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Struble to Radio Execs: Treat HD Radio as a Priority

Without concerted broadcaster action, there will be no digital AM/FM, says iBiquity president/CEO

Without concerted broadcaster action, there will be no digital AM/FM.

So says iBiquity Digital President/CEO Bob Struble.

In his new column, Struble says the HD Radio transition is not a top priority for some in the radio industry — and it should move up the priority list. He ticks off an inventory of pressing issues like historic revenue declines and overleveraged capital structures that have some broadcasters’ focus.

“But just because the HD Radio transition is long term does not mean it isn’t critical to radio’s survival. AM/FM cannot be the last analog medium in a fully digital world and hope to remain competitive and relevant,” Struble wrote.

He continues: “Today’s consumers have increasingly sophisticated digital expectations which cannot be met by analog technology. In cars and mobile phones, radio is competing with digital media that didn’t exist five years ago.”

Entercom’s CEO David Field asked Struble what aspects of the HD Radio rollout the broadcaster should be managing closest, so the tech executive has developed a “Top Ten” list of things stations can do to drive the rollout which is now at 2,100 stations.

Among the most important:

  • • AEs are selling spots and sponsorships on HD2/HD3/HD4. Ethnic or niche broadcasters are leasing HD2s or HD3s to get on the air.
  • • Stations with iTunes Tagging capability get paid by Apple for generating music sales.
  • • A call to action – ‘go out and buy that new HD Radio receiver’ – is really required when talking up HD Radio on-air.
  • • Treat your digital like analog, not tolerating dead air or inferior broadcast quality. Sporadic dead digital air is an issue, often because engineers aren’t told fixing HD Radio equipment issues is a priority.