Caption has been updated to clarify price of the HDR-16.
This discussion is with Vince Marsiglia, sales & marketing manager for Sangean America Inc.
The tabletop HDR-18, upper right, has a walnut cabinet and retails for $169.99. Component HDT-20, below is $199.99 and ships this month; in September Sangean will launch the portable HDR-16 at upper left for $99.99.
Radio World: Sangean just introduced a new tabletop HD Radio. What prompted this introduction?
Marsiglia: With over 27 million vehicles on the road listening to HD Radio, 35 percent of all new cars shipping with HD Radio from all 36 manufacturers in over 200 vehicles, 2,300+ HD channels serving 270 major markets in all states, HD Radio becomes a huge opportunity for Sangean, as consumers are looking for ways to listen to HD Radio outside of their cars.
RW: How would you characterize consumer interest and demand in HD Radio products?
Marsiglia: Consumers are finding that more of their favorite content is available on more channels with more selection and better sound quality on HD Radio channels. Radio is still the No. 1 media outlet for consumers; HD Radio is the first major sound improvement to the medium since the introduction of FM Radio in the 1940s. Consumers are excited about better sound quality, improved reception, more programming, and traffic with no fees or subscriptions. They are also excited with the ability to interact with HD Radio with their smartphones by utilizing the iTunes Tagging feature.
RW: The tabletop radio market seems to have been pretty quiet for some time, when it comes to new models. Do you agree; and if so why do you think that is?
Marsiglia: Sangean’s tabletop radios have always done well over the years. We currently offer 10 tabletop models. More consumers are interested in AM/FM radios that have Bluetooth or internet radio solutions. Sangean has those solutions. Now with HD Radio the consumer has more choices than ever on what, where and when they listen to their music, sports programming news etc. This is a very exciting time to be in the radio business.
RW: What are the key differentiators for this new model, over others on the market?
Marsiglia: Sound quality. HD Radio provides better audio quality with digital sound and improved reception. Sangean’s 40+ years in manufacturing world-class radios has given us an edge to improve sound quality in all our tabletop radios.
HD Radio needs to be heard as it’s intended. With HD FM, the sound is equivalent to CD-quality sound, and AM now sounds like FM. In order to benefit from these sound improvements, the consumer needs a good-quality radio; that’s where Sangean comes in because most HD Radios on the market just do not perform as they should when it comes to sound quality.
RW: Does it have AM as well as FM?
Marsiglia: Yes, our engineers were able to isolate the noise associated with AM transmissions in HD. All three new HD Radios from Sangean incorporate AM HD, unlike most of our competitors.
RW: Is this targeted to the U.S. consumer or are there other targets too?
Marsiglia: Sangean America targets consumers in the U.S. as well as Canada. Canada now has HD Radio in most metropolitan areas and is growing, giving us more opportunities in the HD Radio category.
RW: What other HD Radio models and types should we know about?
Marsiglia: We have a component HD tuner, the HDT-20, being released in August. With the HDT-20, consumers will be able to connect it to their existing stereo system to enjoy HD Radio. In September we’ll launch a portable HD Radio, the HDR-16, allowing consumers to take HD Radio with them wherever they go.
RW: How many HD Radios in total has Sangean sold over the years?
Marsiglia: Our last introduction of HD Radio was in 2006, before being offered in most vehicles with very little consumer knowledge or interest. We had three models: two component HD tuners, the HDT-1 and HDT-1X, and a tabletop HD Radio, HDR-1. Sangean sold over 50,000 units, with many of them still in use today.
RW: Much attention has been paid in our industry to HD Radio in the car. Do you expect to expand Sangean’s HD Radio dashboard offerings?
Marsiglia: Sangean will continue along its path and mission to offer consumers the best-in-class radio solutions for the home and on the go, and leave the big guys to cater the aftermarket car audio business with their HD Radio products.
RW: What else should we know?
Marsiglia: Our HD Radio series will be available at most major online retailers and selected Brick & Mortar locations like Fry’s Electronics, ABT, Datavision and a host of others.