Monday, October 8, 2007

Marketing Radio 1940’s Style

Across the U.S. radio stations are in the process of installing new digital “HD Radio” transmission equipment. This will allow them to broadcast a digital radio signal as well as their existing AM or FM signals.

Joads"There is one problem though - almost no-one in the country actually owns an HD radio. Some car makers are beginning to install them in new cars, but finding an HD radio for your home is nearly impossible. In any event most Americans have no idea that HD radio even exists.

They do however know about both Sirius and XM satellite radio, and those receivers can be purchased at Wal-Mart and just about anywhere else.

A clue to why this situation exists may be found in an advertisement in the latest issue of Radio, a broadcast trade magazine.

I found it hard not to think back to the Grapes of Wrath, and imagine how much happier the Joad family (pictured here?) would have been if they could have listened to their Old Time Radio shows in crystal clear digital HD sound. Certainly the Great Depression wouldn’t have seemed so depressing. Who knows, maybe they wouldn’t have left for California!

radioThen again, the $259 price for this radio may have presented an obstacle.

Radio listening has been in decline for a couple of decades, and satellite, Internet, and podcasting are all making inroads. Regular broadcasters are getting nervous about what the future holds for them.

Apparently though not nervous enough to drag their ideas and marketing out of the 1940s and into the the new Millennium.