High Heat

John Anderson at diymedia.net managed to get this post up while working on his dissertation. In it, he says the following:

For the most part, radio industry trades have not given much substantive thought or analysis to the debacle that is HD Radio. However, some recent developments seem to signal that the winds of sycophancy may be changing.

It’s all happened in the Radio and Business Report. First, the publication let loose an article, whose sources are “some highly accredited/respected Bay Area engineers,” full of complaints and criticisms of HD Radio and its proprietor, iBiquity Digital Corporation. The complaints raised against iBiquity are numerous and significant.

In addition to reporting that one San Francisco-based AM station has turned off its HD sidebands, the article reports dissatisfaction among iBiquity customers, due to the fact that “iBiquity is not providing the promised updates to its software to repair the ‘bugs’ that have developed in the AM codec. The bugs require reboots of the HD encoders, sometimes daily.”

The article John references contains some scathing comments, this from “unknown”:

I am a CE at one of the larger broadcast companies. All of our AM’s have ceased IBOC and most of the FM’s have also turned it off. I’m sure this represents well over 200 stations that have quietly gone silent on the HD side. Show that in your numbers iB!

Personally, I believe it is an old, flawed, not upgradable technology that never should have been approved. And, that’s my opinion of FM IBOC. AM should never have been allowed on the air because of gross interference it creates.

CC wants to be good neighbors by limiting their AM analog bandwidth? Then turn off the IBOC that’s junking up the band and deliver a quality analog product.

It may take decades to recover from this greedy IBOC sham, but it is time to bite the bullet now, pull the plug and begin work on a system designed for 21st century broadcasting.

Immediately following is this comment from one Elliott Klein:

UNKNOWN . . . Your comments are right on target. I could not have said it better myself. IBOC is a flawed system. Hopefully, the Commission will eventually create a separate digital broadcast band and migrate all existing analog broadcasters both AM & FM to it. IBOC is the biggest hoax ever offered to the FCC and the American Public. The FCC filings on which the Commission has based its decisions to authorize the service have been filed by majority of persons or companies that have a financial interest in seeing the system adopted and therefore those filings should be looked at as suspect by the Commission. Never in the history has the Commission authorized a service that had to be licensed. To add insult to injury, the “fees” are based on the amount of billing on the licensed station with iBiquity having the right to audit the books of the licensed station. It seems to me that the major stockholders of iBiquity are major broadcast groups, so it seems they would have access to their competitors’ financial information. Smells like an antitrust issue to me but then I’m not a lawyer. Just my 2 cents’ worth!

And directly following that is this comment from Peter Q. George:

Maybe it’s time for the people of IBOC to come clean and realize that IBOC is not what it’s all cracked up to be. It’s overly priced both in terms of the hardware ($100,000) a station and the privilege of just running it is upwards of $15,000+ and another $5000 for each stream thereafter. The FMeXtra version of digital (digital SCA) was a more practical and cost effective way for going digital by using the existing SCA spectrum that ALL FM stations already have. Unfortunately, the people of FMeXtra are also “investors” of iBiquity and cannot promote their digital system for mainstream use. (How convenient.) Getting these so-called FM “power increases” just to make the HD radios work inside the home seems a little kludge to me. It’s like changing the rules of the game in the 9th inning, if your team is losing. The FMeXtra system would have worked flawlessly, without having to step on your “neighbors” lawn (first and second adjacent interference). The coverage is similar to that of the average FM Stereo signal. No increase in power is necessary. Even the smallest high-school or college FM station could use it.

Time to look for something else for digital radio. IBOC just ain’t cutting it.

But it doesn’t stop there. Jerry Smith adds this:

I’m just happy to see folks are commenting now on this incredible coverup. We live in sunny Florida where because of the bodies of water on each side of the land-mass VHF ‘skip’ is almost regular at least a few days each week. The spectrum noise on FM is up 20db with the few wholesale broadcasters who’ve installed their digital noise-making devices. Basically, those contour coverage calculations are out the door when the weather takes charge. But who cares so long as they bring in the cash for the boxes and reduce the potential competition today and tomorrow.


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