We’re going into HD Radio‘s 11th year on the air. So far, the technology’s proliferation has been underwhelming, to put it mildly. However, proponents of HD are working on several projects which they hope will break it into the mainstream. They are:
GeoBroadcast Solutions, developer of the "ZoneCasting" FM transmission system, will conduct a full-scale commercial test in Florida next spring or summer. The test-station will be WRMF, an independently-owned adult-contemporary music outlet in West Palm Beach.
Although the FCC has yet to grant experimental authorization for this test, GeoBroadcast and Palm Beach Broadcasting have already secured FM booster-transmitters and a simulcast coordination system from Harris and are negotiating tower leases for the boosters.
Radio World reports that GeoBroadcast Solutions, the company behind “ZoneCasting” technology, will commence long-term field trials on a station in southeast Florida this fall and is preparing for a “commercial launch” as of now left undefined.[For those just tuning in, ZoneCasting uses FM booster stations to break up a full-power station’s primary coverage area into “zones,” each one covered by its own booster. This allows the parent station to program each zone separately, offering geo-targeted advertisements, news, community information, and emergency messages.]
The article explores several explanations for why young folks aren’t going into the technical side of radio and television: in addition to consolidation and automation, employment-competition from industries such as information technology and wireless telecommunications has also had an impact. Especially when jobs in those fields generally pay (much) better and offer a stronger sense of job security.
A proposal by Geo Broadcast Solutions to use FM booster stations to originate programming in a networked configuration attracted a paltry dozen comments to the FCC. None of the country’s major commercial or noncommercial broadcasters filed their thoughts on “ZoneCasting,” although those who did comment unanimously supported the idea and urged regulators to move forward with a rulemaking proceeding to allow this radical new use of boosters.