Radio Feedback


This morning, while listening to some boring songs on C89.5, I was thinking that it would be great to have some sort of an “feedback” mechanism. Something extremely simple and dumb, that every radio should have – two buttons: a red and a green one. If you don’t like the song, press the red button right now. If you like it, press the green one. That way, the station can figure out the statistics somehow and broadcast only good music.

Now, how much this should cost? Nothing for the listener, but the radio stations might pay a moderate fee to get these ratings. Eventually, loyal customers that provide lots of relevant feedback should be even awarded somehow, something similar with the “karma” concept on Shashdot.

Naturally, the technology behind must be extremely simple, cheap and accessible to anybody, otherwise radio manufacturers will resist adding this stuff in their radios. Here are some basic requirements:
– The “radio” should be able to emit data somehow, or store it for a later discharge. I don’t like the idea of manually uploading the feedback data – it requires manual intervention and nobody likes that. Note that most radios today are located in cars (or so I think).
– The system should offer 100% privacy. The radio station, or any party in the middle should not be able to figure out the identity of the person sending this data. The only exception is the “feedback collection” company that owns the system.
– The system should be very secure. No third party should be able to tamper the feedback by artificially sending lots of positive or negative feedback to a certain song/program. The system should also resist to DoS attacks.

Sounds challenging… how would you implement it?

Comments (5)

  1. Some of the new radios that I have seen in cars now "automagically" display the radion station name (e.g., Cool 102.1) and the name of the song that is playing. Without knowing "how" this is done, lets assume it’s the same as the way MP3 ID tags work. So, getting the inforamtion about a song being played and where you heard it is the easy part.

    As for sending the data back. This would have to be something that is at your home. Perhaps a device like a Wireless Access Point that your car radio can detect and upload it’s data too. The rason that it would need to be at your home would be the privacy/tracking concern. Say for example your driving down the road and it uploads your data. Now someone could see that your uploading, and know where you were.. and perhaps track you all over town by your car radio. Having the base unit at home would solve that.

    A system like this would be a great marketing tool, but would require a very large initial cost up front to manufacture the equipment (say $10 per radio, and $20 per base station). Getting taht cost back on the expense of the car radio is nothing, but the base unit would be a major problem.

    Currently in the US we have the Neilson TV ratings. The provide a set top box that monitors your TV viewing habits and provides them to the broadcasters (for a fee). This type of system is no different.

  2. Audio says:

    This morning, while listening to some boring songs on C89.5, I was thinking that it would be great to have some sort of an "feedback" mechanism. Something extremely simple and dumb, that every radio should have – two buttons: a red and a green

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