Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Radio World Online - Editorial: AM IBOC in Distress?


Some people predicted an “IBOCalypse” when AM HD operations went full-time on Sept. 14. The band would drown in a sea of digital hash, digital doomsdayers warned. 

It didn’t happen, at least not yet. But there is plenty to worry about on the AM IBOC front.

First, let’s all agree that not enough stations have been transmitting HD Radio at night to provide a realistic evaluation of the consequences. That argues for calm, although the low activation rate is itself also a measure of the problem; if the system met the needs of AM broadcasters they should be jumping on it.

Citadel Director of Corporate Engineering Martin Stabbert embodied questions about the efficacy of full-time AM HD when he ordered all his AMs that had already converted to cease transmitting HD at night, using language that must have given Ibiquity officials heartburn. Separately and for different immediate reasons, Cox, in a “let’s wait and see” move, has tried HD on most of its AM stations but is taking it off the air day and night, once tested at each facility.