• Advice
  • Technology
  • CarPro Advice:  Understanding & Using HD Radio

    CarPro Advice:  Understanding & Using HD Radio

    If you have ever listened to HD radio, you’ll notice a greatly enhanced sound, especially when you go from amplitude modulation stations (AM radio) to the same station in HD. One of our broadcast stations for the Car Pro Radio Show is news/talk WBAP 820 AM out of Dallas. When I listen to the station, I listen from 99.5 FM, which is a country station, but on HD2, which runs right alongside 99.5 FM HD1. Two completely different stations, sharing the same 99.5 FM frequency. When you get used to the sound quality of HD radio, it is hard to listen to regular AM radio, there is a huge difference.

    We have seen big growth in the number of cars that have HD radio in the past few years. Current estimates are that 50 million cars on the road are equipped with HD radio capability.

    Do not confuse HD radio with satellite radio from SiriusXM. While satellite radio has more stations and formats, HD radio is free and you can find complete station listings in your area by going to HD Radio.   

    I review a lot of different vehicles and I always look on the window sticker to see if the car has HD radio. You can tell, too, by just looking at the radio in your car. When on a station, many cars will show an HD logo. Often, you’ll see HD1, which is your clue that the next station up is HD2 or even HD3. I have been in some cars where you had to go to the settings of the radio to enable HD.  You can save an HD2 to your favorites, just like a regular station.  

    Here is a picture of the entertainment screen of the 2022 Grand Wagoneer I reviewed last year. Although all vehicles are different, most are similar to this:

    hd-radio-grand-wagoneer-Jerry-reynolds-carprousa (2)

    You’ll notice to the far right is the standard HD logo that is lit up in blue.  In the center you’ll see HD 1 and 2, with 2 being highlighted.  To the left you see KPLX-HD2.  HD1 is KPLX, a country station, and HD2 is News/Talk 820 AM, WBAP that we broadcast on.  Notice also, across the bottom I have saved presets for WBAP (99.5-2) and next to it is our other DFW station, KRLD 1080 AM (105.3-2).

    Some vehicles, like the MINI, make it easy to find the HD stations by including them in the station list as you scroll through:

    MINI-cooper-HD-Radio

    HD is broadcast from both the AM & FM sides of the dial. Some radio stations broadcast the same programming in HD1 and HD2, but the odds are good that at some point in the future, the HD2 will be different programming.

    Bottom line is that people have more stations available to them than they know, and they could be missing out on music or content they would enjoy. It is clear that HD radio use is on the rise and available to more people than ever before.

    Watch this video by WBAP’s Morning Show Former Co-host Brian Estridge:


        Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get the latest car-buying news. Subscribe here!