Despite the constant stream of upbeat reports from the HD Alliance and iBiquity Digital, there are plenty of reasons to doubt whether HD Radio will have a significant impact on radio. Sales of HD radios have been anemic. Only one in four people are even aware of HD Radio--this after millions of dollars promoting the medium. And awareness is not growing. A well reasoned explanation of why HD is failing can be found at Radio Business Report. Read it here.
Here are the key points:
1) The name is wrong. Brands and Logos create expectations. Why on earth pick a name that was already taken? Why unnecessarily create the impression of a brand extension, one of the toughest marketing stunts to pull off even in the best of circumstances?
2) HD Radio is not listener/consumer-driven. HD Radio has neither compelling content nor is it convenient to use or understand.
3) Connecting the sub-programming to an existing brand on the dial makes no sense to the audience. We spend decades building a brand we willingly dilute with HD-2.
4) Too many people are underwhelmed when they hear HD.
5) The commercials don't work.
Unfortunately, the majority of these problems cannot be fixed. We are stuck with a system and name that cannot be changed, so even if content is improved there's little reason to expect that listeners will embrace HD. As we wrote some time ago, radio would be better served to invest in streaming and other Internet initiatives rather that waste any more resources in HD Radio.