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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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"And consumers are waiting until there is enough compelling content to warrant purchasing an HD Radio – or a product that has HD Radio in it. And HD Radio is often the first thing that comes to mind."

No, consumers don't care about more "radio stations", period. No content on HD2s is going to drive consumers to buy HD radios, as that has been proven over the past 5 years. Return rates are high for those few HD radios purchashed, too. The FM-HD power increase was a bust, because stations don't want to further compromise their analog sygnals, or spend another $100,000 just to float iBiquity. Point is, that HD Radio will never work properly, and certainly never as well as analog. I know that Struble is trying to force HD Radio by slowly compromising analog with power increases, but it is not working. Favorite stations jammed? Look elsewhere.

As far as the automakers, Volvo's president of North America was shilling for HD Radio, as his dealerships are having to deal with bring-backs of automobiles with "brokewn radios, as Volvo, like BMW, has outstanding TSBs/recalls against HD Radio. It is obvious that Struble marketed his junk technology directly to CEOs, perhaps with a bit of spiff, yet these CEOs are throwing their dealerships under the bus - must have been a pretty sweet deal.

As far as SYNC, I believe that one has to opt for the Clarion Navigation system, then opt for the HD Radio tuner. Dealerships do not advertise HD Radio for good reasons. Of course, the HD Radio tuner is being supplied "free of charge" by Lincoln. Little known to consumers, is that iBiquity's royalties and costs of installing HD radios is included in the overall costs of the vehicles. HD Radio is looking like a mini Satellite Radio, where stand-alone radios aren't selling, and it is ending up in dashboards.

I believe that HD Radio is being hyped for an iBiquity IPO, if that is still possible. iBiquity was supposed to go IPO before 2009, in order to remain viable. Has everyone forgotten about those pending class-actions from consumers and broadcasters, via the Keefe Bartels / Galax Wolf car HD Radio investigations? I still see many searches on "iBiquity IPO", through analytics, landing on my blog since it sits on Google's Homepage.


"HD Radio in 2011 – What happened?"

"Watching stations dump their HD channels this month, I conclude that HD radio is a failure and most radio groups know this. Just about the only worth these extra HD channels have is that of feeding a translator with a separate format. Look for an accelerated move by radio to dump HD and the increased energy bill that comes with it this year."


An update on stations dumping HD Radio.


HD Radio Farce, "shocking" to hear from you. We changed our policy last year - commenters must identify themselves. I will be more than happy to leave these posts up, but if you do not identify yourself, they will be deleted. I appreciate your opinions, but if I am going to put myself out there, along with others who post comments on this blog, you should as well.


Sorry Fred, I knew you would make some sort of comment about my posting. I logged into blogger to make my comment and that is the username it uses. My name is Greg Smith and I live in Maryland.


Thanks, Greg. Nice to meet you and thanks for taking the time to post your comments.


Nice to meet you, too. You are welcome, and thanks for posting about HD Radio.

Bob Bellin

"...place it on the dashboard to compete with Pandora and Sirius..."

Really - given those three buttons, why would anyone push HD Radio? It lacks the variety and quality of Sirius and the customization of Pandora. There is no easy way to get market by market detailed format descriptions and many decent sized markets only offer a handful of HD options that don't already exist on terrestrial radio.

Its way too late IMO for HD Radio...if it ever had a chance. But if radio wants to give it one last shot, it should dedicate some real money (for programming and marketing), devote some good programmers time, access existing research and try to make it a business in 3-5 markets of different sizes. Develop some real benchmarks and see it they can be hit - then let the results determine HD Radio's future.


Agree with your last comment that there's still a "there there" for HD Radio. As to why anyone would push the HD Radio icon on a SYNC or Entune, broadcast radio still provides the local experience (unlike Sirius or Pandora), strong personality (unlike Pandora), and an easy to navigate experience (unlike Sirius). The potential - and reality - is there. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Bob.

Eric Holmes

I really believe Radio needs to move into your television. If one of the "Source" options on your TV was "radio" I think people would gladly listen at home through their home stereo system. Or if radio can work out deals with DirectTV/Time Warner/Comcast/Verizon VIOS etc... to become a channel on the TV dial. That might be the easiest way. You could include album artwork and station information.


Eric, how come you never came up with great ideas like this when you worked here? :-)

Seriously, radio > digital could be the avenue that helps broadcasters get into devices and gadgets. Thanks for commenting.

Gary Shapiro

I agree with you Fred on HD Radio and the CES.

HD radio is a wonderful opportunity for radio broadcasters. Bob Struble is honest and strategic. Manufacturers and car companies are embracing HD radio. It will succeed if radio broadcasters want it to succeed and get behind it.

I appreciate what you said about International CES being important for radio broadcasters to attend. They are certainly encouraged and welcome next January in Las Vegas. www.cesweb.org. Our goal is to get the influencers and decision makers from every industry touched by CE. That’s why the NYT and WSJ wrote stories about Hollywood and the content world attending CES. That’s why Ford chose CES to introduce its first electric car. We want every guest of ours to leave the show with a renewed sense of urgency and a strategy for the future.

