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Digital Radio Update – December 5, 2007

Digital Radio Update – December 5, 2007

Dec 5, 2007 11:57 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.


  • Nokia, Palm Launch Mobile Internet Radio Platforms
  • And Live365/Windows Mobile Follows…
  • Volvo Rolls with Factory HD Radios
  • Harris Recaps Sao Paulo HD Radio Seminars
  • IBOC by State: Arizona
  • ITU Approves DRM for Tropical HF Operation
  • The New Language of Digital Radio
  • New EAS Handbook Gives Lip Service to Digital Radio
  • Frontier Silicon to Feature Venice 6 Module at CES


Nokia, Palm Launch Mobile Internet Radio Platforms
According to recent articles in Kurt Hanson’s RAIN Newsletter, cellular handset giants Nokia and Palm have introduced new platforms that will provide mobile users easy access to radio webcasts.

Palm was apparently the first to offer webcast functionality on its new Centro model “smartphone” released in October. Although similar functionality was available as an optional application on earlier Palm Treos models, the application is standard on the ultra-compact Centro at no additional cost. Web stations using Shoutcast stream encoding are supported.

Nokia’s announcement indicates that the company plans to imbed its Web radio application in forthcoming models, beginning with its S60 3rd edition, but also offers the application as a free download that’s compatible with its N82, N91, N95 and N95 8GB models. Webcasters must use Shoutcast or Icecast encoding and register to become accessible from the application, dubbed simply as “Nokia Internet Radio.”

Nokia’s website claims its application will allow display of station logos, embedded play information, station description (including genre, country and language) along with a history of the last 10 songs played, but notes that subscription streams will not be supported.

“Most new music discovery occurs while you’re listening to the radio,” says Tommi Mustonen, Nokia’s music division chief. “By offering the Nokia Internet Radio service on mobile devices, the radio experience becomes more accessible, giving people new ways to find music.”

And Live365/Windows Mobile follows…
Webcast purveyor Live365 is following close on the heels of new Web radio-ready components from Palm and Nokia with the announcement of its new mobile service, live365 Mobile.

Available to any mobile wireless device running Windows mobile 5/6 operating systems with either wireless data or Wi-fi access, the subscription-based plan permits music streaming from any Live365 streaming provider, with automatic muting during calls, artist/track info and unlimited presets.

Beta downloads of the software are available now at Live365.


Volvo Rolls with Factory HD Radios
Volvo says it will become the first automaker to offer factory-installed HD radios as standard equipment in some (optionally in all) of its 2009 U.S. production models. The announcement, made at the 2007 Boston International Auto Show, boasts that Volvo is the first automotive manufacturer in the U.S. to offer factory-installed digital HD Radio receivers on almost all models, including the S40 T5, V50 T5, C30, C70, S80, V70, XC70 and XC90 series vehicles.

The Swedish based automaker actually joins BMW, Jaguar, Hyundai, Mini USA, and Ford in offering an HD option, though it may be the first to offer an HD Radio that is both standard and factory-installed. Ford, for example, has chosen to implement HD as a dealer-installed product available throughout most of its product line.

Availability of both standard and optional HD Radio receivers in Volvos is scheduled to begin in Fall 2008.

Harris Recaps Sao Paulo HD Radio Seminars
Harris technology seminars conducted last month at Brazil’s first HD Radio Conference in Sao Paolo were well attended by Brazilian and other Latin American broadcasters. The event marked the latest in a series of international seminars and conferences including a Digital Radio Forum in the Dominican Republic last summer.

The Harris presentations, led by Hal Kneller, senior manager of business development, digital radio, and Tim Anderson, FM product line manager, covered a variety of current topics including digital FM and AM implementations, technology discussions, as well as benefits, features and future opportunities offered by HD Radio technology. A hands-on lab that allowed attendees to set up, configure and operate Harris HD Radio transmission systems was included.

Nahuel Villegas, Harris vice president for Latin America and Caribbean (CALA region) stressed the importance his company places on the development of HD Radio in Brazil, noting “the Brazilian market has taken the lead in digital radio in the region.”

IBOC Across America

IBOC by State: Arizona
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 29 stations in the Grand Canyon state broadcasting 41 HD Radio channels.

