Thanks for your question regarding HD Radio, otherwise known as High
HD Radio’s premise is that it greatly improves audio quality by digitizing the station’s analog audio signal and broadcasting it on the same frequencies that we use for our existing stations. Further, HD offers the capacity for a “second channel”, a kind of extra radio station-within-a-station upon which we could offer alternative programming.
The short answer to your question concerning our plans to begin offering HD Radio is, “Not for a while.”
The capital cost for going to HD is between $60,000 and $100,000 per station. As a percentage of revenue for a station in Dallas-Ft. Worth, this is not a huge number. As a percentage of our revenue, it is signficant, however.
The status of HD Radio is tenuous at best. The number of sets in use is quite small, although it is growing. Stations in major markets, and stations in markets the size of Tyler that are owned by publicly-traded companies are adopting the technology. Consumers, however, are proving very slow to pick
up on HD receivers. Some auto manufacturers are offering HD receivers in new cars, but we are nowhere near critical mass.
Given these circumstances, if we were to invest the money to go HD, these are the realities:
1.) Very, very few people in East Texas are currently equipped to hear HD broadcasts.
2.) In the short and mid-term, there would be no increase in revenue to aid in recovering the capital outlay.
3.) Our newstalk station KTBB AM 600 would not benefit significantly because HD is not viable for AM broadcasting at night.
I hope this answers your question.
Thank you for your interest.