Category Archives: DRM

Radio Waves: Audacy Files for Bankruptcy, WBCQ’s Ampegon Antenna, and FM DRM in India

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors NT, Dennis Dura, Alan, and Rich Cuff for the following tips:


WSJ Report: Audacy Close to Filing for Bankruptcy (Radio World)

Facing deadlines this year to pay back some of its $2 billion in debt, Audacy appears poised to file for bankruptcy protection, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ says all that debt is about to trigger a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, possible within weeks, with senior lenders assuming ownership of the radio company following the reorganization. (Chapter 11 is the type of bankruptcy that allows a company to maintain operations while creating a plan to repay creditors, rather than Chapter 7, which involves liquidation of assets.)

Audacy has been slow rolling payback of its massive debt, which was mostly accumulated back in 2017 when the former Entercom Communications merged with CBS Radio. The broadcast company rebranded as Audacy in 2021.

The publicly-owned radio company has been skipping loan interest payments since late last year in efforts to facilitate talks with its lenders, according to reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission. The broadcaster has blamed a softness in the ad markets for its inability to pay back the loans.

The WSJ says Audacy — which has $632 million in first lien debt due in Nov. 2024 — has reached agreement with its lenders for a “pre-packaged bankruptcy plan.” The business and economy-focused newspaper reports lenders will help finance the reorganization. It’s unclear if Audacy CEO David Field will remain with the company following the reorganization.

Audacy, which is one of the biggest U.S. radio owners with 230 radio stations in 46 markets, has gone through recent format reorganizations that have resulted in significant job losses through consolidation of on-air positions. [Continue reading…]

WBCQ Relies on High-Power Shortwave Antenna (Radio World)

One of the more unusual facilities featured in our recent Radio World ebook about interesting RF plants is at WBCQ. It uses what is believed to be the only rotatable shortwave antenna in North America.

The station operates from Monticello in northern Maine; it’s owned and operated by Allan and Angela Weiner, who also are licensees of WXME(AM) 780 kHz and WBCQ(FM) 94.7 MHz at the site.

Installed in 2018, the AHR 4/4/0.5 antenna was manufactured by the former Ampegon AG and can transmit signals up to 500 kW. It is used to broadcast “World’s Last Chance,” a ministry that believes “the return of Yahushua is only a few years away” according to Bible prophecy.

The program is heard on 9.330 MHz in various languages for target areas in both the western and eastern hemispheres. (The program has posted reception reports.)

The turnkey installation was done by Cestron International of Germany, with work led by Winfried Zimmer. Lance Cook was project manager for WBCQ.

“The high-power antenna offers different radiation patterns and an antenna gain of up to 23 dB and uses a technology characterized by a single-shaft structural design,” Cestron said in a project summary.

The tubular shaft has a diameter of four meters. Its support design will absorb static and dynamic forces originating from the antenna components, allowing the system to function even under extreme weather conditions, according to Cestron. [Continue reading…]

Roadmap 2024-DRM digital radio services in FM band in India (Broadcast and Cablesat)

All India Radio (AIR), the public service broadcaster in India, is providing terrestrial radio services in all the radio broadcast bands – MW, SW, and FM. Commercial broadcasting in FM band is licensed to private radio stations, and community radio stations are also permitted for non-commercial use.

At present, most of the terrestrial radio services in India are in analogue, except for some services of AIR in MW and SW bands, which are in DRM digital.

Keeping in view the advantages of digital radio broadcasting, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the regulator for broadcasting, on Feb 1, 2018, had recommended to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (M/o I&B), Government of India, that digital broadcasting in FM band (VHF band II) should also be allowed, without disturbing the existing analogue transmissions. [Continue reading…]


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Radio Waves: DRM in Cars, Big Ben is Back, and RNZ Pacific’s 75th Anniversary

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Pete and Dennis Dura for the following tips:


Now Is the Time to Save AM in Cars Using Digital (Radio World)

“DRM eliminates unstable and degraded audio, saves spectrum and, more importantly, a lot of energy costs”

The author is chairman of the DRM Consortium. Her commentaries appear regularly at radioworld.com.

Much ink has been used recently on the topic of carmakers dropping AM reception capability in cars, especially in EVs. Hence the “for and against” discussions in the U.S., at least, about the “AM for Every Vehicle Act.”

Shortwave reception, with is large coverage possibilities, has often been criticized for its audio quality which can be noisy and subject to annoying levels of variations. In cars, there are other drawbacks like less than optimum antennas, which are mostly tuned for vertical polarization while shortwave is horizontally polarized.

