HD Radio being turned off to save electricity? - AVS Forum
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I can't verify this, but I received this article. Two locals have had their FM HD off for a few weeks now (they also had massive cuts, this past winter).

---------------

Have some FMs temporarily shut off their HD signals - to save on the
electric bill?

Yesterday's T-R-I lead story predicted that this 2009 NAB convention will
have "truths revealed" about issues like HD Digital Radio - and sure enough,
I got this email from a regional exec at a big group who knows of "several
companies shutting down their HD signals in some markets to cut electrical
cost. In our company [one of the top five or six groups] we would rather
turn that off temporarily than cut more people loose. By the way - there
have been no complaints or calls in the markets that have done it.
And in
one market I know of, we'll save about $3,000 to $5,000 annually. Right now,
every penny counts. We are trying to save peoples' jobs."

The bolding was done me (a Luddite ) BTW - a great post for post #100!
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:33 AM
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One local community station had to turn off HD until they reorganized their budget to pay for the electricity. This was a few years ago when there were less than a hundred receivers in the area.

If saving $3,000-$5,000 will save jobs at a radio station, apparently radio people get paid less than poverty wages these days.

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Old 04-22-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scowl View Post

One local community station had to turn off HD until they reorganized their budget to pay for the electricity. This was a few years ago when there were less than a hundred receivers in the area.

If saving $3,000-$5,000 will save jobs at a radio station, apparently radio people get paid less than poverty wages these days.

I am pretty sure that stations are under contractual agreements with iBiquity to run IBOC, so this would seem a convenient excuse, and even a jab at iBiquity, to turn off IBOC. It would seem that $3,000 - $5,000 is more like a monthly electric bill, not annual. About 90% of IBOC's power, I believe, is dumped, anyway. What I find interesting, and no surprise, that no complaints were filed with stations - this says volumns, indicating virtually no listeners. Although, according to Bob Struble, there is strong "forward momentum", as he now says, "strong forward movement". He changed his tune, after this was discussed on another message board, as momentum doesn't necessarily indicate movement.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by YeaShutdown View Post

I am pretty sure that stations are under contractual agreements with iBiquity to run IBOC, so this would seem a convenient excuse, and even a jab at iBiquity, to turn off IBOC. It would seem that $3,000 - $5,000 is more like a monthly electric bill, not annual. About 90% of IBOC's power, I believe, is dumped, anyway. What I find interesting, and no surprise, that no complaints were filed with stations - this says volumns, indicating virtually no listeners. Although, according to Bob Struble, there is strong "forward momentum", as he now says, "strong forward movement". He changed his tune, after this was discussed on another message board, as momentum doesn't necessarily indicate movement.

Well, there's not that many listeners to radio in general! I have heard several stories of entire stations going off due to technical problems and nobody calling to complain. Stations contract out engineering help, so the "station's" engineer may not even be in the same time zone, so they'd have no idea if a station (or IBOC) is working or not.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YeaShutdown View Post

I am pretty sure that stations are under contractual agreements with iBiquity to run IBOC, so this would seem a convenient excuse, and even a jab at iBiquity, to turn off IBOC.

But you clearly don't know anything about stations' contracts so it may not be a convenient excuse or a "jab" at Ibiquity.

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What I find interesting, and no surprise, that no complaints were filed with stations - this says volumns, indicating virtually no listeners.

HD Radios default to analog reception when they can't receive the digital signal. That's like saying no one listens to FM in stereo because no one complains when they suddenly broadcast in mono.

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Old 04-23-2009, 01:06 PM
 
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"HD Radios default to analog reception when they can't receive the digital signal. That's like saying no one listens to FM in stereo because no one complains when they suddenly broadcast in mono."

So, none of these stations were running HD2s/HD3s, so no one noticed - LOL! And, according to you, there was no appreciable difference in audio quality, despite all of the hype from iBiquity and the HD Radio Alliance, so no one noticed - LOL!
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Old 04-23-2009, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by YeaShutdown View Post

So, none of these stations were running HD2s/HD3s, so no one noticed - LOL! And, according to you, there was no appreciable difference in audio quality, despite all of the hype from iBiquity and the HD Radio Alliance, so no one noticed - LOL!

I didn't say anything about HD-2 stations. What do you know about them?

And, anti-IBOC, have you ever listened to HD Radio like everyone else here has? If you did you would be able to say something about its audio quality. I'm sure you'll agree there must be no appreciable difference between mono and stereo since FM stations get no complaints when they broadcast mono recordings.

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Old 04-23-2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YeaShutdown View Post

"HD Radios default to analog reception when they can't receive the digital signal. That's like saying no one listens to FM in stereo because no one complains when they suddenly broadcast in mono."

