When “Free” misses the point

Do I believe HD radio should be free?

Yes.

But by free I mean” standard.” Everywhere. Replacing the radios you use now without you having to do the replacing yourself. This happens because broadcasters (i.e., the folks who will benefit from HD Radio) pay the makers of radios to make only the new standard.

Giving away free HD radio converters and free tabletop units is to drip drops into a bucket that must be filled and filled fast.

Further, giving away freebies only matters when those freebies are directed to the right trendsetters. That will not happen in this case, primarily because the audience target is viewed as all of us.

The establishment seems to believe that after a few listens, the audience demand for HD will skyrocket.

It will not. Especially if the wrong folks have radios – and the wrong radios (remember, these “adapters” are designed to remove the “HD” and broadcast HD Radio over the FM band) – and the wrong things on those radios.

The establishment seems to believe that by distributing a few thousand radios they can cause a stampede to the store.

They cannot.

Not even with a hundred thousand radios.

“Now, more than ever, is the time to push listeners to retail stores to buy HD Radio products to truly appreciate the industry’s digital creativity,” said Robert Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity Digital.

As a listener, I don’t tune into “the industry’s digital creativity.” I tune into a radio station.

It is the unfortunate technologist who resigns himself to “push” when successful new tech products must be about “pull.”

That, in fact, is what the radio manufactuers are waiting for: “Pull.”

Or a big wad of cash.

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