Next RDS Forum meeting on 21 & 22 October at Geneva

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The RDS Forum held its annual meeting in Glion/Montreux, Switzerland from 11 to 12 June 2012.

Workshop on the Future of FM/RDS and Digital Radio in Europe and the USA: This workshop was part of the 2012 annual meeting.

It was observed that

The Input statement to the EC’s RSPG on the Radio’s Digital Future, outlining the views of all participants in our 2011 workshop was received and we were told that our views will be taken into onsideration. The paper “Terrestrial Radio’s Digital Future in Europe” is available on this web site (see the Publications section > Position Statements) for downloading.

A first meeting of RDS/DAB experts from the RDS Forum was held at OFCOM in London, November 2010, to discuss problems regarding the transition to Digital Radio in greater detail and come up with an RDS Forum Position Paper on this issue. The RDS Guidelines were also adapted, and the work has been to 80 % completed in 2011/2012. The RDS Forum aims at mobile receivers that work smoothly with DAB and FM/RDS and that do neither need much user intervention, nor any technical knowledge of the listener. Such receivers are very much needed, specifically in the car, as the transition to Digital Radio in Europe still will take another 15 years at least.

It was agreed to draft additional RDS Guidelines on the following topics:

RDS-TMC: TISA is in charge of maintaining the ISO standards for TMC. The RDS Forum closely collaborates with TISA on this matter. The standards are being upgraded and the TISA proposals to achieve this could unfortunately not be reviewed by the RDS Forum experts, because of the copyright protection restricting the circulation of these drafts. To overcome this constraint the RDS Forum decided to ask the ISO for a Liaison D status regarding the maintenance of the RDS-TMC ISO 14819 standards.

ITU: Through the EBU, the RDS Forum collaborated with ITU-R Study Group 6 and updated ITU-R Recommendation BS.643-3 (2011) dealing with RDS.

IEC: The RDS measurements standard IEC 62634 ed.1 was adopted as proposed by the RDS Forum and published in June 2011. However in using this standard it was found that some smaller correction was needed and therefore RDS Forum continues the work and prepared for the IEC a draft of edition 2. Likewise the RDS standard IEC 62106 ed.2 was reviewed and in collaboration with the IEC and an  update is now being prepared to be issued as edition 3 during the year 2013.

RBDS: The Forum collaborated with the NAB during the past years on the updating of the US standard for RBDS. This activity was now been successfully completed.

RT+: The progress made in the implementation of RadioText Plus remains a topic to be promoted by the RDS Forum on its web site. Any news reported to the RDS Forum on the progress made in the RT+ implementation will be included in a presentation to encourage broadcasters to implement it more widely.

eRT: enhanced RadioText is a feature to provide RadioText with non-Latin alphabet character sets, all EU languages being covered. There is increasing interest to implement this new feature in car radios, designed for markets in Central and Eastern Europe. However, the RDS Forum still seeks more feedback from interested broadcasters, confirming that they really want to use this new feature. Also, the Forum likes to be informed of any implementation so that some car radio receiving field tests could then be carried out by the developers.

Extending the RDS data transmission capacity: From the xRDS project it was reported that more development was done during the past year. In cooperation with Hungary, and in particular with Magyar Radio, the Budapest University the Hungarian magazine “Radiotechnika” published an article about the development work in summer 2011. This mentioned that the additional interference created by the additional carriers was negligible, provided that the audio injection level would be a little bit reduced, which would be unnoticeable for the listener. The continuation of this development work was encouraged by the RDS Forum. It was agreed to draft an RDS Forum presentation to draw attention of the broadcasters to the possibility to enhance by a factor of two or three the RDS data transmission capacity, compatible with old receivers, but usable only with new receivers using an xRDS, if ever it were available. A detailed presentation about this project was placed on a special web site to raise more awareness about this important development. For more details refer to

PS: The dynamic PS tests in France still continue, still with the constraint that only programme relevant information shall be given. The same and perhaps additional information shall also be distributed using the RT feature. The car radio manufacturers in the RDS Forum 2010 had confirmed that most car radios will have the RT feature implemented and broadcasters are asked to use RT and RT+ instead, and not PS, which shall remain static and give only the 8-character programme service name identification.

Proposal to improve PTY signalling for NEWS and WEATHER: The proposal from the RDS Forum 2010 will now be integrated into the newly prepared draft for IEC 62106 ed.3.

Proposal to improve cross-referencing to Digital Radio DRM and DAB/DAB+: The RDS Forum 2011 was of the view that no enhancement was needed for RDS as DAB was transmitting all cross-reference information needed by the car radio. The respective DAB specification to be used will be published later in 2012 by ETSI.

RDS web site: It was re-designed in Autumn 2010 and a new look and a simplified structure have been created. The much increased usage of the web site was analysed and documented at weekly intervals. It was thus found that the web site has some 15 000 visits a year from about 60 countries worldwide. The web site can also be used to advertise RDS relevant products. For the conditions contact the RDS Forum Office in Geneva.

RDS Forum Management Team: The present team was re-elected for another term of three years. It consists of the Chairman Johnny Beerling, the CEO Dietmar Kopitz (RDS Forum Office), the Forum’s Treasurer Frits de Jong (RDS Consultant).  Jonathan Pearce, a marketing expert from Silicon Labs UK unfortunately withdrew his participation, because in the future he will work for his company in another sector and no longer deal with RDS.

Annual member fee: In the past there was a strong devaluation of the Euro against the Swiss Franc. As all the expenses of the RDS Forum Office in Geneva are in Swiss Francs, there is really no other alternative than to ask members to pay their subscriptions as from 2013 in Swiss Francs and no longer in €’s. If this is done we could stabilise the financial situation at 2,900 Swiss Francs for each member as from the next year 2013.

Next RDS Forum annual meeting: 17 & 18 June 2013 at Hotel Victoria, Glion / Montreux, Switzerland.