iBiquity's HD Radio technology could make it possible for FM stations to deliver two audio programs simultaneously on their allotted frequencies — if Kenwood, National Public Radio, and broadcast-equipment maker Harris have their way.
At CES on Jan. 9, the trio plans to present the findings of field tests of their HD Radio enhancement, which they call Tomorrow Radio, to the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC). Kenwood will also host a technology demonstration at CES.
Here's how Tomorrow Radio works:
Instead of an FM station broadcasting a 96kbps CD-quality program, the station would broadcast a high-quality 64Kbps program and a supplementary 32Kbps program, described as "good enough for a mixed speech and music service" by Mike Bergman, Kenwood's senior manager for digital broadcast products. The 32Kbps program would deliver more dynamic range than analog FM and would still be immune to interference, he said.
Tomorrow Radio isn't feasible for constricted-bandwidth AM stations. NPR would make a petition to the FCC to sanction the capability.