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IBOC Update – May 12, 2004

IBOC Update – May 12, 2004

May 12, 2004 12:00 PM, compiled by Mark Krieger, CBT


  • HD Radio Named IT Product of the Year
  • Pick Hits Recognize IBOC
  • Replies to FCC’s FNPRM/NOI Reflect Broad PolicyConcerns on IBOC DAB
  • Public Radio Stations Begin DigitalTransition
  • Boston Station Installs BE HD RadioEquipment
  • Tomorrow Radio: In the Spotlight and on theAir
  • Harris Standardizes Mimic Capability inNeustar
  • Broadcast Electronics Introduces TRPDi Concept andHD Radio Guarantee
  • 4 Times Completes Antenna Install

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HD Radio Named IT Product of theYear

Ibiquity Digital’s HD Radio technology has been named IT Productof the Year by the Tech Council of Maryland (TCM). The award,presented on April 26 by Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele,was among the highlights of a gala dinner attended by more than 700area technology leaders.

The award highlights how the pending adoption of IBOC digitaltransmission technology promises to change consumer perceptions ofradio broadcasting as an old-line technology.

“With products ranging from CD’s and DVD’s to cameras and cellphones now using digital technology, AM and FM radio is the last majoranalog communications medium. By helping stations around the countryconvert to digital, Ibiquity’s HD Radio technology is revolutionizingthe entire radio broadcast industry, and for that reason, they werehonored as our Product of the Year,” said Dyan Brasington, president ofthe Tech Council of Maryland, a non-profit membership consortium opento high technology firms, government laboratories, higher educationinstitutions and business support firms that collectively formMaryland’s technology community.


Pick Hits Recognize IBOC

The Radio magazine Pick Hit awards, presented at NAB2004,distinguish the top 15 new product introductions at the convention. Nowin its 20th year, the Pick Hit Awards recognize new productintroductions at the NAB convention that offer significanttechnological improvements and serve everyday applications.

While this honor is not limited to IBOC technology, several productsrelate to IBOC. The complete list of award recipients:

  • Aphex 148
  • Belar HD Radio Monitor
  • Broadcast Electronics Big Pipe
  • Broadcast Electronics XPi10
  • Broadcast Tools WRC-4
  • Comrex STAC
  • Dovetail Science DBM-300
  • Enco Guardien
  • Henry Engineering Studio Drive
  • Microgen TS 9000
  • Middle Atlantic WR Series rolling/rotating racks
  • Narda Selective Radiation Meter
  • Rohde & Schwarz FSH3
  • TFT 460
  • Tieline Imix G3

In addition, the Pick Hits judges recognized three TechnologyHonors, which recognize technology in general that is a part of severalproducts. Two of these three honors relate to IBOC. A Technology Honorfor multi-channel IBOC audio recognizes the work in demonstrationsshown by Harris, Neural Audio, Omnia Audio, Fraunhofer and NPR. Threedemonstrations of multi-channel audio for FM IBOC were displayed at theconvention.

A Technology Honor for dual-feed IBOC antennas recognizes thelong-term operating efficiency along with ideal compatibilityperformance that these antenna systems provide. ERI, Dielectric andShively displayed variations of this technology.

Complete details of these product and systems will be in the June ofRadio magazine.

FCC Update

Replies to FCC’s FNPRM/NOI ReflectBroad Policy Concerns on IBOC DAB

Early replies to a final notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) andcompanion notice of inquiry (NOI) issued by the FCC nearly a month agoappear to point to gathering controversy over the direction of IBOC DABin the U.S. A recent survey of comments filed suggests that two majorissues are rising to the top of the FCC’s DAB agenda, the first ofwhich involves the recent demonstration of FM HD Radios’ capacity formulticasting via the transmission of secondary audio channels (SACs).Specifically, some commenters seek assurances that SACs will be subjectto the same political candidacy rules as current analog programchannels. Another area of concern involves the kind of requirements theFCC might impose to assure that the additional program streams wouldoffer some level of local programming, as opposed to simply filling thechannels with readily available satellite-provided content. Onecommenter went so far as to say that the FCC should reduce thepermissible number of FM licenses held by a single owner in a givenmarket by half should those stations choose to multicast, while anothersuggested that a localism requirement could be fulfilled using any of agiven station’s multiple audio streams. Broadcasters are almost certainto oppose any introduction of new local program contentrequirements.

Other multicasting issue arose regarding the permissiblefunctionality of translators, given the possibility that they, too,might carry multiple program streams. Some sentiment was expressed wasthat the FCC should require third-party ownership of all digitaltranslators, thus overturning current translator rules regarding NCElicensees who can currently own multiple translators with remotely fedsystems, a view not likely to win a warm reception among thosesupportive of public and religious broadcasters.

The other major area of concern revolves around digital contentcontrol. As multiple filings by the RIAA, BMG music, the ConsumerElectronics Association and other organizations make clear, this is ahigh stakes issue that is unlikely to fade away. What recordingindustry representatives are demanding is an embedded anti-copy flagsimilar to that developed for DTV, contrary to the wishes of consumerequipment manufacturers and consumer rights advocates. How the FCC willact in this instance is unclear, but it’s likely that pressure fromboth sides will continue to build.

