EPISODE is to create a database for the broadcasting sector on EU or national projects involving a special non-stop radio traffic message channel (TMC) which will be implemented in several Member States as a new service. Wide availability of such a database is now vital to ensure that TMC can be implemented in an economic way. It is also needed for the complex task of adding TMC material to studio-to-transmitter data channels, to ensure a reliable service without compromising live broadcasting. The project is expected to speed up the introduction of commonly agreed broadcasting systems, and related European standards.
The EPISODE project will assess all Research and Implementation projects with any "TMC(Traffic Message Channel) components" at the European and National levels and create a single database of activities that affect broadcasters in Europe. This database will be regularly updated during the project timetable and disseminated widely.
Whilst previous RTD projects under DRIVE 1 and 2 have developed RDS-TMC (Radio Data System - Traffic Message Channel) components that are nearing readiness for implementation, full specification broadcast systems for the provision of continuous 24hr per day delivery of RDS-TMC have not been assembled before. It is vital to the broadcast community that the EPISODE data base is disseminated to broadcasters, network operators, service providers and equipment suppliers to ensure common approaches and economic solutions.
In essence broadcasters will be affected by RDS-TMC in 2 key ways. Firstly new message generation systems, manual or automatic, will create many new sources of travel and traffic information (TTI) which will require editorial management by broadcasters to ensure compatibility on-air between RDS-TMC and the continuing spoken messages on radio or teletext on TV. Secondly the integration of these TTI messages, no matter where they are generated, into a data channel between studio and transmitter is a complex matter. So that existing broadcasting is not compromised, great care will be needed in adding the RDS-TMC data to the programme related data, to ensure reliable service to the user/listener.
The EPISODE project will ensure a detailed survey of these issues is undertaken and it will inform all parties about the issues of integrating RDS-TMC into live broadcast systems. The key benefit will be to give an impetus to commonly agreed broadcast systems and methodologies, to agreed European standards, that can be implemented more widely. This could lead to economic equipment supply, speedier installations and therefore more efficient and quicker European expansion of RDS-TMC services.