FCC’s AM digital order did not include DRM

This news item expands on our previous post.

(Source: Radio World)

No Luck for DRM in the AM Digital Order

Digital Radio Mondiale was hoping that the Federal Communications Commission would consider allowing its technology as an all-digital option for AM stations in the United States, along with HD Radio. But the FCC disappointed it.

[…]“Many commenters agree that all-digital AM broadcasting should be allowed but object to HD Radio as the sole authorized transmission technology,” it wrote.

“Specifically, commenters urge us to consider the Digital Radio Mondiale all-digital transmission technology on the grounds that it: (1) offers equal or better sound quality to HD Radio at lower bitrates; (2) can transmit metadata as well as emergency alerts, multicast subchannels, and a data channel; (3) is energy- and spectrum-efficient; (4) uses a superior audio codec; (5) is not susceptible to interference; (6) is not owned or controlled by a single company; and (7) has been used successfully in other countries and is the approved technology for shortwave broadcasting in the United States.”

But the FCC said the request was “beyond the scope of this proceeding.”

It said it needed to move expeditiously on this all-digital proposal; and that if parties believe that it should re-evaluate HD Radio and consider alternative technologies, “we would need to evaluate a fully developed proposal including data such as laboratory and field testing, similar to the petition for rulemaking that formed the basis of this proceeding.”[]

Click here to read the full article at Radio World.

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5 thoughts on “FCC’s AM digital order did not include DRM

  1. John Figliozzi

    I think it has more to do with the proprietary nature of HD Radio which at least from experience seems to be an inferior technology. That characterization may not be entirely fair given that HD Radio has had to operate at restricted power so as not to interfere with adjacent analog signals. However, DRM is open source which should be considered a distinct advantage. With no necessity for stations and receiver manufacturers to pay royalties to the technology’s “owners”, adoption of DRM in the US might finally trigger the market to more offer affordable receivers than HD Radio’s royalty structure might ever allow. Again, DRM has had ample time to demonstrate the latter but has failed to do so, though adoption in China and India, the world’s two largest countries by population may be turning that situation around. Call me old fashioned by FM seems more than adequate for purpose. And it doesn’t go completely silent when the signal is weak or experiences interference.

  2. Justin O

    I think this is the best result DRM advocates could hope for – there was no way the FCC was going to allow it without studies as they indicated. The important bit was they didn’t foreclose adding it as an option later.

    I think the open nature of DRM is a big selling point, but I am sympathetic to the argument that you’d really want one standard so that manufacturers could build to it without fear it would become obsolete. Car manufacturers have already been including HD Radio support for a while now so going with that first will probably help adoption in the short term.

    1. rtc

      The Commission handed Digital radio in the U.S. to one company:iBiquity.
      iBiquity is a textbook monoply…they control everything,make the decoder-encoder
      IC chips,and require a station to pay a monthly user fee forever.
      Is DRM also set up like this (no competition allowed)?


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