Radio’s Digital Dilemma: Broadcasting in the Twenty-First Century

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Routledge, Dec 4, 2013 - Social Science - 188 pages
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Radio's Digital Dilemma is the first comprehensive analysis of the United States’ digital radio transition, chronicling the technological and policy development of the HD Radio broadcast standard. A story laced with anxiety, ignorance, and hubris, the evolution of HD Radio pitted the nation’s largest commercial and public broadcasters against the rest of the radio industry and the listening public in a pitched battle over defining the digital future of the medium. The Federal Communications Commission has elected to put its faith in "marketplace forces" to govern radio’s digital transition, but this has not been a winning strategy: a dozen years from its rollout, the state of HD Radio is one of dangerous malaise, especially as newer digital audio distribution technologies fundamentally redefine the public identity of "radio" itself.

Ultimately, Radio’s Digital Dilemma is a cautionary tale about the overarching influence of economics on contemporary media policymaking, to the detriment of notions such as public ownership and access to the airwaves—and a call for media scholars and reformers to engage in the continuing struggle of radio’s digital transition in hopes of reclaiming these important principles.


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1 Identifying Radios Digital Dilemma
2 The Developmental Trajectory of US Digital Radio
3 The Fundamental Deficiencies of IBOC DAB
4 FCC Deliberation of HD Radio
5 The Troubled Proliferation of HD Radio
6 Tweaking an Imperfect System
7 HD Radios Murky Future
8 Confronting Radios Digital Dilemma

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About the author (2013)

John Nathan Anderson is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Broadcast Journalism in the Department of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Formerly a radio journalist, he’s been working in the fields of media policy and activism for nearly two decades.

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