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                      THE CGC COMMUNICATOR
                            CGC #628
                    Saturday, April 17, 2004
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               Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR, Publisher
                       <rgonsett@ieee.org>
           Stephen H. Blodgett, W7RNA, Letters Editor
                  mailto:steve@earthsignals.com
    Copyright 2004, Communications General® Corporation (CGC)
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                    Special Edition Newsletter
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  DIGITAL AM & FM RADIO; FCC EXPLORES OPTIONS, WANTS COMMENTS
  The FCC has issued a news release describing its new Notice
of Inquiry and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (companion
documents) exploring options for the ultimate rules that will
govern AM & FM digital audio broadcasting in the United States.
Because of the importance of this document, the entire news
release (less boilerplate) is reproduced below:
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  FCC EXPLORES RULES FOR DIGITAL AUDIO BROADCASTING
  Goal is to Promote the Introduction of Digital Radio Services
  for Americans
  Washington, DC - The Federal Communications Commission
("FCC") today took an important step toward bringing digital radio
services to American consumers as part of the broader digital
migration that is underway across all media.  Digital audio
broadcasting ("DAB") technology offers the possibility for
enhanced sound quality, improved reception, and new services such
as datacasting, multiplexing and subscription services.
  In October 2002, the FCC selected in-band, on-channel ("IBOC")
as the technology enabling AM and FM radio broadcast stations to
begin digital operations. At that time, the FCC announced
notification procedures allowing AM and FM radio stations to begin
digital transmissions immediately on an interim basis using the
IBOC system developed by iBiquity Digital Corporation. The FCC
concluded that the adoption of a single IBOC transmission standard
would facilitate the development and commercialization of digital
services for terrestrial broadcasters. The FCC, however, deferred
consideration of final operational requirements and related
broadcast licensing and service rule changes.  In today's Further
Notice of Proposed Rule Making ("FNPRM"), comment is sought on what
rule changes and amendments are necessary due to the advent of
digital audio broadcasting. The FCC also today adopted a companion
Notice of Inquiry ("NOI") addressing other matters relevant to the
discussion on DAB.
  iBiquity's IBOC is a method of transmitting near-CD quality
audio signals to radio receivers along with new data services such
as station, song and artist identification, stock and news
information, as well as local traffic and weather bulletins. With
IBOC, a radio station is also capable of splitting its digital
channel so that it may broadcast multiple streams of digital audio
programming. Importantly, IBOC allows broadcasters to use their
current radio spectrum to transmit AM and FM analog signals
simultaneously with new digital signals.
  Today's FNPRM and NOI address several topics relevant to
DAB, including:
  · Comment is sought on what changes and amendments to the FCC's
technical rules are necessary to further the introduction of DAB.
Specifically, comment is sought on proposals to allow AM nighttime
digital service. The FNPRM also asks questions concerning DAB's
affect on FM translators.  Questions regarding interference are
also raised for comment.
  · Comment is sought on the types of digital services the
FCC should permit radio stations to offer. Specifically, should
a radio station be allowed to offer a high definition service, a
multiplexed service, a datacasting service, or a combination of
all of these possibilities?  Comment is also sought on whether a
radio station should be permitted to offer subscription services.
  · Comment is sought on how the FCC's existing public interest,
programming, and operational rules should be applied to DAB.
 
  · The FNPRM asks questions of concern to noncommercial
stations ("NCE") and low power FM ("LPFM") stations.  Comment is
sought on the impact DAB will have on NCE and LPFM stations and
how these services may introduce DAB to the public.
  · Comment is sought on appropriate policies the FCC may adopt
to encourage broadcasters to convert from an analog-only radio
service to a hybrid analog/digital radio service, and eventually,
to an all-digital radio service.
  · Subjects raised for comment in the Notice of Inquiry include
digital audio content control and international issues.
  Action by the Commission, April 15, 2004 by FNPRM and NOI
(FCC 04-99).  Chairman Powell, Commissioners Abernathy, Copps,
Martin and Adelstein, with Chairman Powell, Commissioners Copps
and Adelstein issuing statements.
  MB Docket No. 99-325
  Comments due: June 16, 2004;  Replies due: July 16, 2004
  --FCC--
  Media Bureau contact:  Ben Golant at (202) 418-7111.
  This entire new release is posted at:
  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-246150A1.doc
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  The CGC Communicator is published for broadcast engineering
  professionals in so. California by Communications General®
  Corporation (CGC), consulting radio engineers, Fallbrook, CA.
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