The broadcast industry hopes 2008 is the year listeners finally tune into HD Radio—and conditions are right for a turnaround, the Wall Street Journal reports. Ford and other automakers are on board, and receiver prices have dropped. It's the nifty new features, though—you can, for example, "tag" a song for future download from iTunes—that may finally sway consumers.
Radio has spent millions on HD Radio, hoping it will raise long-stagnant revenues and bring back rapidly departing listeners. The “HD” stands for nothing; it’s just a marketing moniker playing off the success of HDTV. Like satellite, it delivers lots of static-free content, and, unlike satellite service, it’s free. But programming hasn’t been compelling enough to entice listeners to buy new receivers.