MPBR and HD Radio

The new MPBR Arts and Culture Channel is on its way!

There will be some schedule changes. The one we are most interested in is PipeDreams, currently heard on MPBR (MPB Radio), which will be discontinued. We are not sure when, but the MPBR schedule at www.mpbonline.org shows its last broadcast on February 11. It will continue, however, on MPBRAC (MPB Radio Arts & Culture), on Sundays from 1:00 to 3:00 P.M.. In fact, it is already available on the internet. To hear it, (assuming you have a highspeed connection), go to www.mpbonline.org, click on "Radio", scroll down to and click on one of the two large icons titled "Click Here to Listen...", and you will go to a screen with four choices: MPBR for PCs, MPBR for Macs, MPBRAC for PCs, and MPBRAC for Macs. Click on your choice and you should be in business. If your computer is old, you may need to download a player. All this is explained on screen.

You can also hear either MPBR or MPBRAC by using the computer signal as input to your stereo system. In my case I connected my computer speaker output to a 20+ year old boombox and got a remarkable improvement in quality. What you would need to do is similar, but the details would depend on your computer and your stereo system.

The final schedule for MPBRAC has not yet been released, but should be available early in January.

HD radios are beginning to show up in various stores. Radio Shack has had one, the Accurian 12-1686, but it is apparently now sold out, at least in Mississippi. They expect to have more in January. The price through Dec 24 was $150, but may go up to $180 when the new supply arrives. Other models may be found on the internet for as little as $80 (to see these, google "HD Radios"). Other local vendors may have some HD radios in stock at the present. WalMart carries a mobile HD radio for cars for about $130; it wasn't clear if that included speakers or not. Best Buy had HD tuners when I checked a month ago, but no free-standing radios at that time (they did have HD car radios). I keep hoping Consumer Reports will survey HD radios, but they have not even mentioned them so far.

Most - if not all - the free-standing HD radios I saw on the internet had - in addition to speakers - an earphone output that can serve as a "line out", that is, a way to connect the signal to a stereo system.

In short, the possibilities are multiplying.

Addendum: The above was written when the changeover was in a state of flux; the abbreviation now (January, 2008) in use at MPBR for HD-1 (whether HD or analog) is "MPB Think Radio", and for the arts & culture channel (HD-2), "MPB Music Radio". The latter reminds me of the slogan that served so well for so many years: "PRM - Classical Music Statewide". It is, I believe, a time for optimism (although I am still waiting for HD headset radios to hit the market!) MPBR has a new Director of Classical Music, Karen Hearn, and we hope to provide more information about her soon. Farewell, Greg Waxberg! Welcome, Karen Hearn!

Glenn A. Gentry