It is undeniable that analog AM Shortwave reception in cars can be quite unreliable, also due to lower average-SNR over time. But all these negative points are not always present. In some places (take Nigeria and the BBC broadcasts) the shortwave transmissions are great, in a quality that is not much different from that of a FM broadcast. [Continue reading…]

Bong! Big Ben broadcasts to return to Radio 4’s regular schedule (The Guardian)

Westminster’s famous bell will be heard live from next week after years of only occasional appearances

It is one of the most recognisable sounds in the UK, and one that hasn’t been heard on BBC Radio 4 since New Year’s Eve last year, but from next week the famous bongs of Big Ben will be heard once again on the station.

The most famous bell in the UK will be heard live once again on Monday 6 November, just before the 6pm news bulletin and again before midnight. Listeners will be able to hear the chimes again before Radio 4’s Westminster Hour political discussion programme at 10pm on Sundays.

And after years of only occasional appearances, the chimes will form part of Radio 4’s regular schedule where they will be heard live twice daily and three times on Sundays after new microphones and a live set-up were installed.

To mark the nation’s two-minute silence this Remembrance Sunday, Big Ben will also be heard live on 11 November at 11am, and the bongs will air at 3pm on Christmas Day, before the king’s speech is broadcast on Radio 4. [Continue reading…]

RNZ Pacific’s shortwave service turns 75 (Radio New Zealand)

It has been 75 years since Radio New Zealand started broadcasting on short-wave into the Pacific region.

Using two 7.5 kilowatt transmitters in Titahi Bay, near Wellington, Radio New Zealand began short-wave broadcasts to Australia and the Pacific in 1948.

RNZ Pacific’s Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor has this report.


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Radio Waves (DRM Edition): Gospell DRM Pocket Radio & Indonesia chooses DRM standard

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Mangosman, Benn Kobb, and Mark Fahey for the following tips:


CML Micro release the world’s lowest-cost Digital Radio Mondiale Broadcast Receiver module (CML Micro)

IBC Amsterdam 2023 – 16th September 2023 – DRM Consortium Showcase Event

Watch video here

CML Microcircuits (CML Micro) has announced at the IBC 2023 DRM Showcase Event, the full release of the world’s lowest-cost, lowest power, and smallest sized Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) broadcast receiver module (DRM1000). DRM is the world’s leading digital radio broadcast standard able to provide rich, high quality digital content over vast areas using medium-wave (MW) and short-wave (SW). In addition to high-capacity local broadcasting at Very High Frequencies (VHF).

The DRM1000 is a complete ‘antenna to speaker’ module, containing all hardware, software, IP and patent licenses required for a radio equipment manufacturer to easily realize a dual mode (digital and analogue) DRM capable receiver.

The module offers a 60% cost reduction and 80% power reduction over existing DRM technologies in the market. The device can run effectively from solar or wind-up rechargeable batteries: in addition to small primary cells. Low power operation directly improves accessibility to vital educational and public digital radio services across many emerging nations and opens the great features of DRM to many millions of potential listeners around the world.

In offering the DRM1000, CML Micro wish to enable their customers to design a complete DRM /AM /FM broadcast receiver solution, which is attractive, highly featured and accessible for all. The module allows these innovative receivers to be manufactured locally in emerging nations in addition to traditional technology manufacturing locations.

In addition to announcing the availability of the DRM1000; CML Micro is also proud to announce that the device has been adopted by Gospell Digital Technology Ltd for two new DRM portable radio families to be shown for the first time at the IBC 2023 DRM Showcase Event.

Haochun Liu, Head of Research and Development at Gospell, said: “At Gospell, we’ve always held a steadfast belief in the pivotal role that the accessibility and ubiquity of DRM radios play in enabling people to access high-quality information. This unwavering commitment has driven us over the years to design and manufacture user friendly DRM receivers, constantly pushing the boundaries to make them more accessible and attainable for all. The introduction of the DRM1000 module, with its impressive low-power consumption, cost-effectiveness, and high performance, has been a game-changer. We are truly honored to collaborate with CML Micro in launching two groundbreaking DRM receivers based on the DRM1000 module, namely the GR-220 and GR-221. We’re confident that our combined efforts will not only deliver unparalleled value to people but also pave the way for the next chapter in DRM technology.”

One third of the world’s population remains without an internet connection. Many millions of people will benefit from widespread DRM adoption. Increasing access to DRM enhances public services in remote areas, or where an internet connection is very expensive. This includes a disaster and early warning service that can be used in the event of interruption to communications caused by natural disasters.

CML Micro’s VP of Global Marketing, Matthew Phillips, said: “The benefits of DRM are already being enjoyed by listeners in the Indian market with 70% of the population covered by DRM broadcast services and 6 million new cars already fitted with DRM capable receivers. We believe the market for DRM capable receivers is set for significant growth over the coming years. The DRM1000 provides an ideal platform to serve this emerging market with low cost, battery-powered portable receivers sold in millions of units.”

