Shaping radio today and tomorrow

July 1, 2003


Do you remember?

In July 1995, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding a new satellite digital audio radio service (DARS). The NPRM outlined that the service would provide 30 or more channels of national digital audio programming to fixed and mobile receivers, with the potential for each licensee to offer CD-quality audio channels.

Licensing options included assigning all of the available spectrum (2.31GHz to 2.36GHz) to only the four current DARS applicants, licensing some of the spectrum at the time and holding some in reserve for future applicants or opening the spectrum to all interested parties.

The FCC proposed that licensees begin construction of their first satellite within one year's grant of their applications. The proposal also required the launch and operation of the first satellite within four years of a license grant, and full operation of a satellite system comprised of more than one satellite within six years of a grant.


That was then

In 1993, Fidelipac's Dynamax DCR1000 series digital cartridge machine was introduced. It was designed to directly replace analog cart machines by using 3.5" floppy disks as carts. This allowed it to support standard high-density 2MB and triple density 13MB diskettes. Audio could be sampled at 22.05kHz, 25.75kHz, 32kHz and 44.1kHz and encoded using the Apt X-100 coding algorithm.

The system was made up of two components: the DCR1020 master player and the DCR1040 record module. All units were ⅓-rack space wide, measuring 5.5" high x 5.5" wide x 12.875" long. They could sit alone as tabletop units or could be mounted in an optional rack-mount adapter.

The front panel of the master player also featured a backlit LCD display showing machine status, cut identification, time, title and outcue on a two-line, 24 character-per-line screen. In addition, the record module's front panel contained peak-reading LED audio level meters and an overload indicator.

The Fidelipac Dynamax DCR1000 involved simple and familiar aspects of machine operation in spot recorder/players. It provided the quality of digital audio for about the same price as the analog cart machine.

The capacity of a 2MB floppy was just less than one minute of stereo audio at a 32kHz sampling rate. The triple-density floppy provided longer recording times, but they never gained popular acceptance. Other digital recorders and computer-based automation systems were introduced soon after the DCR1000.


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