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IBOC Update - May 11, 2005
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DRM Demos in New Zealand
Radio New Zealand recently hosted a demonstration of Digital Radio Mondiale IBOC digital transmission system before an international broadcast symposium, according to a government press release.
Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey welcomed the initiative, saying the government had invested $2.6 million to fund the purchase of a new digital shortwave transmitter scheduled to begin service next year.
"The purchase of this technology is an important part of New Zealand's contribution to improving broadcasting services and current affairs available across the Pacific region," Steve Maharey said. "The new DRM technology will allow Radio New Zealand to transmit high quality digital programming to the South Pacific."
Radio New Zealand has been investigating the potential of using DRM on medium wave in the Southern Hemisphere where the bandwidth currently available is double that allocated to European broadcasters.
IBOC Receivers Share Spotlight at NAB2005
Receiver manufacturers queued up to show and tell about their newest HD Radio product offerings at a joint press conference sponsored with Ibiquity Digital during the recent NAB2005 broadcast convention in Las Vegas. The event included sneak peeks at HD Radio tabletop receivers from Polk Audio and Radiosophy, new in-dash receivers from Sanyo and Panasonic, home receivers by Yamaha, ADA, and Rotel and additional details on the Boston Acoustics Recepter Radio HD expected to reach consumers this summer.
"By the end of 2005, we expect to see at least a dozen different manufacturers offering HD Radio products across categories that include aftermarket and OEM automotive, tabletop and high-end home," said Ibiquity CEO Robert Struble. "Just as importantly, prices of comparable receivers are falling by 50 percent or more from 2004 levels, making HD Radio products available to a wider range of consumers."
Spokesmen for each of the receiver manufacturers addressed the growing demand for HD Radio-equipped products for the car, home and portable audio consumer markets, as well as excitement over the growth potential of FM digital multicasting.
Three Broadcasters Win HD Radio Receivers at NAB
At least three visitors to last weeks NAB2005 convention in Las Vegas went home as winners without ever having to visit a casino, thanks to an HD Radio lottery sponsored by Broadcast Electronics.
The luck of the draw favored Tobias Poole, operating director for NPR affiliate Temple University Public Radio in Philadelphia; Bob Gagne, director of engineering for Hubbard Radio in Minneapolis; and Patrick Ayivor, head of engineering for Multimedia Broadcasting in Ghana, Africa.
Each won a new Boston Acoustics Recepter Radio HD Radio receiver worth several hundred dollars. "We're going to put this to good use," said Poole, whose name was drawn out of about 250 others at the public radio conference, a two-day event co-sponsored by Broadcast Electronics and featuring data, multicasting and other HD Radio topics. Temple University Public Radio has received funding to convert its six stations in Pennsylvania to HD Radio, starting with its flagship station WRTI-FM, which was expected to go on the air during the week of the NAB convention. The station is using a new BE FMI 73 HD Radio transmitter package to make the conversion.
Two other winners' names were drawn late afternoon the same day during a BE HD Radio seminar held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Winners Bob Gagne of Hubbard Radio and Patrick Ayivor of Ghana had attended the BE-sponsored seminar to learn more about BE's solutions now available for second generation HD Radio, including multicasting and advanced data. Ayivor is one of a growing number of broadcasters outside the United States following the developments of HD Radio here.
Worldspace Sets Stock Offering
According to an April 19 article in the Washington Post, Worldspace, a D.C.-based satellite radio service provider with licenses to broadcast in Asia and Africa, registered an initial public offering of $100 million of stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Founded in 1990, Worldspace sells subscriptions to its radio service and receivers and leases broadcast capacity on satellites it owns. It does not compete with XM Satellite Radio Holdings, also based in D.C., or with Sirius Satellite Radio of New York, which hold the only two U.S. satellite radio broadcast licenses.
Worldspace aims to apply the business model pioneered by XM and Sirius in the United States to India and China, both markets with burgeoning middle classes. It now has 53,000 subscribers, including 22,000 in India, who pay between $3 and $5 monthly to receive as many as 80 channels of news, music and sports programs.
