Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Radio: I have seen the future of radio and it is HD!

I stand corrected.

Peter Ferrera, a.k.a Sgt. Bilk-o, is right.

How could I have misjudged his acumen?

I should’ve known better considering his brilliant past-performance as a senior VP at Clear Channel, where he managed over 400 stations in seventy markets throughout the mid-Atlantic and south.

The value of those stations must’ve increased substantially under his watch.
Bilk-o is the rightful sage of HD Radio. A dim-bulb he is not. Steve Jobs is nothing more than a tent revivalist by comparison.

Foolish me. How could I have even considered that HD Radio would be abandoned for dead at retail? I now recognize HD Radio for the flawless invention that it is.

I should’ve never doubted one who was a former executive VP and board member of that exceptional outfit known as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Anyone associated with Fumbles has to be amongst the highest of achievers.

I don’t blame Bilk-o for being arrogant. He is committed to promoting and marketing the first eminent invention of the twenty- first century.

One would presume that Bilk-o would’ve been given the same respect Tim Berners-Lee received for his dedication and development of the Internet.

The inequity of it all!

Bilk-o is a promoter’s promoter and a marketer’s marketer.

This past weekend I visited Wal-Mart, Costco, Best Buy, and other retail outlets, and watched in wonder as HD radios flew off their shelves.

Consumers bypassed the iPod and satellite radio displays and stood in long lines for the chance to buy an HD radio.

You should’ve seen that thick coat of dust covering the iPod endcaps.

Most of the consumers I talked with credited the motivating radio spots they heard on their favorite radio stations, which detailed all the stimulating new formats available on HD radio.

It is such a no-brainer. Why pay for additional radio station formats from satellite when you can get them on HD radio for free?

And what good is an iPod? You already know what you’re going to hear.

It was almost inspirational to see Apple’s swagger and belligerence about the success of its iPod and iPhone deflating.

While observing the excitement for HD Radio at Wal-Mart, I called a friend who owns a BMW dealership. He told me of the back-orders for HD Radio-equipped BMWs. His customers don’t even want a car unless it has HD Radio.

Those $100,000 per-station upgrades the radio chains invested in to carry digital signals are paying off big-time.

Ibiquity predicted that they’d move between 1 million and 1.5 million HD radios by the end of the year. Judging from what I’ve seen at retail, they’ll do at least that much – if not more.

I have to credit Ibiquity with its unique promotion and marketing. Rather than be effusive about it, here’s a link to their site: http://www.hdradioalliance.com/. It’s creative done right.

I now understand why Bilk-o always appears tense and on guard, as if he is expecting to be attacked by wild birds at any moment. He has to feel like Galileo Galilei did when ridiculed by associates and harassed by the Roman Catholic Church for his claim that Earth was just another planet rotating around the sun.

Remember when they laughed at Bilk-o last year when he was asked to explain HD Radio? "Quite honestly, it doesn't stand for anything,” he said. “The concept was somewhat of a steal from HD television, where viewers know it means better quality."

Who’s laughing now?

After I left Wal-Mart, I noticed a number of triple- tandem trailers lined up at the store’s receiving dock. I asked one of the drivers what they were hauling.

“HD Radios,” he said, “We’re trying to keep up with the insatiable demand.”

Then I woke up from my nightmare.
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Chris Connolly said...

One of your best. I read where Dan Mason is playing up streaming audio while playing down HD radio whereas Joel Hollander was in favor of HDR.
I cannot see Bilko continuing to flog a dead horse after Christmas. Do you think he will step down from the HD Alliance leadership? More importantly, will there ever be an investigation into this scam since they bilked federally licensed radio stations?

Detroit Diesel said...

I hope there is an investigation on this HD radio scam. We can line up the suspects now. We havent forgotten who the HD Alliance mouthpieces were starting with the Detroit Coot Brothers who danced like an organ grinder monkey for Bilk'o and his HD Alliance.
Chris, you are right. The you know what will hit the fan after Christmas when HD radio fails to move any units.
I heard that QVC was a bust too. Do you know anything about that?

