is a term used to describe the simultaneous transmission of a television
and/or radio signal over two or more networks or two or more stations.
The most obvious example would be a major address by the President
of the United States which might be carried simultaneously by three
television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC), one or more cable networks
(CNN, CNBC), and several radio networks.
term has taken a different meaning during various periods in broadcasting.
Initially, the term was applied to the simultaneous transmission
of important events over two or more radio outlets. Later, it referred
to the simultaneous transmission of programs on radio and television.
This occurred during the 1960s when some of the most popular radio
programs became television programs. but the audio portion was still
simulcast on radio. This practice was short-lived, however, as the
number of homes with TV sets increased and radio shifted to a more
The very slow growth in FM radio during the 1950s and 1960s was
due, in part, to the simulcasting of radio programming over co-owned
AM and FM stations. In 1964, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
acted to force the independence of FM stations by severely restricting
the number of hours that AM and FM stations could simulcast during
any given broadcast day, although protests by radio station owners
delayed implementation of the rule until 1 January 1967. (Ironically,
the FCC removed the restrictions on AM-FM simulcasting a quarter
of a century later so that struggling AM stations could simulcast
the programming of their stronger FM sister stations.)
of musically-oriented programs by television and FM stations occurred
on an occasional basis during the 1970s and 1980s. Sometimes these
programs included opera or other classical presentations; on other
occasions rock concerts were simulcast. The improved sound fidelity
and stereo capability of newer television sets have diminished the
need for such audio-enhancement simulcasting although some TV/FM
simulcasting still occurs.
the term simulcasting is most relevant to the development and adaptation
of high definition television (HDTV). Both broadcasters and regulators
realize that newer more advanced forms of television transmission
will have to be phased in gradually since viewers with standard
television receivers would not be willing to accept the immediate
obsolescence of their current TV sets.
now under consideration would require television stations to simulcast
two separate signals. One standard, or NTSC, analog signal suitable
for reception by current receivers would be transmitted over the
channels currently allocated to television stations; a second high
definition, digital signal suitable for newer, more advanced receivers
would be transmitted over a separate channel.
type of simulcasting would require the allocation of additional
broadcast frequencies to those television stations that transmit
the second signal. While broadcasters have expressed an interest
in acquiring second channels for various uses including HDTV, they
resist the stipulation that links the second channel to the mandated
simulcasting of NTSC and HDTV signals. Another point of controversy
involves the time frame for simulcasting; i.e. how long would such
transmissions be required and what requirement, if any, would have
broadcasters return unused frequencies to the FCC for reallocation
once simulcasting ended.
this particular utilization of simulcasting is still under discussion
the traditional simulcasting of major events by one or more television
and/or cable outlets is a well established practice and one not
likely to end in the near term.
on Television; Public