|For immediate release
January 9, 2004
NPR: Jenny Lawhorn, 202-513-2304
Harris: Jackie Broo, 202-513-2304
Tomorrow RadioSM Project Announces Stellar Test Results,
Declares Victory in Multi-Channel HD RadioSM Research
Successful Testing of Supplemental Audio Channel Concept in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC Proves the Technology is Viable
LAS VEGAS - NPRŽ (National Public Radio), Kenwood USA and Harris Corporation, Broadcast Communications Division today revealed the complete, positive results of the 2003 Tomorrow Radio Project field test on supplemental audio channel (SAC) broadcasting to the National Radio Systems Committee. Tomorrow Radio's 2003 field tests prove that multiple program channels are fully attainable using iBiquity's HD Radio FM digital system.
"Multi-casting on SACs is real, and it works better than we anticipated," said Mike Starling, NPR's vice president for engineering and operations. "HD radio is no longer just a hypothetical construct. Tomorrow Radio is here today."
NPR, the leading network and member organization for more than 750 public radio stations in the U.S., initiated Tomorrow Radio in fall 2002 with technology sponsors Harris Corp. and Kenwood USA. Tomorrow Radio is a multi-year research project, funded in part by a $500,000 grant from CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting), that will explore, test and demonstrate technologies and services that are compatible with HD Radio.
Digital radio technology makes it possible to use available spectrum to create more than one programming stream or service through SACs (supplemental audio channels). One of the goals of Tomorrow Radio has been to research how SACs perform under various conditions, and to find out whether splitting a station's spectrum into two channels would still allow those streams to be robust enough to withstand a mobile environment.
Tomorrow Radio's fall/winter 2003 field tests involved four NPR member stations along with NPR's Tomorrow Radio sponsors Kenwood USA (who provided the test receivers and mobile test lab for the field test) and Harris Corp. (who provided transmission equipment to each of the participating field test stations). Field tests were done over seven weeks, with testers spanning 7,500 miles and collecting over a million discrete data points. The testing documented excellent, nearly seamless city-grade coverage for the all-digital SAC under experimental licenses from the FCC.
Tomorrow Radio engineers tested SAC coverage on NPR stations KALW-FM in San Francisco, KKJZ-FM in Long Beach, CA, WETA-FM in Washington, DC and WNYC-FM New York. The results showed that millions of radio listeners in each city would be within range of new SAC signals.
"This technology is key for public radio," Starling continued. "Having the ability to broadcast multiple channels using existing spectrum means that nonprofit radio stations can do more with what they already have, and lessens the pressure to compete for scarce and expensive new frequencies. And listeners could be the biggest winners, with even more public radio and services at their fingertips."
The field tests confirmed that the sound quality of SACs is also robust. With the recent upgrade by iBiquity Digital to HDC audio coding, the sound quality of SACs has been heralded by engineers across the industry as an impressive accomplishment.
"These are the results we hoped for: great coverage and good audio quality with no hint of interference from adding the supplemental audio signals," said Mike Bergman, Kenwood USA's senior manager for digital broadcast. "It's important to note that this is also the first public testing of HD Radio with a production-class receiver like the Kenwood KTC-HR 100, so we have good reason to believe that our customers will really be delighted with this technology."
"When we began our work on digital radio, we realized that the potential for new services for broadcasters would be extensive," said Dale Mowry, vice president, transmission systems, Harris Broadcast Communications Division. "It is extremely gratifying to us to be part of the project as it begins to bring new technology opportunities to fruition."
Tomorrow Radio Project expenses borne by NPR, sponsors Harris Corp. and Kenwood USA and NPR member stations combine to put the total cost of this round of SAC field tests at greater than $1 million.
NPR and Tomorrow Radio sponsors will share the 2003 field test results with the FCC in the next few weeks and seek authority for NPR member stations to begin initial SAC broadcasts. Kenwood USA has indicated product support will promptly follow FCC authorization of the new services.
NPR contracted with noted consulting engineers Hammett & Edison for test plan oversight, data collection and certification of final results. The CPB collaborated on test objectives and provided significant financial support for the Tomorrow Radio Project's extensive field tests.
NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 22 million Americans each week via more than 750 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, npr.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and seven years of archived audio and information. NPR's several hundred awards include a 2000 National Medal of Arts.
About Kenwood USA
Founded in 1961, Kenwood USA Corporation is a leading developer and manufacturer of audio and video products for home, car, and personal use. Offering more than 250 products, Kenwood is one of the three largest selling brands of audio and video entertainment products in the United States and is recognized by consumers and the consumer electronics industry for providing superior quality, reliability and value. Kenwood USA Corporation, based in Long Beach, California, is the largest subsidiary of Kenwood Corporation (Japan). For more information visit www.kenwoodusa.com.
About Harris Broadcast
Harris Broadcast Communications Division is one of five divisions within Harris Corporation, an international communications equipment company. The world's leading broadcast supplier, Harris Broadcast Communication Division offers a full range of solutions that support the digital delivery, automation and management of audio, video and data. Harris Corporation, which also serves markets for government, tactical radio, microwave, and network support systems and products, serves customers in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit www.broadcast.harris.com.
About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, oversees the development of public radio, television and online services for the American people. The Corporation is the industry's largest single source of funds for public television and radio program development and production, and for station transition to digital technology. CPB, a grant-making organization, funds more than 1,000 public TV and radio stations nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpb.org.