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Next-Gen Insignia HD Now Shipping

Units now cost technology developer less

The second generation of the Insignia HD Radio Portable Player has begun shipping and is now available at Best Buy.

That was one of the interesting things Radio World editors learned from iBiquity President/CEO Bob Struble as he updated us on the technology rollout this week.

Without giving exact figures, he said the portable FM HD receiver has sold 10 times its initial forecast, and the number is climbing. What’s key is while the second-generation units cost the same to consumers as the first-generation units, at $49 each, “iBiquity has been able to eliminate its product subsidies [to the manufacturer/retailer] for this radio because the material costs have come down,” he said.

Also, Struble said seven stations are now on the air with HD4 channels. The newest is Hearst’s WIYY(FM), Baltimore, which airs the programming from sister-station WBAL(AM) in that city. Hearst owns two radio stations and 29 television stations. In addition to its main HD channel, WIYY’s HD2 offers classic rock and its HD3 offers independent rock.

I was surprised at first to hear that there were seven HD4s already, because we usually hear about new ones, especially early on like this; but then I realized that five of the seven belong to one operation.

Five of those seven HD4s are Kent State University stations. WKSU(FM), Kent, Ohio and four repeater stations air an HD4 channel, consisting of news and information from WKSU, NPR, PRI and other public radio sources.

CBS Radio’s WJFK(FM), Washington, the first announced HD4 channel, airs content from Philadelphia’s WIP(AM).