It took only 14 minutes today for the Federal Communications Commission to dramatically decide the future of radio broadcasting.
The FCC adopted a Report and Order authorizing the rollout of digital radio. The vote allows radio stations to immediately install In-Band On-Channel (IBOC)-based transmission equipment and, upon notifying the FCC, begin broadcasting using the new transmission standard.
Stations will initially run a hybrid analog/digital signal, so as to not make everybody’s analog receivers immediately obsolete. At some undetermined time in the future the FCC will require radio broadcasting to go completely digital – the hope is when that time comes the public will have forked out the hundreds of dollars each for the new “HD Radios” they’ll need.