Best Buy Launches A “Talking” HD Private Brand Radio

 Minneapolis, MN based electronics retailer Best Buy and the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) previewed its first “talking” HD Radio Technology product The Narrator, from the Best Buy Private Brand Insignia’s, at the IAAIS annual conference in Houston. The Narrator, named for its differentiating features includes audible voice responses, access to local HD Radio broadcasts of reading services, and an ergonomic design, was designed in collaboration with the IAAIS to be accessible for people with visual impairments. Customers can pre-order The Narrator today on for $99, and it will be available for purchase online this July. I love to see this kind of innovation come out of a retailer and the partnership reinforces their credibility.

“We chose to partner with the IAAIS to help identify and solve for the everyday technology needs of people with visual disabilities. The Narrator eliminates the need to see the display. Audible voice prompts tell the user which button was pressed, and when the radio’s functions are activated,” said senior product manager Mike Dahnert. “The Narrator has universal appeal, but is designed to be simple for a person who cannot see the display to operate.”

Accessible Design
Access to technology is a basic human need, and the team recognized this market is underserviced in terms of consumer electronic offerings. In partnering with the IAAIS, the team was able to identify those radio features most requested by the roughly 20 million Americans who live with vision loss or impairment. With The Narrator, there is no need for another person to tune the radio, set the time, arrange pre-set favorites or be certain that the radio is powered down. The Narrator’s key features include:

  • Audible voice prompts on buttons
  • Button layout and markings that are intuitively designed
  • Hi-fidelity HD Radio table top FM radio delivering CD-like sound quality without any static
  • 20-program memory so that your favorite stations are just a touch away
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack for convenience and privacy

“Our association’s member stations provide access to current print so that people with disabilities can live more independently. We offered our insights as to which accessible features would make this radio a highly valuable product to someone living with low vision or blindness. Now, with The Narrator coming to market, people with visual disabilities will have a radio that they can program and tune by themselves. ” said David Noble, Chairman of Government Relations at IAAIS.

HD Radio
The Narrator incorporates HD Radio Technology, which provides crisp, clear sound and a wealth of added formats via HD2/HD3 Channel capability on the FM dial, including sports, comedy and foreign language programming, among others.

“HD Radio Broadcasting has moved quickly into the mainstream with more than 2,100 stations in key markets across the United States,” said Joe D’Angelo, Senior Vice President of Advanced Services at iBiquity. “The Narrator exemplifies why HD Radio Technology is truly unique by virtue of helping to bring these reading services to a key demographic of listeners through a product that is easy to use.”

For more information about the product, please visit:

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.