After breaking the story about General Motors abandoning HD Radio in several makes and models, I watched with interest to see what the industry reaction would be.
A couple of weeks ago, Radio World‘s Leslie Stimson contacted me for some thoughts on HD Radio as part of a "status report" the newspaper was working on. That turned out to be a 35-page "e-book" in which the "skeptics" and "critics" got three pages sandwiched between some "sponsored content" from iBiquity and a piece from the company’s director of broadcast sales singing the praises of the "HD Radio-On-Translator play."
While I’m glad that Radio World considers me a "responsible viewpoint" in the ongoing digital radio transition, it’s a bit unnerving to be tossed into the "haters" camp so nonchalantly. So here’s the entirety of what I wrote Stimson when she asked for comments:
Been a busy month so far: I started out in San Francisco at the Union for Democratic Communications annual conference, where I got to give a preview of my new book and its gory details. It was well-received, especially among policy scholars who hunger for some good old-fashioned muckraking.
Then I was in Australia last week for the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s annual conference. I was the Saturday keynote, and compared to Australia’s digital transition, the U.S. looks positively retarded. The talk itself was recorded, but no word on when it will be online.
Last month’s stalemate between iBiquity Digital Corporation, the proprietor of HD Radio, and upstart-innovator Digital PowerRadio appears to have been broken.
For those just tuning in: DPR claims to have invented a process that can make HD receivers much more sensitive, allowing for better reception of digital radio signals. iBiquity asserts that DPR’s method is outdated and meaningless. Since iBiquity owns all aspects of HD Radio, it also controls the code necessary to verify or debunk DPR’s claims.
An 11-page report, co-authored primarily by representatives of iBiquity, the NAB, and CBS, provides an overview of the methodology and preliminary results of a set of experimental all-digital HD broadcasts on WBCN-AM in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the first test of the all-digital AM-HD system in more than ten years.
The authors believe the test broadcasts served as "an opportunity to begin developing a contemporary…record that would help educate the industry as to the capabilities of all-digital operation, develop all-digital operational parameters, and provide information which could be eventually submitted to the FCC for the purposes of obtaining permanent authorization for all-digital service."