Thanks for your kind comments and keep pushing radio into the future!


So "HDRadioFarce" just makes up a name so he can continue to spam his anti-HD rhetoric?

Can you actually have a conversation...or are you just posting other people's articles.


Would anyone care to see what the FCC currently thinks about HD Radio?



Sorry, the above post was posted by Greg Smith in Maryland.

David Oxenford

Can a lawyer offer programming advice? It surprises me that stations (especially news stations) don't offer a compelling reason for people to go to HD channels. I think too many stations assume that the channels need to be programmed like any other station. Instead, why not do an HD channel that is all weather, or all traffic - the kind of stuff that XM and Sirius used to sell their service, and that Internet radio won't provide anytime soon. Or focus on sports scores - or some other specific information that people want - and provide it when they want it - all the time. You don't need to turn out a whole radio station programmed like every other radio station - just provide relevant looped programming that is updated often enough that it remains relevant - and promote that with your main station


David, thanks for chiming in (and keeping the meter off). Your idea is emblematic of what's missing in the HD2 conversation. Radio needs to get out of its own way, go beyond programming yet another '80s channel or Classic Country, and think about what would have impact and utility for consumers. And that's the kind of programming that might sell some HD Radios. Appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Mel Doty

Very insightful article on HD Radio.

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding HD Radio, as well as some not-so-logical and not-so-honest detractors like the Farce individual who spends his days on-line making up lies about HD Radio.

It's a welcome change to see someone informed, calm, and logical, writing about HD Radio.

Any radio station that writes off HD Radio does so at their own risk. The fact that Toyota and Ford have joined the smaller, higher-end automakers in offering the technology means that HD Radio is finally in prime time.


Thanks, Mel. You said it well. That was my "take" after spending time at CES. Appreciate you taking the time to comment.


@Mel Doty - I have to chuckle, as this is only the second personal attack. I expected more. I've done about 4 years of research on HD Radio, and often quote such articles from HD Radio World, broadcast engineers, and informed bloggers. How does that constitute posting lies? I'm probably more informed than most, and with my blog on Google's Homespage, I get to see how consumers feel about HD Radio through keyword searches. As far as Ford, as an iBiquity investor, has put off HD Radio since 2007, since they probably already know HD Radio's many problems. I believe that one has to opt for the Clarions navigation system, then opt for the HD tuner, as Lincoln is including those standard (of course, as a hidden cost). Toyota is only offering HD Radio in three models with the optional Entune. Quote me, if I'm wrong.

"The fact that Toyota and Ford have joined the smaller, higher-end automakers in offering the technology means that HD Radio is finally in prime time."

Yes, prime-time for the Keefe Bartels and Galax Wolf car HD Rado investigations. The only concern, if Struble manages an IPO before this goes into discovey-phase. Investors will eventually be left holding the bag for a system that will never work properly, and that has been dishonestly promoted by everyone involved.

Greg Smith in Maryland.


Can anyone explain to me why the FCC would be searching on, "is hd radio dead?"


"IBOC Digital AM and FM Technology Launch Transcript of NAB 2002 Press Conference"

"In terms of coverage, the answer is it replicates the existing analog coverage, and that is all it can do. Not technically, but because of a regulatory reason. We could easily boost the IBOC power, but guess what, then that steps on the station next door."


Your fearless leader at work - pathetic.


Fred, thank you for you observations. I agree with you and appriciate your insight. 'Farce' obviously has an ax to grind with Ibiquity, wish he/she would find another issue

Brad Fallon

It had been another glorious year for the radio and it is interesting to note that HD radio had its bad and good reviews. One thing to comment about is that HD is definitely surfacing. This is a very interesting post and I would demand that these detractors must stop talking lies and acknowledge that HD radio have an audience of its own, that Farce guy should be hanged!:)


@James and @Brad: LOL! Not going to happen. The only ones "talking" about HD Radio is the HD Radio industry. There are virtually no searches for "hd radio", or related terms. The only "buzz" is the buzz on our 800,000,000 analog receivers.


It's no wonder that the FCC was caught searching on, "is hd radio dead".

Mike Starling

Regarding: "But beyond those, you’re hard-pressed to find many bona fide signs of broadcast radio truly supporting this technology or this initiative,",

Fred, as someone obviously well informed, you should be aware over 2/3 of public radio stations are broadcasting in HD or completing their conversions, right? And that public radio launched the Tomorrow Radio Project in 2003, which years later became the defacto standard feature of Multicasting, home to over a thousand HD2 and HD3 channels? And that public radio has championed the benefits of HD Radio for special needs for those with sensory loss since the beginning (e.g., Captioning for Radio, now out for ballot as an ITU standard, which we sponsored, and use of conditional access for Radio reading services to name just two). Debate about the business models and proprietary nature of technologies are as old as Armstrong, Tesla, Sarnoff and Edison. But value add for consumers is the true test of time -- (and perhaps the correct listing of important pioneers and supporters along the way). Thanks for a good write up, Fred.

Mike Starling, NPR Labs

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