(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Fred, Love and HD Radio


Fred Wilson is fired up about HD Radio.  He applauds Sony’s entry into the HD Radio market with the soon to be available XDR-S3HD (an inspired name, for sure), a $200 table top HD radio.

I love music, and I particularly love high fidelity music.  Currently, I get my car music via XM Radio, and while I am generally pleased with the selection, I find the audio quality to be a notch or two above two tin cans and a string.  Anyone who says XM is CD quality hasn’t listened to many CDs.

On the other hand, there’s a very good reason why XM has grown so fast and why networks are looking for creative and technological ways to keep people from skipping ads.  People simply don’t like ads.  In this era when everyone is jumping on the ad revenue bandwagon, radio advertising has been on the decline.

People tolerate online ads because they are relatively easy to ignore.  Ads on the radio are impossible to ignore.

Sure, I’ve never heard HD radio.  And the experience might be so amazing that all those radio ads I haven’t missed in the years since I’ve listened to one second of over the air radio will be like, well, music to my ears.  But I’ve had HDTV for a few years, and I can tell you this – I’ve never once watched the ads.  I record the show and fast forward through every ad that doesn’t have cavemen.

I hope HD radio takes off, mostly because it will put competitive pressure on XM to sound better.  But a higher sound quality won’t be enough to lure me back to traditional radio.

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