Digital Radio Update - March 4, 2009

March 4, 2009


  • Hungary Expands DAB+ Trial
  • DRM Featured at BES, NAB 2009
  • ABU, Voice of Vietnam, Hosts HD Radio Trials/Workshop
  • BE Offering HD Radio and RF Courses in Quincy
  • IBOC by State: Pennsylvania
  • A Tale of Two Studies
  • The New Language of Digital Radio
  • Iheart Radio Now Available on Verizon Hub

  • News

    Hungary Expands DAB+ Trial
    Antenna Hungária (AH), a major player in Hungary's broadcast service sector, says it's expanding the content available on its DAB+ terrestrial radio network, now operating on an ongoing trial basis in Budapest. The new addition of Sláger Rádió and Magyar Katolikus Rádió brings the total number of channels available on the current multiplex to eight.

    DAB+ testing began in December 2008, and programming began airing on Jan. 23. Current coverage of single multiplex extends to roughly 30 percent of the country's population, according to a company press release.

    AH notes that while there are currently four models of radio available for sale to the general public, they expect that number to double in the next year. The firm says it plans to expand the current multiplex with additional public and commercial channels as it pursues eventual adoption of the system.

    DRM Featured at BES, NAB 2009
    Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) was a feature attraction at last week's Broadcast Engineering Society (India) Expo International Conference held in Delhi, India. Roughly 40 engineers were expected to attend a special workshop focusing on the open-source technology, not surprising, given the fact that All India Radio (AIR) has committed to the open standard system in a multi-year conversion program. AIR Radio officially inaugurated its first regularly scheduled DRM service on Jan. 16 of this year.

    Demonstration of over-the-air HF DRM transmissions from the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Trincomalle (Sri Lanka) and AIR were featured at the conference, along with DRM technology displays, equipment and receivers.

    DRM says it will also host a technology panel discussion on Tuesday, April 21, during the 2009 NAB Show in Las Vegas. Those interested in attending should contact Continental Electronics, which is hosting the event.

    Technology and Applications

    ABU, Voice of Vietnam, Hosts HD Radio Trials/Workshop
    The Asia Pacific Broadcast Union (ABU) and The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) Radio, recently sponsored a digital radio workshop with an HD Radio focus. The event highlighted FM and MW AM testing of IBOC digital transmission under the auspices of VOV, with cooperation from Ibiquity Digital and Nautel.

    According to an ABU press release, IBOC AM is of particular interest to Southeast Asian broadcasters, who already have a well developed MW infrastructure. IBOC's backward compatibility with legacy receivers is a big selling point in Vietnam and other developing nations where the cost of digital receivers, even at a $75 - $100 price points, may be prohibitive for much of the population.

    The ABU says it hopes the workshop succeeded in generating sufficient interest and expertise among attendees to allow them to arrange similar trials in their respective nations and markets.

    BE Offering HD Radio and RF Courses in Quincy
    Citing the need for a better understanding of high power RF and HD Radio technology among radio engineers and managers, Broadcast Electronics will offer three half-day courses in both disciplines at the company's new RF lab in Quincy, IL.

    The first class, entitled RF Technology 101, will cover amplifier and tube operation basics, Smith Chart applications, passive components, quarter wave hybrids and TDR measurements as well as transmission line theory and resonant circuits in a lab environment. The RF class will begin its first run on March 23 and run again in late September.

    IBOC Technology 101 will cover the fine points of both AM and FM IBOC digital transmission and data management, along with modulation techniques, combiners, filters and antenna systems. Associated equipment and systems will also be included. This class will run beginning on June 15 and repeat on Nov. 9.

    BE says those completing the RF course will qualify for three credits toward SBE re-certification in category H. Those interested can learn more about the courses at

    IBOC Across America

    IBOC by State: Pennsylvania
    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 75 stations in the Keystone State broadcasting 124 HD Radio channels.

