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”
Dissertation research, phase two: explore and catalog interesting information about HD Radio from all available electronic resources except the FCC’s actual, entire rulemaking (that’s phase three). Initially, this involved exploring HD Radio’s proponents and how they present themselves online. It’s quite an extensive presence, involving two corporate portals, one consumer-marketing site, and a (user-restricted) site involving broadcaster and retailer education.
I just finished scouring the consumer-portal, where I re-stumbled upon a news release from March in which the HD Radio Alliance touted 1,000 FM stations now multicasting, and 100 receiver-models in production. The release includes two graphs. Continue reading “HD Radio Increasing Format Diversity?”
While most policy-pundits are focused on the fast-approaching DTV transition and the potential selection of a new FCC Chairman, the saga that is digital audio broadcasting (otherwise known as “HD Radio”) continues to fly under the radar. However, this may not be the case for long.
Due to heavy industry-maneuvering and a shamefully-complicit FCC, the U.S. radio industry has locked the medium into a sub-standard, proprietary broadcast protocol. The problems with this protocol have long been known. Thus, if there is any force that might bring down HD Radio, it will be the marketplace.
There are several signs that the marketplace is now beginning to act: Continue reading “2009 To Bring HD Death Rattles?”
The consortium of major broadcasters pushing digital radio are wasting no time deploying what they believe to be its “killer app,” multicasting – the ability to split a single radio channel into multiple program streams. Earlier this month they announced the rollout of digital multicast signals in several dozen markets. The broadcasts introduce industry-coordinated secondary program channels featuring formats like “Classical Alternative,” “Coffee House,” “Female Talk,” and “Extreme Hip-Hop,” and some miscellaneous strangeness. For now, these channels will be offered without commercials.
My ongoing research into digital radio is dredging up lots of interesting information, much of which has a direct impact on the viability of multicasting. Continue reading “Digital Multicasting Rollout Begins”
The languishing state of digital audio broadcasting in the United States following its introduction more than two years ago has spurred the nation’s largest broadcast conglomerates to form an “HD Digital Radio Alliance” to facilitate the bona-fide rollout of digital service. Key to this campaign is the coming of what the Alliance calls “HD2 multicast sidechannels.”
The ability to broadcast multiple program streams on a single radio channel is relatively new to the U.S. digital radio environment. As initially developed over the last 15 years (!) the dominant U.S. digital radio protocol, now known as “HD Radio,” did not accommodate a multicasting feature: National Public Radio spearheaded its creation less than three years ago. Continue reading “Digital Radio Add-On Now Its "Killer App"”