NYPR strengthens its presence on the scoreboard

A version of this story appeared in the Radio World e-book “A Call to Action: Radio’s Existential Battle for Dash.”

New York Public Radio is building its digital future and working to ensure its relevance in connected cars. The multi-pronged strategy includes the integration of Rapid software from Xperi’s All In Media division.

The software allows stations to automatically collect or manually create rich visual content and publish it to digital, FM, online and mobile radio platforms.

NYPR owns two major FM stations in New York. It is the flagship news, talk and information station WNYC and classic station WQXR.

Steve Shultis

“We know how visible and competitive the dashboard is, with rich graphics and data from Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Sirius XM, TuneIn Radio,” Chief Technology Officer Steve Shultis said in late 2021.

“Human nature loves bling, it loves eye candy, so you have to have a logo, you have to have deep metadata to attract the customer and retain them, just to be able to compete.

The Good Humperdinck

AIM and its founder Chris Gould helped NYPR create public-facing metadata and visual displays integrated into its HD Radio systems and MetaPub public radio system.

Once the work is complete, listeners on the two FM stations equipped with HD radios will see album art on the classical music station and other Artist Experience visuals on the news/talk station.

The Rapid software is a sophisticated cloud-based metadata distribution tool that acts as middleware, collecting information from the station’s website, automation system or third-party vendor. There are other middleware systems, but this one has access to an unusual resource

“DTS now owns TiVo and Rapid as well as Xperi,” Shultis said. “So once you sign the deal with them, you have access to all of this metadata from TiVo, an incredible array of artist experiences, metadata, and album art. For us, this is particularly desired on the classic side.

Historically, he said, it has been difficult to align album art with classical music content; WQXR has seen match rates as low as 30%. These issues led the station to disable its Artist Experience metadata until a better solution was found.

“There are so many versions of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. And there’s a German classical composer called Engelbert Humperdinck – we knew things weren’t right when the audience was calling us saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got the singer Engelbert Humperdinck salon that is performing today. ‘ It was embarrassing. And because we couldn’t get the match rate we needed, we unplugged.

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Shultis expects Rapid to resolve these issues.

“It can also be your single source of truth for your metadata, ensuring that you are using correct and consistent taxonomy across different areas of the radio station.”

Rapid is also a planning tool.

“So if at 10 a.m. we’re on ‘The Brian Lehrer Show’ and at 12 p.m. we’re on ‘All of It’, both of which are live shows, Rapid can keep those times and change the metadata at the right time. Producers can enter specific metadata for their show as they go or do it before. And then Rapid can push the metadata to websites, push sites, and wherever it goes.

Rapid will also be integrated with a new comprehensive digital asset management system that will serve the entire NYPR enterprise.

“Among many things, it will provide hierarchical storage management, a fancy term that just means that if you haven’t touched a digital asset for about 30 days, it will move it to lower tier storage which might take a little more time to recover, although you have compressed proxies immediately,” Shultis said.

This approach will break down the silos that have grown up within the business, with different departments managing assets and metadata differently. The new DAM will also help the organization better manage its massive historical audio archive dating back 85 years.

“Rapid serves as a cohesive delivery arm of our metadata, so it will integrate with this new digital asset management system.”

Conceptual inputs/outputs for Rapid.

In short, NYPR is switching many back-end systems to less — emphasizing a primary storage system and a primary distribution system — partly in an effort to present a more cohesive face to listeners.

Shultis cites the example of the “RadioLab” program. An episode can have four or more versions: the broadcast show, with breaks for subscription; a podcast with breaks for different subscriptions; a “members only” podcast that has no subscription; and a streaming version. All have slightly different metadata requirements.

“When a listener tunes into a NY public radio station, whether in the car or on a podcast, the logos will be the same; and now the metadata will be standardized, with the “NY Public Radio look and feel”.

Shultis is also a firm believer in “segment-level” metadata.

“More is better. When someone logs on in the middle of an interview, they’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a great interview, but who is it? So instead of just introducing ‘All Things Considered “, the screen will say something like “All Things Considered, an interview with Paul McLane”. I would advise any engineer to go as far as possible. The public is hungry for that, and that’s what our competitors are doing .

Digital Marketplace

New York Public Radio also supports DTS AutoStage as part of its digital strategy.

Shultis was attracted to its service tracking feature, in which a receiver switches from the OTA signal to the station stream if the vehicle leaves the coverage area.

“We’re big on podcasting and streaming. We deliver over a petabyte of data per month of podcasts and streams of our programming. So when I heard about this idea through NAB and Xperi, I was all for it,” he said.

The logo on the dashboard of a car with DTS AutoStage.

“This is especially important for New Yorkers, who can commute an hour and a half by car from the suburbs, which can easily be outside the coverage area of ​​a metro station. Broadcasters have tried to do this all the way through single frequency networks – so you can switch to your next repeater site to keep the listener engaged.

Shultis can’t wait to see more cars on the road with DTS AutoStage. He’s excited about the way WNYC and WQXR metadata is displayed on his screen in a Mercedes S-Class, an implementation that includes a helpful carousel tuning view and also presents the station’s logo to the driver directly behind the wheel. as well as the central column. filter.

WNYC logo on the carousel tuning screen in a car with DTS AutoStage.

Overall, Shultis expressed to his station’s management the importance of managing their visual product.

“I just bought a basic Subaru. It has a nice wide flat screen with HD Radio in it. Older analog radio cars are dying out, and the HD radio market in the New York DMA now has over 50% car penetration, so that’s what we’re doing to be competitive in that market.

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