Seattle Radio Happenings

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    HD Radio is a non-starter. It’s actually in worse shape than analog AM! The only thing it has going for it is the ability to put its programing on FM translators. Its primary objective, as a replacement for analog FM(and AM, along for the ride), has long been superseded by streaming audio. I love it but it has no future, other than feeding translators.

    BZZZT. Incorrect. It’s the digital terrestrial radio system we have in the US, and probably the only digital system we will ever have. It’s free to listeners and it has fairly wide adoption in the US. It sounds very good when done correctly. And that’s that. Embrace it, or don’t.


    “Most people don’t even know we exist … KRVM HD2.”

    If that’s the case, the broadcasters need to embrace it and promote the crap out of it.


    I was an early supporter and thought it was a great idea at first but streaming caught up quickly, surpassed it and now, analog AM-FM is in jeopardy! Almost everyone has a smart phone or other device and pays for it. You can’t use the “but it’s free!” argument, if everyone already has access to the alternative! It’s been 17 years and compared to streaming, it remains at a standstill! I understand that it sounds great and is free of interference but that isn’t enough for the general public to embrace it. Try making this argument to Generation Z or even Y and see how far you get.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by semoochie.

    HD Radio never solved a problem the average listener was having. Yes, a solid HD signal sounds great, but FM wasn’t losing massive amounts of listeners over audio quality.

    And to this day, the industry hasn’t created compelling content to drive listeners to the HD channels. I remember when then Clear Channel moved Smooth Jazz from an FM here in town (105.9, I think?) to the HD2 of K103… The format didn’t work on a primary FM…but you think people are going to spend money to hear it on HD? Head scratcher.

    I agree with Semochie, HD has become the fourth or fifth option for in-car listening. Somebody needs to create some kind of new and compelling national formats, and only run them on HD. And even then, it may be too late for HD.


    About 50% of new cars sold have HD Radio. There’s a very large pool of potential listeners.

    But yes, the broadcast industry has done a terrible job marketing it. And some early adopters got burned. Unreliable hardware. No built-in time alignment (the system should never have been deployed without that feature). I could go on.

    The system we have today is much more mature. The h/w is reliable, stations understand the importance of time alignment, etc. But there’s a lot of hostility toward the system by broadcasters due to its rocky rollout. And having to license the technology is a brick wall for some broadcasters (and car makers).


    The FCC approved New Age Media’s Program Test Authority for KRPA 1110 AM in Oak Harbor. June 16 was the approval day. Expect a new nighttime DX signal on 1110 in the next few days albeit with a beam towards Vancouver Island and some sectors of the lower BC Mainland.

    In a Google search I found some photos of the new, second KRPA tower and high-powered hardware at under their news section:


    Please correct me if I am wrong: Isn’t one of the bigger/greater barriers for HD Broadcast the fact that it is not open-source? Other than the large, corporate broadcasters who have a stake in IBOC, how many others want to pay licensing fees each year to broadcast in HD/Digital? You don’t have that on the TV side. TV Stations aren’t paying some company a royalty payment for the right to broadcast in digital. If you did not have that initial, and to my understanding very expensive cost outlay, you would see more radio stations in digital/HD.

    Shirley Knott

    I remember that it cost us about $25,000 to add HD to 94.5 KRXY in Olympia about 4-5 years back. We needed a second transmitter for HD because the existing analog Nautel VS-1 was running flat out to make full power just for analog with the lossy downward radiation reduced antenna array on the analog only.

    Digital transmitter was also a newer VS-1 kitted out for HD black box connections. We also needed an HD exciter, an HD exporter to create the main HD1 signal, plus an HD importer to generate the HD2 and HD3 channels.

    The entire point of the HD conversion was quite simply to have a legal way to feed a pair of fill-in translators. An aux HD antenna on the same tower as the analog kept installation relatively simple.

    Of course, there was the additional cost of the translators and their antennas, which was maybe another $10K. That’s separate from the $25K HD conversion cost.

    Not to forget the $10,000 one time HD licensing fee, payable monthly over 5 years. Plus the $1000/year per HD channel royalty that never ends. It’s more if you break a threshold annual income which hasn’t happened yet, then the owner of the HD patent. formerly iBiquity, now Xperi, gets a percentage of sales above the annual threshold amount.

    It’s not cheap, but it’s an effective way to add two more saleable channels to a formerly standalone station.

    Nautel has now combined the Exporter and Importer into a single box that theoretically reduces the cost a bit, but I’m not in an equipment buying mood since the Covid fiasco blew a hole in sales that hasn’t entirely healed yet. Some of the former advertisers are scrambling to stay open, or are no longer in business. That money isn’t coming back to radio anytime soon.


    For all you KNHC alum out there, Matt Penz wrote a wonderful piece on KNHC. The photos alone are great:

    (Not yet behind a paywall)

    Dan Packard

    As a KNHC alumnus, thanks for pointing that out CD!

    (In the KNHC music library, 1977ish),


    From RadioInsight:

    Lotus Communications has announced it has closed on its purchase of News 1000 KOMO Seattle/97.7 KOMO-FM Oakville/97.7 K249DX Redmond, Hot AC “Star 101.5” KPLZ Seattle and Conservative Talk 570 KVI Seattle from Sinclair Broadcast Group.

    Lotus Closes On Purchase Of Sinclair’s Seattle Radio Properties


    Wonder what they will do with KOMO. The purcahse did NOT include the intellectual rights, or call letters, for KOMO Radio. They will now be used exclusively for KOMO TV.


    As of a few weeks ago, KOMO has dropped The Jim Bohannon Show. The midnight hour now is now a rerun of the previous weekend’s Perspective. Perhaps, this is a signal of the beginning of the end.


    Probably News 1000, or Newsradio 1000.


    Sinclair Seattle and the radio stations they sold to Lotus are all in the process of a ransom ware attack. Programming may be altered during the removal and restoration process. I hear they intend not to pay.

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