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‘Personalization’ of HD Radio Explored

NAB FASTROAD releases iBiquity proof-of-concept report

Consumers can personalize the audio on their Internet radios, MP3 players and iPods. Hoping to help radio participate in that trend, iBiquity Digital and the NAB FASTROAD technology development project are exploring personalization for HD Radio devices.

To that end, NAB’s FASTROAD — which stands for “Flexible Advanced Services for Television & Radio on All Devices” — released an iBiquity report titled “HD Radio System Persona Radio Project Overview.”

IBiquity’s Joe D’Angelo, senior vice president of broadcast programs and advanced services, said the idea behind the proof-of-concept advanced receiver design for the Persona Radio is to see how broadcasters could leverage more content and storage, sort of mixing content transmission with personalization, “which is really a filter for content that is relevant to you.”

How would Persona Radio work?

A station would devote a portion of its HD bandwidth to the service, while users would create a profile on the station website. It would be up to the station to determine how much of its data stream it wants to devote to this concept, much like today, when stations decide whether to subdivide bandwidth for multicast channels or to use part of their HD data stream to transmit traffic data.

Based on the user’s demographic, Persona Radio would substitute other audio, text and ads based on his or her profile. That specialized content would be downloaded to the receiver and stored in memory on the device, for later use by the listener or by the station itself. For this concept to work, receivers also must have the personalization capability built in; it may be just a software change. This is one of the things that would need to be worked out.

NAB Science & Technology Senior Director of Advanced Engineering David Layer tells me that attention now turns to gauging interest from stations about the concept. NAB and iBiquity will be seeking reaction, starting with the NAB Radio Board and the National Radio Standards Committee. D’Angelo said broadcaster interest must be determined before the technology developer can approach receiver manufacturers about what enhancements might be needed for implementation.

IBiquity discussed the premise at the recent Radio Show and had a mockup of the concept on an Insignia HD portable IBOC receiver. I’ll be interested to see how this shapes up in the coming months.