Monday, August 06, 2012

The "D" In HD Radio = "Darn?"

I have an Accurian HD Radio on my bedside table and have been carefully setting aside an hour with a cup of coffee for the past five weeks to listen closely to the replay of Robert Harris' fascinating five hour long "History Of The Gods" on CBC's Sunday Edition with Michael Enright

"The traditional record business is dying. What will happen when it goes?" 

By and large, I enjoy the additional choices the radio gives.  It brings me every Seattle FM station's programming times three and fairly-impressive sound.

The always-thought-provoking CBC program is broadcast on KOUW-FM HD2, with KUOW's main channel on HD1 and the BBC World Service 24/7 on HD3

Sure, I could have listened to it on CBC's web site, but the convenience of having that radio in my bedroom has been a terrific reminder for me that HD Radio could indeed be a part of radio's future, in spite of the fact that a tiny percentage of today's radio audience uses it in the wake of considerable promotion and increasing availability, due to the turnaround in American auto sales.

Suddenly, I feel a bit like Don Quixote.  After investing five hours of my time listening (building up to the show's climax in the last two minutes when it seemed like host Enright was about to tell me what was going to happen to the music business), suddenly the audio dropped completely.

I switched to HD1 and of course the normal KUOW analog FM programming was loud and clear.  HD3 was also coming in just fine, but HD2 was silent.  No signal. 

My Bainbridge Island bedroom is 14 miles from KUOW's 100,000 transmitter and tower atop Seattle's Capitol Hill.

Lesson learned.

I can't count on HD Radio when I really need it.

Up to now, I had always considered myself ahead of the curve technically as one of the only people on my block with an HD Radio, thinking that eventually everyone else would some day catch up with me.

Today, as I had to head to the Internet in order to reliably hear those terrific final minutes of the program on demand via my smart phone, I realized that my HD Radio-less friends had beaten me to the media future, while I - like the recording industry - was the one trying hopelessly to hold onto a past that's quickly vanishing.

My $200 "digital" bedside radio let me down and my smart phone which costs exactly the same amount rescued me.

It does everything my radio does (yes, it does have FM radio on it) and many things more as well.

What took me so long to figure that out?


HD Radio® Farce said...

"A Smart Choice Of HD-2 Formats"

"One of HD-2's challenges seems just to be staying on the air. At, Dave Hughes gave Clear Channel's eRockster (now heard on WWDC's multicast channel) a plug only to note the next day (July 12) that it was off the air, as was WTOP's HD-3 traffic/weather channel. That's an experience I've had with many of New York's HD-2 channels as well, by the way. What's even more pathetic about the 'here-one-day-and-gone-the-next' status of local HD Radio channels is that I'm probably the only one who's noticing the absences, Hughes writes."

The HD Radio system is fraught with technical problems that will never be overcome.

Anonymous said...

Here is what is at my has FM as well and costs less :-). Sure, i have to pay for the Internet and its not HD but I like the trade off

Steve Stewart