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HD Radio Power, NAB No-Show and the Dashboard of the Future

The latest letters from Radio World readers

Another Fine Mess

When we bought our new transmitter only a few years ago, we were assured that it had adequate power to take us into an all-digital era of radio transmission.

No one lied or deceived us, our transmitter can do that. But it does not have the headroom to broadcast analog FM and –10 dB IBOC. Unless we get a new transmitter at considerable expense we will be stuck at –14 dB.

Of course all these problems, including the possibility of digital interference with our own analog signal, would go away if we were simply mandated to move to an all-digital mode. I think it has been demonstrated that the existing receiver stock could be replaced at reasonable cost and that the added transmission capacity could be used by parties wanting to enter the broadcast market with audio or other services.

The hybrid compromise is not working. The scenarios where by pure market forces we evolve into an all-digital transmission mode evolutionary are fantasy. We are stuck with flawed compromises that may even doom IBOC.

As for the leadership in the radio industry that got us to where we are today, I feel like saying, “That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into Ollie.”

Tom Ammons

A Vote of No Support

As you may know I have, since 1957, attended every NAB convention.

My absence from this convention is an expression of “non-support” for the HD Radio system promoted by the NAB, iBiquity, CBS and several of the large radio groups.

You must be aware that the IBOC system promoted by NAB has not been supported by a number of international broadcast organizations. I am ashamed to be associated with the NAB in their promotion of this inferior system.

I am sure that the “IBOC emphasis” has reduced international and exhibitor attendance.

Bernard Wise
Energy-Onix Broadcast Equipment Co.
Valatie, N.Y.

The Wrong Dashboard Plan

To Bob Struble, regarding your commentary “The Race for the Dashboard Is On” (Jan. 1):

Agreed that there’s a lot going on in cars and trucks nowdays (OK, some of that we can’t talk about here), but watching TV isn’t what the vast majority of drivers are doing.

That’s because most cars are inhabited only by a single driver, and there are even laws around here that make watching video illegal for the driver. Radio works in cars because you can enjoy sound and not be unduly distracted.

We’ve learned that most of this new technology you tout is a dangerous distraction to a driver, who is usually the only occupant of the vehicle.

The other issue I have is that you totally dismiss web radio; you don’t even mention it, except to predict “mobile Internet connectivity.”

The future of the development of what we now call radio is the Internet because of the bottleneck that OTA radio ownership/programming represents. The only reason anyone would buy an HD-capable radio is access to additional programming; but corporate radio gives us “repurposed” programming from other streams as its HD2 and HD3 content. They still refuse to experiment with new content.

Once web radio with all its problems and limitations hits dashboards as appliances, radio, HD or analog, will never be the same. That’s the dashboard war we should be getting ready for; but since “we” are mostly owned by corporations that have no use for anything they can’t control, most of “we” will be left behind like we were in the ’60s when Grace Slick suddenly boomed out of early FM radio speakers.

Those of us who have never been part of corporate anything can hardly wait for that day.

Gary O. Keener
Keener Technical Services
San Antonio