Is RDS installed in your station? What is it and should you be looking into it?
I find myself in new places all the time on my travels to studios, from small rural communities to the larger capital cities. Like all self respecting radio enthusiasts I scan the dial wherever I go to see who’s broadcasting and what content I can dive into. I am continually shocked to see stations of all sizes and budgets who have overlooked Radio Data Service (RDS). As a standard feature on most car radios and receivers today, it is astounding that RDS isn’t the standard across the FM band. In my view, the feature set, ease and cost effectiveness of this unit make it an essential piece of infrastructure for all stations, irrespective of size.
In its most simple deployment, RDS is a means of communicating your station callsign to the listener, promoting your brand and improving ease of ‘tuning in’ for locals and travelers. In a more complete set up, RDS can be a key asset in emergency broadcasting and commercial engagement used to alert listeners to a news bulletin or traffic, or to introduce phone information for fundraising or talkback purposes. RDS can show track and artist data directly from your automation system, and can retune to your alternate frequencies or rebroadcast sites as listeners travel through a region. RDS is not limited to digital or internet radio, it does not require additional licensing or permissions. Install an RDS encoder in your FM broadcast chain today without significant investment, set up using a web browser on any PC. You don’t need to be a broadcast engineer to install it and you don’t want to be the local station on air without it.