    MarketStationHD1 FormatHD2 Format HD3 FormatOwner
    Allentown-BethlehemWAEB-FM 104.1Adult CHRNew Hits-Clear Channel
    Allentown-BethlehemWCTO-FM 96.1Country--Citadel
    Allentown-BethlehemWDIY-FM 88.1Variety--Lehigh Valley Community Broadcast Associates
    Allentown-BethlehemWLEV-FM 100.7AC--Citadel
    Allentown-BethlehemWSAN-AM 1470Fox Sports--Clear Channel
    Allentown-BethlehemWZZO-FM 95.1AORComedy - Joke Joke-Clear Channel
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWHKF-FM 99.3UrbanRock - Alternative Rock-Clear Channel
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWHP-AM 580News/Talk--Clear Channel
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWITF-FM 89.5NPR/ClassicalENGAGE-WITF
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWJAZ-FM 91.7Classical/Jazz--Temple University
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWNNK-FM 104.1Hot ACUrban - The Touch 95.3-Cumulus Media
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWRBT-FM 94.9CountryClassic Country - Amy-Clear Channel
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWRVV-FM 97.3Rock ACVinyl Vineyards-Clear Channel
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWTKT-AM 1460Sports--Clear Channel
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWTPA-FM 93.5Classic Rock--Cumulus Media
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWWKL-FM 92.1CHR--Cumulus Media
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWXPH-FM 88.7AAAModern Rock-University of Pennsylvania
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-CarlisleWZXM-FM 88.1Christian Contemporary--Four Rivers Community Broadcasting
    LancasterWDAC-FM 94.5ChristianPraise & Worship-WDAC Radio Company
    LancasterWROZ-FM 101.3Soft Rock--Hall Communications
    LancasterWRTL-FM 90.7Classical/Jazz--Temple University
    PhiladelphiaKYW-AM 1060News--CBS Radio
    PhiladelphiaWBEB-FM 101.1AAA80s Channel-WEAZ-FM
    PhiladelphiaWBEN-FM 95.7Adult HitsClub Ben - Rythmic AC /Dance-Greater Media
    PhiladelphiaWDAS-FM 105.3Urban ACR&B Love Songs-Clear Channel
    PhiladelphiaWHAT-AM 1340Adult Standard--Marconi Broadcasting Company
    PhiladelphiaWHYY-FM 90.9News/Talk/InfoWHYY Arts & Info Service-WHYY, Inc.
    PhiladelphiaWIOQ-FM 102.1CHR/Top40Tropical-Clear Channel
    PhiladelphiaWIP-AM 610Sports/Talk--CBS Radio
    PhiladelphiaWISX-FM 106.1Rhythmic/ACSmooth Jazz-Clear Channel
    PhiladelphiaWMGK-FM 102.9Classic RockWMGK Deep Trax-Greater Media
    PhiladelphiaWMMR-FM 93.3RockLive Rock - WMMR Archives-Greater Media
    PhiladelphiaWNUW-FM 97.5ACClassical-Greater Media
    PhiladelphiaWOGL-FM 98.1Classic HitsAll 70s-CBS Radio
    PhiladelphiaWPEN-AM 950Sports/Talk--Greater Media
    PhiladelphiaWPHT-AM 1210Talk--CBS Radio
    PhiladelphiaWPPZ-FM 103.9Gospel--Radio One
    PhiladelphiaWRDW-FM 96.5CHR/RhythmicDance Club Music-Beasley Broadcast Group
    PhiladelphiaWRFF-FM 104.5RockeRockster-Clear Channel
    PhiladelphiaWRNB-FM 107.9Adult CHR--Radio One
    PhiladelphiaWRTI-FM 90.1Classical/JazzClassical /Jazz-Temple University
    PhiladelphiaWUBA-AM 1480Tropical--Clear Channel
    PhiladelphiaWUSL-FM 98.9UrbanClassic Hip Hop-Clear Channel
    PhiladelphiaWWDB-AM 860Business News/Talk--Beasley Broadcast Group
    PhiladelphiaWWJZ-AM 640Family Hits--Radio Disney
    PhiladelphiaWXPN-FM 88.5AAAY-Rock-University of Pennsylvania
    PhiladelphiaWXTU-FM 92.5CountryCountry Next Generation-Beasley Broadcast Group
    PhiladelphiaWYSP-FM 94.1RockNews/KYW-CBS Radio
    PittsburghKDKA-AM 1020News/Talk--CBS Radio
    PittsburghWBZW-FM 93.7CHR/Top 40Party HitsKDKA-AMCBS Radio
    PittsburghWDSY-FM 107.9CountryAll New CountryKDKA-AMCBS Radio
    PittsburghWDUQ-FM 90.5News/Jaz/NPRAlternating MPS Jazz/NewsBluesDuquesne University
    PittsburghWDVE-FM 102.5RockBlues-Clear Channel
    PittsburghWEAE-AM 1250Sports--ESPN Radio
    PittsburghWKST-FM 96.1CHRDance-Clear Channel
    PittsburghWLTJ-FM 92.9Soft RockClassic RockUrban ACSteel City Media
    PittsburghWPGB-FM 104.7TalkSmooth Jazz-Clear Channel
    PittsburghWQED-FM 89.3Classical--WQED Multimedia
    PittsburghWRRK-FM 96.9Bob's B Sides Local Artists-Steel City Media
    PittsburghWWSW-FM 94.5OldiesJammin Oldies-Clear Channel
    PittsburghWXDX-FM 105.9AlternativeAdult Alternative-Clear Channel
    PittsburghWZPT-FM 100.7Hot ACAll New HitsKDKA-AMCBS Radio
    ReadingWFKB-FM 107.5Classic HitsChristian-Nassau Broadcasting Partners
    State CollegeWPSU-FM 91.5VarietyNPR - Music / News-The Pennsylvania State University
    Sunbury-Selinsgrove-LewisburgWQKX-FM 94.1CHR--Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWBSX-FM 97.9Rock--Citadel
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWDMT-FM 102.3Classic HitsRock - Live Rock-Entercom Communications
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWGGY-FM 101.3CountryBlues-Entercom Communications
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWILK-FM 103.1News/TalkJazz - Smooth Jazz-Entercom Communications
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWKRZ-FM 98.5CHRComedy-Entercom Communications
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWMGS-FM 92.9AC--Citadel
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWRTY-FM 91.1Classical/Jazz--Temple University
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWSJR-FM 93.7Country--Citadel
    Wilkes Barre-ScrantonWVIA-FM 89.9Classical--North Eastern Pennsylvania Educational Television Association
    YorkWARM-FM 103.3Soft Rock--Cumulus Media Partners
    YorkWSOX-FM 96.1Classic Hits--Cumulus Media Partners

