NPR Labs has announced that it is going to conduct a further study, financed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, of the potential of interference from a proposed increase in the power of HD Radio operations. Last year, NPR had raised issues with the proposal by Ibiquity and a number of commercial broadcasters for power increases in the digital radio operations of FM radio stations. At the end of last year, the FCC asked for comments on the proposal for increased HD radio power, and on NPR’s concerns about the power increase. As set forth in this week’s NPR press release, the new study will be conducted in conjunction with other broadcasters in an attempt to arrive at a way to increase HD radio power without creating undue interference to the analog operations of existing stations.
While the FCC comment period in this proceeding has ended, the FCC is always willing to accept informal comments until a decision is reached. The Commission is particularly interested in informal comments if those comments propose a way to resolve the conflict between parties to a proceeding. If NPR is able, though this testing, to come up with a solution that will protect analog operations while allowing for a power increase in some or all HD radio operations, you can expect that the results will be reflected in the FCC’s final action. Thus, this study may have important ramifcations for the future of HD Radio.