CAB demos digital radio

A portable transmitter was used to demonstrate digital radio technology at the recent Canadian Association of Broadcasters convention in Winnipeg in a bid to attract more attention to the medium.The trial was intended to introduce broadcasters to the technology, which provides...

A portable transmitter was used to demonstrate digital radio technology at the recent Canadian Association of Broadcasters convention in Winnipeg in a bid to attract more attention to the medium.

The trial was intended to introduce broadcasters to the technology, which provides sound quality comparable to compact discs, and is less susceptible to broadcast interference than conventional am or fm signals.

Elmer Hildebrand, president of Golden West Broadcasting and chair of Digital Radio Research, a government-sponsored partnership between the cbc and Canadian Association of Broadcasters, warns broadcasters they must consider offering new services such as datacasting, for the communication of other digitalized information.

‘It’s a matter of survival really, because if radio doesn’t evolve to offer these services, someone else will,’ Hildebrand says.

The portable transmitter will also test the technology in the mountainous Vancouver area.

There are permanent test installations in Toronto and Montreal.

Michel Tremblay, executive vice-president of the cab, says there could be regular digital radio broadcasting in Canada by the end of next year.

‘[Initially,] the primary market will be in car receivers, because that is where you see the most difference,’ Tremblay says.

He says Pioneer and Philips, among others, are in digital receiver prototype development right now and are racing to have the first products on the market, and will likely have car receivers available by 1996.

He expects home receivers and Walkman-type radios will be available sometime in 1997 or 1998.

A number of companies including Rogers, chum, Shaw, Telemedia, Radio Mutuel, and Cancom have helped fund Digital Radio Research.

‘We have invested $2.3 million to build these facilities to experiment and sensitize public broadcasters and regulators to the technology on the radio front,’ Tremblay says.

‘We must make sure that the message gets across of what’s going on here and other places,’ he says.