HD Radio and Industry Schizophrenia

Interesting samples abound about what the U.S. radio industry thinks about its digital future. When you thread them all together, you find a spot of chaos.
Late August, 2008: Stop IBOC Now!, a coalition of broadcast engineering professionals and listeners, publishes a 10-page list of comments from people within and outside the industry. This list is apparently a sampling of more than 200 received by the coalition to-date. All but one are negative on HD Radio.
August 28, 2008: USC Professor Jerry Del Colliano notes that Arbitron’s newest audience-measurement tool, the Portable People Meter, which is supposed to provide more detailed and fine-tuned information about audience-listening habits, cannot rate the listenership of any HD Radio station yet because there are too few listeners to meet Arbitron’s reporting requirements. To put this in some sort of perspective, the cumulative national audience for public access cable TV channels still dwarfs HD Radio’s national listenership.
August 29, 2008: The fact that the proposed power increase for FM-HD signals will portend disaster for analog listenership is analyzed here.
September 3, 2008: The HD Digital Radio Alliance celebrates “three successful years” of HD Radio’s proliferation to-date. Quoting outgoing Alliance president Peter Ferrara, “When we began putting the pieces in place for the Alliance in the fall of 2005, there was little attention being paid to HD Radio and the industry lacked a plan to make it a reality. There were only a few HD stations on the air, no automakers offered an HD Radio and no national retailers carried receivers. Today, it is gratifying to know how far we’ve come in three short years.” Exactly how far is that, given the facts listed above?
September 19, 2008: The 2008 NAB Radio Show in Austin, Texas – the premier yearly gathering of radio broadcast professionals – will host a conference session entitled “HD Radio: From Novelty to Viable Commodity.” The title itself speaks volumes. That being said, if “consumer awareness grows” to a point where it can be actually measured, then maybe you’ll find a way to “make this new technology work for you.” After all, if you can’t tell potential advertisers/underwriters that you actually serve an audience in HD, then how do you turn these channels “into revenue-generating entities?”
Put simply, any claims about HD Radio being anything near a “success” at this point in time is akin to calling controlled flight into terrain a “successful landing.”