Press Release, iBiquity Digital Corporation, Wednesday January 7, 12:02 pm ET
Consumer Experiences Digital Radio Revolution With Sale of First HD Radio(TM) Receiver
iBiquity Digital, Kenwood and Ultimate Electronics Launch HD Radio with Iowa's `First in the Nation'
Cedar Rapids' KZIA-FM Z102.9 Scores First HD Radio Listener
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- International Consumer Electronics Show -- iBiquity Digital Corporation announced today that an Iowa buyer became "first in the nation" to purchase an HD Radio tuner. Nathan Franzen purchased a Kenwood KTC-HR100 HD Radio tuner from the Ultimate Electronics store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Monday, January 5, 2004. Following installation in his 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix, Franzen tuned to KZIA-FM Z102.9, Cedar Rapids' home for today's hit music, becoming the first consumer nationwide to personally experience the CD-quality sound of HD Radio receiver, the biggest revolution in radio since the advent of FM broadcasting more than fifty years ago.
"Our community is known as the home to radio pioneers," said The Honorable Paul D. Pate, Mayor of Cedar Rapids. "It's fitting that the first consumer to purchase an HD Radio receiver in the United States should purchase it in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The transition of the radio industry into the digital age provides enormous potential for all broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and consumers throughout America."
The sale comes on the eve of HD Radio's commercial introduction during this week's 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and follows a decade of development and testing by iBiquity and its numerous industry partners with the FCC approving the technology for broadcaster use in October 2002. The technology's commercial introduction will allow AM and FM radio stations to reap the benefits of this 100% digital technology as listeners can now take advantage of the vastly improved sound quality and the host of new, user-based features offered by HD Radio.
KZIA-FM Executive Vice President Rob Norton commented, "We are very proud to be the first HD Radio signal heard on the nation's first HD Radio receiver. Today puts Cedar Rapids in the history books with yet another radio first, just as our very own amateur radio pioneer Arthur Collins did in the 1920s."
Cedar Rapids, Iowa was selected partly because of its heritage as the hometown of Arthur Collins and the Collins Radio Company. In 1925, Collins, as a fifteen-year-old, received radio transmissions for the first time from Greenland. He eventually founded Collins Radio, which provided voice communication technology for every American traveling in space.
Robert Struble, iBiquity Digital's president and chief executive officer, said, "With today's purchase of an HD Radio receiver, AM and FM radio has officially launched in the consumer marketplace. Soon many more Americans will be able to experience their local AM and FM radio stations in subscription-free digital sound, without the static and hiss associated with analog broadcasts. Our employees and partners have spent years developing HD Radio technology, and I am extremely proud to be here today making radio history in Cedar Rapids."
HD Radio technology transforms today's radio experience by allowing AM and FM broadcasters to seamlessly transmit digital signals with superior audio and new data services alongside today's analog-based broadcasts. Nearly 300 radio stations in 100 U.S. markets across 38 states have licensed HD Radio technology.
"The HD Radio revolution has arrived for consumers," said Dave Workman, president and chief executive officer of Ultimate Electronics. "Ultimate prides itself with firsts. Just as we sold the first HDTV, it is a privilege to partner with iBiquity Digital and Kenwood to sell the first consumer HD Radio receiver in the country. As the HD Radio format continues to expand its reach, we will aggressively showcase this technology for consumers in our retail locations."
"Kenwood was the first licensee of HD Radio technology, and we are now the first manufacturer to sell an HD Radio receiver," said Dan Petersen, executive vice president of Kenwood USA. "All of us at Kenwood are proud of our role in this historic day for broadcasters, retailers and consumers."
iBiquity Digital and its partners will formally debut commercial HD Radio products during a media conference at the International Consumer Electronics Show to be held on Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 2:00 p.m. at Booth #4619 in the Las Vegas Convention Center's North Hall. HD Radio products and demonstrations will be available at the booth through the show's conclusion on Sunday, January 11.
About KZIA, Inc. (www.kzia.com): KZIA, INC., an Iowa corporation, owns KZIA (Z102.9), a 100,000 watt radio station in Cedar Rapids broadcasting today's hit music at 102.9 mHz. to the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area in FM and HD Radio. KZIA/Z102.9 is at www.kzia.com on the Internet.
About Ultimate Electronics (www.ultimateelectronics.com): Ultimate Electronics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ULTE - News) is a leading specialty retailer of home entertainment and consumer electronics products in 14 states. The company operates 65 stores, including 54 stores in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Utah under the trade name Ultimate Electronics, and 11 stores in Colorado under the trade name Soundtrack. In addition, the company operates Fast Trak, Inc. an independent electronics repair company based in Colorado and a wholly owned subsidiary of Ultimate Electronics.
About Kenwood USA (www.kenwoodusa.com): Founded in 1961, Kenwood USA Corporation is a leading developer and manufacturer of audio and video products for home, car, and personal use. Offering more than 250 products, Kenwood is one of the three largest selling brands of audio and video entertainment products in the United States and is recognized by consumers and the consumer electronics industry for providing superior quality, reliability and value. Kenwood USA Corporation, based in Long Beach, Calif., is the largest subsidiary of Kenwood Corporation (Japan). Further information can be obtained by contacting Kenwood USA Corporation, P.O. Box 22745, Long Beach, CA 90801, by calling 1-800-Kenwood, or by visiting www.kenwoodusa.com.
About iBiquity Digital Corporation (www.ibiquity.com): iBiquity Digital is the sole developer and licenser of HD Radio technology in the U.S., which will transform today's analog radio to digital, enabling radically upgraded sound and new wireless data services. The company's investors include 15 of the nation's top radio broadcasters, including ABC, Clear Channel and Viacom; leading financial institutions, such as J.P. Morgan Partners, Pequot Capital and J&W Seligman; and strategic partners Ford Motor Company, Harris, Texas Instruments and Visteon. iBiquity Digital is a privately held company with operations in Columbia, MD, Detroit, MI, Redwood City, CA and Warren, NJ.