MarketStationHD1 FormatHD2 FormatOwner PhoenixKTAR-FM 92.3News/Talk-Bonneville International PhoenixKYOT-FM 95.5Smooth JazzThe Music SummitClear Channel Radio PhoenixKMXP-FM 96.9Modern ACRock @ RandomClear Channel Radio PhoenixKPKX-FM 98.7Adult HitsAll 80s ChannelBonneville International PhoenixKESZ-FM 99.9ACSirensClear Channel Radio PhoenixKQMR-FM 100.3Spanish/Variety-Univision Radio PhoenixKSLX-FM 100.7Classic Rock-Sandusky PhoenixKNIX-FM 102.5CountryAll New CountryClear Channel Radio PhoenixKZZP-FM 104.7Rhythmic/CHRHip HopClear Channel Radio PhoenixKOMR-FM 106.3Spanish/Variety-Univision Radio PhoenixKVVA-FM 107.1Spanish AC-Entravision PhoenixKMLE-FM 107.9CountryCountry VarietyCBS Radio PhoenixKFYI-AM 550News/Talk-Clear Channel Radio PhoenixKTAR-AM 620Sports-Bonneville International PhoenixKMVP-AM 860Sports-AIM Broadcasting PhoenixKMIK-AM 1580Children-ABC Radio TucsonKUAZ-FM 89.1Jazz/NPR-University of Arizona TucsonKUAT-FM 90.5Classical-University of Arizona TucsonKXCI-FM 91.3AAA-Foundation for Creative Broadcasting TucsonKWMT-FM 92.9AAAJazzClear Channel Radio TucsonKRQQ-FM 93.7Top 40CountryClear Channel Radio TucsonKLPX-FM 96.1Classic RockTBDLotus Communications TucsonKTZR-FM 97.1Spanish/VarietyTejanoClear Channel Radio TucsonKSZR-FM 97.5Adult Hits-Citadel TucsonKOHT-FM 98.3Top40/RhythmicHip-Hop, R&BClear Channel Radio TucsonKIIM-FM 99.5Country-Citadel TucsonKQTH-FM 104.1Hot AC-Journal Broadcast Group TucsonKHYT-FM 107.5Classic Rock-Citadel TucsonKWFM-AM 1450Oldies-Clear Channel Radio

Eye on IBOC

ITU Approves DRM for Tropical HF Operation
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has modified its regulations to permit digital transmission using the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard in the HF broadcast radio bands at 2300-2495, 3200-3400, and 4750-5060kHz. The decision to allow digital operation in the so-called tropical bands was just one action stemming from the recent WRC-07 conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

DRM had previously been endorsed by the ITU for global broadcasting in the long-, medium- and short-wave frequency bands with the exception of the tropical bands currently reserved for domestic (national) broadcasting in countries located roughly in latitudes between 30 degrees north and south of the equator, such as Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Congo, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil.

The DRM Consortium notes that it is developing a wide band implementation adaptation of its system for the VHF band. It’s currently being field tested in Lower Saxony, Germany, where it is reportedly in the final phases of the standardization process. When complete, wideband DRM will be available for use up to 108MHz.


The New Language of Digital Radio
crest factor: The ratio of the peak voltage to the RMS voltage of a signal. The crest factor of a sinusoidal waveform is 1.41 (the square root of two).

robustness: The relative ability of a logical channel to withstand channel impairments such as noise, interference and fading. FM IBOC Logical Channels are classified in one of 11 possible values. AM IBOC Logical Channels have eight possible classifications. One of the three characterization parameters.

vector: A one-dimensional string of data (typically presented as a binary number). In the text a letter with a single underscore represents them.


New EAS Handbook Gives Lip Service to Digital Radio
The FCC this week released the 2007 edition of its EAS AM/FM broadcasters operating handbook. The document is required to be posted at the designated EAS control points at all licensed AM and FM broadcast facilities in the US.

New for 2007 (besides the multicolor graphics noted in the downloadable PDF version) is the catchy title, EAS 2007 AM and FM (including Digital Audio Broadcast) Handbook.

A cursory exam of the document finds no further reference to digital radio services beyond the cover page. But the FCC’s Second R&O on DAB, does specify that all EAS rules applicable to a radio broadcast licensee’s primary analog program channel extend to all that licensee’s non-subscription (free) digital channels as well.

Download the new EAS handbook.

Frontier Silicon to Feature Venice 6 Module at CES
Frontier Silicon has announced plans to showcase its Frontier 6 digital radio module, a product that enables decoding of DAB/DAB+ and FM analog radio signals, as well as IP streamed audio and a variety of music-on-demand Web services. The company says the product is aimed at consumer electronics OEMs for integration into a variety of products, such as microsystems and radios.

The recently added on-demand music service functionality will allow consumers to access pay-per download services from companies such as Rhapsody, Napster, Music Load, and others.

Frontier 6 reportedly supports a variety of formats and protocols including .mp3, .wma and Real Audio. The module also boasts multi-language support, Universal Plug and Play and Internet Software Upgrade functionality.