Monday, February 11, 2008

HD Radio: Chickens and Eggs

Here is an article from The Washington Post about HD Radio. The HD radio boosters at iBiquity keep saying the same thing--it's the auto dealers and satellite radio (XM and Sirius) services fault. Sure it is.

There are really only a few parts to this issue: technology, programming, portability and on-demand content. HD Radio is getting aced out on all of these by competing products and services--no matter how much branding, marketing and advertising stations do. And generally, public radio stations are not inclined to do excessive self promotion. Colorado Public Radio seems to be the exception in Colorado.

Radio stations--commercial and non-commercial--that offer truly alternative programming may succeed in winning over listeners who care less about portability or on-demand content--that is, if they own HD radios for both their car and their home (portable HD radios are not common). But producing compelling programming requires creativity--and cash. Most public radio stations are not flush with either. Even fewer are flush with both. And what does iBiquity recommend? More HD radio promotion by stations? How innovative!


PocketRadio said...

The dudes at iNiquity and the HD Radio Cartel are very sly - they seem to spend an incredible amount of time performing technical hi-jinks. HD jams and jams our airways, especially on AM radio. Please, take a look at my blog, as I have been researching HD Radio for two years:

paul vincent zecchino said...

Jimmy James and PocketRadio well say it, don't they? HD Radio is a farce. The HD gang keeps pimping off HD as the cure all for radio.

But as more HD stations 'light up' our airwaves with shrill jamming, the more listeners flee to iPods, WiMax, and anything else that offers interesting shows.

As Mssrs. James and PocketRadio, above, say, good programs require station owners to spend money on talent. They refuse to do so. They'd rather squander millions on HD, a 90s techno-jalopy that jams airwaves and make us buy new HD stooge radios, than pay talent a decent wage to befriend us.

If this keeps up, BigRadio is finished. People loved listening to people on radio. People know when they're being fooled. They caught on to voice-tracked jukeboxes and absentee station owners who cynically demanded they listen to the same old boring faire in 'crystal clear HD'.

Germany just junked digital. Digital was supposed to be the Big Thing in the UK. It's not. The sooner BigRadio junks HD and resumes airing compelling programs featuring engaging talent, the sooner its fortunes will rise.

Paul Vincent Zecchino
Manasota Key, Florida
11 February, 2008

AltonsmallclaimsCourt said...

Here's the problem: CPR mangement, with Max Wysick at the helm, is hell-bent on HD - at any cost. At he same time, it's like they're actually trying to fail at everything else. They've so far dropped the ball on promoting the station (save for that tired Beethoven's Birthday promotion), missed the boat on having any real, subtantive website offering, and they keep hiring more news staff while shrinking the actual on-air output of that department.

HD is a problem because it distracts from where the audience really wants to listen - online or over the air. Does it occur to Max or CPR tech majordomo Jim Paluzzi that while HD requires the purchase of a new tuner, audio streaming requires merely a PC and a broadvband connection. Anyone want to compare the installed base of HD to PCs w/ broadband?

I smell a rat. Does somone at CPR have patents on HD technology they'd like to see become valuable?

Anonymous said...

Paluzzi? Patents?

That's crazytalk!

bobyoung said...

I have learned not to believe 99.9% of things that pro-iBlock people write, there is always a reason behind anything they do or say and that reason is to promote HD at all costs even though it is a terrible technology, it severely reduces receive range and interferes with adjacent channels and the audio is not any better in fact it is usually worse as it is synthesized, do they admit that? Not on your life except under duress. One more thing they are ALWAYS connected to it financially in some way. On the other hand you can believe anti-iBlock people who can be both connected or not connected with it as many radio pros also hate it for the jamming lead balloon it is from first hand experience as many are forced by parent company's to implement it at their stations.
Public radio gets it free, paid for both by the government and listeners, do they care if they are wasting money? No, why should they, it's not their money, it's ours. Do I listen to public radio? Yes, but not for much longer if they continue to support this krappy jamming technology.
Iniquity is a company with no soul, their only purpose in life is to take the money and run before HD completely collapses which will be soon.

Jimmy James Jr. said...

Public radio stations in many markets received large grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to "convert to" (add) HD radio. Presumably, public radio (unlike commercial radio) because it is taxpayer supported, is supposed to be use for the benefit of the public. If public radio stations cannot or will not create additional content for distribution using the additional bandwidth, then it is a complete waste--setting aside HD radio's real technical issues and problems. In short, it seems that there is plenty of waste to go around here.

Thanks to everyone for the comments.

Anonymous said...

I've been listening to KVOD since my college days 30+ years ago. (Dang, I miss Gene Amole in the mornings!)

Now they've got a pledge drive going, and I find myself being cajoled, whined, and guilt-tripped over the air in hopes of persuading me to part with yet more money (I gave last June), so they can (#1) afford not-one-but-TWO on-air announcers for each time slot (and BOTH harass and plead with us listeners for still, again, more money!) And now (#2) it seems they want this more-more-more money so they can move KVOD down further on the FM frequency list so my reception will soon be even spottier than it is now.

Why should I pledge money that will be used to pay more announcers to hound me for more money? Why should I give them money to make changes that will degrade their signal, making it harder for me to hear the music they broadcast?


Anonymous said...

Paluzzi? Patents? You are correct. That IS crazy talk! He's smart, but if he was smart enough to patent something valuable, he'd likely quit arranging deck chairs on the CPR Titanic.