Radio broadcasters are facing a dizzying array of new competition in connected vehicles and most of these competitors provide consistent and informative “metadata” regarding their audio offerings. Now more than ever, broadcasters need to understand metadata and make full use of the metadata capabilities of both over-the-air and internet-connected (streaming) platforms.
To that end, NAB has just released an updated version of the NAB Digital Dashboard Best Practices report which was first released in 2017 (with a minor update in 2019), adding new information about hybrid (over-the-air plus internet) automotive radios, as well as a new service provider list to assist broadcasters in finding support with metadata generation and transmission. This report is now available for free on the NAB website HERE.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Original metadata audit – this report provides the results from the 2017 audit conducted for NAB by Jacobs Media on broadcaster usage of the Radio Data System (RDS) and HD Radio technologies for delivering text and image metadata to auto receivers. Numerous issues, both on the engineering and programming sides of the station, were identified by this audit and these issues formed the basis for the recommendations on how to improve metadata usage made in the report;
- NAB test drive of Audi A4 – earlier this year, NAB did a test drive of a 2021 Audi A4 with an advanced hybrid (over-the-air plus internet) radio receiver, and some of the results are included in the updated report. Testing focused on the differences between station guides for some of the available audio sources (which include AM, FM, SiriusXM, online and podcasts). Photos (such as the one below) are included highlighting for broadcasters the importance of providing station logos and other metadata to hybrid receivers.
- Recommended best practices: general – areas for stations to focus on generally when seeking to improve metadata usage and quality. Suggestions are offered regarding such topics as “Optimize Branding,” “Provide enhanced information about advertisers,” and “Develop non-linear content and interactive strategies.”
- Recommended best practices: engineering – information and suggestions regarding the technical side of good metadata usage, including types of equipment, a discussion on using “middleware” services to improve the quality of metadata, and loading images in automotive hybrid radios.
- Service providers list – an up-to-date list of metadata service providers used by broadcasters. This list is for informational purposes only, and service providers who are interested in appearing on this list can contact David Layer at NAB (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A summary of recommended practices (also updated) is available as well HERE, including one page of recommendations each for programming and engineering staff, as well as the up-to-date service providers list.
This is a critically important issue for radio broadcasters who all need to “step up to the plate” and improve their own metadata usage, which will at the same time help radio as a service look better on the digital dash.