Digital Radio Update - June 3, 2009

June 3, 2009


  • France Grants T-DMB Digital Radio Applications
  • Brazil Includes DRM in Digital Radio Evaluation
  • Jacobs Media: Online Listening Tilts Upward in 2009
  • IBOC by State: Texas
  • FCC Requests Additional Comments on Digital Power Increase
  • Will Consumers Swoon Over Zune?
  • The New Language of Digital Radio
  • New Sanyo Tuner/Chipset Design Gain Ibiquity Certification

  • News

    France Grants T-DMB Digital Radio Applications
    There were winners and losers last week as French federal media regulator CSA approved160 applications for digital radio channel slots in the nation's new T-DMB-based digital radio system. According to a Michael Hedges article in, the CSA selection process will create four new national radio channels, two featuring sports, one news channel and a channel targeting French tweens. Multiplexes are currently planned for Paris, Marseille and Nice.

    While many broadcasters garnering channels are commercial operators with existing FM analog outlets, a number of specialized local channels were added including those broadcasting in Chinese and Berber languages. No English services were approved.

    Not everyone is pleased. Radio groups NextRadioTV and NRJ have complained that their applications for national channel positions were not given a fair hearing and at least one of the two groups is said to be considering litigation.

    Selection of T-DMB by France as a key platform for digital radio is itself somewhat controversial. Critics have charged that the move isolates France at a time when other EU member states are adopting DAB and DAB+ as their primary radio platforms in the VHF bands and above. Defenders of the French initiative say it's a key strategy in forcing advanced handset manufacturers to include both TV and radio functionality in new products.

    Brazil Includes DRM in Digital Radio Evaluation
    Brazilian telecom officials say they will include DRM as a platform under consideration during a 180-day public consultation period in establishing national digital radio standards.

    The announcement came as a seven-member panel representing DRM made its pitch at the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television (ABERT) Congress in Brasilia last week.

    The move means DRM will join Ibiquity's HD Radio and Eureka 147 DAB/DAB+ as candidates in providing standards for the country's future digital radio infrastructure.

    Even though DRM's non-proprietary technology has found recent favor in both Russia and India, the selection process is unlikely to be a slam-dunk in South America, where HD Radio has enjoyed a relatively long history, particularly in Brazil, where more than 20 stations have participated in demonstrations and ongoing evaluations of IBOC digital technology.


    Click to enlarge

    Jacobs Media: Online Listening Tilts Upward in 2009
    New handset devices such as the Iphone and Blackberry Storm combined with 3G wireless broadband are driving the adoption curve for online listening sharply upward, suggests a new study from Jacobs Media. Derived from a sample of 21,000 rock music e-mail subscribers, the latest Jacobs data suggests that Americans who report listening to streamed audio services at least once a week has risen to about 39 percent, up from 32 percent in 2008.

    Terrestrial radio station owners appear to be beneficiaries of this upward trend, as the most frequently mentioned sources by those listening online are actually local radio stations that stream their signals online, though listening to Web-only sites has also increased in the last year.

    The current survey also provides evidence that streaming audio laggards may become an endangered species. Respondents who report never having listened to streaming audio online have diminished from 50 percent in 2005 (first year of the survey) to only 34 percent in 2009.

    Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs says the study demonstrates that streaming can effectively extend the exposure of a terrestrial broadcaster's brand, suggesting that having a good audio stream is effectively the same as erecting a new tower and transmitter that creates availability to users of digital media.

    IBOC Across America

    IBOC by State: Texas
    Ibiquity has a list of stations with licensed HD Radio technology and notes those on the air now. IBOC by state looks at various states and lists the stations making the transition. There are 128 stations in the Lone Star State broadcasting 207 HD Radio channels.

