Radio Broadcast Data System

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What Does Radio Broadcast Data System Mean?

The Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) is the American equivalent of the Radio Data System (RDS) protocol, which is the standard protocol for the distribution and propagation of data by FM radio signals. The two standards (RDS and RBDS) are more or less the same. The main difference is in the classification of the program type that is transmitted, such as news, sports, drama, pop music and jazz music.


Techopedia Explains Radio Broadcast Data System

RBDS can be used to transmit various types of data, such as data related to the transmitted radio program, including the name of the station or the name of the track or the artist. It can be used for many other purposes, particularly for hidden messages and signals.

RDS has been in use in Europe and Latin America since the early 1990s. An FM broadcast receiver equipped with RBDS capability is sometimes called a “smart radio.” Data carried by RBDS includes:

  • Alternative frequencies (AF)
  • Clock time (CT)
  • Enhanced other networks (EON)
  • Program identification (PI)
  • Program service (PS)
  • Program type (PTY)
  • Radio text (RT)
  • Travel announcements (TA)
  • Traffic program (TP)
  • Traffic message channel (TMC)

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.