A Cloud-Capable Synchronized Transport Architecture for FM and HD Radio Broadcasting


Tuesday, April 26 | 12:55 PM - 1:15 PM


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Broadcasters are increasingly centralizing studios and content distribution across their fleet of stations or affiliated partner stations to effectively manage their network by simplifying broadcast transmission sites and keeping complicated system components subject to change in a centrally managed location. The ultimate centralized location is the cloud no matter if it’s a corporately managed data center or 3rd party service provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or others. Smaller broadcasters can also benefit from shared centralization through simplified management and access to a pool of technical experts with easy and flexible upgrades to HD RadioTM broadcasting.

Today this vision is not easily implementable for the lack of an integrated FM and HD Radio transport stream that bonds all broadcast content into a single data stream at point of ingest at the centralized studio or creation node suitable for transmission over a HD Radio capable broadcast transmitter. A novel broadcast architecture and transport protocol is detailed and demonstrated that allows a broadcast transmitter to directly connect to an Internet or cloud-based content source for all its broadcast content: processed FM composite audio, main and secondary HD audio, as well as RDS and HD Radio data services.

Integrated analog FM to HD Radio timing is a key aspect required for the broadcast plant to ensure a seamless listener experience when the receiver blends from analog FM to the digital main audio simulcast.  The presented architecture intrinsically addresses this requirement without the need of an off-air monitor that reactively adjusts audio delays across the two audio streams as is commonly installed today. The introduction of HD Radio receivers in the marketplace that also monitor and independently adjust the received audio presented to the listener can be negatively affected by reactive broadcast plant delay adjustments to the point where the receiver opts to never present the HD Radio broadcast and data services to the listener at all effectively down grading a digitally upgraded station to a traditional analog FM station for this growing subset of listeners. It is demonstrated that this new architecture never requires any audio delay adjustment over time or any air chain interruptions including changeovers to hot standby air chain connections. This important industry challenge is intrinsically solved in this architecture without the need for tight GPS based 10 MHz timing tolerances that are challenging to maintain in a cloud-based environment.  Seamless time-aligned transmitter cloud connectivity can be achieved no matter the global location of the serving data center.

A Sub-Session Under:

AM and FM HD Radio


Philipp Schmid

Session Type:
Paper Presentation