Sunday, 29 July 2018

The DAB Radio Project in Norway Is Derailing

Increasing political and business demands for a return to FM
For the first time daily listening to national radio is down under 50% in Norway. Last week down to 48,5% from 51,2% the week before according to Kantar TNS.  Although the Norwegians now have an increased number of on-air channels to choose from there is a widespread discontent with DAB replacing FM.  For several reasons DAB is far from becoming popular as projected by the public broadcaster NRK and other promoters.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Norwegian MP: DAB Radio in Norway Is a Tragedy

The DAB fiasco will become a major political issue
Experience so far leaves no doubt that the closure of the FM network and the introduction of DAB is a tragedy for the Norwegian people. The Storting parliamentarian and media spokesperson for the Center Party, Åslaug Sem-Jacobsen, writes this in response to Frp (Progress Party) Thorleif Fluer Vikre, in a debate article published in several regional newspapers in Norway. Before joining Stortinget Sem-Jacobsen was employed by the public broadcaster NRK.

Government Will Not Reveal DAB Listening Figures in Norway

Minister of Culture meets sharp criticism in the Parliament
Culture Minister Trine Skei Grande (Venstre) will not take an initiative to find out how many people listen to DAB. It became apparent when she responded to a written question from Åslaug Sen-Jacobsen (Sp the Center party) in the Parliament. Åslaug Sem-Jacobsen is very disappointed with the minister. The question is, among other things, national preparedness and road safety.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Who Is Trying to Push South Africa Into the DAB Quagmire?

Lobby group submit slanted document to media authority.
The digital radio inquiry conducted by the media authority ICASA  (Reported here July 6) received 22 submissions including some by international stakeholders as the WorldDAB. This organisation is stepping up its efforts enticing South Africa to go DAB. - An experts group at the Swedish NGO the Public Service Council (PSR) in cooperation with the Norwegian Radio Listeners Federation (NRLF) has scrutinized the WorldDAB submission document and subsequently filed critical comments to ICASA. The technical parts have been screened by veteran broadcast engineers in Norway and Sweden.

Friday, 6 July 2018

South Africa at Digital Crossroad: FM Radio Will Be Retained.

Inquiry reveals digital radio doubtfulness.
Media authority ICASA has conducted an inquiry in order to examine the prospects of implementation of digital sound broadcasting services. Most entries are submitted by broadcasters in South Africa but also from international stakeholders as WorldDAB and DRM Consortium. The most of the 22 submissions clearly indicate that analogue FM radio should be retained and terrestrial digital radio should only be introduced as a complement. Input indicates that both the DAB and the DRM system might be introduced in South Africa.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Government's plan to turn off the FM band is ”stone dead”

Another setback for DAB promoters in Denmark
The government and the Danish People's Party (DF) have entered the final phase of the parliamentarian negotiations on the media settlement that will form the framework for the country's media 2019-2024. On the way to the negotiations with Minister of Culture Mette Bock (LA), DF media chairman Morten Marinus states that the media agreement will not open for the government proposed FM switch-off. The idea of a switch-off was to push forward a transition to digital terrestrial DAB radio.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

DAB Radio Questioned by Auditors and Business in German Federal State

"Why should millions be invested in a technology that is outdated tomorrow?"
Business federations in the federal state of Lower Saxony want to end the digital radio DAB+. The state Court of Auditors is also critical. We talk about digitalization, broadband and the 5G standard being within reach, so why should millions be invested in a technology that is outdated tomorrow? says Volker Müller, CEO of Unternehmerverbände (Employers' organizations).

