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Hi. Right now, HD radio is very good in my area, Wash DC. I get many of my favorite FM stations in HD and about 4 of them simulcast. One of my favorite news and talk AM stations is HD and enjoy that a lot. Do you think that HD radio will get better and better as time progresses, with more stations climbing onboard and up to 8 simulcasts on each station? Wouldn't that be nice?
 

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By "8 simulcasts," I think you mean 8 multicast (subchannels). From what I know of the technology, four subs per station is the maximum.


The future of the technology will depend mostly on adoption. And that usually starts with car makers. And they're not dropping them into dashboards just yet.


There has always been a Catch-22.. people won't adopt the technology if there's no interesting programming on it. Station owners won't invest in programming if nobody's listening.


As with satellite, exclusive content is what will really drive interest. Dozens of channels of commercial-free music sold SOME units, but the real subscriber base started picking up when Satellite added attention-getting programming: Stern, Oprah, Sports, etc.


HD radio could learn a few things from that model. Classical music sounds better on HD Radio than satellite. Adding CNBC audio, CNN or FNC audio ..or even making something as simple as local high school or college sports available could drive the chatter that leads to unit sales. 24/7 traffic and weather loops. Other languages. Niche music formats are nice, but hard to pit those up against iPods. Personally, I'd like to see radio-TV partnerships that drop a local affiliate's audio onto a subchannel. You can't be home to watch "CSI" but you can hear it on HD Radio. (LOT of legal entanglements with that, however. Probably won't happen)


Right now, in this market, radio owners are treating HD subchannels almost exactly the same as AM owners treated their FM stations in the 60s and early 70s. Here, in Detroit, most stations have some sort of format "extension." The rock station has an alternative rock subchannel hosted by college-age personalities. The country station (us) has a commercial-free clone, but with acoustic and live tracks instead of the hit cuts ..and a lot of local bands. The "smooth jazz" urban AC plays contemporary jazz on its subchannel. And the Free FM talker has its all-news sister AM running on its subchannel. All nice to have, but none with the "wow" factor that would send people into stores saying, "I gotta have this now!"


Luckily, the overhead for just keeping the thing on the air is relatively low. Once the IBOC digital gear is installed, it's just a computer away from 24/7 music. No studio necessary. So I rather doubt HD Radio will drop off of the radar like AM Stereo did. But to compete in a world that's thisclose to on-demand music is going to be quite a challenge.


Doc
 

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Your right Doc but I don't know what that wow factor would be. The improved sound quality will get my attention but I doubt it will be a universal driver for many sales. And like FM which can sound pretty good, if not overly compressed but doesn't due to that signal compression, HD quality could be easily negated by the station managers again simply by stocking that computer with low bit rate MP3's.


The other choice that could scuttle it at least for me is adopting the current broadcast model of incessant yammer by some 'personality' who's only half right about being a real wit along with equally incessant commercials. These two things along with lack of programming choice drove me to XM. It's pretty jarring to get hit with a loud commercial followed by some idiot telling you 'funny' stories after a quiet classical piece.


And last is programming choice. If you want classical or jazz outside of large cities you're pretty well out of luck. I still don't know what the wow would be to make HD radio as popular as iPod but for me if they can hit these three things I'd ask for it on my next car.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Auber /forum/post/0


Your right Doc but I don't know what that wow factor would be. The improved sound quality will get my attention but I doubt it will be a universal driver for many sales. And like FM which can sound pretty good, if not overly compressed but doesn't due to that signal compression, HD quality could be easily negated by the station managers again simply by stocking that computer with low bit rate MP3's.

True, but we're not serviced with low bit rate MP3s. In our shop, it would require effort to downconvert and there's no real reason to do so. The server's huge. But you're right. Sound quality alone isn't going to get it done. I, too, have no idea what that "wow" factor will be, but someone will find it. They always do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Auber /forum/post/0


The other choice that could scuttle it at least for me is adopting the current broadcast model of incessant yammer by some 'personality' who's only half right about being a real wit along with equally incessant commercials. These two things along with lack of programming choice drove me to XM.

But what has XM mostly added in the past year or so? Yup. Yammer. It sells. Even on Frank's Place where Jonathan Schwarz tells funny stories between songs. And, up until a year or so ago, there weren't channel IDs running after every 3rd song. I'm largely kidding with you, but uninterrupted music on "free" radio was doomed the day the iPod came out. Compelling (usually local) content is a broadcasters only choice. Granted, there are a lot of "personalities" who are "only half right about being a real wit." I gotta give you that. I'm one OF them .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Auber /forum/post/0


And last is programming choice. If you want classical or jazz outside of large cities you're pretty well out of luck. I still don't know what the wow would be to make HD radio as popular as iPod but for me if they can hit these three things I'd ask for it on my next car.

I imagine you'll see classical and jazz find their way into smaller markets on HD Radio subchannels. And, like FM's early days, they'll stay there until (and if) set penetration reaches a point where the playing field between subchannels and main channels reaches a parity. Then, it's back to ad-dollars. The stations with the biggest ratings get the most bucks. That could, once again, squeeze out classical and jazz just as it did with FM. But you never know. Former AM music stations ended up being profitable with niche talk formats. With the added fidelity, HD subchannels just might find the same home with niche music formats. It all depends on what the public wants.
 

