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HD Radio: “Shame on You”

In a new piece on HD Radio from Radio and Records (I’d link it, but R&R doesn’t provide permanent links (!)), critiques are leveled by Edison’s Larry Rosin, McVay Media’s Holland Cooke, and a radio analyst from Wachovia.

Unsurprisingly, the HD Radio Alliance’s Peter Ferrara has “heard it all before,” he says. Although by “heard” the Alliance obviously does not mean “listened to.”

Ferrara goes on:

To the naysayers, I say, ‘Shame on them. They can either be part of the solution or part of the problem.’ If they’re not coming up with great ideas that offer outstanding constructive criticism, I choose to ignore them.

Just a minute here.

For the record, let it be clear that Mr. Ferrara and his team can likewise be part of the problem. Because it is they who have ignored exactly this kind of “outstanding constructive criticism” for years.

Shame on you, HD Alliance, for your “if we build it, they will come” mindset.

Shame on you, HD Alliance, for your insistent reliance on PR stunts and image-making over tangible audience distribution.

Shame on you, HD Alliance, for spending hundreds of millions of dollars worth of promotional time in exchange for a pitiful amount of consumer acceptance.

Shame on you, HD Alliance, for your spin that “77% of consumers have now heard of HD radio, thanks to the alliance’s efforts” – even though those same listeners A) Don’t know what “HD” is or B) Think they already have “HD” or C) Have heard the term and couldn’t care the least bit about it.

Shame on you, HD Alliance, for quoting research provided by a company owned by one of your own founding partners with heavy investments in HD: “31% of radio listeners say they are ‘interested in HD radio.'” You mean the same 31% that doesn’t understand what HD is and is nowhere near buying a receiver? Yes, that 31%.

Shame on you, HD Alliance, for embellishing estimates of past and future unit sales.

Shame on you, HD Alliance, for criticizing or ignoring those who disagree with your strategies rather than your goals, no matter how wrong your strategies or how right your goals.

Shame on you, HD Alliance, for guiding some of America’s best and smartest broadcast companies – led by people with radio’s best interests at heart – down a path that risks being embarrassing, distracting, and wasteful.

Thus far, the results of our industry’s HD effort speak for itself. And these disappointing results are nothing that wasn’t predicted – constructively – more than two years and hundreds of millions of dollars ago.

The state of HD affairs is obviously not the fault of the HD Alliance alone, of course. This dreary situation has many fathers, to be sure. Indeed, the positive work of the Alliance has been considerable. Let’s face it, without their efforts, there’d be few HD stations and no HD radios and zero HD awareness. For their achievements they deserve enormous credit.

But when the alliance starts condemning its critics while at the same time ignoring their advice, then somebody has to call this kettle black.

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