|DIGITAL WILL ONLY INCREASE PROFITS
FOR THE LARGEST STATIONS
Digital Audio will not restore lost listenership:
"There are many emerging technologies that will offer broadband Internet access. Services for fixed applications will be offered by DSL technologies, Cable Modem, LMDS and satellite services at s-mKu- and Ka-bands. It is simply a matter of time before the wireless industry can offer broadband Internet access to mobile applications, using point-to-point or broadcast connections and directly compete with Broadcaster markets. It is therefore important for the Broadcaster to be given the opportunity to convert to digital in the near future."
Is that (satellite or the Internet being in a digital format) in fact the reason that people will pay $10/month plus hundred$ of dollar$ for satellite (and computer) audio receivers ... is solely the fact that it is digital?
Duncan's research comments do NOT mention a lack of "near CD sound quality", but they DO mention "increase spot loads (ads) ... lack of programming innovation."
Consider: The Internet was not a viable alternative for sound until about 1997.
Consider: The CD was common in the early 1980s. The tape in the mid 1970s.
Consider: Listenership picked up as citizens began discussions on talk shows ... and dropped off as inclusive radio talk show hosts like Larry King and Patrick Buchanan with interesting guests were replaced with cheaper bombastic shows (with few to no guests to challenge hosts) like Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura.
Consider: People are going to Internet radio, MP3 sites and bitcasting ... because the Internet provides more variety (and Sony even baldly said so above) where the LISTENER EDITS THE PLAYLIST, NOT DUE TO BETTER SOUND!!!
None of these trend issues have to do with encoding methods and everything to do with CONTENT.
To ban analog FM and reduce the number of stations recievable by
consumers due to overlapping signals caused by 430kHz version of IBOC is
akin to forcing all movies to include special effects and banning movies
like "Blair Witch".
Digital encoding will not alone create useful new content that the public is demonstrably interested in.
This indicates that the unstated logical item number one for the NAB's support for Digital Audio Broadcasting is FLAWED.
If you read the comments in the DAB-IBOC proceedings, a recurring theme is that the Broadcasters "need" the FCC to force this new standard on the American Public and furthermore that the giveaway in spectrum is necessary to remain competitive and furthermore that the existing broadcsters must get "replacement service" with DAB before any new entrants (competition) is allowed in!
That would be like arguing in the 1950s that only existing AM stations be allowed to start FM radio stations ... and that the FCC must ensure that there is not enough room on the FM dial for new entrants to create competition!
To continue the analogy, it would also be like additionally requiring free spectrum be given to the braodcasters so that they can send phone conversations and data over a portion of their signal that is many times larger than the broadcast portion ... and if they cannot compete with the phone companies on our spectrum for free , they will "take their ball and go home" (deprive us of digital radio).
And even furthermore, only the largest broadcasters would benefit, since they would overlap the signals of smaller stations and thus only the large stations would have a solid "auxiliary" signal to sell subscription mobile digital data delivery services on.
Joe McCarthy would have had a field day with that argument.
BIA associates noted that in 1998, the average profits for large public radio ownership groups such as Clear Channel were running 35%-40%. Considering that the average Grocer earns 1% profit margin and most stockholders would be deliriously happy to achieve a 15%-20% return on investment, an assertion such as this from the NAB is a cruel joke to taxpayers at the least.
Since it appears that the entire IBOC DAB process is
founded upon these two assertions, it is very likely possible that the
entire reason for Digital Audio Broadcasting is flawed and should be considered
then only with much caution for its potentially deleterious effects on
a Democracy that counts on a "Free Press" that is free of domination by
particular group of people, be that government, religious OR Corporate!
The large radio chains have fired the staff that would have created that programming innovation that the Internet, community and satellite radio are now creating.
Trying to "fix" a programming problem with technology
is like putting special effects on a bad movie and then trying to ban the
indpendent productions like "Blair Witch".
Even more amazing ...
Sony themselves said in the IBAC proceedings (docket 99-325):
Technology Investor magazine in discussing Worldspace (the Satellite Direct radio service already implemented in South Africa) said, "The only complaint: customers want more radio stations, more niche stations."
So WHAT potential benefits is Sony referring to when they demand "encouragement" of the purchase of their products?
