Figures to update HD Small market

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musiconradio.com
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Figures to update HD Small market

Post by musiconradio.com » Wed May 30, 2012 9:45 am

We hear about the tech issues for HD but what about the cost. When will a class A (say on Waltons Mountain Virginia) be able to afford that upgrade.

Let us exclude the no listeners argument or lack of HD radios.

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Dale H. Cook
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Re: Figures to update HD Small market

Post by Dale H. Cook » Thu May 31, 2012 4:40 am

musiconradio.com wrote:When will a class A (say on Waltons Mountain Virginia) be able to afford that upgrade.
The closest thing to a broadcast facility on Walton's Mountain is the WVTF microwave relay on Sugarloaf Mountain (between Schuyler and Lovingston), and WVTF is HD because they have outstanding financial support from their listeners to pay for it.. WVTF has the only HD2 and HD3 programming worth listening to here in western Virginia.

Both Clear Channel and the largest locally-owned cluster (Wheeler) have HD, but if neither of those, given their money and resources, can put an HD2 or HD3 channel on that attracts listeners, what chance would a Mom-and-Pop class A have?
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Re: Figures to update HD Small market

Post by K9EZ » Thu May 31, 2012 7:09 am

Dale H. Cook wrote:
musiconradio.com wrote:When will a class A (say on Waltons Mountain Virginia) be able to afford that upgrade.
The closest thing to a broadcast facility on Walton's Mountain is the WVTF microwave relay on Sugarloaf Mountain (between Schuyler and Lovingston), and WVTF is HD because they have outstanding financial support from their listeners to pay for it.. WVTF has the only HD2 and HD3 programming worth listening to here in western Virginia.

Both Clear Channel and the largest locally-owned cluster (Wheeler) have HD, but if neither of those, given their money and resources, can put an HD2 or HD3 channel on that attracts listeners, what chance would a Mom-and-Pop class A have?
This is too simple IMHO, and radio is completely over looking the opportunity......

Take your HD2 (or 3) and make it a high school radio station. You will get kids, that have stepped away from radio COMPLETELY and give them some skin in the game, as well as getting the younger people in the habit of reaching for a radio instead of their cell phone, create a new market perhaps with music that isnt covered now, and set up potential listens for a long time.

But I guess thinking outside of the box is impossible for radio. And I thought we were supposed to be the creative types. :roll:
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Re: Figures to update HD Small market

Post by Deep Thought » Thu May 31, 2012 9:35 am

K9EZ wrote:But I guess thinking outside of the box is impossible for radio. And I thought we were supposed to be the creative types. :roll:
We are the creative types. Unfortunately, the investors who control Clear Channel, Cumulus and CBS are not. It has nothing to do with radio and everything to do with draining the last drop of blood from the industry before they move on. Sadly, even if you were able to develop that kind of listenership, the 'kids' would be disillusioned as soon as the moved over to the money side.
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Re: Figures to update HD Small market

Post by RFWarrior » Thu May 31, 2012 8:21 pm

Dale H. Cook wrote:if neither of those, given their money and resources, can put an HD2 or HD3 channel on that attracts listeners, what chance would a Mom-and-Pop class A have?
To put tact aside, temporarily, you're missing the point - as Kent said, the Mom-and-Pop class A's are exactly the stations who would have the BEST chance of putting on an HD2 or HD3 that attracts listeners, by virtue of the fact that they typically have had to provide compelling programming in the first place, in order to compete in the market against the big chains. These are the stations who are not only best able to do it, but could best monetize it - think, for example, of an HD2 that plays nothing but high school sports - how many parents and grandparents would buy an HD receiver to listen to Johnny's football game, even after the fact? How about an HD3 dedicated to community news and events on a scheduled basis - swap-shop, funeral announcements, church services, etc.? They might not be able to charge much for ad space early on, but they'd be best able to prove listener numbers, just with simple, "if you tell Al that you heard this ad on WXYZ HD2, you'll get an additional 10% off your purchase at Al's Stereo Barn" type of marketing.

Corny, by big city standards, perhaps - and obviously there would have to be a lot of massaging of the content, I'm by no means a programmer, but I'd say that the smaller market, independent stations are the ones who would have the best chance of creating a market for this.

