hd radio, i must admit...

Discussion in 'HD (Terrestrial) Radio' started by ctkatz, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. ctkatz

    ctkatz Member

    is a failure. and the worst part is is that it's not the fault of the technology, but the companies that are using that technology.

    i live in louisville, kentucky. mid-sized city. we have i think 10 or 11 hd stations currently broadcasting. one of those is an am station. of the remaining stations, 4 have sidechannels, and those sidechannels don't really sound much different from the main station, with the exception of one which plays spanish music on its side channel. one station has said that hd is "coming soon" for at least 2 years now and hasn't started yet.

    i thought the main advantage of going digital (it's not really "high def") was the ability to play different stuff on the digital sidechannels. wouldn't it be nice to have hard rock on the main station and indie labels or local bands on the sidechannel? or how about music on the main channel, but talk radio on the sidechannel? i have long said that in louisville, liberal progressive talk will work. why not give it a try by putting on liberal programming on a sidechannel?

    no, the main corporations are pushing digital radio on us through constant promotion of the product and woefully underperforming in its delivery, fighting against satradio without the inclusion of hd chipsets in the recievers. one of the commercials that airs here is that an anchor reads a scandalous script. when they get to the jucy part, the anchor is interrupted with a phone operator stating "please pay 25 cents for the next three minutes". or there's that one where a man on the street goes into people's cars because they are playing a radio and tries to take $12.95 from them. the misleading message is the same. why pay for radio when you aren't forced to? these hd providers don't care about the content of broadcast, but the broadcast itself so they generate more money.

    good example of that: one of the clear channel stations broadcasting in hd had as its sidechannel live concert cuts. it was great. i could have listened to that for hours. a few weeks later it gets replaced with classic metal. so what, you may say. i later find out after visiting a cc station website that that classic metal station broadcast locally is from a national satellite feed. the classic cuts was a local thing.

    i like my hd radio. it replaced a basic boombox radio i had used for 10 years and has better reception. i use it to dx a lot. but i would never use it for its hd radio purposes. if i wanted to hear satellite radio, i'll go with my stilleto 100 instead of turning on the radio and tuning in. if another radio company came in and provided better and different programming, i can easily change my mind.
  2. satradfan

    satradfan New Member

    The big radio companies seem clueless...the number of people with HD radios is so small...

    But the problem for big radio companies is it costs money to program additional channels but right now there aren't big numbers of people listening...and for the most part getting people to listen will just shrink the numbers on their existing channels which will hurt ratings and lower revenue.

    They do such a poor job programming the stations they already have...they don't need any more!
  3. blyons200

    blyons200 These pretzels are making me thirsty.

    The big radio companies killed radio. Local radio was great, always interesting and different in every city, but now it's all the same. The first time I went to NYC back in 99 I was excited to see what kind of interesting local channels I could get there, to my dissapiontment it was the same shit I could get anywhere else. With the exception of WSOU, a college hardcore metal station, but you can't even get that outside of 30 miles of campus, can't get it in NYC or LI.

    HD radio is a joke and it shouldn't be allowed to call itself that. It makes people think it's the audio version of HDTV, false advertising! It's just the same old rehashed crap, it just doesn't broadcast as far. If they ever force radio to digital, people in rural areas will be screwed. Thank God for Sirius!
  4. ctkatz

    ctkatz Member

    we have one big clear channel (ironically owned by clear channel) 50000 watt station that used to be the one station everyone tuned to for local talk, news and issues. i first started noticing a change for the worse when it started using fox news radio as its national network feed instead of abc. they had some supplemental content from cbs news but it was a majority fox. then one day they announced that they were dropping the local newscast at the tops and bottoms of the hour from midnight to 5. then later they changed the format of their newscasts where they played the national fox feed for national news and went to the newsroom for local coverage. keep in mind, this was an award winning newsstaff that was slowly being chipped away and degraded so that any jock could go into a studio and read copy and they could play it every hour with no one really noticing a difference unless you listened closely.

    the final straw for me and local radio came almost a year ago next month when they dumped the local host who did the 9-midnight shift, who was a real good host and management stated as much, and replaced him with a taped michael "savage" weiner. cc's decisions made going with satellite radio that much easier. when i can't hear local stuff anymore in my market, there's no point in listening to anything the local market offers anymore.

    i blame the fcc for relaxing the radio ownership rules so much that it allowed clear channel to grow so large that they had to force syndicated shows on its stations just to save money.
  5. limegrass69

    limegrass69 Confused

    The big problem with HD is the marketing. The way it's described in advertisements does not really make you understand what it is. If I was not up on this stuff, I'd say, "huh??" after the spot.

    I live in the NY area, and there are a lot of HD offerings. The problem is that they are just jukeboxes or simulcasts of AM stations. Receivers are not all that good and the HD signals are weak (due to technical limitations).

    I get the impression that broadcasters did not really get behind this. And why should they? There is no gameplan for a return on investment. Most HD streams don't carry advertisements. What advertiser is going to pay for it??

    Unlike satellite radio, HD is trial and error? How do you know what format is on each station? It's trial and error until you find something you like.

    The broadcasters can't do a decent job programming their main signals. Now you, in essence, gave them more signals to fill with more crap.
  6. hank-the-dwarf

    hank-the-dwarf Well-Known Member

    what exactly is hd radio-i have heard of it but never looked into it-seems like a stronger fm signal?
  7. limegrass69

    limegrass69 Confused

    It is a digital signal that rides on the sidebands of analog radio signals. It is actually called IBOC, which stands for "In Band On Channel". HD Radio is a trade name.

