Down the Tubes

Greg Smith sent along this link to a story on rbr.com that would seem to indicate Clear Channel is pulling out of HD radio. It seems the HD channels may be a victim of budget cuts:

More evidence of content cuts at CC Radio: Their much-acclaimed Format Lab is gone from the web. Replaced by their “I (Heart) Music” website for mobile phones. The list now only includes a few HD multicast formats, but does keep the main stream of their HD-1 and analog stations. Seems many HD multicast formats are gone. “Undies” Indie Rock is but one example — it can’t be found one the web, either. The previous national web list of HD Multicast formats by station is also gone….

So bottom line, the Format Lab is no longer available on the web and has cut some of its formats down to the most successful/desirable. The www.iHeartMusic.com website seems to only list the main audio streams of CC stations — not multicast HD formats — but does offer a few off to the side: erockster; Pride; Verizon New Music; Smooth Jazz; Real Oldies; Slow Jams and New Country. There used to be something close to 100 formats listed on the site.

The comment from rbr.com? They see nothing good to come of it for HD, since to date there has been little return on an outrageous investment in junk science:

Really, the next round of budget cuts — out of necessity —is likely going to be HD Radio equipment and licensing renewals. It has cost broadcasters money that so far has not generated ROI. This CC Radio news above, along with the rumors that Citadel has told Engineering not to fix any broken HD transmitters on AM, may be the tip of the iceberg.

This is big when one of the original mammoth supports of HD is silently slipping away in the night. As Greg comments to the post: “Yup, there used to be 75 Format Lab stations, but it is now down to 7, due to a lack of demand. Hopefully, these HD licenses are up for renewal this December, so these IBOC jammers will be turned off soon!”

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3 Responses

  1. The site i was thinking about is RadioTime:

    http://radiotime.com/affiliate/a_38180/station/Format_Lab_(Clear_Channel)_Radio_Stations.aspx

    There are quite a few Format Lab stations there. Don’t know if they are affiliated with CC. This post by RadioSherpa does mention RadioTime, and that fewer HD Radio stations are streaming:

    http://radiosherpa.blogspot.com/2008/11/sonos-radiotime-and-hd-radio.html

  2. If one goes to iheartradio.com, there used to be a small link to HD Radio on the top right-hand corner — it is now gone. I believe this was a common area for CC stations streaming HD. Don’t know, if this was used for the over-the-air HD2s.

    Recently, Erockster was turned off:

    http://erockster.com/

    Bonneville’s iChannel was shutdown a while ago:

    http://www.ichannelmusic.com/?nid=125&pid=15

    A good site to check streaming radio stations is:

    http://streamingradioguide.com/

    Check the HD 2/3 box, then go to the bottom and click on Future HD2/HD3 Channels. It appears there are few HDs streaming. Also, there was a site (name escapes me) that was also streaming HD Format Lab channels, but I can’t even find it now.

  3. IMHO, anything bad for Clear Channel is good for radio in general. And if Clear Channel is going to stop pushing the HD radio crap then it’s definitely on the way out. I wonder how the folks up in Killeen feel since they’ve just bought into it? See “Conned In Killeen ” posting this site….

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