For years, more stations transmitted a digital signal than there were HD Radio-equipped cars.
Now, the automakers are ahead of broadcasters, rolling out more cars equipped with advanced HD Radio receivers that feature dynamic visual displays.
For a variety of reasons, broadcasters have been slow to embrace the advanced data features that can make a radio display resemble its competitors, like satellite radio or Pandora, in the dash.
IBiquity Digital President/CEO Bob Struble stressed the point to Radio World this week and iBiquity SVP Broadcast Programs & Advanced Services Joe D’Angelo re-emphasized that.
Ninety-four models in calendar year 2013 will have HD Radio as a standard feature. “You’ll be hard-pressed to find a new car in the U.S. that doesn’t have it,” D’Angelo predicted.
Over the next 12 months, eight OEMs will launch Artist Experience in 19 models. With AE, the digital audio is synched with visual elements for a dynamic display in today’s large-screen in-dash entertainment systems.
That’s why the HD Radio tech developer is stressing the importance of station owners raising their digital power levels along with implementing AE or iTunes Tagging.
Some 400 stations have implemented Artist Experience. Clear Channel has implemented many stations featuring AE.
HD proponents are encouraging more of the some 3,000 digital stations to do so, because automakers expect broadcasters to drive consumer interest in features like song tagging.
Manpower time is one reason for the implementation delay; CBS Radio SVP Engineering Glynn Walden said it took two days to implement AE on the first CBS Radio station to do so, though it now takes some four hours, not days, if a station has the latest versions of the HD operating software on the HD importer and exporter. CBS Radio will be rolling out AE in its top four markets by year-end, he said.
Greater Media has implemented AE on all of its digital FMs, its engineers confirmed to Radio World.