HD Radio in Washington D.C.

What is HD Radio?

Unfortunately, HD Radio has a misleading name. The letters “HD” stand for nothing. They only mean that it is digital instead of to analog. Digital does not mean that it is higher definition or higher quality than analog. It does mean that radio stations can fit more channels on the same spectrum.

What does HD Radio give you?

The Washington D.C. metro area has some great HD Radio stations. HD Radio gives you free extra channels to listen to outside of what is available on a normal AM/FM radio. Every channel listed below with a -2 or -3 is an extra channel that is not offered in analog AM or FM.

Washington D.C. HD Radio Listing

WAMU-HD 88.5 FM Nws/Tlk/Inf, American University
WAMU-HD2 88.5-2 FM Bluegrass, American University
WAMU-HD3 88.5-3 FM BBC / NPR / WTMD, American University
WPFW Soon in HD 89.3 FM Jazz, Pacifica Foundation
WCSP-HD 90.1 FM Nws/Tlk/Inf, National Cable Satellite Corporation
WCSP-HD2 90.1-2 FM C-Span, National Cable Satellite Corporation
WCSP-HD3 90.1-3 FM C-Span 2, National Cable Satellite Corporation
WETA-HD 90.9 FM Clscl/NPR, Greater Washington Educational Telecomm Association
WKYS Soon in HD 93.9 FM Urban AC, Radio One Inc.
WTGB-HD 94.7 FM Alternative, CBS Radio
WTGB-HD2 94.7-2 FM Adult Alternative – The Jam, CBS Radio
WPGC-HD 95.5 FM CHR/Rhymc, CBS Radio
WPGC-HD2 95.5-2 FM Gospel, CBS Radio
WHUR-HD 96.3 FM Urban AC, Howard University
WHUR-HD2 96.3-2 FM WHUR World, Howard University
WASH-HD 97.1 FM AC, Clear Channel
WASH-HD2 97.1-2 FM Smooth Jazz, Clear Channel
WMZQ-HD 98.7 FM Country, Clear Channel
WMZQ-HD2 98.7-2 FM Classic Country, Clear Channel
WLZL Soon in HD 99.1 FM Tropical, CBS Radio
WLZL-HD2 Soon in HDon 99.1-2 FM Hispanic AC, CBS Radio
WIHT-HD 99.5 FM CHR, Clear Channel
WIHT-HD2 99.5-2 FM New CHR, Clear Channel
WBIG-HD 100.3 FM Oldies, Clear Channel
WBIG-HD2 100.3-2 FM Oldies 50’s & 60’s, Clear Channel
WWDC-HD 101.1 FM Rock, Clear Channel
WWDC-HD2 101.1-2 FM eRockster, Clear Channel
WMMJ Soon in HD 102.3 FM Urban AC, Radio One Inc.
WTOP-HD 103.5 FM News, Bonneville International Corp.
WTOP-HD2 103.5-2 FM iChannel -Global Unsigned Bands, Bonneville International Corp.
WTOP-HD3 103.5-3 FM Traffic and Weather, Bonneville International Corp.
WPRS-HD 104.1 FM Black Gospl, Radio One Inc.
WJZW-HD 105.9 FM Oldies, Citadel
WJZW-HD2 105.9-2 FM Smooth Jazz, Citadel
WJFK-HD 106.7 FM Talk/Sprts, CBS Radio
WRQX-HD 107.3 FM Hot AC, Citadel
WWWT-HD 107.7 FM Talk, Bonneville International Corp.
WTNT-HD 570 AM Talk/News, Red Zebra Broadcasting
WMAL-HD 630 AM News/Talk, Citadel
WXTR Soon in HD 730 AM Sports, Red Zebra Broadcasting
WTEM-HD 980 AM Sprts/Talk, Red Zebra Broadcasting
WYCB-HD 1340 AM Gospel, Radio One Inc.
WOL-HD 1450 AM News/Talk, Radio One Inc.
WWWT Soon in HD 1500 AM Talk, Bonneville International Corp.

How to get HD Radio?

HD Radio’s Wikipedia page lists several HD Radio receivers for your car and home.

One of my favorites is the Sony XDR-F1HD. This costs about $100 and needs to be connected to an amp/receiver. It can not be connected directly to speakers unless they are powered speakers that can be connected with RCA cables.

If you need a new amp/receiver, there are some that have HD Radio built-in. My favorite of these is the Yamaha RX-V863, which can be ordered for $619 currently with a little haggling.

Is HD Radio worth it?

