2015 was a potentially pivotal year for HD Radio, if only for a changing of the guard in the system’s ownership. In September, audio technology company DTS Inc. announced the acquisition of iBiquity Digital Corporation, the proprietor of the HD Radio Standard, for $172 million. Last month, DTS’ chairman and CEO, Jon Kirchner, penned a paean to the technology in an industry trade.
Calling HD “the biggest advancement in terrestrial radio broadcasting since the advent of FM radio,” Kirchner is obviously very upbeat on the technology’s prospects. His biggest hope is pinned to using HD Radio as a pipeline for “wider adoption of HD Radio and various DTS technologies,” supposedly working in concert, primarily in the automotive space. This, Kirchner believes, will foster an “independent and neutral [digital radio] platform for the radio industry.”
Two weeks after penning this missive, DTS announced a management shakeup at iBiquity. Founding CEO Bob Struble has been set aside (to become a “special advisor” to Kirchner) while iBiquity chief operating officer Jeff Jury was promoted to a new managerial-level position within DTS responsible for both “Automotive” and HD Radio. Continue reading “HD Radio's High Hopes for 2016”
In a new blog post, iBiquity Digital Corporation Ceo Bob Struble reports back from the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show about the changing landscape of automotive infotainment, and HD Radio as an "indispensable requirement" in today’s media environment.
HD Radio has some sort of foothold in "every car manufacturer" now, "and was built into 1/3 of all new cars sold in America last year," writes Struble. But that’s not enough: "Cars are coming with big, bright color screens as part of these infotainment systems. Car designers want advanced HD Radio features like iTunes Tagging and Artist Experience – album cover art – to take advantage of those screens and provide listeners with the experience they expect." The takeaway: broadcasters need to step up HD adoption. Continue reading “Clashing Realities: iBiquity vs. Consumer Reports”
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its annual State of the Media report, and it does not have kind words for radio. It laments the decimation of radio journalism and documents how other digital audio platforms are gaining traction at the expense of broadcasters. It also minces no words about the state of HD Radio:
AM/FM’s beleaguered attempt to draw people back to radio through HD did worse than ever. For the first time since 2004, when HD radio receivers became available for retail sale, more radio stations dropped their HD signal [in 2012] than adopted the technology.
The entire mention of HD is just two paragraphs, and includes a graph illustrating the net decline in the number of HD stations on the air.
The technology’s proprietor, iBiquity Digital Corporation, was quick to pounce on the "error" of Pew’s analysis. iBiquity CEO Bob Struble claims there was a "net gain" of 16 HD stations in 2012. Continue reading “HD Radio: By the (Disputed) Numbers”
It’s still a mystery just how iBiquity Digital Corporation remains in business as its proprietary HD Radio standard continues to go nowhere fast.
According to the FCC, less than 20% of radio stations in in the United States have adopted the HD protocol, nearly nine years after its proliferation was sanctioned; some have since turned it off. The technology has failed to crack any significant international markets. iBiquity and its mostly-conglomerate backers have tried various tweaks to the system in hopes of improving its robustness, but none show any potential to be a game-changer. Continue reading “HD Radio Still Awaiting Breakthrough”
For the most part, radio industry trades have not given much substantive thought or analysis to the debacle that is HD Radio. However, some recent developments seem to signal that the winds of sycophancy may be changing.
It’s all happened in the Radio and Business Report. First, the publication let loose an article, whose sources are “some highly accredited/respected Bay Area engineers,” full of complaints and criticisms of HD Radio and its proprietor, iBiquity Digital Corporation. The complaints raised against iBiquity are numerous and significant.
In addition to reporting that one San Francisco-based AM station has turned off its HD sidebands, the article reports dissatisfaction among iBiquity customers, due to the fact that “iBiquity is not providing the promised updates to its software to repair the ‘bugs’ that have developed in the AM codec. The bugs require reboots of the HD encoders, sometimes daily.” Continue reading “Industry HD Uncertainty Flares in Trade Press”
Although the marketplace doesn’t seem to have made up its mind on the fate of HD Radio just yet, the trends do not look positive. To wit: Continue reading “HD Radio Ends Year On Slide”
I never thought I’d consider Twitter a tool for journalistic use, but it looks like I’ve been proven wrong.
iBiquity’s President and CEO, Robert Struble, has taken to tweeting. In early September, he revealed he’d taken the train to Wall Street to float the notion of taking iBiquity public: “Good NYC trip. Wall St way more upbeat than recently. IPO pipeline better, but most think [stock market] rally was too fast.”
Other than a mention-in-passing in the Washington Post more than four years ago (which coincidentally predicted iBiquity would need an IPO by 2009 to keep HD Radio viable), and less than a handful of dismissive side-comments on a couple of inside-baseball-type blogs, the notion of this process going forward (or, perhaps more importantly, gaining traction) is not being closely followed. Continue reading “Robert Struble Channels Lee DeForest (and Other HD Follies)”