Among a number of new digital radio applications appearing for the first time at the 2010 NAB Show was a new approach by iBiquity Digital designed to extend the reach of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Designed to permit equipped devices to "wake up" and provide an audible alert in the event of an actual EAS activation, the company's Active Radio technology provides continuous monitoring regardless of the device being turned on or off.
Demo messages sent on the NAB Show floor were composed using a software package provided by SpectraRep, a managed network, application and system provider. An Active Radio-equipped receiver demonstrated the system's ability to deliver both text and audible messaging once a receiver powers up during an alert.
Active Radio EAS takes advantage of HD Radio's ancillary data capacity to transmit data directly to a system processor and represents a first generation of devices employing E chip functionality, a concept envisioned throughout the history of EAS by emergency planners.
The HD Radio Emergency Alert broadcast protocol is compliant with the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message definition now under adoption by FEMA and other emergency organizations. Ibiquity also notes that broadcasters can utilize the audio and data channels of their HD Radio signal to send multilingual announcements, text alerts and image data to alert-enabled receivers.
Ibiquity and NPR are reportedly working preparing an actual on-air test of the technology at member station WAMU in Washington, DC.