Media Corporation of Singapore, one of the country’s largest commercial radio and television broadcasters, has announced it will end its digital radio broadcast service on December 1.
MediaCorp was the first broadcaster in southeast Asia to launch DAB service (1999). It was also quite blunt about the rationale to end it: “[T]the growth in listenership…has remained stagnant. On the other hand, the rapid growth in the number of listeners through online streaming and phone app[s]…has shown that these platforms are serving the listeners more effectively than the DAB platform.” Continue reading “DAB Defections Continue”
They make their bread and butter on access to the public airwaves, and for decades they have agitated against newcomers and ne’er-do-wells vying for a piece of the dial. But a skirmish between two commercial broadcasters over interference caused by an FM translator suggests that some radio broadcasters see over-the-air transmission slipping in importance as the primary conduit for their content.
Fortunately, the FCC does not. Continue reading “Cracking the Lid on Pandora's Box”
Recently I stumbled across the site of Radio Wars, a documentary on the development of satellite radio in the United States.
It’s difficult not to be suspicious of grandiose claims, such as these: “[F]ew of radio’s struggles have been as dramatic as satellite radio’s battle in the stars. This clash turned traditional radio business models upside down, redefined free speech, and put over one million investors on a billion dollar rollercoaster ride as companies Sirius and XM fought to survive.”
It would be interesting to see “behind the scenes of the Sirius XM satellite radio story,” but the service’s impact on the practice of broadcasting is a bit overblown. Continue reading “Satellite Radio "Documentary" In Production”
It’s still a mystery just how iBiquity Digital Corporation remains in business as its proprietary HD Radio standard continues to go nowhere fast.
According to the FCC, less than 20% of radio stations in in the United States have adopted the HD protocol, nearly nine years after its proliferation was sanctioned; some have since turned it off. The technology has failed to crack any significant international markets. iBiquity and its mostly-conglomerate backers have tried various tweaks to the system in hopes of improving its robustness, but none show any potential to be a game-changer. Continue reading “HD Radio Still Awaiting Breakthrough”
It has long been understood that HD Radio signals do not play well with others. The digital sidebands of an HD transmission have the potential to cause interference to nearby radio stations. The problem is most notable on AM, but there’ve been issues with FM-HD as well.
Initially, digital FM sidebands were broadcast at 1/100th the power of their analog “host” signal. The weakness of the digital signal caused all kinds of reception difficulties. After years of wrangling, the FCC approved a ten-fold increase in digital sideband power in an attempt to make the signals more robust. Continue reading “Squeezing Blood From the FM-HD Stone”
This appears to be a first: British broadcast regulator Ofcom is floating the idea of using FM radio spectrum to provide wireless broadband access in rural areas.
The United Kingdom is nearly 20 years into an attempted digital radio transition. It (and much of the rest of the developed world) has adopted a digital broadcast technology that uses spectrum outside the AM and FM bands. However, the development of digital radio is as stalled (or worse) in the U.K. at it is in the United States. Continue reading “U.K. to Refarm FM?”
Nearly a year ago it came to light that radio broadcasters were using FM translator stations as a sort of “back door” to provide more exposure for their HD Radio signals.
Ironically, these translators do not broadcast in digital; rather, many HD-capable radio stations are rebroadcasting their digital-only (“multicast”) programming via analog translator as a way to recoup their investment in a technology which has no meaningful audience.
Some radio conglomerates have purchased or signed lease agreements with FM translator owners to create ostensibly “new” stations in markets around the country in this manner. The practice has caused difficulty for independent broadcasters. Continue reading “FM Translator Abuse Creates Ownership Loophole”
Grant Goddard, the go-to analyst on all things related to digital radio in the United Kingdom, penned a post this week about regulators’ latest attempt to “understand” the deficiencies of digital audio broadcasting (DAB) in an ongoing effort to “correct” them.
Here’s the kicker: this will require the intensive study of analog FM radio. The exercise’s apparent goal is to provide some sort of benchmark-metric for explaining why DAB’s proliferation has not lived up to expectations. Continue reading “U.K. DAB Policy Goes Back to the Future”
Doctoral dissertation defense success!
Radio’s Digital Dilemma: Broadcasting in the 21st Century represents the definitive chronicle of HD Radio’s development and proliferation. It also attempts to unpack the apparent global failure of terrestrial digital broadcasting, and envision how “radio” will continue to evolve in a convergent digital media environment. Continue reading “Certified "Expert"”
2011 has not started out well for advocates of HD Radio. Last week, Microsoft announced it would discontinue production of the Zune portable media player – one of only two portable devices that had built-in HD reception capability. Earlier in the year, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, HD Radio’s presence was pretty underwhelming. Not good indicators for increasing uptake by listeners.
In addition, the political campaign to defund federal support of public broadcasting has HD squarely in its sights. Over the last decade or so, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has invested more than $50 million in HD Radio, through infrastructure “upgrade” subsidies to CPB-funded stations and support of National Public Radio’s in-house research division, NPR Labs. Continue reading “More Lumps for HD Radio”