Significant orders for HD Radio transmission equipment began arriving at Broadcast Electronics in December. As of year-end, the RF and broadcast studio manufacturer said, it had received orders from six of the major broadcast groups plus several independent U.S. stations.
Entercom, Clear Channel, Greater Media, Spanish Broadcasting System, Crawford Broadcasting and Multi-Cultural Radio Broadcasting placed orders for BE transmission or exciter and generator products. The majority of stations ordering equipment expect to be on the air with HD Radio within 60 days, and several are planning to upgrade several markets at once, the company said.
Greater Media ordered BE IBOC gear for stations in New Jersey, Detroit, Boston and Philadelphia. Greater Media plans to convert all 19 of its stations this year.
Clear Channel ordered BE HD Radio equipment for stations in Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
BE issued statements from broadcasters using BE equipment to convert their plants.
"We think HD Radio could catch on in the next six months, and if that holds, we could be seeing the benefits of HD Radio within the year," said Ralph Chambers, director of engineering for the southeast operation of Spanish Broadcasting System, Miami.
Miami station WRMA(FM) plans to be the first station in the group to implement HD Radio in the next 45 days, with other SBS stations possibly to follow by year's end.
Crawford Broadcasting ordered a HD Radio transmitter and exciter for WPWX(FM), Chicago. Cris Alexander, director of corporate engineering for Crawford, said the group plans to follow the market rollout schedule set by Ibiquity for the group's other eight FMs and 22 AMs.
"When we get to a market, we'll probably equip our top stations in those markets with HD Radio first," said Alexander.
"We're definitely past the experimental stage with HD Radio," said Entercom Vice President of Engineering Marty Hadfield in Seattle. Entercom ordered BE HD Radio gear for its Seattle and Boston stations.
BE began hosting educational seminars in target markets at the beginning of 2002 and throughout the year, BE engineers participated in experimental HD Radio installations.