FM broadcast history question

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gvl_guy

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I was in radio broadcasting all my life. I think I have a pretty good amount of knowledge of how the industry works and history behind it--especially when it comes to quad. But someone in one of the Facebook broadcasting groups that I'm involved with has called into question a big one for me. I think he's wrong, but.....

I was always under the impression that matrix quadraphonic broadcasts never needed any kind of approval from the FCC. After all, you were just using a normal stereo signal to do the broadcast. Some stations were encoding in QS. Some in SQ. And, of course, there were a few stations testing discreet 4 channel broadcasts that were approved by the FCC. No "regular" person could pick them up, but another carrier was needed to do them. So approval was needed.

Now, this guy says he was a broadcast engineer at a station that was using an SQ encoder back in the day. He claims that quad broadcasts died because the FCC sent out an order that all matrix encoders needed to be removed from the audio chain. He said "hundreds" of stations were forced out of the quad game because of this FCC directive.

I say BUNK! I had never heard of such a thing. Quad broadcasts died because quad died. No one cared. There were too many competing systems. But, he was, allegedly, an engineer at a station that was broadcasting in quad. So maybe he's right? I know that sometimes there were issues with FM mono broadcasts when stations used an encoder, but I thought they kept working on that. Matrix H comes to mind. Maybe I missed something?

If anyone has knowledge on this, I'd love to know. Thank you.

Fun picture, just because....
FB_IMG_1686005272988.jpg
 
He might be getting confused by the FCC decision whereby they called an immediate halt to :

Q- enhancing !..which was what the 24hour quad broadcast matrix stations were doing .
Q-enhancing is when you synthesize matrix from Stereo with the Encoder.
Both CBS and Sansui had some of these types of quad broadcast stations , and they both appealed the 1975 FCC decision .
But that did not stop regular SQ or QS broadcasts from happening .

This decision was made in the Summer of 1975 .And it was permitted to use Discrete 4channel tapes and disc's thru an Encoder , QS or SQ.
Of course both Sansui and CBS did not have enough matrix encoded material to support 24 hour quad broadcasting , so that's why they appealed.

There is an article regarding this in Billboard, September 20th 1975 pg 01, 12.
 
I should add that if anything this decision started both CBS and Sansui to sponsor and get involved more with Discrete Concerts of local venues ,clubs and Concert Halls for FM Quad matrix broadcasting , which is an expansion for supporting Artists not necessarily attached to their QS and SQ Record labels.

No if anything this became an improvement and beneficial for places like Agency Recording's (New World Of Jazz in QS broadcast one day a week alternating with another day of the week for "Live At The Agora"in SQ , Rock Shows) expanded into Syndication.

-As did KBFH , Live From London (and The BBC) , Chicago's WFMT Classical, Lyric Opera and Boston's , BSO Series in both matrices , and Live From Severance Hall, WXRT Unconcert Series as well as many smaller local Station Productions in quad servived well beyond the FCC 's 1975 decision and in most cases expanded into National Syndication.
 
IIRC, CBS tried to get Sansui QS encoders removed from FM stereo radio stations due to the way the QS encoders were wired in, CBS claimed that keeping the QS encoder in the broadcasting chain all the time (and feeding stereo to QS LF and RF), stereo separation was reduced to ~8dB (CBS was right, but it was easy to just bypass the QS encoder for stereo content).

IIRC, it was a front page story in Billboard, I don't have a photocopy though.


Kirk Bayne
 
IIRC, CBS tried to get Sansui QS encoders removed from FM stereo radio stations due to the way the QS encoders were wired in, CBS claimed that keeping the QS encoder in the broadcasting chain all the time (and feeding stereo to QS LF and RF), stereo separation was reduced to ~8dB (CBS was right, but it was easy to just bypass the QS encoder for stereo content).

IIRC, it was a front page story in Billboard, I don't have a photocopy though.


Kirk Bayne
Nice to know. Thanks! But this guy claims they were running SQ and were forced to remove it by FCC order. I just don't believe it.
 
No professional experience here, but it seems like FCC regulations should be abailable on-line, so your associate should be able to provide the appropriate regulation.

I recall a MOR station in Anaheim (KEZY/KEZR) that had a studio where you could see the DJ and equipment, and one day they said they were broadcasting in quad. The records they were playing were all SQ albums.
 
I was in radio broadcasting all my life. I think I have a pretty good amount of knowledge of how the industry works and history behind it--especially when it comes to quad. But someone in one of the Facebook broadcasting groups that I'm involved with has called into question a big one for me. I think he's wrong, but.....

