A printer media supply spool adapted to allow the printer to sense type of media, and method of assembling same. The supply spool comprises a shaft having a supply of media ribbon wound thereabout. A transceiver unit is disposed proximate the shaft. The transceiver is capable of transmitting a first electromagnetic field and sensing a second electromagnetic field. A transponder including a semi-conductor chip is integrally connected to the shaft and has encoded data stored in the chip indicative of the type of media ribbon. The chip is capable of receiving the first electromagnetic field to power the chip and then generating the second electromagnetic field as the chip is powered. The second electromagnetic field is characteristic of the data stored in the chip. The transceiver unit senses the second electromagnetic field, which second electromagnetic field has the data subsumed therein.