Tuesday, August 16, 2005
HD Radio-Advocates exposed as conspirators!
You are one of the few independent radio stations left.
You have worked long and hard to prevent Clear Channel Inc. from buying up your radio station.
You are of course concerned about alternatives such as tapes, CDs, stationary satellite digital audio such as Music Choice and now mobile direct satellite digital service such as XM and Sirius as well as Internet digital audio such as MP3 and streaming audio stations.
And you have survived anyway. You have invested years of effort and sacrifice to be a resource to the community, you are not in this for "the money" ... you love broadcasting!
In the 1930s Hitler gave away 9 million AM radios to the German public, all calibrated to one channel. People who listened to forbidden stations such as the BBC were sent to concentration camps. Every single radio blared the Nazi party line, you could not escape it anywhere.
The Effect of the current proposed version of a mandatory Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) format conversion is like the Nazi radio giveaway because it destroys by regulation our ability to receive weaker or more distant signals without replacing that with local competition ... further concentrating power to edit our perceptions of reality (via the media) into the hands of the few.
Perhaps you are one of the NonCommercial Educational (college, community and religious) radio stations that over 20% of Americans rely on for the programming that speaks to their souls and values their culture and music.
You know that the reason that these new digital services have not stolen that much of your audience is that you provide locally relevant music, news and cultural programming in a superior, robust analog broadcast format that is much more easily and cheaply available to the listener.
There are forces who would prefer to increase profits by reducing staff rather than compete fairly by producing compelling programming. These forces would like to have all programming automated and brought in from thousands of miles away. They would prefer that they not have to work very hard to gain listenership. In order for them to do that ... they need to get rid of the competition (you).
Its not just about money either. Those forces are frightened by alternatives to the mainstream Modernist American culture. Like the fictional Borg of the TV show, Startrek Voyager, since they have failed to absorb and assimilate you they instead will seek to destroy you!
A coalition headed by the "Washington Beltway" lobbyists for the largest broadcasters, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB),would eliminate choice (you) on the airwaves just as effectively as any dictatorship by legally jamming weaker signals so your listener's receivers can no longer hear you.
The plan: NAB coalition lobbyists are pressuring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approval of a two-part proposed regulatory standard called "In-Band, On-Channel, Digital Audio Broadcasting" typically abbreviated as "IBOC-DAB".
The new proposed regulation for IBOC-DAB would force:
An end to affordable analog broadcasting (end of your favorite small-budget community, college or religious radio station as well as small commercial stations) Mandatory conversion is estimated to cost between $60,000 and $200,000 per transmitter. Do you have a spare quarter million? (don't forget murphy's law of upgrades).
Coalition cohort, Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) is also standing to gain mightily from the forced obsolescence of half a BILLION receivers when that happens! Your favorite weaker nonmainstream radio signals will sound like a lone man calling out for help in a sea of screeching fax machine sounds.
Doubling the width of radio stations, causing overlapping signals where the larger more powerful signal would simply overwhelm (jam) the weaker signal.
The irony: In a very Orwellian twist, the NAB coalition claims that they must "go digital" in order to "be competitive."
Especially Ironic ... the NAB claims to oppose Low Power FM because LPFM would allegedly harm broadcasters fringe listenership ... meanwhile proposing IBOC-DAB that will destroy nearly all the listenership for smaller broadcasters! Doublespeak Award: The NAB themselves supported third adjacent frequency full power broadcasting in 1996 ... then opposed LPFM doing the exact same thing in 1999 and 2000 because ... because LPFM specifically prohibits large institutions from consolidating those outlets as well. (see our official Congressional Testimony on this issue)
Additional Irony Point: LPFM will create outlets for a wider array of formats and interest groups and cultures programming that would otherwise only be available on satellite or the Internet.
IBOC-DAB on the other hand will not only not add new outlets for new formats, it will destroy all smaller outlets that cater to niche audiences such as yourself instead!
By having an LPFM station play niche programming next to you on the FM dial instead of that niche only being available OFF the FM dial ... that LPFM station is literally bringing listeners to you and slows the rush to the Internet and Satellite audio services!!
In other words, LPFM is the best thing to ever happen to FM Broadcasters!It is ironic because the reason that FM faces competition from other medium is because these other medium provide a wider array of programming choices.
