Talkback: Readers Have Their Say

Among RW readers, interest is broad and passion is deep
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I love seeing reader reactions to our stories, whether their comments are critical, supportive or just thoughtful. The feedback tells me that managers and engineers are interested in what Radio World is writing about and engaged in the industry discussion.

The following is a sampling about a range of issues, as posted to our website. While stories about digital radio or the future of AM have generated much of the recent response, the range is far broader. I hope you find it as interesting as I do to review these. Many of the comments came after readers saw the stories in our daily NewsBytes e-newsletter; you can sign up for that under Subscribe at the home page.

(To read the articles mentioned, type the headline into the Search field at

About “Learn How to Add a Pad to a Punch Block”:

Just a reminder, O pads use one fewer resistor than H pads and values for typical attenuators are close to common 1 percent resistor values. On a punchdown block that reliably supports multiple wires per terminal, you can often build O pads directly. They could also be soldered to dual 66M test clips or punched into 66-type stacking clips.

About “Clear Channel Satellite Services to Close”:

Could this be the time that true “local” radio will make a comeback? Has the day of satellite radio reached its peak?

CCSS has been extremely helpful and professional in helping us with our small regional network. I am already mourning this decision.

About “Lots of Attention for Spotify/Uber Deal”:

How many riders will really care or take note of what’s playing on the radio of their “cab” ride to the hotel, airport, etc.? I see a Spotify grab at some numbers to look as if they are gaining ground against Pandora, Slacker, etc.

About “Patent Reform Is Senate Priority in 2015”:

All this talk about trolls and so called “patent reform” is just spin control by large infringers and their paid puppets to cover up their theft. If you tell a lie often enough and can dupe others to repeat that lie, eventually it is accepted as fact.

About “Miami Will Get a Calvary Chapel LPFM Radio Station,” responding to another reader’s comment:

The Calvary Chapel churches are independent and have no common board members or financial interdependence, they just have similar doctrine and worship. And they, like other broadcasters, have a passion to share their message with their neighbors.

About “AFCCE Symposium Explores Broadcast Antennas”:

I agree that C-Quam is a much better technology than HD Radio for AM broadcast. About seven years ago a friend and I set up a C-Quam transmitter into a dummy load. We ran a lot of different music through it for about an hour. It was, for lack of a better word, magical! No digital artifacts and clean audio out to 10 kHz.

About “Station’s Automation ‘Hijacked’?”:

The danger is not in using Windows in general, but rather in using a no-longer-supported version such as Windows XP. Windows 8.1 Professional is approximately as secure as either Linux or OS X, although I would strongly recommend using a good third-party anti-malware suite instead of the default applications that come with Windows.

About “Goodbye BNC, Hello 8P8C”:

I knew that the B is for Bayonet. Most likely because I knew that the T is for Threaded in the TNC connector. … However, I thought that the NC part was for N (as in Type N) Compact. So, does the N in Type N perhaps stand for Neill? And what about SMA connectors? Curious about RJ45 being inaccurate. Is it only supposed to be called RJ45 when it is used on a PBX? (RJ7, RJ11, RJ45)

About Andy Skotdal’s commentary “AM Band Needs Drastic Change”:

We are not getting our money’s worth from the FCC. We pay annual fees based on our 2 mV/m coverage contour. Yet we are not getting protection from these devices within that area. … We need relief and quick.

Andy hits the nail on the head: Migration to VHF is the only long-term solution for the AM band.

I’d like to commend Mr. Skotdal for actually thinking outside of the digital box, both with regard to Digital Radio Mondiale … and a full-on migration to FM.

Andrew, are you trying to put many small-town AMs out of business? You’re out of your mind to say out of 4,000 AM signals, including mine, pull the plug on them to 700? … I love my AM station, it’s what I wanted all my life, and you are not taking it away from me.

About “Seattle Listeners Take Note of All-Digital AM Tests” and other stories on that topic:

The thing that bothers me … is that all these tests are hush hush, as if they are part of some super-secret government activity.

Test HD on a directional AM in Kansas, Florida, or Ohio and see how long it takes to reacquire digital audio after every lighting crash.

I know most of the FM stations don’t want us guys to survive and unless some folks step up to the plate, we are a dying breed. Please give us some type of hope.

About Mark Persons’ commentary “Adjust Rules for NRSC Measurements”:

I agree the NRSC measurements are somewhat of a pain but I disagree with the commentary; [solid-state] transmitters are equally prone to spurious emissions and should not be exempted from annual NRSC measurements.

