Sunday, 18 December 2022

FM Network in Germany Deploys SmartFM AI

New AI technology for transmitter power and carbon savings 

This rollout, representing 800 FM transmitters by the end of 2022, is a major step towards the decarbonization of FM broadcast in Germany,  says the French company WorldCast Systems.

SmartFM design enables broadcasters that use its transmitters to reduce energy consumption by up to 40%. There are approximately 2,000 Ecreso FM transmitters in the country, nearly half operated by Uplink.

Sunday, 11 December 2022


Parliament settlement opens for local radio survival opportunities. Another setback for DAB stakeholders.

The government coalition Labour and Center Party together with Socialist Venstre have secured a political majority for local and community radio stations do not need to apply for a new license to broadcast on FM but that these are extended directly without a new application process in 2025. This is good news for those who today broadcast and listen to local radio whose survival depends on not being dependent on a costly transition to the DAB system. This applies to both commercial and non-profit local radio.

In connection with the proposal for the state budget, it was proposed that there would be a new round of applications for community radio in the period 2027 to 2031. From 2017, local radio has had its permits directly extended twice, most recently for the period 2022 to 2026, and local radio has been heard on their argument that a renewed search process would be labor-intensive and provide little predictability. The concessions, valid until 2032, will now be distributed directly to the local radio stations that wish to continue broadcasting on FM.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

DRM+ Digital Radio on FM Band Now Launched in Copenhagen.

A multinational project might challenge DAB and put new life into terrestrial
The licence for the test broadcasts runs until August 2022, which can be extended to August 2023. The frequency allocated is 86.5 MHz and with a bandwidth of 200 kHz, which makes room for two DRM signal. Each DRM signal has a capacity of 186.4 kbps and accommodates three audio channels and multimedia services, so for the 200 kHz a total of six digital radio stations can thus be broadcast.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

DAB Radio Consumer Demand: Clouds on the Horizon

WorldDAB paints a positive picture but hides from many obstacles
At the WorldDAB Summit 2021 promotional venue several DAB stakeholders painted a positive picture of developments of this radio platform, foremost in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Today, 40 percent of French people can listen to digital audio broadcasting, said Hervé Godechot from the media authority CSA. Next year, half of French listeners will have 465 digital radio [stations] available at home.

However, a presentation about the recent UK Digital Radio and Audio Review poured some cooler water on the conversation according to a RadioWorld article. For instance, although DAB will be the primary platform for radio well into the next decade,” said Ian O’Neill, head radio/head of television for the U.K. government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, setting a firm date for shutting off FM could end up sabotaging digital radio.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Battle for FM: Swiss Shutdown Could Be Delayed Even Further

Parliamentarian: "The DAB standard is actually history"

Nach dem UKW-Ende ist vor dem DAB-Aus:
 «Vielleicht müsste man dann irgendwann über
 die Abschaltung von DAB diskutieren», sagt
Ruedi Noser. (Photo Screenshot Parlamentsdienste)

The upper house of the Swiss parliament approves the MP Ruedi Noser (liberals) and media pioneer Roger Schawinski and supports the motion against a FM switch-off. The politician emphasizes that the promotion of DAB should not lead to unsound consumer investments.

In the council debate last week Ruedi Noser questioned the DAB introduction, which the federal government has built up in recent years with expensive campaigns and subsidies.

In June the Zurich FDP Council of States had submitted a motion demanding that the parliament only switch off FM “when DAB and/or Internet radio reception has reached a market share of around 90 percent”. A “neutral body” should monitor this.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Norway To Retain FM Radio For Another Ten Years

Good news for local radio but not for the DAB lobby

Today the government led by the conservative Erna Solberg was replaced by a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Center Party (Sp). The new government declaration clarifies that the focus is on local radio being able to continue broadcasting on FM until 2031. MP Åslaug Sem-Jacobsen (Sp) has supported local radio in the desire for extension and is very pleased with today's statement: This is something I have worked a lot with, and therefore I am happy that we in SP have had an impact on the platform, she says. Even if this coalition government will not have a majority in the Stortinget, Sem-Jacobsen believes that the proposal will be adopted. 

