A Corpus Crap Shoot

Add Corpus Christi to the cities where public radio has foisted off HD radio on the locals. This post from the website of the Caller-Times gave details:

Although Jacoby said most people do not possess radios with HD, the decision to launch the new stations was made at the request of listeners who moved here from other parts of the country.

“They wanted us to carry programs such as Talk of the Nation and Diane Rehm,” Jacoby said. “It offers an option for our listeners and members, many of which are news junkies.”

The digital conversion of the stations was about a $250,000 investment. The HD stations, which will run on an automated programming system, cost about $6,000 a year, which goes to pay for the syndicated program packages, Jacoby said.

“Since we’re supported by public donations, we’re hoping our listeners and members who have been requesting these programs will respond by adding to the donation pot and keep us going,” Jacoby said.

No mention of what type of belt-tightening was necessitated by the move . . .

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3 Responses

  1. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Hal Kneller worked for iBiquity (see http://www.linkedin.com/in/halkneller), the monopoly licensor of HD radio — the first time in history that public airwaves have been licensed to a sole supplier. Some additional questions that come to mind: What percentage of the annual budget of the Corpus station went into going HD (the $250,000 mentioned in the story)? What has been the effect on local programming of this expenditure? Is the new programming that fills this station locally produced or does it come from upstream (NPR, PRI, etc.)? Has there ever been a discernible revenue stream from an HD channel? If public stations are seeing declining revenue from an analog station, what additional programming on an additional channel could bring listeners back (given also that listeners would have to buy a new radio)? And Hal, just out of curiosity: Did the Corpus website contact you about the comment pointing these things out before pulling it from the site?

  2. I too had the priviledge of Hal Kneller leaving a comment, but it was in the form of a personal email address listed on my blog. Hal ran a story on RBR about Brazil indicating the lack of consumer interest in HD Radio in the United States. Evidently, Hal must have not liked my comments that I left on the article, which quoted direct, reliable sources.

  3. Actually, many public radio stations have been able to utilize HD Radio technology to broaden their programming. For instance, most public radio stations have but one frequency in their market, whereas some of the commercial operators might have as many as 8 separate frequencies in large markets. Public radio offers a huge diversity of programming content from alternative to jazz, to classical to talk. It’s an intelligent way to serve a larger audience.

    It also allows a public radio station to stick to one format and not be such a myriad of checkerboard formats. My local public radio station was partly talk, partly classical and now is all talk on analog/HD1 and 100% classical on HD2. Both audiences are better served with consistent programming.

    As to the comment that “most people do not have an HD Radio receiver”, this is true. The numbers are building. In 1965 most people didn’t have an FM radio, either. It did not stop the growth of FM.

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