While some HD Radio FMs struggle with the additional cost of programming their multicast channels with music formats, others are coming up with innovative sports radio content at low/no cost.
In Pittsburgh, the Penguins NHL franchise has found a full-time radio home on WXDX FM's HD 2 channel. Described as a joint effort by the team and their Clear Channel-owned flagship station, the new daily program stream will start with "Daily Players' Playlist," from 9 - 9:30 a.m., featuring Penguins' players favorite songs, followed by "Penguins Live" until noon each weekday during the season. "NHL Live" from New York will fill the noon to 2 p.m. slot, when radio sports personality Mark Madden finishes up with a hour of exclusive Penguins and NHL-themed content until 3 p.m. The 6-hour-long block will repeat twice each day, and the new product will also stream on the Web.
Meanwhile, Entercom's WWL FM in New Orleans is leveraging both its analog and HD 1 program channels to offer die-hard Saints football fans three choices of delay time on game broadcasts originating from sister station and NFL flagship WWL-AM. The choice of delay includes:
5 seconds on the AM feed
10 seconds on the analog FM feed
15 seconds on the HD 1 FM feed
WWL's website describes this new arrangement as "Three good reasons to turn down your TV and turn up WWL."
Then there's "At The Track Radio," featured on CBS' WUSN HD3 in Chicago. Focusing exclusively on all motor sports programming, this multicast channel is programmed through as a "strong relationship with Chicagoland Speedway and the MRN (Motorsports Radio Network)."
Niche programming? Definitely. The start of a trend away from music on multicast channels? Stay tuned.