Consumer electronics buzz might center around high-definition video, but HD Radio is beginning to get traction as well, with iBiquity Digital Corporation, developers—and licensors—of HD Radio technology, recently welcomed their 1,000th broadcast station, WIYY FM 97.9 in Baltimore, Maryland. During 2006, the number of broadcasting HD Radio stations has almost doubled, and the company hopes to see 1,200 stations online by the end of 2006.
HD Radio transmits near CD-quality audio and data streams alongside traditional AM and FM signals; HD Radio multicasting enables programmers to expand their content offerings with additional or more specialized formats. Broadcast HD Radio programming is free (and, like broadcast radio, ad-supported) but users need to acquire an HD Radio receiver to tune into broadcasts.
“Our motivation in upgrading to HD Radio technology was to provide listeners with the best radio experience possible, including CD-like sound quality, crystal-clear reception and innovative multicast programming,” said Ed Kiernan, vice president/general manager WBAL/WIYY Radio, in a release. “We are thrilled to have earned the distinction as the 1,000th HD Radio station on the air, and we look forward to using our new digital capabilities to increase the variety of programming and services we offer on free radio.”
Robert Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity, noted: “Equally exciting is the corresponding growth in HD2 multicasting, which provides listeners with increased content and program choices, and the rapid influx of new HD Radio receivers, that expands the range of product categories and price points. From a consumer standpoint, there has never been a better time to experience HD Radio.”