Making it easier to discover station logos with RadioDNS

Nick Piggott,
RadioDNS Station logos in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

We’re always here to answer questions about how to implement and use RadioDNS, and our most frequently asked question is

How do I find radio station logos using RadioDNS?

So we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to finding station logos. It’s not exhaustive, but it should get you familiar with how RadioDNS works.

Once you’ve walked through the example, and maybe tried with a couple of radio stations local to you, you need to remember to do two important things:

  • Read the official documentation. The walk-through covers the most common scenario, but make sure you cover them all properly, and take care of things like cache-control.
  • Remember that broadcasters still own the rights in their metadata, so you can’t use it just as you please. If they have a licence signalled in the “terms” attribute in their SI.xml file, read it and check you’re OK with their allowed usage. If they don’t, contact them, and ask if it’s OK. (Or contact us, and we’ll put you in contact with them).

We’re still developing our Standard Licence, which gives everyone certainty on how to use metadata. Update on that when it’s ready for you to look at.

RadioDNS Certification – What and Why?

Nick Piggott,

Last week, Xperi (one of our members) announced that their Connected Radio platform had certified compliance with RadioDNS standards for Project Logo functionality. Whilst our testing and verification process has been running for a while, this seemed like a good time to explain why we offer this service to our members.

RadioDNS is a collection of open technology standards that allow anyone to build platforms and services around hybrid radio, without a licence or similar agreement with RadioDNS. It’s free in both senses of the word – unrestricted and without cost.

To broadcasters and manufacturers looking to buy RadioDNS solutions from technology providers we have one clear message – make sure that what you’re buying is a proper implementation of RadioDNS by looking for the RadioDNS logo. As more suppliers come to the market, some of the less scrupulous ones will offer solutions that aren’t interoperable and create technology lock-ins.

RadioDNS certification is a service we offer to our members that allows them to test their implementations against a reference implementation, and if they pass, receive certification. Once certified, a provider is allowed to use the RadioDNS logo in the marketing of their service or platform. So if you see the RadioDNS logo alongside an implementation, it means it’s been verified as working correctly.

There’s some points to be aware of:

  • Testing and validation isn’t exhaustive, so you should make sure that your technology provider will make good for free any faults that they find in respect to implementing our standards
  • Technology providers aren’t required to implement all of the RadioDNS standards – there’s a lot of them. So check the details to see what functionality has been verified with RadioDNS, and what might not be.
  • Some technology providers might offer different levels of RadioDNS service. Ask how much it will cost you if you want to enable more functionality than their baseline offering.

We currently offer automated testing of client implementations (that’s radio receivers), and we’ll be implementing automated testing of server implementations (which is what radio stations use) during 2018.

Automated Fault Reporting

Once we’ve have rolled our both client and server testing, we’ll also enable automated fault reporting. If someone spots a problem with a RadioDNS service on a receiver, the manufacturer can use the platform to work out if the problem is with their client implementation, or a fault at the broadcaster. If it’s a broadcaster fault, then they can raise a fault report quickly and directly with that broadcaster. We think this is valuable to manufacturers, and helps improve the quality of RadioDNS powered experiences.

Licensing of Broadcaster Content and Metadata

Certification tests the technical performance of the system, including functionality like expiration of assets and documents. This will sit alongside the requirement for manufacturers to abide by licences offered by broadcasters for their metadata and content, which we’ll explain separately.

This diagram explains how everything fits together; the licence for metadata and content offered by a broadcaster to a manufacturer; the compliance of the technology providers to their customers; the test points for compliance, and the ultimate protection of the interface between both systems using our open standards.

So look out for RadioDNS certified solutions from technology providers when you’re choosing to invest in hybrid radio. It’s your guarantee of durability and interoperability.

WorldDAB and RadioDNS announce guidelines for the use of broadcaster logos in car

Nick Piggott,

WorldDAB and RadioDNS have produced a set of guidelines for automotive manufacturers and broadcasters. The guidelines outline best practise for broadcasters with services on FM and DAB to supply and update brand logos, and guidance to automotive manufacturers for downloading and display of these logos. Based on open standards, the guidelines aim to provide clarity and certainty to help deliver the best radio experience to drivers.

As modern automotive devices evolve, drivers are accustomed to interacting with larger format screens, able to show richer visual information. With automotive manufacturers looking to improve the user experience, the use of brand logos to enhance radio service navigation becomes more commonplace and it’s essential that logos are up to date and the correct format for the screen.

For broadcasters, the document sets out how to provide logos over both IP and DAB/DAB+, including the correct format and defined sizes. For automotive manufacturers and suppliers, it shows how to acquire these logos and how they can be refreshed and updated.

“Radio is still hugely popular in cars and must continue to offer the best possible experience to drivers as cars go digital and get connected – part of which is displaying consistent, branding and content,” said Laurence Harrison, Chair of the WorldDAB Automotive Working Group. “WorldDAB has worked together with RadioDNS, EBU and several other key industry groups to produce these guidelines and provide clarity and reassurance to both car manufacturers and broadcasters on how to work together.”

“Too often in cars we see out of date or incorrect logos, or broadcasters not making the most of the screen space available – this set of recommendations will help both broadcasters and automotive manufacturers deliver the best experience to drivers and listeners,” said Nick Piggott, Project Director, RadioDNS. “The document will continue to evolve over time and we’d encourage any interested parties to get in touch if they’d like to contribute or find out more.”

The document can be downloaded from our Project Logo page and anyone interested in contributing or with questions can contact logo@radiodns.org.

WorldDAB and RadioDNS will be hosting a joint Automotive Workshop during EBU’s Digital Radio Week. The workshop takes place on Tuesday 13th February at 14:00 and more information on this, and the RadioDNS Hybrid Radio Seminar, can be found here.

HbbTV and RadioDNS working together to enable hybrid TV

Nick Piggott,

Our mission is to promote and enable hybrid radio by using DNS to seamlessly join together broadcast radio and IP. We use IP to deliver enhanced content and functionality for broadcast radio. That mission is very similar to that of the HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) Association.

We’ve been working with them to add DNS discovery of IP applications for TV, and we’re pleased to announce that we’re now going to be doing for TV what we’ve been successfully doing for radio – operating DNS lookup servers.

All the details are in this release from HbbTV. We’ll continue to offer exactly the same high-quality reliable service for radio stations, but alongside that we’ll be offering the same for TV.

It’s a really exciting development for RadioDNS, and it’s great that our strategy of using DNS to link broadcast and IP is being adopted by the TV industry.