HD radio is making plenty of progress -- in the wrong direction.
That’s according to a new study from research outfit Mark Kassof & Co., which surveyed 670 radio listeners ages 18-64 by phone to determine their state of knowledge about this variety of digital radio. A medium once (and occasionally still) hailed as the future of terrestrial broadcast radio.
According to Kassof, awareness of HD radio actually declined over the last few years. 67% of those surveyed said they had “heard of” HD radio in 2008, the proportion has declined to 54% today.
Also, Kassof found that consumer understanding of HD radio, including familiarity with its basic attributes, is basically stagnant or also in decline.
In their 2008 survey, 21% of respondents were aware that HD radio delivers better sound quality than ordinary broadcast radio; that proportion declined to 20% today. (Kassof noted that many respondents who were aware of this fact simply inferred it from their knowledge of HDTV, which operates through a different set of technologies.)
Likewise, in 2008 just 8% of respondents were aware that HD radio offers extra channels and more content variety; the proportion is exactly the same today. The proportion who said they had heard of HD radio but didn’t know anything about it increasing from 14% to 16%.
The Kassof survey concluded: "The industry still faces a big challenge marketing HD radio.” To help build awareness and differentiate it from competitors like satellite radio, Kassof recommended that the industry focus on key aspects including sound quality, greater variety of content choices, and the fact that it's free."