DRM in the medium-wave or short-wave band delivers FM-like quality to listeners spread over many thousands of square miles, from a single transmitter. This makes DRM the optimum digital radio solution for emerging nations. DRM uses existing long-, medium-, short-wave and very-high frequency (LW, MW, SW and VHF) radio frequency bands, operating seamlessly alongside current analogue services. [Continue reading…]

Gospell announces the latest DRM pocket radios (YouTube)

Click here to view on YouTube.

Mangosman adds:

A little background on the CML chip from a discussion forum:

https://groups.io/g/DRMNA/message/8528

Fourier analysis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourier_analysis This can transform a serial data stream into a parallel data stream using a different frequency carrier for each path. For example a 16 level quadrature Amplitude modulated data stream at around 99.4 kbit/s is carried on 213 carriers in a channel 95 kHz wide using a transmission frequency between 47 – 230 MHz.

DRM chosen by Indonesia as digital radio broadcasting standard for MW, FM, and VHF Band-III (Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union)

The Digital Radio Mondiale™ (DRM) Consortium has welcomed the decision by Indonesian authorities to adopt the globally recognised, open, and ITU-endorsed DRM Digital Radio Standard for national implementation in a country with a population exceeding a quarter of a billion.

The announcement was made during the DRM IBC Showcase event in Amsterdam. DRM is the only digital radio standard capable of meeting all coverage requirements for national and local public radio stations, as well as commercial and community broadcasters. Moving forward, DRM-based digital radio services will be available in the medium wave (MW) and FM bands, and also in VHF band-III, across all 18,000 of Indonesia’s islands.

Some 275 million Indonesians will soon benefit from a transformative radio experience featuring enhanced audio quality and, importantly, an additional layer of disaster protection via DRM’s Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF). The introduction of modern digital radio services is set to invigorate the entire radio ecosystem and broadcast industry, thereby stimulating both Indonesian and global receiver manufacturing.

The DRM Consortium is keen to continue its close collaboration with Indonesian broadcasters, stakeholder groups, governmental agencies, as well as the receiver, automotive, and mobile phone industries in Indonesia. This concerted effort aims to ensure the successful nationwide roll-out of DRM digital radio services, for the benefit of the entire Indonesian populace.


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Radio Waves: DRM from Ascension to Brazil, Commercial Radio Boost, FM HD Power, and New Pakistan DRM Project,

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Dennis Dura and Mangosman for the following tips:


Swiss Private Radio Station Broadcasts DRM To Brazil (DRM Consortium)

The next DRM shortwave broadcast of DRM Swiss supporter C.M. Obrecht is scheduled for August 11th UTC 2300 on 12030 kHz. The transmitter (100kW) site is Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean (245 degrees) and the broadcast will be carried out by Encompass Media Services with the main target of Brazil. This is the first time that the original music of Mr Obrecht will be beamed out of Ascension. Other similar transmissions of our Swiss supporter reached parts of Asia going as far as Australia, though the broadcasts were originating in the UK and not Ascension.

Commercial radio’s billion dollar boost to Australian economy (RadioInfo Australia)

With commercial radio in Australia turning 100, a new report has shown the industry contributes $1 billion to the nation’s annual GDP, which includes a $320 million boost to regional Australia.

The “Connecting Communities: The Economic and Social Contribution of Commercial Radio and Audio in Australia” report was commissioned by industry body Commercial Radio & Audio and produced by Deloitte Access Economics.

The study found commercial radio stations broadcast 1.1 million hours of Australian content, 2.7 million Australian songs, 42,000 hours of news and 2,200 hours of emergency service content in 2022.

The industry also supports 6,600 full-time equivalent jobs with 38% located in regional Australia.

CRA CEO Ford Ennals said:

“The Connecting Communities report is the first time in 100 years of broadcasting that we have evaluated the economic contribution of radio and its role in delivering trusted, local content to listeners all over the country. These figures show how important it is to have a sustainable Australian radio industry that delivers great audio content free of charge to everyone, everywhere.”

Seventeen million Australians listen to commercial radio. 74% believe radio and audio build a sense of community. $82 million in charitable contributions were made through donations and airtime in 2022. It also plays a key role in music discovery.

Read more at: https://radioinfo.com.au/news/commercial-radios-billion-dollar-boost-to-australian-economy/ © RadioInfo Australia

FCC Advances FM HD Power Proposal (Radio World)

NAB and Xperi have argued that the current formula is too conservative

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the National Association of Broadcasters.

A rule change that would allow more U.S. FM stations to increase HD Radio power is closer to reality.

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking that we told you about earlier, doing so a couple of days before its August monthly meeting. The action does not give final approval of the changes but indicates tentative approval and asks for public comment.

