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IBiquity: Automakers Bullish on HD Radio

Struble says sometimes slow and steady wins the race

“Many broadcasters might be surprised that for most automakers today, AM/FM radio means HD Radio technology.”

That’s according to iBiquity President/CEO Bob Struble.

In his latest blog post, the tech company executive says 33 automakers are building the digital radio technology into their cars. Walking the exhibit floor of the New York Auto Show earlier this month, he says he found HD Radio technology “prominently featured in most every booth.”

Regarding the recent discussions of AM/FM possibly being left out of the dash in the future, Struble says that’s not true. “My discussions with auto executives confirmed that HD Radio technology is fundamental to keeping broadcast radio competitive in cars. And we all know how critical in-car listening is to our industry.” 

HD features help “fill the screen” of the new, infotainment systems and look as good or better than competing systems, notes Struble.

Ibiquity highlighted HD Radio traffic services in its booth at the recent NAB Show. “In addition to further securing broadcast radio’s place in the dashboard, they also ring the cash register for the industry. While the service is free to consumers, Garmin or the automakers pay stations a per-unit fee for broadcasting the information. As millions of units are shipped, those fees are adding up,” writes the tech company executive.

Several broadcasters at the show told him they’re receiving more and larger, checks from the Broadcast Traffic Consortium, which built the network that delivers the Garmin service.

“Two things always make broadcasters sit up and take notice: money making opportunities and feedback from their listeners,” wrote Struble. “Both are becoming commonplace with HD Radio stations, driven by the millions of HD Radio receivers being sold, most for in-car listening.”

It’s been 10 years since the first stations began transmitting a digital signal; sometimes slow and steady wins the race, he notes.