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Tuesday, August 16, 2005


HD radio-Digital Disaster!

Dear Will and others,
You are incorrectly assuming I am against digital radio. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Your assumptions and statements about me and about digital radio are also mixed up.
I will support a rational digital radio system, even one that is in band and if it is truly compatible with analog. The adjacent channel system proposed in NRSC-5 HD iBiquity radio will destroy most of what is left of analog radio long before the estimated 10 to 20 year transition period has transpired. When the numbers of HD radio stations start to climb from hundreds to thousands, both the AM and FM bands will be filled with digital noise, and virtually useless for either analog or digital transmission.
You completely missed the point that, in Europe, 10 years was not enough time for the transition. In spite of what you claim, we have learned nothing from the worldwide digital radio experience. The fact is the HD radio system has all the same flaws and false assumptions as the European systems, plus a whole new set of severe interference problems resulting from trying to overlay triple wide digital signals on top of previously allotted analog stations. The European systems had none of these additional problems.
You kept mentioning an "end goal" but made no clear statement about what you consider the "end goal" to be. So it would be hard for anyone to interfere with that kind of an undefined "end goal."
You claim advocates of a better, less expensive, less complex, and perhaps non-proprietary digital transmission system are "short sighted" "doomsayers".
You neglect to mention that we already have 2 functional, and modestly successful digital radio systems in the USA, Sirius and XM. Both have pretty much continuous national coverage and don't interfere with existing analog stations.
In Europe they had no existing competing systems, no severe interference problems, and still popular acceptance of digital radio is very slow.
The next generation of cell phones will contain an iPod type, digital quality stereo player, with high fidelity stereo headphones, and be capable of receiving, streaming, and downloading digital quality video, podcasts and MP3 files, via the existing and modified cell phone transmission sites. No radio or TV stations needed for that. Serious (not Sirius) new competition.
Most radio AM and FM stations broadcast splintered sub-genres of a few hundred to a few thousand of what some program director or survey company considers to be the most popular tunes, or nationally syndicated talk programming of one kind or another. iPod type MP3 players do better then that worldwide, are listener preference specific, and audio is available on demand, even thru tunnels, and in caves, without annoying commercials or DJ's.
Local radio is dieing, and yet could be the salvation of the current limited coverage area broadcasting stations. (No AM or FM broadcast station covers the entire country, so as far as this point, I am considering all AM or FM stations local.) Local stations can provide news, information, traffic, weather, and other services that are not easy to target to the various regions of the nation or to duplicate on a national system like Sirius or XM. Unfortunately, local programming is expensive, so why pay that money to iBiquity for a defective digital system that will only accelerate the demise of AM and FM broadcasting?
All are invited to share a more detailed descriptions and a recap of my comments on my new blog site:
For better broadcasting,
Rich Franklin

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