HD2 Channels Now in Top 100 Markets But Poll Indicates Awareness Still Low

The HD Digital Radio Alliance has filled in 15 additional markets with HD2 channels, bringing the total number of the largest markets with at least one multicast station to 100.
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The HD Digital Radio Alliance has filled in 15 additional markets with HD2 channels, bringing the total number of the largest markets with at least one multicast station to 100.

Alliance President/CEO Peter Ferrara said the nation’s top broadcasters helped achieve the goal with consistent support in a collaborative effort. Dan Mason, recently returned to CBS Radio as president/CEO, said the majority of the U.S. population still tunes in to radio every day, and called the milestone a significant step for radio’s future.

However a new poll from Jacobs Media indicates that while awareness and knowledge of HD Radio are much improved, significant barriers to buying an HD Radio receiver remain.

While overall awareness of HD Radio has increased significantly, rising from 18% in 2006 to 45% in the new poll, only 1% of the sample owns an HD Radio. There is some interest in purchasing one in the $150–200 range. Jacobs Media polled 25,000 respondents who listen to 69 rock-formatted stations.

Jacobs Media says the biggest issue is an overall lack of knowledge about HD Radio, including a basic lack of exposure to it. “Notably, nearly one-third (32%) say they haven’t actually heard HD Radio yet, while one-fourth (26%) say they don’t know anyone who owns one, and 14% say they don’t know where to purchase an HD Radio.”

Clearly, the alliance has a ways to go in raising the public profile of HD Radio.

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Now the Hard Part: Programming HD2

Deep Tracks, Eclectic Chill-Out, Christian Contemporary, Café Jazz & Blues, and New/Future Country are some of the formats, brand extensions and repurposed content stations have rolled out for their supplemental digital channels.