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HD Radio dumps the “HD”

Here’s a strange announcement from last week’s Conclave session on HD Radio.

iBiquity director of broadcast marketing Don Kelly reported that there will be an HD Radio car converter on the market by Thanksgiving for standard analog radios. Though not digital, he said the converters will also be available for home radios.

So in other words, we have a product called “HD Radio” where the very name of the product implies superior audio quality. And yet we sell an adapter that is designed to broadcast that digital radio on the analog radios in every car – to subtract the “HD” from HD Radio (and before you draw an analogy to satellite radio, the term “satellite” does not imply “high definition” the way “HD” does).

While it is not wrong that all these channels should be available on conventional radios, it does yet again raise the spectre of a central marketing and communication issue: “HD Radio” is a bad and confusing label that promises something the audience does not want and does not even understand.

Forgive me for asking this question so bluntly, but is there anyone in the HD radio daisy chain of decision-makers who is thinking through a product strategy, a consumer strategy, or a marketing strategy? Or is it just “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”?

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