FM-in-Smartphones Effort Goes Global

A consortium of broadcasters, including the The European Broadcast Union, the BBC, and several commercial broadcasters in the U.S., U.K, and Australia have launched the “Universal Smartphone Radio Project,” a campaign to lobby for building radio reception into smartphones. Sales of stand-alone radio receivers (both analog and digital) have been in steady decline for the last decade, and as media consumption-time shifts to mobile devices, radio broadcasters have found themselves by and large not in the mix.

The fix for this is what is now being called “hybrid radio,” defined as a radio signal plus a mobile data connection to provide enhanced content beyond audio and some interactivity. In the EU, this effort is being led by RadioDNS; in the States, it’s NextRadio. The campaign’s been in the talking stages since at least February and covered extensively in a presentation to the EBU in July. Read More

NAB v. DPR: Showdown in San Antonio?

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers holds its annual Broadcast Symposium in San Antonio this week. And if I could be there, I’d be hitting up the last session of Thursday afternoon, for there may be a few fireworks.

There are two planned speakers: first up is David Layer, the Director of NAB Labs’ Radio Technology Committee, who will give a status report on the state of all-digital AM-HD signal testing. The most recent round concluded in Seattle, and depending on who you ask, the results were either spectacular or so-so. Read More

Pretty Outside, Broken Inside

You may have noticed that this site is now on a bona-fide blog platform…about a dozen-plus years late to the party, but hey, it finally happened. However, the transition has been a trainwreck behind the scenes. While things are clean-looking, (somewhat) searchable, and dialogue-enabled, the design, configuration, and content-migration did not go remotely as I’d hoped.

For one thing, most internal links within posts are broken, which requires hand-code fixes. Not only just for links to other site-content, but also to links to locally-hosted media files (audio/video/pictures). With 1,000+ posts over 17+ years, it’s a mind-numbing task, but I hope to have it complete within the next week or two. (As of today, all posts from 2006-present have been fixed). Read More

HD Radio: New Frontier in Norway?

Fresh off the heels of the NAB Radio Show came news that an FM broadcaster in Norway is testing the all-digital FM-HD Radio system. According to Radio World, the tests have been conducted under the auspices of the Norweigan Local Radio Association, the industry’s longest-running trade association.

Recently, two large commercial broadcasters split off from the NLRA and have created their own lobbying arm, advocating for the eventual switch-off of FM broadcasting in Norway (in favor of DAB+). The NLRA has long promoted allowing broadcasters to retain their legacy FM infrastructure; is this affair with HD Radio a strategic maneuver to convince Norwegian regulators to drop the switchoff? Read More

Library of Congress Launches Local Radio Preservation Project

I mentioned this initiative a few months ago when I first heard about it, but the details have only recently been released. Can you help us assemble a national archive of local radio broadcasts?

The official name of this project is the Radio Preservation Task Force, being conducted under the auspices of the LoC’s National Recording Preservation Board. For many years, the NRPB has pursued various study-strategies to get a sense of just how much of our nation’s broadcast history has actually been preserved.

Turns out, it’s not much: sure, you can easily find and watch pretty much any of the “Big Three” national TV newscasts of the last 40+ years, but radio has no such archive, and local radio is especially unremembered. The Radio Preservation Task Force hopes to change that, with special focus on radio broadcasts from 1922-1980, and especially those from the noncommercial, educational side of the medium. Read More