WUFT to go live soon with HD Radio

Published: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Starting noon Friday, listeners of public radio station WUFT-FM, Classic 89 who have certain receivers can listen to "Morning Edition," "Metropolitan Opera," "Across the Prairie" and "Hearts of Space" with crystal clarity. No more hiss, crackle or pop.
The National Public Radio affiliate that broadcasts from the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications plans to be the first station in North Central Florida to go live with its digital audio, commonly called high definition radio (HD Radio) signal. WKTK 98.5 FM and WSKY 97.3 FM, which also broadcast out of Gainesville, plan on launching digital audio later this summer through the HD Digital Alliance, which includes Entercom Communications.
Only those whose homes or vehicles are equipped with HD Radio receivers will get the heightened quality, but conventional FM radios will continue to receive both WUFT-FM 89.1, which broadcasts over North Central Florida, and Nature Coast 90.1, which simulcasts programs in the outlying areas Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties and part of Levy County.
Converting a car radio to digital costs about $200, and new HD Radios can cost up to $500, but it is expected that as high definition becomes more common, prices will go down.
In addition to producing high quality sound, going digital gives radio stations the ability to utilize small unused spaces around their frequencies, allowing for a second stream of programming on the same basic signal.
Starting next month, Classic 89 will be able to feature music while a second channel can feature "talk programs" - including "Marketplace," "Talk of the Nation," "Science Friday" and "The Diane Rehm Show" - and vice versa.
iBiquity Digital Corporation, based in Columbia, Md., owns the technology that is now the United States' digital audio broadcasting standard, and has trademarked the term "HD Radio."
Marina Blomberg can be reached at (352) 374-5025 or blombem@gvillesun.com

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