    MarketStationHD1 FormatHD2 Format HD3 FormatOwner
    AmarilloKJJP-FM 105.7News/
    --KANZA Society
    AmarilloKRGN-FM 102.9Inspiration--Family Life Comms.
    AmarilloKTXP-FM 91.5Variety--KANZA Society
    AustinKASE-FM 100.7CountryNew Country-Clear Channel
    AustinKBPA-FM 103.5Classic HitsDance-Emmis
    AustinKDHT-FM 93.3Hip HopOld Skool Hip Hop-Emmis
    AustinKFMK-FM 105.9Rhythmic
    Nostalgia MixClear Channel
    AustinKGSR-FM 107.1AAALocal 107 - Local Artists-Emmis
    AustinKHFI-FM 96.7Top 40Hot Spot-Clear Channel
    AustinKHZS-FM 107.7Spanish/
    Tejano-Univision Radio
    AustinKKMJ-FM 95.5Soft RockOldies - 60s and 70sNews/Talk 1370 AMEntercom Comms.
    AustinKMFA-FM 89.5Classical--Capital Broadcasting Association
    AustinKPEZ-FM 102.3Chrs Contemp.Hallelujah-Clear Channel
    AustinKUT-FM 90.5VarietyBBC NewsJazzUniversity of Texas
    AustinKVET-AM 1300Sports/
    --Clear Channel
    AustinKVET-FM 98.1CountryMother Trucker-Clear Channel
    Bay CityKXGJ-FM 101.7Spanish/
    Bay CityKZBJ-FM 89.5Chrs Contemp.--KSBJ Educational Foundation
    Beaumont-Port ArthurKCOL-FM 92.5Classic HitsFoggy Mountain-Clear Channel
    Beaumont-Port ArthurKKMY-FM 104.5ACSlow Jamz-Clear Channel
    Beaumont-Port ArthurKVLU-FM 91.3Classical/
    Jazz and ClassicalThe IncubatorLamar University
    Bryan-College StationKAMU-FM 90.9News/
    Talk-Texas A&M University
    Bryan-College StationKNDE-FM 95.1CHRRock Candy- AlternativePlay by Replay-Aggie SportsBryan Broadcasting
    Bryan-College StationWTAW-AM 1620News/Talk--Bryan Broadcasting
    CommerceKETR-FM 88.9Variety--Texas A&M University
    Corpus ChristiKEDT-FM 90.3Variety--South Texas Public Broadcasting Systems
    Corpus ChristiKLUX-FM 89.5EasyCatholic Radio-Diocesan Telecomm.
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKAAM-AM 770Adult Standard/
    --DRJ Broadcasting
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKBFB-FM 97.9Hip Hop--Radio One
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKDBN-FM 93.3Classic RockNew Adult Hits-Cumulus Media Partners
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKDGE-FM 102.1AlternativeCutting Edge-Clear Channel
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKDMX-FM 102.9ACPride-Clear Channel
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKDXX-FM 107.1Mexican--Univision Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKEGL-FM 97.1RockOldies-Clear Channel
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKESN-FM 103.3SportsESPN-ESPN Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKESS-FM 107.9MexicanSpanish-Univision Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKFLC-AM 1270Spanish/
    --Univision Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKHKS-FM 106.1CHRWild-Clear Channel
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKJKK-FM 100.3JackThe Strip-CBS Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKKLF-AM 1700Sports--Cumulus Media Partners
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKLAK-FM 97.5AC--NextMedia
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKLIF-AM 570Talk--Cumulus Media Partners
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKLNO-FM 94.1Spanish/
    --Univision Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKLUV-FM 98.7OldiesAll Beatles-CBS Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKMKI-AM 620Family Hits--Radio Disney
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKMVK-FM 107.5Rhythmic/
    Smooth Jazz-CBS Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKNON-FM 89.3VarietyCommunity-Agape Broadcasting Foundation
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKPLX-FM 99.5CountryNew CHR-Cumulus Media Partners
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKPMZ-FM 96.7OldiesCountry-Citadel
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKRLD-AM 1080News--CBS Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKRLD-FM 105.3SportsIndie Rock-Indie-Verse-CBS Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKSCS-FM 96.3CountryCountry-Citadel
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKTDK-FM 104.1Sports--Cumulus Media Partners
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKVIL-FM 103.7ACChick Rock-CBS Radio
    Dallas-Ft. WorthKZPS-FM 92.5Classic RockMusic Summit-Clear Channel
    Dallas-Ft. WorthWRR-FM 101.1Classical--WRR-FM, City of Dallas
    El CampoKNTE-FM 96.9Nrtno/
    El PasoKHEY-AM 1380Sports/
    --Clear Channel
    El PasoKHEY-FM 96.3CountryFoggy Mountain-Clear Channel
    El PasoKLAQ-FM 95.5AORClassic Rock-Regent
    El PasoKPRR-FM 102.1CHR--Clear Channel
