March 24, 2010

The Best Commercial HD2 Station in the World is WHUR World

It's a wonder that more commercial stations don't effectively program or promote their HD2 stations like WHUR in Washington, DC.

It just seems that this HD radio thing can barely get off the ground for commercial radio stations. Terrestrial radio has left the door open for online music services like Pandora and Satellite radio to established themselves in the radio entertainment spectrum and fill a void where you would think HD2 stations could provide niche programming that would draw listeners away from their competitors.

Just imagine how effective urban ac radio stations could be if they programmed stations like Sirius/XM "Soul Town" or "Heart and Soul" on their hidden side channels. Of course they are more than capable of programming the same music, but they will not invest in the talent to make it work like WHUR World. Talent means the likes of "The Concierge" Caymen Kelly on 'Heart and Soul' or Ken "Spyder" Webb on Soul Town. Besides great programming means less listeners tuning in to their main channel, which means less revenue. So HD2 remains mostly dormant and a novelty that very few enjoy because companies have not figured out how to sell the concept and entice people to buy an HD Radio.

There may not be much to market to folks, since many HD2 stations also stream online. Now what would you rather do, buy an HD radio, listen online with your computer or get an app for your phone? So really, what is the point of upgrading to an HD radio.

What's great about WHUR World however is that they have hearken back to the original concept of 96.3 WHUR as "360 Degrees of the Black Experience" and being the voice of the community as "Progressive 96." In addition WHUR World plays everything from smooth jazz to R&B, and they use live announcers.

The following article from the Washington Post takes a look at WHUR World and the history of 96.3 WHUR including the fact that it is the home of the original Quiet Storm, which was implemented by none other that Cathy Hughes. Although some of the comments from readers in the article dispute some of the information, it's a good read. The station simply "sounds like Washington" or even a little bit more than it's flagship 96.3 WHUR.

Click here to take a listen to WHUR World...

360 Degrees of Black Experience, the Ebony Lifestyle System, and Washington's Moment in Black Radio History by Marc Fisher

Thirty-five years after Howard University's radio station came on the air as a voice of the ferment and protest then stirring in black Washington, WHUR has reached into its past to create a new, digital version of its original vision.

Using the throwback slogan "360 Degrees of Total Blackness," WHUR World, Howard's digital station -- available only on the new HD radios or online -- is playing a mix of jazz, R&B, hip-hop, blues and world music, along with black-history vignettes, all wrapped in promotional rhetoric harking back to 1971.

That's when Howard University accepted a donation of a radio station from The Washington Post and built WHUR (96.3 FM), one of the country's first black-oriented FM stations.

Black radio at the dawn of the '70s consisted almost entirely of AM soul stations, such as Washington's WOL, that were owned by out-of-town whites who made sure their stations played the hits and provided only the bare minimum of politics, overt discussion of race or black-community news.

Click here to read more at the Washington Post

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