Digital Radio Update – October 24, 2007
Oct 24, 2007 8:23 AM, By Mark Krieger, CBT
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- Citadel AM Night IBOC Shutdown Has Message Boards Buzzing
- Ibiquity Launches Advanced Multimedia Retail Training Website
- Frontier Silicon Ships 5-millionth DAB Unit, Enhanced Modules
- Canadian Satellite Radio Posts Strong Sub Gains
- IBOC by State: Nebraska
- Ibiquity: HD Receiver Production Capacity Doubles in One Year
- The New Language of Digital Radio
- New HD Products Debut in Hong Kong
- Day Sequerra Introduces HD Radio-ready Mod Monitors
Citadel AM Night IBOC Shutdown Has Message Boards Buzzing
A corporate decision by group owner Citadel Broadcasting to discontinue nighttime operation by its IBOC-equipped AM stations and reportedly disseminated by DOE Martin Stabbert on Oct. 1 has set the North American radio engineering community on its ear, as well as triggering a flurry of postings on online forums.
The uproar on radio message boards began when an anonymous Citadel source reportedly leaked an e-mail sent out to Citadel Chief Engineers by Stabbert. The communication was said to have requested AM stations within the group to immediately discontinue HD Radio operations during nighttime hours, pending resolution of unspecified issues. About 20 of Citadel’s 66 AM stations had commenced night IBOC digital transmissions after the FCC green flagged such operation back on Sept. 14.
Stabbert was quoted in an Oct. 2 edition of dxing.info an online radio hobbyist publication, as saying that Citadel “received a number of comments, calls and emails involving (interference with) several different stations…we are just taking a step back. We need to evaluate our results and act on that.” More recent reports indicate that Citadel is consulting with Ibiquity and engineers from other groups and is moving to address the issues in a deliberate fashion. Even so, the company has yet to provide any definitive indication of when its AM stations might resume IBOC digital night operation.
A casual survey of various radio-oriented message boards nationwide reveals that Citadel’s actions are clearly touching more than a few nerves in that community. Longtime critics of AM HD Radio technology are taking a told-you-so approach, triggering a number of vigorous responses both pro and con.
Citadel is currently the nation’s third largest radio group.
Look for an interview with Citadel’s Martin Stabbert in the Radio magazine Insight to IBOC supplement coming in the November 2007 issue.
Ibiquity Launches Advanced Multimedia Retail Training Website
Ibiquity Digital says it has re-launched its retail sales training website, www.hdradiouniversity.com. Developed in collaboration with Chalk Media, utilizing a proprietary learning platform (LCMS/LMS/MCDS), HD Radio University is designed to educate retail sales staff charged with sales of HD Radio products across the country in what the company calls an informative and fun way.
HD Radio University is described as an interactive learning website designed to give retailers the tools they need to increase their knowledge of HD Radio Technology and Products while boosting sales. Titled “The HD Radio Story,” the learning site covers the basics of HD Radio Technology as well as new advanced features such as the recently announced Ipod Itunes Tagging for HD Radio Technology. It also includes tips for bringing the features and benefits of the category to the consumer’s attention.
Ibiquity also notes that HD Radio University will add specific product feature details on a SKU-by-SKU basis and will be continually updated to capture new developments in HD Radio Technology and HD Radio broadcasting.
Frontier Silicon Ships 5-millionth DAB Unit, Enhanced Modules
UK-based Frontier Silicon says its shipment of Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) ICs and modules surpassed the 5 million mark this month, giving the company a DAB receiver market share of more than 75 percent as it passes into its sixth year of operation.
Growth of Eureka 147-based DAB has been strongest in the UK, where the technology now claims a listening base of nearly one-in-five of the adult population. European neighbors Denmark, Norway, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland account for a much smaller portion of total DAB product sales.
Recent adoption of a new DAB+ standard employing an advanced AAC-derived codec has reportedly sparked renewed interest in DAB in nations such as Australia, Italy, and Switzerland, which are now said to be moving towards adopting the standard in the near term. Frontier notes that other nations, such as the Czech Republic, Malta, Israel, Hungary, Kuwait, Malaysia and New Zealand are considering DAB and DMB technology as well.
Frontier is also trumpeting its latest enhancements to Venice 6, a digital receiver module capable of receiving Internet radio via Wi-fi, DAB/DAB+, FM and music streamed from a network server. Based around the company’s Chorus 2i processor, it decodes radio stations and music files in a variety of formats including MP3, Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Real Audio. Also included is UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) enabling standardized compatibility for music streaming from PCs.
The Venice 6 is described as supporting a range of platforms including Jupiter 6, a reference design providing a flexible architecture for OEMs to use either as-is, modified or as a starting point for rapid development of custom products.
Canadian Satellite Radio Posts Strong Sub Gains
Satellite radio subscriptions north of the border are projected to top one million subscribers by January 2008, according to an article in the Oct. 12, 2007, edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail. That’s a strong showing with a per-capita/per-year growth rate significantly higher than stateside figures.
Combined subscriptions for Siruis and XM Canada totalled 806,000 subscribers at the end of September, an impressive figure considering the fact that the service launched in 2005, and that Canada’s population is just slightly more than one-tenth that of the US. Sirius Canada reports about 500,000 current subscribers, compared to 306,000 for XM, though neither service has yet reported a profit.
Predictions for total subscriptions to pass one million by year’s end are based on current trend lines and onset of the holiday buying season.
IBOC Across America
IBOC by State: Nebraska
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 12 stations in the Cornhusker state broadcasting 16 HD Radio channels.
