The goal for the “We Want More ...” fundraiser at Long Beach State’s student-run K-Beach Radio (heard on digital HD radio’s via 88.1 HD3) earlier this month was a modest $5000.
Modest or not, listeners and supporters -- including Turkish Airways and HD Radio developer Ibiquity Digital -- helped them zip right past that goal ... the 88.1 hour event raised over $9000. This will go a long way toward improving and modernizing the station that is already lightyears ahead of what I remember from my college days at UCLA’s student run KLA.
As to the weekend fundraiser itself, it was quite fun hearing the student DJs live rather than prerecorded as is usual. Everything went smoothly according to station adviser Danny Lemos ... perhaps this will mean more live programming in the near future.
For one week, June 15 - June 21, The Sound (KSWD, 100.3 FM) ran a contest of sorts: counting the number of commercials played on KLOS (95.5 FM). The bit? Mark “in the morning” Thompson would donate $1 for every commercial played on the Sound competitor to SPCA-LA (spcala.org), dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals since 1877.
It’s an ingenious promotion, hearkening back to the days of the old KMET-KLOS rivalry and essentially all in fun. In the end, KLOS played 2165 commercials between the hours of 6 am and 12 midnight, according to Sound programmer Dave Beasing. “We didn’t count overnights because we didn’t want them to jam extra commercials in to overnights just to run up the total,” he tole me.
Where did that 2165 -- meaning a $2165 donation -- come from? I figured they pulled it out of their, er, hat. I was wrong ... it turns out that they used an industry monitoring service that does the counting for them. “It got crazy how much money it became” Thompson told his “therapist” (a dog) in a video available on the Sound website (TheSoundLA.Com).
Where are the home HD radios?
I had a chance to talk with Joe D’Angelo, senior VP of Ibiquity’s marketing and broadcast business, to discuss the current state of HD Radio. The conversation was inspired by a column earlier this year in which I lamented that HD radio is still relatively unknown by much of the general public. And I’m not referring to the ‘80s alternative band.
HD sends digital signals as a “sandwich” around the main analog signal of a radio station; AM stations using the technology sound much cleaner and FM stations can offer extra channels such as K-Beach mentioned above.
After talking with D’Angelo, I will stand somewhat corrected. Awareness is going up, he says, due to the simple fact that the technology is being found in cars (every manufacturer offers at least one model with HD, and the number is increasing) as well as aftermarket stereos at competitive price points.
“There have been 25 million HD radios sold,” according to D’Angelo. And those who own the radios are discovering the improved sound and extra stations ... and telling their friends. There are also many compelling stations to be heard, such as KROQ’s Roq of the ‘80s format (106.7 HD2) and the Smooth Jazz format (94.7 HD2) that used to run on the main channel of The Wave.
But what about home radios, I asked ... apparently living in the past. With just a few exceptions, they are not found on the shelves of local electronics retailers.
“You won’t find many traditional stereo receivers or table radios at all in those stores,” D’Angelo explained. “That category of products is going away, replaced by such things as bluetooth speakers that tie into your iPhone, Android or iPod. In response, electronics manufacturers are developing some exciting products including an HD network radio that streams to everything connected to your home network and tuned through an app on your smartphone or computer.
This sounds exciting. In the meantime, if you want to know what HD stations are available to you locally, you can download the “HD Radio Guide” app on your phone. I did, and I found it quite helpful.