They’re turning off HD in Washington, DC


Well, this time it’s not an anomaly or a digital exciter glitch—at least not that we can see. For weeks now the Washington, DC market has been turning off its HD Radio signals en masse. There is no longer any station in the market on AM broadcasting in HD. ESPN Deportes Radio/Red Zebra’s 730 WXTR-AM long ago shut off the signal. But now that list includes 630 WMAL (Citadel); 570 WTNT (Clear Channel); Red Zebra’s 980 ESPN Radio; and 1500 WFED-AM (Bonneville). The FM list now includes 106.7 WJFK-FM (CBS Radio); 102.3 WWMJ-FM (Radio One); 104.1 WPRS-FM (Radio One) and 107.7 WWWT-FM (Bonneville).

RBR/TVBR observation: The most likely culprit is licensing fees. Just not worth it for some in tough economic times. Also, these FMs did not have HD multicast (HD2) signals, and two of them were broadcasting in mono—so what’s the point? For the AM side, unless you are 50,000 watts, most radios can’t pick up AM HD very far from the tower array. WFED is 50-kW, but you’d never know it because of its higher frequency—just doesn’t propagate well.