Tuesday, September 04, 2007

WOXY back on the air … for some of us in Cincinnati

As good old Yogi once said, “It is like déjà vu all over again.” WOXY has returned to the airwaves in southwest Ohio. Beginning last month, that station the bills itself as the “Future of Rock and Roll” can now be heard on HD Radio, WVXU HD2.

In an earlier column a few months ago we discussed how the new digital radio technology allows for more than one program to be broadcast simultaneously over a single radio frequency. At that time I mentioned how WGUC, Cincinnati’s Classical station, had great jazz programming on the second channel of digital 90.9. Well the same people that run WGUC also operate WVXU and they have made an agreement with the folks at WOXY to use the second channel of WVXU’s digital signal to carry the WOXY programs.

WOXY has a very uneven history. The station began an Alternative Rock Format station on the regular analog FM band (97X) on Labor Day weekend in 1983, from studios in Oxford, Ohio. Over the years, the station has garnered praise from the popular music press including Rolling Stone, Spin, Alternative Press, Esquire, USA Today, Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat, as well as from many radio industry publications. In the process they attracted a somewhat small but very loyal audience. I remember how excited my three teenage sons were when one of their garage band CDs was featured on 96X.

In September of 2004, with dwindling revenues, the owners sold the license to the FM frequency and took WOXY to the Internet. It can still be heard on the Internet at www.woxy.com and the station reports hearing from loyal listeners from as far away as Nepal and Brazil.

Now that it is also being broadcast in the tri-sate area the station will actually be able to reach wider geographic coverage than it did when it was broadcasting from Oxford. However, in order to listen, you will need a HD Radio. They can be purchased from most electronic stores. There are several models for both car and home use. They are still a bit pricey, with the least expense models around $100.

HD radio continues to have a hard time getting a main stream consumer foothold even though most stations, public and commercial, are broadcasting with both analog and digital signals. The competition is coming from the satellite radio services Sirius® and XM Radio®. Since the automakers are concentrating on offering satellite radio rather then HD radio, it may be a while before HD radios are common place.

A look at the WOXY blog shows that many local listeners are buying HD radios so they can once again listen to “Future of Rock and Roll.” At the same time they may play a part in the future of HD Radio.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Day of the Jackal said...

"HD radio continues to have a hard time getting a main stream consumer foothold"

That's for sure - seems HD Radio is DOA from lack of consumer interest:

http://hdradiofarce.blogspot.com/2007/08/interest-in-hd-radio-remains-flat.html

http://hdradiofarce.blogspot.com/2007/07/end-may-be-near.html

"Since automakers are concentrating on offering Satellite Radio, rather then HD radio, it may be a while before HD radios are common place"

1/4th of 2008 new cars will have Satellite Radio as standard/optional equipment - even Hyundai, which used to offer HD Radio as an option, is going with standard Satellite Radio across all but its luxery model. Car makers are scrambling to get iPod jacks in-dash.

"A look at the WOXY blog shows that many local listeners are buying HD radios so they can once again listen to “Future of Rock and Roll.” At the same time they may play a part in the future of HD Radio."

That's what all IBOC boosters claim, but Bridge Ratings stated:

"HD Radio vs. Internet Radio - Which is Radio's Future?"

"Of those who were Very or Somewhat Interested in owning HD radio, 3% were very interested. However, with these respondents, we followed up with the question Would you buy an HD radio in the next two months? only 1.0% responded yes. Asked if they ever visited a retail store to look at or try an HD radio receiver, 30 members of our sample of 3179 said they had. That is less than 1%."

http://www.bridgeratings.com/press_08.08.07.HDvsInternet.htm

Doesn't WOXY stream for free on the Internet - if so, then what's the point in purchasing expensive, problematic HD radios that require AM-loop nad external FM-dipole antennas to even have a chance to pick up the elusive 1% power digital saddlebags that cause adjacent-channel interference to jam the LPAM's off the dial?

HD Radio is a farce:

http://hdradiofarce.blogspot.com/

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Day of the Jackal said...

Forgot to add, that the Big Three have rejected HD Radio:

“U.S. automakers not jumping into HD Radio”

http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSN2632750220070427?pageNumber=1

Sorry, for the bad news...

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Paul Vincent Zecchino said...

