Official MINI Press Release: MINI USA is now offering a factory-installed digital HD Radio receiver with FM multicasting capability as an option in the all-new 2007 MINI Cooper and Cooper S hardtops, produced from June 2007. MINI joins its sister brand, BMW to be only one of two automotive brands to currently offer HD Radio technology to its customers.

HD Radio technology is one of the most significant advances in radio broadcasting history, providing listeners with enhanced digital audio quality and clear, noise-free reception, as well as multicasting and on-screen text information. The HD Radio multicasting feature allows FM stations to broadcast multiple channels of digital programming simultaneously on a single frequency.

The HD Radio receiver can be ordered as a stand-alone option for an MSRP of $500 or as part of MINI’s Audio Package which also includes an upgraded Hi-Fi radio and Sirius Satellite Radio with a lifetime subscription that stays with the car from owner to owner. This package retails for $1,400. HD Radio broadcasting transmits via a digital signal in AM and FM mode and is subscription free.

“We are pleased to offer our customers the high-quality sound of HD Radio broadcasting in the new MINI Cooper and Cooper S hardtops.” said Rich Steinberg, head of MINI USA product strategy. “HD Radio broadcasting now offers our customers an additional level of choices when it comes to premium, in-car audio technology.”

Of the more than 1,300 stations across the country broadcasting with HD Radio technology, more than 600 FM stations are offering a second (HD2) and, in many cases, a third (HD3) multicast channel. For example, WAMU in Washington, DC, offers three channels: 88.5-1, a simulcast of its news/talk analog channel; 88.5-2, a simulcast of an innovative Baltimore music station not available in DC; and 88.5-3, bluegrass music. These channels are free but can only be found on HD Radio receivers. As with all HD Radio programming, there are no fees or additional costs associated with multicast channels.

The number of HD Radio stations is growing daily and expected to exceed 3,000 within the next few years. A current list of HD Radio stations and multicast stations can be found at: HD Radioâ„¢ is a trademark of iBiquity Digital Corporation.