Monday, October 22, 2007

Hardly-Discernable Radio: Broadcasts to Nobody

Public radio in Washington, DC continues to shill for the Hybrid Digital/Analog (not “High Definition”) HD Radio™ system. The public radio audience is as skeptical of this as other segments of the consumer audience — maybe more so. This is a version 1.0 transitional technology – good only until all radio is digital — and public radio listeners are more highly-educated than other radio market segments.

It doesn’t help that station management insists HD Radio™ is a “robust, sustainable service” while displaying a transmitter map showing you can’t get their 500 watt HD Radio™ broadcasts most places the station’s 50,000 watt analog signal is heard, and suggests that an old-style TV roof antenna makes a dandy accessory for your brand-new HD Radio™.

To “jumpstart the migration of the existing audience to the new radio dial position, to propagate the new technology” the station is giving away HD Radio™ units, and the nonprofit public radio station is flogging the things with website links to retailers. It’s very sad, and coming to public stations across the nation, because the money has already been spent.

It reminds me of an old 1960s LP for kids, “You be a DJ.” Kids would play it, introduce songs, and talk - and no one else was listening.