I am almost completely convinced that the only use of HD Radio is as a backhaul to feed the armies of FM Translators that are now on the air or soon will be in most markets. Technically, yes, they will "broadcast" on HD but 99% or more of the listeners will be on analog FM. And it does work, there are major markets where translators have gotten great ratings, like Orlando, where Christian AC Z88.3 is not only perennially one of the top rated stations, but has two highly rated translators "Hot 95.9" (Christian Hip Hop) and "G106.3" (Black Gospel) as well as a much lower rated Christian Rock format at 103.7. All 3 translate HD channels of 88.3.
The problem with AM is that it travels too far. My local AM station has to turn their amplifier down so low at night that I can't pick the station up. Turns out they are protecting a station that is over 3,000 miles away.Now if they could only do something to revive the AM band.
and they got approval for moving another translatorOne thing that I have seen in major areas is companies like Clear Channel...oh wait...I Heart Media buy up translator stations and throw their HD subchannels on there. Thats what they did in Minneapolis. They bought a bunch of low powered stations or construction permits from companies like Air 1 and K-Love and say "we'll buy it and in return we'll put your station on a subchannel and maybe on a translator." They get the FCC to move the CP or tower to the highest point in Minneapolis (IDS) building