HD Radio (continued)

Well it’s a big day for HD Radio.

First, the Wall Street Journal runs a front page story in the Personal Journal section called Radio Goes Digital.

Then Howard Stern announces he’s leaving Infinity to go to Sirius.

I believe these two events will be looked back on as the moment in time that radio started to reinvent itself.

As the WSJ article points out, the radio industry is finally converting stations to digital. 140 stations are on the air with a digital signal today. Over 400 have signed up to convert shortly. And Clear Chanel, Cox, and Entercom have all announced their intentions to convert most of their stations by the end of 2008.

So radio will have a new platform, a digital platform, that will drive innovation in radios (both traditional and software based), programming, and new data services that will be delivered over the air.

But what about Stern moving to satellite? Doesn’t that mean that the best programming will be available on satellite from now on? I don’t think so. Just like the quality of cable programming (think HBO) forces the networks to improve, the quality of satellite programming will force terrestrial broadcasters to improve. Competition ensues. Everyone wins. Radio gets a lot better.

I don’t agree with Jeff. This is not “last nail in the coffin of broadcast [radio]”. That’s like saying that cable was the last nail in the coffin of broadcast television. Digital techology combined with unfettered competition brings out the best in all mediums and it will do the same with radio.