As to cost, it purely depends on the situation - whether low level injected via a scheduled or overdue transmitter replacement, whether space combined with an aux antenna, what infrastructure is in place to get data to the transmitter site, etc... it could vary from as low as 35-40k including licensing to a whole lot more, so it's hard to put a number on what it would be - or what stations could afford it. Some might find leasing a viable option - it's not my preference, but if they can show a case where it could generate revenue, it might be a workable alternative.

Just my ramblings,

Jeff
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Re: Figures to update HD Small market

Post by Deep Thought » Thu May 31, 2012 10:02 pm

$40K for equipment alone is a non-starter for these stations, Jeff. Plus, the additional staff necessary to pull that off would run another $20K-30K per year. Then you have the coverage issues with these low-power stations. Many are dependent on squeezing the last drop out of analog coverage, selling into small towns 30 miles away. There is no chance of IBOC working at that distance on most of these stations due to all of the interference from the "big" stations...much of it due to IBOC. So whatever benefit would be limited to 10-15 miles from the transmitter site, meaning there would be little return on the investment.

And then there are the higher operating costs.
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Re: Figures to update HD Small market

Post by RFWarrior » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:04 am

Deep Thought wrote:$40K for equipment alone is a non-starter for these stations, Jeff. Plus, the additional staff necessary to pull that off would run another $20K-30K per year. Then you have the coverage issues with these low-power stations. Many are dependent on squeezing the last drop out of analog coverage, selling into small towns 30 miles away. There is no chance of IBOC working at that distance on most of these stations due to all of the interference from the "big" stations...much of it due to IBOC. So whatever benefit would be limited to 10-15 miles from the transmitter site, meaning there would be little return on the investment.

And then there are the higher operating costs.
Mark, we can argue this all day long and neither of us will get anywhere - we agree for the most part. Definitely it's going to be a no-go for a lot of situations. Less because of interference, which has remarkably little effect on IBOC coverage, since you'd have to have a first adjacent on each side before the receiver lost its ability to lock. More because of cost - but then again, many of these stations are operating on 30+ year old hand-me-downs that are going to need to be replaced at some point anyway... so the transmitter cost is going to be there regardless. At which point, setting up a lease to allow for addition of the HD equipment, or working out some other arrangement because less an impact. Still an impact, but less of one.

The personnel cost should be self sustaining after the first year or so... ASSUMING they are actually able to monetize the HD channel by providing programming that induces people to go out and buy the receivers. I'd argue that a new station going on today would have find a way to raise the funds to pay its staff - I'd treat a new digital channel the same way, except that it would require fewer staff, since the bulk of the personnel (reception, GM, PD, etc) are already there for the analog station.

I'm not saying it would be easy - but I think it would be possible and I know of several scenarios where it could happen and a few where it actually IS happening. You've seen a few where it could be a bigger challenge, so you're presenting it as a failure all the way around... we're just coming to the same point from different directions. I'm a "glass is half full" kind of guy :lol"

Best,

Jeff
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Re: Figures to update HD Small market

Post by musiconradio.com » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:38 am

The only real buzz about HD is the ability to create additional analog channels with the use of a translator. It has worked well for the big guys in the major markets.

Staff would be minimal. It costs little to nothing to put automation on a HD channel.


Plus you have an addition 10K+? for Ibiquity (sp) fees.

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Re: Figures to update HD Small market

Post by ajstriker » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:27 am

musiconradio.com wrote:The only real buzz about HD is the ability to create additional analog channels with the use of a translator. It has worked well for the big guys in the major markets.

Staff would be minimal. It costs little to nothing to put automation on a HD channel.


Plus you have an addition 10K+? for Ibiquity (sp) fees.

Automation? Heck, while working my way through college, I was running two separate football games simultaneously using program and audition channels of the same board to a separate AM and FM in the combo. It can be done. In that situation, having 4+ cart decks available is a must! :mrgreen:

If we would have had access to a high school station on an HD2 signal, it would probably have been one of the more popular activities in school. As it was, we didn't even have a station at my high school, so I had to wait until college. What about approaching public access sources (schools, etc.) to help cover the costs of converting in exchange for an HD2 or HD3 to program?
There's always room for a bigger amplifier!

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