Benchmarks for HD radio


ibiquityThere is a way to increase program diversity in a market without flipping a station’s format – it’s to simply add a new program stream via the use of digital HD radio.

There are now almost 25 million HD radio receivers in use, according to the latest figures from iBiquity, bringing in content from more than 2,000 stations including outlets in 98 of the top 100 markets.

Six and a half billion hours of listening was said to have taken place in 2014 alone.

“HD Radio Technology is now shipping in close to half of all cars sold and provides a massive platform for AM/FM broadcasters to offer a rich suite of services in the new Connected Car,” said Robert Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity. “With another year of over 30% HD Radio unit sales growth, and corresponding increases in consumer listening, awareness and satisfaction, broadcasters are providing more free, digital quality programming and new HD Radio services than ever before, including a wide range of traditional and genre-specific content.”

According to iBiquity, stations offering two or even three program streams are often using them to go hyper-local. Formats are being provided for the LGBT community, for ethnic groups, and for those with off-beat tastes in music that would not be available in a radio market limited to one program stream per station.

“Growth in HD Radio receiver penetration and listening in 2014 motivated AM/FM broadcasters to expand their HD2, HD3 and HD4 programming, building a network of free, diverse content that rivals anything being done over satellite or online,” said Joe D’Angelo, SVP of iBiquity.  “We’ve been excited to see stations extend their brands and services by offering multiple HD Radio programming choices.”


  1. And yet, in Houston, iHeart has stepped back from HD radio by taking 2 of their 4 sideband stations and simulcasting AM stations on them. If you call a cluster of stations in many markets where there are HD-2s & -3s and ask the person who answers the phone about them, odds are that the person you’re talking to doesn’t even know those stations exist.

    • I agree. I don’t believe the average listener even knows what HD-2 or HD-3 stations are, much less listens to them. And I don’t believe the average person even has these extra receivers in their house or is willing to pay for them. What the average person does have in their house is a flat screen that gets about a thousand channels and a laptop with billions of entertaining websites. Not likely they are going to shut that all off to listen to an HD-2 radio station.

  2. “Formats are being provided for the LGBT community”… And that is why we need a “V-chip” for radio receivers. Broadcasters should not contribute to the delinquency of minors and owners should be able to block the indecent programming to prevent children from hearing perverse programming.

  3. Radi has missed the current opportunity by chasing a past challenge. HD2 station diversity was started to combat Sattelite But the Internet beat Sattelite with infinite formats. HD radio without the sub channels split off has magnificent sound and fidelity, better than any streaming audio. Better sound is an advantage. Remember FM beating AM. And HD2 channels require money to operate and brings in a miniscule amount of revenue. Stop fighting the Sattelite war to better fight the listener migration to online. Save money by cutting expenses and improve you competitive situation.

  4. There are stations that I would never listen to again if they dropped their second digital channel(“HD-2”). Sometimes the second digital channel is the only good channel and sometimes it is more of the same old crap.

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