Don’t Tell Me It’s Not a Problem

Let’s look at HD Radio from the perspective of the consumer (me, for many years) and the radio person (me, for the past nine years).
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In response to Guy Wire’s column ("A Critic Lashes Out at HD Radio, Again," RW Engineering Extra, June 10):

Let’s look at HD Radio from the perspective of the consumer (me, for many years) and the radio person (me, for the past nine years).

As a listener, I can tell you that when the FCC gave Froggy 99.7 a power increase so that I could no longer get 99.5 in Silver Spring, Md., with my stereo Probe 9 Channel Master antenna because the stations and my location were in a straight line, and when WFRB got clobbered by WRDJ, I wasn’t happy.

I wrote the FCC and got some technical stuff with distances and coverage and what I considered "crap" at the time, because something had changed and messed up what I could receive.

That’s the consumer perspective, and I’m sure that’s what most listeners think. So when WBZ splatters up and down the dial, it’s not right.

It’s interesting that you say that there aren’t many stations running HD at night and you poo poo the noise.

Don’t tell me it’s not a problem. Forty miles from WBT 1110 in Charlotte, N.C., at critical hours and after dark, WWWE or WTAM 1100 HD hash makes their signal unlistenable. WBT has bought into IBOC but aren’t running it due to their directional array, I believe, so they won’t bitch. I drive I-77 up North Carolina; 50,000 watts at 40 miles trashed by Cleveland is a fact and can’t be justified by all the "experts" at IBOC or NPR.

Then there is the statement that digital is better. No evidence. Just complicated and expensive. And it’s my understanding that the contour that the FCC set up as you measure up and down from your carrier frequency was for spikes or occasional levels of power, not 100 percent duty cycle. That changes everything.

Again, just get in your car and drive around and listen to the real world. IBOC trashes up the dial.

I’m sorry, but the IBOC story reads too much like "The Fugitive" and the travesty against Dr. Richard Kimble.

Speaking as a small station owner in a not-wealthy part of South Carolina: IBOC fees and the fact that there are no radios out there make the rabid push for IBOC look like a power and money grab by the conglomerates. Make it complicated and expensive, and we pesky little guys get rubbed out.

Finally, it really is all about content. What passes for radio today is lame. Talk to just about anyone. Repetitive, homogenized boredom. Another issue altogether — but all the technology in the world doesn’t make a bad movie good and won’t help bad radio either.

Jim Jenkins
Owner/General Manager
WAGS Radio
Bishopville, S.C.


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As a broadcast veteran since the early ‘60s, I’ve always watched with interest any time our industry is portrayed in other media.