Major Group Owners to Speed IBOC Conversions

Major Group Owners to Speed IBOC Conversions
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Participants are calling it a signal to receiver manufacturers.
Ibiquity Digital came to the International CES show here in Las Vegas and announced what it calls historic agreement with 21 of the nation’s radio groups to speed the conversion of another 2,000 stations to HD Radio.
Both AM and FM stations are included in the plans, detailed at the show. Radio World is at the convention for daily coverage.
Combined with roughly 500 stations that have licensed Ibiquity’s technology, this means a total of 2,500 reportedly have begun the transition to HD Radio, including stations in all of the top 100 markets.
Consumer Electronics Association President/CEO Gary Shapiro said the breadth of manufacturers introducing products and broadcasters announcing support “bode well for a successful transition.”
Ibiquity exec Robert Struble said the announcement ”cements radio’s commitment to digital broadcasting and provides the needed infrastructure to enable nationwide coverage.”
He called the news a significant step, “in many ways… as significant as the FCC’s approval of HD Radio technology more than two years ago.”
The agreement includes station commitments from the following broadcast groups: ABC, Beasley, Bonneville, Clear Channel, Cox, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Entravision, Greater Media, Infinity, Jefferson-Pilot, Journal, Liberman, NextMedia, Radio One, Regent, Saga, Sandusky, Susquehanna and Univision.
Some companies had publicly committed stations earlier. In addition to Clear Channel, which is transitioning 1,000 stations, Cox, Entercom, Susquehanna and Beasley had recently announced they would convert the majority of their stations within three years.
Separately, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting recently revealed a matching grant program for an additional 159 public radio stations to speed HD Radio conversions. As reported earlier by RW Online, with matching funds of $21 million to date, this brings the total public broadcast station commitment to 309. Another round of matching CPB funds is expected in 2005.
Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank advised Ibiquity during commitment discussions with major radio broadcast groups.

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Radio Groups Inch Up to IBOC

Based on interviews with group owners, engineers and Ibiquity Digital Corp. during the convention in September, it's clear the major radio group investors with stations in large markets plan to transition some stations in key rollout markets this year.