It's Alive! NAB Show Panel Touts HD Radio
April 20, 2009 at 2:20 PM (PT)
A MONDAY afternoon panel at the NAB SHOW in LAS VEGAS offered an overview of HD RADIO's progress and ways to monetize the service. The ability to deliver multimedia cpntent like album art, logos, sports and news updates, and other data was also highlighted by IBQUITY DIGITAL's JOSEPH D'ANGELO.
The BROADCASTER TRAFFIC CONSORTIUM, a 16-member organization headed by EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS SVP/CTO PAUL BRENNER, is working with NAVTEQ Manager, Dynamic Content Services STEVE DEVRIES, and both joined the panel to discuss the companies' alliance and delivery of non-audio data services using HD RADIO, with BRENNER noting that HD RADIO's IBOC standard blankets more territory than WiFi, and WIMAX, and 3G cellular technology. BRENNER noted that the BTC covers 74 U.S. markets using HD RADIO data, about 82 with RDS, and the top-seven Canadian markets with RDS. The BTC recently added JOURNAL BROADCAST GROUP, REGENT COMMUNICATIONS, SAGA COMMUNICATIONS, and CORUS ENTERTAINMENT to its members. DEVRIES announced the launch of NAVTEQ HD RADIO traffic in 60 metro markets covering a population of 170 million.
WORLDBAND MEDIA VP/Business Development BRAD HERD talked about his company, billed as "NORTH AMERICA's first ethnic digital media network." WORLDBAND has launched South Asian programming in NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, CHICAGO and LOS ANGELES, with SAN JOSE to be added soon and new Filipino and Arabic channels also planned. HERD said that with AM and FM frequencies impractical due to cost, HD RADIO has turned out to be a cost-effective way to reach smaller ethnic markets. He admitted that lower awareness of HD RADIO among ethnic communities has been challenging, with the company trying to push the product awareness itself with a hands-on, grass roots approach that he says has been effective, including targeted print media, appearances at ethnic events, and online marketing to sell receivers.
ESPN RADIO's Exec. Dir./Affiliate Sales JIM ROBERTS explained the genesis of his network's activity on HD RADIO's multicast channels, offering soccer coverage on the secondary channel. "We love the FM," ROBERTS said, adding that HD multicast channel use is being negotiated into affiliation agreements. "Wherever (listeners) are, we want to be there," he said, noting that the secondary channel is a place to put sports like lacrosse and women's softball as well as audio from ESPN TV shows like "AROUND THE HORN," with ESPNEWS audio available at all times and podcasts like BILL SIMMONS' "THE BS REPORT" also available. He said that stations are using the multicast channel for coaches' shows and high school sports.
IBIQUITY's Dir./U.S, Broadcast Sales RICK GREENHUT asserted that there are several ways to make money with HD RADIO, including multicasting and using the secondary channels to target different complementary niches, using HEARST Rock WIYY (98 ROCK)/BALTIMORE's use of HD2 for Classic Rock and HD3 for Alternative as an example of a station using the subchannels to offer advertisers a wider spectrum of audience delivery. He called multicasting "radio's first 'killer application' in 40 years." GREENHUT also touted HD's ability to send data as another advertising opportunity, suggesting that a station can package "banner ads" on the HD RADIO screen. HD RADIO, he said, is an entry point for advertisers who cannot afford a primary station's rates.