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    • I had only cursory knowledge about HD Radio until I got a new car. Since then, I found quite a few digital sub-channels that play more interesting, less mainstream content and have fewer ads.

      When the coronavirus hit, and I stopped driving to office every day, I switched to listening to these on my phone or computer, but not all of them are available online. So I decided to buy a dedicated portable radio. Just got it yesterday and now I am having a long-forgotten fun of listening to broadcast radio.

      What is your experience with HD Radio?

    • Huh, honestly I didn’t know it was a thing, but I’m intrigued. The thing is I subscribed to Sirius XM when I bought a new car, and I really liked it. I kept paying for a few years. There were just a few specialty interest channels that hooked me.

      But, I wasn’t driving that much and I ended up sitting in my car to finish broadcasts. Podcasts were a rising thing and so were audiobooks, I could take them anywhere on my iPhone, so I forgot about Sirius.

      I think this is the first I’ve heard of HD radio. That or I confused it with satellite radio. I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

      One thing I currently miss with my diet of podcasts and audiobooks is discovery.

    • Sangean HDR-14 AM/FM/HD portable radio

      FCC adopted HD Radio as a digital audio broadcasting method for the United States in 2002. The largest install base of HD Radio receivers is in new cars. There are very few options for component-type tuners and for portable usage.

      The HDR-14 allows to assign 20 stations to quick-recall buttons in each band, which is just the right amount. HD subchannels can be assigned individually, but the HD1 simulcast is tied to the main analog channel: the receiver first tunes in analog mode, then when HD kicks in, it latches to it.

    • HD Radio subchannels

      The format seems to have passed its high point, major manufacturers like Sony have abandoned it, and even less-known brands seem to be cutting output. This is sad, because I like the idea of HD radio — extra channels within the same band, with metadata including not just artist and song name, but channel logo and album artwork. The HDR-14 does not display artwork, but my car radio does.

      Because listeners largely are not aware of HD Radio, commercial stations run their HD subchannels with very few ads and often without hosts, which works for me.

      Here are my favorite HD channels in San Diego:

      • KPBS 89.5 HD2 — Classical San Diego by Classical24
      • KPBS 89.5 HD3 — Groove Salad by SomaFM
      • KHTS 93.3 HD2 — Pride Radio (Dance)
      • KBZT 94.9 HD3 — Glow (Dance)
      • KYXY 96.5 HD2 — Flashback ALT (Classic Alternative)
      • KXSN 98.2 HD2 — Smooth Jazz by KIFM
      • KIOZ 105.3 HD2 — Modern Rock (Hard Rock, Metal, Grunge)

      Of the listed above, Flashback ALT plays music that I listened to in the late 1980s - early 1990s, to me it is not alternative at all, but home, sweet home.

    • I have SiriusXM in my current car and had it in a previous car. I had six month subscription included with the car purchase, I played with it, but when the subscription expired I did not renew it. I did not find much to my liking on SiriusXM that I cannot get on streaming radio, I did not care about Howard Stern, an the selection of news was very limited, basically the same ABC/NBC/Fox as on OTA television, plus BBC. But I could never catch anything interesting on BBC when I was driving to work and back.

      It costs more than Netflix, and it cuts out when you drive under overpass. Its only benefit is that it works in remote areas where there is no mobile phone connection and no FM stations.

      I agree about podcasts and audiobooks, these are better experienced on-demand. Curiously, I found many great podcasts on BBC, these originally were radio shows, made available on demand.

      I also listen to The Long Audio Read from The Guardian.

      I used to listen to programs on education from APM, but some of them seem to be heavily influenced by sponsors, in particular when they talk about charter schools or personalized schooling.

    • Wow, thank you for sharing the suggestion of The Guardian’s Audio Long Reads! I listen to a lot of music on headphones at work, but was actually looking for something more cerebral or thought provoking when I got tired of music.

      I’ve added it to my player and will give it a try next week.

    • There's something fun about listening to music through a medium that we don't usually use anymore. Whether it be radio, vinyl, or something else. Always fun to go throwback once in a while. Thanks for sharing, @IcyOtter!

    • It's one of those things that I really wish I had but the bar for entry while not high just is too cumbersome VS all the other ways I have to listen to music. If my car or home stereo had it though I'd probably have a bunch of stations on there because it's really the only way to get anything beyond the top songs or older ones around here. I think most of them are available via services like tune in or other apps but at that point they're up against everything in the world. And from what I've heard most don't have much of a local feel to them so without the ease of it just being another radio station there's nothing to grab you.

    • I am having more fun with HD Radio in my car than with SiriusXM. There are a couple local stations, although most of them are syndicated, also HD channels usually do not have DJs and news, so they do not feel local, more like a Pandora stream.

      I am partial to HD Radio because one particular station plays almost exactly the same stuff I listened to thirty or so years ago. This is the station I usually tune to.

    • I am partial to HD Radio because one particular station plays almost exactly the same stuff I listened to thirty or so years ago. This is the station I usually tune to.

      Yes, those of us on the margins of the listening audience (by age...) is a big plus for HD subchannels! I would think there are many regions of the country that have similar setups.

    • In a somewhat related note, Google sent me a free Nest Mini. I don’t know why they did and didn’t know what it was, but it looks like they went full Apple on their package design.

      What the heck, I opened it and had a lot of fun talking to it and having it fetch podcasts and music I had never heard. I’m not sure it’s different from Alexa (maybe that’s why they’re giving it away?), but it made me think of the HD radio conversation. So on a lark, I asked it to play HD radio and responded “Sure.” So here I am listening to HD radio for the first time. 😁

    • Recently I've had bad experience with old-school formats. I ordered a slim cassette walkman from eBay — it works, but wow & flutter are way out of spec, so the player is unusable. My portable CD player, which I also got from eBay, worked great for several months, then started showing "No disc" and now shows "Open" and does not spin.

      Solid-state media and streaming are awesome. I did the right thing nineteen years ago when I ditched mechanical devices in favor of solid-state. What possessed me to dig out the putrefied corpse of analog audio? It haven't been all good "back in the old days".

      Paradoxically, radio seems less outdated format to me than analog tapes or LPs or even CDs. There is no chewed tape, no scratched grooves, no "No disc" issues, and with HD Radio there is no noise, no pops, no crackle. It is almost as good as streaming, but instead of selecting a playlist on Spotify or telling Pandora which tracks you like you just trust a DJ.

      Oh, and because it is broadcast, they cannot track you.