By: Paul Vincent Zecchino
Sun Apr 1, 2007 03:51


By: Paul Vincent Zecchino

You slipslide home through a nighttime blizzard. You tune in the weather. Your hometown station, 'Big 800', is gone, drowned by a shrill hissing. You tune another local station. You hear blown steamlines shrieking across six channels. Denied vital information, you get stuck in an easily avoidable traffic jam, all because BigKorpseorate Radio denied you your right to access your airwaves and hear your local stations.

Later, you call your stations to report this. They're sympathetic, as are most local businesses. They say the hissing is IBOC - In Band On Channel - a digital signal called "HD Radio". They say the FCC, against all sense, approved it. Distant HD signals jam Big 800, depriving listener and advertiser alike. Worse, the jammer is a station on 820, over a thousand miles and two channels away. They say the FCC, long trusted to keep our airwaves free from destructive illegal interference, now strangely turns a deaf ear to it.

You report your noisesome disruption to Radio 820's manager. Callously dismissive, he states HD Radio is 'your inevitable digital future'. He's compliant with FCC rules, says he. Even if not, he taunts, tough, "HD's gonna happen! Buy HD radio! It scrolls traffic texting across a screen." He dares you to report his jamming interference to the FCC. Go right ahead, he baits, boasting that his network owns the FCC. He hangs up.

Does the above sound like a malevolent totalitarian fantasy? Yes. Unfortunately, it's what citizens experience when they inquire about destructive interference from HD or iBLOC, as scurillous wags call IBOC. Has your favorite classical FM station vanished down a buzzing maelstrom? Do hissing shrieks across your AM dial now block vibrant stations you formerly long enjoyed? Welcome to your 'inevitable digital future', as HD Cheerleaders call it.

Big Boy Broadcasters want to seize control of your airwaves. They've been at it since the rotten 90s. They say they 'must do more' to promote HD. Their actions refute them. Yes, they forced small stations to install HD equipment. Engineers who pointed out obvious flaws, they coerced into silence. But BigKorpseorate Broadcasters labored to keep HD a secret from you, the listening public, to whom your airwaves belong.

Paul Vincent Zecchino is the H. Lecter Professor of Stereotactic Journalism at Gambier Village's prestigious Francois X. 'Papa Doc' Duvalier College of Medicine. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
Paul Vincent Zecchino can be reached at:
Published in the March 20, 2007 issue of Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 2007 Ether Zone.

Radio Your Way

Despite rabid consumer and broadcaster apathy, this irksome radio barnfly won't go away. Why not? At this Thursday's meeting, a docile FCC may short-circuit market forces by allowing HD jammers on air 24/7. This means that sooner than later, the public will give up and buy unecessary HD radios.
HD radio is a long obsolete, fatally flawed, serially superseded concept. BigKorpseorate Broadcasters like HD because it limits listeners' choices - to them. During the past ten years, they bought numerous stations, fired local talent, and syndicated dope addicts fobbed off as 'talk hosts'. Execs claimed layoffs benefitted investors and stuffed their pockets. Ratings fell. A techno-solution, HD, was cobbled up. was reportedly tossed a no-bid contract to develop HD. No one wants this Radio Zil. The more your learn about HD, the more you detest it. Retailers yoked into selling HD sets hide them from sight. You need outside antennas to hear nearby HD stations. You can see the tower, but, no rooftop antenna? No signal. As your HOA CC&R's prohibit outside antennas, the point is moot. What on earth was this HD Pavillion thinking?
Total Control, that's what. Total Control means never having to say you're sorry for cheaply produced, lackluster, repetitive programs that bore gnats to sobs.
iPods, WiMax, and other legit gadgets leave this 70s kluge in the dustbin of Hole-i-garch History.
Acquaint yourself with 'our inevitable digital future' at ,, and - and recoil. Once and former credible industry poopsheet, Radio World, unfortunately quacks the Digitalis Uber Alles party line at But for the moment, please....
...Time is short. Please, today, e-mail, write, fax, and/or call the FCC, . Ask them to reject Docket # 99-325 at their public meeting, Thursday, 22 March, 2007. Your public airwaves are at stake. HD promoters tell a variety of tales to conceal the inconvenient truth about destructive interference. Some say jamming is their true goal. Many listeners believe everything about HD radio is a lie. Why trust your airwaves to them?

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