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HD Radio Equipment Makers Pleased With Clear Channel Digital Conversion Plan

HD Radio Equipment Makers Pleased With Clear Channel Digital Conversion Plan

Transmission equipment makers are ecstatic about Clear Channel Radio’s plans to convert 1,000 stations to digital.
Both Harris and Broadcast Electronics representatives told RW Online they have been receiving requests for equipment price quotes for numerous stations from the broadcasters in the past two weeks.
The broadcast group is also looking at HD Radio equipment from Nautel.
Jeff Littlejohn, vice president of engineering for Clear Channel Radio, said the company hopes to convert 50 station by the end of this year. The company’s 10 regional vice presidents of engineering would initially each be responsible for 10 station conversions.
“They’ll be in charge of making sure the right products are ordered. In most cases, they’ll do the work (of the install),” said Littlejohn.
The company is still deciding what additional stations to convert. It has 9 stations on the air with a digital signal now.
Littlejohn stressed that both AMs and FMs are included in Clear Channel’s conversion plans.
Clear Channel is an Ibiquity investor, yet had held back on a large conversion until now. When asked about the timing, Littlejohn said, “It’s the right thing to do to increase the audio quality, reduce the multipath and add in the digital data that comes along with it. This is the right way to make the move and we’ll do it in a big way.”
The company will focus on the top 100 markets and hope to have the 1,000 conversions completed within 3 years.
So far, conversion prices for a station have been as low as $50,000 to $110,000. The average conversion price has been about $100,000, Littlejohn said.