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Monday, October 31, 2005

 

Digital HD RADIO IS A DIGITAL DISASTER!

DIGITAL IBOC IBIQUITY HD RADIO MEANS FEWER STATIONS, NOT MORE!
HD RADIO IS A FRAUD, ON AM OR FM.
Quotes from a broadcast engineer who was FORMERLY 100% in favor of HD digital radio. Quotes follow:

A number of stations are finding it difficult to suppress the "bacon-frying" noise produced in all analog receivers because of nonlinear performing transmission chains, including the null regions of many directional antennas. The necessity of having to rebuild antenna systems will place an expensive burden on numerous stations, many of which are the least able to afford it.
Using IBOC at night undoubtedly will unleash an ugly Pandora's Box of trouble for many stations. The Canadian government has formally objected to U.S. stations operating IBOC at night, fearing significant interference to Canadian stations operating on adjacent channels. Neither the NAB nor the FCC had yet to comment on this objection at this writing.

Most AM station owners understand the risks of investing in the Ibiquity standard and are postponing plans to add IBOC until more of the lingering questions receive answers.

According to one resource as of this writing, there are 77 stations on the air with daytime AM IBOC. At least five Class A 50 kW blowtorches and a few other stations have turned it off, mostly because of interference caused to their own analog listeners or to their adjacent-channel neighbors.

I was an early supporter of IBOC for both AM and FM, but after carefully reflecting on how the AM rollout has faltered I am now convinced the proposed standard for AM during the hybrid transition period is not the best it could be. I am joined by many other engineers who see the possibility of a colossal train wreck coming, when and if AM IBOC is opened up for full-time operations by all stations.

Listeners who lose the ability to hear a desired and dependable radio service they've enjoyed for a long time could care less where a protected contour ends or begins. It will simply eliminate one of their favored choices and further diminish the size of AM radio's already dwindling audience.

Take the most notable and often used example of three Class A stations: WLW 700 in Cincinnati, WOR 710 in NYC and WGN 720 in Chicago. All three are 50 kW powerhouses that enjoy extensive secondary contour as well as skywave coverage and audience. Large areas of that will be lost in both analog and digital reception when all three light up IBOC at night.

The overall result of this chaos could leave AM IBOC an under-achieving digital standard that only a minority of stations could use to full advantage. We could see the filing of lawsuits by stations that invested in the technology but were forced to stop using it.

Many of the rimshot stations that rely heavily on secondary coverage to serve their intended target audiences will probably be shut down by IBOC interference with no remedy whatsoever. Some may just throw up the white flag and be content to be daytimers or go out of business entirely. Others could get angry enough to pursue litigation.

The ensuing malaise would cripple AM further until such time that a significant number of stations simply go away and turn in their licenses.

LINK TO THE FULL STORY:
http://www.rwonline.com/reference-room/guywire/gw.2005.10.19.shtml

-Rich

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