You Don’t Know Jack

Jack Hannold sent along this, a further explication on the effect the defunding of public radio would have on HD radio, as reported on yesterday:

Republican attacks on public radio could solve the “HD” radio problem—but at a cost

While direct attacks on National Public Radio are getting most of the attention, the GOP has also set its sights on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds both public radio and public television.  CPB not only supports NPR and PBS, but also gives grants to individual stations.

According to a March 16 report from Radio magazine (“Proposed CPB De-funding Would Hurt HD Radio,”   http://radiomagonline.com/digital_radio/cpb-defunding-hd-radio-0316/), CPB distributed  $6 million in grants to public radio stations in 2009 for digital projects—either for the installation of “HD” radio, or for increasing the digital power of stations already using that deeply flawed technology.

One public radio employee,  who must remain anonymous because his station’s top management fears offending the pro-“HD” NPR and CPB establishments, wrote to me to offer his observations:

“Any cuts at all will probably affect HD.  A lot of the public station HD-2 streams are fed with satellite programming . . . Considering HD channels have the lowest ratings (if they have any ratings at all), the fees for those programming services are probably first in line for cuts at a lot of the stations . . . So even a small cut to stations could affect the programming on HD Radio. And stations in red states like ours are facing massive cuts from the state, too . . .

“At our station, if [that programming] goes [and there’s no content of the HD-2], we probably won’t bother with leaving the HD-1 on, waiting for an exporter to fail. We’ll just shut it down.”

(Note:  “HD” exporter failure is one of the most frequent technical problems at transmitter sites.)

The sad part of this is that while the HD-2 and -3 signals will never be missed, some of programming on them does find a small but significant audience via the stations’ web streams.

Of course, those programs and their audiences aren’t exactly collateral damage in this attack. The “HD” signals, which by and large do nothing more than create interference to weak adjacent channel stations, are. In the “culture wars,” programming is the real target.

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