Action steps required! How to futureproof Arizona local radio in the car

June 6, 2022 by Arizona Media Association Uncategorized Comments Off on Action steps required! How to futureproof Arizona local radio in the car

The ABA’s 2022 consumer research makes clear the importance of radio stations investing in their “digital dashboard” to LOOK as good as they sound.

If stations don’t do this, radio will likely slide down in placement with connected car solutions and stations may eventually lose control of their appearance in future vehicles. The ABA looks at this as an immediate threat.
New cars are getting increasingly smart and that impacts how local radio displays on entertainment systems. Every automaker has their own solution for in-car audio and digital displays. Unfortunately, local radio stations show up on these screens in multiple ways from RDS, HD Radio and hybrid radio technology. These systems put text and artwork on the car screen to match programming.

There’s no universal local radio standard for how to use this technology and many stations don’t use it at all. That has created a complex user experience for consumers and it’s now a threat for local radio because it has automakers de-prioritizing local radio connections in favor or sleeker audio solutions that better integrate with new technology. We can overcome this, but it requires action in every market and by every radio station, from big stations and small.

  1. Learn the connected car lingo and technology. An easy place to start is by reading the NAB’s Digital Dashboard summary. It’s a lot of information – but it makes everything feel less scary.
  2. Make the decision to embrace visual RDS technology and encoders at your radio station or take the next step and move to HD Radio. This is one of the only ways to compete with the digital experience consumers expect.
  3. Find a metadata service provider to help implement your visual radio station experience and keep looking at competitors to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Here’s a list of some of the biggest vendors. 
  4. Adopt standards for how your station uses RDS and HD Radio to match what car makers are asking for and what other stations are already doing. The NAB has digested this into a simple set of best practices
  5. Ask questions. Lots of them.