Curiously, there are few comments thus far regarding technicalissues. Though a few individuals have opposed nighttime AM IBOCoperation due to its adverse impact on adjacent channel secondarycoverage interference, there has been little or no discussion of newemission standards, monitoring, or technical record requirements.

With a July 16 deadline for comments looming, the volume of filingsis expected to accelerate in June, and some observers are alreadysaying that the Commission will extend the deadline for an additionalperiod. This should allow stakeholders the time they need to preparecomprehensive responses to the wide range of issues involved with thepending rulemaking.

Eye on IBOC

Public Radio Stations Begin DigitalTransition

Washington – May 12, 2004 – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting(CPB) has announced that it will issue grants totaling more than $2.3million to help 29 additional public radio stations, including 19serving rural and minority audiences, purchase the equipment needed totransition to IBOC digital radio. These funds are part of the nearly$150 million in funding that Congress has provided to CPB over the lastfour years to assist both public radio and public television stationsto convert from analog transmission to digital.

This announcement marks the third round of grants to assist localpublic radio stations in making the digital transition. Last month, CPBannounced digital grants to 76 public radio stations serving 32 statesand territories. Also, the CPB Board of Directors recently approved aplan (based on management recommendations and a consultation with ajoint industry panel) for allocating nearly $50 million in specialfiscal year 2004 digital transition funds provided by Congress. Thisaction will set aside more than $4 million to fund efforts to createdigital content and services for public television (the first time suchfunding has been available); $30 million will support public televisionactivities; the remaining $15 million will support public radio.

To date, CPB has provided grants to more than 170 public televisionstations and 147 public radio stations to begin their digitaltransition. Stations will be able to apply for another round of digitalfunding this summer. Additional awards for public television to convertto digital also will be announced this spring. Final grants arecontingent upon final equipment costs and contract negotiations withindividual stations.

Recipients of this funding round include:

  • Alabama: WUAL-FM, Tuscaloosa
  • Alaska: KCAW-FM, Sitka; KCHU-AM, Valdez; KNBA-FM, Anchorage; KRBD-FM,Ketchikan; KTOO-FM, Juneau; KYUK-AM, Bethel; KSKA-FM, Anchorage
  • Idaho: KBSU-AM, Boise
  • Iowa: WSUI-AM, Iowa City; KBBG-FM, Waterloo
  • Michigan: WKAR-FM, East Lansing
  • Minnesota: KNOW-FM, St. Paul/Minneapolis; KNSR-FM, St. Cloud/Collegeville;KSJN-FM, St. Cloud/Collegeville; KSJR-FM, St. Cloud/Collegeville
  • New York: WNED-AM, Buffalo; WAMC-FM, Albany
  • New Jersey: WWFM, Trenton
  • North Carolina: WRVS-FM, Elizabeth City; WSHA-FM, Raleigh
  • Ohio: WOSU-FM, Columbus; WOSU-AM, Columbus
  • Pennsylvania: WJAZ-FM, Philadelphia
  • Virginia: WVTU-FM, Roanoke; WVTW-FM, Roanoke
  • Washington: KFAE-FM, Pullman; KNWY-FM, Pullman
  • Wisconsin: WHA-AM, Madison

The CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in1967 to develop educational public radio, television and onlineservices for the United States.

Boston Station Installs BE HD RadioEquipment

Quincy, IL – May 6, 2004 – Boston�s Folk Radio WUMB-FM went onthe air with Broadcast Electronics� FMI-106 HD Radio transmitterin March.

The installation was completed in only 4-1/2 hours. The engineershad just a few hours to exchange transmitters due to the tight confinesof WUMB-FM�s transmitter facility. Wedged between the outer wallof a water tank and the inner wall of a surrounding granite structurebuilt to look like a medieval castle turret, the curved room is onlythree feet wide.

The engineers installed the BE FMI-106 transmitter in a low-levelcombined configuration to transmit WUMB-FM�s analog signal of 660watts Effective Radiated Power (ERP) as well as the corresponding HDRadio signal. They also installed Broadcast Electronics� FSI 10to generate the digital signal and Broadcast Electronics� FXI 60exciter to modulate the HD Radio and analog carriers.


Tomorrow Radio: In theSpotlight and on the Air

NPR and Harris Corporation found this year’s NAB convention to befertile ground for demonstration and discussion of a jointly developedFM HD Radio multicast concept known as Tomorrow Radio. Utilizing ademonstration platform featuring D.A.V.I.D. Systems integrated audioand data management system coupled with Harris’ HD Radio transmissioncomponents, visitors were able to get a first hand look at how multipleprogram audio streams and PAD/non PAD data can be transmitted on asingle FM HD Radio signal and successfully received and decoded by aKenwood HD Radio receiver.

The demonstration, which also incorporated DigAirange schedulingsoftware and the DigiSystem database manager, was designed to show howevery link of a multicast digital broadcast operation, down to digitalfield recording and editing of live audio, can be effectively handledin an integrated digital environment. The platform also included abroadcast utility server (BUS), which acts as an import/export clientfor PAD and non-PAD data.

