In Tampa, college broadcasters find advantages in pubradio affiliation

The University of South Florida’s student-run radio station has forged a three-year partnership with Tampa’s WUSF Public Media to broadcast its programming as a digital multicast FM channel. The partnership, initiated this spring by student leaders of Bulls Radio, also provides mentorship and internship opportunities for USF students with the public radio station. WUSF is a full-service pubcaster also licensed to the university. It operates two public radio stations — NPR news and talk WUSF 89.7 FM and all classical WSMR 89.1 FM — as well a public TV station with four digital multicast channels. Last month, Bulls Radio began airing on WUSF’s HD 3 channel.

Slow growth for HD Radio

Nearly a decade after HD Radio went live on its first station, iBiquity Digital Corp., the company that developed and sold the technology to terrestrial broadcasters and electronics manufacturers, has yet to convince consumers that they must have HD Radio in their cars and homes.

WXPN offering XPoNential Triple A stream for HD broadcasts

Philadelphia’s WXPN began independent syndication of XPoNential Radio, its 24-hour stream of Triple A music programming,  after NPR discontinued its service providing packaged HD Radio feeds to member stations. XPoNential Radio offers a blend of “blues, rock, world, folk and alternative country,” according to a news release announcing the new syndication offer.  WXPN General Manager Roger LaMay said about 20 stations already subscribed to the stream. “With XPoNential Radio being the most popular of the HD streams NPR offered, we decided to offer it on our own,” LaMay said. “It’s a 24-hour, plug and play stream that can be used on an HD2, HD3 or for streaming on the Internet.”

The stream, which is priced at $3,000 a year, is an inexpensive way to bring the music to NPR news stations, LaMay said. Subscribers have the option of picking up the stream via Content Depot or via satellite.

What public stations should consider about upgrading HD Radio power

Two of NPR’s top technologists recently back from the NAB Show share the microphone to weigh the pros and cons for stations that might boost their digital signals to improve listeners’ reception of HD Radio. Dennis: Digital radio broadcasting is a reality now in most American communities, though adoption is still modest. About 2.5 million receivers have been sold, but assuming multiple receivers for early adopters and counting methodologies, household penetration might be roughly 2 percent — about as many households as in  a market the size of Washington. Public radio has aggressively invested in digital radio transmission. Some stations, such as WAMU in Washington, have also made significant programming investments in new channels.

For WAMU and its listeners, HD Radio means more slices of pie to go around

As a self-proclaimed evangelist for HD Radio, I am often asked why I have inculcated it so deeply in the workings of WAMU in Washington. We devote several full-time employees to produce more than 50 hours a week of live original programming for our multicast channels — bluegrass and Americana music on Channel 2, and news and information on Channel 3. We further demonstrate our commitment to multicasting on our main channel. For the first year after we started multicasting three HD Radio channels, we spent at least 15 seconds of every hour on our flagship signal cross-promoting Channels 2 and 3, and our hosts still give them at least four spots a day. Reminding listeners of the other offerings in our “radio community” requires a sizable investment in airtime, as well as the traffic department’s writing and logging.