The Best 10 Years of Radio magazine

Publish date:

The Best 10 Years of Radio magazine

Jul 1, 2003 12:00 PM

The first issue of Radio magazine appeared in January 1994 as a supplement to Broadcast Engineering magazine. The new publication was a sign of the times; the broadcast industry was changing. Broadcast Engineering, founded in 1959, had served radio and television well for nearly 60 years. While convergence has continued across electronic media and entertainment, the individual needs of the component industries has become more specialized. Because of this, Radio magazine provided a special focus for the radio audience. In 1995 the supplement became a stand-alone publication.

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In the coming months, we will look back on the past 10 years by highlighting events and technologies that have directed the course of the radio industry. In all, these installments will cover the best 10 years of the radio industry and Radio magazine.

Time Line


The changes in duopoly rules are still being developed.

A variety of digital audio encoding schemes debut. Concerns rise over the effects of transcoding errors and interoperability issues.

At NAB94, the first RBDS test decoders and analyzers are introduced.

ISDN BRI increases in availability. It begins replacing Switched 56 service.

May 1994: Digital exciters provided better sound and stability.

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Digital FM exciters are introduced, as are digital and digitally controlled on-air processors. Digital cart machines and STLs are introduced. Digital consoles are available, but considerably more expensive than their analog counterparts.

On June 30, AM stations are required to comply with the NRSC-2 spectrum mask requirements.

June 1994: The NRSC-2 AM RF mask.

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At the end of 1994, more than 20 percent of all the stations in the U.S were part of a duopoly or under an LMA.

The Emergency Alert System is adopted in December 1994.


Seiko and Timex/Data Broadcasting Corporation develop wrist watch data receivers.

ISDN codecs hit the market strong.

Surveys report that 100 radio stations have websites.

Interfaces between DAWs and automation systems are popular at NAB95.

The EIA begins the RBDS rollout.

Forty-three radio stations and networks broadcast from Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opening.

September 1995: Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opens.

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The FCC determines the AM expanded band allocations, adopts rules covering unattended station operations and lifts operator permit requirements.

More online

See the Pick Hits from 1994 and 1995 and a gallery of past covers.

The beginnings of DAB

Digital radio is as popular a topic today as it was nearly 10 years ago. While there is one system currently under evaluation, there were many contenders under evaluation when the DAB pursuit began.

In early 1994, the EIA and NRSC developed a plan to evaluate the various systems so it could make its recommendation to the FCC and to the broadcast industry.

November 1994: The AT&T IBAC systems under test.

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At this time, it was still undecided as to what type of system would work best. Other parts of the world were reviewing the Eureka 147 system.

AT&T was developing an in-band adjacent-channel (IBAC) system. AT&T also partnered with Amati to develop two in-band on-channel (IBOC) systems. Thompson was working on two Eureka 147 systems. USA Digital Radio had three IBOC systems under the name Project Acorn. Two were for FM and called System 1 and System 2 FM. The third was an AM system. Finally, the Voice of America and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were developing two S-band satellite systems.

The systems were gathered in Cleveland at the NASA Lewis Research Center, where they began the evaluation process that took more than a year to complete. Following the start of the lab tests, listening tests were held in Ottawa, Canada at the Communications Research Centre beginning in June 1994. The next phase included field tests in San Francisco.

At NAB95, USA Digital Radio provided mobile listening demonstrations of its system.

April 1995: The USA Digital Radio mobile demo van at NAB95.

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During all this, the plans for a satellite digital audio radio service (S-DARS) were being laid. On Jan. 12, 1995, the FCC released a Report and Order designating 2.31GHz to 2.36GHz for S-DARS use. On the international side, Worldspace held its first organizational meeting in January 1995.

At NAB95, broadcasters discussed the idea of proposing restrictions to the FCC on the S-DARS licensees, proposing that the satellite licenses would not be issued until a terrestrial standard had been approved and adopted.

By the end of 1995, L-band and S-band systems were eliminated from consideration for terrestrial radio. The International Telecommunications Union meanwhile adopted Eureka 147 as its DAB standard.