    El PasoKSII-FM 93.1Hot AC--Regent
    El PasoKTEP-FM 88.5NPR/
    -University of Texas
    El PasoKTSM-AM 690News/
    --Clear Channel
    El PasoKTSM-FM 99.9SAC/
    Adult Contemp.-Clear Channel
    Houston-GalvestonKAMA-FM 104.9Spanish/
    Adult Hits
    Spanish Celestial-Univision Radio
    Houston-GalvestonKBME-AM 790 Sports--Clear Channel
    Houston-GalvestonKBXX-FM 97.9R&B Oldies/
    Hip Hop
    --Radio One
    Houston-GalvestonKFNC-FM 97.5Sports--Cumulus Media Partners
    Houston-GalvestonKGLK-FM 107.5Classic HitsOldiesWeather NOAACox Radio.
    Houston-GalvestonKHJK-FM 103.7Adult Hits--Cumulus Media Partners
    Houston-GalvestonKHMX-FM 96.5Hot ACNew CHR-Clear Channel
    Houston-GalvestonKHPT-FM 106.980s HitsPAT-Cox Radio
    Houston-GalvestonKILT-FM 100.3CountryThe WolfSports Radio 610CBS Radio
    Houston-GalvestonKKBQ-FM 92.9CountryCountryCountry Legends 97.1Cox Radio
    Houston-GalvestonKKHH-FM 95.7CHRDanceCNN 650CBS Radio
    Houston-GalvestonKKRW-FM 93.7Classic RockAdult Alternative AAANews Radio 740Clear Channel
    Houston-GalvestonKLOL-FM 101.1ReggaetonIn-Depth News-Clear Channel
    Houston-GalvestonKLTN-FM 102.9MexicanPuro TejanoSpanishUnivision Radio
    Houston-GalvestonKMIC-AM 1590Family/
    Top 40
    --Radio Disney
    Houston-GalvestonKMJQ-FM 102.1Urban--Radio One
    Houston-GalvestonKODA-FM 99.1Soft ACSmooth Jazz-Clear Channel
    Houston-GalvestonKOVE-FM 106.5Spanish/
    Adult Hits
    --Univision Radio
    Houston-GalvestonKPFT-FM 90.1Eclectic/
    Public Service
    BBC News-Pacifica Foundation
    Houston-GalvestonKPRC-AM 950Talk--Clear Channel
    Houston-GalvestonKPVU-FM 91.3NPR/
    Smooth Jazz/
    --Prairie View A&M University
    Houston-GalvestonKQQK-FM 107.9Spanish/Pop--Liberman
    Houston-GalvestonKRBE-FM 104.1CHRClassic Alternative - JACK-Cumulus Media Partners
    Houston-GalvestonKROI-FM 92.1Gospel--Radio One
    Houston-GalvestonKSBJ-FM 89.3Chrs Contemp.--KSBJ Educational Foundation
    Houston-GalvestonKTBZ-FM 94.5Modern RockFree Buzz-Clear Channel
    Houston-GalvestonKTHT-FM 97.1Country--Cox Radio
    Houston-GalvestonKTJM-FM 98.5Mexican--Liberman
    Houston-GalvestonKUHF-FM 88.7NPR News & InfoClassical Music/Fine ArtsAhora! NPR News & Info in SpanishUniversity of Houston
    Killeen-TempleKLFX-FM 107.3RockRadio Radio-Clear Channel
    LubbockKOHM-FM 89.1ClassicalBBC/NPR-Texas Tech University
    Lufkin-NacogdochesKLDN-FM 88.9News/
    --Louisiana State University
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKBFM-FM 104.1CHRFuerza-Clear Channel
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKGBT-AM 1530Spanish/
    --Univision Radio
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKGBT-FM 98.5MexicanTejano-Univision Radio
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKHID-FM 88.1ClassicalClassical-RGV Educational Broadcasting
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKHKZ-FM 106.3Hot ACAmy-Clear Channel
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKMBH-FM 88.9ClassicalClassical-RGV Educational Broadcasting
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKNVO-FM 101.1CHR/
    Top 40/
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKQXX-FM 105.5OldiesRock On-Clear Channel
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKTEX-FM 100.3CountryFoggy Mountain-Clear Channel
    McAllen-Brownsville-HarlingenKVLY-FM 107.9AC--Entravision
    San AntonioKAJA-FM 97.3CountryTexas-Clear Channel
    San AntonioKBBT-FM 98.5Hip Hop/
    Rhythm and Blues
    Rock-Univision Radio
    San AntonioKCYY-FM 100.3Country--Cox Radio
    San AntonioKGSX-FM 95.1Spanish/
    --Univision Radio
    San AntonioKISS-FM 99.5AOR--Cox Radio
    San AntonioKONO-FM 101.1Classic Hits--Cox Radio
    San AntonioKPWT-FM 106.7Urban--Cox Radio
    San AntonioKQXT-FM 101.9ACSmooth JazzClear Channel
    San AntonioKRDY-AM 1160Family Hits--Radio Disney
    San AntonioKRTU-FM 91.7Jazz/
    --Trinity University
    San AntonioKSMG-FM 105.3Hot AC--Cox Radio
    San AntonioKTSA-AM 550News/
    00Border Media Partners
    San AntonioKXTN-FM 107.5Tejano--Univision Radio
    San AntonioKXXM-FM 96.1CHRPride Radio-Clear Channel
    San AntonioKZEP-FM 104.5Classic RockErockster-Clear Channel
    SpearmanKTOT-FM 89.5Variety--KANZA Society
    Tyler-LongviewKLJT-FM 102.3Top 40--Waller Media LLC
    WacoKBGO-FM 95.7OldiesSmooth Jazz-Clear Channel
    WacoKWBU-FM 103.3NPRNPR News & More-Brazos Valley Public Broadcasting Foundation
    Wichita FallsKMCU-FM 88.7Classical/
    --Cameron University
    Wichita FallsKMOC-FM 89.5Christian--Christian Service Foundation

