Stay up to date on the latest IBOC news, business and technology information with the twice-monthly newsletter from Radio magazine.
IBOC by State: Alabama
To receive these articles twice a month in your e-mail, subscribe to the IBOC Update - Insight on HD Radio e-newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Promo Competition Heats Up HD Radio Marketing Drive
The best and the brightest among radio's production community will get a chance to prove themselves at this year's NAB fall radio show, thanks to Ibiquity Digital's National HD Radio promo contest. The competition is designed to bring out the best original HD Radio promos in five categories, including best AM and FM promos, best promo copy, best independently-produced promo and best use of audio on a station's HD Radio Web page. Winners will be announced at the NAB fall radio show in Philadelphia and will each receive a $1,000 cash award.
In the event $1,000 isn't enough to get all the creative juices flowing, there will also be a "best of show" grand prize of $10,000, presented to the creator of the entry deemed best across the field.
The contest is open to anyone employed in the U.S. radio industry as well as independent U.S. radio producers. Only promos that are currently running, or have been selected to run on a licensed radio station operating in HD Radio are acceptable as valid entries. Deadline for entries is midnight, Sept. 2.
More information on the contest rules and specifications can be found at www.hdradioplaybook.com.
Virgin Adds Three DAB Outlets in UK
Virgin Radio is reportedly planning to launch three new radio channels via DAB in Europe over the next 12 months. The first offering is said to be an urban/R&B format targeting a youth audience. The second format will offer classic soul and Motown hits aimed at a more middle aged demographic, while the third outlet will feature youth-oriented rock.
The new outlets will bring the total number of Virgin's digital-only stations to five. The company already operates Virgin Classic Rock and Virgin Radio Groove via DAB only. Although Virgin has remained close-mouthed regarding details of the expansion, industry observers in the UK say that four new studios are being added to the company's Golden Square broadcast center at the cost of several million dollars.
Next Up From Motorola: Iradio
Looking for a cellular phone that will let you listen to Internet radio downloads through a car's stereo with no physical connection? If so, Motorola may have a solution. It's called Iradio and it's currently being beta-tested in the Los Angeles and Washington, DC markets.
Essentially, Iradio functions much like an Ipod downloading podcasts from Apple's Itunes site. The difference is that Iradio uses a Motorola e680i cell phone as a repository for downloads of playlists and music from online providers Live 365 and Music Choice, and can then play that content through your car stereo via a Bluetooth connection.
Here's how it works: The Iradio application is loaded on to a Bluetooth-equipped PC, which in turn continuously monitors the Live 365 and Music Choice sites for specific content via Internet connectivity, downloading new content as it appears. The users 680i cell phone then synchs (via Bluetooth) to the desktop, and can download the content to provide six program channels on the handset device. Users also have the option of loading their own MP3 files onto the handset as well, and can play the content directly from the 680i anywhere via stereo headphones.
One interesting twist to Iradio's architecture is a secondary Bluetooth device that can be installed in the user's car to allow the handset to stream directly into the onboard audio system without any physical connections or the use of low power analog FM transmitters common to Ipods and similar devices.
The 680i handset also features an internal FM tuner, which--like the file player feature--mutes when there is an incoming call.
Cost of subscription to the service will reportedly be somewhere in the $5 to $7 range. Motorola says it may offer the service nationally before the end of the year.
Greater Media Launches Multicast Triplets in Detroit
Listeners in the Motor City have a few more listening choices than they did a month ago, thanks to the inauguration of HD Radio multicasting services on Detroit FM's WRIF, WCSX, and WMGC by group owner Greater Media.
The move reflects an early trend among IBOC FM multicasters to launch secondary program services that directly complement the stations primary channel programming.
A company press release describes the secondary HD channel of WRIF as "Riff 2 - a made in Detroit mix of alternative and indie rock, hip hop, punk and the best from today's Detroit music scene." The format is targeting an 18-24 demographic with emphasis on local and breaking acts. WRIF has long been a hard rock standard-bearer in that market.
