Stations simulcasting their HD multicast programming on an analog FM translator get the best of both worlds.
So says iBiquity Digital President/CEO Bob Struble. “Get that translator’s antenna up high enough, and it’s basically a new Class A for the cost of the HD Radio upgrade. Stations get instant incremental revenue … and they stake out the digital high ground … in a market that adds HD Radio receivers at the rate of one every six seconds.”
In Struble’s latest edition of his thoughts on radio’s digital future, he points out from 2010 to 2013, the industry saw 50% annual growth in HD Radio receiver sales. Most of that was automotive. Almost 30% of new cars will ship with HD Radio receivers in 2013 and by next year, there won’t be an auto dealer in the country that does not have HD Radio equipped vehicles on the lot, according to the tech executive.
He points to “dozens” of HD-on-translator success stories, as the practice has been generating “significant audience and advertising dollars” in large as well as small markets. Some of his favorite include: WYDS(FM), Decatur, Ill, WKCN(FM), Columbus, Ga., and WMJJ(FM), Birmingham, Al.
Those who own or lease translators can use these channels as blank canvases to develop young talent and test new formats. That’s possible even with a limited staff, he continued, pointing out that SummitMedia in Birmingham recently partnered with a local Internet-only operation to carry their programming on its HD2/translator combo.