Jan 1, 2007 12:00 PM
Watching the HD Radio roll-out
The December Viewpoint says that for HD Radio to succeed we as broadcasters should have to do nothing. How true it is. Every radio receiver should have HD Radio built in. It shouldn't be a choice for the listener.
name withheld by request
I read your Viewpoint A report card on HD Radio in the September issue. A suggestion, the next time you do a report card on HD Radio you may want to look at it this way, don't ask the sellers (Best Buy, Circuit City) ask the listeners.
I play for our neighborhood tennis team, whenever we have a match I always like to ask the other players if they have heard of HD Radio. I especially like to do this when we are at another subdivision (more people present as wives and husbands watch each other play).
After asking about 150 (roughly) I had only one respond that he had heard of HD Radio. Everyone one else looked at me with that cocked head like they heard a weird whistle; you know like a dog.
Even after explaining what HD Radio was and its benefits, all of the people I asked would not buy an after-market radio, even the JVC model for $199.
I have demonstrated HD Radio, presently I am running all three channels. They could hear the difference, they understood the different choices - main and subs - (not just my station but in the market as a whole), see the data available through the unit and no one would still buy an after-market radio.
The problem is not the quality or how many different outputs can be heard, but the content of the stations is what is important to the listeners.
Thanks for listening and I enjoy your articles.
Scott F. Trask
director of engineering
FM translators for AM
[In regard to the FCC Update column in the October 2006 issue] You seem to be unaware of the fact that frequencies for FM translators are very difficult to find, even in medium-size markets. So where are these AM stations going to get frequencies for FM translators?
The whole spectrum problem is being made even worse by digital hash from HD Radio. The only ones to gain from HD Radio are the equipment manufacturers.
Harry Martin replies
I agree with you about the problem prioritization, not only in terms of the availability of spectrum for translators, but also in terms of timing. No one knows how long it will take the FCC to sort out the priorities. Making matters worse, we must also deal with the fact there are still thousands of translator applications still pending from the 2003 window. Presumably the FCC will have to deal with them in some way, with or without a preference for LPFM, before it opens a new translator window.
As for larger markets, there hasn't been room for translators in such markets for a long time. Nothing the FCC is doing will improve that situation.
The NPR recall of sat radios
It's absolutely incredible that broadcasters must petition the FCC to enforce their own regulations. Just goes to show how desolate the Commission has become in regulating the chartered core mandate they have from Congress. This on top of regulatory fees that top the inflation rate every year. NPRMs frozen for years, technical regulations ignored and a focus on non-core content. The agency should be sunsetted now. We need far better than what we pay for.