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Doc,

I hope you're right about HD offering alternate programming choices. It would certainly help with me buying in. Same thing with the music library, I hope you're right but large servers do cost.


In the case of XM, at least on the stations I listen too, increased babel and yammer hasn't been a feature. They do talk on Real Jazz at some times of the day for instance but it's about the music or artist. I've never once had them tell me a 'funny' story about what their dog did in the night. It probably won't enter into their decision but if and when XM gives yammering and commercials equal billing to the music my subscription is gone.


I do hope your wrong about commercial free radio. That's why I'm paying XM. Mostly when I listen to radio it's while I work or drive. I'm looking for mostly background, not the need to select what I hear, or to stock it up. And it is nice to hear a piece I didn't know about. Commercials and chatter are disruptive especially when trying to concentrate.


We did have a commercial classical station around here years ago but what did they feature? DJ's and commercials that would have fit right in on a pop stations. Complete disregard for the difference in audience. BTW they're no longer on the air as a classical station. Last I knew they were now another pop station competing for the same audience as all the others.


I don't know how your stations handle it but around here they haven't even mentioned having a HD affiliate. I had to find out from their websites. Certainly not conducive to getting the word out.
 

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This is Detroit. We have the ear of the auto industry. So, most all of the stations are broadcasting digitally and we're selling it like it's the Second Coming. We want them to put HD radios in cars.


We already have some exclusive can-only-get-it-here content running on our subchannel. We've done live acoustic concerts, for example. Much more is planned. Can't go into specifics, but the buzz factor could be pretty high. Some stations in the market are paying lip service by running pretty much the same format on their subchannels as on the main channel. But quite a few are staking out some exclusive territory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I love the idea of HD radio as a cult, for a relative, sophisticated few who own the equipment, and for the few stations who broadcast to the enlightened. This is the angle approached when HD talks about the "secret" stations, the ones "between the lines."
 

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Ibuquity needs to get HD Radio into more home receivers from Sony,Denon,Kenwood, Pioneer, etc. So far most models have been bedrooom table models. maybe a good tuner in the $299-$399 from this companies or from Rotel which include HD.

I for one would like to see Digital Radio Express (DRE) also included in tuners. This is the lower cost system of adding digital audio using the SCA bandwith on FM. www.dreinc.com
 

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One thing I've read about is using HD2 channels to counterprogram other stations. Say that you own a number of HD radio stations (you're Entercom or Clear Channel or whoever). Simply program one of your HD2 stations to play the same song list as a popular competing station but with no commercials. Now you have something that people will want to listen to (the songs they want to hear with no commercials!) and with enough HD receivers, will bring their ratings down. Now your stations' ratings are more competitive with that popular station even though you haven't increased your ratings.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon /forum/post/0


The stations with the biggest ratings get the most bucks. That could, once again, squeeze out classical and jazz just as it did with FM.

Here we have community radio stations that play nothing but (traditional) jazz and classical and another community station that has classical and jazz shows during the week. Support your community staitons that play what you want and they won't get squeezed out.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl /forum/post/0


Here we have community radio stations that play nothing but (traditional) jazz and classical and another community station that has classical and jazz shows during the week.

Usually the case in larger cities. Not as much so in the smaller towns.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl /forum/post/0


One thing I've read about is using HD2 channels to counterprogram other stations. Say that you own a number of HD radio stations (you're Entercom or Clear Channel or whoever). Simply program one of your HD2 stations to play the same song list as a popular competing station but with no commercials. Now you have something that people will want to listen to (the songs they want to hear with no commercials!) and with enough HD receivers, will bring their ratings down. Now your stations' ratings are more competitive with that popular station even though you haven't increased your ratings.

Which is one of the reasons a lot of stations program slightly different versions of themselves on their subchannels.. to keep that very thing from happening.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon /forum/post/0


Usually the case in larger cities. Not as much so in the smaller towns.

In smaller towns the stations with the biggest ratings are the ones are probably just staying in business. Almost every town I've been in has at least college station that has jazz and classical shows during the week.


As for cities, Portland is probably an exception with, what, five or six college and community-supported stations on the air right now. One of these stations regularly beats all of the commercial stations in the ratings.
 

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As classic jazz (not smooth jazz) and classical music have all but been pushed out of the FM commercial market, there might still be a chance to save these art-forms with the advent of HD Radio and without going for a yearly suscription charge by the satallite companies. The problem is, hardly anyone I speak to has any knowledge of HD radio, though they are all very aware of High Def. TV. I agree the first step is to get HD into the automobile as a lower priced option where radio is listened to most. BMW charges $500 for the option and very few of even the well off typical buyers of these cars springs for that kind of money for something they no nothing about. Somehow the average consumer must be made aware of what HD Radio is and what it offers. If it just offers more of the same stuff on commercial radio, what allure does it have? Sure the sound quality is a bit better than AM and FM but even that has a way to go. I find the sound on my Sangean HDT-1 component tuner a bit shrill and I have to trim the treble settings back a bit, and unless I pick up a very strong signal, it bounces back and forth from HD to analog which is also annoying. I am sure this will all be corrected as the technology improves.