Sony admits DAB is not what people want, saying in the official record,
"Sony has seen a very slow market penetration in Europe with DAB, which employs the Eureka-147 standard. The disappointing ramp-up is attributable to a service that offers little more than improved audio."
Source: Sony Comments to FCC regarding DABbecause ...
..."[The Internet sources of audio are] increasingly becoming a more desirable alternative, in some cases, to the limited variety of music offered on the radio. ..."
That is why Sony demands an artificial regulatory "encouragement" of the DAB market with "mandatory sunsetting" of affordable analog broadcasting.
Sony even as much as admits that LPFM will save the FM dial, not DAB when they note,
"...[there] needs to be more of an impetus for the average consumer to adopt DAB. This impetus is either derived from a variety of new channels [like LPFM can provide for new formats] or new value-added services. S-DARS in the U.S. has chosen both methods. A value-added service offered by S-DARS, as an example, is commercial free radio broadcasting.[Like LPFM can provide]"
Source: Sony Comments to FCC regarding DAB
Not only will gadgets not solve a marketing problem (providing the product people want) the way the NAB coalition proposes to "go digital" will destroy what little alternative choice remains on the dial now ... thus pushing people even faster off the FM dial into demonstrably inferior technology (digital satellite and Internet) !!
Not only will the NAB DAB plan not save the FM dial from Satellite/Internet ... it will so destroy the FM dial for variety that their plan will hasten the death of FM broadcasting! Your years of effort and sacrifice could go down the drain.
If listeners cannot get what they want on the FM dial ... and there are alternatives available ... what do you think will happen?
When those listeners start surfing ... will they return to the FM dial, or will they surf the satellite channels on their satellite receiver, or click around the bookmarks in their RealAudio Player? Once listeners have gotten used to getting what they want from other medium, will they ever listen to you again??
Analysis of the situation shows that the NAB argment is akin to saying that what Hollywood needs to save a bad script is more special effects! This is true only for the people who would have gone to that movie regardless of the bad script. For those of us who actually expect more out of a movie, nothing short of a desperation born of a monopoly destroying access to alternative movies would have us go to such a movie.
Duncan American Radio has cited a "historically huge" decrease in listenership of 12% during the 1990s. Duncan cited increased ads and "lack of programming innovation" (like the new formats that LPFM could bring to your market).
In other words, the FM dial has a programming format crisis ... not a technical delivery crisis.
The competition for the FM dial is expensive and buggy as a case of oranges from Florida. And yet listeners are struggling with their thousand dollar PCs, reloading and rebooting and re-installing to deal with glitches constantly. Why? Because Internet audio sounds so good? No.
Do listeners pester themselves with constant calls to technical support because the audio on the internet is delivered in a digital format?
Are they buying MP3 players for $90+ because a 63kbps file sounds so much better than your FM station? Or because (gee whiz!!) its digital !?!?!
Obviously not. Sony themselves admitted in their official comments to the FCC that the sales of Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) receivers in Europe were "flat" because the programming was not compelling. It was the same programming available on the big ubiquitous analog broadcasters. Sony argued that the only way to "encourage" the DAB market was to force the end of the analog broadcasting with the same old uncompelling programming. Sony admitted that what drove interest in Internet audio was not the sound ... it was the variety of programming choices.
In other words, the NAB coalition admits that DAB toys alone are worthless to the population with the same old content that the big stations normally put out ... and somehow twist the fact that the new competition uses a digital medium to conclude that programming is not the problem! That they must have the digital audio medium if they are to survive!
Normally we could just laugh at them and figure it was their problem.
But they are making it our problem because they know that they cannot get away with the same old uncompelling programming on mandatory $400 receivers as long as there is any competition from alternative programming providers ... that's you.
And so they have cooked up a particular version and suggested implementation of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) called "In Band On Channel" (IBOC-DAB) that is designed to destroy their programming competition (you) by literally jamming your signal!!
More detail, charts, graphs, examples on RADIOCITIZEN ...
SOLUTION, Support the free market choice, let people freely decide if digital is worth the money or if a variety of programming choices on their affordable AM/FM analog radios is what they want
Next: How would Corporations be able to force OUR government to force US to allow all our radios to be turned into paperweights??