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The ‘PRSS Forward’ Timetable

Loewenstein clarifies the schedule; other readers comment on the digital power hike

The ‘PRSS Forward’ Timetable

Thank you very much for the coverage in Radio World on the PRSS Forward project (March 1, page 4). As you detailed in Paul McLane’s excellent piece “Public Radio System Looks Forward,” this is an enormous effort that will help sustain and secure the future of public radio.

As such, we want to make one point clear, which may have been confused by the March 24 piece on “PRSS Next-Generation Content Delivery.”

The new receivers, which PRSS engineers are still designing and testing, will not begin shipping to stations until mid-2011 at the earliest. Many questions remain to be decided, from “what exactly will the receivers do” to “how should they be installed,” and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.

Ultimately, our goal is to convert to the new system in 2012, and we look forward to sharing with the public radio community the details as they are confirmed.

For anyone interested in following the PRSS Forward project as it unfolds, please drop an e-mail to [email protected] and you will be subscribed to our monthly newsletter for this project.

Thanks for your interest, and we look forward to sharing details as they solidify.

Pete Loewenstein
Vice President
PRSS/NPR Distribution

Response to ‘Tough Times’

Concerning the use of XM for public entertainment in the letter from Harv Rees (Feb. 1, Reader’s Forum), readers need to be aware of Sirius XM’s longstanding business music subscription package, which ensures that all public exhibition royalties are paid as part of the subscription.

The confusion may come from recent changes to the service: Until the Sirius XM merger, the XM business music product had no station imaging, but the merged product now does.

Kriston Rehberg
Fairfax, Va.

iStockphoto/Sergei Popov Steamrolled in Good Faith

You have to laugh or you’ll cry (“Digital Radio Cranks Up the Juice,” Feb. 10).

“Worked in good faith” on IBOC? Is this Massachusetts and you’re the Democrat running for Teddy’s old seat? Steamrolled, you betcha.

I watched the IBOC fee schedule and heavy-handed tactics to pressure us into signing up for IBOC. I’ve heard the IBOC hash on AM and the denials. This is “I’ve been lied to so many times why should I believe you now?”

And really what does IBOC have to offer? More expense (power bill, tech support, fees, equipment and on and on), yes it offers that. What do you get? Better sound? No. Two listeners that you had anyway.

Look at the spectrum use. It spreads up and down the dial. Common sense says you can’t put that much noise on the band and not have trouble. I don’t need an NPR engineer to con me on that one. So it goes back to the old adage: Follow the money trail.

If IBOC was valid, it would stand on its own merits. Complicated and expensive. Not commercially viable. The theater is like watching a White House press secretary.

The only problem is, us independent broadcasters get hurt. There isn’t a small broadcaster I’ve talked to that doesn’t think that IBOC needs to die, and die fast.

Recognize your mistake, take your lumps (a bad investment, you’re out some cash) and look for something better, or maybe realize, just like wheels on your car, that FM works just fine, thank you.

WAGS is live radio, real people in real time, playing country, indie country, bluegrass, Americana, from CD, LP, 45s and yes some 78s, reporting to New Music Weekly for the country format and Roots Music Association for Americana.

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

Dubious on Digital

Paul, kudos for a well-written and thought-out piece (“Digital Radio Cranks Up the Juice,” Feb. 10).

I have mixed feelings regarding the increase in power for FM.

There is no doubt it will increase penetration of the signal. Like you, I am dubious (and that’s being really polite) regarding the FCC’s ability (or even desire) to respond quickly to any interference complaint, no matter how well documented it may be. We all have seen the wink and a nod the FCC has given to the many AM IBOC complaints, despite similar verbiage in their edict that allowed nighttime use of IBOC.

I did find one FCC statement laughable: “Out of an abundance of caution.” The commission has never done anything out of an abundance of caution, and FM IBOC is no exception.

Your reference to being “steamrolled” was interesting, but I as the DOE of three FMs do not feel “steamrolled” … yet. This more than likely will change in the future, as the digi folks will push for higher and higher levels, and eventually will begin to complain about those of us who have chosen not to broadcast IBOC, to the point that some will begin to call for the outlawing of all analog broadcasting.

Last, you wrote that the FCC “is an organization that sometimes takes years to issue decisions in public file cases — though I appreciate the good intentions and its recent attempts at being more responsive.”

Refresh my memory, what is that old adage about the road to Hell being paved …?

Jerry Arnold
Director of Engineering
Midwest Communications/WPRS(AM)
Terre Haute, Ind.