HD Radio Delivers COVID-19 Public Service Messages

Digital radio broadcasting allows radio stations to connect with their local communities with new services and platforms to deliver content.  This type of community outreach has been critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As the public wants to learn more information about local data and conditions, radio stations have been reaching out with regular news updates and public service messaging using their HD Radio™ services.  Over the past several months, our HD Radio team has assisted radio stations as they develop their messages and communications to the local communities during COVID-19.  There has been a significant amount of radio programming and comments about social distancing campaigns.  Much of this messaging is enabled through the digital radio services.

HD Radio team completed a study of how radio stations are using HD Radio to communicate about COVID-19 outbreak. We used the HD Radio Monitor Network system to capture broadcast data and service information from multiple HD Radio markets across North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico).  This monitor network regularly provides service and quality updates on HD Radio broadcasts in major markets. We have seen examples in U.S., Canada, and Mexico where radio broadcasters are using the program text messages and the image services to highlight news stories, providing public service notifications and images for social distancing, and sending out informational URLs for access to more news and safety tips.

The study analyzed program service data (program text fields) from HD Radio stations during February 15 through May 31, 2020. We set the analysis to review text fields in English, Spanish, and French using keywords “wash”, “hands”, “COVID”, “coronavirus”, and “social distance” in each of the languages.  The results were definitive -- 39 markets and 76 stations utilize PSD to communicate information to listeners.   COVID-19 messaging was identified in 1,810 times in news programs, 226 news headlines, 445 info URLs and 676 times in public service announcements.

  You can review the recent Radio World article :  Digital Radio Has Expanded Community Messaging.

  What is significant is the continued power of radio to reach local communities and convey important and potentially life-saving information.  Our study highlights the reach of digital radio services across 39 major cities with 76 radio stations – each one offering critical news and public service announcements.  Our team continues to support radio stations as they expand messaging and services to local communities.