More details have emerged about Sprint’s deal with broadcasters to include FM receiver functionality in some of its mobile devices. In simple terms, broadcasters have cobbled together a package of subsidies to the nation’s #3 wireless carrier in order to buy access to that market.
Sprint will enable FM radio reception capability in at least 30 million phones over the next three years, using Emmis Communication’s NextRadio app as the interface.
In exchange, broadcasters will pay Sprint 30% of any "interactive" advertising revenue generated via the app on those phones. Emmis sweetened the deal by pledging Sprint $45 million in advertising inventory over three years ($15 million per year, allocated quarterly). Continue reading “Sprint's Radio Deal: Some Context”
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”
One month ago today, those of us in NYC and the surrounding area were hunkering down and riding out a storm named Sandy. As conditions worsened and disruptions in communications technologies multiplied, people did something they don’t often do en masse anymore: they turned to radio to find out what was going on.
A few radio stations did provide an informational and emotional lifeline, demonstrating that the medium still has an important role to play in our modern media environment. The ubiquity of broadcasting, coupled with the ease of access to it (no device necessary save for a cheap receiver, no contracts, no terms of service) made radio the go-to medium after almost everything else stopped working. Continue reading “Beware Broadcasters' Post-Sandy Opportunism”
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”
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”
Radio World recently published a long Q&A-style feature with Caroline Beasley, Executive Vice President of the Beasley Broadcast Group. A family affair, Beasley owns more than 40 stations in 11 markets around the country.
Among the many topics covered in the conversation, Beasley revealed that the National Association of Broadcasters has been quietly working on an engineering study that “outlines a number of different options regarding the future of the AM band.”
We have formed an AM Task Force that will be reviewing this study, along with the Radio Technology Committee. That committee is made up of engineers from the various groups around the country. So the AM Task Force, along with the Radio Technology Committee, will review the study and then report back…with the options that they feel that we should go with regard[ing] AM. Continue reading “NAB Plots Future of AM Broadcasting”
The FCC’s put a proposal by iBiquity, NPR, and NAB out for public comment that would allow FM-HD broadcasters more flexibility to increase the power levels of their digital sidebands independently. Called asymmetrical transmission, this flexibility conceivably allows more HD-enabled stations to pump up the power of their digital signals to make them reliably receivable in a station’s primary coverage area.
All signs are that the comment/reply comment rigmarole in this instance is a formality. As at least one industry lawyer has noted, the fact that the FCC’s scheduled the comment period for a short three weeks before Christmas – and a week for reply-comments to be filed between Christmas and the new year – means there is little likelihood that a robust record of public debate will be assembled over this latest wrinkle in the HD Radio saga. Continue reading “Skids Greased for Further FM-HD Experimentation”
Congratulations to everyone who worked tirelessly – both over the last 10 years and the last two weeks – to convince Congress to finally approve the Local Community Radio Act. Given the recent changes in the political winds of D.C., this was most likely the very last chance to fundamentally expand the LPFM radio service.
Things literally came down to the wire: after locking the bill in stasis for months with secret holds from industry-friendly Senators, last-minute negotiations between LPFM proponents and the National Association of Broadcasters, combined with a multi-faceted grassroots lobbying blitz, ended up in a hasty rewrite of the actual legislation, which the House quickly approved on Friday and the Senate blessed on Saturday. President Obama’s signature is a given. Continue reading “LPFM's Second Wave”
This is rich: the latest “feature” under development for the HD Radio protocol. Called “Persona Radio,” the scheme utilizes radical changes to the broadcast and reception infrastructure to allow for the conceptual distribution of “personalized” radio content. In theory, a listener “registers” with a station, inputting information like age, gender, location, and “mood,” and then the HD station offers them a menu of “personalized” content, including time-shifted audio, still images, text information, and (oh boy!) personalized coupons.
Some important qualifications have to be made about the “Persona Radio” project and its documentation so far: Continue reading “"Persona Radio": FASTROAD to Nowhere”