Our latest HD Radio research delivers more disturbing news than our May HD study did.

Then, we found a lack of familiarity with HD, even among those who said they had heard of it. But lack of familiarity is a “blank slate” — one that can be filled with an effective message.

Now, we find that 5% of all 18-64’s think they’re listening to HD, but they can’t be because they haven’t purchased an HD-capable radio!

Undoubtedly, they have this misconception because stations are saying they’re “Now broadcasting in crystal-clear high-definition radio” (or whatever) without explaining that listeners can’t hear that great sound on an ordinary FM radio.

Not surprisingly, these misinformed listeners are not impressed with what they think is HD Radio! Nearly half (46%) tell us it is “about the same” as regular FM.

I wonder why they think that???

Radio is poisoning the perception of HD even before it gets off the ground, by selling something that listeners are not receiving.

Now, 5% of the audience (while 5% more than we’d like) is still a small minority! And 46% of that 5% leaves us with a little more than 2% who both think they’re receiving HD and who think it is about the same as regular FM.

So, consider this research as an “early warning” about the pitfalls of promoting HD with liner cards. Certainly, this can be turned around with a comprehensive campaign that communicates WHAT HD RADIO IS, WHAT ITS BENEFITS ARE and WHAT IT TAKES TO RECEIVE IT.

Oh, and drop those liner cards.