"Free" Radio Not So Much in HD

Fresh off the heels of the FCC’s veritable rubber-stamping of the “HD” digital radio protocol, the broadcasters behind iBiquity’s technology are wasting no time in preparing to lock down its content. Think about this the next time an NAB executive testifies on Capitol Hill and proclaims the virtue of so-called “free” over-the-air radio.
NDS, a maker of digital media encryption technology, recently signed a deal with iBiquity to provide HD Radio with an encrypted content-delivery system that effectively institutes subscriptions capability on digital radio.
“RadioGuard” is derived from NDS’ “VideoGuard” technology, which it claims will allow radio stations to provide “more choices to their listeners, a broader selection of content and more segmentation opportunities for advertisers, all of which provide additional revenue-generating possibilities.” Continue reading “"Free" Radio Not So Much in HD”

Kevin Martin, Unfunnyman

Sometimes politicians couch the truth in humor. This typically happens when they converge for one of their pat-on-the-back dinners, where they’re surrounded by like-minded friends. Events like the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner come to mind.
In the world of communications policymaking, the hubris-fest happens during the annual dinner of the Federal Communications Bar Association – the cadre of specialized lawyers who grease the Federal Communications Commission’s wheels to keep their clients happy. Headlining this year’s dinner was FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, who, by all reports, was quite a crowd-pleaser.
Check some of his jokes, as reported by Broadcasting & Cable: Continue reading “Kevin Martin, Unfunnyman”

Cell Phones to Stay Off In Air

A whiff of common sense breaks out at the Federal Communications Commission: it has terminated a proceeding that looked into whether or not people should be allowed to use their cell phones on airplanes.
According to regulators, there is “insufficient technical information” to determine whether or not the use of cell phones in the air would interfere with aircraft systems, though the FCC seems more concerned about the potential for interference to cell networks themselves, as phones transition from cell to cell at 400+ miles per hour, while 30,000+ feet off the ground. It’s not something the cell system is really set up to do. Continue reading “Cell Phones to Stay Off In Air”

Full-Power FM Filing Window to Open in October

The FCC will accept applications for non-commercial, full-power FM stations from October 12-19 of this year. That’s a filing window two days longer than the usual, and the heads-up announcement is 4-5 months earlier than standard.
The Prometheus Radio Project calls this “your best, and possibly last, opportunity to bring full power community radio to your town.” All applications must be filed electronically. Check GetRadio.org to do a quick search and see if the possibility exists where you live.

FCC: Market to Decide Fate of HD Radio

On March 22, the Federal Communications Commission removed the final administrative hurdles to allowing the full-scale rollout of in-band, on-channel (IBOC) “HD” digital radio in the United States. It’s a huge win for the industry, though the public benefits remain to be seen.
According to staff testimony at the meeting (which starts at ~1:01:00), the FCC appears unconcerned with HD Radio’s potential pitfalls and more than willing to let the industry set the pace of radio’s analog/digital transition. According to Ann Gallagher, an engineer in the Audio Division of the FCC’s Media Bureau, “substantial additional testing” by iBiquity and the National Association of Broadcasters justifies the expedited deployment of HD Radio. Stations may now commence multicasting and separate their analog and digital antenna systems without formal FCC approval. Continue reading “FCC: Market to Decide Fate of HD Radio”