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Birmingham AM Goes HD Digital

Birmingham AM Goes HD Digital

The first non-experimental AM HD Radio system has begun transmitting in digital in addition to analog around the clock.
WJLD(AM) in Birmingham, Ala., began transmitting using Ibiquity’s IBOC signal using a Broadcast Electronics ASi 10 signal generator and BE AM-1A transmitter.
“This installation marks the passage of HD Radio technology into a fully commercial licensed product that significantly improves AM radio,” said Glynn Walden, VP of broadcast engineering for Ibiquity Digital.
According to a statement from BE, WJLD owner and engineer Gary Richardson reported 15 kHz fidelity and stereo separation comparable to FM during listening tests of the station’s R&B programming through an HD Radio-capable receiver. “Switching between analog and digital was like switching from AM to FM,” he is quoted as saying.
WJLD broadcasts hybrid digital AM and analog AM signals on its licensed frequency of 1400 kHz. HD Radio signals are generated by BE’s ASi 10 and injected into WJLD’s existing BE transmitter.
According to a press release from BE, the equipment cost to convert the station to HD Radio was less than $25,000, excluding processing. By getting in before the expiration of the Ibiquity fee waiver, WJLD saved $11,000 in fees.