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Digital Radio Update – August 8, 2007

Digital Radio Update – August 8, 2007

Aug 8, 2007 10:27 AM, By Mark Krieger, CBT

Stay up to date on the latest IBOC news, business and technology information with the twice-monthly newsletter from Radio magazine.


  • FCC Inches Towards Open Access Wideband
  • Sirius Inks Deal for Sixth Orbital Platform
  • IBOC By State: New Mexico
  • IBOC on the Agenda at the NAB Radio Show
  • The New Language of HD Radio
    Etherwave Aims Down Under With New DAB/DMB Software
    New Euro DAB/DRM Receiver Debuts
    To receive these articles twice a month in your e-mail, subscribe to the Digital Radio Update – Insight to IBOC e-newsletter.Click here to subscribe.
    NewsFCC Inches Towards Open Access Wideband
    The FCC appears to be leaning towards adopting an open access approach to wireless broadband, as FCC Commissioners voted 4-1 last week to require winning bidders for new 700MHz spectrum to offer provisional open access to their broadband networks.Yet the move stops well short of a request by Internet giant Google that new spectrum buyers be required to offer “wholesale” access to any vendor marketing devices requiring broadband connectivity. Instead, the Commission stipulated a minimum sale price of $4.6 billion for the prime national allotment of 700MHz spectra. Should bids come in under that benchmark, the FCC will repeat the process sans open access provisions, enabling the winning service providers to construct proprietary networks much like existing 3G wireless data carriers.Goggle established the $4.6 billion price point when it offered to buy the allotment in question at that price, with a proviso that the Commission mandate so-called wholesale access to all network providers. That offer was declined. Whether Google remains willing to put up that amount without a wholesaling mandate remains unknown.The question of whether an open-access broadband environment looms large before broadcasters who now see webcasting as the biggest single long-term threat in terms of siphoning away local viewers and listeners. Easily available wireless broadband access would make it relatively simple for companies now building dedicated Internet radio appliances, such as Roku, to adapt their products for broad geographic use, and users would be free to select from a nearly unlimited constellation of stations.While many current broadband providers now offer streaming audio services, the network strictly controls the channels offered, with most broadcasters paying some form of in-kind service or barter for carriage.BusinessSirius Inks Deal for Sixth Orbital Platform
    Of all the organizations taking sides on the disputed merger of Sirius and XM Satellite radio, it’s probably safe to place Loral Space and Communications squarely in the pro-merger camp, now that it has announced a new order to add a sixth satellite to the Sirius fleet.One item of interest among those following satellite technology is that the new Sirius FM6 will reportedly operate in a highly inclined elliptical orbit (HIEO), much like its older sibs, Sirius FM1-3. What intrigues observers is that Sirius FM5, now completing construction and slated for launch either late next year or early 2009, appears destined to become the company’s lone geosynchronus or stationary satellite, with a design similar in some respects to the Loral XM-5, latest planned addition to XM’s fleet of geosynchronous platforms.In any case, Loral’s announcement on the Sirus FM6 contract seems to belie some industry speculation that Sirius might move its operations to stationary satellites, perhaps in preparation for merged operations with XM.The new Sirius FM6 satellite is projected to deliver an end-of- life power output of nearly 20kW and has a 15-year life expectancy.IBOC Across AmericaIBOC By State: New Mexico
    Ibiquity has a list of stations with licensed HD Radio technology and notes those on the air now. IBOC by state looks at various states and list the stations making the transition. There are seven stations in the Land of Enchantment broadcasting 13 HD Radio channels.MarketCalls FreqHD1 FormatHD2 FormatOwner AlbuquerqueKABQ-FM 104.1Span/UrbanTriple AClear Channel Radio AlbuquerqueKZRR-FM 94.1AORDeep Tracks & Live RockClear Channel Radio AlbuquerqueKTEG-FM 104.7AlternativeClassic AlternativeClear Channel Radio AlbuquerqueKSYU-FM 95.1Rhythm/BlueNew Hip-HopClear Channel Radio AlbuquerqueKPEK-FM 100.3Modern ACPride RadioClear Channel Radio AlbuquerqueKBQI-FM 107.9CountryCountry VarietyClear Channel Radio AlbuquerqueKABQ-AM 1350Talk-Clear Channel RadioEye on IBOCIBOC on the Agenda at the NAB Radio Show