“Broadcasters and consumers increasingly prefer digital FM radio because it delivers better sound quality than traditional analog FM service,” the commission stated in its announcement.

“Currently, over 2,000 FM stations broadcast digitally, providing listeners with enhanced sound quality, song information and other data through their FM broadcast radio signals. The NPRM seeks comment on two proposals and asks whether these changes will benefit the public or impact existing FM services.” [Continue reading…]

Pakistan Breaks Ground on Massive DRM Project (Radio World)

The new 1,000 kW transmitter will reach from Eastern Europe to the Far East, as well as across South Asia

Pakistan’s national broadcaster broke ground July 30, 2023, on a new transmission facility that will extend its reach from the Mediterranean to the Pacific.

The modernization project marks a significant milestone for Radio Pakistan, including adding capabilities to broadcast in the Digital Radio Mondiale digital radio standard.

The project centers on a new 1,000 kW DRM transmitter being installed at the Radio Pakistan high-power transmission complex in Rawat, near the capital Islamabad. The new facility is expected to cost 4 billion rupees (nearly US$14 million) and is set to be completed in 2025.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb oversaw the groundbreaking, noting that the project will extend Radio Pakistan’s reach to 52 nations across South Asia, Central Asia, the Far East, Middle East, and into Eastern Europe. [Continue reading…]


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Radio Waves: AM in Ford Commercial Vehicles, History of Hornby Site, A23 DRM Broadcast Schedule, and AM Radio Importance and Action

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Paul, and Dennis Dura for the following tips:


Ford to drop AM radio in new models, except commercial vehicles (Detroit Free Press)

Ford Motor Co. plans to stop putting AM radio in new gas-powered and electric vehicles beginning in 2024, including the all-electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning pickup, the Detroit Free Press has confirmed.

“We are transitioning from AM radio for most new and updated 2024 models,” Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood told the Free Press. “A majority of U.S. AM stations, as well as a number of countries and automakers globally, are modernizing radio by offering internet streaming through mobile apps, FM, digital and satellite radio options. Ford will continue to offer these alternatives for customers to hear their favorite AM radio music, news and podcasts as we remove amplitude modulation — the definition of AM in this case — from most new and updated models we bring to market.”

Commercial vehicles will continue to offer AM radio because of longstanding contract language, Sherwood said.

Drivers often turn to AM radio for live traffic updates and weather reports, as well as emergency communication. [Continue reading…]

The history of the Hornby AM radio site, our oldest operational transmission site (CBC/Radio-Canada)

Did you know that one of our AM radio stations can also be used as a bunker? What’s more, the opening of this station was of such importance that King George VI addressed the nation during its inaugural broadcast in December 1937? Considered an engineering feat in its time, the Hornby AM radio site is the oldest transmission site owned and operated by CBC/Radio-Canada. Here are some interesting facts.

Listen to the King’s First Empire Christmas Greeting:

A little bit of history

Located in Hornby, Ontario, this AM radio site was built in 1937 for the CBL radio service (the ancestor of CBC Radio One) one year after the creation of CBC/Radio-Canada. The station contained a 50-kilowatt transmitter and a 640-foot tower, making it the tallest structure in Canada from 1937 to 1954. That’s more than twice the height of Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower, London).

Already a technological feat in itself, the site then added a second radio service (CJBC) in 1944 and became one of the rare AM sites to broadcast two services from one tower. The joint CBL-CJBC signal was so powerful that people could hear the program simply by putting an ear on nearby wire fences.

All about the bunker

Between 1946 and 1948, Canadians were seeing the beginning of the Cold War and, with it, the threat of nuclear attacks. As a result, the site underwent a “wartime expansion” during which the existing underground bunker, a reinforced underground shelter built for protection, was installed. Continue reading

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DRM Test Broadcast on 954 kHz in the Czech Republic

DRM Test Broadcast on 954 kHz from Transmitter in Czech Republic (DRM Consortium)

DRM is now on air in the Czech Republic, on a medium wave channel that used to carry a powerful AM signal. It is broadcast on 954kHz (power reported as 3kW) from the ?eské Bud?jovice transmitter site, located in the South Bohemian region re-using the old AM antenna with a modulator connected to the existing 30 kW AM transmitter.

The DRM transmission on 954kHz was even received in the country using a KiwiSDR.

This is a trial of DRM within the Czech Republic and is scheduled to come to an end possibly in the second half of 2023. The content is supplied by Radiožurnal, a news and journalism station that broadcasts 24 hours a day covering events at home and abroad. The station also carries music in between the news segments.

One of the listeners receiving the DRM signal in the country reported: “From my listening on the remote receivers, it seems to me that a few low-powered AM transmitters could cover the whole country”. [Click here to read the original article…]

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