CPB/NPR to Fit Square HD Peg Into Round Technical Hole

If you haven’t noticed already, it’s that time of the semester when teaching takes precedence over everything else; extended office-hours are in full effect and this spring’s crop of students are both insightful and delightful. In about a month from now I’ll begin an eight-month break from that “grind,” during which I plan to dissertate full-time. Since I’ll be spending most of my waking hours in front of my computer, that means you can most likely expect more stuff here.

But, in the interim, from the better-late-than-never notable news department comes word of a new project from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to better-study the implications of interference between FM radio stations that might operate under a proposed increase in the strength of their HD (digital) sidebands. Although the announcement simply formalizes and expands upon a policy the FCC’s had in place for several months now, it’s an interesting development for two particular reasons. Read More

Interesting Notes of Miscellany

Sporadic news-updates will continue for the next month and a half, as I tackle my last preliminary exam. But the rest of the site is current (save for a batch-check of the links library for broken stuff). So, in the meantime here are some updates on a few of my favorite things:

HD Radio: Industry skepticism of and resistance to the technology is growing. Oppositional broadcast engineers, who used to be considered on the “fringes” are now getting at least a semblance of respect in the trades dialogue. Much of this has to do with the real-world impact of HD-related interference, most notable now on the AM band but soon coming to an FM dial near you, especially when stations are given permission to boost the power of their digital sidebands (at the expense of analog signal quality). Results of an HD signal-related interference analysis commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting – the first of its kind to really go into detail about FM-HD-related interference – should have been released by now, but hasn’t yet. Read More

NPR Punts on Godcaster Proliferation

This week NPR’s All Things Considered aired a story on the plight of WAVM, a 10-watt FM radio station run by the local high school in Maynard, Massachusetts. The station stands to be forced off the air by Living Proof, Inc., an evangelical broadcast outlet based in California. WAVM is the only local radio station available in Maynard and enjoys wide community support.

NPR’s Andrea Shea got totally hoodwinked about the interloper kicking WAVM off the dial.

Shea set up WAVM’s vulnerable situation by mentioning the demise of the 10-watt Class D FM station license, calling WAVM one of the “predecessors of today’s low power FM stations.” She says the FCC did away with Class D licenses in the 1970s the after the FM band “became crowded.” Read More