HD Radio Chat

The site Radio-Info.com can be quite enlightening (link on side), as the techno-geek elite nationwide share their opinions on “Huge Debacle” radio. Here is a sample of posts on HD radio. The first talks about sideband interference in Chicago:

A few days ago I was on the way home from work, and while I don’t find much on FM I like, I decided to listen to FM. My car radio is mono, and I have often heard FMs from across Lake Michigan, so no sensitivity problems. The level of hiss in FMs now for me, locally, 7 miles and line of sight, is about what it used to be when I lived 45 miles out in the 1970s.

It’s on all the HD FMs, and in Chicago it’s now everywhere. I went up and down the band, and if the audio had the raspiness on it, the sidebands were there to account for it. The one signal with clean audio was WLUP, oddly, with no sidebands. I was shocked, but then when I checked again upon arriving home the sidebands and fuzz were back.

The saddest change of all is on WFMT, where the zizz of the sidebands jump in to make a spitty noise in tiny spots of signal loss, where formerly, “quiet” white noise would creep in. So now, though I’m local, I experience a “fringe” sort of detriment.

Then, even in a parked car, other revelations are apparent. We’ll never hear a woodwind instrument properly again! The zizz “rides” on all audio and if the audio is anything but brash or strident, there’s no escaping it. At one point on the drive home I was about 500 ft from WFMT’s studios, 500 feet from home, line of sight to the stick, and I could not listen to WFMT without hearing hiss.    Angry

One could spend hours going through the different discussion threads here, many of them not too fond of HD radio:

I am the NOT so proud owner of an HD radio. I find it to be pretty useless even when I am driving through larger markets. The digital signals are compressed and some of the HD-2/3 channels definitely sound compressed. Reception is not nearly as good as the analog signals; therefore, HD radio gets a lot of complete dropouts.

My primary reason for purchasing an HD radio was to check out some of the side channels that are not streamed online and so that I could have more options for in car listening. Even in some of the larger markets I drive through, HD radio is a big waste. There are a number of HD stations that don’t multi-cast and that makes HD pointless. For the stations that do multi-cast, most are automated (some with voice-tracked Clear Channel out of town jocks) with playlists that sound no different than those of their boring analog FM counterparts.

Several years ago, a few stations got creative with their HD2 channels, but now the budgets and staff have dried up. I’m not hearing anything worth investing in an HD radio. Most Clear Channel stations are now broadcasting their pre-packaged 300-600 song formats on the HD2 stations — Mainstream AC, Country, Mainstream Rock, Classic Rock, etc. You can hear all of those feeds by going to iheartradio.com.

Based on what I’ve experienced with my HD radio and in the 4 larger markets that I drive through on a regular basis, IBOC is not the future. If I owned a station, I’d not be investing in this technology. Internet radio in the car is the future and I know many people that are streaming internet stations over the iPhone or Blackberry plugged into the car stereo.

Forever is smart not to jump on HD, but they would be smarter to get creative and program some web radio stations (or at least stream the stations that they currently broadcast).

On and on:

Remember Quadraphonic FM?

That’s okay, neither does anyone else. Sounded great, but listeners didn’t care.

Eight years into HD radio and 1 million receivers have been sold, representing a whopping 0.3 percent market penetration in the United States. Meaning 99.7 percent of American’s can’t/won’t hear HD radio, no matter how good the programming might be. At that pace, by the year 2025 HD radio still won’t be up to 1 percent. Online radio is already at around 15 percent.

Hard to justify spending a few hundred grand to equip a station for HD when the public is staying away in droves….

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One Response

  1. For those reading the Radio-Info Boards, keep in mind that many of these posters are professionals in the radio industry, including some station owners, such as Bob Savage of WYSL. You will see some anonymous posters speaking out against HD Radio, and if they were ever identified by station management, they would risk losing their jobs – station management considers it an act of insubordination to speak out against HD Radio. There were even rumors of iBiquity having a nondisclosure agreement barring those associated with HD Radio from speaking out negatively to The Press, but this has never been confirmed. Keep drinking that HD Radio Koolaid – LOL!

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