Okay, I’m not the first to come up with this observation, but it’s striking nonetheless:
Right out of the gate Apple sold about 500,000 iPhones in its first weekend of release. Meaning: Apple sold more iPhones in three days than the entire HD radio industry has sold in three years.
And at twice the price, to boot….
Now back to work.
All right, this blog hasn’t been around all that long, but it’s already outlasted a radio format here in the RoeDeo listening area: George 104, which came – and went – in just over two months. (76 days, to be exact – from January 22 to April 7, 2007) George, (as noted earlier in this space) was the hastily-assembled pop/rock/dance oldies format that was thrown up after owner Bonneville engineered a novel play with public broadcaster WETA: Bonneville dumped DC classical icon WGMS, WETA switched (back) to all-classical, and for good measure picked up WGMS’s Program Director (Jim Allison), its extensive record library, and even its call letters – (now used by WETA’s repeater station in Hagerstown, MD). Of course, George was a pretty low-overhead operation, (“a CD player in the back room” according to some grumblings), and pledged to go ad-free for its first 104 days in a bid to build audience. It didn’t even get that far.
So wha’happen? Turns out George isn’t completely gone – it’s now available as an HD – only channel, (103.5 – 2), next door to Bonneville’s perennial ratings champ WTOP with perhaps with lamest web site in the business. George was cleared out to make way for Praise 104.1– a new gospel format from Radio One, who are now “renting” the frequency from Bonneville. Believe it or not, it’s the first Gospel FM station in the DC area, which must be some kind of first. So perhaps that will bring a little stability to a frequency that has gone through FOUR format changes and call letters in a year’s time. Ahhh, radio…a nice stable industry.
WIRED checks in today with the latest State of HD Radio story. What’s that, you say? Precisely. The comments are more revealing than the story, methinks, which is essentially an apples-oranges comparison of the HD system in Britain (a consortium of public-private stations with heavy Government backing) versus that of the USA (“HD? Yeah, we’ve got both XM *and* Sirius radios here at Best Buy.”) If only they’d called it “Digital Radio” instead….
NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ in HD would be like “Meet the Press” in technicolor …