Opinion: The IBOC Fee Waiver - Radio World

Opinion: The IBOC Fee Waiver

The big news for digital fans at the NAB Radio Show last month was that Ibiquity has bowed to reality and offered an audio licensing fee waiver to owners that place orders for HD Radio/IBOC transmission equipment by the end of this year.
Author:
Publish date:

The big news for digital fans at the NAB Radio Show last month was that Ibiquity has bowed to reality and offered an audio licensing fee waiver to owners that place orders for HD Radio/IBOC transmission equipment by the end of this year. Radio One was the first to make a public commitment under this "pioneer" program; others reportedly were lining up.

The waiver is good news, but it comes too soon and ends too quickly for many broadcasters.

Any rollout plan needs to benefit all radio stations. Just as we don't need an IBOC solution that works only for AM in the daytime, we also don't need a fee waiver that ends before small- and medium-market broadcasters and college stations can take advantage of it.

For these stations, a few thousand dollars in fees (not to mention the actual cost of the hardware) is a really big deal. Many must go through purchasing departments or committee processes. They can't snap their fingers and place an IBOC order.

Offering a waiver now, when the biggest groups are the ones that can afford to commit, only advances the perception held by some critics that Ibiquity tilts toward its investor partners at the expense of smaller non-investors.

Further, this waiver asks managers to commit to ordering equipment before the FCC has even indicated whether it approves of the concept, and in what form. We expect that the commission will give its approval to IBOC, perhaps even this month; but if we were running a station, we'd be hesitant to commit funding to a system not yet approved.

The fee waiver is a big step in the right direction, and we commend Ibiquity for it. Now extend the waiver window to six months after an FCC endorsement. Then meet with small- and medium-market broadcasters to develop an equivalent waiver that will help them later, when they can afford the conversion.

-- Radio World

Related

Opinion: IBOC's 'Pause' Is Bitter Pill

"This is not a show stopper, this is how to best proceed with the show." The IBOC show, that is...That's how one RF manufacturer characterized news that Ibiquity's PAC codec is not ready for prime time - at least in the minds of the DAB Subcommittee of the National Radio Systems Committee.

IBOC Fees Stir Reaction

Many broadcasters are just realizing that to make the digital transition, they'll need to pay Ibiquity Digital Corp. software licensing fees in addition to what they will pay manufacturers for new equipment.

Q&A: Licensing Fee Waiver De-Mystified

This is one in a series in which Ibiquity Digital Corp. answers questions about how to implement HD Radio, the newly-trademarked name of what used to be called in-band, on-channel digital audio broadcasting. Director of Broadcast Business Development Scott Stull answers here.

Opinion: Make IBOC 'Right' the First Time

Ibiquity, to its credit, has been feeding us information all along, and now that we have a ruling from the commission, it looks as if everyone is ready to leap into the digital stream...However, there is a whole lot of work still to be done on the new system.