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HD Radio Alliance To Boost Promos During '07

12/04/2006 02:00:00 AM Eastern

The consortium of top radio broadcasters that formed a year ago to promote HD Radio technology will boost their on-air advertising commitment by 25 percent to $250 million in 2007.

The HD Digital Radio Alliance was formed in late 2005 to promote digital AM/FM broadcasting to the public, coordinate promotions with manufacturers and retailers, rally automakers behind the technology, and coordinate the rollout of FM multicasting in major markets to enable terrestrial FM broadcasters to compete with the diversity of satellite and Internet radio.

For 2006, alliance stations committed $200 million in radio advertising spots to advertise HD Radio. The value of the advertising was based on the number of spots, total reach and average frequency of radio stations that comprise the alliance network, the alliance said.

Alliance members include major radio groups and independent station owners. They are ABC Radio (in Los Angeles and Minneapolis), Beasley Broadcast Group, Bonneville International, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio, Cumulus, Emmis Communications, Entercom, Greater Media and independent station WBEB in Philadelphia.

More than 1,000 radio stations are broadcasting in HD, reaching 230 million people, or 81 percent of the population. More than 500 of those stations are FM stations delivering HD2 multicast channels in 167 markets, up from the year-ago 89 multicast stations. More than 35 home and car receivers and tuners have become available through thousands of retail outlets at prices that below $199. The alliance has also received commitments from nine automakers for 49 vehicle models, although a time frame wasn't specified.

"The speed of this rollout is nothing short of phenomenal," said Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications. "We've gone from having zero receivers on store shelves a year ago to having a full range of models today, in both performance and price."

"We've known for months that nothing comes close to the sound quality of HD Digital Radio, and now we're seeing evidence that consumers agree," said Peter Smyth, president and CEO of Greater Media. "The [RadioShack] $99 Accurian promotions over the Thanksgiving weekend were a huge success in Detroit, with sales exceeding expectations by 100 percent in some retail locations," he said.

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