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Digital Radio Update – June 4, 2008

Digital Radio Update – June 4, 2008

Jun 4, 2008 1:58 PM, By Mark Krieger


  • Latest NRSC-5 Standards Document Now Available
  • NAB Seeks HD Multicast 2008 Nominees
  • Early German DRM+ Test Results Earn Thumbs Up
  • IBOC By State: Wisconsin
  • Wimax Moves Back to Front Burner
  • The New Language of Digital Radio
  • New HD Chipsets Add Flexibility, Drive Down Receiver Costs
  • The Ultimate Car Radio?


Latest NRSC-5 Standards Document Now Available
The latest revision of the NRSC’s latest revision of its NRSC-5-B In-band/on-channel Digital Radio Broadcasting Standard is now available for free download on the group’s website. Approved at the NRSC’s April meeting held at NAB 2008 in Las Vegas, the document makes substantive and editorial changes to the blueprint for HD Radio broadcast specifications in the U.S.

Look for a detailed analysis of changes in the new document at Meanwhile, the document can be publicly downloaded at

NAB Seeks HD Multicast 2008 Nominees
The National Association of Broadcasters is now accepting nominations for the 2008 NAB HD Radio Multicast Award. Established in 2007, the award recognizes industry leaders in the creation of unique, innovative or groundbreaking HD Radio multicast channel programming.

Awards will be presented during The NAB Radio Show, Sept. 17-19, in Austin, TX.

Deadline for entry submission is July 1, 2008. Contestants should submit their entry online at or contact Chris Suever at 202-775-3511 for additional entry information.


Early German DRM+ Test Results Earn Thumbs Up
The University of Applied Sciences in Kaiserslautern, Germany, has successfully completed its first round of real time field tests of DRM+. The tests were conducted using a transmission chain composed of a DRM+ content server, OFDM exciter, filtered 30W power amplifier, and pair of crossed horizontal Yagi antennas operating at 87.6MHz with an occupied bandwidth of 50 kHz.

Field measurements were made using a mobile van equipped with fixed antennas, an automotive consumer FM RF tuner providing a 10.7MHz IF output, followed by a DDC board delivering I/Q samples via a USB 2.0 interface to a PC laptop running the DRM+ decoder.

Presenting initial findings at an international symposium held at the school last week, DRM Technical Committee Chair Lindsay Cornell thanked University Professor Dr. Andreas Steil and Joachim Lehnert, head engineer from the German State Media Authority of Rhineland-Palatinate for their contributions to the test program. A brief Youtube video of the test van can be viewed at

DRM+ is an extended implementation of the open-source DRM modulation family designed for applications in VHF, with specifications optimised for channel bandwidths between 50-100kHz. Using 4 QAM MSC modulation at a 50kHz occupied bandwidth, the test system reportedly delivers a 96kb/s throughput, utilizing scalable AAC as the audio codec.

Based on its progress thus far, the University expects to receive a new license to continue DRM+ test broadcasts from the German Federal Network Agency.

IBOC Across America

IBOC By State: Wisconsin
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 lists the stations making the transition. There are 43 stations in the Badger State broadcasting 59 HD Radio channels.

MarketStationHD 1 FormatHD 2 FormatOwner Appleton-OshkoshWWWX-FM 96.9-FM Rock-Cumulus Media Duluth-Superior, MN-WIKUWS-FM 91.3Talk/MotivationalClassicalWisconsin Public Radio Duluth-Superior, MN-WIWSCD-FM 92.9Classical-Minnesota Public Radio Duluth-Superior, MN-WIWSCN-FM 100.5News/Info-Minnesota Public Radio Green BayWPNE-FM 89.3ClassicalClassicalWisconsin Public Radio La CrosseKCLH-FM 94.7Classic Hits/70s, Oldies-Family Radio La CrosseWIZM-FM 93.3CHR-Family Radio La CrosseWLSU-FM 88.9Classical-Wisconsin Public Radio La CrosseWRQT-FM 95.7Rock-Family Radio MadisonWERN-FM 88.7ClassicalClassicalWisconsin Public Radio MadisonWHA-AM 970Talk/Motivational-Wisconsin Public Radio MadisonWHLK-FM 93.1Classic Hits-Mid-West Family Broadcasters MadisonWIBA-FM 101.5Classic RockAlternativeClear Channel MadisonWIBA-FM 1310News/Talk/Info-Clear Channel MadisonWJJO-FM 94.1Rock-Mid-West Family Broadcasters MadisonWMAD-FM 96.3CountryCountry – ClassicClear Channel MadisonWMGN-FM 98.1AC-Mid-West Family Broadcasters MadisonWMMM-FM 105.5AAABluesEntercom Communications MadisonWORT-FM 89.9Variety-Back Porch Radio Broadcasting MadisonWTSO-AM 1070Sports-Clear Channel MadisonWWQM-FM 106.3Country-Mid-West Family Broadcasters MadisonWXXM-FM 92.1Talk-Clear Channel MadisonWZEE-FM 104.1CHRUrban – Hip HopClear Channel Milwaukee-RacineWHAD-FM 90.7Talk/NewsClassicalWisconsin Public Radio Milwaukee-RacineWISN-AM 1130Talk/News-Clear Channel Milwaukee-RacineWJMR-FM 98.3Urban AC-Saga Milwaukee-RacineWJZX-AM106.9Smooth Jazz-Saga Milwaukee-RacineWKKV-FM 100.7UrbanGospel – HallelujahClear Channel Milwaukee-RacineWKLH-FM 96.5Classic Rock-Saga Milwaukee-RacineWKSH-AM 1640Family Hits-Radio Disney Milwaukee-RacineWKTI-FM 94.580s and 90s-Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee-RacineWMIL-FM 106.1CountryClassic Country – The WolfClear Channel Milwaukee-RacineWMYX-FM 99.1Hot ACBluesEntercom Communications Milwaukee-RacineWOKY-AM 920Oldies-Clear Channel Milwaukee-RacineWQBW-FM 97.3Classic RockClassic Alternative RockClear Channel Milwaukee-RacineWRIT-FM 95.7Adult HitsDisco – Studio 95Clear Channel Milwaukee-RacineWTMJ-AM 620News/Talk/Sports-Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee-RacineWUWM-FM 89.7NPRToday’s Music All Grown UpUniversity of Wisconsin Milwaukee-RacineWXSS-FM 103.7CHRComedyEntercom Communications Milwaukee-RacineWYMS-FM 88.9AAA/Urban-Milwaukee Board of School Directors Wausau-Stevens PointWDEZ-FM 101.9Country-Midwest Communications Wausau-Stevens PointWHRM-FM 90.9ClassicalIdeas NetworkWisconsin Public Radio Wausau-Stevens PointWIFC-FM 95.5CHR-Midwest Communications

