Ford Motor Company President & CEO Alan Mulally told the assembled at CES that his company is looking to provide state of the art digital infotainment systems in all of its products. Building on its 2007 unveiling of SYNC in partnership with Microsoft, he said, “We must focus on that which is valuable, compelling and that which offers our customers the opportunity to be one with the world and truly live one life.” All types of gadgets and gizmos are part of this – GPS devices, internet connectivity, Sirius XM, you name it. But Doug VanDagens, Director, Connected Services, mentioned one of interest to the radio industry. He said, “We have also announced that we are partnering with iBiquity, to offer HD radio early in the 2010 calendar year.”
RBR/TVBR observation: The good news is that a major manufacturer is looking to get HD into cars, which is a key to getting it truly off the ground. The bad news is that all sorts of other options will be going into the car along with HD, so without compelling content, it will simply gather dust until it withers and drifts out of the picture. If HD is going to be a part of radio’s future, the biz’s best programming minds should be putting some plans together now.