So, none of these stations were running HD2s/HD3s, so no one noticed - LOL! And, according to you, there was no appreciable difference in audio quality, despite all of the hype from iBiquity and the HD Radio Alliance, so no one noticed - LOL!

What would it take for anyone to notice anything these days?

heck what about 20% of analog tv went off the air earlier in the year and no one noticed....
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:58 PM
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If I am listening and the signal goes off, I most likely would just switch to a different station or pop in my own tunes and go on, just like when I get out of range. That doesn't mean I am not listening when there is a signal. How many listeners will take the time to look up a stations phone number or e-mail address, or heaven forbid, snail mail address to complain. I can only remember one time I have done that, when the local commercial classical station switched format to classic rock. At least they didn't switch to rap!
It probablly would be a good idea to contact those stations that I do listen to in HD and let them know there is an audience that enjoys it!
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:29 AM
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About a year, year and a half ago, WMMR in Philadelphia's HD was down for a couple days. I hit their website looking for an engineer's address, but they didn't list one. So I e-mailed the Program Director. Just wanted to let them know that the HD stream was down in case they didn't realize.

He replied, and informed me that they were doing work on their main antenna (so it was shut down) and were broadcasting off their backup. The backup didn't have an HD transmitter. A day or two later, it was all back to normal.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:15 AM
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There have been changes in formats and personalities.
I remember when wror was at 98.5 in boston and it had a slight edge, wzlx although still good used to play far harder music. Since then it's toned down.

wzlx had some really great personalities a number of years ago but they oddly let them go. It's still a good station like I said but there was some real chemistry but they dropped those hosts. People did stop listening...some of the hosts are on some other stations but it isn't the same. To take someone from a fm rock station and seeing them end up on a am sports talk station is just odd but I guess that's the way the industry is.
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Old 04-24-2009, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TydalForce View Post

About a year, year and a half ago, WMMR in Philadelphia's HD was down for a couple days. I hit their website looking for an engineer's address, but they didn't list one. So I e-mailed the Program Director. Just wanted to let them know that the HD stream was down in case they didn't realize.

When I got my first HD radio and the local digital stations were a mess, that's exactly what I found on stations' web sites. Few of them had any technical contact so I had to call or email their Program Director (and in one case their advertising department) and have them contact their C.E. for me. Obviously they're not used to getting complaints about their signal these days. If the station goes down I guess most people just switch to another station since most play pretty much the same stuff around here.

Entercom and Clear Channel stations didn't have a C.E. dedicated to each station so they had their hands full just keeping one station up at a time. They also admitted that they didn't have much training with the equipment and were mostly going by what the documentation recommended which is why they initially sounded no better than regular FM stereo. Some stations didn't even have a way to monitor their digital signal. One guy admitted he had to go out to his car to check on what I was hearing so small observations I had like limited frequency range and excessive level compression were completely lost on him.

Software updates would mess up settings and cause new problems. These engineers were not I.T. people so dealing with first generation digital equipment was a steep learning curve for them. A lot of stations went up and down all the time, just like our HDTV stations did.

But remember that FM radio which now dominates the airwaves was a joke for decades. AM stations kicked their asses in the ratings year after year. It wasn't until most radios came with FM receivers that people started listening to FM. How long did it take to get 1,000 FM stations on the air?

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Old 04-26-2009, 05:27 AM
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I'm pleased to report that Cleveland's WTAM, healed themselves in time for their Indians Opener after roughly 1 month down-time in HD mode. I had last heard HD from their 1100 AM signal on March 19th. I believe they returned to full service on April 17th give or take a few days. They have VERY aggressive analog audio compression and limiting for the ultimate AM TALK-power sound. Their HD audio sounds nice and smooth like its coming straight out of the board. The analog audio IMHO is about as comfortable to listen to as allowing one's self to be manicured by an INSINKERATOR! Please note that I was too disgusted to contact them during their DIGITAL HIATUS since I had thought that the decision to abandon their HD activity was final. Needless to say, I was quite pleased to have this local 50kW blowtorch resume its full operations with its high quality "News-talker" audio in tow.

"Backwards compatibility": It saved your B/W TV until you got tired of it; "It" could save our Constitution until we get tired of FREEDOM as we've come to know it
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl View Post

But remember that FM radio which now dominates the airwaves was a joke for decades. AM stations kicked their asses in the ratings year after year. It wasn't until most radios came with FM receivers that people started listening to FM. How long did it take to get 1,000 FM stations on the air?

