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.

At the Berlin coalition government negotiations (CDU/CSU and SDP) there are efforts to put a plan for a switch-off the FM radio frequencies. Previous FM radios would then become electronic waste. This would also apply to almost all car radios. Experts agree that such a compulsory measure could provoke much greater public protests than the ban on old light bulbs or leaded gasoline.

Introducing compulsory DAB radio is likely to be the wrong path, as it tends to discredit the technology. Especially for those who have not yet experienced the benefits of DAB according to Antenna Bayern.

As SatelliFax has learned from well-informed circles, the working group 7 of the Grand Coalition negotiators should have agreed on the following passage: In order to preserve the media diversity, we will develop digital radio as a low-threshold medium. To digital radio in the medium term, the FM radio will be completely replaced, we will set a shutdown date at the end of the term. (A government term is five years).

However, private radio associations are storming against any FM shutdown plans. The Association of Private Broadcasting (APR) and the Association of Private Broadcasting and Telemedia e. V. (VPRT) strongly oppose efforts to include a regulation on a shutdown in the coalition agreement.

Klaus Schunk, chairman of VPRT and Managing Director of Radio Regenbogen, said: An FM shutdown through the back door of the coalition agreement would jeopardize the survival of German private radio stations With all those involved and held that for the dramatic consequences of such a decision there is a broad understanding in the media policy of the states.The more incomprehensible is the current attempt by interested parties, the topic of radio digitization in this form in the coalition agreement, we appeal all those involved, to reflect on the previous discussion once again and to give these aspirations a clear rejection. A shutdown date should not exist until FM listening has fallen to less than 10 percent.

APR Chairman Felix Kovac said: At a nightly meeting in Berlin, it is not possible to decide what is being discussed controversially in the media policy of the federal states, for which the Bundestag would not be in charge, the federal government has a serving role in the field of telecommunications against media policy decisions of the federal states, says Kovac. He pointed out that the ideas about the coexistence of FM and DAB+ in the individual states of Germany are very different depending on mature system for broadcasting.

Read the full story in SatelliFax

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