WCSX will offer "Deep Trax HD2," promoted as "the perfect companion station to WCSX. with Classic Rock A-to-Z." Greater Media said Deep Trax will offer an expanded classic rock playlist with many tunes rarely found on most classic rock playlists. WCSX will continue to feature it's current classic rock format on its analog and primary HD Radio channel.
WMGC HD2 will deviate slightly from its sister stations in that it will vary formats according to daypart. The HD Radio secondary channel will carry the station's signature morning drive show on HD Radio and analog channels, then switch to "More Magic," a softer adult contemporary format from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., before moving on to "Classical Magic"--described as "music intensive, familiar classical favorites"--during evenings, overnights and weekends.
All of the above HD2 channel programming can be heard live via Internet streaming.
"HD Radio technology makes it possible for us to create innovative programming that doesn't need to follow the traditional radio playbook," said Tom Bender, senior vice president of Greater Media Detroit. "We're also going to keep commercial interruptions to a brief sponsorship announcement each hour and we will be cooperating with local retailers to let our listeners know where they can hear and buy HD Radios. The radios that enable listeners to take advantage of these new stations are becoming available at a variety of locations and prices."
Greater Media is the parent company of 19 AM and FM radio stations located in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and New Jersey.
BE To Host HD Radio Seminar At NAB Radio Show
Broadcast Electronics is taking its HD Radio seminar to the city of brotherly love. The seminar, presented in conjunction with the NAB's annual fall radio show, will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. Admission is free, but advance registration is required.
"The big draw this year is second-generation deployment issues. We're getting a lot of interest from engineers who are ready for multicasting and data," said Neil Glassman, BE's vice president of strategic marketing. Glassman said that engineers and managers are signing up for the annual seminar to pick up practical implementation tips, with a growing number planning to attend to prepare for the next wave in HD Radio capability.
The fall seminar marks a continuation of BE's effort to educate broadcasters about the specifics of IBOC conversion, this time focusing on second-generation HD Radio in regards to STL, HD Radio coding and other issues of real-time text and multi-channel transmission.
The company will also showcase its current line of HD Radio products and systems at it booth on the NAB convention floor.
Broadcasters can register for the free fall seminar by e-mailing email@example.com
Eye on IBOC
HD Radio Playbook Provides Needed Blueprint for Broadcasters
With a surge in the commitment of radio owners to convert their stations to IBOC digital operation, the need for a well planned, carefully crafted marketing drive has become critical to the future of HD Radio and the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, the ability of radio broadcasters to address American consumers in a unified voice has had a checkered history, as witnessed by the AM stereo debacle in the final quarter of the 20th century.
For many stations that got on board the HD Radio train early on, promoting the technology has been a hit or miss proposition, due mainly to a lack of public awareness and symbiotic media buzz, further complicated by receivers that were short on availability and long on price.
But much has changed in the last 12 months. Multicasting, once a lofty research project conducted under the auspices of National Public Radio, is now both a reality and a hit. The elusive receivers, mobile and tabletop, are finally making their way to retailer's shelves. And popular press, like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Chicago Tribune, are finally taking notice.
None of this timing appears to have been lost on Ibiquity Digital's Bob Struble, who saw the need of in-depth marketing and deployment resources as a pivotal void late last year. The result of those musings are manifested in the recent launch of "the HD Radio Playbook," an online product of Media Arts and Sciences, that provides a comprehensive resource and reference site for broadcasters licensed to operate with Ibiquity's proprietary HD Radio technology.
According to Media Arts and Sciences' spokesman David Martin, the website is the result of in-depth research and collaboration with HD Radio station operators and industry leaders around the country, and deals in depth with the multiple dimensions of operation and planning required for successful HD Radio rollout and adoption.
