Posts Categorised: digital radio

ANCOM is launching a public consultation to gauge market interest in the allocation of spectrum for terrestrial digital broadcasting services

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania’s National Authority for Communications Administration and Regulation (ANCOM) announced on March 13 it is launching a public consultation to gauge market interest in the allocation of spectrum available in the VHF and UHF band for terrestrial digital broadcasting services, according to .

“The opinions expressed during this consultation will serve to substantiate ANCOM’s decisions on the granting of rights of use for digital terrestrial broadcasting services,” according to ANCOM’s press release.

Across Europe, the VHF (174-230 MHz) and UHF (470-694 MHz) bands were allocated to provide digital terrestrial television and radio services. ANCOM said that following international negotiations, Romania has obtained two T-DAB national multiplexes and a DVB-T national digital terrestrial multiplex.

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This new project will be added to a series of vital projects that aim to keep pace with the rapid technical progress around the globe

KUWAIT CITY — The Kuwait Minister of Information Mohammad Al-Jabri on March 8 launched a project to update shortwave transmitters at Kabd station from analog to digital, with plans in place to use the open standard Digital Radio Mondiale, according to .

Kabd station, with the new DRM system, will allow “Kuwait’s voice” to reach the entire Middle East region, Europe and Asia, the minister noted.

[Related: “New Digital Radio Transmissions Start in Kuwait and Algeria “]

This new project for the ministry will be added to a series of vital projects that aim to keep pace with the rapid technical progress around the globe, Al-Jabri told KUNA and the Kuwait TV. 

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Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner spoke about the uniqueness of radio as compared to online competitors

KUALA LUMPUR — The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union held its Digital Broadcasting Symposium in Kuala Lumpur. Let’s take a look at some of the more germane news, as reported by .

Joan Warner, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia and well-known radio advocate, spoke to the delegates about the uniqueness of our medium when stacked up against new competitors online, including social media. “In radio’s case, and it has happened in some countries, is they’ve forgotten what people value about radio is it’s live and local – you can talk to people, you can talk to your Prime Minister live on air if you want to, you can tweet, you can engage via social media.

“Traditional broadcasters have to remember what the key strengths are (of radio) and don’t be frightened by the future. But also don’t feel so threatened, as some people in traditional media seem to feel, because the billions of people listening to radio around the world are not going away any time soon.”

Why do we never hear Warner speaking in the US? It’d be great to have her address the NAB Show.

Alexander Zink, senior business development Manager at Fraunhofer IIS, was asked about the potential impact of India’s DRM rollout on the rest of the world. “Whatever’s going on in India and the big members of ABU like Indonesia…definitely has an impact on the rest of the world.”

“Digitizing the FM band (in India) in particular will give the opportunity for smartphone manufacturers to support digital radio there under the FM band natively with a simple firmware upgrade on the devices without requiring any additional chips,” he said, quoted in the same article.

Zink talked about private broadcasters in India already getting excited about the possibilities of digital radio, and there will be “great reverberations from the whole Asia-Pacific region, where the big smartphone manufacturers are, and yes there is lots of impact on the whole region.” 

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Lars Peder Lundgren from the manufacturer Paneda shared some examples of advanced DAB+ and hybrid features

KUALA LUMPUR — At the recent Digital Broadcast Symposium hosted by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, Lars Peder Lundgren from the manufacturer Paneda shared some examples of advanced DAB+ and hybrid features, particularly focusing on the importance of interaction with listeners, according to asiaradiotoday . He shared the results of a test undertaken by RTL 102.5 , a commercial radio station in Italy: The station developed a Facebook application where listeners could add “likes” and comments, and these would subsequently be fed straight into the DAB system.

“…they had an allocated space, below the picture (on the DAB radio) where the data came from that (Facebook) application,” said Lundgren. “They did this test for a number of reasons. They wanted to know — do we get more listeners doing this? Do they stay tuned longer? Yes, they did. And most important – they didn’t change programs during commercial breaks,” he said, quoted in the same article. The station got around a thousand new listeners every week during the test.

Not to play the role of skeptic here, but are we sure the station wouldn’t have gained a thousand listeners per week even without that experiment? Lundgren should have included that information as well.

Speaking of Italy, one of that country’s largest broadcasters is hosting a seminar on digital radio on April 13, from 2–6 p.m. at RAI’s facility, Sala B, at 10 Via Asiago, in Rome, according to . Speakers will include:

  • Patrick Hannon, the President of WorldDAB
  • Graham Dixon, the head of Radio for EBU
  • Stefano Ciccotti, Rai Technical Chief Officer
  • Angelo Marcello Cardani, Agcom President.
  • Sergio Natucci, Chief Operating Officer of DAB Italia
  • Jacqueline Bierhorst, Project Director by Digital Radio NL and Vice-President of WorldDAB
  • Ole Jørgen Torvmark of Digital Radio Norway
  • Jørn Erik Jensen of Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK)
  • Georg Plattner, Director of RAS Fernsehen und Radio für Südtirol.

In Germany, the Thuringian State Media Authority (TLM) has welcomed the planned “Call for Interest” for the use of a state-wide private DAB + multiplex, reports . As the TLM announced on March 7, the appeal should promote the discussion of private radio stations in Thuringia: The securing of the necessary frequencies for the participation of private radio broadcasters; addressing newly interested parties; and, as a result, the start of Thuringian network planning.

In the UK, the ten small-scale DAB trial multiplexes will continue operating until at least the 31st of March of 2020, reports . These multiplexes are on-air in Bristol, Manchester, Portsmouth, London, Cambridge, Aldershot, Brighton & Hove, Norfolk, Glasgow and Birmingham.

