There was a noteworthy post in December in the Suburban Journals section of the St. Louis Today website, aside from the usual blather about HD radio fixin’ to explode (as it has been for, what, eight years now?):
ABI Research, which studies technology, predicts that by the end of 2010, about 4 million digital sets will have been sold in the United States and about 13.5 million in Europe.
However, the number of digital radio receivers is expected to skyrocket to nearly 200 million within five years, according to the firm.
In St. Louis, listeners can hear 45 HD radio channels from 24 FM and AM stations. Offerings range from news to classic rock to — yes — classical music.
In spite of the predictions, there are cynics. Frank Absher, a St. Louis radio historian and founder of the St. Louis Media History Foundation, questions whether HD radio is ever going to be a success. “I don’t know of anyone who has one, wants one or even talks about wanting one,” Absher said.
Absher predicts Internet radio and satellite radio will be more popular.
What happened with one Metro East radio station may bear out Absher’s words.
WSIE, the all-jazz station of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, sought a $200,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for a HD radio channel. WSIE didn’t get the grant and didn’t set up the channel.
The CPB wouldn’t cough up for HD here, after $50 million thrown around elsewhere for that purpose? Go figure. Are there limits to foolishness?