    Eye on IBOC

    A Tale of Two Studies
    A couple of interesting pieces of research flitted across my monitor this week. The first arrived as a half-sheet press release from a New York City public relations firm with the heading "J.D. Power Survey Confirms Rapid HD Radio Adoption by Automakers." The gist of it was that a 2008 study by Power concluded that HD Radio penetration in new or leased vehicles model years 2003-2008 was about 5 percent, based on a survey with 19,000 respondents.

    That certainly caught my eye. With 1 million or fewer total HD Radio receivers in the market at the end of 2008 that percentage seemed, well, surprisingly high. The last paragraph summarized by offering the data as "another proof-point to HD Radio's momentum." Predictably, reprints of this piece popped up on various radio sites across the Web. Chalk one up for IBOC.

    But then I came across another study. This one was the first annual Public Radio Tech Survey, designed and conducted by Jacobs Media on behalf of Public Radio. This study boasted about 30,000 respondents (all public radio listeners). The survey was initiated to help public radio program directors calibrate their strategies for building and holding their listener base.

    Now, public radio has made an enormous investment in IBOC technology. In fact, one might argue that public radio has really driven the development and refinement of key HD Radio applications, such as multicasting. And public radio has led the charge in promoting HD Radio receiver sales. So I expected the study, conducted late in 2008, to say some positive things about HD Radio adoption and how it is becoming a factor in shaping how listeners use public radio. But what I found was something quite different.

    Among the items listed under Key Findings, online listening is of growing importance to public broadcasters. Podcasting is said to be making an impact, with more than half the respondents owning some form of portable file player. Satellite radio listening, running at about 12 percent for public radio listeners, was described as playing a role but far from being a mass appeal delivery system.

    And how was HD Radio use characterized? With only about 3 percent of respondents reporting access to an HD Radio receiver, the technology was succinctly defined as remaining in the embryonic stage.


    But wait, there's more. The report's Summary Observations section goes further, suggesting "the HD Radio initiative's impact is miniscule, and fraught with several practical barriers that may hamper future growth."


    If you think carefully about just the numbers, these two articles are not all that far apart, particularly since sample error increases greatly when you''re talking about small percentages within a set of survey data. But these are sharply contradictory messages, designed for very different audiences and purposes. Together they speak volumes about where IBOC digital radio stands today. As radio (like the TV and publishing industries) is forced to re-conceptualize its business model under economic duress, it's time to discard old assumptions and open ourselves to all the possibilities that exist for the delivery of compelling audio content. IBOC digital is (and is likely to remain) just a part of a complex new iteration of a medium we call radio.

    So in the months ahead, look for Digital Radio Update to take you down some of those alternate paths, and how they will test broadcaster's technological savvy as never before. Uncertainty about where our industry is heading may be unsettling, but it's sure to make for some interesting reading. Stay tuned.

    HD Radio Terminology

    The New Language of Digital Radio
    Hz: Hertz
    IAAIS: International Association of Audio information Services
    IBOC: In-Band On-Channel
    IBAC: In-Band Adjacent-Channel
    I2E: Importer to exporter
    IANA: Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
    IAT: International Atomic Time


    Iheart Radio Now Available on Verizon Hub
    Clear Channel Radio's Iheart Radio portal, already available to Iphone users via AT&T, is now being offered via Verizon Hub. Featuring feeds from Clear Channel Radio large market stations, available formats include music, sports and talk, as well as the Verizon New Music Channel. Company CEO John Hogan says the firm's initial line-up of 14 stations will be expanded over the next 30 to 60 days.

    Verizon describes its Hub system as a communications command center that bridges wireline and wireless connectivity and runs on any broadband connection (FiOS, Internet or DSL).

    Verizon Hub users can click on the Internet Radio button, which has been downloaded automatically over the broadband connection, located under the V Cast icon on the applications screen.

    Customers require a wireless service plan from Verizon as well as a Verizon Digital Voice plan for the Verizon Hub, which must be purchased as a separate hardware item.

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