HD Radio, or IBOC, was hatched in the 90s by Big Radio. The idea was to hog-glue digital signals,
'stations between the stations' onto analog AM and FM signals.

You needn't be an engineer to smell the fallacious dishonesty. Anyone with the common sense of seafood knows stuffing many signals into one channel is called jamming. And that's what HD does - it jams.

Everything HD is a lie. Improved audio? A joke. Good analog radios tuned to well run stations sound great, without the harsh hissing germane to 'a corporate carny shill', as one reporter termed HD.

HD promoters fall into two categories. First, those who stand to profit at great expense of competitors and the public.

Second, coerced station staff: "Promote HD or you'll never work again." Talk about an Eyes Wide Shut threat!

But Truth can never be stifled, can it? Coerced staffers increasingly expose this scheme to jam competing broadcasters to bankruptcy and jam public airwaves.

Here's the juice on HD: Older consumers don't want it. Younger ones laugh at it. Manufacturers dislike it. Retailers can't sell it.

HD is a sloppily conceived, poorly executed, dishonestly promoted, fatally flawed, destructive
'solution' to a non-existent problem. It exists solely to benefit a a few unimaginative broadcasters to the great detriment of competitors and the public alike.

Reject HD. Your access to information is at stake.

Dr. Paul Vincent Zecchino
Manasota Key, Florida

10:20 AM  
Anonymous PocketRadio said...

" They are still a bit pricey, with the least expense models around $100."

Here's a review of the $100 HD100 that you are implying:

"Review: Radi-osophy HD100 — HD Sounds, But At What Cost?"

"Remember those crappy $15 AM/FM/cassette radios from the 80s? The HD100 looks just like one and has the sound to match. Basically a glorified clock radio, it has a chintzy, careless interface with speakers that spew a tinny unrefined sound. And while carefully tuning the HD stations results in an audible improvement over analog alternatives, the overall quality is still poor — even for a $100 device. Frankly we’d be happier keeping our money and sitting in silence. —Roger Thomasson. WIRED One of the cheapest HD devices available. Auxiliary input. Sleep mode provides adjustable auto-off. Backlit display. TIRED Sound quality well below average with virtually no bass. Cheap plastic case and buttons. Inconspicuous snooze button makes it easy to ignore and snore. No EQ. Menu navigation is painful. Behemoth external power brick. No battery compartment.$100, radiosophy.com."

http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2007/08/review-radi-oso.html

The HD chipset and licensing fees to iBiquity are so expensive, that only junk HD radios (and most of them are) can be made at this price.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amazed at this 1 guy who literally has nothing else better to do than make negative posts on every single HD Radio post on the internet. Get out of your house dude!

I bought an HD Radio just to hear WOXY again and it sounds amazing. The quality is far better than the internet stream. It was worth the money just for access to this one station and I'm much happier with this than the programming being shit out on satellite.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not an apologist for nor an employee of "big media," but I DO have a couple comments to make in response to the nay sayers of HD Radio.

1. Detroit car makers have all chosen satellite radio over HD Radio -- Not surprising, considering all the former "Big 3" are investors in one or the other satellite company. They have nothing to gain by encouraging a competing technology.

2. HD Radio "crams" more stuff into radio frequencies -- Get with 21st century technology! That's the beauty of digital tech. Digital is MUCH more frugal with the spectrum than analog. That's also one of the reasons that, broadcasting at 1% of the power of old analog technology, an HD Radio signal can pack much fuller fidelity.

3. Consumers aren't buying HD Radios; it's technology that solves a problem that doesn't exist. -- Didn't Edwin Armstrong hear that same argument about FM in the 40s and 50s? If consumers aren't flocking to the stores to purchase HD Radio receivers, maybe it's because broadcasters haven't explained its advantages sufficiently. More to the point, maybe it's because MOST broadcasters haven't offered exciting new programming. It's content that drives audience. That's one of the exciting things about this woxy.com initiative. It's something that's simply not available anywhere else in radio.

4. Why would woxy.com listeners buy an HD Radio when they can listen on line? -- Hello! WiFi and WiMax may be great emerging technologies (or not) but for the immediate foreseeable future broadcast HD RADIO is the ONLY way you can listen to woxy.com when you're not chained to your desktop or laptop computer. People drive cars, work in offices, and MOVE AROUND.

