IBOC Update - May 25, 2005


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Index:

  • London Hosts Digital Radio Show Next Week
  • Wi-max: Emerging Platform for U.S. DMB?
  • South Korea's Terrestrial, Satellite DMB Providers Square Off
  • WPRM Brings HD Radio to the Caribbean
  • Minnesota Public Radio Begins Twin Cities IBOC Rollout
  • Chicago's WUSN Goes Full Time with Supplemental Audio
  • IBOC by State: Washington DC
  • An Introduction to the New Language Surrounding HD Radio

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    News

    London Hosts Digital Radio Show Next Week
    Sponsors Ibiquity Digital, Itech, WRN and Asian Sound Radio will welcome visitors from around the world at the Digital Radio Show, to be held in the Islington Business Centre, London on June 1 and 2.

    According to digital radio proponents, consumption of radio worldwide is changing, as delivery platforms, devices and functionality rapidly evolve. For these reasons, promoters say that the show will focus on technology integration and enhancements to existing platforms, such as electronic program guides (EPGs), interactivity and other features intended to add value for the consumer.

    Topics of interest will include:

  • Worldwide deployments of digital radio EPG's and interactivity
  • New broadcaster opportunities afforded by EPGs
  • reconfiguring broadcast organizations for a multi-channel future
  • the economic potential of mobile and interactivity innovations in digital radio
  • digital radio developments in the automotive sector
  • TPEG, PVRs and other emerging byproducts of digital radio

    Enterprises interested in the economic potential of digital radio--such as mobile phone providers, ad agencies, media buyers, telcoms, network providers, manufacturers and retailers--are likely to queue up alongside broadcasters as they scrutinize new developments, ideas and business models in the rapidly developing market.

    More information: www.digital-radio-show.com


    Wi-max: Emerging Platform for U.S. DMB?
    Wi-max, a wide range, high bandwidth wireless data technology that overcomes the localized coverage limitations of currently deployed Wi-fi wireless network technology, may become the modality of choice for digital multimedia broadcasts (DMB) in the near future, according to some technology analysts.

    As popular as Wi-fi (802.1) technology is now, it's unlikely to become a viable mobile technology due to the restricted range of individual network nodes. But last year, more than 200 major IT and telecom vendors approved the new Wi-max wireless standard. Unlike the micro coverage characteristics intentionally designed into Wi-fi, Wi-max can achieve ranges of 30 miles from a single transceiver site with throughput data rates topping out around 70Mb/s--more than enough bandwidth to permit the transmission of flawless uncompressed 24-bit streaming audio and DVD-quality video.

    Trials of an enhanced, mobile version of Wi-max with a cellular-like switching capacity are scheduled for 2006 and, if successful, may provide the foundation for Internet access of virtually unlimited number of streaming, rich media sources such as audiophile--grade surround audio and accompanying high-definition video.


    Business

    South Korea's Terrestrial, Satellite DMB Providers Square Off
    Terrestrial- and satellite-based digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) services are finally set to roll out commercially over the next few months in South Korea, according to a study by ABI Research, an international intelligence research firm. The study also suggests that intense competition between competing stakeholders is likely once the services launch.

    More than a year behind predictions, Korea's TU Media will launch its satellite-based commercial DMB services in May, while the following month, terrestrial DMB services will also launch, led by the country's major cable news, radio and TV broadcasters.

    "A heated battle between terrestrial and satellite-based DMB operators has been brewing, mostly focused on rebroadcasting rights and never-ending frustrations with the South Korean Government," said ABI's Frank Viquez. "Once services launch, the fight will only intensify as service providers will need to compete for subscribers.

    The company says that they expect the total number of terrestrial DMB subscribers to be significantly higher than those of satellite DMB subscribers, because terrestrial-based services will be free and feature better programming. But the lack of successful revenue models has recently led terrestrial DMB providers to petition the government to allow them to levy subscription fees, which would make the business environment for broadcasters in that country far more competitive.


    WPRM Brings HD Radio to the Caribbean
    Just a few weeks ago, WPRM in San Juan, Puerto Rico became the first radio station to air FM HD Radio amid the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.

