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Clear Channel, Audiovox Debut Traffic Service Using RDS

Clear Channel, Audiovox Debut Traffic Service Using RDS

Traffic data looks like the next radio battleground.
Satellite radio now has a terrestrial radio competitor as a traffic data provider.
Clear Channel Radio and Audiovox are offering a real-time traffic service in 48 markets; the radio group turned it on in 50 markets Tuesday night. The data network is working via the RDS Traffic Message Channel. RDS TMC is used in Europe and Japan but not the U.S., according to project leader Jeff Littlejohn, in an interview with RW Online on the show floor here at CES.
He said RDS TMC has never been used in this country.
“We’re the first broadcaster to launch it. We’re providing the data through Clear Channel radio stations.”
Clear Channel takes the data and formats it for RDS TMC. The broadcaster is using additional data capacity that exists in its RDS system to send traffic info. It broadcasts the RDS TMC data along with the call letter display data and transmits it over its subcarriers to receivers.
“We’re kind of a one-stop-shop for Audiovox and other receiver manufacturers,” said Littlejohn.
The broadcaster turned the service on Tuesday night in its top 50 markets. It has performed well during tests, he said. The company has been working on the project for six months.
“We are selling the service to receiver manufacturers, who can then re-sell it to consumers.”
XM and Sirius are in 20 markets with their respective traffic services. Littlejohn said consumers have to subscribe to the satellite radio service in order to get the traffic, plus purchase an additional receiver.
“There’s a lot of things to do before you can get the data from XM or Sirius. With Audiovox you simply subscribe to the data service and buy the analog navigation receiver,” he said.
The only missing markets out of the 50 are Puerto Rico and Kansas City, where Clear Channel does not own stations.
The service costs the user $59.90 per year and $95.90 for two years.