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Thursday, September 01, 2005



My republished reply to an article that appeared in Oct. 2004 issue of Radio World magazine.
Published in Radio World Nov. 2004
Oct. 31, 2004

Dear Radio World Editor,
The current IBOC iBiquity system does not meet FCC engineering standards for AM or FM broadcasting. It causes more interference to existing service then the small benefit it might provide to a few who will immediately trash all the old radios they have around the house and run out and buy expensive new IBOC radios for every room, car, and workplace. There have been successful High Definition digital broadcasting systems on the air for years, (DRM, Sirius, XM) and people who want them and have them are perfectly happy, so there is no need to destroy the current system of AM and FM. Better, perhaps digital, detectors in radios could provide much of the same benefit with no changes to the broadcasting system. The reason these haven't appeared is the reluctance of most consumers to pay high prices for replacement radios with what they perceive as little benefit. The slight increase in fidelity is not perceived as warranting the inconvenience and large expenditure.
Many AM directional antenna systems can not be easily, effectively, or cheaply be broad banded as required for proper digital IBOC.
The iBiquity claim that "It's all free for consumers," is a lie. The costs are: destruction of and interference with the current AM and FM broadcasting system, excessive cost, inconvenience, little benefit to the average user.
The slow digital TV sales and adoption by consumers is a strong message to the radio community. Radio is largely content driven. Put something on the air that people want to hear, and they will listen, as long as they can pick it up on their current radios. Most people don't listen to technology, they listen to content, and could care less about the delivery system except when it involves inconvenience and excessive expense.
Jeff Littlejohn's (Clear Channel) claim that what is wrong with analog AM is that the fidelity is too good and needs to be cut in half by a brick wall filter, reduces AM to near telephone quality audio.
Guy Wire's claims that those that are against IBOC are stuck in the past is untrue. Most advocate even more advanced all digital systems such as 5.1 and even 7.1 digital surround sound (not IBOC) that doesn't destroy any AM or FM coverage or abandon, inconvenience, or interfere with current listeners. Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 digital surround sound is already here and could be easily broadcast on channels that are all digital, not in the current band on top of AM and FM stations. He is right when he said 5.1 surround sound could be the "killer app." DRM, digital broadcasting which has been worldwide for years is currently being adapted to 5.1 and even 7.1 all digital surround sound, XM and Sirius are sure to follow. IBOC can hardly squeeze in 2 channel stereo, and even then causes noise, interference, reduced coverage and fidelity loss to current listeners.
The large broadcasting and recording trusts are terrified by their impending loss of control over what people can view and hear. They might not be able to monopolize digital delivery of all sound and video. They fear competition, restrict access by less powerful potential competition, while claiming to be for a free market. Unfortunately Teddy Roosevelt is no longer with us to protect our freedom and liberty.
Community broadcasting should be encouraged and provided a reasonable, inexpensive place in the AM, FM, digital, and TV bands.
Sometimes I find a simple, old fashioned, soldering iron will do the trick even though laser welding has been invented. Not everything needs to be laser welded. The availability of inexpensive, convenient, easy to use soldering irons without the bulky laser welding attachments, should be continued and not impeded.

Richard Franklin
Super Sound Studios,

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