March 20, 2012 - Washington - NPR Labs, the research and development arm of NPR Distribution, has launched a new interactive Web-based mapping system that shows reception coverage for all public radio and television stations in the United States. The mapping tool is designed to guide station planning efforts to gauge and improve broadcast reception and develop new services including construction of new FM and television stations and translators. The tool's terrain-sensitive maps, which offer basic information on public and commercial stations, will also provide valuable insight for development of HD Radio and mobile television.
The free tool, available at secure.nprlabs.org/radioTVmapping, allows users to input the call letters for any public radio or television station and view the extent of that station's broadcast coverage. It also provides the ability to see the range of analog and digital signals, and to overlay the two for purposes of comparison. The mapping tool also includes locations for transmitters and translators as well as population coverage predictions.
"NPR Labs has been long been involved with the issue of what effect adjusting digital power levels would have on stations, and this tool is a natural extension of that effort," said Mike Starling, executive director of NPR Labs. "The demographic data is ideal for gauging and comparing coverage for actual populations, which planners and underwriters may use."
The tool features a field for users to input a station's call letters, a specific address or city, or longitude/latitude data, and users can select tabs to show area demographics, radio broadcast reach, fixed television reach and mobile television reach. Users can then overlay these maps to compare, for example, analog and HD Radio at their original power levels as well as at higher power levels. Stations can also use the tool to identify geographical areas that are under- or over-served by other broadcast entities.