Is this a joke???? Maybe I'm out of the loop, but I've never heard of "HI-Def" BROADCAST FM, just the new (and supposedly, sonically inferior) satellite digital radio systems, X-FM and Sirus, I believe. Sounds like your station is pulling a marketing scam. Maybe they just removed the compressors, limiters, processors, and EQ'ing from the transmitted signal. Call the station, and ask to speak with the Engineering department for an explanation.
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Squawk! Fatparrot is out of the loop! SQUAWK! Herman, thanks for the heads-up. After reading about "HD-Radio", it appears to be a marketing ploy to lull gullible consumers into purchasing "the next digital frontier". SUCKERS!
THERE IS NO QUANTUM LEAP OF FIDELITY BETWEEN ANALOG FM, AND "HD-FM"!!! The chief improvement is in car (mobile) FM operating in fringe reception areas, or urban areas where FM multi-pathing interference MAY be a problem! (I stopped listening to radio in the mid '90's, and I never noticed an objectionable multi-pathing problem with any quality car tuner that I owned.) It's not even a serious contender for home (non-mobile) tuners, where intermittent multi-pathing problems don't exist. The term "HD-Radio" is deliberately being used as subterfuge, to confuse the average ignorant consumer into believing that jumping from analog radio to digital "HD-Radio" will produce the same astounding quality improvements that jumping from analog TV to HDTV produces. AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN! It sure won't result in a sonic improvement such as FM vs. AM. At the last minute, the PAC Codec was scrapped, because it supposedly made AM sound like crap. The HDC Codec quickly replaced this, and now everything is "just fine"! Does this mean that the fidelity issue has been resolved to be the best that it can possibly be, or that the fidelity of the new Codec is an acceptable last minute substitute, and the product introduction and marketing model is still on track, and this is what "just fine" REALLY means!
According to the info at the WCUG radio website (thanks, Herman!), here are the advantages to "HD-FM"
1) ...crystal clear reception and offering CD quality sound. (Is this an "advantage", redbook CD "quality", now that DVD players are available for cars?!)
2)...that "picket fence" static, called multipath interference, you may have experienced driving around town or while waiting at a red light - are effectively eliminated. (Hey, do your research, and buy a head unit that has a good FM section, or add on a satellite FM receiver but satellite FM has some fidelity issues, as well!)
3) ...is capable of delivering true 5.1 surround sound like you would experience in Music Hall. (NOT! This is only P.R. marketing BULLS**T...maybe if the driver uses hallucinogenic drugs! It's tough enough to tune a two channel system in an asymmetric, mobile, noisy listening room...your car! 5.1 surround requires BIG bucks, and an experienced installer, with proper bench test electronics to "get it right"...most won't. Again, if you're going to spend that kind of money to get it right, wouldn't an audiophile go with 5.1 DVD?
4) Digital radios can also receive and display text and images on small liquid crystal screens. WGUC envisions this feature to offer our listeners the title, composer and performer information from pieces of music or present important text messages, such as updated traffic reports or weather forecasts. (Like, I REALLY want another distraction for inattentive drivers that will be busy reading "liner notes". Important road condition text messages are available now on most good radar detectors!)
5) Digital radio *MAY* allow station operators to offer two distinct program "channels" simultaneously. (I emphasized the word "may", since "HD-Radio" apparently doesn't yet offer this service. Anyone ever heard of "FM multiplexing"...not to be confused with "multi-pathing"...which currently offers the 2 distinct programming channels. You can bet your ass that "multiplexing" for "HD-Radio" will be right around the corner, as this allows for TWO revenue streams (advertising) for a radio station. Will this degrade the primary signal? Who knows for sure!
So, who would benefit from "HD-FM"? It may provide some minor advantages for those drivers who listen to classical or jazz stations. How many car radios throughout the USA are tuned to these formats at any given time ? Less than 1%, I would guess! Reduction of multi-pathing (distortion) is the ONLY sonic benefit that I can determine. Why not just throw on a CD (or DVD), and eliminate the commercials and/or P.S.A.'s, as well?
Other than classical and jazz formats, most radio stations "goose" the audio signal so radically (processors, compressors, limiters, EQ'ing), that what is transmitted over the airwaves is very far removed from the actual music at the control board's line out.
Let's also not forget about the massive increase in commercial traffic (radio ads which are called "spots") insipid programming, and lack of musical diversity, following several major deregulation rulings by the F.C.C. As far as I'm concerned, "video DIDN'T kill the radio star", but rather, the killer was corporate greed, aided and abetted by the F.C.C. So after watching the death of FM radio, I really could care less about revitalizing a corpse. Historical cries such as "Gold!" or "Oil" or "Dot-Com" have created a visceral emotional response, with the resulting abandonment of reason and sanity in many cases. The current cry is "Digital!" or "HD!" or Hi-rez!", and in many cases, evoking the same abandonment of reason today
I agree with every word you wrote about the dismal condition of radio today. There is a way to have extremely high quality local programming. It's called community radio and it's available to any locale. Here is a great example of the streaming version. It's wonderful to drive around listening to the broadcast version. Give it a listen.
Well I guess someone needs to tell DaySequerra that
The term "HD-Radio" is deliberately being used as subterfuge, to confuse the average ignorant consumer into believing that jumping from analog radio to digital "HD-Radio" will produce the same astounding quality improvements that jumping from analog TV to HDTV produces. AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!