Tag Archives: Inside Radio

Digital AM: FCC takes a closer look

Many thanks to an SWLing Post reader who writes:

Thought you and the SWLing bunch would be interested to learn about this. The promoters make it sound so go, but fail to mention all the problems and pitfalls. Hopefully, it will go nowhere, which is the best course possible!

(Source: Inside Radio)

The prospect of a digital-only AM station may still be far on the horizon, but if it one day becomes reality the first step to securing regulatory approval has just occurred. The Federal Communications Commission has put up a proposal submitted by Texas broadcaster Bryan Broadcasting last month for public comment. It’s not a formal rulemaking, but the process could lay the groundwork for a FCC decision allowing digital-only AMs in the future.

In a petition filed last month, Bryan Broadcasting VP and general Ben Downs said giving stations the option of dropping their analog signal would provide struggling AM owns an “innovative tool” with which to compete. Broadcasters will have until May 13 to chime in on what’s been docketed as RM-11836.

Downs says he’s pleasantly surprised to see the FCC moving so quickly on his petition. The proposal drew some attention among engineers at last week’s NAB Show, although agency staffers were less committal. That made it all the more encouraging when Downs returned from the Las Vegas convention to learn the Media Bureau opened it up to comments.

“It was clear from the discussion panels that unless there’s interest shown in this 30-day comment period, we will not have this approved as a licensed option,” Downs said. “I don’t think anyone questions the all-digital MA-3 option from a technical feasibility position anymore, separate from the hybrid mode that is authorized. So I would hope the Commission would recognize that this is the next logical step in the AM Revitalization effort.”[…]

Click here to read the full article at Inside Radio.

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All-digital AM HD: WWFD’s experiment is attracting attention

(Source: InsideRadio via Ulis K3LU)

All-Digital AM Grabs Automakers’ Interest.

The fate of AM radio in the car dashboard may pass through Frederick, MD. That’s where the latest experiment on an all-digital AM signal is taking place, on Hubbard Radio’s adult alternative “The Gamut” WWFD (820). The project, in conjunction with digital radio developer Xperi and the National Association of Broadcasters’ PILOT program, is already generating interest from carmakers in the U.S and around the world.

The Federal Communications Commission in July approved a proposal to allow WWFD to turn off its analog signal for the next year while remaining an all-digital operation. The aim is to use the real-world environment to conduct experiments designed to improve the all-digital AM service.

WWFD has 4,300-watts day (non-directional) and 430-watts night (directional) and the company proposes to operate with roughly the same output when it goes digital-only, 24-hours a day. Dave Kolesar, Hubbard’s senior engineer overseeing the project, said it’s an ideal station to use for a test case since it’s non-directional by day and directional at night.[…]

The switch has already been flipped and Xperi senior manager of broadcast technologies Mike Raide said preliminary results are encouraging. “We haven’t had any problems with OEM receivers,” he said, noting he drove 70 miles from the transmitter site and still picked up WWFD without any problem. In fact, one DX listener in the Pittsburgh area, roughly 300 miles away, said they were able to hear the station during the daytime. “That’s a testament to how robust all-digital is,” Raide said.[…]

“At a time when we’re all hearing rumors about car manufacturers cutting AM from their factory offerings, something like this could come along and show the auto manufacturers that AM still matters and AM has a digital solution as well,” Kolesar said.[…]

Click here to view the full article at InsideRadio.

In August, I received a strong lock on WWFD in neighboring West Virginia via my car’s built-in HD receiver. The next day, I made this short video of my reception on the Sangean HDR-14 (read review here) in neighboring Germantown, Maryland:

I found that WWFD covered the DC metro area quite well.

Post readers: Do you believe, as this article implies, that AM HD could revitalize the band?

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Inside Radio: “Sale of Border Station Raises Chinese Propaganda Worry”

(Source: Inside Radio via Dennis Dura)

The proposed sale of an AM station along the Mexico-U.S. border to a group of Chinese investors has stoked fears that the 50,000-watt station will be used to infiltrate the U.S. with Chinese propaganda. Spanish news-talk “W-Radio 690” XEWW (690), which blankets Southern California from Tijuana, is being sold by Mexican broadcaster GLR to Chinese investment group H&H Group USA, owned by Vivian Huo, a U.S. citizen who runs the investment firm H&H Capital Partners.[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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