Because the breadth and potential impact of the HD Radio Playbook is significant, Radio magazine will present a more detailed look at this interesting body of work in its September edition.
DAB Dawning in Japan
Seven radio groups in Japan are joining forces to bring terrestrial digital audio broadcasting to that nation in 2006, according to an article by Peter Serefin in Billboard magazine's Radio Monitor.
The new service will allow consumers to receive digital audio broadcasts through dedicated receivers, or via personal computers equipped with receiver cards. The architecture of the system will also permit transmission of images and text.
Five Tokyo firms will collectively hold more than a 55 percent share in the yet-to-be-named venture. It involves Tokyo FM Broadcasting (25 percent); Nippon Broadcasting System (10 percent); Nippon Cultural Broadcasting (10 percent); TBS Radio and Communications (10 percent); and J-Wave (1 percent).
Radio Osaka and FM Osaka, will hold a total of 5 percent. Other commercial radio stations in Japanese cities will also hold single-digit shares, bringing total conventional radio industry investment in the venture to over 60 percent.
The consortium will seek additional investment capital from electronics hardware manufacturers, automobile companies, financial trading firms and cellular phone providers, with the ultimate goal of constructing a national network. The group will apply for a broadcasting license from the Ministry of Communications early next year. Sources say the application could be granted by April of next year.
Initial capital investment in the system is reported to be roughly 10 billion yen ($89.8 million U.S.). That amount is projected to grow to 40 billion yen ($359 million U.S.) by the time broadcasting commences and the network is fully operational.
HD Radio Terminology
HD Radio Terminology
An introduction into the language surrounding IBOC
Convolutional encoding: A form of forward-error-correction channel encoding that inserts coding bits into a continuous stream of information bits to form a predictable structure. Unlike a block encoder, a convolutional encoder has memory; its output is a function of current and previous inputs.
Logical Channel: A signal path that conducts transfer frames from Layer 2 through Layer 1 with a specified grade of service.
Continental Electronics Makes Management Appointments
Dallas - Aug 8, 2005 - Continental Electronics has made four staff appointments to handle the company's efforts with digital radio. Named to the position of director of business development is Matthew Straeb and to the position of engineering product manager is Don Spragg. Within the marketing department, Michael Troje is assuming the position of broadcast sales manager from Bret Brewer, who will continue as regional sales manager.
As director of business development, Straeb will be responsible for the marketing and sales of Continental's new digital radio transmitters in the United States. Straeb began his career in broadcast with Continental Electronics more than 20 years ago as an electrical design engineer and now comes full circle to rejoin the company. In the interim, he has held several marketing and upper-level management positions in the industry. Most recently Straeb served as vice president of marketing and product management for Da Vinci Systems, where he oversaw the company's entrance into the emerging digital intermediate market in the film industry. Previously, he ran Orad's operations in North America, serving first as vice president and general manager and then as president.
Don Spragg, Continental Electronics' new engineering product manager, will be responsible for product line strategy, including new product development program management for the implementation of DRM and IBOC. Spragg's most recent position was with Harris as director of radio RF products and programs. Before that he started a broadcast business for Crown International, building low-power FM transmitters. He also held various engineering and management positions with HCJB.
Recently appointed to the position of sales manager, Michael Troje has considerable experience in sales and channel management, which will allow Continental Electronics to further develop and enhance its customer relationships. Troje has more than 25 years of service to the broadcast industry as domestic sales manager for Broadcast Electronics and later as national sales manager for Shively Labs' TV products division. Most recently he served as vendor sales manager for Continental Electronics, a responsibility he will continue to uphold.
As a regional sales manager, Bret Brewer will continue to serve customers in the territory he has maintained for more than 10 years, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
IBOC Across America
IBOC By State: Nebraska
Ibiquity has a list of stations that have licensed HD Radio technology and notes those that are on the air now. IBOC by state will look at various states and list the stations that are making the transition.
||Clear Channel Radio
||Clear Channel Radio