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Re: Rant About LPFM

There is another reason for the NAB's opposition to Eureka 147. It would
completely disrupt the status quo. Under E-147, many strations share a
single carrier. I'm not sure of the maximum number, but the CRTC's plans are
to have all stations in a market transmit from one point, unless repeaters
are found to be necessary. Thus, for example, Class A WFNX, WHRB, and WBOT
would wind up with facilities that were technically equal to those of WODS,
WBCN, WZLX et al. I suppose the same would be true of noncomms such as WUMB,
WZBC, and WMBR. Should such a change take place, it would REALLY alter the
competitive landscape in a meaningful way, and not in a way that favors
today's major players.

A key, but probably not the sole, reason for slow sales of E-147 receivers
in Europe is their high cost. I've heard, but not confirmed, numbers around
$700 US.

My favorite idea for a new terrestrial audio service in the US is to put DAB
on some of the VHF channels that the FCC insists will be freed up by the
demise of analog TV. This is certainly technically feasible. Like all DAB
proposals, it would require that the public puchase new receivers, however.
The NAB _might_ acquiesce to this proposal because they realize that those
VHF channels are not going to be vacated in the lifetime of anyone currently
living, notwithstanding the FCC's timetable, which shows a complete phaseout
of analog TV by 2007.

Interestingly, I believe that the NAB signed its members' (and hence its
own) death warrant when it backed the FCC in insisting that 8VSB is an
adequate modulation scheme for HDTV. In a dialogue that was filled with
acrimony and specious arguments, the FCC in February rejected Sinclair
Broadcasting's appeal that OFDM, the modulation scheme used by the European
TVB system, be allowed as an alternative to 8VSB for US HDTV. I didn't agree
with the idea of making OFDM an option; I think that would have been a
disaster, but the arguments in favor of OFDM appeared convincing to me. With
nearly 70% of US homes already receiving TV via cable, any scheme that makes
reception as difficult as 8VSB apparently does will simply drive the
remaining 30% of households to cable or satellite delivery. Over-the-air TV
from terrestrial transmitters is likely to become an anachronism in the next
20 years. I think the need for an audio service that works reliably in cars
and offers local content will keep over-the-air radio from terrestrial
transmitters alive well beyond 2020, despite the major group broadcasters'
current efforts to kill it through the elimination of nearly all local


Dan Strassberg, dan.strassberg@worldnet.att.net
Phone: 1-617-558-4205, eFax: 1-707-215-6367

-----Original Message-----
From: umar@nerodia.wcrb.com <umar@nerodia.wcrb.com>
To: R.L. Caron <k4gp@peganet.com>
Cc: nerw@khavrinen.lcs.mit.edu <nerw@khavrinen.lcs.mit.edu>;
Date: Sunday, April 02, 2000 1:12 PM
Subject: Re: Rant About LPFM

>IBOC has yet to be proven workable. I doubt very much that it will ever be
>economically viable even if it can be made to work technically.  It'll be
>the AM stereo of the 2000's, I think.
>Eureka-147 has no multipath problems, unlike IBOC, and offers a usable
>bandwidth of 192 to 256 kbits/second as opposed to IBOC's 90-odd. It will
>actually sound better than FM, which IBOC will not.  Yet I have heard
>Eureka-147 receivers in the UK are not selling well.
>Other than eliminating third-adjacent protections, I don't see that the
>new spacing requirements for LPFM's amount to a rollback at all.
>However, let me add that I don't think the *existing* spacing rules for FM
>stations adequately protect stations from interference.
>As far as the NAB is concerned, interference was never the real issue; the
>NAB simply wants to prevent its members from having to face new
>competition for the ears of their listeners. Else, why oppose Eureka-147
>and S-DARS, neither of which poses any interference threat?
>The real solution to the problem of insufficient diversity on the airwaves
>is to reverse the ill-conceived deregulation of the industry, break up the
>conglomerates, and force broadcasters to live up to their community
>service obligations.