HD Radio Makes “Progress,” But Analog Still Rules

Earlier this summer Radio World published one of its occasional special “e-books,” this one called “HD Radio From the Ground Up” (form-filling required to download). Like most industry trade publications, it’s a celebratory document that seeks to paint the U.S. digital broadcast system in the best possible light.

Kicking things off is a tech-centric column from Scott Fybush in which he talks with various enginerring principals about the efficiency of today’s FM-HD Radio systems. Unlike the first few generations of the tech, which involved wildly inefficient combination of the analog and digital signals, improvements to the HD system now make for a better marriage. In HD’s early years, more than 30 percent of the power that went into the analog/digital combination process was lost as waste heat; now that number is down to something like 10 percent. Read More

HD Radio at NAB ’12: Stayin’ Alive

HD Radio proprietor iBiquity Digital Corporation made three announcements at the NAB annual convention, which winds down today.

iBiquity, Emmis Communications (an Indianapolis-based broadcast conglomerate) and Intel unveiled a prototype smartphone with FM-HD reception technology. The FM-HD phone chip also includes a feature developed by Emmis called TagStation which will allow FM-HD stations to broadcast targeted advertisements to listeners on cell phones within a station’s coverage area.

Called “a landmark” in the digital radio transition by Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, the companies will now attempt to woo phone-makers to include an HD chip in their devices and telecom companies to support the effort. Read More

Radio Resistance in Oaxaca: A Reportback

Free Radio Berkeley founder Stephen Dunifer spoke recently at San Francisco’s Anarchist Bookfair. He provides a good summary of the current situation in Oaxaca and also situates it in a historical context, noting how radio has played a pivotal role in citizen’s/revolutionary movements throughout Latin America.

Dunifer spent 10 days in Oaxaca earlier this year, coordinating transmitter-construction workshops for indigenous communities in the state. Over the course of two weeks, they built two dozen transmitters. Ongoing projects include establishing regional transmitter-distribution facilities to keep flooding the airwaves with citizen voices.

Radio Plantón Returns

The citizen campaign to reclaim the corrupt state of Oaxaca, Mexico has its voice back.

Radio Plantón became a focal point for a citizens’ rebellion in the state last year, when a teacher’s encampment blossomed into a movement to dismantle the state government and rebuild it from the ground up. Among the repressive tactics instituted by federal and state officials was the jamming, then destruction of the rebellion’s main media outlet, pirate radio station Plantón.

The move backfired, as hundreds of Oaxacans, led by women, took to the streets and briefly occupied more than a dozen radio and TV stations in response. It is one of the few times in living memory when a revolution struck back so hard against its own silencing. Read More

Mediageek Highlights Oaxaca Crisis

I have been remiss in mentioning this, but last week Paul the Mediageek did a comprehensive show with reporters on the ground in Oaxaca, Mexico, where a teacher’s strike started earlier this year has escalated into a full-scale state revolt.

According to Nancy Davies and George Salzman, most of the stations occupied by those in the movement to reclaim Oaxaca for those who live there have been reacquired by the authorities; the university’s previously-licensed radio station has been declared a “pirate” and suffers from active jamming. Read More