Critical Mess

A couple posts on two websites at the latest swag on HD radio. In one, an article by Ken Dardis called “HD Radio: Dead, and Getting Deader,” he makes mock of the latest round of iBiquity blather about reaching “critical mass” — as if selling two million radios represents a seismic shift in consumer America, which owns some 700 million analog radios. “A telling tale on the ambiguity of iBiquity,” he says, “is how it reports sales of 3 million units. It’s the only known public statement on the number of units sold. Offering no way to confirm, it’s a number that’s well above what experts are guessing.” He also notes that the “HD Radio Milestone” is trumpeted by Inside Radio, an industry trade owned by iBiquity partner Clear Channel. His conclusion:

It’s already proved that more than five years of promoting HD over-the-air is not convincing consumers to buy. That the claim of HD Radio reaching “critical mass” is even mentioned shows there’s still quite a bit of fluff mixed in with reality.

In a similarly skeptical post here, the comments on critical mass drew this cynical response: “[T]hat really makes me wonder if the company is just hell-bent on persistent propaganda, or actually believes their own hype”:

Really? Critical mass? As in, mass adoption? As in, consumers are actually aware, interested and seeking after the technology?

Now, consumers might have heard about HD Radio, but that’s likely because the HD Radio Alliance has been pounding away with commercials on regular AM/FM radio.

According to Media Monitors, the HD Radio Alliance aired 1.3 million radio spots in the past year. Read that again, 1.3 million radio ad spots.

And a large number of those ads were run free-of-charge by member stations. While others were paid through funding provided by device makers, retailers and automotive companies. How convenient.

In order for HD Radio to actually reach critical mass, the technology needs to reach a point of self-sustainability. Whereas, the momentum is so rich that it fuels its own growth. And having member stations dump literally millions of promotional ad spots hardly seems to prove that HD Radio has reached critical mass.

And the comments that follow are anything but charitable . . . But Jack Hannold raises an interesting point about mainstream media, who have looked the other way here whilst this swindle is in progress: “Why don’t our mainstream newspapers do any more than regurgitate the nonsense they read in Iniquity’s press releases?” Grant Goddard reports that he’s done 20 interviews recently with news outlets seeking the truth about the UK’s DAB fiasco. Where’s the media in the states? Is journalism school teaching that the story is so much more important than people? Does it become a story only when the fraud has run its course and the victims can be tallied?

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One Response

  1. The UK’s “The Register” runs many articles exposing the UK’s DAB fiasco, yet our media fully backs iBiquity’s fraud. iBiquity must be supplying some sort of financial incentives to their CEOs. iBiquity’s news releases seem to be well-timed, just when we see HD Radio tanking. Now, it’s Ford’s inclusion of HD Radio as an expensive factory-installed option, and this joke of reaching critical-mass in the aftermarket (like that would make any difference, anyway). As many HD radios are retired from lack of sales and high return rates, as new ones come online. Radio-Info has now shown up under Google News shilling for iBiquity. Kim Kommando of UISA Today, again shilling for HD Radio. Of course, the biggest joke was watching the radio industry trades spread that false rumor about Apple being interested in including HD Radio directly in its products.

    Even I am becoming sick of the constant pounding by iBiquity in The Press, as I am sure listeners are after millions of HD Radio commercials. I wouldn’t be surprised if Struble believes his own hype. Wait until Ford has to service all of those HD Radio complaints.

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