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HD Radio Adding 18 Markets

8/21/2006 02:00:00 AM Eastern

HD Digital Radio Alliance said a third wave of digital FM stations will begin in the fall to broadcast multiple programs simultaneously, delivering new music formats not previously offered in their markets.

A total of 140 more stations in 18 more markets will be multicasting a second digital program on their assigned frequencies, bringing the total number of multicasting stations to more than 740 stations in 68 of the top 100 markets. At the end of 2005, only 70 stations nationwide delivered two channels of programming concurrently.

A handful of stations are delivering three programs simultaneously.

The stations are operated by HD Radio Alliance member companies, which are major radio groups and independent station owners. The alliance was founded in December 2005 to promote the rollout of digital AM and FM broadcasting and coordinate the rollout of HD2 broadcasts.

Member broadcasters are responsible for programming each of their new multicast channels, or side channels, which are initially being offered commercial free.

Formats debuting in the latest rollout include blues, comedy, Christian CHR, Spanish oldies, all financial, old school hip hop, indie rock and party mix.

Said Peter Ferrara, alliance president and CEO, "We are seeing HD digital radio broadcasts being launched at a much faster pace than expected."

The next 18 markets to roll out HD2 multicast programming are:

Austin, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Greensboro, N.C.; New Orleans; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Monmouth-Ocean, N.J.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Rochester, N.Y.; Louisville, Ky.; Richmond, Va.; Greenville, S.C.; Honolulu; Tucson, Ariz.; Albany, N.Y. and Ft. Myers, Fla.