Customized Listening Seen Over HD Radio

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Washington - HD Radio stations could narrowcast ads to future HD Radios built with little or no additional cost over existing HD Radios, according to a radio industry feasibility study.

 The study, conducted by the

National Association of Broadcasters

(NAB) and HD Radio developer

iBiquity Digital

, envisions future "Persona Radios" that consumers could register online, enabling radio stations to download targeted audio ads for later playback, said Joseph D'Angelo, iBiquity's broadcast programs and advanced services senior VP. Ads would be downloaded over the air for storage in the radio's memory. Persona radios would enable existing advertisers to better target their ads as well as entice smaller companies to advertise, he said.

 A radio station that knows a listener lives in one town and works in another could, for example, target ads by local businesses that operate in those towns.

HD Radio FM stations have enough bandwidth s to deliver their main audio program, a secondary audio program and the downloadable audio ads, he said. The radios could be built with current technology that would add little or no cost to radios, he continued. Car radios would need much less than 1MB of memory to store the audio ads, and many car head unit already have sufficient memory to do so, he said. Those radios might need only an applications layer that would use the radio's existing hardware and software components to deliver the targeted-ad service.

 Stations could also deliver enhanced ads with data and UPC or QR codes that could be displayed on the radio, he noted. Consumers could use a portable radio to show the displayed UPC or QR codes to a retailer to get special deals. They could also use a camera phone to snap a picture of a code displayed by a car radio, then show the picture to the retailer.

 For now, however, Persona radio is only a vision. NAB and iBiqiuty funded the initial step to "make sure the concept holds water," D'Angelo said. The next step is up to broadcasters and radio manufacturers.

The Persona Radio, NAB said, "is a proof-of-concept advanced receiver design that would allow users to create a customizable listening experience and create opportunities for behavioral targeted advertising." The report "details the concept of how the Persona service would work, the supporting broadcast infrastructure, and a variety of possible listener use cases," NAB noted.

The full text of the study is available at

, an NAB group whose mission is to facilitate development and commercialization of new technologies that radio and TV broadcasters can use in their existing spectrum.


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