It’s Thursday, Must Be Radio: HD Opportunity Knocking…Who Will Answer?

“HD Radio’s Prospects May Improve”-Wall Street Journal
“Hands-On: Radio for the deaf”-PC Magazine

With CES in full swing, the radio trade press is buzzing that HD radio is one of the shows “stars.” Of course, we have to chalk a lot up to the HD Radio Alliance and its PR efforts. But the fact is there are some headlines…this time relatively positive ones.

“Checking Up on HD Radio”-Washington Post
“Ford to Make HD Digital Radio Available Across Nearly All Product Lines”-Motortrend
“HD Radio rolls out iTunes tagging”-Engadget

Readers of RemainComm know that I’m not a big believer in HD. Not that more reasons to turn on the radio is a bad thing. My problem has always been how radio chooses to prioritize its issues and then doing a poor job of committing to them.

The fact is that right now, right this very minute; there are actual headlines about HD. Who will jump on this opportunity to tell the consumer…finally…what they can get on HD? Not what it is, not who’s behind it, and not just on the radio in free spots. After two years of hearing the commercials for HD in my own city (Minneapolis/St. Paul) I have yet to hear what I can actually find if I were even tempted to purchase an HD radio. Oh, I can hear all sorts of pitches that I need HD radio and even some explanation, though not much, about what it is. But no one is telling me that there is a blues channel, a comedy channel, a jazz channel, etc. (I only know that because I was at CBS when we launched our HD channels.)

The only headline above that actually addresses content is the one about Radio for the deaf. Let’s be clear; this is a great use of the digital technology to make radio accessible to all. But, I’d hate to think that radio companies around the country are budgeting additional dollars to their engineering departments to install and maintain new transmitters only to put something on that can’t be heard.

Yep, getting the technology out there is important. Getting content that is compelling enough to get someone to invest in that technology is vital.

What do you know? Content is once again the most important thing about radio.


  1. The incredible consumer apathy towards HD Radio is highly-unlikely to change: