Do you want to send Now Playing Song Data to the your Orban Optimod RDS Encoder, from your Radio Automation System? MetaRadio makes this possible. This article explains the setup of MetaRadio and Orban Optimod, allowing the current song title and artist to be displayed on compatible FM RDS receivers.

Sending song now-playing information to your RDS system has clear advantages for your listeners and also your station. Now Playing data enhances the listener experience by allowing them to discover new tracks, and unlocks additional advertising opportunities by displaying promotional messages on your screen.

RDS is an optional feature within FM Broadcasting, which allows you to embed additional data. The most common fields are the Station’s Name (PS) and RadioText (RT). RadioText can be up to 128 characters long, and often contains data such as the current song title/artist. You can also display other information such as station promotional information, program guide data, news and weather, and more.

RDS is generated via a RDS Encoder. Sometimes stations use a standalone RDS Encoder, and other times they use the RDS Encoder built-in to their FM Audio Processor. The Orban Optimod line of processors contain in-built FM RDS Encoders. This guide shows you how to send your now-playing data to the RDS Encoder in your Orban Optimod.

We support most modern Optimod FM models such as 5950, 8700i, 8700i LT, 5700i, 8600, and 8600Si. Other models may also be supported.

What is MetaRadio?

MetaRadio is software which acts as a connector for your radio station’s metadata. It enables you to send your now playing data to dozens of different types of systems (including RDS), and also unlocks new opportunities for revenue and promotions by inserting commercial and non-commercial messages between your song data. While many automation systems can send data directly to some of these third party broadcast systems, MetaRadio aims to connect all your systems together and provide advanced features.

MetaRadio takes all the hard work out of connecting your metadata. There’s no need for custom scripting – MetaRadio does everything you need out of the box.

Getting Song Data From your Radio Automation System

Before you can send your song metadata to your Orban Optimod, you must first install MetaRadio and connect it to your radio automation system.

MetaRadio has over 30 different input system – including all the major Radio Automation System vendors.

There is a free trial available so you can test the entire system before committing to purchase.

Preparing your Orban Optimod

You also need to prepare to your Orban Optimod. Your Optimod should be on the same network as your MetaRadio PC, so the two systems can communicate.

We use the Terminal Server in your Optimod. This needs to be configured for a specific IP Address and Port. The IP address and Port is specified in “Network Settings” in your Optimod. The “Terminal Port” or “RDS IP Port” is used to connect to MetaRadio.

This port must be accessible from your PC running MetaRadio, so ensure you have a firewall or VPN configured appropriately between your PC and Optimod.

Some Optimod’s will have a “Source IP Address” setting. Set this to 0.0.0.0 to allow any PC to connect, or set it to the IP Address of your MetaRadio PC to only allow connections from that PC.

Some Optimod’s will not output RadioText until the “Radio Text Speed (DRTS)” has been set to something. We recommend setting this to the lowest value.

Some Optimod’s won’t accept RadioText data until the Optimod PC software is closed. This is because they only allow one connection at a time. If you are experiencing connection problems, ensure no other software is connected.

Sending Now Playing Data to your Orban Optimod

Now we have successfully configured MetaRadio, our Automation System, and our Orban Optimod – we are ready to connect all these systems together.

All configuration in this step is done in the MetaRadio Configuration App. By default, the MetaRadio configuration app is available by going to http://127.0.0.1:9606/

MetaRadio’s configuration interface lets you control all settings within MetaRadio.

  • The left contains the menu with various options – including the Input and  Output settings.
  • The centre of the screen contains information about your system, including license details, and a summary of the inputs and outputs you have setup.

The options you see available will vary depending on the version you have installed, and the license options you have installed.

In the left menu of MetaRadio, click on “Outputs”. Find your station, and click “Add Output”. Now you can select Orban Optimod (RDS) from the list, and configure its settings.

Click “Add Output System” under the Orban Optimod RDS Heading. You can now configure your RDS data.

Enter the IP Address of your Orban Optimod.

Enter the TCP Terminal Port Number which you configured in your Optimod. By default this is Port 23.

You can then configure the messages that rotate. The “Now Playing Text Format” messages rotate whenever a song is playing. The “Default/Fallback Text” messages rotate whenever a song is not playing. The Message Interval determines how long a message displays on the screen.

Click Save, and then click “Apply & Restart” up the top to restart MetaRadio.

The black MetaRadio window will now display a status update whenever a new messages is sent to your RDS Encoder.

If data is not displaying on your radio receiver, check the following:

  • Check the black MetaRadio status windows for errors
  • Check your network allows connections from your MetaRadio PC to your Optimod
  • Check your Optimod is configured correctly.

Support & Next Steps

Thanks for choosing MetaRadio to manage your now playing song data needs. Make sure you explore all the features, such as station scheduling, message scheduling, and all of our advanced output options. Please get in touch with us if you ever need assistance!

If you have any trouble with this process or it’s not working, please send the MetaRadio log files through to our support team. We’re here to help! You’ll find the support bundle file in MetaRadio’s dashboard.