Better sound and new digital options in store for listeners.
WEMU became the first public radio station in Michigan to broadcast in HD Radio, a new technology that combines historical analog signal generation and digital transmission at the same time on the same frequency.
Stations in the top thirteen US radio markets (covering approximately 60% of the US population), including Detroit, were encouraged to convert to the new technology as soon as possible and at least two commercial stations have done so. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) also encouraged public stations in these markets to convert to HD Radio and provided equipment grants to those stations, which includes WEMU. WDET in Detroit, WUOM in Ann Arbor, and WKAR-FM in East Lansing also qualify for the grants and have also applied for funding, however WEMU is the first to make the conversion to HD Radio.
The new technology will not only improve the quality of sound, but it will also permit the addition of other services. HD Radio audio is comparable to satellite radio in its CD-like audio quality. Other services include expanded text capacity, including traffic, weather and news. There is also the potential for a station to provide a secondary radio service on the same frequency.
WEMU paid for its conversion to HD Radio with a $75,000 grant from CPB and with revenue received from renting space on its broadcast tower. Listener funds raised through WEMU?s on-air and mail fundraisers go to daily operating expenses and were not used for the conversion.