North East RadioWatch: October 21, 2002

by Scott Fybush

In this issue:

Like it or loathe it, Ibiquity's "HD Radio" system now has the official blessing of the FCC (all day for FM, daytime only for AM) -- and New York's WOR (710) couldn't wait to be first in the country to sign on with the system.

FCC approval came Thursday, October 10, and when the sun rose over New Jersey the next morning, "WOR-HD" was on the air, to decidedly mixed reviews. Since receivers for the digital system aren't yet available, the initial reaction came from analog listeners. At least among the trained ears of the medium-wave DX community, the initial reports suggested that WOR's analog audio, constrained by the bandwidth requirements of the digital signal, sounded much thinner than usual. And since the "in-band, on-channel" system actually utilizes bandwidth from adjacent channels as well, there were immediate reports of significant digital hash as far down the dial as 690 kHz and as far up as 730 kHz.

We'll have more thoughts in the weeks to come about the viability of the "HD Radio" system for AM, in particular where night service is concerned...stay tuned.

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Copyright 2002, Scott Fybush. Last updated: October 21, 2002.