MarketStationHD1 FormatHD2 FormatOwner Lincoln KUCV-FM 91.1 Classical/News–Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KGOR-FM 99.9 Oldies Oldies 50s and 60sClear Channel Radio Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KSRZ-FM 104.5 Hot AC -Journal Broadcast Group Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KQCH-FM 94.1 CHR -Journal Broadcast Group Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KKCD-FM 105.9 Classic Rock -Journal Broadcast Group Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KIOS-FM 91.5 News/Talk/Info -Omaha Public Schools Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KHUS-FM 93.3 Country Hard Rock/Heavy MetalClear Channel Radio Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KFAB-AM 1110 News/Talk -Clear Channel Radio Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KEZO-FM 92.3 Rock -Journal Broadcast Group Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KXKT-FM 103.7 Country Classic Country, 60’s, 70’s, 80’sClear Channel Radio Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KQBW-FM 96.1 80’s Hits Active RockClear Channel Radio Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA KVNO-FM 90.7 Classical -University of Nebraska
Eye on IBOC
Ibiquity: HD Receiver Production Capacity Doubles in One Year
Ibiquity Digital claims that the demand for HD Radio receivers has resulted in a doubling of partner manufacturing capacity in Asia during the past year, with nearly 60 companies licensed and certified to manufacture HD Radio modules, components, receivers and tuners.
The constellation of Ibiquity-licensed consumer products components is substantial:
- Certified module makers now include ACE Dixxio, LG Innotek, Kensen, Kwang Sung Electronics, Powertech Industries, Samsung EM, TOKO and WNC.
- Certified ODMs include AeonPower, Alllike Electronics, For You General Electronic, Freeway China, Hip Shing Electronics, Jazz Hipster, Kiryung, LG Innotek, Namsung Corporation, Ngai Lik Mobile, RockRidgeSound, Tonic Digital Products, WNC and Zylux Acoustic.
- Certified receiver brands includes Accurian (Radio Shack), Audiovox, Audio Design Associates, Alpine, Boston Acoustics, Cambridge Soundworks, Day Sequerra, Denon, Dice Electronics, JVC Mobile, Fujitsu-Ten, Insignia, Kenwood, Marantz, Niles, Onkyo, Panasonic, Peripheral, Polk Audio, Radiosophy, Rotel, Sangean, Sanyo, Siemens-VDO, Sony and Yamaha.
HD Radio Terms
The New Language of Digital Radio
all-digital waveform: The IBOC waveform intended to be broadcast without an accompanying host analog signal. In the absence of an analog signal for fast audio acquisition upon tune-in, the all-digital signal contains a fast-acquisition digital audio stream that is reinforced when the more robust copy of the digital audio stream has time to de-interleave and blend in. This waveform is the planned successor to the hybrid waveform, although its use remains to be authorized by the FCC.
L1 frame: A complete unit of information transmitted within a specific time slot identified by an ALFN. The IBOC digital signal consists of a series of L1 frames.
orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM): A parallel multiplexing scheme that modulates a data stream onto a large number of orthogonal subcarriers that are transmitted simultaneously.
New HD Products Debut in Hong Kong
Several new HD Radio modules and reference designs were unveiled at last week’s Hong Kong Electronics Fair.
Looking to capitalize on the buzz generated by the rollout of its Itunes tagging system for HD Radio, Ibiquity unveiled its comprehensive Reference Kit for developers of HD Radio receivers with Ipod docking stations and Itunes Tagging. The kit includes the 1281 HD Radio module (revision 1.1), the 1182 HD Radio evaluation board (Revision 2.4), the 2107 Ipod adapter board, an Ipod DIN cable and SDK version 3.0, and is available to all licensees of both Apple Made-for-Ipod (MFI) and Ibiquity.
LG Innotek introduced its new 1281 HD Radio module. The OEM product enables conditional access as well as store and replay functionality and also supports Itunes Tagging. LG promises the 1281 will be ready to ship to Ibiquity licensees by the end of this month.
Samsung EM debuted its 2023 compliant HD Radio Slave Mode Modules, which the company describes as a “quick path to market” for manufacturers of products such as Ipod docks supporting HD Radio Itunes Tagging. Samsung is offering both large and small versions of the 2023 module for shipment to Ibiquity licensees.
The bi-annual exposition, organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, brings together suppliers, manufacturers and vendors of consumer technology products, including home audio and video.
Day Sequerra Introduces HD Radio-ready Mod Monitors
Building on its M2 – M4 family of HD Radio precision tuners and monitors, Day Sequerra has announced the arrival of its new model M2A, an analog modulation monitor that is factory upgradeable to full HD Radio functionality matching the specifications of the company’s M2.2 precision HD Radio monitor.
Described as a replacement monitor for analog-only stations that seek precision monitoring with a built-in HD Radio upgrade path, the M2A is available in either M2A-FM or M2A-AM variants.
The M2A-FM includes full off-air and direct monitoring capabilities for analog FM, including, demodulated audio level, carrier modulation level, pilot and SCA injection level, incidental AM, noise and RBDS decoding and display. The unit is also equipped with programmable opto-isolated alarms for audio peak, audio program, carrier loss and RBDS data loss.
The M2A-AM includes an off-air AM measurement package with C-Quam AM stereo decoding.
Both versions are available with an optional Ethernet port package that provides remote control with Day Sequerra’s Remote Dashboard, a proprietary PC-based application that includes monitoring, logging, alarms via e-mail and scanning of up to 100 preset stations.