Friday, September 21, 2007

Half Dead Radio

You’re Peter Ferrara, president and CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance and you put out a press release yesterday, which read HD Digital Radio Momentum Accelerates With Debut on QVC.

You read right. QVC.

That’s where you go when you get rejected by HSN.

QVC = sloppy seconds.

This is the same QVC that was charged with making deceptive claims about weight loss products it was hawking by the Federal Trade Commission. The Justice Department also filed suit against QVC for falsifying those claims.

What’s the QVC business plan? Dazzle the rubes to separate them from their cash.

And how about that? It’s identical to the HD Radio Alliance’s!

Back to the highlights of the press release:

The HD Digital Radio Alliance, a joint initiative of leading broadcasters to accelerate the rollout of HD Digital Radio, announced today that three popular HD Radio receiver models will premiere on QVC, Wednesday, September 26 at 10 PM (ET).

It’s the start of the fall season on the TV networks and PBS debuts the heavily promoted Ken Burns’ World War II series. And, let’s see, 10 PM, it’ll be opposite the new season premiere of CSI-Miami and two heavily-hyped new series debuts, Life and Dirty Sexy Money. Plus you’ll have at least a couple of stations doing their local 10 PM newscasts. Then there’s cable. And sports. Not sure where QVC ends up in the pecking order.

The QVC show will feature state-of-the-art HD Radio receivers to suit a variety of styles and budgets.

I don’t believe anyone has budgeted for an HD Radio in the real world.

Such a shame because the product is such a paragon of quality.

That’s a joke, Peter.

In conjunction with the QVC offer, the HD Digital Radio Alliance will promote the upcoming HD Radio show on QVC with a national radio advertising campaign reaching 100 markets.

We’ve experienced the effectiveness of your previous HD Radio ad campaigns, Peter.

I’m kind of partial to the HD Radio-BMW promo tie-in, which I heard as the final element in a particularly long spot cluster the other day. It inspired me to call a friend at a BMW dealership.

“What’s HD Radio?” That’s what he said.

When I told him about the promo he said, “Oh, yeah…that! We're offering it as a $500 option on the Year Seven series – but there’s far more interest in satellite radio – and we’re getting asked a lot about those iPod docking stations.”

Peter, I feel for you. I'm sure there are days when feel like pulling your hair out – then you realize that you’ve already done that.

"QVC provides a unique retail at-home environment that is ideal for helping even more consumers discover the cool new content and crystal clear sound provided by HD Digital Radio," said Peter Ferrara, president and CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance. "When QVC shoppers see the wide variety of stylish HD Radio receivers and discover the benefits, they are going to want to experience the digital upgrade immediately."

Peter, you need some new material. It’s stale and misleading.

Who do you think you are?

Conrad Black?

Johnny Rigas?

Don't send Ferrara The Blackwell Guide to Business Ethics as a Christmas present. It would only confuse him with the facts.

My guess is that those few viewers you may get during your HD Radio snake oil sales hour will be waiting for your pitch to end and Joan Rivers’ artificial overpriced baubles sale to begin.

Peter, the phone didn’t ring. It must be all the American people interested in HD Radio.

What’s the pitch?

HD Radio is just like HD TV without the picture?

HD Radio broadcasting is sweeping the country, available to over 80 percent of the population. More than 1,500 AM/FM stations are currently offering subscription free digital content, including more than 600 HD2 multicast stations offering unique formats and content. All a consumer needs is a new HD Radio receiver; the content is free. The radios are priced for everyone from under $100 from major mass-market retailers across the U.S. Virtually everyone can experience the crystal-clear digital sound on AM and FM as well as the broadcast-exclusive new FM channels.

Just because it’s available to 80 percent of the population doesn’t mean anyone wants it.

Crystal clear digital sound? Those side channels I’ve heard sound like a poorly processed FM – that is, when you can pick up those side channels.

Exciting formats? Is there something I don’t know?

Can’t wait to see how you botch AM radio.

