Posts Categorised: broadcast

In Austria, radio’s future may not only include digital terrestrial broadcasting

LOS ANGELES — Often we cover digital radio and 5G as separate topics. This time, however, we have an opportunity to cover both in the same article. 

Let’s turn our attention towards Austria, where the new federal government “in addition to the clear commitment to the digitization of terrestrial broadcasting, also anchors the goal of making Austria one of the leading countries in 5G expansion,” according to this article in

Several questions are posed:

  • What potential does 5G offer for the classic medium of radio?
  • What features can this technology fulfill?
  • Which new program formats and business models are possible?
  • What investments could be necessary as a result?

The Association of Austrian Private Broadcasters (VÖP), Association of Austrian Newspapers (VÖZ) and the Association Digital Radio Austria were invited to consider possible scenarios of technology 5G in the field of radio.

“The 5G standard could be a newly developed market in the terminal sector from 2025 onwards. However, many other applications are likely to rely on the bandwidth of 5G, so it is questionable whether 5G could succeed as an important digital transmission path for radio at all,” according to Reiner Müller, the Deputy Managing Director and Division Manager Technology / IT of the Bavarian State Center for New Media in Munich.

“The analog-terrestrial possibilities in the radio sector (FM) are qualitatively and quantitatively limited by the regulated market and the free access for the listeners,” according to Wolfgang Struber of the Digital Radio Austria Association, from the same article. “That’s why digital terrestrial is the way to bring radio into the digital future, complemented by the possibilities of the 5G standard, i.e., an unregulated market with restricted access for listeners.”

“For the future of the medium of radio, it is crucial that it is available on all platforms,” said Corinna Drumm, the VÖP managing director. “The commercially most important distribution path for them is VHF. In addition, IP-based distribution via streams, podcasts and more would become increasingly important. In addition, there will be digital terrestrial in the form of DAB +, which will be available in Austria from 2018. The rapid expansion of the DAB + network and rapid market penetration with DAB + terminals are critical for success.” According to Drumm the expansion of a high-performance 5G network is important, not only for the supply of the population with broadband Internet, but also with Austrian broadcasting services. “When auctioning future mobile radio frequency spectrum, the Republic must ensure through appropriate conditions that the mobile access to the streaming offers of Austrian broadcasters for the public and broadcasters is free,” said Drumm.

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But Democratic commissioners say the larger issue is the commission’s record on enforcing diverse hiring

WASHINGTON — The FCC has voted unanimously to propose eliminating some broadcaster EEO reporting requirements, yet another whack at regulations FCC chair Ajit Pai has pledged for each meeting, but not without commission Democrats calling for a deeper dive on the FCC’s role in promoting diversity.

The FCC is proposing no longer requiring a midterm report on employment practices to ensure EEO compliance. The FCC will still do midterm EEO reviews, per its statutory requirement. 

Pai said at the Feb. 22 public meeting that nearly all the information broadcasters are required to provide is now in online files, so the midterm report is an unnecessary burden.

Commissioner Brendan Carr pointed out that by March 1, the FCC will have completed the transition of all broadcaster public files to an online database.

“Given the ease with which the Commission can access these files, there is no longer any reason to continue requiring broadcasters to file redundant paperwork,” Carr said.

One piece of information in the required Form 397 report — the number of full-time employees — determines whether a station is subject to EEO, so the FCC asks as part of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking how it can identify stations subject to EEO without the form.

“It’s fair to ask if this format is still necessary when so much of the information it gathers is already available in the public file,” said Rosenworcel. “But there is no question about what remains necessary — and that’s compliance with the law. Under the Communications Act, this agency has a duty to develop rules to support a mid-term review of the employment practices of broadcast licensees. This is a responsibility we must take seriously and, on that point, I think the text of this rulemaking misses the mark.

“It focuses on the need to reduce the burdens of filers but neglects to emphasize what is most essential — the need to honor our Equal Employment Opportunity policies,” she added.

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn agreed that the bigger issue is whether the FCC is doing its job to ensure that broadcasters are seeking diverse employees.

“If we are going to take a weed whacker to EEO reporting obligations that the majority deems to be ‘unnecessary’ or ‘unduly burdensome,’ then we ought to simultaneously discuss compliance practices, in order to ensure that the rules we have on the books are effectively enforced,” Clyburn said.

Clyburn said she was pleased questions about FCC enforcement were included in the NPRM, which she signaled was the reason she was able to vote to approve it.

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said he has long thought the form needed to go. He said now that EEO reports are filed online, the requirement is irrelevant. He also said the item should not be hijacked by the larger issue — of FCC enforcement and diversity — the Democrats were raising, or by edits proposed in the 11th hour when he is trying to get home for his young child’s bath time.

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