NAB EVP/CTO Kevin Gage met with representatives of iBiquity and Digital PowerRadio at last week’s show in Las Vegas in an effort to figure out what’s going on between the two companies in what has become a public spat over digital radio technology.
What the next step is, if anything, is unclear, according to those with knowledge of the talks.
DPR says it has a better chip receiver technology that could be implemented by manufacturers to make the digital signal go farther than it does now; iBiquity told RW that what DPR is proposing “doesn’t offer significant improvement” over the HD Radio system now in the field.
DPR wants iBiquity to release its receiver chip source code to a third-party, one of several chipmakers that currently manufacture HD Radio chips, for testing. Only a limited number of people would handle the code and it would be destroyed after the testing, DPR told RW last week in Las Vegas.
The point of testing would be to validate DPR’s claims of coverage improvement and subject them to peer review.
Aspects of the DPR technology have been previously developed with the wireless industry in mind; DPR officials believe if not used in digital radio, other industries could be interested in their technology.
DPR discussed its technology with the NAB Radio Technology committee earlier in the year; many of the same people belong to the NRSC, however the standards-setting group is not involved in the dispute.
Beasley Broadcast Group is an investor in DPR. Asked why, Beasley EVP/CFO Caroline Beasley told RW last week: “We would like to see HD Radio coverage improve.”
IBiquity President/CEO Bob Struble agrees with her, saying that’s why the company has been implementing improvements to the digital radio system over time and continues to do so. The company frequently vets ideas to improve the system, both from inside and outside the company, he told RW. Typically what’s proposed is either not cost-effective, or won’t work with its technology, or both.
RW has heard other radio groups were asked to invest as well.