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When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

The technical side of broadcasting. Think IBOC is a sham? Talk about it here! How about HDTV? Post DX reports here as well.
bmw
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When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by bmw » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:47 pm

The good news is, IBOC on AM continues its decline.

So far this year, 6 more stations have dropped it, including WHAM 1180. That brings the total number of AM stations with IBOC turned on down to 123, including only 36 at night.

So far, of all the AM stations that have ever turned on IBOC, nearly 60 percent have shut it off.

I don't see how it lasts more than a few more years before the plug is pulled entirely on this disaster of an experiment.

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MWmetalhead
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Re: When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by MWmetalhead » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:33 am

I'm with you - I hate IBOC on the AM band, and nearly all evidence seems to suggest investing in IBOC transmitting capabilities is like throwing money down the toilet.

Almost as annoying are purely analog stations that restrict their bandwidth to 5 kHz. My receiver is capable of emitting a full 10 kHz worth of frequency range; I do not like the fact broadcasters are depriving me of that listening experience.

There is zero evidence to support that IBOC on the AM band has done a single friggin' thing to improve ratings or revenue on the AM band. Meanwhile, more & more AM stations are becoming dumping grounds for fringe programming and long-time stalwarts such as WABC and WLS are seeing mediocre to terrible ratings.

Look at WDFN and WXYT in Detroit. Ten years ago, those two stations on a combined basis commanded about a 3.5 percent share of Metro Detroit's radio listening. Today? About 0.3 percent.

Even WGN in Chicago has seen its ratings spiral downward over the past twelve months.

In Metro Detroit, the following AM stations still use their IBOC exciters: 560 WRDT (days only), 910 WFDF, 950 WWJ, 1270 WXYT, 1340 WEXL. I suspect 1200 WCHB will be added to the list once Crawford returns the station to the air.

WRDT, WFDF, WXYT and WEXL all have abysmal if not statistically negligible ratings.

I have yet to see a single study that suggests adding IBOC transmission to an AM license is cash flow accretive.
C'mon iHeartRadio - do the RIGHT thing for once! Please cancel "Rover's Morning Glory" from WBFX in Grand Rapids.

originalzzmfmjock
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Re: When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by originalzzmfmjock » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:41 am

If IBOC on AM died tomorrow, it would be one day too late IMHO.

bmw
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Re: When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by bmw » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:49 am

I've often wondered if the IBOC was intentionally designed to degrade the quality of the analog signal with the theory that this would drive up the demand for digital.

Not only is there no evidence that it doesn't help with ratings, I think I've asked this question in here before, but what percentage of an AM radio station's audience whereby the station has a digital offering actually listens on an HD radio to the digital signal? Is it even 1 or 2 percent? Let's be super generous and say it is 5 percent. Even if that were the case, what you've done is degrade the listening experience for the other 95 percent of your listeners.

I can't for the life of me figure out in what world or universe that makes any sense, even from a purely business perspective. Especially when you consider the initial cost of even getting a digital signal on the air.

The 2 strongest Detroit signals up my way (northeast lower Michigan) are 910 and 950, and the digital buzzsaw on adjacent frequencies is quite strong.

I remember back in 2007 or 2008 I used to listen at night to AM 750 WSB, and for the short time that WJR had IBOC on at night, it made WSB all but unlistenable. Another buzzsaw war I remember (which lasted much longer up until just a few years ago) was between KDKA 1020 and WBZ 1030. These 2 stations practically annihilated each other.

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audiophile
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Re: When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by audiophile » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:52 pm

I don't think it sounds good on talk programming. The compression it uses sounds very unnatural.

On some music, but not all, it sounds ok.
Ask not what your country can do FOR you; ask what they are about to do TO YOU!!

k8jd
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Location: Commerce, MI

Re: When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by k8jd » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:00 am

A.M. Talk radio sure does not benefit from stereophonic sound, Usually only one person speaking . jingles and commercials with music sound pretty bad too because of high compression levels and limiting. . At least on WWJ.

Marcus
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Location: Sarnia, Ontario

Re: When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by Marcus » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:38 pm

The all digital mode on AM might work, but would require a second channel kind of like what TV did during the transition year from 1998 up until 2009. One problem with IBOC is the the digital mode is 500 watts at best. No entire Metro area can be covered both day and night with that kind of power.

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SolarMax
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Re: When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by SolarMax » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:42 pm

Marcus wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:38 pm
The all digital mode on AM might work, but would require a second channel kind of like what TV did during the transition year from 1998 up until 2009. [...]
We remember the smashing success of the great highly-hyped DAB experiment in Canada.
There's no "second channel" spectrum to offer for any sort of complete analog to digital transition on the medium wave BC band.
If it could be done, DRM would probably be the way to do it, though. Even though there was a ten year period of analog and digital TV simulcasting, it wasn't until almost up to analog shutoff day that there was much movement to promote awareness of DTV and to produce HD content to show off its capabilities. Radio would have to offer some incredible sonic and data incentives to cause replacement of existing receivers. Apparently, many people don't seem to know if they even have a radio anywhere in their homes, so a digital future does not look good for any kind of technical innovation in radio to be successful with consumers.

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WOHO
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Re: When will IBOC on AM finally be DEAD?

Post by WOHO » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:20 pm

I like that many of the Nautel transmitters have a menu option to kill the IBOC, switch it to good old analog CQUAM stereo, then you open-up your bandwidth back to the full 10.2KHz instead of the brickwalled 5KHz. Sounds much better, and some IBOC radios will decode the analog stereo, but at the reduced bandwidth. The Delcos and Chrysler rigs of the 90's had some nice wide bandwidth AM stereo capabilities and sound. Only CFCO takes advantage of that- 560 did at one time as did 1340 (and WJR and CKLW).

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