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Traffic Consortium Grows

Partner Navteq offers weather, fuel prices, mobile coupons

The Broadcast Traffic Consortium is growing and its traffic partner, Navteq, is expanding the type of dynamic content it can offer over portable navigation devices and automobile in-dash systems using content transmitted via HD Radio.

Navteq said in an NAB Show announcement that using HD Radio, it can now offer “LocationPoint Advertising,” including detailed graphics, sound and mobile coupons.

Some 1,500 stations participate in the Broadcast Traffic Consortium, which has attracted four new broadcast ownership groups to its ranks and has grown to provide more markets with Navteq traffic data transmitted using either analog FM RDS or HD Radio. Navteq announced the availability of its dynamic content for portable navigation devices and automobile in-dash systems transmitted with HD Radio.

Journal Broadcasting, Regent Communications, Saga Communications and Corus Entertainment out of Canada have joined the consortium, founded in 2008, bringing the total number of broadcast organizations in the consortium to 16. With the addition of these broadcast partners, and continued spectrum contributions by founding members, BTC officials say it has grown to cover 82 U.S. markets with RDS and 74 with HD Radio traffic data, in addition to the top seven Canadian metros with RDS, according to Paul Brenner, consortium president and SVP/CTO for Emmis Communications.

“Each organization’s commitment to this consortium represents the growing strength of collaboration which unifies the bandwidth capacity and skills within our industry,” said Brenner, who added that 77 FM-RDS markets and 63 HD Radio data markets are active, with the remaining BTC committed markets to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

BTC is working with digital map data provider Navteq for vehicle navigation and location-based products; BTC uses RDS and HD Radio technology to deliver real-time Navteq Traffic and other location-based information –- like weather and fuel prices — to portable navigation devices and automobile in-dash systems.

The purpose of the BTC is to further accelerate consumer HD Radio receiver penetration and create new revenue. “By leveraging our strengths—low-cost distribution, localized content, nationwide coverage and digital capacity—we are re-establishing this industry as an innovative means of engaging consumers,” Brenner said.

BTC also represents a low-cost national data distribution channel that can allow broadcasters to expand beyond traditional audio programming as their sole use of HD Radio technology’s capabilities, he added.

Founding members of BTC are Beasley Broadcast Group, Bonneville International Corporation, Cox Radio, Emmis Communications, Entercom Communications Corp., Greater Media, National Public Radio and Radio One. The growing membership base also includes organizations such as Cumulus Media, Lincoln Financial Media, Hubbard Broadcasting and Cobalt Media.