Top U.S. Radio Companies Accelerate Rollout of HD Digital Radio

12/8/2005 - Seven of the top U.S. radio companies announced a strategic alliance to accelerate the rollout of HD Digital Radio. The Alliance's charter is threefold:

  1. Coordinate the rollout of HD digital radio, including coordinating the formats on new multicast channels known as HD2
  2. Work together to secure automotive design wins and lower receiver price points
  3. Jointly market HD digital radio, in partnership with receiver manufacturers and retailers

Member companies will also devote more than $200 million in commercial inventory on their own stations in 2006 to promote HD digital radio and the new HD2 multicast channels. More than 200 million people listen to radio each week.

Called the HD Digital Radio Alliance, the effort is open to all U.S.-based radio companies. The group expects to announce its first market-specific HD2 programming line-up early in the new year, including launch dates, specifics on specialized multicast signals, and a nationwide consumer marketing campaign.

Charter members jointly announcing the Alliance today at a press conference here include: Bonneville International, Citadel Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio, Cumulus, Emmis Communications, Entercom, Greater Media, and Infinity Broadcasting. The Alliance also announced that 30-year radio-industry veteran Peter Ferrara was named CEO.

"The industry today has stepped up in a major and unprecedented way," said Ferrara. "These companies should be congratulated on coming together to create a joint action plan, and committing air time and money to move HD digital radio forward. I'm honored to be asked to help lead this important initiative."

Ferrara has an extensive background in radio-group management, station ownership and trade association oversight. Among his previous executive positions, Ferrara was a senior vice president of Clear Channel Communications, chief operating officer of both U.S. Radio and Granum Communications, executive vice president of the National Radio Broadcasters Association, and a board member of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Serving as the Alliance's oversight management committee are Clear Channel Communications president and CEO Mark Mays; Greater Media president and CEO Peter Smyth; and Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander.

HD radio eliminates the static, hiss, pop and fades associated with analog signals, so for listeners, AM-band broadcasts sound like FM and FM-band broadcasts have digital CD-like quality. The wireless data feature enables text information on songs to be broadcast directly to receiver display screens.

HD Radio also enables radio broadcasters to segment a single, existing radio frequency so that it can carry multiple, simultaneous, higher-quality AM and FM broadcast streams as well as wireless data.

Member companies have agreed to coordinate the use of all multicast HD2 channels to create the greatest diversity of formats. The goal: create new, unique and compelling content within a high-quality listening experience across a broad spectrum of music, news and entertainment programming.

HD2 channels will be locally programmed in each market. And HD2 programming will initially be commercial-free. No subscription is required to hear HD digital radio broadcasts.

HD digital radio technology is enjoying strong momentum:

About the HD Digital Radio Alliance
The HD Digital Radio Alliance is a joint initiative of leading radio broadcasters focused on accelerating the successful rollout of HD digital radio. Charter members include: Bonneville International, Citadel Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio, Cumulus, Emmis Communications, Entercom, Greater Media, and Infinity Broadcasting.

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