Bob Harper: HD Radio One Year Later
December 20, 2006 at 5:25 AM (PT)
BOB HARPER at KEYSTONE MEDIA RESEARCH has updated his HD RADIO study. Last NOVEMBER, he conducted a series of twelve Focus Groups across the country researching radio listener reactions to various aspects of HD Radio. Here's an excerpt:
"How are we doing a year later? The Dial. The chief issue before us last year was the design of the display; the tuning dial.
Overwhelmingly, radio listeners preferred the Expanded display to the one we have now (94.7 HD-1, 94.7 HD-2, etc.). Almost 90% of your listeners would rather have all the new, HD, stations, grouped together and corralled in their own place on the dial; above 108, for example.
How are we doing a year later?
The listeners lost that battle. What about the other fronts?
Quality. The two biggest potential attractions for HD RADIO revolve around its promise for improved technical quality - "FM will sound like CDs" and "Reception will improve," making hisses, clicks, fading, and dropouts a thing of the past.
By most accounts, AM stations in HD do meet the challenge. But, improved FM quality and cleaner reception is dubious so far. Recently, SEAN ROSS shared his experiences on the EDISON RESEARCH web site. Briefly: no HD reception in the RADIO SHACK store ... in-and-out signals ... inability to find listed HD stations ... poor and uneven reception at home and in the office ... a lack of punch from the audio quality. If you had the same experience SEAN did, would you buy a second HD RADIO? Would you be telling your friends to go buy one?
Not good, folks. We need to do better in the things most important to the listeners: Research 101."
The full text can be found here.