Content Standards for Digital Public Radio
Public Radio International® and Industry Partners
to Lead Effort
WASHINGTON, December 19, 2005 The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has awarded a grant of $284,380 to Public Radio International (PRI) to develop proposed digital radio standards that public radio networks, producers, and stations will use to transmit program associated data (PAD). PRI leads a consortium that will develop the content and operational standards, including WGBH Radio Boston, the Public Radio Exchange, KUVO/Denver, Chicago Public Radio®, and Public Interactive®.
Patricia S. Harrison, CPB president and CEO, said, "Few things are more important for public radio's future than using what the digital technology makes possible to develop new services that are packed with rich, 'tell-me-more' and often, very localized information to satisfy the listeners' curiosity, and services that make their search for high-quality information about their own communities and the world around them both easier and more productive. That's why we're so pleased to make this standards-development effort for PAD possible."
Alisa Miller, senior vice president and head, PRI Content, said, "Providing listeners with PAD will quickly become an important element of our industry's community service, and helping producers and stations by standardizing the elements of their digital signal is key to PAD's success. Because of the diversity of producers and stations PRI represents, we're well positioned to accommodate the range of needs this project must address, from those of small independents to those of large-market stations and listeners everywhere. We're pleased that CPB recognized the strengths we bring to the project and are eager to work with our partners on this initiative."
The digital radio application offers new ways to serve public radio listeners since the data are transmitted with the digital broadcast signal and are displayed on listeners' receivers. For example, the data for a music show might include the station ID, program host, artist, song title, and recording label. For a national or local talk-show, the data could include the station ID, host, topic, program segment, guests' names, and even the guests' discographies, bibliographies, or photos. Program data might also contain ID codes that, in connection with search engines and electronic program guides, could enable TiVo®-like automatic recording systems for radio.
Non-program-related information can also be transmitted, which could, for example, permit a car radio to hop seamlessly from one public radio station to another as the car's passengers moved out of one station's service area into another's. In an emergency situation, the receiver could also display much richer or more localized information than a simple emergency alert.
The consortium will address a range of issues for the new standards, from what will be included in a base level of PAD content service to what operational investments are required to implement PAD industrywide; from insuring that the standards are compatible with online conventions to determining the most cost-effective and efficient operational designs for implementing PAD. To encourage station feedback and participation, an initiative website and surveys will be used. The Consortia will also provide updates and presentations at public radio conferences and will work closely with leading public radio organizations, producers, and other networks such as National Public Radio.
The CPB grant will support the consortium's work through October 2006. The end product will be a document that specifies the types of data that need to be encoded, how and when the data are captured and stored, and how they are manipulated and transmitted for consistent, understandable display on listeners' receivers. The proposed standards will be available industrywide in print and online.
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,000 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information on CPB, visit the CPB website at www.cpb.org.
About Public Radio International®
PRI is public radio's leading source for innovative programming and audio content. The Minneapolis-based network provides over 400 hours of programming each week, content that is broadcast and streamed online by its 734 public radio station affiliates nationwide, which reach 32 million listeners each week. PRI owns Public Interactive LLC, public broadcasting's leading Web services company. PRI is also the managing partner of the satellite radio company American Public Radio, LLC, established with Chicago Public Radio® and WGBH Radio Boston. PRI's cultural programming is available via XM Public Radio. Its news and information programming is available via Sirius Satellite Radio. For more information on PRI and its programs, visit the PRI website at www.pri.org.