5. HD Radios are cheap and sound bad. -- Wake up and SAMPLE them! The Radiosophy radio isn't perfect, but for the price, it's at least as good as 80% of regular radios on the market today. But if you're looking for high quality -- and you want to see whether HD Radio can blow your socks off -- test out the new iSonic Radio from Polk Audio. Then listen to tuners from Sangean, or radios from Sony, DICE or Directed Electronics.

I'm not suggesting you should toss out your satellite radio, or dump your Internet connection. All I'm suggesting is that you forsake your Luddite view of the media landscape and open yourself up to competing -- and complementary -- technologies.

Tune in, don't drop out.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Mike Taylor said...

Why don't you drop on over to our web page & spill some of your rhetoric "Jackal". Please, our listeners who have purchased HD Radios - in some cases, multiple HD Radios - in order to hear WOXY.com via WVXU-HD2, would, I'm certain, LOVE to agree with you about HD Radio being a farce.

Our partnership with WVXU is off to a flying start. I have no doubt that, over time, HD radio will develop & become the industry standard. Likewise, we welcome the development of WiFi & WiMax which, gee, just a few years ago was thought to be a far-off technological development. I'm sure you can recall when computers ran on cards...

I'm sorry that you you view HD Radio as 'jamming' small independent radio stations. I have no doubt that you are unaware that WOXY.com operated as stand-alone mom-and-pop for over 20 years before transitioning to the internet full-time in 2004.

Your Chicken Little statements all over the internet are wearing thin. If you want to gain a shred of credibility, at least have the cajones to sign your real name to your spin. Otherwise, my collegaues and I wi'll be happy to follow every post you make just to give you a hard time. You'll know it's me because I have no problem standing behind my words.

We don't intend to remain analog in a digital world. Please, step aside and let the rest of the world progress.

Mike Taylor
Program Director
WOXY.com

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Mike Taylor said...

First - Apologies to Jack. I'm appreciative of the fact that you gave our station a mention.

I'm not so much hostile, just tired of your attacks on a potential growth vehicle for my broadcast outlet. Basically, you're badmouthing something that you'd never give a chance to in the first place because you are so politically against it.

A recent survey of our own listeners revealed that "if WOXY.com were made available as an HD channel in your area, would you purchase an HD radio in order to listen". From over 1000 responses, over 80% answered either 'Yes' or 'Maybe' to the question; so I'm in agreement with the previous poster here that said it's all about the content. That's far from a 'rejection' of HD Radio. Give listeners something more than a half-hearted effort from corporate radio and more widely available hardware and it will grow. You seem intent to 'kill it before it grows'.

"Dude" - you just come off as a unfortunate disgruntled vet who is hellbent on spinning negativity about HD Radio. My take is to let interested listeners try it out & make up their mind. My listeners that have tried it LOVE it.

Now - go away or I will taunt you a second time.

Thanks again, Jack! I'll cease posting here.

Mike Taylor
WOXY.com

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Day of the Jackal said...

"Now - go away or I will taunt you a second time."

You are the one that is trying to make this personal - I am just exposing HD/IBOC for the farce that it is.

"First - Apologies to Jack. I'm appreciative of the fact that you gave our station a mention. Thanks again, Jack! I'll cease posting here."

You have already apologized to Jack for multiple posts, state that you won't come back, then theaten to come back yet again to taunt me. You are getting so emotional, because you know that I am right. Here is the grim-reality facing HD Radio:

"HD Radio vs. Internet Radio - Which is Radio's Future?"

"Of those who were Very or Somewhat Interested in owning HD radio, 3% were very interested. However, with these respondents, we followed up with the question Would you buy an HD radio in the next two months? only 1.0% responded yes. Asked if they ever visited a retail store to look at or try an HD radio receiver, 30 members of our sample of 3179 said they had. That is less than 1%."

http://www.bridgeratings.com/press_08.08.07.HDvsInternet.htm

Perhaps, your results are a bit biased?

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Encyclopedia Britannica: Jackal: any of several species of wolflike carnivores of the dog genus Canis, family Canidae, sharing with the hyena an exaggerated reputation for cowardice.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous PocketRadio said...

Here's the jackal, dude - he even looks like one (notice the expression). That was the point of the name, idiot:

http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/images/I58828-2005Feb27

1:15 PM  

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