HDTV and HDRadio - maybe they are alike

During my "industry update" time this morning, I read this article in RBR about the experience of a TV general manager. Gary McNair of WECT-TV in Wilmington, NC, during their recent turn to 100% digital TV.

It's hard not to think about the challenges facing stations that have switched to HDRadio when reading it. Most of the lessons that Gary enumerates are lessons that radio station management can learn from, too. Here's a list - interpreted for HDRadio; read the full article for details:

* Educate yourself. Experience the product. Become a consumer of free over-the-air digital radio. It is different in more ways than one.

* Prepare a station or market specific, easy to understand, “digital viewing guide” – complete with maps and pictures.

* Offer a digital help line for questions or problems.

* Be prepared – you will insult your P1s with the digital messages. These are the people responsible for the bulk of your ratings and you really don’t want to offend them or chase them off.

* Work with your fellow broadcasters if they are willing.

* Communicate with radio retailers and auto dealers. They are talking with customers every day.

* Educate your staff – especially your news and sales staffs who are constantly out representing the station.

* If you are not replicating your coverage area, be prepared for a lot of calls. Add temps to field or return calls.

* Don’t let listeners procrastinate - create real reasons for them to make the switch to HDRadio.