Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Turning some tight corners for IBOC

The Big Picture by Skip Pizzi
Radio World Feb 1 2008

Sentiment against AM IBOC is gradually morphing from a fringe movement to a serious threat, as official complaints are being filed with the FCC and major AM stations are pulling the plug on their IBOC exciters. It will be interesting to see what response comes from the FCC in the coming months, if any.

The lack of strong consumer interest in HD Radio is well documented, and the longer this malaise continues, the harder it will be to reverse.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Will Small Markets Convert to HD Radio? Survey Suggests Not Soon

Jan 28 2008

Much has been written about large-market adoption of IBOC. A college instructor has been tracking conversions in smaller markets in Pennsylvania and identifies several factors as so-called “gating” items for its success.

Gary McIntyre, a broadcasting/mass communications instructor at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, in the northern portion of that state, tells me he mailed out 100 questionnaires to stations in Arbitron markets No. 150 and higher.

The survey consisted of 15 questions asked of station GMs, ops managers and CEs; the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters provided contact information.

McIntyre asked them whether the stations intended to convert their facilities in the next 12 months; he also made queries about multicasting, HD-R receiver availability and station promotion of IBOC.

Of the 100, he received 50 surveys back. Of those, only one station had converted to HD-R.

“Eighty-six percent of the remaining respondents indicated it would be highly unlikely or somewhat unlikely” they would convert their stations over the next 12 months, according to his report. Six percent indicated it would be neither likely nor unlikely, and only 6% indicated it would be likely, he told me.

CNET Review - Sangean HDR-1 - portable radio

Of course, we can't let a discussion of the Sangean HDR-1 end without listing our major gripe--that the whole HD Radio format doesn't (for most people) deliver a particularly major improvement over the analog radio experience. To our ears, the HD Radio stations weren't delivering a dramatic improvement over their analog counterparts. And while we welcomed the presence of digital-only HD2 stations on the dial, many of them seemed to be noticeably compressed--more MP3 than CD. Moreover, the data streams seemed limited to artist, song, and show title information. That's nice, but nothing that can't be done with RDS information on analog stations, and some of the HD stations seem to lack the informational displays altogether. While the digital stations certainly offer static-free reception, that's only if they're within range; a distant HD station will drop in and out if it's too far away. Even more disturbing is that some nearby HD stations seem to blink out randomly--the cell-phone-like signal meter drops a full six bars to zero and then shoots back up again a few seconds later, even when the radio is completely stationary. To reiterate, none of these problems are the fault of Sangean HDR-1. The same issues exist on the Polk I-Sonic and Cambridge 820HD, and will continue to exist for any and all HD Radio receivers until the stations decide to offer more bandwidth and better data support.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Constructive Dialogue On The Future Of Audio Entertainment, from Edison Media Research

This links to a collection of postings specifically on HD Radio; check out all the other information on the site.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

High-def radio is here, but is anyone listening?

Radio fanatics can't get high definition tuners installed in their Lexus nor can they currently purchase one at a local Circuit City store.
But 19 Utah stations are broadcasting 31 high-definition radio channels with six more coming soon. And the University of Utah's KUER has been raising money to help it add a classical and alternative rock station to its news, talk and jazz channel.
It seems the stations are investing in technology the public isn't quite ready to embrace.