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WGUC-FM Takes HD Radio on Tour
Non-commercial classical FM broadcaster WGUC-FM, the first publicradio station in Ohio to launch HD Radio, is "rolling out" with aunique promotion in the Cincinnati area. Featuring a new 2004 BMW X5SAV sports activity vehicle equipped with a Kenwood HD Radio receiver,the eye-catching four-by-four will serve as a mobile sounddemonstration booth and provide the public an opportunity to sample theenhanced audio fidelity HD Radio delivers.
Audiophiles consider the classical format to be the ideal landscapefor HD Radio technology because listeners can virtually recreate a liveorchestral atmosphere – right at home, or in the car. "Sincesymphonic music moves across a wide spectrum of instrumental sounds, itis ideally suited to demonstrate the breadth of what HD Radiotechnology is designed to deliver. Chatter and three chord guitar riffswill only give the listener a glimpse of the technology's soundfidelity," notes WGUC general manager Rich Eiswerth. "So for thatsegment of the public that is upgrading personal audio equipment,digital broadcasting will greatly enhance the listening experience," hecontinued. "Our BMW roll out is simply a clever way for our station tobring this information to the public."
Ibiquity and Friends Demo LiveTraffic Data Tests on KSTJ-FM
Ibiquity Digital Corporation, in cooperation with Microspace,NAVTEQ, Broadcast Electronics, Panasonic and Las Vegas Station KSTJ-FMdemonstrated actual transmission of real-time graphical traffic updatesusing HD Radio technology in Las Vegas during NAB2004. The trafficinformation was displayed on a Panasonic GPS navigation system in ademonstration of an end-to-end system that exactly replicates how radiostations may transmit real time map updates to end users' radioscreens.
"Navigation is just one of many telematics applications thatbroadcasters will be able to offer to their listeners using thebroadcast infrastructure we are showing at NAB," said Joe D'Angelo,vice president of data business development, Ibiquity DigitalCorporation. "This same transmission method could be used to send ahost of other types of content to listeners, such as sports' scores,stock quotes and any other information that broadcasters want to sendfor real-time or archival insertion along with their HD Radiobroadcasts."
"The navigational field is just one of the new data services openingup to broadcasters because of HD Radio. Data opportunities arelimitless, but up until now, the management of software and broadbandlinks haven't been available for broadcasters to take advantage ofthese opportunities. We hope to fill in that gap with these newofferings," said Ray Miklius, Broadcast Electronics vice president,studio products.
Ibiquity plans to test this prototype transmission system on a trialbasis to stations in four of its target markets: Chicago, Detroit, LosAngeles and New York.
Telos Demos Fraunhofer 5.1Surround Sound Coder at NAB
Telos Systems/Omnia Audio and Fraunhofer Institute, the developersof MP3 and other MPEG audio codecs, demonstrated a spatial audio codingsystem for the transmission of 5.1 channel surround audio over HD Radioat NAB2004. According to reports from the convention floor, listenerswere impressed with what they heard.
The new system works with the existing HD Radio codec andtransmission equipment and utilizes 80kb/s of the total 96kb/s streamavailable for primary audio information, while the remaining 16kb/s isutilized to carry the surround information.
"Only a couple of years ago, it seemed we didn't have enoughbandwidth for full-fidelity stereo on IBOC," said Steve Church, Telospresident. "With this breakthrough, it's possible to have veryimpressive surround on HD Radio."
In addition to the Fraunhofer demo, Harris also displayed a 5.1channel system and the NPR Tomorrow Radio system in its booth at theconvention.
Ibiquity and Crutchfield AnnounceMarketing Co-Promotion Program
Ibiquity Digital has joined forces with Crutchfield Corporation, amajor marketer of consumer electronics products, in developing an HDRadio marketing co-promotion program for AM and FM HD Radiobroadcasters. The program provides copy and marketing assistance forbroadcasters' websites to educate consumers about HD Radio technologyalong with a direct link from broadcasters' websites to Crutchfield'sdedicated HD Radio Web page. In return, Crutchfield is offering cashincentives to broadcasters for sales realized from click-throughcustomers.
