1/6/2005 - Twenty-one of the nation's top radio broadcast groups and iBiquity Digital Corporation announced an historic agreement to accelerate broadcast conversion of 2,000 AM and FM stations to digital HD RadioTM technology. Combined with the current 500 stations licensed, 2,500 stations have embarked on an HD Radio future, covering all of the nation's top 100 markets and beyond.
The agreement includes station commitments from the following broadcast groups: ABC Radio (NYSE:DIS), Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: BBGI), Bonneville International Corp., Clear Channel Communications, Inc. (NYSE:CCU), Cox Radio, Inc. (NYSE: CXR), Cumulus Media, Inc. (NASD: CMLS), Emmis Communications Corp. (NASD: EMMS), Entercom Communications Corp. (NYSE: ETM), Entravision Communications Corporation, (NYSE: EVC), Greater Media, Inc., Infinity Broadcasting, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B),. Jefferson-Pilot Communications Co., Journal Broadcast Group, Liberman Broadcasting, Inc., NextMedia Group, Inc., Radio One, Inc. (NASD: ROIAK and ROIA), Regent Communications, Inc. (NASD: RGCI), Saga Communications, Inc. (NYSE: SGA), Sandusky Radio, Susquehanna Radio Corp., and Univision Radio, Inc.
Separately, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced recently a matching grant program for an additional 159 Public Radio stations to speed HD Radio conversions. With matching funds of $21M to date, this brings the total Public Broadcast station commitment to 309. Another round of matching CPB funds is expected in 2005.
"Our aggressive rollout of digital radio demanded a proven technology and a strong partner. We found both in iBiquity," said Randall Mays, EVP/chief financial officer of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. "We can accept nothing less for an advance that's so important to the radio industry."
"Consumers are constantly in search of new technologies which will enhance their overall listening experience," said Joel Hollander, president and chief operating officer, Infinity. "HD Radio not only delivers improved sound quality but can provide the kind of on-demand information radio listeners desire. We are pleased to take this important step in bringing HD Radio to the forefront of the industry."
Lewis W. Dickey, Jr., chairman and CEO, Cumulus Media commented, "We are excited to be a part of this extraordinary time in radio's history. Providing radio listeners with digital HD Radio will bring a depth of audio enhancement second to none while providing additional revenue streams from new services and applications. From a business perspective, these are very exciting times for Cumulus and the industry as a whole."
Peter Smyth, president and CEO of Greater Media observed, "HD Radio is an investment in the future of our medium, especially in-car listening. I have HD Radio in my car, and it's just amazing when the music surrounds you; it's a whole new quality of experience. Superior sound, coupled with the information that we can display on the dashboard, will allow us to provide all our Greater Media listeners with vastly improved entertainment, and we do it for free! We encourage receiver manufacturers to put HD Radio in every car in the country."
"HD Radio will especially benefit those in middle and small-sized markets," added Terry Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of Regent Communications. "This new technology will enable us to bring more local programming broadcast at a higher quality than ever before. HD Radio is simply another tool that will allow us to better serve the interests of our local communities and markets of all sizes will benefit."
Edward O. Fritts, president and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters said, "Whether it's playing regional music or providing news during times of crisis, local radio has its finger on the pulse of the community. It is a bond that no satellite service, cable channel or MP3 player can ever hope to duplicate. Today's announcement demonstrates the commitment of America's terrestrial broadcasters to the promise of digital and ensures an improved listening experience for the 175 million daily listeners of local AM and FM radio stations."
Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association commented, "The digital revolution which began with CDs and extended to HDTV, cameras and other products is now transforming local radio. The breadth of manufacturers introducing HD Radio products at International CES and broadcasters announcing support for HD Radio, bode well for a successful transition to digital radio."
"Today's announcement cements radio's commitment to digital broadcasting and provides the needed infrastructure to enable nationwide coverage," said Robert Struble, president and CEO, iBiquity Digital Corporation. "In many ways, this announcement is as significant as the FCC's approval of HD Radio technology more than two years ago, and we want to acknowledge these broadcasters for demonstrating the foresight and leadership to make this commitment. We anticipate this announcement will also accelerate the HD Radio rollout for automakers, consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers."
Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank advised iBiquity during commitment discussions with major radio broadcast groups.
HD Radio technology transmits digital audio and data alongside existing AM and FM analog signals, allowing listeners with HD Radio compatible receivers to enjoy CD-quality sound and virtually eliminating the static, hiss, and pops associated with analog radio. The technology also provides a platform for advanced digital services that will deliver listeners a variety of desired information such as song titles, artist names, traffic updates, weather forecasts, sports scores, and more. Additionally, HD Radio's Supplemental Audio Services feature - which was recognized as an honoree in the Innovations 2005 Design and Engineering Showcase held in conjunction with this year's CES - will allow FM stations to divide their broadcasts into multiple, distinct program streams, thereby increasing the diversity of content available to consumers.
About iBiquity Digital
iBiquity Digital is the sole developer and licenser of HD Radio(tm) technology in the U.S., which is transforming today's AM and FM radio stations to digital, enabling radically upgraded sound, crystal-clear reception and new wireless data services. The company's investors include 15 of the nation's top radio broadcasters, including ABC, Clear Channel and Viacom; leading financial institutions, such as Grotech Capital Group, J.P. Morgan Partners, New Venture Partners, Pequot Capital and J&W Seligman; and strategic partners Ford Motor Company, Harris, Texas Instruments and Visteon. iBiquity, named one of Deloitte's Fast 500 Companies, is a privately held with operations in Columbia, MD, Detroit, MI, Belmont, CA and Warren, NJ. For more information please visit: www.ibiquity.com.
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