| 29 Feb 2024
IRF 2012: The future of broadcast radio is hybrid

ZURICH: Laying emphasis on the HD technology enabling switchover from FM stations to digital, the future of the medium is definitely positive with digital broadcast technologies opening up more creative outlets for radio programming.

Discussing the success of the technology and future of HD Radio was Ibiquity Digital senior vice-president Joe D'Angelo addressing the ‘Digital Broadcast technology’ session.

Using the in-band on channel (IBOC) method, the digital signals are transmitted at around four per cent of the licensed analogue power through the HD radio technology. Though many claim that this advancement will phase out FM stations completely, Angelo begs to differ. “We are just expanding the choice for users and designing products for a richer user experience. AM and FM stations are now migrating or simulcasting on HD. But the future of broadcast radio is hybrid radio,” he stated.

Adding a powerful dimension to the interactive user experience, the technology has also recently launched a unique artist experience by synchronizing images with the audio on mobile screens. HD has made its mark in the US with around 2300 FM stations converting to digital in 272 measured markets which is roughly about 88 per cent of the US audience.

Angelo adds, “HD radio signals are available on 97 of the top 100 stations in 10 cities. And these are stations in major markets with large audiences.”

The new form of technology is licensed to broadcasters for a one time fee of around 5000 USD and it also allows multicasting on several channels opening up opportunities for complimentary and dissimilar programming. The additional content provided to the audience may help in increasing listenership and identifying to bracket a certain target group.

Apart from the US, the company is also looking to expand its technology in other countries as well. While the technology is being rolled out in countries like Mexico, Germany and more, its still in the testing and advanced interest range in other regions like India.

The session also highlighted the future of HD radio with the technology being offered for radio in cars and smartphones. With around 28 auto brands already offering the technology, the company only aims to establish itself into the automotive market too.

iBiquity Digital is the developer and licenser of HD Radio Technology, which is transforming AM and FM broadcasting with numbers of channels and new data services. It is engaged with broadcasters; receiver, component and broadcast equipment manufacturers; automotive manufacturers; and retailers in the United States and around the world to ensure swift and successful adoption of HD Radio Technology.

HD Radio Technology is being tested and adopted in more than a dozen countries throughout the world, due in large part to its ability to deliver digital quality sound and services while making greater use of the existing analog spectrum. There are more stations broadcasting today with HD Radio Technology around the world than DAB or DRM, and over 300,000 hours of HD Radio broadcasts are transmitted each week.

Initial stages of HD Radio testing and conversion began in the United States in 2003 but the benefits of HD Radio Technology have resulted in significant interest from broadcasters worldwide. HD Radio stations are operating in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Romania, Thailand and Ukraine and successful testing and trials have been conducted in many countries throughout the world, including Argentina, Bosnia, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland and Vietnam.