Digital Radio Fact Sheet
WILL Radio's digital radio service provides three streams of content:
- FM 90.9 HD1 - a simulcast of the FM music and news service.
- FM 90.9 HD2 - a 24-hour music stream with the C-24 classical music service, along with WILL-FM's locally produced music shows.
- FM 90.9 HD3 - the news and information service broadcast on AM 580.
What are the benefits of WILL digital radio?
The digital service makes WILL's news and information service available 24 hours a day to people west of Champaign who can't hear the AM 580 signal, and to those in town who have had trouble receiving the signal at night, when AM is at low power. Digital radio has crystal-clear, digital-quality sound without hiss or distortion. WILL digital radio's sound is h3 with near CD quality.
What makes the coverage west of Champaign possible?
The AM program service is piggybacking on WILL-FM's signal, which covers a different area than the AM signal. The AM signal covers a fat bean-shaped area, including Illinois from Interstate 64 to the Wisconsin state line, but it has a large notch on the west side. WILL-FM, with its transmitter near Monticello, covers a circular area from the outskirts of Springfield to the Indiana state line, including Monticello and Decatur. So people west of Champaign can now hear the AM service on digital. However, keep in mind that WILL Radio's digital signal covers a slightly smaller circular area than the WILL-FM analog coverage area. For the FM music service on HD1, the predicted coverage area is about 37 miles in each direction from the Monticello transmitter. For the AM news and information service on HD2, the predicted coverage area is about 32 miles in each direction from the Monticello transmitter. WILL-FM doesn't have to reduce power at sunset, as AM does, so the digital signal is h3 24 hours a day.
How do I tune to WILL's digital radio signals?
You need to have a radio labeled "HD" to receive the digital signals. On the HD radio, tune to FM 90.9. After a brief delay, the radio will pull in the WILL-FM 90.9 HD1 signal. To listen to the 24-hour music stream, dial the radio up to HD2. To listen to the news and information service, dial up to HD3. An HD radio will also pick up analog signals, not just digital signals.
Where can I buy an HD radio?
HD radios are available for purchase online at sites such as radiosophy.com and at local retailers including Circuit City and Best Buy. Some stores also sell digital radios to install in your car.
Do I need to use an antenna with my digital radio?
You may need to use an antenna to maximize your reception or keep the digital signal locked in. Many digital radios come with an antenna. Even if you receive the WILL-FM analog signal without an antenna, you still may need an antenna to receive WILL Radio's digital signals.
I've heard the terms digital radio and HD Radio. Are these the same?
While digital audio exists in a number of forms, the FCC-approved method of delivering digital radio signals in the United States is known as HD Radio. Broadcasters on other continents use other systems. HD (hybrid digital) Radio technology allows broadcasters to provide 21st century digital service and marks the most significant advancement in radio broadcasting since the introduction of FM stereo more than 50 years ago.
Are analog radio broadcasts going to end soon, as analog TV will end in February 2009?
Not for a very long time. The FCC is relying on marketplace competition, instead of a mandate, to move the digital radio conversion ahead. While it is true that you will need a new radio to benefit from digital radio, your present radios should hold you in good stead for some time to come, since radio stations that do convert to digital will be required to continue to offer their existing analog transmission services.
How is HD Radio different from digital satellite radio such as Sirius XM?
While Sirius XM uses digital transmission, a key difference is that our digital broadcasts are over-the-air, free and available to all listeners, whereas satellite radio is a monthly pay subscription service. While Sirius XM offers a greater number of channels, it is a national service that does not provide local news, weather, traffic or other local content. However, like the satellite services, HD Radio listeners will have to purchase new receivers.