Eye on IBOC

Wimax Moves Back to Front Burner
The on-again/off-again saga of Wimax’s North American rollout returned to the headlines with the recent announcement that Sprint and partner organization Clearwire have secured the resources necessary to form a new corporation for build-out of a national Wimax network (dubbed Xohm) that promises open-network wireless broadband connectivity for millions of mobile users.

Even though Sprint will reportedly control 51 percent of the new corporation’s stock and a majority of corporate board seats, the $14.5 billion venture will bear the Clearwire brand, reportedly having drawn $3.2 billion in investments from major media players such as Google, Comcast, Time-Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The transaction, which has already passed muster with the respective corporate management groups, is not anticipated to close until sometime this fall. The deal must also pass a few additional hurdles, including reviews by FCC and DOJ regulators.

As before, Intel will serve as a key technology provider with production of embedded Wimax functionality in devices such as its new Centrino 2 laptop processor. The company also plans to fabricate and sell chipsets to third party OEMs.

With the promise of high-speed broadband anytime, anywhere, Wimax’s rollout is of acute interest to radio analysts who foresee its potential to slingshot the popularity of Internet radio, as well as a constellation of other streamed and interactive content. Most industry observers believe that Wimax deployment could spark a sea change in media distribution, due to Sprint’s avowed agnostic approach to content and platform providers. That position is a significant departure from the proprietary 3 and 4G networks now in various stages of development and deployment by wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon.

HD Radio Terminology

The New Language of Digital Radio
binary phase shift keying (BPSK): A form of digital phase modulation that assigns one of two discrete phases, differing by 180 degrees, to the OFDM subcarrier. Each BPSK symbol conveys one bit of information.

diversity delay: The fixed time delay imposed on one of two channels carrying the same information. It increases the probability of successful reception of the information in the presence of channel impairments such as fading and impulsive noise.

puncturing: The process of removing selected bits from the mother codeword to increase FEC code rate.


New HD Chipsets Add Flexibility, Drive Down Receiver Costs
Ibiquity Digital Corporation is talking up two new HD Radio chipsets that promise lower per-unit costs and offer size and power consumptions over previous generations. According to PR Newswire reports, both Samsung and Siport are fully geared up for production-level orders of their next-gen HD Radio chipsets, which boast lower power consumption and reduced form factors.

The Samsung chipset consists of its SHDR 200A, a single-chip RF-IF peripheral processor, along with the SHDR 200A baseband processor, which is based on Ibiquty’s Caymen core. The set requires no external filters, and supports advanced HD functionality such as conditional access, store, replay and advanced navigation. The Siport chipset is targeted at portable devices, such as handheld GPS units, where low power consumption and price-point are primary concerns.

Receiver manufacturers looking to incorporate HD Radio into their design are also getting help from companies like Sanyo, which has begun shipping its latest single-chip digital radio tuner and DSP product.

The Azentech Atlas CPC-1000

The Ultimate Car Radio?
This time of year, most men dream of being rewarded with a top-shelf leisure gift, say a set of titanium golf clubs, or an all-stainless gas grill with built-in hot tub and beer tap. But this Father’s Day, media-loving males may instead be mulling over the Azentek Atlas CPC-1000, an in-dash media PC described by some as the ultimate car radio.

Winner of Telematics Update Magazine’s “Best Aftermarket Device” Award, the CPC-1000 makes no bones it roots. Powered by an Intel duo-core processor, 120GB hard drive, and running Windows Vista, the platform offers real-time receive capability for AM/FM, satellite radio, HD Radio (with optional USB decoder module), CDRW/DVD/MP3/WMA, and built-in Wi-fi for Internet radio. A 4x50W internal amp can deliver the audio directly, but Dolby surround line-level outs are also available for those who like a bit more kick.

Of course, if you want to do more than just sit in your driveway and listen, the in-dash 6.5″ touch-screen LCD gives you access to GPS navigation, voice recognition, Bluetooth, and CANbus integration (CANbus is a computer network protocol and bus standard designed specifically for automotive applications.) But all of this does come with a hefty price tag.