First Mazda with full HD Radio offering arrives


HD RadioThe new 2014 Mazda3 has arrived at dealers with all of the latest HD Radio features, including traffic maps, artist experience, iTunes tagging, HD2/HD3 FM multicasting, and on-screen song, artist and album info. iBiquity Digital says it’s the first Mazda to arrive at dealers with integrated audio and free traffic flow images using Clear Channel’s Total Traffic HD Network (TTN) and HD Radio technology. 

The redesigned Mazda3 features a new display audio system (MAZDA CONNECT) that incorporates the latest HD Radio audio and data features including Artist Experience, allowing listeners to view images such as album art on their information screens and it’s even complete with free traffic maps, showing drivers green, yellow and red flow patterns, all delivered via HD Radio stations across the country.

Said Jeff Jury, iBiquity COO: “Mazda is a great partner and we are pleased to announce that they have joined the growing list of automakers to recognize and use the HD Radio digital data pipe to deliver subscription-free traffic information to their new display audio system.  The Mazda3 is sure to be a class-leading vehicle and Mazda included all of the latest HD Radio audio features like Artist Experience for their tech-savvy drivers.  Mazda and the entire automotive industry are adopting the latest HD Radio audio and data features very quickly driving the transition of over-the-air AM & FM broadcasting to a digital future.”

Adds Jim O’Sullivan, President and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO): “Mazda3 is the brand’s best-selling vehicle worldwide, which makes the launch of this all-new, third-generation model that much more important. We’ve reimagined this vehicle from the ground up and added many new in-car technology features, including an all-new HMI system called MAZDA CONNECT which offers a slew of audio and connectivity features not expected in the compact car segment. By teaming up with industry leaders such as iBiquity Digital, we look forward to even more success with the 2014 Mazda3 and the rest of our vehicle lineup.”

33 automakers have now publicly announced plans to incorporate HD Radio Technology in 170+ models by year-end with more than 80 models featuring HD Radio receivers as standard equipment.  Mazda joins Toyota, Lexus and Mitsubishi on the list of automakers to integrate digital traffic and data services in addition to the audio entertainment features offered by HD Radio technology.

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RBR-TVBR observation: As much controversy HD Radio has generated in the radio broadcast biz for its slow road to monetization and interference created, many are now saying we should join together and support HD Radio technology. The reason? Most OEMs think it’s the digital experience/data pipe that’s key to the future of radio. We need to stay in the dash in the long term, and to compete with all of the other content now available behind the wheel, our stations need to pretty much have the look, feel and functionality of smartphone streaming, while offering competitive services like traffic info and iTunes Tagging for free on the back end.