    The NAB Radio Show will be held in Charlotte, NC, from Sept. 26 to 28. In addition to the exhibits hall, there are several sessions that will cover HD Radio and digital radio technology. The first session to do so is the SBE Engineering Forum on the morning of Sept. 26. This five-hour session covers many aspects of digital radio by examining practical applications rather than theoretical ideas. Moderated by SBE President and Radio magazine Editor Chriss Scherer, the session topics include:
  • HD Radio Technology Update; Ray Miklius, VP, Broadcast Electronics
  • VSWR Measurements in Broadcast Systems; Tim Holt, Director, Bird Electronic
  • The Pitfalls and Procedures of HD Radio Measurements; Ben Brinitzer, Regional VP Engineering, Clear Channel
  • The SBE Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist Certification; Ralph Hogan, Chairman, SBE DRB Specialist Certification Committee;
  • Audio Processing for HD Radio; Frank Foti, President, Omnia Audio;Greg Ogonowski, VP of New Product Development, Orban/CRL Systems
  • STL Considerations for HD Radio; Kevin Campbell, VP North American Operations, APT
  • Practical Implementation of PAD (PSD); Dan Mansergh, DOE, KQED
    Other sessions cover topics including podcasting, RF safety, HD Radio for managers, AM/F< transmitter workshop, and more.A free exhibits-only pass is available courtesy of Radio magazine. Follow this link to obtain your pass.HD Radio Terminologyaudio encoder: The process on the transmission side of the IBOC system that ingests an uncompressed digital audio stream and reduces the bit rate using a perceptual coding algorithm. It is the coder side of the two-step process called a codec. Decoding occurs at the receiver.peak-to-average power ratio: The square of the crest factor; representing the ratio of the peak power to the average power of a waveform. The PAPR of a sinusoidal waveform is 2.tertiary sidebands: The AM IBOC OFDM subcarrier groups consisting of subcarriers 2 through 26 and -2 through -26 with the hybrid waveform subcarriers -27 through -52 with the all-digital waveform.ProductsEtherwave Aims Down Under With New DAB/DMB Software
    Etherwaves, an Israeli-based mobile media software developer says it has launched a new marketing campaign for its Digital Radio Clear Signal product aimed squarely at Autralia’s burgeoning digital electronic retail market. Running on a single Analog Devices Blackfin DSP, Etherwaves claims that its Clear Signal Digital Radio application permits simultaneous decoding of DAB data services such as slideshows and electronic program guides (EPG), while allowing listeners to simultaneously monitor DAB or DAB+ signals in real time. The company also says that its product will enable manufacturers to produce multi-standard Digital Radio receivers and to add digital radio receiving capability to existing devices without requiring additional processors or other special system resources, including display drive functionality for TFT LCD displays.Australia introduced a national plan for DAB in October 2005, with initial service rollout slated for Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney by the end of 2008. Since 2003, there have been extensive trials in Sydney and Melbourne.The current Sydney trial is being conducted by Digital Radio Australia, a consortium of Commercial Radio Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) and SBS. The Melbourne trial is being conducted by transmission provider Broadcast Australia and also involves the ABC and SBS, as well as a Sport 927 and a number of community stations.New Euro DAB/DRM Receiver Debuts
    Himalaya (Power) Electronics is launching a new receiver platform designed to bridge the worlds of DAB and digital SW/MW broadcasting via the open-source Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard in the European market. The company describes its new DRM2009 portable receiver as a standalone radio that supports DAB on L Band/Band III, and DRM below 30MHz, as well as conventional AM and FM (W/RDS) services.Operating with batteries or a supplied plug-in wall pack, the new platform offers conventional styling with advanced features, including a flat screen display which allows access to electronic program guides (EPG) for DAB services and facilitates on board recording, pause, and playback functionality via onboard memory or user supplied SD memory cards. MP3 playback is also a standard feature as is a digital line output.The DRM9000 is currently available online through European online outlets. Although an MSRP was not available as of press time, the unit appears to be retailing online in the mid- $300 (US) range.More information about the DRM 9000 can be found at