The very first FM station to operate via HD Radio (HD-R) in the Philippines began digitally broadcasting on November 9, in 2005. iFM 93.9 DWKC FM of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) pioneered the use of the said new radio technology.
The country’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) are still finalizing its regulations for digital FM radio operations. Despite this, several Manila-based stations have already committed to roll out the technology.
Network owners are ready to shell out money indeed, but it’s clear that the market is yet to be ready.
HD-R receivers come at a hefty price (around US$100 to $150 or PHP 4000 to PHP 6000).
This is why radio, HD Radio, and mobile phone makers are working together to have cell phones manufactured with built-in HDR chipsets by 2012.
Already prevalent in car manufacturing, the digital technology promises to give listeners clearer signals and more programming choices.
With rising energy costs in the country however, full embrace of this digital technology might still be further delayed. The industry here have been broadcasting in analog since the first station in 1922 and audiences here, still heavily rely on the medium for news, information and entertainment.
While HD Radio still seems to be far from sight, listeners are hoping that with this upgrade, stations would consider further augmenting the quality of their broadcast content.