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D.C. Station Will Multicast Roberts Hearings

D.C. Station Will Multicast Roberts Hearings

This story is copyright Radio World newspaper.

Multicasting gives radio stations more channels to play with; now a digital station in Washington has decided to use a second channel to air Supreme Court audio.
Beginning Monday, WAMU(FM), one of the two dozen or so stations in the country now experimenting with multicasting, will split its HD Radio signal into two streams, then use the supplemental channel to air NPR coverage of the confirmation hearings for John Roberts.
WAMU’s “main” channel will continue to air in analog and digital without interruption while the confirmation hearings are carried on WAMU2 and on a web stream.
Most HD Radio receiver prototypes display WAMU2 as 88.5-2. The station has been testing multicasting for more than a year; it said it launched the initiative to raise awareness of the technology and demonstrate that HD Radio can provide enhanced community service. GM Caryn Mathes said the broadcast is a chance to demonstrate how different content can be directed to multiple delivery systems.
The channel will go silent when the hearings end. But the station is seeking grant money to conduct market research on what a viable, permanent format for WAMU2 might be, and to subsidize the startup of a permanent supplemental channel.
Receivers that can decode multicast signals are expected to become more widely available next month.