This week's Convergence conference in San Jose was a terrific gathering of broadcasters and their partners who feel radio's best days might very well lay ahead. No sticks in the mud, these. Rather, folks with brains and vision and a plan, or at least the hopes of developing one.Un altro articolo che vorrebbe essere incoraggiante (è firmato da Thom Moon uno che in HD Radio ci crede molto) ma che può essere letto come l'ennesima prova delle difficoltà che la radio digitale incontra anche negli Stati Uniti è apparso su RWOnline e descrive molto bene gli ostacoli che il potenziale acquirente di un apparecchio compatibile col sistema Ibiquity incontra quando va in negozio. Non è tanto la mancanza di apparecchi a buon prezzo a costituire il problema, quanto il fatto che all'interno dei negozi tra commessi del tutto impreparati e condizioni di ascolto pessime (il segnale digitale non viene agganciato neppure quando l'antenna trasmittente si trova a poche centinaia di metri!), la radio digitale finisce per fare una magra figura. E' un triste paradosso: il digitale non sfonda nemmeno quando le radio ci sono. Come per tutte le cose nuove, molto dipende anche da come la si propone e la si vende al pubblico. Perché credete che abbiano inventato la "scienza" del marketing?
This was no place for spin doctors and conventional wisdom. So I was not surprised when Kurt Hanson spoke on radio's future with an emphasis on radio's inevitable future on the Internet.
Nor was I surprised when Kurt veered left to discuss - and dismiss - HD Radio.
What fascinated me was the reaction.
Any room full of broadcasters is full of HD radio doubters, nowadays. But the vibe in this room was remarkable for the eye-rolling and audible snickering that greeted virtually any mention of HD.
The problem with getting HD Radios into the hands of consumers strikes me as not that retail people know nothing about HD Radio; it’s that the few HD Radios displayed aren’t able to receive an HD signal.
It’s bad when you’re trying to sell an expensive unit and the prospect can’t hear the main selling points of the technology: better sound and the “stations between the stations.”
As it looks to me, broadcasters have been insistent in trying to create demand for HD Radio, and despite the naysayers, I know people who are intrigued enough at least to ask me about it. But brick-and-mortar retailers make it difficult (if not impossible) for consumers to make an informed decision. Right now, the consumer’s smart move is to troll the Internet.
It occurs to me that the radio industry’s best bet is to encourage local audio retailers to play up HD Radio — and to help them make sure the radios they have on display can lock onto the HD signals.
Stations might even tag HD Radio spots with “Hear HD Radio now at (local retailer’s name and address).” Do it as a trade of sorts; the store gets the plug if you know its HD Radios work properly.
We’re in a critical period. For too long, there were stations transmitting an IBOC signal alongside their analog but no HD Radios. Now the radios are in the marketplace, but they require a bit of extra effort — effort a big-box store probably can’t give them.
Retailers want to move merchandise and won’t stock it if it doesn’t move, but with HD Radio, they may need some help. Goodness knows, radio can move merchandise.
The industry already has made huge investments in capital equipment, programming and promotion. But people won’t buy it if they can’t hear the differences. Let’s go that extra step and make certain they know where they can hear HD Radio.