The trial extension will also allow the UK’s Ofcom to continue to gather information to help inform a new, formal framework for licensing small-scale DAB multiplexes across the UK, which is currently in develop.m.ent. Ofcom expects that interested parties, including the current trial licensees as well as those not taking part, will have the opportunity to apply for such licences under the new framework in 2019, according to the same article.

Ten trial licenses were awarded in 2015 to parties in different areas who wanted to operate a small-scale DAB multiplex. The downside of the trial multiplexes is that they cover a relatively small geographical area compared to local and national DAB multiplexes; the upside is small-scale DAB trials keep costs low by making use of relatively inexpensive transmission equip.m.ent and the freely available ‘open-source’ software.

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CBU to Host DRM Webinar

A new webinar series focuses on digital radio

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The Caribbean Broadcasting Union has announced its inaugural Digital Radio webinar series with the topic of Digital Radio Mondiale.

While the emphasis has been placed so far on the transition from analog to digital television, digital audio broadcasting is now coming into focus with broadcasters and manufacturers offering solutions for digital radio. Two standards for digital radio are Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB/DAB+). Both the DRM Consortium and WorldDAB have partnered with the Union at its Annual Assemblies in Havana in 2016 and in Nassau in 2017 to share with CBU radio members the options and benefits of digital radio and the best ways to transition to the digital age in radio.

CBU members can learn more about the two standards during a series of webinars that will get underway in March 2018 with the DRM webinar. During the DRM webinar scheduled for 11 a.m. (Eastern Caribbean time) on March 22, CBU members will hear from experts: DRM Chair Ruxandra Obreja, Alexander Zink of Fraunhofer IIS in Germany and Matthias Stoll from Ampegon, Switzerland. This event will focus on just why digital radio can be a better option than analog for listeners and for the industry. Business models for digital radio operations in small markets and opportunities for training of staff will also be touched upon. 

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DRM Consortium to Exhibit at BES Expo

A three-day conference coincides with the exhibition, will include two DRM sessions on Feb. 28

NEW DELHI — The DRM Consortium, represented by its Indian and international members and partners (including All India Radio, Ampegon, BBC, Fraunhofer IIS, Gospell Digital Technologies, Nautel, NXP, and others), will be exhibiting at the international BES conference and exhibition on terrestrial and satellite broadcasting, taking place in New Delhi, India, Feb. 26–28.

BES EXPO is rated as the biggest broadcast technology show in India with nearly 300 exhibitors from 25 countries and an estimated 3,000 professionals and decision-makers attending.

The DRM Consortium and Gospell Digital Technology ( ) will welcome visitors to booths 21 and 22, where it is exhibiting its latest DRM receiver models (including a DRM and Bluetooth car kit). The latest model of one of the leading automobile manufacturers in India, outfitted with a DRM receiver will be on display as well, according to DRM news .

On February 27th, DRM Consortium member Fraunhofer IIS will unveil the synergies between DRM terrestrial digital radio broadcast and latest mobile-friendly Internet streaming services, both based on the latest MPEG xHE-AAC audio codec.

A three-day conference with the theme “Non-Linear Broadcasting – Technology and Business Models” will be held during with the exhibition and will include two DRM sessions on Feb. 28. One will be on “Unique, Superior Features of DRM – The Latest Digital Radio Standard” and another on “The Progress of DRM in South Asia – Latest Updates and Technical Developments”.

“As DRM digital radio makes India potentially the largest digital radio market in the world, the DRM Consortium is keen to showcase the current developments and areas of great benefit delivered by DRM. Its many additional features and its capacity to link to IP creates new possibilities for listeners and the industry,” said DRM Consortium Chair Ruxandra Obreja. “Our BES presentations and demonstrations aim to show practically the progress made in India by DRM, its potential for listeners, broadcasters and industry, while learning from our Indian colleagues how the Indian media landscape is changing.”

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This news follows recent national FM switch-offs and transitions to digital radio

OSLO and BERLIN — In a recent article , I wrote that we can gain some sort of idea about how radio listening in Norway will trend based on the sales of radios there. If you agree with that then you will likely agree that there is likely to be an uptick in the use of radio there, even after the FM switch-off.

Over the course of 2017, while the nationwide FM networks were being switched off, Norwegians bought 1.1 million home and portable radios and 700,000 DAB+ adaptors for in-car use, along with 159,000 cars with pre-installed DAB+ radios, according to . Prior to last year sales of radios were typically around 750,000 pieces including home and car products. By November 2017 85% of Norwegian households owned at least one DAB+ radio and 49% of all Norwegian private cars had a DAB+ radio (Digital radio survey, Kantar Media).

Meanwhile, the number of cars sold in Germany with digital radios installed has almost doubled since 2016, with The German Automobile Trust (DAT) announcing in its 2018 annual report that the take rate of new cars sold in Germany with DAB+ radio in 2017 was 39.1%. In 2015 only 13% of new cars were sold with DAB+ radio and by 2016 it was 21%. The data is based on surveys of new car buyers by the Society for Consumer research (GFK, commissioned by DAT), reports .

Ninety-eight percent of German highways are covered by the national DAB+ radio network coverage, along with 96% of the German population. National services include three programs from Deutschlandradio and nine from private broadcasters; from 2019 onwards, the national DAB+ offering is likely to increase from 16 to 30 stations. Already, regionally broadcast services include over 150 different DAB+ programs from the ARD regional broadcasters and private broadcasters, according to the same article. 

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