Who’s at fault for HD Radio’s shortcomings?

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Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher surveys the HD Radio offerings of D.C. stations and finds only two outlets–WHUR and WAMU–have made big commitments to creating “real radio” experiences for HD listeners. The majority of D.C. stations are half-heartedly programming their HD channels and barely promoting them. “HD remains a promising technology, but so far, many more people listen to the new programming via online streaming than on an HD radio,” Fisher concludes. “Listeners are voting with their ears, and they’re choosing Web-based and mobile audio, in part because most HD radio programming just isn’t compelling enough to lure people to a different gadget.” Radio researcher and HD skeptic Mark Ramsey takes issue with Fisher: “If you have something good, why place it in an HD ghetto when it can achieve instant critical mass–and be monetized accordingly–in the bright light of day on a full and ubiquitous FM signal?” he writes on his blog Hear 2.0. Listeners prefer online and mobile audio service because of the convenience they offer, not because they deliver original programming. “I am sick and tired of radio stations being blamed for the difficulties of HD,” he writes.

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