Monday, April 24, 2006

UPDATED: New HD Radio Formats Coming To Cleveland And Columbus

The continuing rollout of HD Radio's secondary formats is now set to roll into the Cleveland and Columbus markets, according to a release today by the industry group HD Radio Alliance. (Radio and Records Online reports it here.)

The Ohio markets join existing markets Cincinnati and Dayton on the list, and 22 other cities which will see the move to add second (and third) programming streams to the stations' digital signals.

In Cleveland, three of CBS Radio's FMs - alt-rock WXRK/92.3, classic rock WNCX/98.5, hot AC WQAL/104.1 - have been broadcasting with a digital signal, but hadn't yet populated the additional channel space. Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's smooth jazz WNWV/107.3 Elyria was the first local station to start turning on the digital bits.

(UPDATE: 11:44 AM 4/25/06 - OMW hears from none other than WDOK program director Scott Miller that the CBS AC station has yet to go on the air in HD Radio...noting that "38 year old women aren't 'early adopters' so we're last on the list." Thanks, Scott!)

We also know that Clear Channel has been working on HD Radio, at least on its Cleveland FM stations. A brief visit by WTAM/1100 program director Ray Davis to afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno's show informed listeners that the local CC FMs were going digital, and would add these additional formats at some point down the road.

We don't have a digital radio, but we don't believe the Clear Channel FMs in Cleveland have activated even the basic HD-1 signal yet...though this link from the HD Radio folks shows WAKS/96.5 Akron - aka Cleveland's "Kiss FM" - as being on in HD Radio now. (UPDATE: 11:44 AM 4/25/06 - OMW hears that "Kiss FM" is indeed touting its HD Radio signal.)

The list also shows Kent State University NPR outlet WKSU/89.7 Kent as being on digitally, though we thought only WKSU repeater WNRK/90.7 Norwalk had added the capability so far.

In a semi-connected announcement, Clear Channel's "Format Lab" is now live with 75 (!!) streams the company says it's developing for all radio companies' HD radio subchannels. The list contains not only regular FM standbys like "Mix", but also some left-for-dead formats like "Jammin' Oldies"...once a Clear Channel favorite "new" format over the air...


Anonymous said...

3 of the 4 CBS outlets have already turned on their HD2 signals. For those who have an HD ready receiver, you'll see that their HD2 is already up and running. In the cases of WQAL, WXRK and WNCX, all 3 have been temporarily simulcasting their HD1 signals for about 2 months now waiting for the alliance to roll out the new formats.

Anonymous said...

WAKS' Legal ID says "Cleveland's Hit Music Channel, now boradcasting in HD"

Anonymous said...

Dear Mighty,

'DOK is not "yet" High Def. Got some STL issues and such that's keeping us from going HD. late 3rd quarter or early 4th. 38 year old women aren't "early adopters" so we're last on the list.

Thanks for the pub though.


Scott Miller
Program Director
WDOK 102.1 CBS/Cleveland

Robert Conrad President WCLV said...

WCLV, northeast Ohio's classical music station, was the third station in the state to put up an HD signal, after WNWV and WGUC.

We have found that if HD is to succeed it will not be because of any "higher quality audio." Frankly, our analog signal, which is very good, sounds the equal to our HD signal. The lure for the listeners will be the HD 2 programming of formats not generally available.

WCLV is planning to mount an HD 2 channel very shortly...something different from our classical format.

However, there is a serious problem. The coverage of a station's HD signal is significantly less than a station's analog signal. Listeners on the fringes who can receive a station's analog signal will be disappointed when they find they can't pick up the main HD or the HD 2 signals.