HD Radio Formats

AM

FM


HD Radio LogoAccurain HD Radio tuned to KZWY-HD3

Station
Frequency

HD-1

HD-2

HD-3

KZWY
94.9FM
94.9 HD-1 - Z94 FM
Wyoming's Classic Rock
OLDIES 105.9
The greatest hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80's
The Edge
Active Rock

 

WHAT IS HD RADIO?

HD Radio is digital radio. It coexists with traditional analog signals in a system known as In Band On Channel (IBOC). This means that existing analog-only receivers will still be able to pick up the analog stations as they always have, while newer HD capable receivers will be able to receive the analog formats as well as the additional digital programming.

 

HOW IS HD RADIO DIFFERENT FROM TRADITIONAL FM RADIO?

Because it is a digital system, atmospheric interference does not cause noise in the audio. Therefore, the sound is much cleaner and clearer; there is no hiss or crackle in the background as is typical with analog stations. The difference can be compared to a vinyl record vs. a CD.

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HD RADIO?

Improved sound quality - A common problem with analog FM reception is called "multipath" interference. While your radio picks up the signal from our tower, it also receives slightly delayed signals that have bounced off of buildings and hills. These out of phase signals cause hiss and other noise on the station. HD Radio is able to ignore multipath noise and is not susceptible to these forms of terrestrial interference. Additionally, analog radio contains inherent limitations in frequency response, which are not issues for the HD counterpart. When tuning a radio to an HD station, the sound gets noticeably more crisp and bright when the HD signal is locked in. As previously mentioned, the audio on the main HD channel is near CD-quality.
More format choices - Probably the most exciting feature of HD Radio is the ability to split the digital data into subchannels. Currently, broadcasters are able to divide the HD signal as many as three ways, and Sheridan Media is taking full advantage of this capability by providing HD-2 and HD-3 channels on all of our FM stations. If you have an HD Radio receiver, you can still enjoy the FM stations you listen to currently, only now you will have more choices. Each of our FM stations is currently providing three different formats. Sound quality on these additional HD "multicast" channels is somewhat lower than the main channel, but still cleaner and clearer than any analog station.

 

HOW DOES HD RADIO COMPARE TO SATELLITE RADIO?

Unlike satellite radio systems that charge monthly subscription fees, HD Radio broadcasts are free to the public. Your only expense is the purchase of an HD Radio tuner. Another difference is clarity. While both formats are digitally compressed, HD Radio main channels typically have more bandwidth and less compression than satellite channels. Most satellite radio channels sounds comparable to an analog FM station, while HD Radio can be nearly indistinguishable from a CD. While satellite radio is national, HD Radio broadcasts are local and can provide local programming and announcements not available from a national satellite feed. Satellite radio can drop out when your vehicle is next to a large building or in a tunnel, while HD Radio will typically still have reception in those conditions. Since HD Radio channels originate from a local radio tower just like analog stations, the coverage area for the HD Radio formats is similar to their analog counterparts.

 

HOW ARE HD RADIO CHANNELS TUNED IN?

The exact procedure varies between radios from different manufacturers, but the general method is similar. Typically, the main analog station is tuned in first. For the first several seconds the radio plays the analog audio and the display indicates that it is looking for the HD signal. When the HD signal is locked in, the sound quality will improve as the radio switches to the HD audio, and the display will now indicate an HD signal tuned in and its corresponding signal strength. Additionally, if multicast channels are present, the radio will indicate a "-1" after the station name, showing that it is on HD channel one. On an analog station or non-multicasting HD station, tuning up a notch will move to the next adjacent FM channel (i.e. tuning up from 93.7 will take you to 93.9). However, once a multicasting HD station is tuned in, tuning up a notch will move to the next subchannel. For example, when tuning up through 93.7 KYTI, your HD radio will go through the following channels: 93.5, 93.7-1, 93.7-2, 93.7-3, 93.9. Tuning down will also take you through the same channels in reverse order. Once a multicast channel is tuned in, most HD Radio receivers allow them to be programmed as presets, allowing you to jump directly to your favorite subchannel without having to tune in the main analog station first.

 

HD RECEPTION TIPS

The HD Radio power is set at 1% of the analog power, so a 100,000 Watt FM station broadcasting in HD will have a 1,000 Watt HD signal. While this is typically adequate for reception under most conditions, there can be reception difficulties when tuning in HD data from lower powered FM stations. Proper antenna placement is crucial for reception of low powered HD formats or if you live in an area where FM reception is less than optimal. Make sure you use the "T" shaped dipole antenna included with your radio (not the single straight wire). If possible, place it above or in a window and spread it out as straight as possible. Make sure your radio is at least three feet away from computer monitors, TVs or other potential sources of interference. In some extreme situations such as metal buildings, an external or roof-mount antenna may be necessary to pick up the HD signal.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW HD RADIO WORKS AND GET ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AT HDRADIO.COM


HD Radio:  Discover It!