I used to live in Chicago and still visit often, so still like following Chicago media. Now I live in Madison, and the HD radio scene here is similarly bleak.
iHeart runs multiple HD formats here in Madison, but seems to give as little thought to them as possible. WXXM-HD2 ran Holiday music into late January before switching to all 80s, which was abruptly yanked a few weeks later for a 24/7 Motley Crue chanell that's unlistenable. WXXM-HD3 is still running the "Breeze" format that they rushed out to try to block Entercom.
WMAD-HD2 runs iHeart's "Coffee House" stream that's a real hodgepodge of music (basically, a really half-assed version of SiriusXM's "Coffee House."). Ended up removing this one from my presets because the signal is constantly dropping out, which surprised me because WMADís analog signal is one of the stronger ones in the area.
I would say other than the fact that nearly all of these HD formats are clearly half-hearted afterthoughts, the signal issues inherent with HD are the other main problem. My wife got annoyed with how often the HD stations drop out and how long it takes for them to tune in (can't quickly switch between stations, have to wait a few seconds for the radio to acquire the HD signal).
Anyway - rest of the Madison dial. WIBA-FM HD2 mostly simulcasts WTSO-AM, but feeds their translator at 100.9 FM, which can split from WTSO for different live sports. This is really the only example of smart use of HD by iHeart in Madison.
WZEE-HD2 is a 24/7 classical station -- even though Wisconsin Public Radio already runs a statewide classical network (plus a 24/7 HD2 classical stream of their own).
One local station that's made good use of their HD2 station is Entercom's adult alternative WMMM. For years, they had an all-blues format on there. Now it's "Studio M," running a jukebox of live performances recorded at WMMMís studios. My wife and I have both really enjoyed listening to this station.
Honorable mention to Wisconsin Public Radio, which has 24/7 classical on their HD2 and a simulcast of their "Ideas" (talk) network on HD3. They also run HD on WHA-AM, which sounds nice (during the day, anyway). WTSO-AM also used to run HD, but hasn't in years. (Which reminds me: the listings on hdradio.com are so inaccurate that they are useless).
Midwest Family, the other big broadcaster here in Madison doesn't run HD at all.
Anyway, sorry for the not-Chicago rundown, but from what Iíve seen in the other markets where Iíve sampled HD radio, seems like itís a joke in general, not just in Chicago.
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