Therefore my concern is twofold, for the survival of classic jazz and classical music as well as for the success of HD Radio. They very well may go hand -in-hand.
 

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I've seen one station try to sort of add the weather to the scrolling text...all it gave was the temperture but it's a start.


I think a few things can be done


1) get correct listings for the channels. It says country for one station I can get but it's classical. a talk station has a subchannel for classical? nope it's Irish music...some that say classic sound more like folk to me....


2) it might be a good idea maybe to see if lower powered or college stations can join up. I have half of my presets on my radio on hd fm stations(another quarter to am) and a quarter for low powered/college stations....why? because the content is far less commerical and I think FCC restrictions are less (plenty of "bad" words) so to speak. If public radio can embrase HD (NPR, PBS etc) I don't see why this would be harder.


3) try to advocate more on the am side...now granted it turns off at night but I find there's a pretty large amount of content on am but can turn to crap once you add interferance. Iv'e received hd am signals from about 33-34 miles away...if everything within that range went to hd I'd have about two dozen stations more than I do now...


4) what could really just change much of the balance is how much extra it costs a station to go to hd...if the costs go down the stations would go up and so would sales
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by netjazz /forum/post/0


The problem is, hardly anyone I speak to has any knowledge of HD radio, though they are all very aware of High Def. TV.

HDTV has been on the air in the U.S. for almost ten years. I work in a high tech company and many people around here still don't know what the hell it is. In my department of sixteen programmers, only one other person has an HDTV. I still have to explain to coworkers that every local TV station is broadcasting free free free HDTV on broadcast channels (no cable, no satellite, etc.) and I'm getting tired of the disbelieving looks.


HD Radio has been on the air for about one year. I've had the Recepter radio sitting on my desk for almost that long and some people are still calling it my "Internet" radio. I show them the antenna no Ethernet cable and they ask me how much it costs a month. I tell them still nothing, just like I told them when they asked six months ago.


If technical people can't grasp that radio broadcasting is changing then I think HD Radio has a tough road ahead.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl /forum/post/0


If technical people can't grasp that radio broadcasting is changing then I think HD Radio has a tough road ahead.

Amen and amen. At least some of us are pushing the snot out of it. Most TV stations never mentioned their digital counterparts that early. Programming was thin, thin, thin.


At least, with HD Radio, people who buy the radios GET the better sound and additional channels right off the bat. Instant gratification. Think how much faster DTV might have proliferated if the programming had been in HD 24/7 from the outset.


Of course, as we all know, we can beat it to bits. But until the radios start showing up and people start saying, "Wow. How can I get that" ..it's just going to sit there.
 

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I have not seen a single local television station even say "also broadcasting in HDTV on channel xx" to tell their viewers that they spent millions of dollars to build a separate transmitter and tower to give their viewers free HDTV. At least radio stations (even non-HD Radio stations) are running the "between the stations" ads although, like TV stations, I have yet to hear a single station mention what programming they have on their HD2 channel. Surely the Classic Rock station would like to tell their listeners that the have 100% Live Rock on their HD2 channel, although it could potentially draw listeners away from their main station that pays the bills.


I don't think most people are going to notice the better sound on most stations, unless they're an audiophile listening to a 96K classical station or get rotten analog reception like I get here at work.
 

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Hi guys..


Got on the HD Radio bandwagon today with a Polk i-Sonic receiver.. Absolutely love it! This is a lot like the way it was when I got on the XM sat radio bandwagon back in 2001. I couldn't pull myself away from it.. As time has passed, I have found XM's audio quality just isn't what it used to be, however, my local HD Radio broadcasting sounds much like what XM used to.. The local classical station is simply simulcasting in digital, and it's marvelous. I'm sold!


I just wish I could have it available in my car, and do it such that it wouldn't cost as much as this Polk unit did.. yikes!! ($600!) too much but I still enjoy the audio quality.


Regards,

Steve
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by skoone /forum/post/0


Hi guys..


Got on the HD Radio bandwagon today with a Polk i-Sonic receiver.. Absolutely love it! This is a lot like the way it was when I got on the XM sat radio bandwagon back in 2001. I couldn't pull myself away from it.. As time has passed, I have found XM's audio quality just isn't what it used to be, however, my local HD Radio broadcasting sounds much like what XM used to.. The local classical station is simply simulcasting in digital, and it's marvelous. I'm sold!


I just wish I could have it available in my car, and do it such that it wouldn't cost as much as this Polk unit did.. yikes!! ($600!) too much but I still enjoy the audio quality.


Regards,

Steve

There is hd radio for cars...the Jvc Kd-hdr1 can be had for under $200...actually w/ rebate I got mine for about $115 (it was $160...-$20 google checkout then minus -$25 rebate )
 
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