How does non commercial HD radio survive?

RadioInsight Community Forums Midwest Cleveland How does non commercial HD radio survive?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  michael p 1 week, 2 days ago.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #185212

    michael p
    Participant

    With stations like WGAR’s “The Breeze” and WDOK’s “Coffee House” running 24/7 with no commercials how do they survive economically? I presume they are paying for the rights to play the music, but where does the funding come from?

    #185213

    jtakach9818
    Participant

    I imagine it’s a small playlist on a loop, and being on -HD2/3/etc substations and just paying for translators cuts down on operating costs. I know the iHeartRadio holiday specialty streams would bounce between four or five different -HD2/3/etc substations to maintain being commercial-free, which often meant a lot of repetition of music and a LOT of ‘hourly identifiers’ in a row when the streams would switch.

    As for where the funding comes from… remember those 8-minute commercial blocks on your iHeart streams? There’s your answer. ūüėČ

    #185214

    tim131
    Participant

    I know 1 person who owns an HD radio….and it‚Äôs not me. ūüėÄ I would love to see ratings stats on HD stations. Wonder how many Americans actually listen to HD radio. Would guess it is less than 10%.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  tim131.
    #185218

    VintageMac
    Participant

    I know 1 person who owns an HD radio….and it’s not me.  I would love to see ratings stats on HD stations. Wonder how many Americans actually listen to HD radio. Would guess it is less than 10%.

    I would liken it to those who listen to shortwave broadcasts. It is a lesser known system where you need special equipment but for those who like more variety, it’s great that those stations are available. Since many car radios have the capability, the potential is there. Also, there are enough portables available as well. Component tuners for a home system are not as readily available as I think Samsung is one of the few still made.
    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  VintageMac.
    #185229

    Crazy Monkey
    Participant

    Imagine if we didn’t have HD radio.  Then we wouldn’t have many of the translators like 92.7, 99.1, 101.7, 103.7, and 106.1 in Cleveland.  Akron wouldn’t have 102.5, and Canton wouldn’t have 99.7.

     

    I think the FCC made a mistake with allowing HD2 stations to be repeated on translators.¬† That‚Äôs not really the purpose of a translator anyways.¬† It’s a loophole.¬† And the hybrid digital and analog signals squished together is a problem too.¬† WZAK‚Äôs 93.1 signal has digital HD sidebands on parts of 92.9 and 93.3 which cause unwanted interference to other stations like 93.3 WNCD Youngstown, which is also HD.¬† It‚Äôs quite messy, and there‚Äôs significant overlap.¬† The WZAK digital sideband creates a digital static that eats away at WNCD‚Äôs coverage in areas where it could be heard clearly before HD radio existed.

    #185234

    santa fe
    Participant

    HD radio is a uniquely American answer to address¬†the coming of true digital radio.¬† In England and Europe, they¬†have digital radio, not Hybrid-Digital, and that means people there have to buy new¬†receivers to hear it just like we¬†did when¬†TV¬†went¬†digital.¬†¬†Here, radio broadcasters¬†are justifiably¬†concerned that¬†people¬†won’t¬†run out and buy all-new radios,¬† so the HD¬†technology¬†keeps the analog side the same¬†while adding¬†a digital-like signal for¬†those motivated enough to get it. Our laissez-faire (or just lazy) FCC¬†allows the big operators¬†to add more stations to their portfolios and make a mockery of¬† any ownership limits that remain.

    LPFM “translators” were¬†created¬†to counter the non-local practices of the big chains¬†by¬†giving community groups and local broadcasters¬†outlets to¬†develop the kind of local radio¬†the¬†FCC used to mandate.¬† And how’s that been working¬†for¬†us?¬† No increase in¬†local programming and a¬†rapid degradation of the FM band.¬† It¬†makes no sense¬† to keep adding more¬†signals¬†to a service that is seeing¬†a¬†decline¬†in the amount of dollars being spent on it.¬† A normal free market model should¬†see signals decreasing, not¬†multiplying.¬† And¬†these “new”¬†signals aren’t adding any¬†broadcasting jobs or¬†offering anything¬†creative to the¬†band.¬† It’s¬†like listening to someone else’s Ipod. Disappointing.

     

    #185235

    skiwest
    Participant

    Right.  The LPFMs should be used to fill the void instead providing more of what is already available. There are lots of niche formats that could and should be on those stations.

    #185240

    michael p
    Participant

    … And the hybrid digital and analog signals squished together is a problem too. WZAK‚Äôs 93.1 signal has digital HD sidebands on parts of 92.9 and 93.3 which cause unwanted interference to other stations like 93.3 WNCD Youngstown, which is also HD. It‚Äôs quite messy, and there‚Äôs significant overlap. The WZAK digital sideband creates a digital static that eats away at WNCD‚Äôs coverage in areas where it could be heard clearly before HD radio existed.

    On my way to the Dayton Hamvention last year in my HD radio equipped car, I monitored the¬† FM band for HD signals along I-70 between Columbus and Springfield.¬† While the HD sensor lit up it failed to hold a lock for long as a neighboring signal’s sidebands would clash with the tuned station.¬† So the moral of the story is close spaced analog stations in neighboring markets in flatland areas ¬† should not attempt to have “I-Block” HD signals.¬† The majority of listeners may not ever know of this battle of the airspace, but those of us with HD radios will know.
    #185279

    Nathan Obral
    Participant

    HD Radio was a decent concept. Too bad there was no way to make an average radio backward-compatible to receive these additional channels. iBiquity did a long-term marketing and promotional campaign that never took off.

    iHeart, Cumulus and Cox all bailed on the standard in some way. The only reason iHeart hasn’t given up on it is because relaying a national feed on an HD3 signal on a station in Waco, Texas, or in Wheeling, WV, or on WGAR-HD2 is because iHeart can get an advantage on royalty payments for feeding the music on a terrestrial signal that they wouldn’t get if it was solely on the iHeartRadio platform.

    FM translators are the other reason, if not the dominant reason, why HD Radio hasn’t been formally killed off. They give an excuse to provide additional program sources and result in one company dominating a market like never before. Look at all the stations Saga Communications has in Ithaca, New York… a lot of them are translators fed off of HD subs.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!

    #185304

    tim131
    Participant

    Other than unique programming you can’t get anywhere else (i.e.: a real-time sports event play by play), talk or sportstalk, or a news program….the idea of turning on a radio station for any type of music, and hoping after a half hour or so they might play one or 2 songs I might love, seems as old fashioned as carbon paper &¬† typewriters.

    I am so incredibly infected with on-demand. Pweh!

    #185435

    michael p
    Participant

    The only reason iHeart hasn’t given up on it is because relaying a national feed on an HD3 signal on a station in Waco, Texas, or in Wheeling, WV, or on WGAR-HD2 is because iHeart can get an advantage on royalty payments for feeding the music on a terrestrial signal that they wouldn’t get if it was solely on the iHeartRadio platform.

    I believe this is the answer to my question!
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