Saturday, June 2, 2012

What I Would Like To Hear (on digital shortwave radio)

DRM is a versatile technology, loaded with features. As many traditional shortwave outlets sunset, We need new broadcasters to take up the reins and try some creative initiatives. I know, no receivers! Well, we are getting closer to eliminating that excuse with the Newstar DR111.

Here are a few of my crazy ideas:

  • Oldies on DRM. Play 50s and 60s classics with a "Murray the K" style DJ.
  • National weather service. Use the low bitrate speech codecs such as HVXC or CELP to transmit a 4 channel (West, Mountain, Central, East) weather broadcast. For that matter, it could send weather maps too.
  • Old Time Radio. Play some of the great radio dramas of the 30s-60s via digital broadcasting technology!
  • Multiple language service. Maybe VOA would take a crack at something like this using low bitrate codecs. I could easily see a 4 language service, again using HVXC or CELP.
  • Audio book service. Live audio books with accompanying ebooks sent in data form. Using public domain texts, ePub ebooks could be sent along with the audio without copyright concerns! For some populations, this could double as a way to boost literacy and for the visually impaired.
Hopefully as the DR111 makes its way into the hands of both broadcasters and listeners, there will be more excitement about DRM's potential and we'll have more to tune into! In addition I realize that there must be some strong motive to invest in new broadcasting technology. I say, let it be profit and make it commercial. We must also do our part to eliminate the United States domestic shortwave broadcast prohibition.