    The station is owned by UNO Radio Group and boasts an audience in excess of more than 800,000 listeners a week in the San Juan market, according to the Fall 2004 Arbitron report. This is the first reported HD Radio installation in the region, raising speculation that WPRM-FM could spark further interest in HD Radio throughout the Caribbean and into Latin America.

    UNO Radio Group is known as one of the foremost early adopters in the area, according to John Schneider, Broadcast Electronics' sales manager for Latin America and the Caribbean. "They've embraced digital technology early on, which is one reason why they've been able to take a lead position in the fiercely competitive San Juan market," he said.

    WPRM, which is known locally as the Salsoul Network, is a 25kW tropical format station licensed to 98.5MHz and is the first of 12 sister stations to implement the U.S. digital technology.

    "We want to make HD Radio an immediate success in Puerto Rico, and so far, it has been warmly received here," said Luis Soto, president of UNO Radio Group.


    Eye on IBOC

    Minnesota Public Radio Begins Twin Cities IBOC Rollout
    Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) has received a complete HD Radio transmission package at its flagship station, KSJN-FM 99.5, serving Minnesota's twin cities metropolitan area.

    An identical system will ship next month for MPR's KNOW-FM 91.1, also serving Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.

    "Each of our stations is evaluated individually for HD Radio conversion based on facility, signal, and so forth. We're also closely following Tomorrow Radio because we expect that to be an important part of HD Radio," said Mike Hendrickson, chief of network engineering responsible for planning and implementing HD Radio for MPR. Equipment orders for the Broadcast Electronics transmitter, importer and data generator packages were placed in March through RF Specialties of Missouri.

    KSJN is expected initiate HD Radio transmission sometime in June using a high-level combiner operating into a master antenna system. HD Radio conversion of KNOW will soon follow and will be implemented as a separate antenna configuration, with the digital transmitter operating directly into the station's auxiliary single-bay antenna, a configuration commonly referred to as "space combining."

    Broadcast Electronics and MPR conducted initial joint tests of HD Radio in 2003.


    Chicago's WUSN Goes Full Time with Supplemental Audio
    Infinity Broadcasting has announced the launch of WUSN-FM 99.5 HD-2 "Chicago's Future Country," the nation's first continuously programmed HD Radio supplemental audio channel to be carried by a commercial broadcaster. WUSN-FM 99.5 HD-2 will be programmed independently of the station's main program channel, and will feature a comprehensive playlist of new music from popular country artists. The main and supplemental channel will also include program-associated data (PAD), including title and artist information.

    The station initiated multicasting under an FCC experimental authorization on May 12, but has been transmitting in the HD Radio hybrid mode since June of 2003.

    "There is no limit to the number of uses involving HD Radio," said Joel Hollander, chairman of Infinity. "And this announcement is just the first of many related to Infinity's digital broadcast strategy."

    Infinity says it is currently bringing HD Radio IBOC digital transmission on line at a number of its radio outlets across the country, including stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, Seattle, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Fresno, CA.


    IBOC Across America

    IBOC by state: Washington DC
    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.

    Station Format Market Owner On Air
    WAMU-FM 88.5 Nws/Tlk/Inf Washington, DC American University Yes
    WETA-FM 90.9 Clscl/News Washington, DC Greater Washington Educational Telecomm Assoc. Yes
    WGMS-FM 103.5 Classical Washington, DC Bonneville International No
    WHUR-FM 96.3 Urban AC Washington, DC Howard University Yes
    WJZW-FM 105.9 Smooth Jazz Washington, DC ABC Radio No
    WKDL-AM 730 Span/Mexcn Washington, DC Mega Communications Yes
    WMMJ-FM 102.3 Urban AC Washington, DC Radio One No
    WPGC-FM 95.5 CHR/Rhymc Washington, DC Infinity Broadcasting Yes
    WTEM-AM 980 Sprts/Talk Washington, DC Clear Channel Radio Yes
    WTOP-AM 1500 News Washington, DC Bonneville International Yes
    WTOP-FM 107.7 News Washington, DC Bonneville International No
    WWZZ-FM 104.1 Hot AC Washington, DC Bonneville International No

    HD Radio Terminology

    HD Radio terminology

    PSD: Program-service data; the updated name for PAD

    SAC: Supplemental audio channel, see SPS

    SPS: Supplemental program service. Sometimes called SAC. In initial tests, NPR called this Tomorrow Radio.



    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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