HD Radio…Yeah, but what do I get?

In the past year you’ve probably heard talk of HD Radio on one of your favorite radio stations. But, then again, judging by the amount of HD Radio receivers that have been sold…maybe not. More likely, you’ve heard about it and…well, it means nothing to you. Locally, I hear allot about HD on many of the Clear Channel radio stations. The commercials are very creative and I believe are very successful in conveying the message that HD stations exist, as they say, “between the stations” you are already use to. Originally, these commercials didn’t do a great job of explaining that, though your favorite station may broadcast in HD, you can’t hear HD without a special receiver. As of late, HD Radio has done a better job of addressing this.

The issue now, and I believe the reason HD Radio sales still haven’t taken off, is that none of these commercials, or the stations that carry them, have told you what the heck is on those “stations between the stations”. Imagine promoting the Harry Potter book with a campaign of “now with pages between the pages.” I’m not interested in a blank page…I’m interested in what’s on the page (Does Harry die? Does Hermione marry Ron? Does Voldemort?) just as most are interested in what’s on the HD station. It’s time to step up and talk content.

Hey radio, first, be sure to put something great on these stations. When I say “something great” I don’t mean the same stuff I can get on the current FM band. Making HD great is not taking the same library or two and putting the songs in a different order.

Second, and more importantly, and this is where radio continues to miss the mark, tell me what the h  heck it is. Tell me about the all jazz, the all blues, the all comedy, the all punk polks power ballad stations I can get. In fact, play a bit of it for me on your current station (OK, maybe no the punk polka.) Better yet, showcase it on your website. One of my favorite marketing axioms has always been, you can throw the best party known to the human race but if you don’t send out invitations…no one will come.

Look, I’m not a big HD fan. I still question the need to create an entire new delivery platform requiring the average listener to spend 150 bucks when the content is available elsewhere…for free (Web). I also still question the commitment to actually market HD by an industry that, for the most part, has abandoned marketing it’s own core product. But, if we all had a clearer understanding of what we’ll get for our investment in HD, there is a much better chance of success….don’t ya think?



  1. The HD channels are low-bitrate cleverly reworked material off the main analog channels – HD Radio is a total farce: