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PSD Task Force Explains Its Work

Session explains a standardized method for radio program service data distribution

Radio is no longer just an audio service. Audiences employ new technologies such as portable media players, podcasts, web streaming and mobile devices. These devices support text and visual information that the audience now expects.
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This PSD Data Flow Conceptual Diagram shows paths for audio, control and data from and to various sources and destinations.
RBDS and HD Radio support Program Service Data, which allows synchronized metadata to accompany aural program material. PSD formerly was known as Program-Associated Data, or PAD.

The NAB Show presentation “A Standardized Method for Program Service Data Distribution” will address a two-year effort of the PSD Task Force of the iBiquity Public Radio Advisory Board to develop a flexible standard for metadata packaging.

Bruce Wahl, senior solutions architect of NPR Distribution, and Dan Mansergh, director of engineering for KQED Public Radio, will discuss how a PSD packaging standard will allow stations to embrace the ability to provide semi-automated accompanying text with aural program material. Their talk is part of Sunday afternoon’s NAB sessions on “Improving HD Radio.”

PSD is particularly important to broadcasters who air long-form news and talk programming. One of the challenges facing these programs is the need to aggregate and enter metadata for each program manually. By establishing a standard, program suppliers, automation system vendors and broadcasters are relieved of the necessity for manual data entry. This task can be automated, a benefit for stored programming.

The proposed PSD standard has the following system requirements: A multitude of program formats such as news, talk, local or long-form music must be supported. The data platform must be agnostic as to distribution platform (satellite, Internet, live), and flexible to support future fields and data types. A single data package must support data requirements of HD, RBDS and web/app streaming and provide a consistent ingest interface to producers while preserving as much compatibility with existing program distribution architecture as possible.

The proposed standard is XML-based. Two shortcomings in the present system are resolved in the proposed revision: The currently defined set of fields does not provide for more than one PSD data set per segment file, and the number of fields needed has increased since the specification was drafted. Figure 1 is a PSD Data Flow Conceptual Diagram showing paths for audio, control and data from/to various sources and destinations.