Tomorrow Radio’s developers have since expanded their demonstrationbeyond the convention floor. Within weeks after the NAB closed,American University’s WAMU-FM in Washington DC commenced HD Radiooperation with the Tomorrow Radio project under a Special TemporaryAuthorization (STA) issued by the FCC. The STA permits WAMU to transmitan SAC audio stream for demonstration purposes, bringing Tomorrow Radiohome to Washington’s policy makers in a very tangible way.

Operating with a main digital audio stream data rate of 64kb/s and asupplemental channel rate of 32kb/s, the station simulcast its analogprograms on the main stream as a seven-minute demonstration programloop streams on the SAC (labeled WAMU 2), leaving the hardware to manage the transmission of PAD/non-PAD data.

The WAMU HD Radio transmission system consists of a Harris Dexstarexciter and Flexstar importer coupled to a Z8HDS transmitter, which ishigh level combined with the station’s analog signal. Like many otherNPR affiliates, WAMU funded the conversion project with CPB grantfunding.

Harris Standardizes Mimic Capabilityin Neustar

Mimic, a proprietary neural technology that can duplicate any soundsignature in a matter of seconds, is now a standard feature of theHarris Neustar HD Radio codec processors.

Using spectral image mapping techniques, Harris claims that Mimiceliminates painstaking audio analysis and hours of manual tweaking thathave been necessary to replicate a sound signature in the past.

NeustarHD-AM and NeustarHD-FM are said to be the first codecprocessors for HD Radio. Harris explains that its product processes inthree important HD Radio dimensions: it “cleans” audio, removing noise,hum and other unwanted artifacts; it pre-treats audio to optimize HDCcodec performance; and it ensures overall audio quality andconsistency, akin to the function of analog audio processors. NeuStarHDalso claims to fix corrupt contributed content that has been poorlymixed and recorded, regardless of its original format.

In FM, with a channel capacity that is nearly three times greaterthan AM’s, Neustar’s bit-reduction capability is said to increasebandwidth efficiency by 30 percent, enabling multiple program streamsto be delivered over a single channel. NeustarHD-FM’s SupplementalAudio Channel capability was demonstrated during National PublicRadio’s extensive Tomorrow Radio tests. Additionally, the product canenable downmixed, 5.1 surround sound audio to be delivered over anexisting 2.0 stereo backbone.

Broadcast Electronics Introduces TRPDiConcept and HD Radio Guarantee

Broadcast Electronics has launched an initiative with an HD Radioguarantee assurance that every AM or FM transmitter currently thecompany sells is HD Radio-compatible. The company also claims that itstransmitters are fully compatible with NPR’s Tomorrow Radioarchitecture

Another debut at the convention was BE’s TRPDi concept, which claimsto create a fully integrated approach to the generation, transmission,and management of every facet of HD Radio audio and data transmission.The new XPi10 studio HD Radio signal generator exemplifies this unifiedapproach. By generating the more compact HD Radio signal at the studiorather than at the transmitter, the XPi10 reduces STL bandwidthrequirements.

Rounding out the suite is Radio Data Dimensions (RDDS), a datamanagement system for booth RBDS and HD Radio applications. In additionto RBDS eight-character identifiers and 64-character text oftitle/artists, promotional messages, advertiser IDs, traffic bulletinsand AMBER alerts, the new data management software suite includessupport for HD Radio’s secondary program channel services such asTomorrow Radio. RDDS also provides bandwidth provisions fornavigational system data downloads to compatible HD Radio tuners. Allfunctions and user controls for the software suite are accessible froma Web-browser content management tool.

Inside RF

4 Times Completes AntennaInstall

New York – Apr 30, 2004 – Shively Labs has completed the completionof its master FM antenna system atop the Conde Nast Building at 4 TimesSquare in New York City. The new antenna system doubles the FM stationcapacity of the Durst Organization site to 21 stations, which is enoughto handle all the FM stations presently broadcasting from the multipleantennas atop the Empire State Building. The 4 Times site is also thefirst major broadcast facility designed from conception to handleanalog and digital broadcasting. Digital capability is not currentlyavailable to most NYC radio stations. Planning for the new system beganshortly after the 9/11 tragedy when it became apparent that additionalbroadcast capacity was required to replace transmission sites lost atthe World Trade Center.

The antenna is the second Shively Model 6016 FM panel antenna tooccupy this site and replaces a system installed in 1999. During thenearly one year that it took to remove the old tower, reinforce thebuilding, and erect the new tower, FM service continued uninterruptedon a Shively Model 6017 Lindenblad antenna.

The installation was profiled in the November 2003 issue ofRadio magazine. Read that article by following this link.

The antenna is fed from a Shively Labs model 2540 balanced combinersystem. Currently operating with nine stations, the combiner can beexpanded to handle all 21 stations. The combiner is designed toaccommodate HD Radio implementation using the back-feed method,pioneered by Shively Labs, which passes the analog and digital signalsthrough the combiner independently and combines them in theantenna.

The tower was constructed by ERI, who was also the lead contractoron site for the installation. The radio antenna transmission line wassupplied by Myat.