Broadcasters Continue Rally for Digital Radio
This support from both commercial and non-commercial broadcasters, is giving Robert Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity high hopes. In his own estimation he believes approximately 2,000 stations will be broadcasting digitally within three years. Currently, 500 stations are licensed by iBiquity and around 200 are currently broadcasting in digital, full-time (while at the same time maintaining an analog broadcast). Meanwhile, manufacturers are continuing to announce products supporting HD radio, though still at a conservative pace. Both Kenwood and Panasonic will have more head units this year, and a home unit has already been introduced by Boston Acoustics. Struble said that lower cost chip-sets from Texas Instruments and Philips will help create lower cost products, below $200. "2005 will see 15-20 HD Radio home products," Struble claims.
Retailers are being taken into consideration as well. To help support retail efforts, iBiquity recruited Bernie Sapienza, a former merchandising vice president for Tweeter and freelance retail consultant. Sapienza will head a national retail program that has the goal of matching broadcasters with retailers for potential cross-promotions and negotiating cooperation between manufacturers, distributors and retailers in order to publicize and merchandise HD Radio. Sapienza says that while he not ready to reveal all of his plans officially, he will start out such programs in markets that already have digital stations successfully broadcasting. —David Dritsas