But is “availability” of HD radios the problem?


“They can’t find the radios even if they want one.”

That’s one way some folks explain HD radio’s sputtering sales.

But now that Best Buy is coming into the fold of retailers that offer HD radio products nationwide, it will be impossible to say that “availability” is a problem, because that availability will generally be universal.

Chalk off one excuse from the pile of excuses theoretically explaining HD’s lack of momentum.

Of course, the product choice will be thin – especially at the beginning. And – unique to HD radio deals – our industry gives away hundreds of millions of dollars of precious and valuable airtime to the retailer in return for stocking the item, which somehow makes the deal seem more like barter than an exciting new partnership motivated by the belief that HD radios will sell.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. And one broadcaster reported to me that he asked an iBiquity rep how many HD radios had actually been sold as of the most recent accounting.

And this was his answer:

150,000.

An aside: Check out that Best Buy ad above. That one page should tell you everything you need to know about who your radio station is actually competing against: satellite, mp3 players, cell phones, etc. This is exactly what I’ve been ranting about for the past two years. And it again raises the question I have asked many times: Is this the way to radio’s future or a distraction to the real opportunities and challenges before us?

Question to ponder: Which of the items on that page do you most feel an impulse to buy?

Bottom line: If we don’t acknowledge that there’s something wrong with our HD radio strategy, then how in the world are we supposed to fix it?

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