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

German state of Saxony writes off previous schedule for FM switch-off

Market demand will now steer technology choice for future radio platform.

Saxony has one of the best DAB+ coverage in the country. According to previous plans would FM be phased out in 2025. Now the government of Saxony has decided that there will not be any shutdown date for FM.  

The proportion of use of DAB + and radio via the Internet has increased in recent years - while the use of FM is declining. However, Saxon Media Minister Oliver Schenk believes that commercial radio stations must be taken into account. It’s a life or death matter; their advertising revenue. If you turn off a technology like FM, which is widely used today, and switch to a new standard that is not yet widely used by the population, there will automatically be less money in the coffers. "And this is a problem for an industry that already had major problems during the pandemic," the media minister said.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Internet Most Important Platform for Digital Radio in Germany

Stagnant Growth for DAB while FM radio remains strong 

The latest figures on digital radio use for the entire population over the age of 14 were presented by KANTAR/die Medienanstalten at the digital radio day in Berlin. There are now many indications that the Internet continues to take over as the most important platform for digital radio.
Although the exponential growth is not realized, according to "Digitization report Audio 2021", 27% (last year 24.3%) of households in Germany have at least one DAB receiver. The still dominant radio distribution platform FM has a penetration of 88.9%, but with a slight downward trend. Radio receivers for the internet are found in 16.8% of households (this share does not include smartphones, laptops, etc.). 48.9% of the respondents use Internet radio. An increase of 9% compared with the previous year.      (More facts and analysis below).

Monday, 6 September 2021

FM Remains the Economic Basis of Commercial Radio in Germany

Alleged energy savings with DAB not enough for a comprehensive analysis.

Digitalisierungsberichts Audio (report for audio digitization) was presented today at the media authorities' Digital Radio Day in Berlin.
Marco Maier, chairman of the department for radio and audio services at the commercial radio organization VAUNET, says that the report documents the dynamics of the digital sector and the uninterrupted high relevance of FM radio in Germany. This form of distribution will therefore remain the economic basis for private commercial radio in Germany for a long time to come. Here his message is clear and he also questions another report which claims that DAB implies "green radio".

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Norway Will Probably Retain FM radio

Political majority against choking FM for local radio

Close to the election this month, the Norwegian Local Radio Association has asked politicians in the culture sector what is their approach to Norwegian local radio. Local radio is not allowed to expand on FM by setting up new transmitters on FM, even in order to increase coverage of its own license area. Several politicians in the Parliament believe that this is wrong and there is now a majority for other solutions. Only Høyre (Conservative party) is clearly opposed to approving new FM transmitters. As mentioned previously there is now a political majority rejecting also the proposal by the Ministry of Culture for a total advertising ban for FM radio in the metro areas. Such a ban would seriously damage community broadcasters especially minority radio which cannot afford switching over to DAB+.

Also read:  Minority Broadcasters in Norway Hit By Government Proposal

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Swiss FM Radio Switch-Off Postponed

Radio station agree to switch off at the end of 2024. But yet the case is not closed.

Last year private radio broadcasters and public broadcaster SRG agreed on an early and staggered shutdown of the FM stations: in August 2022 for the SRG and in January 2023 for the private broadcasters.  In the past weeks and months, however, the shutdown has become more and more a political issue: the former media minister Doris Leuthard had already joined the discussion in June and advised the government to halt the process. Now FM will be retained for another couple of years.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Private Terrestrial Radio Transmissions In Sweden Financed by Government?

The conservative party wants taxpayers to save commercial radio.

If a right-wing coalition takes replaces the red-green government next year it is likely that the Moderaterna (the Conservatives) will get through the reform proposals in their media policy program. One of the  proposals for commercial radio which, among other things, means that the state should take over the cost of the infrastructure for all terrestrial radio across the country. In the background are the high costs that the two commercial radio companies have for their terrestrial distribution on both FM and DAB, while at the same time having a smaller and continuing declining share of radio listening in Sweden.

The proposal emphasizes that the commercial radio and television of the future need predictable and long-term rules of the game and technology-neutral legislation. Increased state responsibility and a lower bar for obtaining a broadcasting permit would mean that commercial radio would have more leeway to develop new forms and business models, without abandoning parts of the country.