Ibiquity Gives Nod to Dolby Pro Logic II Surround
Dolby Pro Logic II has joined the ranks of approved audio formats for the Ibiquity HD Radio system. Dolby Pro Logic II technology provides a high-quality, full surround sound experience on any two-channel service, such as stereo radio and TV broadcasts.
This approval enables content encoded in Dolby Pro Logic II to be delivered over Ibiquity's HD Radio system, providing a surround sound listening experience for consumers with Dolby Pro Logic II decoders, such as those in many car audio systems and A/V receivers.
Content encoded in Dolby Pro Logic II is stored, edited and broadcast as a traditional two-channel signal, and is then decoded into five-channel surround sound by the listener's Dolby Pro Logic II receiver.
Tens of millions of Dolby Pro Logic II decoders, including those designed for home receivers and car audio systems, have been sold to date. Dolby Pro Logic II is also used extensively in the TV broadcast and cable industry.
Digital Radio Express Signs Armstrong and Bext as Authorized Dealers
Norman Miller, president of Digital Radio Express (DRE) has appointed Armstrong Transmitter and Bext as authorized dealers for DRE's multi-channel digital programming FM subcarrier system, FM Extra.
FM Extra is essentially a digital subcarrier system that the company claims can deliver 96kb/s of throughput data, enabling an analog or digitally equipped FM radio station to simultaneously broadcast multiple compressed audio channels to receivers equipped with compatible decoders.
DRE is a privately held Silicon Valley based company founded in 1997. Armstrong and Bext are manufacturers of broadcast transmitters and RF systems.
DRE's FM Extra was the recipient of one of the 15 Pick Hits awarded by Radio magazine at NAB2005.
Enco Ships Automation Systems to NPR Stations
Per an agreement with NPR to supply automation systems to interconnected public radio stations, Enco has begun shipping its Content Depot-compliant automation systems to NPR stations that currently do not have an automation system or that have a system that can't be made compliant with Content Depot. The shipments include Enco's Dadpro32 software and Enco-built automation hardware. The initial shipments will reach more than 100 qualifying public radio stations by June 2005.
Citadel Joins in Accelerated HD Radio Rollout
Citadel Broadcasting is joining a coalition of broadcasters committed to an accelerated conversion of AM and FM stations to digital HD Radio technology. Ranked as the sixth largest radio group in the country, Citadel says it plans to convert 60 stations to HD Radio during the next three years. The company owns and operates 155 FM and 58 AM radio stations in 46 markets located in 24 states, and was acquired by affiliates of Forstmann Little and Co. in June 2001.
"This is an investment that will significantly enhance the listener experience with traditional radio," said Farid Suleman, Citadel's CEO. "The digital experiences offered by HD Radio -- superior sound, the ability to multicast additional content on FM stations and data that can be displayed on receivers -- will allow us to continue producing the best entertainment possible for consumers."
Citadel joins 21 groups who announced their accelerated HD Radio rollout plans in January 2005 at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Westwood One Offers Commercial HD Radio Multicast, Traffic Services
Radio network Westwood One says that it will make its lineup of news, sports, talk and entertainment programming -- as well as traffic and information content -- available to HD Radio FM broadcasters for turn-key programming of multicast services.
In an effort to drive home its message, the company showcased both audio programming and traffic data content in the HD Radio/Ibiquity Digital booth at NAB 2005. Demonstrations included an integrated HD Radio receiver and a GPS navigation system with real-time traffic information overlaid on a navigation display.
Westwood One claims to have a traffic information infrastructure that includes more than 60 operations centers, more than 100 aircraft, and proprietary fixed cameras in addition to its relationships with local and state public transportation agencies. The company is also known for its satellite-delivered program services.
Eye on IBOC
NPR to Launch Multicast Network Feeds
National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that it will soon initiate network transmission of multiple musical formats as part of an ongoing effort to boost IBOC digital HD Radio multicasting by its participating member stations.
