Public Radio Guru: HD Radio is DOA & Podcasting Dug Its Grave

Jul 31st, 2006 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, General

Stephen Hill from Hearts of Space Public radio producer Stephen HIll, host of the popular electronic/space music show Hearts of Space, thinks that High Definition Radio, a standard for near CD-quality radio, is dead on arrival, and that podcasting and other Internet audio options dug its grave.”HD reminds me of DCC (Digital Compact Cassette),” notes Hill, “another attempt by a mature industry to administer life support to a sunset format. That didn’t work either, and today almost no one even remembers it.”

“Of the major usage trends that are driving the growth of Internet radio — new “long tail” niche and alternative content, on-demand delivery, user-created content, podcasting (subcriptions and portability), and time-shifting — only time-shifting is even doable with HD, and then only in a relatively crippled way due to memory and interface constraints,” notes Hill. “Even this undermines the one incontestable advantage of conventional radio: ease of use.”

At his blog, Hill makes a persuasive case for the advantages of podcasting and on-demand Internet audio over digital radio. He notes that typical Internet audio is already higher quality than HD, there are more options on the Internet and people don’t need to purchase a special $500 HD radio.Hill argues that Public Radio is well-positioned to take advantage of the trend towards Internet audio.

“System thought leaders and power players are finally united in the realization that digital delivery will happen most powerfully online and will do a far better job of supporting the underlying public service mission of the industry. They are now actively working on a comprehensive plan to do it by aggregating both infrastructure and content to support emerging composite business models,” says Hill. “These will include memberships, underwriting, grants, and paid services with a sophisticated revenue-sharing model that involves all the participants and gives a powerful new role to the stations, who would otherwise face slow, painful dis-intermediation.”

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply