Crystal clear, digital quality programming can be enjoyed for free over the air.
HD Radio is a digital radio technology that is being installed around the United States in the AM and FM bands. It has been officially approved by the FCC and has already been on the air in many metropolitan areas for several years. Since it is a digital transmission, it is not susceptible to static and multipath noise in the way analog FM is. It also allows stations to provide more services on the air, for instance more channels of programming. You can try out an online simulation of HD Radio at NPR.org.
Yes! Unlike digital television, there is currently no federal mandate requiring AM or FM stations to turn off their analog service. The digital signal travels in the same space as the analog and both will be available for the foreseeable future. Keep in mind though, you will need a new HD Radio receiver to enjoy the benefits of the digital technology.
As of October 2007, we are only able to broadcast in HD Radio from our Springfield transmitter. If you live or work in Springfield or within roughly 20 miles from Springfield, then likely you will have no trouble receiving KSMU’s digital signal on your HD Radio receiver. Some listeners are accustomed to receiving KSMU from a much greater distance, perhaps with the aid of an additional antenna or a better receiver. In these areas, it is much more difficult to predict whether the digital signal will be received. Because it is a digital signal, it has a distinct threshold below which it will not work at all. In these conditions, the HD Radio will fall back to analog KSMU. With additional funding we may be able to convert other transmitters in our listening area to HD Radio as well, bringing the benefits of digital radio to these areas.
Not necessarily. Newer analog radios have the capability to display text information but cannot receive the digital signal. If in doubt, look for the HD Radio logo on the receiver.
You will need a digital HD Radio receiver to get KSMU’s digital signal, which includes a higher quality digital version of our main program and a second program stream (KSMU-HD2) of mainstream jazz music and some new news and information programming that we have not been able to offer in Springfield before. There are several digital radios already available, including models for the car and table-top style clock radios for home and work. These radios will all pick up regular analog AM and FM stations as well, so you don’t have to worry about having multiple radios for different services. Currently, most prices vary from less than $150 up to $500 for high-end models.
NPR Labs has spent a great deal of time reviewing various models. You will find several models available at NPR Shop. HD Radio receivers are available from many retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar. Ask your favorite electronics store what models they carry. Mobile car radios are available from brands like Kenwood, JVC, and Panasonic. We have had good experiences with Boston Acoustics, Accurian and Sangean brands for home use and there are sure to be many more available in the coming months.
No. Unlike satellite radio, there is no monthly cost, fees or subscription charges for digital radio service. Just clear digital radio for free over the air.
Yes. There are more than 1800 stations around the country broadcasting in HD Radio. In Springfield, there are at least four as of January 2009. You can find a nationwide list of stations broadcasting in HD Radio here.