The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded a grant to NPR Labs to undertake an expedited Advanced Digital Radio Coverage and Compatibility Study to improve innovative HD Radio services. The study will establish industry recommendations for the amount of power increase needed to improve digital radio coverage while protecting the existing analog FM system and its subcarriers. It will seek to determine how to maximize HD coverage while minimizing interference with essential analog FM radio services. The $350,000 study is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
Findings will be presented to CPB, FCC and the broader industry in time for the National Association of Broadcaster’s Radio Show in Philadelphia in September 2009.
The new study will seek to determine how to maximize HD coverage while minimizing interference with essential analog FM radio services. It will build on earlier research by NPR Labs of digital radio coverage, also funded by CPB. The earlier study revealed that FM services would experience a high level of interference from HD signals in some areas, if the needed power increase was not closely managed.
NPR Labs is working with representatives from CPB and several major commercial radio entities, as well as representatives from public radio stations with major investments in digital radio. Major participants with digital operations include American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio, St. Paul; WABE-FM, Atlanta; WAMU-FM, Washington; WBGO-FM, Newark; WDUQ-FM, Pittsburgh; WFAE-FM, Charlotte; WNYC-FM, New York; WTMD-FM, Towson/Baltimore; WVXU-FM, Cincinnati; WUKY-FM, Lexington, KY; WUSF-FM, Tampa; KJZZ-FM, KBAQ-FM, and SunSounds Radio Reading Service, Phoenix; KQED-FM, San Francisco and KQEI-FM, Sacramento; and KUHF-FM, Houston.
Industry associations participating in the study include: the Consumer Electronics Association, the North American Broadcasters Association, the International Association of Audio Information Services, and the Association of Public Radio Engineers.