Jen Hitt, production director for bluegrasscountry.org, stopped by to visit with us yesterday at Bluegrass Today booth at IBMA.The cyberstation, which provides a 24/7 bluegrass radio stream online, grew from Washington, DC’s venerable WAMU radio station, where bluegrass music was once a staple feature of their broadcast format.
When the station moved to the more common NPR news/talk format several years ago, the howls of protest from the relatively small but (thankfully) vocal contingent of bluegrass lovers led to the station management creating this internet vehicle, and bluegrasscountry.org became a pioneer in cybercasting bluegrass music.
Jen stopped by to let us know that their feed is now available in the DC area on HD Radio – great news for folks who still miss getting their bluegrass fix in the car or at work since the demise of WAMU’s bluegrass programming. If you’ve even visited the Northern VA/DC area, you can empathize with the amount of time commuters spend behind the wheel each week.
An HD Radio receiver is required to pick up the signal, and they are available in both automobile and table top models. Jen tells us that the fidelity of the signal is far higher than what they can stream online, and is based on the AAC (mpeg4) audio codec. They will also have expanded metadata which displays on the HD Radio receiver’s screen.
WAMU and bluegrasscountry.org have been out on the edge of new broadcast technology for some time, and they hope their listeners in DC will embrace this new move as well.
The streaming audio online can be accessed by anyone, anywhere with an internet connection, but the HD Radio broadcast can only be picked up in the DC metro market. The various details can be found on the bluegrasscountry web site.