HD Fan Base

The Bay Area seems to have a number of “engaged” engineer types who are not buying the extreme hype accompanying HD radio — the ballyhoo bought into by the business types running our public radio stations. (What place has local music and culture when there’s a manifest destiny to fulfill?) One Bay Area google group featured this exchange with John Higdon, a small-market engineer there whose stations have not bought into IBOC.

> There’s some serious backlash starting to be voiced these days. Barry
> McLarnon’s recent article in Radio World does an excellent job of
> detailing many of the flaws in the system, and he does it without any of
> the hypocrisy that’s coming from the proponents. One can only hope that
> this stuff goes away before it completely destroys radio.

There is some real noise starting to come out of the conglomerate-owned groups now, as well. The IBOC power increase, jammed through the FCC with no regard for the consequences by iBiquity and which was supposed to be the savior of “HD Radio” (which was itself supposed to be the savior of broadcasting), will end up being a multi-year process, even for the few stations that have committed to participate. For the rest of the industry, it is a wait-and-see approach to determine if it is all worth it.

Interesting that now, over eight years after the rollout of this scheme, the big stations are actually looking at the cost/benefit aspects . . . something they should have been doing all along. I’m now hearing, from deep inside the industry, commentary that reflects what I have been saying for years about this mess. The unravelling has begun, and it is entirely possible that the anticipated IBOC power increase may never gain any traction at all. For many stations, the cost of upping the power is high, and on top of money these stations have already dumped down the drain. This is money that could be used to acquire top talent and creative people, and the light is beginning to dawn among station owners.

I’m hearing “it had better go away before it completely destroys radio” almost routinely now, and I’m hearing it from people who were almost fanatical in support of “HD Radio.”


One Response

  1. “Why an NPR Labs Digital High-Power Study?”

    “Based on initial results of the tests, listeners noticed interference in the audio, with nearly half indicating they would likely turn off the radio when power was turned up to –14 dB and –10 dB on closely-spaced stations with lightly processed formats such as news and classical music in some portions of a coverage area, according to Dr. Ellyn Sheffield of NPR Labs and Towson University.”


    These were the initial findings for an FM-HD power increase by NPR Labs, yet the new power calculator coefficients were “modified” by NPR Labs themselves, recommentnding an across the board 6db, and indicated that a 10db would be okay in most cases. Are these IBOC-proponents out of their minds? This is a clear case of compromising their own and neighboring analog signals, in hopes of forcing consumers to buy HD radios. After 4 to 5 years, it hasn’t worked, yet. Listeners will just start to tune-out terrestrial radio more, as the power is increased. I for one, will not be held hostage by iBiquity, and their cohorts. Hopefully, these radio groups will finally see that there is very little hopes of an ROI with IBOC.

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