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25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
A series of posts describing how this all came about. (Click on picture above)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

HD Radio:
Missing in Action
from the
FCC Web Site

You may have heard that HD Radio is coming, but it is unlikely you heard it from the FCC website. Why? Information there is nearly impossible to find and what little you find won't answer your questions unless you happen to own a broadcast station.

So take the famous FCC website search engine and type in "HD Radio". You will get the results shown below:

Note that there are just 2 hits. The second turns out to be totally bogus. The first is a 2005 R&O from ET Docket 04-139 on implementation of WRC-03 where fn. 10 says,

The Commission has previously authorized the use of an In-Band On-Channel (IBOC) Digital Audio Broadcasting system in the AM (535-1705 kHz) and FM (88-108 MHz) broadcasting bands, which was developed by the iBiquity Digital Corporation (iBiquity). The action that we take today is limited to HF broadcasting and in no way disturbs the transition to iBiquity’s technology, which is known as High Definition (HD) Radio, in the AM and FM bands. See www.ibiquity.com for more information on HD Radio.

Turns out the problem is both the FCC search engine and the fact that FCC doesn't call this technology the same thing everyone else does, except in obscure places like the footnote above. This was a problem I had noticed at the Japanese counterpart of the FCC when I worked there in 1999 - they tend to use different terminology than the Japanese public and much of the electronics industry. But I didn't expect this from FCC.

On the search engine issue, if you go to Google and enter

"HD Radio" site:www.fcc.gov

you will actually get 3 more hits on the FCC site that the FCC's obsolescent search engine missed:
  1. Remarks of Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate To the Kentucky Broadcasters Association, October 18, 2007
  2. XM Document Request.11.2
  3. FCC Media Ownership Study #5: Station Ownership and Programming in ... - Nov 14
So at least Commissioner Tate knows it is now generally called "HD Radio" not IBOC.

But if a consumer wants information, he will strike out. It is not one of the 17 "consumer Center" links on the cluttered FCC home page. It is not on the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau's home page. If you keep digging you may find "Digital radio - The Sound of the Future" but you will never see "HD Radio" mentioned here nor get a hint of where to get further information such as the number of stations on the air.

If you keep digging further you will also find different consumer information on the Media Bureau's "IBOC Digital Radio Broadcasting for AM and FM Radio Broadcast Stations" page. This page is mostly of interest to broadcasting policy junkies and radio station owners. It has information like the following

Where Can I Obtain a Digital Receiver

The pace of development of IBOC digital receivers for consumers depends on a number of factors, including how fast and how many AM and FM stations commence digital broadcasting, and how soon receiver manufactures can produce radio receivers. Check with local electronics suppliers from time to time for digital radio receivers!

But if you go into Radio Shack or Circuit City and say "IBOC Radio", the sales clerk will probably not understand you at all!

So my suggestion to FCC: Start using the terminology that Commissioner Tate and the rest of the world uses on your web site, not just in WRC-related agenda items and speeches by commissioners.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HD Radio is also missing in action from the minds of consumers: