-capable consumer radios. These multi-mode tabletop receivers, featuring integrated DRM/DAB/FM/RDS/AM/SW/LW capabilities, will be displayed at the NAB exhibit booths of DRM members Continental Electronics, RIZ-Transmitters and Transaudio Sender Systeme Berlin AG. Several DRM members will transmit special, live DRM broadcasts into Las Vegas during NAB, including Continental Electronics (from Nevada), HCJB (from Ecuador), CVC (from Chile) and Radio Canada International (from Canada). This will enhance the existing line-up of DRM broadcasts into the United States from Deutsche Welle, NASB, Radio Canada International, Radio Kuwait, Radio Netherlands, Swedish Radio International, TDP Radio and Vatican Radio.
Reader's Digest Hails HD Radio
In a sign that HD Radio may be turning right on Main St., the technology has been named to the annual "Best of America" list by the editors of Reader's Digest magazine in its May issue. In this year's list, HD Radio appears in the Entertainment category under the title "Best Sound on Demand," with an entry specifically citing the technology's "super-clear sound."
"Reader's Digest is widely recognized as an icon of the publishing industry, a fact that makes this acknowledgment an especially great honor," said Bob Struble, President of Ibiquity Digital, sole developer and licenser of HD Radio technology.
Reader's Digest claims to reach about 80 million readers worldwide each month, and is published in 20 languages and 50 editions worldwide.
IBOC Across America
IBOC By State: Wisconsin
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.
|KUWS-FM 91.3||Nws/Tlk/Inf||Duluth-Superior, MN-WS||Wisconsin Public Radio||Yes|
|WPNE-FM 89.3||News/Clscl||Green Bay||Wisconsin Public Radio||No|
|KCLH-FM 94.7||ClHts/70sOd||La Crosse||Family Radio||No|
|WLSU-FM 88.9||Classical||La Crosse||Wisconsin Public Radio||No|
|WERN-FM 88.7||News/Clscl||Madison||Wisconsin Public Radio||Yes|
|WHA-AM 970||Talk||Madison||Wisconsin Public Radio||Yes|
|WIBA-FM 101.5||Clsc Rock||Madison||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|WMAD-FM 96.3||Alternative||Madison||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|WMGN-FM 98.1||AC||Madison||Mid-West Family Broadcasters||No|
|WORT-FM 89.9||Variety||Madison||Back Porch Radio Broadcasting, Inc.||Yes|
|WSLK-FM 106.7||Clsc Hits||Madison||Mid-West Family Broadcasters||No|
|WHAD-FM 90.7||Talk||Milwaukee-Racine||Wisconsin Public Radio||No|
|WKKV-FM 100.7||Urban CHR||Milwaukee-Racine||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|WKLH-FM 96.5||Clsc Rock||Milwaukee-Racine||Saga||No|
|WKSH-AM 1640||Children||Milwaukee-Racine||ABC Radio||Yes|
|WKTI-FM 94.5||Hot AC||Milwaukee-Racine||Journal Broadcast Group||Yes|
|WMYX-FM 99.1||Hot AC||Milwaukee-Racine||Entercom Communications||Yes|
|WQBW-FM 97.3||ClRck/80Hts||Milwaukee-Racine||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|WTMJ-AM 620||Nws/Tlk/Spt||Milwaukee-Racine||Journal Broadcast Group||Yes|
|WXSS-FM 103.7||CHR||Milwaukee-Racine||Entercom Communications Corp.||Yes|
|WXPR-FM 91.7||Variety||Rhinelander||White Pine Community Broadcasting||No|
|WPFF-FM 90.5||Christian||Sturgeon Bay||Family Educational Broadcasting||No|
|WRGX-FM 88.5||Chrst/Rock||Sturgeon Bay||Family Educational Broadcasting||No|
|WDEZ-FM 101.9||Country||Wausau-Stevens Point||Midwest Communications||Yes|
|WHRM-FM 90.9||News/Clscl||Wausau-Stevens Point||Wisconsin Public Radio||Yes|
|WIFC-FM 95.5||CHR||Wausau-Stevens Point||Midwest Communications||Yes|
HD Radio Terminology
SCCH: System Control Channel
SIDS: Secondary IBOC Data Service Logical Channel
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