HD Radio slowly gets heard
I’ve liked the idea of HD Radio for several years (sorry, they’re all Hollywood Reporter links that require a subscription), and was disappointed when I couldn’t find a unit last time I upgraded my car audio system. So Sarah McBride’s thorough overview in the WSJ caught my attention.
The story explains the technology’s ability to transmit a radio station’s primary digital signal along with additional channels within the station’s licensed frequency, but says that this programming “often isn’t much different from what broadcasters play on their primary frequencies.”
I doubt most stations will offer a completely different programming schedule, but I do think they will soon use these extra channels to broadcast things that don’t make economic sense otherwise. I can imagine small but devoted listeners tuning in to local sporting events, specialized musical genres or even uncut political candidate debates. Here in Los Angeles, it’s easy to understand why a station would give listeners their choice of what language the on-air personalities speak between songs. The article points out that most HD-2 stations also can be heard on the Internet, increasing their potential listenership and value.
As to HD Radio’s other capabilities, users can tag songs for later purchase. Broadcasters can send text information like song titles, artists, weather or traffic alerts for display on the player’s front panel. They also could send time-sensitive promotions or other things creative people could think up. Coming soon are features like a button that plays the most recent traffic or weather information, and possibly a “replay last song” button if the rights issues can be worked out. Meanwhile, enjoy Adrant’s take on the recent ad campaign.