Oh no, one of these articles again. Better get your act together radio people!
The Things We Left Undone By Sean Ross On Sep 23, 2019
Radio Show 2019 NAB RAB Sean RossThe HD Radio ads started nearly 15 years ago. They were hard to miss for a while, even when only broadcasters themselves and the most dedicated hobbyists owned an HD radio. The ads tried to explain “stations between the stations,” but to most people, the concept was nebulous, and so was the navigation of the radio, something confirmed when I went to buy an HD Radio. Then the Pandora app came to the iPhone and made clear which new technology was truly embraced by consumers.
HD Radio’s most prominent role now is to feed FM translators — some of which fill needed niches and provide a valuable public service, some of which are just spoilers. Had America developed an easier-to-use and more robust HD Radio, we might now have the viable digital tier that exists in the U.K. or Australia (where usage of streaming audio alternatives is indeed lower these days). At worst, broadcasters would have had more additional stations ready for the age of streaming. Instead, the job of providing and organizing niche channels remained with satellite radio, HD Radio’s intended target
I thought from the beginning that digital radio should have its own digital band, somewhere higher in frequency than the FM band, something like DAB is doing in Europe.
It's clever what HD technology is doing to add the digital signal alongside of analog signals, but it's fairly destructive to the AM and FM bands.
It's one of the things that stations seemed to be pushed to do, and at a late date, when radio scientists should have started earlier to lay the groundwork for it. America was behind on that one.
I always think stations should making noise of their own about what would be good for them and what they really want, but stations are pushovers, not wanting to worry about the tech that drives them and stay on top of it. They're about keeping the business going, making enough money, and attracting listeners.
That's where the NAB should step in, getting the FCC to realize, "Hey! We're over here!" Not enough aggression and boots being put down.
It's a triad in regulation, with the Stations, NAB and FCC, they're tight, and no one is making moves because of the strong interdependence.