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Retailers, Listeners Confused About HD Radio

Retailers, Listeners Confused About HD Radio

The HD Radio alliance members on Monday emphasized that the station promotional effort for HD Radio is necessary to make consumers aware of the change in radio first, and then to push them to buy radios, in turn, creating demand at retail for the new units.
There is confusion about what HD Radio is, several presenters at the Arbitron Fly-In said.
Bernie Sapienza, VP Retail Business for Ibiquity said, “Even retailers don’t understand HD Radio, and they’re the folks who are supposed to be doing this for a living.”
Bender agreed. In a survey of some 300 multicast listeners, 57% believed they could get HD Radio on satellite radio. “We’ve got people asking us where WRIF2 appears on the XM band. We’ve got some explaining to do.”
Bender said his multicast stations tweaked their on-air slogans and IDs based on the listener misperceptions of HD Radio. Some listeners thought that because they were seeing RDS text displayed that they had a digital readout, and therefore a digital radio.
Sapienza, meanwhile, dispelled the chicken-versus-egg discussions about who is supposed to blink first and push HD Radio, stations or retailers. Sapienza told the program consultants, “Content drives the hardware. There is no chicken/egg debate. The broadcasters are the chickens.”
Broadcasters must promote the technology, he said, because retailers and manufacturers have plenty of other products to make and sell “without HD Radio.”
Broadcaster promotion will drive demand, which leads to retailers demanding products from manufacturers, which, in turn, will lower the prices of parts, which will eventually lead to less expensive HD Radios, he said.
Struble projected HD Radio prices to drop to $199 next year.