HD™ Radio and Satellites: Radio Interference

HD Radio and Satellites — Radio Interference

HD™ Radio, beneficiary of an FCC-authorized monopoly, is broadcasting desperation by crying “monopoly” and “Lemme in!”  on the proposed XM Radio –Sirius Radio satellite radio (SatRad) merger. What balls gall. To add insult to injury, huge Clear Channel Communications, long a target of media-consolidation foes, argues that a SatRad merger should include HD reception on SatRad radios, though the technologies and business models have nothing in common at all. 

iBiquity corporation, monopoly license holder of the HD™ Radio franchise, and the HD™ Radio Alliance, lobby for manufacturers and others conned into implementing iBiquity’s unproven technology, whine that any post-merger XM-Sirius radio receivers should receive HD™ Radio signals too. This is a desperate attempt to stall action by a completely different technology with a completely different business model merely because it has proven less of a failure than HD™ Radio. SatRadio is a service consumers actually want.

Consumers willing buy SatRad receivers and pay monthly subscriptions; they like the reception quality, broad choices, lack of commercials and “underwriter announcements,” and the ability to hear the same programming on the same frequency anywhere in the continental U.S. without having to hunt for sydicated broadcasts on local earth stations every few miles when listening in their cars.

Consumers have shown themselves unwilling to buy first-generation HD™ Radio receivers that duplicate their regular FM recievers but add the HD™ Radio broadcasts — at least in the 20 to 30 percent of the reception area of the host station’s conventional FM signal area where they can be heard. HD™ Radio broadcasters even tell you to get your old rooftop TV antenna out of the basement to use with your brand-new HD™ Radio receiver. The HD™ Alliance spin machine attempts to fudge the radio sales numbers but can’t hide the facts.

In a car travelling across country, or even commuting between exurbs and central city, the HD™ Radio signals cut off; the SatRadio signals don’t. HD™ Radio conned National Public Radio (NPR) into becoming an early adopter through license and equipment bargains and subsidies. What NPR and iBiquity forgot: public radio listeners are older, better-educated and more skeptical. When they learn that the “HD” in HD™ Radio does not stand for “High Definition” but is a clever ploy to confuse a public coping with converting to digital television, they become livid.

The iBiquity corporation even gets free government-mandated ads on regular FM: the FCC forces FM radio stations with those weak HD™ Radio signals on their sidebands to use the designation “HD-1” after their call signs in station IDs on conventional FM broadcasts. And now HD™ Radio wants to horn in on a deal that has nothing to do with them, as if interfering with more successful competitors will make their failed product any more attractive.

HDTM Radio interference in the SatRad merger deal only draws attentition to the vast differences in quality and viability between the two modes. HDTM Radio is a loser; does it have to be a whiner, too?


Image by Mike Licht. Trademarks are property of the respective registrants; logos are used to prevent confusion of brand identity, even those brands that were developed with confusion as their purpose.

6 Responses to “HD™ Radio and Satellites: Radio Interference”

  1. PocketRadio Says:

    Everything in this article was dead-right! Hey, have you guys been reading my blog:



  2. bobyoung Says:

    ” HDTM Radio is a loser; does it have to be a whiner, too?”

    Looks like it, they’ll stop at nothing to get their flawed technology into anything that they can force it into.

  3. SatRadio Update « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] NotionsCapital Ideas on Events and Culture from Washington, DC « HD™ Radio and Satellites: Radio Interference […]

  4. Transistor Radio Says:

    Do I hear Am Stereo? It seems the technology radio is betting it’s future on is DOA! They say it’s free with nothing to pay for, but they fail to say there’s nothing to listen to! A few radio geeks spent money for an experimental technology. If nobody’s listening because they can’t sell radios, then what’s the point. It just gets better; I predict some day to save radio our stupid, bumbling congress will mandate a switch from analog to digital for all radio stations. Just like TV.
    It seems dumb because it’s probably true.

  5. PocketRadio Says:

    @Transistor Radio:

    A mandate is not likely to happen – the UK threatened to turn off analog, but due to a lack of consumer interest in digital radio, DAB is failing in the UK. Who buys radios anymore, except for us radio-geeks:

    “Digital Audio Broadcasting Systems and Their Impact on the Terrestrial Radio Broadcast Service”

    15. We will not establish a deadline for radio stations to convert to digital broadcasting. Stations may decide if, and when, they will provide digital service to the public. Several reasons support this decision. First, unlike television licensees, radio stations are under no statutory mandate to convert to a digital format. Second, a hard deadline is unnecessary given that DAB uses an in-band technology that does not require the allocation of additional spectrum. Thus, the spectrum reclamation needs that exist for DTV do not exist here. Moreover, there is no evidence in the record that marketplace forces cannot propel the DAB conversion forward, and effective markets tend to provide better solutions than regulatory schemes.

    16. iBiquity argues that in the early stages of the transition, the Commission should favor and protect existing analog signals. It states that this could be accomplished by limiting the power level and bandwidth occupancy of the digital carriers in the hybrid mode. At some point in the future, when the Commission determines there is sufficient market penetration of digital receivers, iBiquity asserts that the public interest will be best served by reversing this presumption to favor digital operations. At that time, broadcasters will no longer need to protect analog operations by limiting the digital signal and stations should have the option to implement all-digital broadcasts. We decline to adopt iBiquity’s presumption policy because it is too early in the DAB conversion process for us to consider such a mechanism. We find that such a policy, if adopted now, may have unknown and unintended consequences for a new technology that has yet to be accepted by the public or widely adopted by the broadcast industry.


  6. HDOA RADIO Says:

    Hey isn’t this funny? Look what happens when you use google trends to look up the site http://www.hdradio.com:

    “Your terms – http://www.hdradio.com – do not have enough search volume to show graphs.”


    But if you try http://www.ipod.com, http://www.sirius.com or http://www.xmradio.com they all come back with results. More proof that people couldn’t care less about (H)ardly (D)ifferent radio no matter how free it is. HDR advocates would do well to remember that another word for free is worthless. On the other hand ipod and both pay services garner enough attention to generate data.

    The only buzz HD creates is the interference with adjacent stations it can cause.

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