Monday, February 16, 2015


I have writing my blog for almost five months.  I love this work - in some ways I feel I have found my calling, so more is on the way.  I appreciate your comments and suggestions including different opinions.  I even enjoy critiques of my spelling and word choices!  Most people comment to me directly at

• From Rick Greenhut, Director – Broadcast Business Development at iBiquity Digital Corporation, responding to my questions in my February 11th post [ibiquity: “HD Radio has never been healthier”]:

Question One: Are iBiquity’s “HD listeners” actually listening to HD stations or FM translators?

Greenhut: Unclear. Our analysis was done using audience estimates from listening Nielsen attributed to HD2/HD3/HD4 channels ONLY. Nielsen cannot separate the native HD listening from analog translator rebroadcasts, so we can't break that out…
Question Two: iBiquity claims HD Radio is succeeding because it is available in many new vehicles – can you tell how many of these buyers are actually tuning to HD Stations?

Greenhut: There is no way to tell. Nielsen no longer breaks out in-car listening in PPM markets, and the current diary only specifies location as "At Home" or "Some Other Place". No one knows.
Question Three: When will HD Radio reach the “tipping point” – when listening to HD Radio surges to levels comparable with FM radio?

Greenhut: What I can say with confidence is that we've reach[ed] an inflection point, that point where the growth curve takes a dramatic swing upward. We've reached critical mass in a number of areas that accelerate growth - the number of receivers (25 million+), the number of stations (2,200+ converted), the number of HD2/HD3/HD4 channels (almost 1,600) and most importantly, the number of automakers including HD Radio Technology in their offerings (all).
This supports my assertion that despite the availability of HD Radio receivers and HD stations, listening to HD Radio is NOT occurring at a level that makes it sustainable.  To me, if someone is listening to HD Radio on an FM translator they are actually listening to analog FM, not digital technology.  iBiquity says over five million people are listening each week to HD Radio. But, in reality, it is “unclear” if they are listening to HD or FM and the five million number can't be trusted.

• Regarding my February 9th post about the declining number of talk programs on NPR News stations [NEW STUDY SHOWS A 37% DROP IN LOCAL TALK PROGRAMS SINCE 2007]:

From a former NPR executive producer who asked his remarks be confidential:

I totally agree with [well known programming consultants] that local call-in is almost always a failure, because listeners simply don’t respect and don’t want to hear from their (“idiot”) neighbors.
From an anonymous reader posted on 2/10/15:
As a person who works in public radio, and as a listener, I'm glad for the decline in call-in talk programs. In theory, they are interesting, dynamic, timely, and democratic. In practice, they are boring, formulaic, only sometimes timely, and dependent on and dominated by an overly-opinionated minority of listeners who are willing and available to call. They are also inherently plagued by the awfulness that is phone and cell-phone audio. There are now a lot better ways to solicit and incorporate listener interaction than live calls.

Why do so many people in public radio think that localism is one of terrestrial radio's selling points? Do any of these local shows draw anything near the audience that one of the national mid-day shows would on that station? If few people are listening, how much public service is being accomplished by these shows?

Listeners, voting with their ears, are not asking for more localism. People who work at local public radio stations want localism because it makes us feel relevant, but feeling relevant doesn't make us relevant. Thanks for providing this forum and for bringing up the issues.

Another confidential station PD also questions the concept of “localism”:

It is fascinating since the push for the last number of years has been local local local… What would be an interesting next step, is whether “local” inserts into national programming have increased. Are people finding other means of “localizing.”


• Regarding my February 10th post [FOR SALE: FM TRANSLATOR SERVING “WEALTHY PHOENIX”] about an FM translator for sale in “wealthy Phoenix” and the FCC loophole that allows religious NCE broadcasters to feed far away translators and not broadcast local content:

I can’t believe that religious NCE broadcasters have the ability to gum up the FM dial with “robo-stations” preventing other’s from being heard. Can anything be done to stop this practice?

• From an anonymous reader regarding difficulties playing my films on iPad and iPhone:

I love your RETRO FRIDAY posts. It's great to hear clips of radio from the 'good ol' days' when personalities had personality.  But they don’t work on my iPad.

I have heard this complaint from others.  At present, iPads and iPhones can’t “read” media using Flash technology.  Google, which hosts my blog, is not compatible with all diital devices.  I appreciate these comments and I am working on it.  Does anyone have suggestions?  Thank you for reading my blog.

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