HD scam

Nothing has hastened the isolating of the public from “public radio” quicker than the onset of the HD-radio media blitz. Hundreds of public stations have bought into the scam, palmed off in the main by the unholy alliance of NPR and iBiquity (aka iNiquity). Our public stations are laying out millions of dollars to glom onto what is being sold as the next big revenue stream, shouldering aside local concerns and existing programs, justifying it with numbers generated by the junk science purveyed by the troubled company Arbitron. Even the head of the FCC, Commissioner Michael Copps, acknowledged the base nature of the endeavor, saying, “Everybody involved pretty much admitted from the outset that the digital radio initiative is all about giving the broadcast industry more avenues to make money rather than actually improving radio from the perspective of the listener.”

If listenership is declining on the thousands of analog stations already broadcasting, what makes anybody think that adding more stations airing the same pap for a declining audience will actually turn that trend around? And since when has the mission of public radio been to find out what the masses like most and ensure that stations nationwide dispense the same pabulum as a thousand other stations? That, utilizing grants from the taxpayer-supported Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is what NPR is doing.

Which raises the question, Why is NPR even in bed with a monopoly like iBiquity? Isn’t this in some way inimical to the very idea of “public” radio? As posted on the website diymedia.net (link on right), “Due to heavy industry-maneuvering and a shamefully complicit FCC, the U.S. radio industry has locked the medium into a sub-standard, proprietary broadcast protocol.” Which means that iBiquity controls all licensing rights and charges a fee for each HD station.

And this doesn’t even begin to address the question of interference with other adjacent radio signals, the degradation of the station’s analog signal, or the spotty reception of existing HD receivers pawned off on car buyers today. There’s much more to say about HD radio, NPR, iBiquity, and the massive fraud being perpetrated against the taxpayers and consumers of this country . . .


5 Responses

  1. I bought an HD radio three years ago after hearing the benefits of HD promoted on KIXI AM 880 in Seattle. The HD 100 is deaf on AM. HD reception in East Bremerton is marginal (i.e. not there most of the time) with an external antenna. The AC adapter is hot to the touch.

    HD almost seems like a ploy to eliminate radio stations. 1250 Disney, theoretically an HD AM station, can’t be received on the HD100.

    Dropping HD from AM and FM and getting community radio stations onto unused SCA channels as a less than desirable but better than nothing strategy might be the best route for folks looking to establish community stations. SCA adapters are cheap, there are some commercial radios out there, and it is a LOT cheaper than an HD radio.

    My 02 cents worth.

    Bremerton WA

  2. Several years ago, I read an article in one of our local progressive weeklies, about the so-called funding crisis for area public radio stations. Stations that subsisted on volunteer labor and very enthusiastic public donation support were claiming that yearly budgets of a million dollars or more weren’t enough to keep the doors open. One of the reasons for this was, a source claimed, the “requirement” to “convert to Digital,” by which was meant HDRadio.

    At the time, of course, everyone knew that the television side of broadcasting was in a forced march to FCC-mandated digital television, which would make all existing receivers obsolete, so neither the reporter nor the readers (in subsequent letters to the editor) called shenanigans on this claim about the FM band. I did, but my letter was not published, and neither were any corrective follow-up or retraction pieces. In fact, although the FCC did APPROVE HDRadio for AM and FM, those systems are compatible with current over-the-air FM receivers, and the conversion was completely voluntary on the parts of both broadcasters and the public. That is to say, the expense of conversion, claimed to be at the center of the “funding crisis,” was purely an elective expense, but was disingenuously — one might even say, fraudulently — publicized as being something mandated by the nasty, NAB-controlled FCC. As others here have mentioned, the truth was that the impetus for the “conversion to digital” on FM came from a PRIVATE arrangement — a devil’s deal — between NPR and iBiquity.

  3. In January 2008, I was trying to listen to WVIP-FM (formerly WRTN, a Whitney Media station in New Rochelle, New York), which has long made leased air-time available to the Caribbean media community, most notably Link-Up Media and Black Emperor (a/k/a Irie Jam) – I love world music, and that includes reggae… but on this day, when I punched the car radio button programmed to WVIP, I instead heard WNYC-FM, a NPR/PRI/APM station (to which I assigned another button). Huh? I went back and forth between the two frequencies, and it was WNYC either way. I had remembered reading online (DIYmedia) about how IBOC signals can interfere with adjacent stations… this resulted in a polite but firm letter to WNYC and CC’d to Link-Up, and Black Emperor (I didn’t have contact info. for WVIP). The very next day, I received a CC’d note from Link-Up’s David (Squeeze) Annakie with these words: “Someone is batting for us…very nice for a change.”

  4. Sorry, about the spam link, but I was so excited that I didn’t notice the link to my blog – LOL! This has been a huge scam right from the start. One thing that should always be remembered is that these NPR, and other HD Radio stations, are jamming the smaller, adjacent-channel broadcasters off the FM/AM dials. I believe this was the main goal right from the beginning, as the HD Radio frequencies are doubled their analog counterparts. The more powerful HD Radio stations will always win the interference wars. Have you lost your favorite FM radio station – you can thank iBiquity. Has your favorite AM radio station been buzzed off the dial, especially at night – you can thank iBiquity. NPR doesn’t even have to program anything on their HD2/HD3 channels, as just the white-noise of their channels with blank out their adjacent competitiors. I would suggest that everyone boycott HD radios and write your elected officials.

  5. There’s a lot more to this HD Radio Farce than you listed: http://hdradiofarce.blogspot.com

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