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World Broadcasting Unions see a hybrid future for radio

A recommendation that may help to encourage the use of receivers that link radio services and internet services was agreed at last month’s meeting of the World Broadcasting Unions.

The WBU is the collective organization of the eight regional broadcasting unions around the globe, including the ABU. The new recommendation will give added momentum to the spread of Hybrid Radio services.

The system identified in the recommendation – RadioDNS – is an open standard that provides a way of linking a radio station with content provided over the internet. The RadioDNS equipped receiver examines the identification data broadcast along with a radio service and this is then passed via an internet connection, to a Radio Domain Name Server (RadioDNS), which in turn locates the correct website, and delivers the appropriate web content to the radio receiver.

The WBU recommendation notes that most modern radio receivers are equipped with a display that can be used to show content that enhances the experience for the listener, stating “this form of hybrid radio (over-the-air reception plus internet connectivity) opens up many creative possibilities for the future of radio.”

Among the systems under the RadioDNS umbrella are specifications for delivering text and graphics (for example album art, weather charts and advertising); an electronic programme guide that can make it easier to switch to an internet stream of the same station; and a framework that allows users to ‘tag’ content they want to save or bookmark.