I did learn that in HD Radio’s case QVC is a destination station.

It’s where you go when the HD Radio campaigns at Radio Shack, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart crash – or in your case, Peter, failed to launch.

I checked back at both Wal-Mart and Best Buy this week.

Hadn’t been there since just before Father’s Day when the clerks – who were in your target demo - didn’t have clue about what I was talking about and directed me to the HD TVs and satellite radio displays.

Guess what? Wal-Mart and Best Buy?

Neither store has them, knows of them, or had any inquiries about them.

So, Peter. Where are they?

Shouldn't you and Ibiquity be doing a major marketing and promotional roll-up to the Christmas shopping season?

Oh, that’s right. You are.

And Radio Shack? They said “turn off the…..” what? “And come to…." where?


Hot Dog Radio said...

How low can you go? From high end Crutchfield catalogs a year ago to bottom of the barrel QVC. It sounds like they are dumping inventory.

Anonymous said...

"HD on QVC -- Lipstick on a (Roast) Pig"

"HD Radio: Stunts and symbols at your expense"

Makes one wonder, how long this HD Radio sham can last - iBiquity needs to start answering to the barking-dogs capital investors:

Novi Gracious said...

wrif in detroit has riff 2 and its live & local & I listen to them on the internet. there is no reason for me to buy an hd radio to hear it. other than that hd radio sucks. after hearing some of the streaming versions of hd stations on line i would not even pay ten cents for a radio that provides me nothing.

Anonymous said...

"Review: Radi-osophy HD100 — HD Sounds, But At What Cost?"

"Remember those crappy $15 AM/FM/cassette radios from the 80s? The HD100 looks just like one and has the sound to match. Basically a glorified clock radio, it has a chintzy, careless interface with speakers that spew a tinny unrefined sound. And while carefully tuning the HD stations results in an audible improvement over analog alternatives, the overall quality is still poor — even for a $100 device. Frankly we’d be happier keeping our money and sitting in silence. —Roger Thomasson. WIRED One of the cheapest HD devices available. Auxiliary input. Sleep mode provides adjustable auto-off. Backlit display. TIRED Sound quality well below average with virtually no bass. Cheap plastic case and buttons. Inconspicuous snooze button makes it easy to ignore and snore. No EQ. Menu navigation is painful. Behemoth external power brick. No battery compartment."

A must-have, Peter!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having the balls to challenge Ibiquity and the NAB. They are doing serious damage to our once great industry.

Bring broadcasters back to broadcasting otherwise you may as well sign the stations off.

Anonymous said...

Tell me why HD radio is even being promoted. There are too many radio station as is without the need for more. How many HD radios would we have to buy? One for the car, one for the house, one for work and the quality isn't even as good as FM on the side channels.

When it is certain that a product is not going to make the cut you take it off the market.

HD radio is a proven loser. No one is interested. The HD stations I have heard simulcasted on station web sites are bad and automated crap.

If there were fewer stations AM and FM there would be greater demand for advertising. There are too many AM and FM station as is so why would you want to add more?

Don't say Wall Street because they caught on to your game.

Maybe when you realize that except for the expected plants that will call QVC next week no one is interested in HD radio.

Anonymous said...

You are off Ferrara's and Fumble's Christmas card list.

Concerned radio guy said...

You mean to tell me that radio stations in the top 100 markets will be giving up a unit (and how many in total) to promote QVC?

I have heard of movies going direct to video. The HD Radio Alliance has come with direct to QVC.

Pitiful group. Radio needs an overhaul. You are right about Ferrera and Fumbles. Someone has to tell them - "Yourrrr outttt!"

Anonymous said...

After QVC - Best Buys. When they don't sell there - Family Dollar.
When they still don't sell - flea markets. When they still don't sell Ferrera & Fumbles will have to find more storage space.

HD Radio. You must be joking.

About a toy collector said...

I have a friend who is a "the one with the most toys wins" personality and has the disposable income to do so.

