What about the small broadcasters ? (was Re: HD Gets A Boost)

Peter Q. George radiojunkie3@yahoo.com
Thu Feb 2 14:01:25 EST 2006

The BIG question that nobody seems to want to answer
is..... what about the lower powered FM stations that
want to embrace this new technology?  Spending a
minimum of $75,000 to upgrade these stations to
digital  and having to fork up another $25,000 to have
it all licensed with Ibiquity comes to a grand total
of $100,000.  Where in God's green earth is any
smaller station (a college or LPFM) going to be able
to come up with that dastardly amount to keep up with
the technology.  It's all find if your name is Clear
Channel or Greater Media.  But what about the small
broadcasters.  How do they fit in the equation?

Any takers?

Pete (K1XRB)

--- Scott Fybush <scott@fybush.com> wrote:

> At 06:52 PM 2/1/2006, rogerkirk wrote:
> >Boston Acoustics announced it is reducing the price
> on its 
> >"Receptor" to $299.  Now, they're really gonna fly
> off the shelves.
> Similarly snide posts have been making the rounds on
> the various DX 
> lists today as well. Here's my response to one of
> them on the 
> National Radio Club's list:
> >If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around,
> does it make a 
> >sound?   I see this has the current state of HD
> radio.  The original 
> >offering equipment prices were so out of line, who
> would go for 
> >it?  The message is out, drop the prices or talk to
> space.  If BA 
> >can drop the price so drastically, imagine what
> their initial profit 
> >margin was.
> Less than you'd think, I bet. Remember, there are
> all kinds of design 
> and tooling costs to build an initial small run of
> any new product. 
> There are no economies of scale in putting out
> perhaps 10,000 HD 
> Receptors, versus a million or ten million $39
> Wal-Mart DVD players, 
> for instance. BA put their initial run of $499
> radios out there 
> primarily at the behest of the broadcasters in the
> earliest vanguard 
> of the IBOC rollout, who needed something to put out
> there to listen 
> to their signals on, and who were willing to pay
> accordingly. The 
> price drop to $299 tells me that they probably had
> enough response 
> from the initial run to go back to whatever Asian
> factory they're 
> using and do another run. With the initial costs now
> paid off, 
> they're getting closer to an economy of scale.
> While it may not seem that way to DXers who've been
> hearing the 
> hissing and buzzing for a few years now, we are
> still in the very 
> earliest stage of the commercial rollout of IBOC.
> The manufacturers 
> who are putting the money up to design and build
> receivers are taking 
> a very big risk, as are the broadcasters who have
> spent big bucks so 
> far to equip their facilities for IBOC. Every
> successful consumer 
> electronics introduction (and every unsuccessful
> one, too) goes 
> through this early-adopter phase. Have we all
> forgotten about the 
> $2000 VCR, circa 1976, and the $25 blank tapes? Or
> about the $1200 CD 
> player, circa 1983? Or the $1500 cell phones and
> dollar-a-minute 
> service plans of the same era? I'm guessing that
> none of us jumped at 
> those prices, nor should we have. But they got the
> products out there 
> on store shelves and paved the way for mass
> production and 
> dramatically lower prices pretty quickly. (My
> recollection is that 
> the $1200 first-generation CD player of 1983 had
> become about $250 by 
> the time I got my first player two years later.)
> I'm not saying that HD Radio will necessarily be a
> success - my sense 
> right now is that the AM system, thanks to its
> interference issues 
> and its inability to multicast, will end up failing,
> but that 
> multicasting will make the FM system at least
> moderately successful. 
> But I do think that after a rollout that took longer
> than it should 
> have, the industry is finally taking the steps it
> needs to take to 
> make something happen. For receiver manufacturers to
> take the risks 
> involved in tooling up for mass production at
> reasonable prices, they 
> needed to see that broadcasters were committed to
> providing the 
> programming and on-air promotion that would make
> people want to seek 
> out receivers.
> We are now, literally, TWO WEEKS into that process.
> If we're still at 
> these price levels in two years, then we can start
> talking about 
> success or failure. Right now, it's far too early.
> s

Peter Q. George (K1XRB)
Whitman, Massachusetts
                           "Scanning the bands since 1967"

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