The problem is that FM-HD is not much different than analog FM, and actually deficient in many ways (coverage, dropouts, interference, digital artifacting). The fact that FMeXtra never took-off, should be a hint - FMeXtra offers the same basic functionality as FM-HD, and it is a good spectral neighbor.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:57 AM
 
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I'm pleased to report that Cleveland's WTAM, healed themselves in time for their Indians Opener after roughly 1 month down-time in HD mode. I had last heard HD from their 1100 AM signal on March 19th. I believe they returned to full service on April 17th give or take a few days. They have VERY aggressive analog audio compression and limiting for the ultimate AM TALK-power sound. Their HD audio sounds nice and smooth like its coming straight out of the board. The analog audio IMHO is about as comfortable to listen to as allowing one's self to be manicured by an INSINKERATOR! Please note that I was too disgusted to contact them during their DIGITAL HIATUS since I had thought that the decision to abandon their HD activity was final. Needless to say, I was quite pleased to have this local 50kW blowtorch resume its full operations with its high quality "News-talker" audio in tow.

Don't they turn off IBOC during games - if so, then what is the point of having IBOC, to listen to talk radio in glorious HD that won't decode more than a few tens-of-mles from the transmitter?
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:31 PM
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Here in MPLS the CBS cluster is so close to bankruptcy they've shutdown the HD except one station, their flagship. (WCCO-AM) Lots of stations are looking for ways out since there's no audience in HD. A lot of sales people are still trying to figure out how to sell it, most are just giving it away for a dollar extra per ad. (a la combo buy)

No national agencies that i know of are buying HD spots either. It's a waste of money to run IBOC without revenue.
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Old 04-27-2009, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by YeaShutdown View Post

Don't they turn off IBOC during games - if so, then what is the point of having IBOC, to listen to talk radio in glorious HD that won't decode more than a few tens-of-mles from the transmitter?

HD is turned off during live events, because of the couple-second delay created by encoding the audio digitally. They drop the matching delay on their analog signal, so the audio will be truly live. This is for people who listen to the radio in the stadiums, or along with the TV.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:12 AM
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The problem is that FM-HD is not much different than analog FM, and actually deficient in many ways (coverage, dropouts, interference, digital artifacting).

It's superior in ways that most people don't care about, namely frequency range, dynamic range, stereo separation, improved and more reliable text, and so on. Many station engineers have no clue how to use these advantages so they make it sound as much like their analog FM as possible.

Few people care about digital artifacts. Stations have been playing laughingly overcompressed MP2 files on their playout servers since the early 90's.

If FM HD Radio were broadcast at decent power levels, it's very likely that it would be more reliable than analog AM or FM. When you lose the analog signal (going under a bridge or something), you lose it. Since HD Radio sends redundant data over several seconds, it can recover the data it lost when the signal faded so there is no dropout.

It's also much more tolerant to multipath. This turns most analog FM stations at my office into a crunchy mess but their HD sounds perfect and is completely reliable.

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The fact that FMeXtra never took-off, should be a hint - FMeXtra offers the same basic functionality as FM-HD, and it is a good spectral neighbor.

Take some time and compare FMeXtra to HD Radio. You'll learn that it has all the disadvantages you say HD Radio has times ten. It is probably the most unreliable method of digital broadcasting invented, mostly because you have to have a perfectly clean signal since it can't tolerate any multipath.

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Old 04-27-2009, 10:36 AM
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FMeXtra was a great idea. I worked at a station that demoed it. Since it's just a digital subcarrier, yes it cannot tolerate multipath, and it's limited to subcarrier rules (modulation hits on the main channel, etc) but it does sound really good. Now if they could maufacture recievers for it, that'd be even better! Remember, the biggest draw to FMX was no licensing, no seporate transmitter, etc. MPR put it on the air in rochester to demo it, they got about 90 miles (granted flat land from an 1100 ft tall tower) range with it, which is pretty impressive. (I think they cheated though and did 15% injection when rules only allow 10%)
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by YeaShutdown View Post

Don't they turn off IBOC during games - if so, then what is the point of having IBOC, to listen to talk radio in glorious HD that won't decode more than a few tens-of-mles from the transmitter?

They are supposed to but don't always do so. That is where the sound can be painfully annoying.

Now Yea, about the tens of miles, Tom Ray said that he could get WOR AM HD 110 miles from the transmitter site, at nite, with no dropouts.......
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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Oh yea, Mr. B*lls Tommy Ray - he even wrote, "HD Radio Implementation", which is now on clearance, or just gone. He is probably the biggest HD Radio shill imaginable. Remember this old article, as his tests were run out of an iBiquity test van:

"Running Interference"

http://radiomagonline.com/transmissi...g_interference

It's kind of like that old analogy of, "the fox that guards the hen-house"
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:47 AM
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You don't know Tom Ray, I do. He is a terrific person and an excellent engineer. He is also the head of the local SBE. You might disagree with him on this issue but to use the language you did describing Tom as a shill and more just shows the kind of "person" (and that's a kind description) you are.
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