Sometimes, more really is more. Consider Zimmer Radio, Inc. in Joplin, Missouri, and its conversion to HD Radio using Broadcast Electronics transmission technology. Zimmer not only covers all the major demographic groups with its lite rock, CHR, classic rock and country stations, it’s broadcasting more of the same on new HD2 channels.
For this small-market group, adding HD Radio channels onto existing FM broadcasts didn’t call for a new program manual. What the opportunity called for, according to Zimmer Radio Operations Manager Chad Elliot, was simply more country, more CHR, and more rock tunes. “We wanted the secondary format to be close to what we already do, at least for now, just because we want to keep the listener on our dial position,” says Elliot, who added extra program channels to three of the group’s four FM stations as part of the conversion to HD Radio using BE transmission and studio products.
With this upgrade, HD Radio listeners jumping up the dial a half-click from, say, KIXQ 102.5 Country to KIQX 102.5-HD2 Country Classics will find more of
what they like, not an entirely different music format. “When they land on that dial position, it’s the same brand and the same moniker but an expanded playlist of what they’re used to,” he explains.
Elliot believes that running complementary HD2 programming on three of the group’s four FM stations—a CHR rhythmic HD2 channel for its KSYN “Kissin” 92.5 CHR station and an active rock HD2 channel for its KXDG “Big Dog” 97.9 rock station, in addition to country classics on KIQX’s HD2 channel—will retain existing listeners while attracting new listeners. At the very least, he says, “We hope our listeners remember us when it comes time to fill in the (Arbitron) book.”