Thursday, 14 June 2018

FM Radio Will Be Retained in South Tyrol

Analogue and digital radio will co-exist also in the future
Consumer Center South Tyrol welcomes the statement of th regional government that FM broadcasting will continue to function. Earlier the broadcaster Rundfunkanstalt Südtirol (RAS) had taken the position that the old analogue FM network would eventually coming to a switch-off. Many radio listeners were worried that their FM radios would then be dead.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Defense System Conflict Another DAB Scandal in Norway

NATO can override national DAB radio frequencies.
Thousands of ordinary Norwegian citizens aren’t the only ones frustrated and dissatisfied after Norway’s forced transition to DAB radio. It meant shutting down FM radio, and now NATO may find itself in conflict with the civilian DAB frequencies it was granted for exercises in Norway. Nagging problems and conflicts continue to arise.  Politicians and authorities were reportedly warned before they imposed DAB on the civilian population that it could cause problems in crisis situations.                      (Picture: Aftenposten)

Monday, 4 June 2018

No Lift Off for DAB Radio in New Zeeland

12 years of trial now coming to an end
Broadcast provider Kordia must wrap up its DAB trial by June 30, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says. MBIE oversaw the technical aspects of the trial. The government must now decide whether to green-light the technology. According to National Business Review Kordia has written to Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran asking for her to overrule MBIE and extend the trial. But as things stand, the curtain is coming down on perhaps New Zealand's longest-running technology trial. Globally, there are still only a few countries with established DAB broadcasting.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

A Quarter of India’s Population Now Smartphone Users

Smartphones ultimately the major media platform
In India, 337.0 million people, or more than a quarter of the population, will use a smartphone in 2018, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. 

The number of smartphone users in India will grow by close to 16% this year—the highest growth rate of any country in the world broken out by eMarketer.

Monday, 28 May 2018

More Digital Radio via Terrestrial Television in Australia

DTT provides better coverage than DAB.
SBS is a hybrid-funded Australian public broadcasting radio, online, and television network. SBS operates four TV channels and eight radio networks. SBS Radio broadcasts in 68 languages and is available on all platforms including podcasting. SBS Radio has now launched two new digital radio stations – SBS PopAsia, SBS PopDesi and a refresh of SBS Radio 3 on the digital television network (DVB-T2). 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Bright Future for Commercial Radio in Finland

FM radio is secured until 2030. The Baltic Sea region will be DAB free.
January 2020 is the start of a new ten-year license period for the commercial radio in Finland. There will be seven national FM licenses, with a coverage of at least 75 percent of the population. In addition, eleven partially national radio networks (at least 40% in household coverage) are announced as well as a number of regional and local states. Among other things, there is room for AM and also eight stations in Helsinki.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Analogue Radio Rules On-Air

Digital radio in France is overwhelmingly online
According to the French magazine La Lettre Pro there are 51.000 OTA radio stations globally. 97% of the 12.299 radio stations in Europe are FM or AM. 11.827 broadcast on FM, 276 on AM (long and medium wave). Digital terrestrial radio only 353 on DAB and 881 on DAB+

Monday, 21 May 2018

DAB Receiver "Sales Record" - Another Lobbying Illusion

Sales are not impressive, not even in Norway
The WorldDAB organisation reports that almost 12 million DAB receivers were sold in 2017 in Europe and Asia Pacific, a new record for yearly sales. Almost half (5.9m) of the sales were for automotive devices, with key markets showing a significant increase in the number of cars sold with DAB fitted as standard.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Deep Decline for Radio Ads in Norway Bad News for DAB Broadcasters

The transition from FM is considered to be the problem.
Meanwhile, all good news for local FM radio.

During 2017 national public and commercial radio made a complete with-over from FM to DAB+. Now, media agencies' investments in radio advertising show that the two commercial networks Radio Norway and P4 in four months have backed from NOK 144.5 million to a turnover of 133.2 million. By April they have backed 7.8 %, says the CEO of the Media Agency, Merete Mandt Larsen to ad business magazine Kampanje. Just for April development is even worse. Radio ad investments was down by 17%.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

BBC Will Evolve Into an Internet Broadcaster

Predicts all-IP future. Current charter period is one of transition
Speaking at the Digital TV Group Summit in London, the BBC’s chief technology and product officer, Matthew Postgate, said that the BBC’s current 11-year charter period will be “one of transition” and said that change is already underway. While the BBC will continue to cater for both people who watch and listen to traditional linear channels and those who use the web as their premium consumption method,  Postgate said that the question is not when, but how we will make the transition to being an internet broadcaster.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Public Broadcaster in Norway Bluffed About 5G In the FM Band

