iBiquity/NPR HD Power Hike In Play

As predicted, the two major players in the HD Radio space – iBiquity, the proprietor of the technology, and NPR, its primary broadcast innovator – have jointly petitioned the FCC to increase the power level of HD Radio sidebands. They’re asking for a blanket 4x increase to the power of digital sidebands for both AM and FM stations, and includes proposed methodology for allowing selected stations to increase their digital power levels by 10x. The joint filing even includes helpful language the FCC is encouraged to adopt in full as as regulation. The National Association of Broadcasters was not far behind in lauding the deal.

Given that this will obviously involve a modification of the “spectral mask” under which a stations’ power must exceed, this request skewers once and for all the notion that HD radio “does not use new spectrum.” Read More

Pubcasters to be Determinant Factor in FM-HD Power Inrease

I smell history repeating itself.

Not 10 years ago, National Public Radio acted as an important ally – and a foil – for a concerted attempt by commercial broadcasters to quash LPFM stations before birth. A lot’s changed since then (for example, NPR only halfheartedly opposes LPFM expansion now), but there’s still a ways to go before that service reaches its full potential.

The historical lesson learned is: if it weren’t for NPR’s anti-LPFM stance at the time, which provided the anti-LPFM campaign with a semblance of technical “impartiality” and brought important “liberal” cachet to the legislative fight, LPFM would be an even stronger service today. Read More

Stations Experiment With Beefed-Up HD

It’s already been well-established that the digital radio sidebands of HD Radio signals have the potential (in both the AM and FM environments) to cause significant interference, both to neighboring stations and, in some cases, to the analog host-signal of an HD-enabled station. The issue is so significant that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio have embarked on not one, but two studies to examine the problem. The first report was pretty damning. Read More