CEA Throws iBiquity a Bone?

One of the factors that’s hindering the proliferation of digital radio broadcasting in the United States is the reluctance of consumer electronics manufacturers to actually commit to making HD Radio-compatible receivers. Stand-alone receivers are nearly impossible to find in stores; only one portable model currently exists; and auto manufacturers are not exactly racing to embrace the technology.
This reluctance has been well-reflected in digital radio policy discourse. The Consumer Electronics Association, the trade group that represents receiver-manufacturers, has been critical of HD Radio for more than a decade now. Early on in the FCC’s deliberations over digital radio, CEA backed a standard that would have created a new-spectrum digital radio service; it was highly skeptical that HD would work as promised and was not happy with its wholly proprietary nature.
After massive backlash from the broadcast industry, CEA quietly stepped aside and let broadcasters have their chosen technology. But it got the last laugh when its members effectively boycotted adopting HD Radio – stations could blast ones and zeros into the ether to their hearts’ content, but with no way to listen they’re stymied.
This year’s push by broadcasters to get FM receiver-chips into cell phones has also raised the ire of CEA, which in the past tagged radio as a “horse and buggy” technology simply looking for a way to “preserve its [declining] market share.”
That’s why its surprising that CEA’s under-development flagship publication, It Is Innovation, has named iBiquity Digital Corporation (the proprietor of HD Radio) as a finalist in the small business category for its inaugural “Innovation Entrepreneur Awards.” CEA’s even produced a short video promoting iBiquity and HD Radio.
The winner(s) will be announced at CEA’s Industry Forum next month. iBiquity can certainly use all the positive news it can get, even if it’s just a bone thrown from a trade group that otherwise is doing a whole lot of nothing to help HD Radio find any semblance of traction.
Meanwhile, at the NAB’s annual Radio Show taking place this week in Dallas, iBiquity’s sparing no expense, renting out an entire wall of the exhibition hall to showcase its technology and engender the perception that it’s easy to find and listen to.