Last week I made mention of the growing success of the new soft AC approach winning listeners & ratings for “94.1 The Sound” and also commented on a similar competing approach launched by iHeart called “The Breeze”. They have flipped a few of their FM’s in the midwest to this new format & are confident enough of success to try it elsewhere. Here in Seattle, iHeart has chosen to place this on one of their “auxiliary” HD services of “95.7 The Jet” KJR-FM – HD3 to be exact. Whether this precedes a format change at one of their stations is hard to tell. Nonetheless for the small amount of listeners able to access this via HD-equipped radios, mostly to be found in newer vehicles, it will be an opportunity to sample this version of soft AC. Since none of the Puget Sound Media team have access to HD radios, we are still able to sample this via their website. Navigate to iHeart Radio and enter “The Breeze” in their ‘Search’ box and you will get taken to the live audio feed page. https://www.iheart.com/live/the-breeze-8143/
Regarding HD radio, it’s a topic we have yet to tackle here at Puget Sound Media, but we soon hope to have blogs dealing with these “hidden” or “auxiliary” HD-only services that “piggyback” on FM stations main HD signals. Our research dept. is hard at work preparing for this topic. What we can tell you is that HD radio ownership aside from mobile use is very small. In addition, most car dealers are doing a very poor job of informing purchasers about their HD capable radios. Owners manuals – as is often the case – are of little help with this particular topic. Leading broadcasting consultant David E Gleason paints a very negative picture of HD penetration: “it will likely to be around 8 years just to get to 25% of all cars on the road having HD.” David also offers up the following stats: “Home HD radio, statistically about 0%, Car radios: under 10%. With less than half of all listening being in the car, that means that less than 5% of all listening could be to HD.” We leave that for you to ponder & hope to deal with the subject of HD radio in 2019!