Gaping hole in the digital receiver proposal


The “Radio All Digital Channel Receiver Act” introduced by Ed Markey (D-MA) makes room on digital receivers designed to be interoperable between newly merged satcasters XM and Sirius. But there’s a catch. The receivers have to already include regular old analog terrestrial AM and FM. Here’s the wording that would amend Section 303 of the Communications Act of 1934, contained in new subsection (z): “Require that apparatus shipped in interstate commerce or manufactured in the United States that is designed to receive signals broadcast in both the satellite digital audio radio service and the terrestrial AM or FM broadcast service be equipped with technology that is capable of receiving and playing digital radio signals as transmitted by terrestrial AM or FM stations.”

A Markey staffer confirmed that the requirement to provide for reception of digital AM-FM only applies if the receiver in question is already designed to receive analog AM-FM.

RBR/TVBR observation: So if you’re Mel Karmazin, how do you keep HD radio off of your digital interoperable satellite radio receiver? DUHHHHH. One of the FCC merger conditions was that third party manufacturers be allowed to build receivers with as many bells and whistles as they wish. But this bill, should it be passed, may inspire cost-conscious manufacturers to provide an MP3 port or some such thing and simply bypass terrestrial radio altogether. If the goal is to assure that all receivers have access to local broadcasting so they are a can tune into information sources during an emergency, there needs to be a terrestrial carriage requirement, digital AND analog, period.