It is a big day today for radio.
The FCC is meeting, as I type. On the agenda for the day a vote for final approval of IBOC [aka HD Radio.] This vote has been pending for many, many months. Last year it was delayed due to a vote on a major telecom merger, and the year before they were busy dealing with the aftermath of Katrina.
Public comments have been gathered from individuals and groups: Station Resource Group, the Future of Music Coalition, this coalition of disparate groups, and many others. Each has laid out their case in hopes of getting approval from the FCC on this matter.
What does it mean for the radio industry? There is thinking in some corners that taking HD Radio out of the chains of “experimental” and into the realm of law will encourage the now skittish equipment manufacturers to delve deeper into R&D and manufacture of HD Radio gear. That line of thought makes sense–HD Radio propoents up to this point have been operating on the assumption that it would all get approved by the FCC as a licensable broadcast method. That is a big gamble, indeed. [However, other industries operate within that sort of world all of the time, e.g. pharmaceuticals.]
Who knows, perhaps today’s likely approval will cause a bloom in HD Radio equipment, marketing, and adoption.
Or perhaps not…