    FCC Update

    FCC Requests Additional Comments on Digital Power Increase
    The FCC wants to know how stakeholders and members of the general public feel about the proposed IBOC Digital FM power increase. In public notice DA-1127, dated May 22, 2009, the Commission provides background and a brief introduction to the issue, with specific references to a current NPR research project that seeks to establish in some detail how a 10-fold digital power increase might impact analog reception of adjacent channel analog signals. Findings of that study are expected this fall.

    The notice poses the following questions:

  • Should the Commission defer consideration of the proposal until publication and peer review of the current NPR study have taken place?
  • Do the current operational records of existing hybrid IBOC FM stations (some 1,400) including those granted STAs to test elevated digital signal levels, provide a compelling basis for an immediate provisional increase at an additional 10dB, or at some lesser elevated level?
  • In the event that the Commission does grant an increase, should it establish standards to ensure interference does not occur to first adjacent analog stations and/or LPFMs?
  • Finally, in the event that the Commission does grant an increase, should it also establish explicit procedures to resolve digital-into-analog interference complaints?

    This is not the first request for comments on the proposed digital carrier increase. Last fall, the FCC made a more general request for comments, and noted it had received input both supporting and opposing the request tendered by industry proponents of the increase, referred to as the "joint parties."

    Reply comments are due no later than 35 days after publication in the federal register.

    Eye on IBOC

    Will Consumers Swoon Over Zune?
    It's official. Microsoft's newest iteration of its Zune personal media player will contain, among lots of other things, an HD Radio receiver. The announcement, along with lots of demo videos, is making the rounds of the usual techie online sites like CNET and Gizmodo and is bringing some color back to the cheeks of HD Radio proponents who haven't had much to cheer about in recent months.

    Driven by Windows CEOs and offering a pretty OLED touch screen with rotating color display, the new Zune will offer Wi-fi connectivity via a modified version of Internet Explorer, and even run HD video with a dock accessory.

    The fact that Microsoft has chosen to include an HD Radio receiver is provoking lots of forum discussions about how the software giant is choosing to position itself against rival Apple's Ipod Touch, which accepts streaming radio apps but doesn't include any sort of radio tuner.

    Among the questions being asked by broadcast engineers is just how HD Radio operation will impact the Zune's battery life, and how well a user's ear-bud cable will function as a digital FM antenna.

    One thing is certain. With a release set for fall, the all-new Zune is generating some buzz, and that's not a bad thing for either the HD Radio movement or Microsoft. But how the Zune, a platform still struggling to win acceptance, ultimately fares, and whether consumers will be favorably impressed by its HD Radio functionality, remain to be seen.

  • HD Radio Terminology

    The New Language of Digital Radio
    NPR: National Public Radio
    NRSC: National Radio Systems Committee
    NRSC-1: NRSC Standard: AM pre-emphasis/de-emphasis and transmission bandwidth specifications.
    NRSC-2: NRSC Standard: AM emissions limit specifications
    NRSC-3: NRSC Standard: AM receiver audio bandwidth and distortion recommendations.
    NRSC-4: NRSC Standard: RBDS data subcarrier standard
    NRSC-5: AM and FM IBOC transmission standard (note: NRSC standards revisions have a letter appended to the standard number, i.e., NRSC-5-A.)


    New Sanyo Tuner/Chipset Design Gain Ibiquity Certification
    Ibiquity Digital has approved Sanyo Semiconductor Corporation's SDRS-400 reference design and its LC75040 tuner for use in digital HD Radio receivers. Although designed primarily for automotive products, Sanyo claims the design is well suited for other applications in HD Radio devices.

    The SDRS-400 reference is comprised of a LV25400 RF front-end IC and LC75040 analog back-end IC. The combination provides digital AM/FM tuner, RDS and audio functionality with a microcomputer in a single DSP chipset that couples with HD Radio decoder ICs to provide a full receiver package for automotive applications.

    The HD Radio approval process includes an inspection of performance and functionality to ensure compliance with the HD Radio broadcast system requirements. Ibiquity notes that the new certification places Sanyo Semiconductor alongside NXP in offering radio receiver manufacturers a front-end chipset suitable for ready integration with HD Radio decoders.

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