WSHU Now Broadcasting in High-Definition

News Story: November 21, 2007

Sacred Heart University’s national public radio station, WSHU, has launched its cutting-edge HD Radio broadcasting service, bringing near CD-quality, digitally encoded music, news and talk to the airwaves.

HD, or High Definition Radio offers extremely high fidelity FM and AM radio programming with no ambient noise, distortion or interference. Sound quality approaches that of commercially recorded CDs, bringing FM home and mobile radio sound quality to the level of other digital music and audio formats. HD Radio technology also brings AM frequency broadcasts up to the level of analog FM sound quality. The elimination of static and power line noise from AM radio reception is one of the prime benefits of utilizing HD technology to broadcast AM radio programming.

Currently, WSHU-FM broadcasts HD Radio programming on two channels, - HD1 features the existing NPR News and classical music programming while HD2 consists of all news and talk programming from WSHU’s sister station WSHU-AM. Both HD channels are broadcast from WSHU’s 91.1 transmitter. The ability of HD Radio technology to “multitask” in this way is one of its most exciting potential advantages.

Spearheading the introduction of HD Radio to WSHU is the station’s general manager, George Lombardi, who provided insight into the decision to adopt the new technology to improve the listening experience for the WSHU audience.

“HD Radio offers three advantages. It eliminates the standard hissing and popping that one hears on standard FM radio. The second is the ability to have multiple channels on the same transmitter, reflected in our plan to transmit our classical music stream and our talk and information stream simultaneously. The third advantage is the ability to transmit metadata, which includes our call letters, the title of the song that is currently playing or references on how to obtain more information about news that is being broadcast,” said Lombardi.

Lombardi noted that metadata (also known as Program Associated Data or PAD) is displayed as a text readout on the special HD radio receivers that are required for listeners to be able to receive HD radio broadcasts. Purchase of an HD-ready receiver is the only cost that a listener would need to incur. There is no fee or subscription required to receive an HD Radio transmission. HD1 Radio programming transmissions can also be received on standard analog radios, albeit without any of its sonic or related advantages.

Broadcasts over WSHU’s digital HD channels currently have slightly less range as standard analog AM and FM broadcasts, but with no static and interference at their range limit.

“Our 91.1 signal ranges within Connecticut in a circumference from Norwalk to New Haven and up to Danbury. It can also be heard in northern Suffolk County on Long Island,” Lombardi explained.

WHSU utilizes the HD Radio In-Band, On-Channel (IBOC) system created by the iBiquity Digital Corporation, Columbia, Maryland. It is the only FCC-approved (in October 2002) system for AM and FM and provides true, end-to-end digital broadcasting within the existing spectrum while allowing continued analog broadcasts to legacy receivers.

For more information, visit WSHU on the web at www.wshu.org.