Just Ask The Radio To Name That Tune

YOU'RE DRIVING DOWN THE road with the radio blaring a catchy tune you've never heard before. But you've missed the mention of the song's title, so you're clueless about how to find the album in a store. This is one frustration David J. Alwadish, founder of New York's CouponRadio Inc., thinks he can eliminate.

The 39-year-old entrepreneur holds patents on a plan to use the Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS)--a scheme that allows data to be sent over a station's operating frequency--as a new advertising channel. The setup would work something like this: Radio-station engineers would key in information about the song or ad being broadcast--perhaps in the form of an electronic coupon good for a discount on the album containing the song being played. By pushing a button on RBDS-compatible radios (expected on the market by next year), listeners can capture the data on removable memory cards. The information can then be printed out at a store's kiosk.

Alwadish says his company plans to test the system in Miami and Fort Lauderdale next year with help from Arbitron Co., a radio-station-ratings company; Interep Radio Store, an outfit that helps radio stations sell air time to advertisers, and Muze Inc., a company that has installed more than 2,000 music-store kiosks.

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