HD Radio has been around since 2002 and has been somewhat slow to take off. But if you like the extra stations it gives you, it can be worth the cost of the new equipment. Unlike Sirius and XM, there is no subscription to get HD Radio.

Washington D.C. offers more HD stations than most markets. The extra stations cover many genres and niches such as News, Bluegrass, Alternative, Country, Oldies, Jazz, and Gospel. If any of those stations interest you, give HD Radio a try.

10 Replies to “HD Radio in Washington D.C.”

  1. “HD Radio is already lost (and really isn’t ‘HD’)”

    “Quite honestly, it doesn’t stand for anything, said Peter Ferrera, president and CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance. The concept was somewhat of a steal from HD television, where viewers know it means better quality.”


    Everything about HD Radio is a lie.

  2. It is crappy that they used the term “HD” in HD Radio because it does not stand for “high definition” or anything. Some people have ascribed the meaning “Hybrid Digital”, which makes more sense because HD Radio is a technology that broadcasts both digital along with analog on the same channels.

    But HD Radio still has the benefit of providing more channels than traditional radio. At this point, I don’t see HD Radio dieing because there are many HD Radio channels. At first, there was a “chicken and the egg” problem with radio stations not wanting to transmit HD Radio until more people listened to HD Radio.

    While “HD Radio” is a misnomer, there is no appreciable benefit to making radio higher definition. FM and HD Radio are already good quality. It isn’t a DVD-Audio or SACD track for audiophiles, but it is definitely high enough quality to enjoy music.

    The best thing about HD Radio, as opposed to satellite radio, is that it is FREE. It’s hard to complain about that.

  3. “Reduced quality concerns”

    “Another such conflict arises from the extra free programs available today. iBiquity is seeking FCC approval for conditional access, that is, enabling the extra programs to be available only by paid subscription (on future models of HD Radio). NDS, a maker of digital media encryption technology, has a deal with iBiquity to provide HD Radio with an encrypted content-delivery system called RadioGuard. NDS claims that RadioGuard will provide additional revenue-generating possibilities. iBiquity has stated that RadioGuard will become a standard feature of the HD Radio system. These competing capabilities mean that purchasers of early models of HD Radio have no guarantees of continued broadcasts of either high-quality audio or extra channels. Audio quality will suffer as broadcasters decide to subdivide their streams into extra HD-2 and HD-3 channels. And if the extra channels become subscription channels, they will become invisible to older radios without RadioGuard (and to those unwilling to pay for them).”


    Not free for long – aniother HD Radio lie.

  4. Being digital, it should be a little higher quality than analog just because of digital error correction, even if it isn’t “higher resolution”. Just like the extra OTA digital SD TV channels (like WETA’s 26-2,26-3,26-4 channels) are much better quality than OTA analog TV.

    But I have no real idea, because there is no way I’m going to shell out several hundred just to listen to them. They need to scrap HD radio and come out with a system than can be added cheaply to devices, especially small portable devices.


  6. @James Grove, Unfortunately HD radio is considered to have 1/3 to 1/2 the range of analog radio. The real catch is that because it’s digital, a signal that would have been barely audible with analog just won’t have enough digital bits for any signal to be heard. Just like digital TV, you typically get a picture or not. With analog, you might get a snowy picture. But with digital, there is no option for a signal to be partially available.

    Solutions include:
    1) placing your antenna in a different location, typically higher being better.
    2) getting a better antenna. A dipole antenna is recommended. An amplified antenna might also help. Experimentation is often needed to find what works best in your location.
    3) get a more sensitive tuner. For example, I find the tuner on the Sony XDR-F1HD to be very good.

    Good luck and let me know if/how you get it working.

  7. Have started to seriously look at the so called HD radio.

    I am retired and live in Florissant, 80816, out side Colorado Springs, CO. So far I have not been able to locate a source of a good Antenna. What I would like it to go into a Retail store, and buy a Turnstile antenna (that I know will work) just to see the results, then a low, finally a High Gain antenna. I know that I am in the mountains, and I will not get much reception.

    I finally had to resort in ordering one On Line. Then there is a problem of Shipping.

    Then there is now a problem of being able to mount an antenna Out Side. Sort of a Social thing, if not Freedom of speech thing.

    David Lawry

  8. Are the 98.7 HD signals blocked (jammed? sometimes in D.C.? Haven’t been able to receive WMZQ HD2 in several days. Other HD stations coming thru fine.

  9. Are the signals for WMZQHD2 in the D.C. area periodically jammed? Haven’t been able to receive broadcast in several days. Other HD stations are fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *