by Terri Reddout
Sure, we all know about digital radio. That’s what XM and Sirius satellite radio is all about. That ability to get satellite radio is built into almost every new car today.
But there’s another type of digital radio signal out there that won’t cost you a cent. Although, you’re going to have to buy a new radio to get it.
In 2018, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) approved a digital radio signal platform that all U.S. radio stations will convert to within the next few years. The digital signal will be broadcast alongside the current analog signal on the same frequency.
This digital signal means no more scratchy, static-y signals on AM stations. It also means you’ll need a new HD radio to pick up the signal. No need to switch over to your Amazon tab quite yet. The FCC estimates it will take all the radio stations in the U.S. ten years to make the conversion.
In addition to getting a clearer signal, broadcasting digitally will take about 1/5 of the energy it takes to broadcast an analog signal. It’s also good news for radio manufacturers. It’s estimated 2.5 billion radio receivers will have to be replaced.