    If you purchase a capable receiver it should receive the digital version of the radio stations you currently hear. I say "should" because many stations don't yet broadcast in digital, and for those that do, the digital signal strength is a small fraction of the analog signal. I've read many reports of reception problems even close in to the transmitter. As you are probably aware, unlike analog where you can have signal fade and static, digital signals are either there or not there. Most receivers operate in a hybrid mode where it prefers digital signals, but will fall back to analog if the digital signal is not strong enough.

    HD claims to provide near FM quality sound on AM, and near CD quality on FM signals. AM actually sounds relatively good in HD.

    FM stations can also multi-cast. In other words, provide 1 or more separate streams. That is purely at the option of the station. Each station has a given fixed bandwidth. As multi-casts are added, it will degrade the quality of the existing digital streams. Many stations in my market (NYC) have 3 HD streams running. Those streams carry the digital version of the analog station, specialty programming (i.e. country, 80s hits, classic rock deep cuts, etc.), or simulcasts of an AM station in the cluster (i.e. WCBS 880 AM audio on WCBS-FM HD3).

    Many stations run some of their HD streams commercial-free. But eventually that will change as the stations will want a return on investment. Broadcasters see HD as a challenge to satellite, but I think that remains to be seen. IMHO, there is nothing that compelling on HD radio that makes me want to run out and buy one.

    I hope that gives you an overview of the technology.
    IdRatherBeSkiing likes this.
  8. hank-the-dwarf

    hank-the-dwarf Well-Known Member

    that sounds like a dumb idea-even if the sound quality was good it is still regular radio-thats why i listen to internet radio and mp3's now
  9. IdRatherBeSkiing

    IdRatherBeSkiing This space for rent

    The sound quality is only good until they split the channels into multiple streams.
  10. limegrass69

    limegrass69 Confused

    The HD3 stream is actually in mono.
  11. goreds2

    goreds2 Well-Known Member

    I may purchase an HD radio for my son at Christmas.
  12. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    I love how this thread starts. I must admit. HD sucks! hehehe

    I'll be honest, I've never really checked out HD Radio.
  13. Goaliebob99

    Goaliebob99 New Member

    Here in Chicago just about every radio station is in HD. Most if not all have only one sub station with it, and the quality is mostly good. There are some AM radio stations that do not braudcast sporting events in HD here. :(
  14. limegrass69

    limegrass69 Confused

    Most stations broadcasting play-by-play sports dump out of HD mode during the games. Encoding a signal in HD introduces about an 8 second delay into the process. The analog signal has to synch up with the digital signal because if your radio bounces between analog and digital, you want the programming material to be at the same place.

    So, imagine you are watching a football or baseball game (either on TV or live at the stadium), you see a play happen, but the audio you hear on your radio lags by about 8 seconds. Not a great experience. However, if you dump out of digital mode, your programming material is much closer in proximity to what you see on the field...which is why most play-by-play is not in HD on radio.
  15. dlnester

    dlnester Active Member

    I work for an NFL Radio Network and our flagship station dumped the HD programming for gamedays and we actually use our studio delay to sync up our broadcast with the television coverage. We're usually 2-3 seconds ahead of the TV due to their satellite hops (we use ISDN lines)

    I think the advertising department did a study and found 45% of our TV viewers actually listen to our audio and watch it on tv... so we make sure to sync up the broadcasts.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  16. limegrass69

    limegrass69 Confused

    Back in the "old days", I used to listen to the radio feed and watch the TV coverage of most sporting events. Now with all of the noise thrown off by my electronic equipment, it's pretty tough to get a clean AM signal on my receiver (unless everything else is shut off). The AM band is becoming more and more useless everyday.
  17. dlnester

    dlnester Active Member

    We were the first NFL Radio Flagship to be on FM, and we've been the longest too. We're on our 19th season... the contract expires at the end of the 20th season and we're not sure what is going to happen then.

    We put a lot of effort into using the full spectrum of FM stereo on our broadcasts, from our bumper and theme music to the parabolic mics on the sideline that make you feel like you're in the stands.
  18. JoeTan

    JoeTan Well-Known Member

    It's a NIGHTMARE. FM is playing 5seconds ahead, the TV is 5seconds behind and the Sirius broadcast is like 15seconds behind.

    So you are either seeing it then hearing it or vice versa UNLESS you can manage to pause one until the other catches up.

    Why can't they just have the broadcast that you want to hear? How long has the SAP option been around again?
  19. kryptonite

    kryptonite Well-Known Member

    It's not that hard. Multiple channels, right?

    1) Main. Keep everything as-is.

    2) Live morning show and morning show on repeats all day long. Saturdays at 6 AM (or what ever time the show starts) would see Monday's morning show re-aired once, then Tuesday's, followed by Wednesday's, and so forth, up until Monday when the next show starts.

    3) Nothing but music. Let's say it's a rock channel. Have an itch for rock music instead of the meaningless morning drivel? Go here.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  20. ai4i

    ai4i Member

    A properly engineered station will have its analogue audio delayed the exact same amount as the HD-1 stream and be processed similarly. This will of course mean that the air talent can not monitor their transmitted audio except lowly in the background. While traveling, one can always rely on Radio Disney stations on AM and NPR stations on FM to be fairly well synchronized.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008

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