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Jul. 16 2012

HD Radio…The Most Unloved Format Ever!

By Jonathan Palevsky | Posted in Host Blogs | 12 Comments

Many years ago I dated a girl who had a passion for what she called ‘Nobody Wants Me Paint’.  This unique kind of paint could be had for free at Home Depot or Lowes because someone had ordered it and either didn’t want it, or never came to pick it up.  What does this fond memory have to do with HD radio?  Read on and find out.

Until recently, I was one of the many millions of radio listeners who were vaguely aware of HD radio, but did nothing about it.  ‘Why bother’, thus I.  ‘Who needs another radio?’  (Frankly if you’re under 25 most people say,   ‘who needs a radio altogether’.)  However, once WBJC decided to install an HD transmitter when we upgraded our regular transmitter, I decided to take the leap.  I hopped on to Best Buy’s web site and quickly purchased 2 Insignia radios.  One was a portable pocket sized radio and the other a small table top boom box.

Much to my amazement, HD radio is fabulous!  The sound quality is great and thanks to stations being able to offer multiple channels on the same frequency, something WBJC will do in the future, there are even more choices in programming.  This begs the question, why is nobody interested in this new, available and inexpensive format?  I have no idea.  All I can say is that HD radio is here, works well and is worthy of your time and money.  Don’t let it linger like ‘Nobody Wants Me Paint.’

With that in mind here are a few of the usual HD radio questions answered.

1)Does HD radio cause regular radio to have any problems?  NO!  You can go on using your regular radio forever.  It’s not like HD TV where you had to buy a converter.  Regular radio will remain the same as it ever was.

2)If I use an HD radio will I get better reception?  If you are out of the radio stations primary area of coverage, probably not.  However, if you are in an area of primary coverage you will probably get better sound than without HD.

3)When will WBJC get extra HD channels and what will we do with them?  Probably within a year or two we will add extra channels and right now what will be on them is open to discussion.

4)What does HD stand for?  The answer is not High Definition…but Hybred Digital.  It was originally called IBOC which stood for In Band On Channel (A name only an engineer could love!).

5)What are the advances of HD radio in terms of sound?  One; there is no multipath noise.  Two; there is scarcely any FM noise at all.

6)What if I like AM stations and my HD radio is only FM?  Good News!  Many AM stations are carried by their FM counterparts as sub channels.  For example WBAL 1090 AM is also available as WIYY 98.7 FM HD 4.  The Orioles never sounded so good.

If you have questions or comments regarding your HD radio experiences, drop us a line at WBJC.com.

Jonathan Palevsky

About

Jonathan is WBJC's Program Director and host of many WBJC programs. His full bio can be read here.

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