RDS – Radio Data System

I was in someone elses car last night. The car stereo was tuned to ZM. For some reason, the stereo appeared to be switching between 90.9 and 93.5; the two frequencies that ZM broadcast on. But it was seamless. And then a new song started to play, and about 15 seconds later “DON T” flicked up on the screen, followed by “LIE”, then “TO”, “ME “, “BY”, “BLACK”, “EYED”, “PEAS”, “ON ZM”, “ZM ZM ZM”, then continued to alternate between “ZM 90 9” and “ZM 93 5”. I was tripping out, and everyone else in the car apart from the driver was all like “WTF?!” at it too…

Turns out it’s called Radio Data System (RDS), and does more than display text on the radio’s display. It can transmit the current time, so that your RDS enabled car stereo will remain sync’d, monitor other frequencies for traffic reports, and even turn the volume up if an emergency broadcast is detected…

Pretty neat huh? There aren’t many stations in New Zealand that support it, but I found what could be a partial or complete list on the Wood Electronics site.

4 thoughts on “RDS – Radio Data System

  1. Hey cool – they have this all over the place in the UK. My car stereo that I got over there (CD/MP3) has it. It did the traffic alerts which are soooo crucial over there – in fact, once I was listening to a traffic report on one channel and it flicked over to another one! Doh!

  2. Haha .. neat.
    It is like caller-ID for radios.

  3. andy in aussie

    and like putting track names on the cds that you buy from the stores – it would be soooo easy to do, but so seldom actually gets done.

    would be a great thing when / if it ever really catches on.

  4. Deee

    Seriously? are you living in th 18´th century here? RDS´s been around for almost 20 years here in scandinavia… But now we have DAB instead… Fully digital radio sound.

    Jeeesus…you dweebs

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