Anonymous said...

This one should be distributed to station managers and owners everywhere. It clearly shows what a scam HD radio is. The worst possible digital system was chosen and it doesn't work well and who cares about buying another radio when everything is migrating to the internet?

Luchita said...

I worked for Bilko. Your portrayal of him is hauntingly accurate. It is always everyone else's fault and I am sure he will blame people like you for the failure of HD radio rather than take the rap himself. Like you said in the past eventually "lucky not good" does not work in the long run because luck runs out. Here is hoping it happens to Bilko soon.
And yes he really "valued" those stations when he was at Cheap Channel.

Ray D. Oh said...

After I left Wal-Mart, I noticed a number of triple- tandem trailers lined up at the store’s receiving dock. I asked one of the drivers what they were hauling.

“HD Radios,” he said, “We’re trying to keep up with the insatiable demand.”

Then I woke up from my nightmare.


Anonymous said...

HD radio was the biggest waste I have seen in the radio business. Talk about pissing dollars away.

Anonymous said...

Congress will be investigating the FCC, and hopefuly, this HD Radio farce will be exposed:


Anonymous said...

LMAO...This is the funniest piece about HD radio I've ever read. It would be nice if I could share this with my friends, but they are too busy with their ipods, satellite radios, and internet radio to care the least about HD Radio, or to even know what it is. In other words, they won't get the joke.

Anonymous said...

I work in radio and got the chance to take home an HD radio for a few days. It didn't work well. The terrestrial stations in digital sounded tinny and the side channels "buffered" more than an internet station on a dial up.

It makes me wonder if those involved with HD radio are future convicted felons. I hope the next administration goes after the culprits that spent the past decade destroying radio.

Savage said...

A hoot! Thanks for reminding me to name Bilk-o as an individual defendant when I file my federal lawsuit over HD interference.

Anonymous said...

The cluster I work for has converted to HD. While listeners do not own HD radios and no place to buy them.

What I hate is the 8 second delay that our station now has. 'Live' remotes have to be pre-recorded now. I love the looks I get from clients and listeners when they visit my 'live' remote broadcast and see me standing there and hearing me on the radio....priceless.

We are years away from even thinking about using the channels....I am disgusted that they have chosen to butcher our programming image for the legal_id to say.....NOW IN HD.....like listeners even care.....

Egress this way said...


Gotta love the clowns that keep trying to push this lead ballon

Anonymous said...

I agree that an investigation is needed but the FCC is among those that need to be investigated. They allowed consolodation, Ibiquity, CC owning over the caps. It is a house of cards and I hope it falls soon.

bicklenack said...

yes i have the same problem with our live remotes. we look stupid. my favorite hd story is about a listener that came up to me at a promotion and asked what channel on their hd tv we were on. he assumed that we had video of the jox on the air on an hd channel.
that bilko dope's quote about hd meaning nothing rings so true. i enjoy your blog. i turned my pd and mm on to it and they agree with what you are saying. you speak for those in the front lines.

Anonymous said...

Peter F is a very competent guy and a nice guy too, I know this first hand because I used to work with him. You are wrong to attack him persoanally as you have. Hate and resentment will destroy a person from the inside, everytime. So you used to be a PD of a great station, 'MMS - 30 years ago. You are understandably disappointed you are not any longer involved with anything near that exciting now. But why tear others down? What are you getting from it?

PD Music Forum lurker said...

Hoofnmouth claims you are John Morgan, Fastforwardr, Eastlake guy and others. Is that true?

Toiled under Bilko at CC said...

Bilko is a nice guy? What color is the sky in your world? He was an arrogant a-hole at CC and the same way at the HD Alliance. I worked with him at CC and found him to be just the opposite of the "gentleman" you portrayed. I will bet you that there will be an investigation into the HD Alliance and Bilko will be knee deep in the big muddy. It can't happen soon enough to him.

Anonymous said...

It took 30 years for FM to take off. Good thing none of you were around then. We'd all still be listening to AM only.

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