When he got broadband he became an internet radio fan and bought an Akoo unit so he could listen to his favorite internet stations on any radio in his house and yard.

When satellite radio debuted he was one of the first to have XM and when Sirius started transmitting he had to have that one, too for his home, his car and work. He listens to both XM and Sirius in his car. At home and sometimes work he listens to mostly internet radio. He stopped listening to local terrestrial stations entirely because they were no longer what he considered local and the programming was better on internet and satellite.

He had an HD TV first. When HD Radio went on market he sent away for one and that is where his love affair with new tech toys ended. There were only a few HD stations and none of them were any good. He stuck by it claiming that more stations would go on line and it would get better. As time went on he realized it wouldn't.

Of all the "toys" he acquired and shows off HD radio is not one of them. He still has it as part of his entertainment center but he never uses it. At parties people ask him what it is and he tells them a piece of -blank-.

I think the only reason he still displays it is for the same reason he has a small 8 track unit with his entertainment center just for -blank- and giggles.

He is the only person I know with an HD radio and I have to believe the only one I will ever know who has one.

Now he told me he ordered from England and is waiting for two stand alone internet radios.

I don't know much about the radio business in general. What I do know is that it is controlled by those who have no idea what the consumer wants or expects.

Personally, I listen to internet radio and XM and my ipod. I have no need for radio and that is radio's fault because terrestrial radio is still the easiest radio to listen to.

Anonymous said...

Two things to mention.

1, I give you credit for telling it like it is about HD radio. I cannot belive the number of trades that play into their b.s.

2, Since you have Boston connections are you aware that WBOS's new sports talk format logo leaked. With all the news about Howie Carr no one even took notice.

Ted Alexander said...

After reading your HD radio comments yesterday I decided to check it out for myself. Convenient to me is that Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Radio Shack are all in the same shopping area.
You are right. The stores did not have stock and no one knew what I was talking about except for one young clerk in Best Buy who had read something about it.
It makes me wonder what the real reason for all this HD radio hype is and who is making money on this venture and who will get left holding the bag?
Does FM Quad, AM Stereo mean anything to you and who profited from that?

Anonymous said...

good point, ted. who is profiting from this? there is lots of money behind hd radio. there is more than meets the eye and pocketbook here.

Anonymous said...

Half Dead - you hit it. Why aren't there any industry leaders speaking out against the waste of HD radio?

IDEAman said...

I got it. The NAB should set up wide screens on Wednesday evening all over the NAB as well every hotel lobby, bar and restaurant in the great Charlotte area so every one can watch the QVC HD radio hour. Everyone can keep count on how many HD radios are sold that hour and you could even set up bets and pools to determine the winner. Odds are single digits with sales going to plants.

Anonymous said...

QVC does more than twice the sales of HSN. They are hardly "sloppy seconds." Why didn't you get your facts straight? What else didn't ou research properly?

SFTV_troy said...

I posted this at I'll crosspost it here, as my response is still the same:

HD RADIO is no worse than DAB or DRM radio

I hear a LOT of people complaining about Hybrid Digital Radio, but
from what I've heard from European listeners, HDR is no worse than DAB (poor quality audio;worse than FM), or DRB (both poor quality &
interference w/ existing AM stations).



Frankly I'm a bit surprised at the reaction. There's currently a
transition from analog to digital broadcasting (both in American and the European Union), and there will be some growing pains, but it's only temporary. In the LONG TERM, the digital radio will provide better sound than the current analog (like squeezing 300 kilobit/second 5.1 surround into the current FM bands).

Anonymous said...

SFTV_troy said...

"In the LONG TERM, the digital radio will provide better sound than the current analog (like squeezing 300 kilobit/second 5.1 surround into the current FM bands)."

This guy is a big-time IBOC-shill in Hey, how do you propose terrestrial radio move to digital, with consumers being totally apathetic towards HD Radio - DAB has also stalled in Canada, and interest is slowing in the UK. LOL!