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WLDR Throws the Switch on HD Radio

BE says station is model for what smaller-market stations can do with multicasting and tagging

WLDR(FM) says its the first radio station in northern Michigan to broadcast in HD Radio.

Broadcast Electronics provided the RF gear to the station at 101.9 MHz, which had a press conference today at the Chamber of Commerce in Traverse City.

“WLDR(FM) is one of the early adopters of HD Radio in the small- to mid-market tier serving a modest population of less than 150,000,” BE stated.

The country station began transmitting HD Radio along with two multicast channels and iTunes tagging on Jan. 7. Its new transmission facility uses a BE FMi 1405 HD Radio transmitter into an ERI antenna system interleaving an eight-bay Rototiller antenna with a six-bay antenna.

“The system is outputting the current HD Radio power specification, although both the ERI antenna system and BE transmitter are capable of operating at ten-fold this power to meet a possible 10dB HD Radio power increase,” the manufacturer stated.

The station is airing a Fox sports channel and another smooth jazz format on HD2 and HD3, respectively, in addition to the main country format broadcasting on HD1. The sports format is being fed via satellite and is the first HD2 Fox sports channel in the country, BE said.

Roy Henderson is the owner/operator. BE quoted him saying, “Local markets will absorb per capita all that HD Radio has to offer because we just don’t have the competing media that the larger markets have. iTunes tagging is a good example of how we can stand out here more easily than they can in Chicago.”

BE’s The Radio Experience data management system with iTunes tagging plug-in is in use at the station as well. Listeners on an HD Radio receiver can “tag” songs for later purchase and download to iPods.