Beginning this summer, NPR will offer five programmed music formats to multicasting stations: classical, jazz, electronica, triple-A and folk. Other programs in development for stations with supplemental channels include a news and information service and other formats designed to serve culturally diverse audiences.
"Digital radio is the biggest innovation in radio since Armstrong invented FM in 1933," said Mike Starling, NPR's vice president for engineering and operations, and the father of the Tomorrow Radio initiative. "Public radio looks at multicasting with HD Radio as more than just a new technology. It's a creative, cost-effective way to extend our public service at a time when demand for public radio is greater than ever. We want to offer better and more choices for our listeners. That's why NPR and public radio are making such significant investments in multicasting technology."
Twenty-four NPR member stations are set to begin multicasting in 2005. NPR has also established a Multicast Receiver Team, comprised of seven NPR member stations: WOSU-FM, Columbus; WUSF-FM, Tampa; WFAE, Charlotte; WNYC New York Public Radio; Chicago Public Radio; Northern Indiana Public Radio; and Colorado Public Radio. The team is holding conversations with selected receiver manufacturers, aimed at a nationwide multicast receiver initiative for public radio listeners.
NPR launched the Tomorrow Radio initiative in January 2003 with partners Kenwood and Harris, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Its first phase tested and demonstrated the technical viability of multiplexing with the HD Radio system. Current and future phases will promote services such as store and replay features, display options and customized content services such as current traffic for individual commuters. Currently, there are 56 public radio stations transmitting HD Radio signals, with a total of 312 public radio stations committed to convert in the coming months.
HD Radio Terms
API: Application Programming Interface
EOC: Ensemble Operations Center
PAD: Program-Associated Data
IBOC Across America
IBOC by State: Kentucky
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.
|WIZF-FM 100.9||Urban||Cincinnati, OH||Radio One||No|
|WEKF-FM 88.5||Clscl/News||Corbin||Eastern Kentucky University||Yes|
|WOCS-FM 88.3||News/Varty||Lerose||Morehead State University||Yes|
|WRVG-FM 89.9||AAA||Lexington-Fayette||Educational Media Foundation||No|
|WFPK-FM 91.9||AAA||Louisville||Kentucky Public Radio||No|
|WFPL-FM 89.3||Nws/Tlk/Inf||Louisville||Kentucky Public Radio||No|
|WHAS-AM 840||News/Talk||Louisville||Clear Channel Radio||Yes|
|WUOL-FM 90.5||Classical||Louisville||Kentucky Public Radio||No|
|WVEZ-FM 106.9||AC||Louisville||Cox Radio||No|
|WMKY-FM 90.3||News/Variety||Morehead||Morehead State University||Yes|
|WKMS-FM 91.3||Variety||Murray||Murray State University||No|
|WASE-FM 103.5||Oldies||Radcliff||W & B Broadcasting||Yes|
Pocketdab Combines DAB, MP3 in a Personal Package
Pure Digital, makers of the Evoke Digital Radio, claims to have created the most advanced hand-held DAB radio yet offered in Europe. Called the Pocketdab 2000, the player combines a digital radio and MP3 player in a slim, pocket-sized package.
The system features DAB and conventional FM receivers with a memory feature known as Revu, which allows users to record, pause, rewind or replay DAB digital radio on the fly. Pocketdab also hosts MP3 playback from an SD memory card (64MB standard), and its tri-band receiver accommodates Band III and L-Band DAB as well as wideband FM analog.
Pocketdab 2000's menu supports a wide selection of European languages including English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Danish and Swedish. In addition, the unit has a Txtstor feature that enables users to save scrolling DAB text messages for later reference.
The manufacturer has not set a recommended list price, but suggests that it will be in +$300 (US) range, and is expected to ship in about 30 days.
Radiosophy Announces Multistream Receiver
Radiosophy has developed a transportable HD Radio receiver that can handle any number of multiple digital streams along with existing HD Radio and analog signals.
Measuring 6" x 4", the receiver was designed around the latest generation of HD Radio technology. The receiver will begin shipping in June.
To receive these articles twice a month in your e-mail, subscribe to the IBOC Update - Insight on HD Radio e-newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
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