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Monday, January 23, 2012
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HD Radio Research - Only Words on a Page

This just in: 100% of radio industry executives pay no attention to a Mark Kassof report on HD Radio!

No. The above is not a real news flash but it could be if we keep our eyes on what happens next with this already failed radio platform, and report on it next year.

"It's time the radio industry pushes HD Radio over a cliff, and gives attention to what's considered important by CONSUMERS..." I'm sure you've seen the headlines across nearly all radio trades. "Zero Progress in the Public's Understanding of HD Radio" is the paraphrased wording. What's troublesome is how nearly all trades included this line: "The industry still faces a big challenge marketing HD Radio." (All Access wisely avoided this comment from Kassof.)

God forbid that we follow this suggestion from the report's "Bottom Line": [In continuing to push HD Radio] "The industry needs to continue to focus on sound quality, plus MORE CHOICES and (to separate HD from satellite radio) FREE. Period."

Let's revisit an Audio Graphics survey of readers, conducted in May 2006, wherein HD Radio was evaluated side-by-side with satellite radio. The original survey was complete with explanations of each category readers voted on. I wrote a detailed report after the vote ended on each category. These "details" have been left out here, so we can get right to the final grade: HD Radio D+ ... Satellite Radio B-

The facts have been in for a long time, and nothing within the Mark Kassof report suggests otherwise. The public simply doesn't want, isn't interested in wanting, and won't be pursuing HD Radio no matter how many promotional spots are aired.

In one sense you can argue this HD Radio fiasco shows that the radio industry fails to understand how to properly use its own medium to convey a convincing message. (Which doesn't bode well for advertisers who are exploring radio as an option.)

That any more thought should be given to continuing to promote HD Radio is to waste already thinly-spread radio industry resources.

If the action of Clear Channel, in removing mention of HD Radio from its web sites, doesn't drive home the point that this is a dead issue, I'm not sure what is going to get that across.

HD Radio, AM Stereo, Quad Sound - they are all remnants of failed attempts. It's time the radio industry pushes HD Radio over a cliff, and gives attention to what's considered important by CONSUMERS - better content, on mobile devices.

We're on the right track with iHeartRadio, the online movement by CBS, and a few other broadcasters like Hubbard. But radio's dive into the future is being held back because of an insistence on paying homage to HD Radio; for whatever reason it is that the HD Radio Alliance wants to use.

We do not need more promotion of HD Radio. We need a funeral!

If this latest research doesn't reinforce that HD Radio is a solution for a problem that doesn't exist, I'm not sure there's anything that will end this insanity. That is, unless we start seeing the radio industry doing a perpetual Kodak Moment.

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