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.”