An 11-page report, co-authored primarily by representatives of iBiquity, the NAB, and CBS, provides an overview of the methodology and preliminary results of a set of experimental all-digital HD broadcasts on WBCN-AM in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the first test of the all-digital AM-HD system in more than ten years.
The authors believe the test broadcasts served as "an opportunity to begin developing a contemporary…record that would help educate the industry as to the capabilities of all-digital operation, develop all-digital operational parameters, and provide information which could be eventually submitted to the FCC for the purposes of obtaining permanent authorization for all-digital service." Continue reading “Initial AM-HD All-Digital Test Results”
The National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention just wrapped up in Las Vegas, and HD Radio proponents used the event to begin the push to make the AM dial all-digital.
At a panel on "AM Band Revitalization" moderated by Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai – the first Commissioner to moderate a panel at the NAB Show – CBS Radio Senior Vice President of Engineering Glynn Walden told attendees that there was no sustainable future for analog AM broadcasting and that the FCC should set a date for an "for a digital AM sunrise and for an analog AM sunset."
Walden has been one of the broadcast industry’s point-people on HD Radio from the very beginning. He helped develop the system’s core technical design and specifications, co-founded the company from which iBiquity Digital Corporation was born, and was instrumental in lobbying the FCC to approve HD as the U.S. digital radio standard. With three HD patents to his name, Walden would like nothing more than to see his baby actually fly after languishing all these years. Continue reading “Greasing the Skids for AM's Digital Transition”
Radio Ink publisher Eric Rhoads penned a frantic and strident report following the magazine’s annual ConVergence Radio Conference earlier this month in which he warns of radio’s impending extinction in vehicles.
On the stage were three representatives of the automotive industry: one from Gartner Research…one from the Silicon Valley offices of General Motors…and one who represents an industry association for the connected car. They were on a panel moderated by Buzz Knight of Greater Media, and they talked about the direction of in-car experiences, the digital dashboard, and what will be coming next to the dash of the car….Then, suddenly, this statement was heard: Continue reading “Radio's Imminent Demise in the Dashboard?”
In 2009, the Federal Communications Commission promulgated rules allowing AM radio stations to utilize FM translators to supplement their coverage areas. The original intent was to help "beleaguered" stations, like those that must dramatically reduce their power at night, or suffer from increased interference (from a variety of causes, including consumer electronics, traffic signals, and HD Radio sidebands).
As of today, many AM stations have taken advantage of this rule to supplement their signals with some 400 FM translator simulcasts.
But some broadcasters that are far from "beleaguered" have hopped on the translator bandwagon. These include WLW, a 50,000-watt station in Cincinnati owned by Clear Channel Communications, the nation’s largest broadcast conglomerate. Continue reading “Do AM Blowtorches Really Need FM Translators?”
We’re going into HD Radio‘s 11th year on the air. So far, the technology’s proliferation has been underwhelming, to put it mildly. However, proponents of HD are working on several projects which they hope will break it into the mainstream. They are: Continue reading “HD Radio's Multifaceted Search for Traction”
Proponents of revitalizing the AM band using HD Radio are now testing the all-digital signal in the wild.
The guinea-pig is WBCN 1660 – a CBS-owned station in Charlotte, North Carolina. Currently a satellite-fed conservative talk station, WBCN will switch to a satellite-fed sports talk format in the new year. In a market of some two dozen stations, WBCN ranks 20th. Continue reading “All-Digital AM-HD Tests Underway”
There’ve been more developments regarding the radio industry’s potential plans for “modernizing” the AM band. Radio World reported last month that the NAB’s Radio Technology Committee and CBS have selected an unnamed AM station “in an area that could be characterized as a medium-sized market” to be a guinea pig for all-digital AM-HD Radio test broadcasts.
This is the first of “three or four” AM stations that may be tapped to test the all-digital protocol. The experiments are likely to be done by an “outside engineering contractor” and primarily financed by HD’s developer, iBiquity Digital Corporation. They could begin before the end of the year. Continue reading “Future of AM: Decided in Secret?”
Nobody really quite knows what the National Association of Broadcasters’ AM Task Force is up to, but speculation surrounding their work has sparked some interesting discussion about the state and future of the oldest of the broadcast radio bands.
The Task Force seems to be considering two primary ideas for “revitalizing” AM broadcasting. One is to phase it out completely and migrate all AM stations to new spots on the FM dial. The other involves a wholesale conversion of AM broadcasting from analog to digital, using AM-HD as the mechanism. Continue reading “Diverging Perspectives on the Future of AM”
Radio World has followed up on a report released this spring by the Society of Broadcast Engineers that examined the aging nature of the profession.
The article explores several explanations for why young folks aren’t going into the technical side of radio and television: in addition to consolidation and automation, employment-competition from industries such as information technology and wireless telecommunications has also had an impact. Especially when jobs in those fields generally pay (much) better and offer a stronger sense of job security. Continue reading “Dearth of Broadcast Engineers Felt Beyond Station-Level”
From the doubling-down department: the National Association of Broadcasters is recruiting candidates to test iBiquity Digital Corporation’s all-digital AM-HD Radio system.
So far, Beasley Broadcast Group has offered the use of one of its AM stations for the purposes of experimentation, and reportedly two other broadcast companies are also on board. When the tests will be conducted, and which specific stations will be involved, remains to be determined. Continue reading “All-Digital AM-HD Testing Planned”