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More Digital FM Stations Launch Multicasts To Boost Format Diversity

Orlando, Fla. –– The HD Digital Radio Alliance announced an expanded roster of digital FM stations that will broadcast multiple programs simultaneously on their assigned frequency to deliver new music formats not offered in their markets.

By July 31, more than 450 stations will broadcast a second channel, up from 264 stations in 28 markets earlier in the year and 70 stations at the end of 2005. HD2 multicasts will be available in 50 markets, including 42 of the top 50, more than six months sooner than planned, the alliance said in turning up the competitive heat on satellite and internet radio.

Representing major radio groups and independent station owners, the HD Radio Alliance is promoting the rollout of digital AM and FM broadcasting and coordinating the rollout of HD2 broadcasts to ensure as many new formats in the markets are launched as possible. Member broadcasters are responsible for programming each of their new multicast channels, which are initially being offered commercial-free.

New formats offered in the new markets will include Eclectic Chill-Out, Christian Contemporary, Café Jazz & Blues, Mash-Up and Outlaw Country.

“One of the most exciting things about HD Radio is the ability to offer innovative new content customized for each individual local market,” said Peter Ferrara, president/CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance. “Unlike any other audio entertainment source, radio is all about serving the local community and these new HD2 channels will do just that.”

Radio listeners in the following markets will now get a chance to hear the latest simulcast channels:

Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas; Milwaukee; Middlesex-Union-Somerset, N.J.; Minneapolis; Nassau and Suffolk counties, N.Y.; Norfolk, Va.; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I.; Riverside, Sacramento and San Diego, Calif.; San Antonio; Salt Lake City; St. Louis; Tampa, Fla.

Previously, simulcasts were available in 28 markets, including the top 10 radio markets. They are:

Albuquerque, N.M.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston and Springfield, Mass.; Chicago; Cincinnati; Dallas-Fort Worth, El Paso and McAllen, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Memphis; Miami; New York; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; Seattle; Tulsa, Okla.; Washington; and Wichita, Kansas.

Earlier this month, the Alliance also announced that Tweeter, ABC Warehouse and Crutchfield launched in-store marketing, education and advertising programs to coincide with the in-store availability of HD digital radio receivers. Receivers have been available from online retailers since late 2005. More than 30 models of automobiles will ship with HD digital radios by the 2008 model year.

HD digital radio receivers are also available from Alamo Electronics, Audio Adviser, B&B Appliance, Bjorn’s Stereo Designs, Car Toys,, Electronics Expo, Flanner’s Audio & Video, Great Indoors,, 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 and World of Sound.

HD digital radio receivers are offered by more than 15 companies, including Audio Design Associates, Kenwood, Alpine, Panasonic, Boston Acoustics, Polk, Day Sequerra, Radiosophy, Delphi, Rotel, DICE, Sanyo, Eclipse, JVC and Visteon. More than 20 Asia-based manufacturers have HD Digital Radio receivers in development, the alliance said.

Alliance members include 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 Susquehanna and independent WBEB Philadelphia.