Doing More with Datacasting
Third-party data lookups
By using third-party providers, stations are able to look up information in other databases that might be useful for their purposes. In some cases, they may use third-party database lookups to "clean up" text already resident in their automation systems. This is done by comparing portions of the title and artist information, or cut from the automation system with a third-party database that has the information in the format needed for messaging. This can be especially helpful as data is often entered incorrectly or inconsistently. Things like "Mathews_Band, Dave - Ant's Marching [Radio Edit]" are fairly common in radio automation systems. By executing a data lookup from an outside source, the datacasting system can effectively clean up this data and provide it in a format for broadcast.
Another purpose of a third-party data lookup is to provide additional information that the automation system may not contain. This could include album title, concert information or even song or artist trivia. Figure 2 illustrates how lookup works.
Giving listeners the ability to hear a song, tag it and purchase it later helps put radio back in the business of music discovery, a position that is being lost to the Internet and mobile applications such as Shazam.
RDS tagging isn't much of stretch for most broadcast stations either, thanks to the RT+ standard. RT+ is an open data application (ODA) that is used to identify placement of specific elements within Radio Text, such as news, lottery, stocks, sports and more. The original intent was that RT+ marked data could be buffered by the receiver for display in a specific area on the receiver, such as a studio request number, or at the press of a specific button.
In the case of RDS tagging, compatible devices use RT+ to specifically locate the song title and artist name. This RT+ data is then used by supported devices to find the title and artist data within the RT. This allows the FM listener to earmark their favorite songs playing on the air for purchase later.
Systems for tagging often include the concept of using a third-party data lookup to gather additional song information, such as album information and affiliate IDs required for revenue sharing with music vendors. Software is then used to manage the ODA data.
-- continued on page 3
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