Party’s over, Oldies time!

The Party simulcast is over, and the Oldies have begun:

JVC Media officially launched Oldies “Oldies 98” 98.1 W251BY Patchouge NY/105.3 WPTY-HD2 Calverton-Roanoke today after testing for a few weeks.

The station is operating commercial-free with a mix of music from the 60’s through the 80’s. Charlie Lombardo JVC Media SVP/Programming and midday host at sister Country “My Country 96.1” WJVC as ‘Jay Letterman’ is overseeing the programming on the new station. The new format fills the Oldies gap in Central Long Island created by the move of Connoisseur Media’s 103.1 WBZO Bay Shore to Rock leaning Classic Hits “103.1 Max-FM” in May 2015.

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Can you translate this?

What is a translatorAccording to Wikipedia:

A broadcast relay station, relay transmitter, broadcast translator (U.S.), rebroadcaster (Canada), or repeater (two-way radio) is a broadcast transmitter which repeats or transponds the signal of another radio station or television station, usually to an area not covered by the signal of the originating station.

So, why is there a construction permit for a translator (94.1 W231CM) in Southampton for WALK-FM97.5 FM is a signal that goes everywhere.  It has no trouble at all reaching Southampton.  However, the same can’t be said of their HD-2 signal.

Taylor Swift at the Time 100 Gala, May 3, 2010.
94.1 in Southampton could be the new home of Taylor Swift (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

97.5 HD-2 broadcasts country music, and adding 94.1 on the east end can only help their coverage.  It’s not out of the ordinary for a translator or LPFM station to simulcast an HD-2 signal (Hope Radio is already doing that with WBLI HD-2).  Despite the fact that HD Radio has been around for over ten years, it really hasn’t gained a lot of traction.  Not all stations are broadcasting in HD, and HD radio hardware isn’t exactly flying off the shelves.  94.1 may gain more listeners in their first week than 97.5 HD-2 had in its entire existence.

Country Returns

After stunting with a “wheel of formats” all weekend, 94.7 unveiled their new format this morning:

A loud cheer from Country music fans was heard at 9:47a this morning, as their format returned to the #1 market on CUMULUS WRXP/NEW YORK as 94.7 NASH-FM “America’s Country Station.”

For country music fans, this is a good thing.  Country left the New York City airwaves in 1996 when 103.5 flipped to the New KTU.  Shortly thereafter, 107.1 in Briarcliffe Manor flipped to country as Y-107.  Other stations located at 107.1 FM joined in this simulcast (on Long Island, North Jersey, and Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley) and ultimately created a quadcast.  This would not last long, as in 2002, all four stations would flip to a Spanish format. Long Island country fans can now add 94.7 FM to their car radio presets, but might find it difficult to hold on to the signal as they drive out east.  Fortunately, there are other options.  96.1 WJVC (“My Country 96.1”) recently celebrated two years of playing country music with a concert.  They provide decent coverage of Suffolk county, where Nash-FM has a hard time reaching.  WALK-FM 97.5 HD2 is another choice, for the lucky HD radio owners.  Finally, there’s 92.5 WWYZ (“Country 92-5”) in Hartford, CT, which has been playing country since 1988.  While not based on Long Island, the signal does have a fair reach across the sound. I don’t see Cumulus hanging on to the WRXP call letters for very long, as they’ve been previously associated with a rock format (twice).  Cumulus already has WNSH in Minnesota, so they can be moved here.

HD Radio? What’s that?

Oh, come on, you’ve never heard of HD Radio?  Really?  It’s the greatest thing ever!  It slices, it dices, look at that tomato!

Zune HD device showing HD Radio broadcast
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, seriously, what is HD Radio?  In a nutshell, it’s digital radio, capable of being broadcast over FM or AM, with the possibility of offering multiple programming choices on the same frequency.  Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that.  In fact, a recent survey has shown that most people don’t know what HD Radio is.  Most have heard of it, but many don’t know anything about it.  Very few know that HD Radio offers more programming choices.  Those that thought HD Radio had better sound quality were basing their knowledge on HDTV (i.e., HDTV is better looking TV, so HD Radio is better sounding radio).  Finally, some are confused about the difference between HD Radio (which is free) and satellite radio (paid subscription), and some think HD Radio is satellite radio.

Spectrum of FM broadcast station with HD Radio
Image via Wikipedia

Despite having been around since 2002 or so, HD Radio has made very little inroads.  There are a lot more HD stations now than there used to be, but the public’s awareness of HD radio isn’t any more than it has been from a few years ago.  Finding an HD Radio isn’t too difficult, but it still requires some searching, and if you do find one, the tuner might not be sensitive enough to pick up the radio signal(s) you want.  Right now, the digital signal is being broadcast on the same frequency as the analog signal as a hybrid (HD originally meant Hybrid Digital).  However, the digital signal is not being broadcast at full strength, in fact it’s a far cry from full strength.  Then there’s the issue of sound quality.  With the both the analog and digital signals take up the full bandwidth of the frequency, the sound quality on the analog side picks up interference from the digital side.  Conversely, the digital side, which may be further sliced into sub-channels (offering multiple programming), may not sound much better than a 64kbit/s MP3 file.

HD Radio has a long way to go before it becomes as ubiquitous as its analog counterpart… if ever.  It could disappear faster than you can say “AM Stereo.”  For the technology to survive, it need to be promoted better to the public, not to mention improvements to the technology itself.  If you purchases a device, and it doesn’t work as expected, you’re not going to use it.