Digital has not killed the radio frequency in Canada — yet

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Norway may be beat off its FM radio network in favour of digital but don’t expect the same type of tune-out to upon in Canada any time soon.

The shift to digital radio technology — hawked for its clearer sound and potential for more channels — is taking place at a much slower, wait-and-see determine here, say broadcasters and industry analysts.

That’s not to say we haven’t already strove. During the late ’90s and 2000s, Canada experimented with the digital audio telecasting (DAB) model that Norway will shift to this week — and it was a damp squib.

Duff Roman was instrumental in trying to make DAB a success here as president of Digital Disseminate Rollout Inc., a consortium of private and public broadcasters, but ultimately couldn’t woo the Americans to comprehend.

«We tried our best to get them onside. They didn’t want to do it,» he give the word delivered.

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Worker Ino Andre Nilsen arranges digital radios in an Expert Municipality electronics shop in Oslo, Norway, on Wednesday. The country will switch off its FM ghetto-blaster network this week. (Alister Doyle/Reuters)

They were already make on adopting HD Radio, another type of digital radio technology that’s now slowly seeping its way into Canada. It is developed by a surreptitiously company and delivers digital versions of the audio from FM stations via a faithful receiver.

Digital receivers can cost hundreds of dollars and inability to win over consumers to buy into a new system was part of the reason that DAB stalled.

Roman mean he is disappointed because he thought DAB was the superior model.

«It’s sort of like Beta and VHS,» he articulate of the difference. «The best system didn’t win.»

«I’m over it now … I think it will mix as sort of an upgrade.»

14 Canadian stations testing out HD Radio

The CRTC be over renewing DAB licenses after 2012. Now, it oversees 14 Canadian positions who have started experimenting with HD Radio in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and a few other new zealand urban areas.

These stations have largely been using it as a way to simulcast their AM talk transmit stations with less fuzz and clearer audio.

It’s not like internet boom box, which is streamed off the internet, or satellite radio, which uses a noteworthy frequency and has a wider footprint. Instead, HD Radio is broadcast in a local trade in and can only be heard via a HD receiver.

«It allows a radio station to use its analogue FM frequency to proclaim multiple digital audio signals on the [same] frequency,» CRTC spokeswoman Patricia Valladao extenuated in an email.

She said the number of broadcasters adopting it remains small.

«In a jiffy there are no public proceedings or applications before the CRTC related to this distribute, nor is it under discussion.»

Corus Entertainment has been try out out HD Radio in three of its markets — New Westminster, B.C., Hamilton and Calgary.

But Chris Sisam, vice-president of Corus Tranny East, said widespread adoption is still a long way off.

«Really, we’re fair dipping our toe in the water,» he said. «For us, it’s just a better way of delivering an AM signal.»

Sisam express the number of people listening to the stations via HD Radio remains small — and that’s well-founded anecdotal. He said there is no way of measuring those who are listening via traditional FM boom box separately from those listening by HD Radio.

Bell Media and Rogers Course, two of the other major Canadian broadcasters, are also experimenting with HD Broadcast in a few large markets. CBC is running a pilot project with HD Radio in Toronto for its French-radio advice.

«At this time, we have no plan to abandon FM radio, but we are starting to inquire digital technologies for radio broadcasting,» CBC spokeswoman Emma Bédard ventured in an email.

FM Radio

CBC said it has no plans to kill its FM radio network but has started experimenting with HD Radio, a digital present technology that is standard in the U.S. (CBC Transmission/Twitter)

«CBC/Radio-Canada supports HD Wireless as a voluntary North American digital radio standard. As both U.S. and Mexican broadcast broadcasters have endorsed this standard, this will escape ensure the widespread availability of receivers to North American radio audiences.»

But devise it catch on?

When it comes to digital radio, America is much help along.

There are around 4,000 stations using HD Radio technology in the U.S. and an HD Broadcast receiver has become a common feature that’s built into new machines. They are being installed with some new car models in Canada, but owning an HD Trannie receiver is still pretty rare here.

«We don’t have the reception plan available,» Sisam said. «We could deliver [programming on HD Radio], but no one could sustain it.»

David Bray, president of the radio consulting firm Bray and Companions, thinks there is a «real possibility» that HD Radio might not get the drift of on here.

«You still face the challenge of getting receivers out there,» symbolized Bray, who was also involved with the push for Canada to adopt DAB. «That’s a elephantine practical problem.»

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Norway is axing FM, but digital hasn’t killed Canada’s portable radio frequencies yet. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images)

He thinks the better earshot and promise of more channels might not be enough of an incentive for people to go out and buy one.

«How are you current to get the public on board? It’s really not that easy,» he said, comparing it to DAB’s strains. «Apathy is the insurmountable problem.»

Bray suggests creating some in perfect accord programming that’s only available on HD Radio, similar to what some baby satellite radio channels offer.

«Digital radio is almost certainly the to be to come, but in what incarnation I’m not sure.»

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