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In the New Electronic World, Broadcast Stations Become Cyberstations

April 14, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Car or home receivers will let radio listeners get e-mail, stock quotes and traffic information for a particular road or neighborhood. Technology could turn radio stations into cyberstations. Digital maps and other graphics are saving TV stations time and money.

That’s a sample of new technology _ developed or in the works _ on display at the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention in Las Vegas this week. The companies are all small, privately held and young _ 12 years old and under.

Digital DJ Inc. of San Jose, Calif., for example, licenses technology and manages a service that allows people to receive data transmissions at the same time they are listening to the radio at home or in the car. Information appears on a small screen on the radio.

KPIX-FM, a news and talk radio station in San Francisco, plans to use the company’s service so listeners can get traffic, business, news and sports information on demand. A station also can sell advertising with the data services, creating a new source of revenue.

Receivers are being built by Sharp, Goldstar and Sanyo and are expected to cost $150. Joel Schwartz, sales and marketing director for Digital DJ, said they will be available through KPIX and other stations that use the service or through some retail stores. Sanyo Semiconductor Corp., Sony Corp., Oki and Nichimen Corp. are investors in the project.

Because each receiver has the equivalent of an electronic identification tag, stations can provide listeners with customized information, like stock quotes of specific companies or sports scores for favorite teams, Schwartz said.

Xing Technology Corp. of Arroyo Grande, Calif., is showing technology that allows TV or radio stations to broadcast over the Internet _ transforming regular stations into cyberstations.

For a one-time charge of $6,000, stations get FM-quality audio over the Internet. For $10,000, they get audio and video that moves at a few frames a second, looking ``better than a slide show, said spokeswoman Peggy Tayloe. The charges include connections to the Internet.

KPIG-FM in Santa Cruz, Calif., uses the audio and WGN’s TV and AM stations in Chicago uses both, she said.

For computer users to listen or watch the broadcasts, they must have Xing’s StreamWorks software. Available free from the company’s site on the World Wide Web, the software lets a person listen to a radio station on the Internet or view video clips in ``real time″ as sound and images come into their computers or any time they choose.

Why would a station want to do this?

Xing president Howard Gordan said a station can expand its audience _ not only in number, but geographically _ potentially boosting advertising revenues. Stations also can spread program costs over the different media. And because broadcasts can be provided on demand, ``people can see or hear programs if they missed the original broadcast,″ Gordan said.

Telos Systems of Cleveland is showing a prototype of technology that allows radio stations to broadcast over the Internet and sound as good as a CD. People can listen in real time, using standard modems and phone lines, said Neil Glassman, Telos’ marketing director.

In addition to its advertising potential, Glassman said stations also can target an attractive demographic: young people with money to burn.

A broadcaster can buy the technology that would be installed at the station for between $30,000 and $35,000, but the station would have to pay for its own Internet connection, Glassman said.

Stations that want only infrequent Internet broadcasts can lease the technology and an Internet connection through Telos or some other affiliated provider for a price to be determined, Glassman said.

Digital Wisdom Inc.’s computer graphics appear in the movie ``Mission Impossible.″ The company publishes digital maps of all 50 states, 250 countries, their topographies, flags and 3-D globes on CD-ROMs. Prices range from $200 for a relief map of the United States to $795 for a worldwide set of relief maps.

Broadcasters can customize all of the graphics with their own information, saving stations time and money. The graphics can be used in newscasts and other programs, said co-founder David Broad, from the company’s Tappahannock, Va., office. ABC Television, CNN and the BBC use Digital Wisdom’s graphics.

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