Exploding Radio (continued)
I have blogged extensively about HD Radio technology. I am an investor and board member of iBiquity Digital, the developer of HD Radio. So take all of this as me promoting my investment if you want to.
But what I have been saying for the past couple years on this blog and elsewhere is that digital is going to change radio the way digital changed cell phones and set top boxes. It’s going to explode radio.
Yesterday we had the first announcement of many to come that show one important way that radio is going to explode. Infinity announced that they were splitting their Chicago station, WUSM, into two stations using HD Radio technology. Here is the WSJ story if you have a subscription.
WUSM is a country station. The existing channel will continue to be broadcast in analog and primary channel digital. But they will air a "younger, hipper" country station on a second digital channel at the same frequency.
iBiquity used to call this channel splitting technology supplemental audio. But nobody liked that term. So now we call it "multicasting".
HD Radio technology will allow station owners to multicast a lot more than two channels per station. It depends on a lot of things, but theoretically you could get 5 stations per channel in an all digital mode and with moore’s law working for you, it could get better than that over time.
Satellite radio is popular because you get 100 stations and a ton of high quality niche programming. Well HD Radio is going to allow traditional broacasters to offer that much audio programming for free in every market in the country. This is going to empower a lot of innovation and experimentation in the programming area and that is exactly what radio needs to get its mojo back.