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Broadcasters Say Multicast Diversity Is Growing

HD Radio advocates promote HD2 as a place for local artists, legendary formats and wider target demos.

A “next generation” of HD2 programming has rolled out on stations and online, broadcasters say.

Member stations of the HD Digital Radio Alliance say they are providing airtime to local and unsigned acts, bringing back former stations or formats and offering programming relevance for various demographics.

The alliance promotes HD-R to consumers; it consists of radio owners Beasley, Bonneville, CBS, Citadel/ABC, Clear Channel, Emmis, Entercom, Greater Media and WBEB(FM) in Philadelphia.

Multicast programming has been derided by critics as mirroring what is found on the main FM dial and often automated without an investment of personality. But the alliance says you’ll hear much more than that on HD2.

If you want to hear a local, unsigned band, the nearest coffeehouse isn’t the only option anymore, according to the group. Stations on HD2 are playing global and unsigned acts, and some are allowing bands to become involved with the ability to upload their music online for possible airplay.

Indie formats being highlighted by the alliance include “iChannel,” aired by Bonneville in Chicago, Washington, St. Louis and Salt Lake City; “Radio You Boston,” Greater Media in Boston; and “Local 107-Local Artists,” Emmis in Austin.

Some formats that have been flipped away on main channel FMs are finding life on HD2 including “Haney’s Big House 96.1 HD2” by Beasley in Ft. Myers-Naples-Marco Island, Fla., which was featured in RW’s April 23 issue, page 25; “Live Rock-WMMR Archives” by Greater Media in Philadelphia; and “80s-Based Adult Hits” from CBS Radio in Las Vegas, New York and McAllen-Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas.

HD2 formats that speak to various demographics include “Old Skool Hip Hop” (Clear Channel/Boston); “Country/Southern Rock” (Citadel/Atlanta); “Oldies” (Buckley/Hartford-New Britain-Middletown, Conn.) and “Solid Gold 106” (Beasley/Ft. Myers-Naples-Marco Island, Fla.)

All stations using HD Radio need to drive listeners to HD2 and HD3 channels and market the new programming, stated Peter Ferrara, president and CEO of the alliance. That programming also must entice listeners to buy HD Radios, he said.