Crutchfield currently carries both Kenwood and Panasonic HD Radioreceivers and plans to offer additional brands as they enter themarket.
To learn more about the program contact Don Kelly, Ibiquitybroadcast strategic marketing manager at email@example.com or 410-872-1552.
FCC Issues Sweeping FNPRM and NOI forDAB
In an action coinciding with an April 15 open meeting on technologyissues, the FCC issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking(FNPRM) regarding how it ought to move on a broad range of issuessurrounding the rollout of IBOC DAB radio in the US. Attached to theorder was a companion Notice of Inquiry (NOI) that seeks todefine emerging controversies regarding digital content control andinternational treaty concerns.
In issuing the FNPRM, the Commission specifically addressed a numberof important issues, such as changes and amendments to station licenseapplication forms, and technical rules, including EAS, servicecontours, record keeping and measurement requirements. In addition, theCommission wants to decide what types of digital services should bepermitted, how existing public interest, programming, and operationalrules should apply to the new services, as well as how IBOC DAB willaffect NCE, LPFM and FM translator stations. In short, the proposedrulemaking envisioned by the FCC will be sweeping, touching nearlyevery facet of the current radio rules. While the Commission seems toremain disposed to allow the migration to digital services at amarketplace-established pace, it also asked what it might do toencourage conversion to hybrid IBOC DAB and its eventual replacementwith all-digital service.
While the FNPRM addressed multiple dimensions of DAB's proposedregulatory environment, the FCC also addressed controversial aspects ofits adoption in the companion NOI. Of specific interest was the issueof digital content control, recently brought to the fore by commentsfiled on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA), which seeks the mandating of a digital copy protection "flag"similar to one being adopted for digital television. In its comments,the FCC seeks guidance in defining its regulatory role in regards tothe issue. Also acknowledged were issues regarding border crossing ofIBOC DAB signals, and the FCC's desire to resolve whether any changesto existing treaties or regulations may be warranted.
Accompanying the joint FNPRM and NOI were the comments of FCCChairman Michael Powell, Commissioner Michael Copps, and CommissionerJonathan Adelstein. While both Powell and Adelstein were generallybullish regarding the DAB transition, Copps raised concerns about thepossibility that digitally enabled multicasting (via SACs) mightnegatively impact the diversity of voices heard in local radiomarketing by effectively doubling the number of program streamsavailable to current license holders.
The deadline to respond to the FNPRM or NOI (FCC04-99) is July 16.All comments should reference proceeding 99-325.
Entercom CommunicationsAnnounces HD Radio Conversion Plans for its Seattle and PortlandMarkets
Entercom Communications has signed licenses to implement HD Radiotechnology at its five FM stations (KGON, KKSN, KNRK, KRSK and KWJJ) inPortland, OR, and its three FM stations (KALC, KQMT and KOSI) inDenver. The Portland stations will be the first HD Radio stations tolicense HD Radio in Oregon and bring the total number of Entercom'soutlets committed to HD Radio broadcasting to 15.
David J. Field, president and CEO of Entercom Communications saidthat Denver and Portland were natural choices for the next phase ofthat company's digital conversion process because consumers there areresponsive to technical innovation and also because Entercom holds astrong positions in both markets.
An Introduction to the New Language Surrounding HD Radio
split-level combining: A recently developed technique inwhich the digital hybrid signal is low level combined with the FManalog signal, then amplified through a low/medium power broadbandtransmitter, before being high level combined in-phase with the main FManalog signal. This system allows using a common antenna with greaterefficiency than high-level combining, but without the requirement for afull-powered broadband analog transmitter.
This system was displayed at NAB2004 in the Harris booth. Completedetails of the system will be discussed in an upcoming article inRadio magazine.