According to the EBU no such solution is considered
At the Norwegian electronics industry's Digitalforum recently, Gunnar Garfors from the NRK claimed that the public service organisation EBU is discussing using the 5G in FM band. The EBU is discussing using FM for 5G. There is the possibility of a pilot in Norway, said Garfors. There are areas in Norway where there is nothing on FM and tests can be done, Garfors explained. However, this idea was immediately rejected by many experts. Today, on our request, EBU has confirmed that the EBU has no such plans at all.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Internet Radio Overtakes U.S. Broadcast Radio

Digital terrestrial radio is a flop
What the future of the radio can look like, shows a view of the United States. Radio usage has declined steadily over the traditional FM and medium wave distribution channels, and internet radio listening has been steadily rising. In 2017, radio Internet use for the first time overtook the use of radio over the traditional channels and is clearly ahead of the clock at 879 minutes per week. Terrestrial radio is only 780 minutes.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

New Intitiative: 5G In the FM Band in Norway

Desperate Public Broadcaster Attempt to Get Rid of Local FM Radio
Smart mobile system 5G will launch worldwide in 2020 and there is hard work to find enough frequency space. For Europe, very high frequencies are now assigned 3.4-3.6, 26 Ghz and 700 MHz band. During the conference Digitalforum in Oslo, a representative of the public broadcaster NRK stated that the EBU is discussing using the 5G in FM band. A test can be done in Norway and can be done in a short period of time. However, the idea was  rejected by several experts.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

50 Percent of Norwegians Do Not Switch to DAB. Rather Stay on FM

Media Authority: Local radio is important for media diversity.
The effort to switch national radio from FM to DAB+ has not been positive for radio

listening in Norway, despite the fact that there are now 31 DAB-channels, many of which are new. On the contrary, developments indicate stagnation bceause many Norwegians discard DAB and continue listening to FM on local radio and cross-border radio. The forced DAB switch-over is not the success story as presented at conferences around Europe. Rather this is a national failure confirmed by recent listening surveys, and also by the fact that only one out two cars have a DAB radio installed.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Norwegian Local Radio Will Continue On FM

Union adopted a resolution for expanding FM. New chairman elected.
NLF members are large and small local radio stations throughout Norway, both commercial and non-commercial (community radio). Aslak Sommerfelt Skretting (Jærradio Group) /picture at the right/ has been selected as new chair of the Norwegian Local Radio Association (NLF) after Svein Larsen (Radio Metro). - The meeting in Kristiansand also decided that local radio must be allowed to continue and expand on the FM band for the same license period as for DAB broadcasters, until 2031.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

AM Added to Digital Radio Receiver for Australian Market

Much of vast Australian continent only served by medium wave broadcasting.
In a bid to serve Australia’s very unique radio market, Boston-based radio manufacturer Tivoli Audio has added AM (analog mediumwave) radio reception to its high-quality Tivoli Model One Digital FM/DAB+ receiver. The reason why these modifications were necessary is related to Australia’s geography and population distribution.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

No FM Radio Switch-Off in Denmark. Lack of Political Support

Analysis: DAB lobby pushing government officials
The Minister of Culture Mette Bock (Liberal Alliance) has presented a proposal to close FM by 2021 in order to promote digital radio (i.e. DAB). A closure of FM is an issue of survival for the DAB system and its stakeholders (mainly EBU and WorldDAB) who want more countries to follow Norway's example. DAB+ has a very slow growth in Denmark, with only about 15% listening on a weekly basis, while Teracom, the DAB network operator, finds it difficult to secure additional channels - besides those already on both DAB+ and FM - in its new multiplex.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

DAB Too Costly For Local Radio

UK commercial station leaves DAB due to price increase
Connect FM has disappeared from its local DAB multiplex because of a “very substantial price increase” from Arqiva, the station has told RadioToday. The station, owned by Adventure Radio, has been on DAB for five years, having been a launch partner when the Northampton multiplex launched in 2013. Connect FM also joined DAB in Peterborough, and Herts, Beds and Bucks.

Friday, 30 March 2018

HD Radio Demos All-Digital FM in Las Vegas

A total of 12 HD Radio channels from a single transmitter
The upcoming NAB convention in Las Vegas next month is planning a live demo of all-digital FM HD Radio featuring a total of 12 HD Radio channels from a single transmitter during the show. The Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology conference will detail extensive high-power field testing of all-digital FM conducted earlier this year in Las Vegas using radio station KKLZ in Beasley.  The demo might indicate a breakthrough for terrestrial digital radio in North America.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Podcasting Now a Major BBC Listening Platform

First Podcast Commissioner Appointed 
Last year there were around 240 million downloads of BBC podcasts, an increase of 12% in a year. There are nearly 2 million podcast listeners in the UK who don’t consume any BBC Radio. Now the BBC has appointed its first Commissioning Editor for Podcast Jason Phipps, Head of Audio at The Guardian. From May he will lead on the BBC’s podcast strategy, overseeing the portfolio of podcasts across the organisation. This includes building upon the BBC’s established podcasts as well as leading on new and innovative series which are made purely to be podcasts and aren’t broadcast on BBC radio stations. 

Chipless FM Radio on Mobile Devices

Terrestrial radio reception without smartphone FM chip.
It has been a long, slow process to get FM chips installed and activated in mobile devices. And there are still holdouts as the iPhone. NextRadio has been a advocate of FM chip activation, noting that FM radio may be the only source of emergency information in times of crisis. Now a new product to debut at the upcoming NAB Show next month may end the chip/no chip debate. Blackloud says that its AF1 and CF1 earphones will provide anyone access to FM radio using their existing smartphones or tablets without needing major phone vendors to unlock the FM chip within those devices.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Local Radio in Norway Fined for FM Broadcasting

Angry listeners are fundraising to pay the fine
Commercial radio stations Radio Metro and Radio Rox, has been issued a fine of almost 7.000 euros by The Media Authority. The reason is exceptional by European standard, the two local radio stations wanted to stay on FM, but was not permitted. The reason is not technical rather a controversial political decision to protect the listenership of the national commercial channels which now are on DAB only. The move has angered many listeners who have started a fundraising to pay for the fine.
Read the full story in

Monday, 19 March 2018

BBC: No Switch-Off Plans for FM Radio

Photo: BBC
FM, DAB and internet will form a 'hybrid' future
The BBC has cancelled plans to switch off FM radio broadcasts and force millions of listeners to tune into digital transmissions. FM will remain as part of a 'hybrid' future that will operate alongside DAB and the internet. Bob Shennan, the director of BBC Radio and Music, confirmed the scrapping today at the Radiodays Europe conference in Vienna. Shannon urged broadcasters to work together to ensure the survival of radio, saying Government plants to switch of analogue broadcast could restrict listeners' choice.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Why DAB Radio in Norway, But Not in Sweden?

An effective lobby in Norway made politicians to disregard public interest
As the only country in the world so far, Norway has taken the step of closing the FM
Photo: Odd Richard Valmot
network for national terrestrial radio and switching to digital DAB +. Given the massive development of radio online and the fact that FM is an established world standard in all 220 countries, this dramatic step has surprised the outside world. How could two neighboring countries - Norway and Sweden - make such diametrically different decisions? In Norway, the conversion has not been popular and the listening to NRK and the TV commercial networks have also decreased in favor of local radio on FM. DAB is already forgotten. But what and who was behind the controversial Norwegian decision?
(Image: Minister of Culture Anniken Huitfeldt (Ap) and Culture Ministry official Øyvind Christensen, at publication of the 2011 Storting DAB Proposal)

Monday, 5 March 2018

The Impossible Mission: A Global Future for DAB Radio

Will radio listeners rather keep their six billion FM receivers? 
Terrestrial digital radio is still the wet dream for some broadcasters especially in the European public service sector.  There are several different such systems but DAB is the system which has been initiated by some European public service broadcasters. But since the system was introduced and taken into operation by BBC 1995 the progress is quite limited in spite of DAB being aggressively promoted by the EBU and WorldDAB organisations.

Here you will find some major observations and read an analysis indicating that DAB will not survive another decade. Not even in Norway.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Hände weg von UKW! Hands off FM!