About Tom Ray’s “Shopping for a Car With HD Radio”:

The HD Radio works flawlessly with excellent audio quality. Bottom line is to never purchase a new vehicle that lacks HD Radio. It’s that good.

To my delight, two new Tesla “showrooms” have just opened, to make three close by. Superchargers too! And the Model S radio embedded in the 17-inch glass cockpit has HD Radio! Sitting in the Decatur, Ga., location I was amazed that well over half of the Atlanta FM station had HD-1, 2 or 3s. Now to conquer the finances of getting one of these toys.

I have been looking at cars and ask about HD Radio. Most salespersons have no idea. In my small sample, all 2015 Subaru Impreza and 2015 Mazda3 levels have HD. That is an improvement from 2014 when only the top lines had HD standard. 2015 Honda Fit has HD only if you get navigation and traffic.

HD Radio number one priority in selecting a new car? That’s like selecting a compost heap as the number one priority when looking for a new house.

Delete the “HD Radio” jargon and explain that we have “I-D Radio” and let the listener know that it stands for iBiquity Digital Radio. Then explain that audio quality is noticeably better on the primary “channel” and that there are other “channels” on most “I-D Radio” stations providing more variety.

About my interview with Mark Ramsey, “A Chat With an HD Radio Skeptic”:

Mark Ramsey says that we should forget about “HD Radio”? Should I forget that my car radio cannot always get WRR(FM) in stereo? … Should I forget how harsh and extremely irritating the audio of KRLD is without their digital signal? … Should everyone listen to Pandora while driving instead of listening to a local station that can tell them about the tornado coming?

Everything Ramsey says is or should be well known in the industry, consumers couldn’t care less where the content comes from if it is good and sounds OK.

Finally someone has the guts to say what I have been saying to anyone who will listen for over 10 years. The problem is the content not the technology. … Radio is doomed unless the owners understand this and act on it.

About “Field Observations of Elevated FM HD”:

No mention is made of self-interference between elevated IBOC levels and analog reception of the host signal. Does this exist or is the analog audience now considered superfluous?

About John Garziglia’s story “Let’s Talk About FM Translators”:

I hope the next article will talk about rebroadcasting HD subchannels on a non fill-in translator. For example, let’s say I lease a subchannel from a nearby station, but my translator is three or four miles outside the service grade (60 dBu in this case) of the nearby station. Would such a setup be permitted?

About “NAB Labs: FM in Smartphone Availability ‘Complex’ for Consumers”:

It’s clear that the mobile carriers are not interested in enabling a feature that provides free content that competes with their own services. Until they get some incentive to do so, like subsidies or sufficient competition from other carriers, they could remain aloof.

About “WCIS(AM) Owner Hopes to Return to Air Next Week” after being hit by copper thieves:

Prior to Reagan’s presidency, the commission’s rules included provisions for federal prosecution of criminals who damaged licensed radio equipment. … [T]he federal code provided for two years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine for willful damage to licensed communication facilities. … If these thieves are caught, I would suggest the station owner attend the sentencing hearing, and request a heavy fine, at least two years (no early release) and restitution.

About “The Future of Car Radio”:

Nowadays, one needs a copilot to operate the instrument panel as you pilot the car. How times have changed.

About “FCC Cites Production House for Misusing EAS Tones”:

“Alerting authorities and the commission don’t want the public to become inured to hearing the tone.” If that is the case, NOAA, who is the biggest user of the tone, should knock off announcing “the tornado will be near” all the time basing their judgment on a radar image.

About “Wheeler Confirms FCC Reviewing ‘Redskins’ Name”:

According to Federal Election Commission records, the Redskins’ owner, Dan Snyder, donates most to the Republicans, and little to the Democrats. That may be the real reason behind this; if and when Dan reverses this, the heat and outrage will magically diminish. The First Amendment says the government can enact “no law” which abridges freedom of speech or the press. “No” means “no.” (The commission later said the name Redskins does not violate broadcast indecency rules, and it approved a license renewal for a station owned by Snyder.)

About Michael LeClair’s story “Does 4G LTE Have a Problem?” in Radio World Engineering Extra:

Bottom line: A poorly engineered system created by the IT guys who know little about RF. However, the wireless industry has more money to throw around than broadcasters. They paid a lot of money for this spectrum so now the FCC jumps when they call.

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