If you look at Duncan American Radio analysis, there is no mention of a desire for "near CD quality" nor for the banner ads and artist IDs proposed as a variant of the Radio Data Systems (RDS) style radios that have already been available since 1979 and have always been a crashing market failure!
And what is "near CD quality"? Lucent cites in appendix F.1 of their 99-325 comments that:
The NAB stations have largely fired the staff that would have created that programming innovation or Sony's "variety of new program channels" and show no sign of rehiring.
FURTHERMORE, EVEN TO "GO DIGITAL" DOES NOT REQUIRE 430kHz OF BANDWIDTH:
Sony again in the same proceedings (FCC Docket 99-325) commentary state:
"Today's technology will permit a spectrum efficiency of between 0.7b/s/Hz and 1.5b/s/Hz. With a 200kHz bandwidth, data rates between 140kbps and 300kbps are achievable. With PAC or AAC, near CD quality at 64kbps should be possible with enough link margin. However, in order to attract customers, CD quality at 128kbps (MPEG AAC) and a limited data capability is preferred. This still translates to a bandwidth of between 100kHz and 200kHz. Sony believes, however, that bit rates of 64-384Kbps are required to add enough value to attract customers to this new technology. The exact rate depends on whether the service would carry text, a still picture or moving picture. This additional bit capacity would require a frequency bandwidth between 200kHz and 400kHz, which is equivalent to what is offered by the all-digital system. If these rates are attempted at narrower bands, the system becomes too susceptible to frequency-selective fading and compromises robustness."There it is, from Ceasar's mouth himself, DAB is a market flop, and they don't need any more than perhaps 40kHz of bandwidth to create Digital Audio anyway! So why do they claim to need 430kHz of bandwidth?
This leaves then the only reason that they would need so much bandwidth (the excess signal that would stomp your favorite station's signal) is the proposed "auxiliary services" ... such as ... wireless data delivery like the Subcarrier based Radio Data Systems products that have been available since 1979 ... and have always been a market flop. Or perhaps they plan to create a subscription-only DAB variation of CUE Corporation's SCA-based voice beepers ON YOUR AIRWAVES THAT USED TO CONTAIN YOUR FAVORITE PROGRAMMING!
If then Digital will save the Big Broadcaster's bacon, let them try it within the 137kHz of excess broadcast capacity already provided within the 200kHz of the presently legally allowed bandwidth!
FURTHERMORE, with the advent of "Flash BIOS" technlogy (seen most commonly in V.90 modems) NO MANDATORY STANDARD IS NECESSARY.
The FCC could simply require that all DAB recievers mush have a Flash BIOS with a standard upgrade code that can even be recieved through the antenna for immediate on-the-fly-upgrades to new digital CODECS as our ability to compress audio digitally improves.
From that point forward it is up
to the builders and purveyors of Digital Audio to make their case in a
marketplace and for us to freely choose or refuse.
CENTER FOR THE PUBLIC PRESS PRESENTS:
This site is designed to address efforts by a powerful minority to bend public policy to their aide and benefit at our expense and loss of liberty and access to the many voices of a healthy Democratic Republic.
The Basic Plan: Force a new standard for Digital Audio
Broadcasting (IBOC-DAB) * that destroys the remaining
stations that have resisted consolidation including any new LPFM stations
that are started.
Please call your Congressmen and Senators ... make sure they know you know that you want to hear your favorite station on the radios you already own!
Ask your Federal Representatives and Sentators to send a letter to the FCC Commissioners that we must:
1) Keep the FM dial FM
2) We want access to more choices in program values
and sources [stations], not less.
3) Help Digital Audio find a third separate "Digital Band" just as we moved FM to a different band from AM in the 1950s.
1) Better sound (actually, less noise)
2) More robust signal (like your PCS cellphone)
3) The ability to put banner ads and weather maps or traffic wreck warning maps on a display on the radio faceplate.
Don't stare too long while driving or you're the next car wreck mapped!
There are those who claim
that your favorite station is threatened by the NEW Low Power FM service
... what about that?
Community radio is designed to encourage
by encouraging a diversity of ownership/control.
A diversity of people and organizations
A healthy democracy hears from everyone, not
the beautiful or profitable people.
Newt Gingrich, 1994
"Information is the currency of democracy.",
You have a right in a Democratic Republic for your story to be heard
by those whose decisions affect your life ...