Wisconsin Public Radio is proud to be among
the first radio stations in the United States to implement the new "HD" digital radio service. HD Radio promises
to increase the quality and reliability of our signals while adding additional features.
Questions About High Definition "HD" Radio
Q: Will I need a new radio?
A: To continue receiving the present analog audio, No. To pick-up
the new digital broadcasts, Yes.
Q: How much will the new HD radios cost?
A: HD radios are becoming increasingly affordable as additional models are introduced and competition increases.
"Suggested retail prices" begin around $60, with higher-end units in the $100-$300 range. Also watch for rebates and special
promotional offers which can bring the price down dramatically.
Q: Will I be able to hear the station over a wider area?
A: No. In the early years of HD Radio, when both analog and the
digital signals are transmitted together, the digital coverage will be a
bit less than the analog coverage. In later years, if the analog signal
is turned off, the coverage could somewhat exceed the original
service area. The main advantages of HD are sound quality, the
elimination of noise and drop-outs, and (with FM) the ability to transmit
additional audio channels.
Q: So eventually the analog channel could be turned off? When?
A: Presently the FCC requires that the analog AM and FM signals remain in operation.
Some industry observers believe it could be 10 years or more before stations seek authorization to switch
to digital-only transmission.
Q: Is this just an improvement for FM? What about AM stations?
A: AM stations are also adding HD service, and it will likely be an even
bigger improvement than for FM HD.
Q: Will HD Radio carry different programming?
A: The main HD signal will be a higher-quality digital version of the
programming heard on the analog service. But HD also allows additional
digital channels to be transmitted. Stations have the option to use this
capability as they see fit - many may choose to add additional program
services. These additional channels are usually called HD2, HD3, etc.
WPR is already providing a new 24-hour classical music service on the "HD2" channel
on many of our HD-equipped stations.
Q: Why do I get drop-outs or silences on the HD2 Services?
A: This is a sign of marginal signal strength at your radio. It is important
to remember that the HD Radio multicast channels (HD2, HD3, etc), unlike the HD1 channel,
do not have an analog signal for the radio to "fall-back to" when digital reception is lost.
So a listener with marginal reception that is losing the digital signal will experience
periods of silence until the signal is regained. The fix is usually to improve the antenna
placement to get a better signal.
Here's a YouTube video by a Chicago Television station describing how HDRadio works...
"Wisconsin Public Radio is proud to be a pioneer in this new field of broadcasting. We're really looking forward to the new signals and services
possible with this new technology." - - Steve Johnston, WPR Director of Engineering & Operations