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Service Eyes Digital FM Diversity

A major radio broadcaster hopes to stimulate format diversity among digital FM stations to better compete with satellite radio’s diversity.

Clear Channel Radio has begun making 75 channels of programming available for use by FM stations that want to supplement their main-channel programming with one to two multicast channels. All but one of the 75 channels consists of music; one is a comedy channel. All are also available to Internet radio broadcasters, radio station Web sites and satellite broadcasters. More channels are in development.

The channels feature continually refreshed playlists, imaging and spoken-word vignettes, Clear Channel said. Radio broadcasters can use the programming as created for subscription services, or they supplement the channels with their own local content. Live streams of the first 75 channels can be heard at

“We’ve created this programming to give broadcasters the most flexibility and the best return on investment,” a spokesman said. “The massive amounts of programming needed to feed rapidly growing numbers of HD2 multicast channels, Internet streams and other near-term opportunities dwarfs the real estate that our industry had to fill with the advent of FM.”