HD Turnoffs

Paul Thurst on Engineering Radio reports here on a new slew of AM radio stations that have turned off their HD channels, notably in NYC:

I have received an e-mail from occasional reader John, who comments that many of the Windy City AM’s have turned their buzz saws off. I note myself today, the same can be said for many of the NYC AM’s.  WABC has had their’s IBOC turned off for quite some time. The latest to turn off is WNYC on 820 KHz. Several people have noted the loss of noise on their signal this morning.

According to Ibiquity’s own website, only six AM stations in the NYC market are currently using IBOC.

What does this mean?

Could it be that management is finally realizing that the cure is worse than the disease? The disease being alleged poor audio quality, and the cure being IBOC itself.

Comments following the post note that others have joined the retreat:

Rob H: KDKA’s 50KW station 1020 in Pittsburgh, PA, has stopped transmitting digital for a few weeks now as well, which is rather nice. Hope it stays off. I liked the station but stopped listening when they started transmitting digital. It’s amazing how much interference WBZ 1030 gives them at night. WBZ’s skyway signal is so intense it actually interferes with KDKA within their so-called protected contour. Makes for a poor listening experience with the constant rushing sound in the background. Can’t imagine why they put up with it. I’m sure the insignificant number of people that actually listen to KDKA digital can’t compare to the lost listeners due to the annoying interference situation.

Greg: I’m in Maryland and noticed that WBBM and WCBS haven’t been running IBOC in a while. Of course, WCBS clobbers WWL, and WBZ clobbers WHO. All of this made-up crap that DX listeners don’t matter — tell that to the many truckers (and rural listeners) that depend on, or used to before IBOC, DX-AM and Trucker’s Network out of WLW. I am so disgusted that I gave up listenening to AM since IBOC was authorized for nighttime use back in 2007. This is iBiquity’s attempt to localize the coverage of AM/FM. As you sow, so shall you reap.

The engineers in one blog group have this to add about stations dropping IBOC, and additional information about the big groups still running it and their connections to iBiquity:

KDKA 1020 in Pittsburgh seems also to have stopped the digital hash. WWVA 1170 in Wheeling has dropped it as well. I hope it stays that way. Both are 50KW. WHAM 1180 in Rochester went to daytime only. It too is a 50KW I think. I hope that with the new year AM stations don’t pay their iBiquity fees since no one is listening anyway. I wish WBZ would get the message — but it’s unlikely.

And:

CBS Radio will probably be the last AM IBOC advocate standing. Why? Because their VP for engineering, Glyn Walden, was one of the developers of IBOC at the time USA Digital Radio and Lucent’s digital radio spinoff merged. He has a lot of his ego tied up in it.

Walden and the President of CBS Radio, Dan Mason, were both big executives at iBiquity before coming to CBS. They have a lot invested in it.

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One Response

  1. The HD exciters have so many problems that HD stations can be off the air for weeks, so it is hard to tell if stations have really turned off IBOC for good. HD radios aren’t selling, and the HD portables don’t even include AM-HD. It’s all about jamming the smaller, adjacent-channel stations, and I’m sure WBZ is getting a good laugh at jamming Bob Savage’s WYSL.

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