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Wal-Mart Enters HD-Radio Business In 85 Markets

The nation’s largest retailer put its muscle behind digital HD-Radio technology with last week’s launch of an HD-Radio-equipped JVC car CD player in 1,989 Wal-Mart stores in 85 markets.

The launch is backed by a major advertising campaign on radio stations owned by the HD Digital Radio Alliance, which consists of major radio station groups that banded together to accelerate the rollout of HD Radio. Radio spots promoting availability of HD Radio at Wal-Mart include a mix of 15- and 30-second spots in all 85 markets. The spots are part of the alliance’s $250 million 2007 marketing campaign announced in December.

Wal-Mart’s launch includes major in-store support and could propel HD radio “to the tipping point,” the alliance claimed. “Wal-Mart has created a variety of programs and educational tools around HD Radio, leveraging the company’s multiple points of interaction with consumers,” the alliance said.

“We know our customers want mobile HD digital radio products,” said Tim Clark, Wal-Mart’s automotive buyer.

“Wal-Mart brings HD Radio to an incredible new level of reach and power,” said Peter Ferrara, alliance president and CEO. “This underscores that HD Radio is now within easy reach of millions of consumers nationwide.”

More than 1,100 radio stations currently broadcast in HD, and more than 600 offer HD2 multicasts featuring a wide variety of new formats and content, the alliance said.