I was always under the impression that matrix quadraphonic broadcasts never needed any kind of approval from the FCC. After all, you were just using a normal stereo signal to do the broadcast. Some stations were encoding in QS. Some in SQ. And, of course, there were a few stations testing discreet 4 channel broadcasts that were approved by the FCC. No "regular" person could pick them up, but another carrier was needed to do them. So approval was needed.
Now, this guy says he was a broadcast engineer at a station that was using an SQ encoder back in the day. He claims that quad broadcasts died because the FCC sent out an order that all matrix encoders needed to be removed from the audio chain. He said "hundreds" of stations were forced out of the quad game because of this FCC directive.
You are mostly right. What they were ordered to stop using was discrete simulcasting - where one station carried the front channels and another carried the back channels.

There also might have been an interference problem is a CD-4 record was played and the radio equipment aliased the carrier.

Another possibility is that when quad died, the companies that leased them the encoders wanted them back. Or the company that owns the stations ordered them removed. Maybe a company lawyer misread an FCC directive and ordered this.

Another possibility is that the encoders were not certified in some way that audio equipment must be for broadcast.

I say BUNK! I had never heard of such a thing. Quad broadcasts died because quad died. No one cared. There were too many competing systems. But, he was, allegedly, an engineer at a station that was broadcasting in quad. So maybe he's right? I know that sometimes there were issues with FM mono broadcasts when stations used an encoder, but I thought they kept working on that. Matrix H comes to mind. Maybe I missed something?
The same problem with mono cancellation of quad also affected stereo.
 
He might be getting confused by the FCC decision whereby they called an immediate halt to :

Q- enhancing !..which was what the 24hour quad broadcast matrix stations were doing .
Q-enhancing is when you synthesize matrix from Stereo with the Encoder.
Both CBS and Sansui had some of these types of quad broadcast stations , and they both appealed the 1975 FCC decision .
But that did not stop regular SQ or QS broadcasts from happening .
I've been involved in community radio on a mostly volunteer basis for several years now. Many of the people I talk to were on the air back in the quad days and they're all nice people but they're...well, they're about the music and really, really, really not technical.

So I wonder the same thing now that I wondered 40+ years ago: Were the DJs spinning the actual records paying attention to the format and making adjustments accordingly? That is, if the station broadcasted in QS and a CD-4 record was played, did they do whatever was necessary to decode the CD-4 into four channels that were then fed into the QS encoder? Frankly, I just can't imagine them paying attention, fully understanding or caring. I remember when the station most of them worked at back then stopped mentioning quad, prompting me to call up and ask if they had indeed turned it off, and the DJ gave me an earful about how quad was dumb, never used for live concerts (Pink Floyd, anyone?) and he preferred a "really clean mono."

But he was the same guy who some time earlier blew my teenage mind by playing the quad version of "Chain of Fools"! I remember hearing Joe South's guitar, immediately thinking "I know what this is!" followed by utter confusion. I never heard that version again for decades and didn't understand what it was until Rhino included that edit on a stereo CD.
 
IIRC, there was a request (probably by CBS in ~1971) to the FCC to OK (all forms) of matrix quad broadcasts on stereo FM, the FCC wrote an official document/letter that said no additional FCC approval was needed to broadcast matrix quad content via stereo FM (almost certainly the document is still in effect), I haven't seen a copy online though.


Kirk Bayne
 
IIRC, there was a request (probably by CBS in ~1971) to the FCC to OK (all forms) of matrix quad broadcasts on stereo FM, the FCC wrote an official document/letter that said no additional FCC approval was needed to broadcast matrix quad content via stereo FM (almost certainly the document is still in effect), I haven't seen a copy online though.


Kirk Bayne
I agree. Since no additional subcarriers were needed to broadcast matrix quad on FM, no further approval would be needed to broadcast matrix quad. I was playing matrix quad LP's on the air, in 1971, most of which were encoded in EV Stereo-4. There weren't many of them, either, but they sounded great on the air, especially the ones from Project 3 and Enoch Light.
 
Last edited:
Billboard June 23 1973 pg68

"CBS pulled their SQ bid with the FCC as it now does not need compatibility approval . SQ is already in use and has been authorized ".

They also stated that if anything they would adhere to Standards for matrix broadcasting use.
 
Matrix, in general, was authorized, be it SQ or QS. But then, since no extra subcarriers are needed, there should be no FCC approval needed for matrix quad. Just play the damn record! Or, play an encoded tape. Just that simple!
 
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