Open Mic: Metadata is the key

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Daniel Mansergh

Media consumers have increased their expectations for descriptive metadata integrated with audio programming. This has been fostered by online streaming, satellite radio and portable media players.

Daniel Mansergh
Director of Engineering
KQED Public Radio
San Francisco

Radio: How would you rate radio broadcasters' current use of metadata with HD Radio?

DM: As an industry, we're using 20 percent of the potential for HD Radio PSD at the moment. This is based on published accounts of how metadata is being broadcast, conversations with many group and station engineers, discussions with dedicated metadata system vendors (such as BE TRE and Harris UI), and an understanding of the capabilities of current PAD systems. What I would consider to be 100 percent is having descriptive topical “what's on” or content-related promotional message displays associated with every distinct programming element (songs, breaks, morning show segments, etc). Advanced messagecasting or next-generation display features not supported by current receivers would be above and beyond this.

Radio: Consider a station not transmitting any metadata right now. What is your suggestion of a single step that can be made to get the most result from the least effort?

DM: The biggest bang for the buck is to get into the automation system and spend some time to scrub the existing library data from a listener perspective. For music stations, that covers the majority of their programming, and for non-music stations, they can at least have hourly program information throughout the broadcast day at minimal cost.

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