Clear Channel files patent for process to substitute songs in streams

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:45pm

New Clear Channel-developed technology would allow stations to substitute songs in streams with other tunes -- even of different lengths.

The company has filed an application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that describes the process as using a "variable buffer delay" to handle differing song lengths, allowing the stream to resume the original progamming "downstreams," as it were. explains, "content for one broadcast station may include songs or advertisements pertinent to one audience but not for the audience of another broadcast station. Another scenario finds content in a transmission from one radio station may content undesirable for the diverse audiences of the radio stations carrying the transmission."

Tom Taylor Now (which is how we learned of this story) today conjures up a good example: "It could also be applied to syndicated shows which service multiple formats - like the John Boy & Billy show, which clear on both country and rock stations."

You can read the Billboard coverage here; Tom Taylor now here; and the patent application here.

Jelli wins "Social Broadcasting User Experience" patent

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 12:10pm

"Social radio" platform company Jelli now has a patent for the "Social Broadcasting User Experience."

Jelli announced today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded it U.S. Patent 8,392,206 for its "broad range of methods related to audience participation with a broadcast."

When broadcasters use the Jelli platform, listeners use the web or Jelli mobile apps to control what's played via real-time voting and game elements. Jelli also runs its own advertising platform, which is available independent of the social platform. More than 175 radio stations use Jelli now.

Abacast granted "patent allowance" for "ad and song insertion"

Friday, November 9, 2012 - 1:35pm

Online audio tech company Abacast has announced the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded it a "patent allowance" for its method of replacing content in online broadcast simulcasts with other content.

While there are several technology companies with "ad-insertion" technology, Abacast says other patents "cover only one-for-one ad replacement," and its system "is unique in that it covers the replacement of ads with ads and additional content types such as songs."

The Abacast press release explains, "The patent for the invention titled 'Content Injection System and Methodology," allows for the broadcast ad to be replaced with ads, songs, and other Internet-specific content and is inclusive of mobile devices and tablets, in addition to PCs."

A notice of patent allowance means that the Patent Office has deemed the invention "genuinely new" and intends to award the patent when necessary fees have been paid.

System would use Pandora-like ratings to gauge user's interests, but still just a patent for now

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:50pm

iPhone musicApple has been granted a patent for a system that would let users replace ads (or other content) in audio or video broadcasts with their own content.

Apple Insider thinks the patent hints "at technology headed to the battle for the living room... the system could be tweaked for cable which would lend itself nicely to the set-top box Apple is rumored to be shopping around to U.S. providers." Just try a Google search for "Apple TV rumors" to see the level buzz in this area.

But the patent also singles out radio, whether it be AM, FM or streaming. It's actually titled, "Seamless switching between radio and local media."

Basically, it would work like this: A device using Apple's system could "determine when an upcoming broadcast segment or media item is not of interest to the user," whether it be an annoying song, a talk radio segment the user doesn't like or an ad. "When such an event is detected," writes Apple Insider, "the device will seamlessly switch to stored media until the unwanted content is completed." Stored media in this case could mean an mp3 song or podcast stored locally on the device.

The system would determine what users like and don't like using a rating system, "much like the system in place with apps like Pandora."

In other words, picture a TiVo where you can watch a short clip of a favorite show instead of an ad break.

Apple Insider goes into much more detail on Apple's new patent here.

Apple's radio app from 2010 patentThe patent is interesting as it could potentially make non-customizable radio (or TV) broadcasts much more relevant to individual listeners. Apple notes, "because the user has no control over the media broadcast, the user can typically only tune to a different media broadcast, or listen to or consume the broadcast content that is not of interest." With its system in place, a user wouldn't have to listen to such content anymore.

It could also potentially mean Apple could "strip out all the ads on your radio station," notes James Cridland in Media UK (here).

Of course, it could also mean absolutely nothing. It's just a patent for now.

In 2010, Apple submitted a patent for a native radio mobile app for AM, FM and satellite stations (RAIN coverage here; pictured left). We're all still waiting for that one. Same goes for Apple's "lifestyle companion app." Or that iPad optical stylus. For every smart cover or pinch-to-zoom patent, there's a smart bike or hybrid touchscreen desktop computer.

Point being: Apple patents hardly indicate when or even if such products or features will reach consumers’ hands. But we can't wait to find out! -- MS

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