HD Alliance: "And I've Got A Bridge in Brooklyn to Sell You"

I'll admit it.

The HD Alliance has got my number.

It is the most incredible or should I say incredulous group of intelligent people in the radio industry. The only problem is, they are not giving you any credit for being intelligent.

Thus the recent headlines that 2007 was a "breakthrough year" for HD radio sales.

It's getting to the point that whenever Peter Ferrara says anything, I don't believe it. This is nothing personal about Peter. It's about the tactics of the HD Alliance.

Supposedly iBiquity, the manufacturers of this gift from heaven called HD radio, claims to have sold 330,000 HD receivers last year -- a whopping 725% increase from the 40,000 sets purchased a year earlier. They cite cheaper prices and availability at Best Buy and Wal-Mart at the new low-low price of just $99.

First, Steve Jobs would take hemlock if he sold only 330,000 units last year.

Ferrara apparently told Inside Radio that he thinks a million of these needless, horrible sounding and redundant sets could be sold next year. Write that down somewhere -- one million HD radios next year.

Apparently he hasn't gotten through to his pals at the major groups yet.

You see, they are having tough times right now -- check their shareholder value, I mean stock prices. The group heads apparently don't want to spend squat on compelling new programming for HD subchannels when they sure as hell aren't spending it on their bread and butter terrestrial signals.

Ferrara thinks that when the cost of manufacturing HD sets gets low enough then the manufacturers won't make analog sets.

And that is probably the only way HD radio set sales will increase.

Then will the major radio groups lead the way by starting to program really cool stuff on HD channels? Notice I said "really cool stuff" because the next generation has no use for HD radio programming same old, same old at any price. Hell, if you could have either an iPod or an HD radio, guess the one they would choose?

Okay, a new laptop or an HD radio. Or, maybe a new mobile phone (which they need every two years anyway) or an HD radio -- well, you get the point.

Guys and gals -- see if Peter Ferrara can sell ice to the Eskimos, swamp land in Florida and all the rest.

He may get some people to believe his hype about HD radio, but the owners are too smart for that.

In fact, if he succeeds spinning for the HD Alliance, hire him away and offer him a sales job in radio once again -- that is, if the self-destructive owners haven't already outsourced their sales to Google by then.

Seriously, try to buy an HD radio in Wal-Mart. See what you get. I've had readers tell me that they've been "walked over" to satellite radios when they ask their young sales associate if they can see an HD radio.

I finally found an HD radio display Saturday. It was at Ultimate Electronics in Scottsdale. I barely found a station that could be received and it sure wasn't worth the price of the radio -- which was cheap looking. (No one else in this crowded store wasted their time at the display).

It would be hilarious if it weren't so serious.

The answer is...

Internet radio. Cell phone content. Podcasting. Pandora. AM/FM streaming. Social networking.

It's not HD radio in spite of what the HD Alliance professional spin-doctors keep saying.

For those of you who would prefer to get Jerry's daily posts by email for free, please click here. IMPORTANT: First you must check your mail or spam filter to verify your new subscription before service can begin.
Thanks for forwarding my pieces to your friends and linking to your websites and boards.