In a proposal filed by many of the nation’s largest radio broadcasters, a request was made that the FCC allow FM stations operating with the HD Radio (or "IBOC system" – for "In Band On Channel" as the digital signal is transmitted on the same channel as the current analog signal) to increase power by up to 10 dbu, which is said to be less than 10% of a station’s authorized analog power. The proposal cites the power increase as one that, in most cases, can be made without interference to adjacent channel stations. In certain instances, particularly those of grandfathered short-spaced stations, only certain lesser power increases would be permitted under this proposal. The proponents contend that the increased power will help stations replicate their analog service and increase building penetration so that the service can be received inside large office buildings and even in parking garages. The proponents submit engineering studies that support their position.
I have worded this post very cautiously. We write about many significant and controversial issues on this blog – e.g. indecency, music royalties, multiple ownership rules – but the most animated responses we usually receive is when a post deals with HD Radio. While we have written about many broadcasters who have adopted the HD radio system and are using the multicast ability to bring new services to their communities, we recognize that there are many critics of the programming on HD Radio, or the design of the tuning functions on the radio, or for the lack of the consumer "value proposition" for the purchase of a new radio required to receive the digital transmissions. However, we have found that there are also many who feel vehemently that there are engineering issues with the service. So we post this notice of the FCC filing, and look forward to the response that we will receive.