ERI Intros Side-mounted, Dual-inputAntenna for FM IBOC
Joining a host of manufacturers introducing new IBOC digitaltechnologies at last week's NAB convention, Electronics Researchunveiled a dual-input, side-mounted FM antenna designed specificallyfor FM IBOC applications. The new antenna is capable of transmittingthe analog and digital FM signals without requiring a high-loss hybridcombiner or the use of a circulator to attain the required isolationbetween the digital and analog transmitters. The design meets currentFederal Communications Commission requirement for informal notificationof IBOC implementation requiring that all the elements in an FM antennaarray be excited by both the digital and analog FM signals, and thusrequires no STA for operation.
Tom Silliman, ERI president and CEO, said, "This new antenna designis a significant technological advance that will speed theimplementation and deployment of the IBOC digital broadcasting in theUnited States. This allows FM stations to implement simulcastoperations without needing additional tower aperture and withoutrequiring the use of high loss hybrid combiners or having to compensatefor the loss of a circulator."
Key characteristics of the antenna include dual coaxial inputs thatallow the use of a single antenna while eliminating the combining lossassociated with high-level hybrid combining methods. ERI claims theproduct is able to achieve 1.05:1 VSWR for both analog and digitalinputs while maintaining 30dB of isolation between them without the useof an isolator/circulator. Since the same elements are used for bothsignals, both formats have the same horizontal and vertical patternsand identical gain.
Belar Licenses Technology to ProduceIBOC DAB Modulation Monitors
Belar, a longtime producer of broadcast modulation monitoringequipment, has signed a licensing agreement with Ibiquity to moveforward with a product line designed to allow broadcasters to monitorkey AM and FM HD Radio signal parameters in real time.
The announcement is seen as timely by industry observers, who notethat the FCC is making final considerations for a proposed rulemakingthat is expected to include monitoring requirements for HD Radiodigital signals. Under the temporary notification procedures currentlyin place, broadcasters transmitting an IBOC signal are not required topossess monitoring apparatus. In fact, many early adopters of thetransmission technology have only recently taken delivery of consumerHD Radio tuners designed for aftermarket automotive applications,allowing them to actually hear their HD Radio digital signal for thefirst time.
A prototype of the monitor was displayed at NAB2004. Productionunits will be available later this year. Belar was awarded aRadio magazine Pick Hit Award for the product.
Ibiquity Establishes HD RadioStation Web List
Ibiquity has unveiled a website to provide a comprehensive list oflicensed U.S. radio stations that have begun or are soon to initiate HDRadio transmissions. In addition, the company also announced that SanJose's KEMR-FM 105.7, owned by Univision, became the 100th stationnationwide to successfully commence full-time HD Radio broadcasts whenit signed on in mid-April 2004.
Visitors to www.HD-Radio.com can search for stations across morethan 100 markets that are broadcasting HD Radio signals to theircommunities. This new feature is part of Ibiquity's strategy ofpartnering with local stations and retailers to promote theavailability of HD Radio technology within each market and follows therecent appointment of several executives to spearhead thoseefforts.
The gala launch of Ohio State University's WOSU-FM on April 5 istypical of the excitement greeting the introduction of HD Radiobroadcasts within many communities. In addition to its on-airpromotions, the Columbus station is also launching a print campaignhighlighting its leadership position as the first station in centralOhio to broadcast using HD Radio technology.
With the availability of a continuously updated online resourcetracking the nationwide rollout of HD Radio, consumers across thecountry can now follow its progress within their markets as more andmore stations flip the switch to this next-generation of radio.Visitors to the website can also learn more about the new technologyand the different services it offers.
IBOC Product Introductions
The NAB convention ended a few days ago, and we at Radiomagazine are busy organizing and sorting all the material that wegathered during the show. The next issue of IBOC Update will besent on May 12. Look for a complete rundown of all the IBOC technologyintroductions from the convention as well as the Radio magazinePick Hits in that issue.