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HD Radio Gets RadioShack Boost

5/15/2006 08:51:00 AM Eastern

Orlando, Fla. — Retail-level promotion of HD Radio technology accelerated today with the launch of promotion programs by an expanded roster of major consumer electronics retailers, including RadioShack.

RadioShack is the first national retailer, and the largest retailer to date, to commit to a nationwide launch of HD Radio. In select markets on May 15, RadioShack joined other major retailers in launching promotion programs, but the national chain will roll out HD Radio products and promotional programs nationwide in the fourth quarter, the company said.

The other retailers launching promotions today include Detroit’s Mickey Shorr, Ken Crane in Los Angeles, and Harvey and Electronics Expo in the New York area. Earlier this year, multiregional retailer Tweeter, Detroit’s ABC Warehouse and Crutchfield launched promotion programs.

All of the programs are part of a promotional initiative led by the Alliance, whose members are major radio broadcast groups that banded together to accelerate the HD Radio rollout. The initiative includes retailer-tagged radio spots to drive consumers to the stores of HD Radio retailers. The ads are placed by Alliance members as part of a $200 million on-air ad campaign begun earlier this year. Retailers are stepping up with in-store and online education, in-store displays and marketing materials, sales training, and additional advertising.

As part of the initiative, RadioShack today launched a pilot program in all of its more than 100 Dallas-Fort Worth stores and in a handful of stores in each of the following markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Washington. In each of those markets, fewer than 10 stores are part of the pilot.

Like many retailers allied with the Alliance, RadioShack is offering the $299 Boston Acoustics Recepter table radio, but in the fourth quarter RadioShack will add two proprietary products, including at least one more table radio, a spokesman told TWICE. RadioShack has also begun selling the Recepter online but expects that most consumers will require a live in-store demo to make a purchase commitment.

The other retailers also plan newspaper advertising to complement the Alliance’s radio spots, the Alliance said. Electronic Expo will also use direct mail, highlight HD Radio during grand openings and conduct contests through its radio spots, the Alliance said.

For its part, Detroit’s ABC Warehouse is expanding its commitment with discount coupons of JVC HD Radio tuners for the car and with promotions focused on Kenwood’s HD Radio equipment for the car. ABC also plans direct mail and promotions with the Detroit Tigers baseball team.

Earlier this year, Tweeter added HD Radios to its selection in all stores in its 13 regional markets accompanied by in-store signs, point-of-purchase displays, sales training and an ad campaign. In April, Tweeter began offering the Boston Acoustics table radio and multiple Alpine car head units with HD Radio capability in all of its stores.

HD radio receivers are also available from Alamo Electronics, Audio Adviser, B&B Appliance, Bjorn's Stereo Designs, Car Toys, eCost.com, Electronics Expo, Flanner’s Audio & Video, Great Indoors, HammacherSchlemmer.com, Harvey’s, Hi-Fi Buys, Home Entertainment, Huppins Hi Fi, J&R Music, Listen Up, Magnolia Audio Video, One Call, Ovation AV, Pyramid Audio, Rudy’s Autosound, Sound Advice, Spearit Sound, Tweeter and World of Sound.

To date, 3,000 radio stations have committed to broadcasting in digital HD Radio format, and more than 800 are currently broadcasting in digital form to 75 percent of the U.S. population. By year’s end, 1,200 stations will be broadcasting to 90 percent of the population. By the end of July, the number of FM stations broadcasting HD2 multicast channels will grow to 400, from 264 earlier in the year, the Alliance said.

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