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HD Radio Simulcasts Prepare To Expand

Digital FM radio stations plan to launch multicast programming by the end of the month in 17 more markets, bringing the number of markets with multicasting FM stations to the nation’s 85 largest markets, the HD Digital Radio Alliance announced.

The additions will expand the number of multicasting stations to 605 stations from 504, the alliance said. “That means there are now more than 600 new radio stations on the air with HD2 programming that is unique, diverse and local to each market,” said alliance president/CEO Peter Ferrara. “That is a huge benefit and value for the consumer that buys an HD Radio”

To date, all simulcast programming is being delivered commercial-free.

Radio formats new to some of the 17 markets include jazz and blues, standards, slow jams and dance. “Many of these formats are entirely new and will be heard for the first time in this rollout,” the alliance noted.

The 17 markets are also getting HD Radio for the first time, and as a result, HD Radio and simulcasting will be heard in 85 of the top 100 markets by the end of January, the alliance said. Overall, HD Radio stations will be broadcasting in a total of 175 markets in the lower 48 states by the end of January. “We have successfully launched HD Radio in 85 markets in just one year,” said Ferrara.

Earlier this month, Ferrara also told TWICE that HD Radio will be rolled out to the top 100 markets by May. The number of digital terrestrial radio stations started out the new year at about 1,100, a spokesman for HD Radio developer iBiquity also told TWICE at the time, and is expected to grow to almost 2,000 by the end of 2007

The latest 17 markets to roll out HD Radio and multicasting are:

  • Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Fresno, Calif.
  • Wilkes Barre, Pa.
  • Allentown, Pa.
  • Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Omaha, Neb.
  • Akron, Ohio
  • Wilmington, Del.
  • Sarasota, Fla.
  • Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Stockton, Calif.
  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Baton Rouge, La.
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Little Rock, Ark.

Last month, the alliance announced an increase in its HD Radio advertising budget to $250 million for 2007 from last year’s $200. Alliance members include major radio groups and independent station owners: 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 WBEB Philadelphia.