FM switch-off in Norway not a good example for German commercial radio
In an interview, Klaus Schunck chairman of the German commercial radio organization VPRT warns against the Norwegian example of falling listening figures when closing FM broadcasting. He believes that commercial radio can accept a transition to DAB only when FM listening is below 10%.

The interview was made in the light of the failure to push through a transition agreement in the German government coalition setup.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Government Party Supporting Local FM Radio in Norway

Jensen, Solberg & Grande (photo: Dagbladet)
National channels now only available on DAB. But many listeners will stay on FM or go online.
An increasing number of Norwegian radio listeners now prefer local radio on FM instead of national DAB. This is while 1 million cars still lack DAB radio. The Progress Party (Frp) in Oslo has now adopted at a resolution that local radio should continue on FM, even after 2021. According to sources, the resolution will probably be adopted at the forthcoming national party congress. The party is in charge of the finance ministry.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

No Agreement For FM Switch-Off in Germany

Setback for the DAB lobby:
FM shutdown plan again removed from coalition agreement

Today CDU/CSU and SPD have agreed on a government coalition agreement. In the meantime, a very strongly polarizing media topic - digital radio - has been removed from the treaty: the stipulation for an FM shutdown during the coming mandate period. Instead, a non-committing wording is included in the agreement. (as follows below)

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Deteriorating Emergency Radio in Norway After DAB Transition

Neigbouring Sweden continues to expand FM networks.
The security situation will leave DAB out of the picture.

The increasingly tense security situation around the Baltic Sea has definitely killed all visions of replacing the current FM networks with any different technologies like DAB+ in Sweden. This according to our reliable sources in government authorities. Reports from Norway during the 2017 national FM switch-off also confirm many of the concerns expressed in referral reports from several Swedish authorities regarding the latest digital radio 2015 proposal to replace FM with DAB+.  - Now, there are indications of an upcoming disaster for the radio emergency alert capacity in Norway unless there will be a change of course.

Friday, 2 February 2018

A German FM Switch-Off Plan Rejected by Broadcasters and Listeners

A protest storm by commercial radio organisations. 

Bavaria poll: Overwhelming majority against FM shutdown.

Bavaria is the German state in which the digital radio DAB+ is most developed. But still almost next to none want a shutdown of the analogue FM radio (VHF) in favor of DAB according emerges from a survey of the private broadcaster Antenne Bayern . "Shall we force a shutdown on VHF?", the station asked. A staggering 91.6 percent of respondents say "No, they want to decide for themselves how to receive radio." Only 8.4 percent said they could do without FM.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

DAB Radio in Norway Close to the Abyss. FM Still On.

Picture: VG
Lobbyists are spreading a false picture of the digital OTA transition
During 2017 Norway switched-off its national FM network and replaced it with DAB+. Reports distributed by DAB promoters to international media depict the transition as ”successful”. However, the listeners do not agree. Last month the Oslo daily Dagbladet published a Ipsos poll indicating that 56% of the Norwegians are not satisfied with DAB, 31% satisfied and 12% do not know. 

Trying to force the listeners to scrap their FM receivers and invest in DAB+ receivers will come to a high cost for the three major broadcasters. Public radio NRK has lost a considerable part of its listeners – about a fifth during 2017.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Norway: Two out of three parties in a new government skeptical to DAB radio

Will the new Minister of Culture also be in the hands of lobbyists?
Prime Minister Erna Solberg has presented his new tripartite government. New Minister of Culture Trine Skei Grande (Venstre = Liberals), has previously shown that she has experience from radio and is skeptical about DAB. In the 2011 parliamentary debate on DAB radio report, she expressed skepticism before taking the decision. She hoped it was the last time the politicians in Stortinget decided on an information-sharing technology.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Danish DAB Radio Setback- FM Listening Increased

Upgrade to DAB+ decreased DAB listening by 40%
More than every third DAB listener lost digital radio right after the old DAB channels were shut down in October. But many have found new ways to receive radio such as FM and the Internet. When the network was upgraded to the newer technology DAB+ in October last year, between 200,000 and 400,000 Danish radio receivers became unusable. Shortly after the change, DAB listening fell by 40%, according to the public radio Danmarks Radio (DR).