HD Radio Teetering between Folly and Evolutionary Leap

October 5, 2007

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Nearly 1,500 US radio stations have prepared their transmitters for HD, but four years after the first HD Radio broadcast, less than half of internet-savvy radio listeners have heard of HD Radio – and some are likely confusing it with satellite - according to research by Paragon.

Just 42% of a nationwide sample of 707 radio listeners age 14-64 who completed an online survey about HD Radio said they are aware of HD Radio, compared with 85% who said they are aware of internet radio and 87% aware of satellite radio.


Among the other findings of the study:

  • Of the of the 42% who say they are aware of HD Radio:
    • 35% mistakenly believe HD Radio requires a monthly fee, whereas 40% say there is no fee.
    • 32% mistakenly believe XM or Sirius Satellite radio are example of HD Radio.
    • 62% correctly believe HD expands the number of available stations.
    • 73% correctly believe a specially designed radio is needed to receive HD signals.
    • 84% correctly believe HD makes stations sound better.


  • Those who actually own an HD Radio – just 11% of those who have heard of HD – say they are listening to radio more often as a result.
  • 85% of those who have heard of HD Radio say they do not own one, and 4% don’t know whether they do.


  • Among the vast majority – some 95% – who do not own an HD Radio:
    • If an HD radio were to cost $40, some 81% say they would be likely (very or somewhat) to purchase one.
    • However, if an HD radio were to cost $200, just 36% say they would be likely to purchase one.


  • Other findings:
    • Two-thirds of women have never heard of HD Radio.
    • Just 35% of those who have heard of HD Radio are able to name a radio station broadcasting in HD.
    • The top 4 unprompted responses to how listeners would describe HD Radio dealt with improved technical quality (rather than, say, greater number of stations).
    • After hearing a list of attributes, however, two-thirds said, “Yes, there will be more stations with HD Radio.
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