WREK Beefs Up RDS, HD Text Display for Special Program
WREK(FM) in Atlanta has been using RDS in
what it believes is an unusual way to support an audio program this week. WREK
is Georgia Tech’s student radio station, and transmits at 91.1 FM in the
Atlanta market and also streams its signal over the Internet.
Former Georgia Tech station engineer
Chris Campbell told Radio World the station is “hacking” its RDS stream to
provide additional dynamic text over receiver displays for both its analog and
HD Radio signals as well as its Internet stream.
“I originally was going to just send
text straight to the RDS encoder (via UDP), but I quickly realized that our
non-FM listeners would not get to properly experience this event,” according to
Campbell, who is also a student at the university.
WREK runs its programming playout on
Broadcast Electronics' AudioVault system, and that includes using an RDDI
software engine to manage all of the program data flowing through to WREK’s
various outputs, including analog FM, HD Radio and Internet streams.
“With the help of alum Jim Evans, who
is involved in AudioVault development for BE, we developed a configuration for
RDDI that pulls its source text strings from a remote machine,” according to
Campbell, who then wrote custom software on that machine that references a
script and delivers the script’s text on a schedule defined by timecode markers
called out in that script.
The text data itself is not a straight
transcription of the words being spoken in the audio program. Rather, the text
at times identifies the speakers and dates, at times supports the narrative with
The audio program and text data are
synced in time. Over a 15-minute period each night there’s a large amount of
supporting text running via RDS alongside the audio program, instead of a short
sequence of repeating text. The program, called “Midnight Bill,” has been airing
at midnight since Sunday. It ends tonight.
Updates about what the crew learns
about software support are posted on WREK’s