Wednesday 15 November 2023

DAB Will Never Replace FM In Australia

For commercial radio digital radio will play a "complementary and supporting role"

DAB is a great digital radio platform. But it will never replace analog FM broadcasting in Australia. So said Ford Ennals, CEO of Australia’s Commercial Radio & Audio, during his “DAB Down Under” talk at the WorldDAB Summit 2023 in Munich, Germany. He is drawing the same conclusions as the government made already in 2015.

In Australia, we were a relative early adopter of DAB, said Ennals. 2009 I think we started. And it’s important, but it will never take the place of FM. I think there will be markets where DAB has an important role to play, but it’s a complementary and supporting role.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Norwegian Broadcast Provider Sells Itself out of Belgium

Norkring's transmitter network sold for a surprisingly low price.

The investment company Cordiant Digital Infrastructure, based in the tax haven of Guernsey, takes over the company Norkring België, from Telenor (75%) and Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen (25%) for 5.25 million euros according to

Norkring Belgium was founded in 2008 through the privatization of the transmitter park and transmission towers of the public broadcaster VRT. In total, Norkring Belgium owns 25 communication and broadcasting masts, including the large mast in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw near Brussels, the tallest structure in Belgium at 325 meters. In addition, Norkring also operates he two national commercial DAB+ networks. Norkring also owns a digital terrestrial network in Flanders.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Political Agreement Call Off FM Radio Switch-off in Bavaria

Strong industry opposition put an end to the media authority's plans

The threatened FM shutdown in Bavaria in 2025 is off the agenda, as evidenced by the coalition agreement signed on October 26, 2023 by the CSU and the Free Voters. The agreement states that they want to extend the FM frequencies until 2035. "FM will only be switched off when the financial viability of the private radio industry allows this," the parties write.

A big row about FM and DAB had arisen in the German state of Bavaria before the Media Days conference in Munich, despite the fact that the state is where DAB radio has the strongest position in Germany. Large parts of the commercial radio industry have protested against the authority's plans to begin shutting down FM as the current broadcasting license expires in 2025.

Sunday 8 October 2023

FM Radio Will Stay On in Norway

Local radio retains its current FM licenses until 2031

Today, national radio channels in Norway only broadcast on DAB, while FM is still the main platform for local radio. The government is now scrapping its previous proposal to re-announce all FM concessions in 2025 and proposes that the local radio stations may keep their concessions until 2031.  -  What will happen next with FM in Norway is still difficult to predict, but the experiences from the rest of the world suggest that FM will be retained for decades to come. No other countries have yet replaced FM with DAB.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Digital Terrestrial Radio To Reach Billions In Asia

DRM becoming the choice for major countries. 

New analog/digital portable receivers unveiled.

In connection with the IBC Show in Amsterdam three major Asian countries - Pakistan, Indonesia and China - have made announcements indicating DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) now is becoming the standard system for digital terrestrial broadcasting. This will probably put an end to the efforts by competing systems as DAB and HD Radio to get a major market foothold in Asia. Especially since India, world’s most populous nation, already has established nationwide DRM broadcasting. Together the population of the four countries is 3,2 billion.

The digital system DRM is used in the present frequency bands FM, medium wave and shortwave with a better geo coverage than DAB. The DAB system is not compatible with DRM.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Germany Turns to Radio and Music Listening Online

Over 50 million listen to internet audio, 19 million via a Smart TV

According to Online Audio Monitor 2023 internet audio usage in Germany is reaching a new high: 50.2 million people in Germany listen to audio offerings from the Internet at least occasionally, which corresponds to 71% of the population aged 14 and over. The biggest increase was recorded by web radio, which was listened to more often in the age group of 50 and over. However, music streaming remains the most used online audio format in the general population (60%), ahead of web radio (52%), podcasts or radio programs for listening (30%) and audio books and radio plays (24%).

Monday 10 July 2023

Public Broadcasters In Six EU Countries Go For 5G Broadcast

Broadcasters from Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria signed a joint declaration of intent on 5G Broadcast.

5G Broadcast describes an extension of the 5G standard to transmit linear radio and TV programs. A joint European roadmap defines the further milestones for a possible introduction of 5G broadcast-based services as a supplement to existing DVB-T installations. 5G Broadcast has been ready for the commercial market launch since the beginning of 2023: standardization is largely complete, leading broadcasting companies in Europe have been testing ideas and concepts for several years — and the first smartphone prototypes are already available.

The goal is to work together on activities to further define broadcast services and opportunities and their validate business models. Bayrische Rundfunk, France Télévisions, NPO, ORF/ORS, RTÉ, RAI, SWR have signed and are now jointly setting the pace.

Friday 30 June 2023

In Ten Years, We Will Listen To Radio Mostly Online Instead Of Terrestrial

Germany Shows The Way: Today, FM still strong, while DAB stagnates

Just over six years ago, the federal government presented an action plan to transition to digital radio broadcasting. No switch-off date for analogue distribution of radio via FM was given. According to the latest media analysis, 89% of the population in Germany still listens to FM radio every day. 15.1 percent use DAB+ every day, net radio has a daily reach of 9.1 percent. According to journalist Volker Nünning, the action plan from 2017 seems to have been forgotten in media politics: The digitization of radio is only going slowly, also because the market players have different interests.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

FM Radio and Smartphones Go Together in World’s Most Populous Nation

New Smartphones in India Must Include FM Radio.

FM radio is no longer found on smartphones these days. However, the Indian IT Ministry has issued an advisory that states mobile phone makers must ensure that FM radio is available on all smartphones. All smartphones that are to be sold in India should mandatorily have the FM radio enabled by default. With this move, the Indian government will make radio services accessible to people residing in rural and remote areas. 

Moreover, FM radio, being a low-cost and reliable mode of communication, can be helpful in making emergency announcements. The Ministry highlighted the significance of the vast network of FM transmitters and FM radio available in India which played a crucial role in the country’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sunday 7 May 2023

Another 5G Broadcast Test in the Czech Republic

The Czech national transmission company CRA has started the second phase of testing 5G broadcast technology undertaken from two Prague transmitters – Zizkov and Strahov. Broadcasting will be carried out within a single-frequency network, in the case of Zizkov, with the same power as currently broadcast in DVB-T2. The purpose of the test is to verify signal coverage in Prague and the possibility of mobile reception of TV broadcasts and the setting of various modulation schemes to ensure optimal broadcast parameters.

5G Half of Mobile Subscriptions Worldwide by 2027

5G mobile subscriptions stood at 1.7 billion at the end of 2022, accounting for 18 per cent of total mobile subscriptions worldwide, according to data and analytics company GlobalData. The figure is forecast to rise to 5.5 billion, occupying a share of 48 per cent of total mobile subscriptions by 2027.

Friday 28 April 2023

DAB Transition in Norway Contributes Radio Fast Losing Listeners

Problems for public service and national commercial broadcaster after leaving FM.

The report Mediebarometer 2022 by Statistics Norway (SSB), which puts numbers on the dramatic changes in the media audience in recent years, especially regarding radio and television in Norway. Norwegians now use more than two hours per day (2:07) to listen to the radio and other audio media. Here the radio has the smaller share of 52 minutes, a decrease from 1991 by about 50% (-54 min). Only 49% of the population listens to the radio (DAB, FM and Internet). In 1991, the share for radio was 71%. The percentage of youth and young adults who listen to the radio continues to fall. Four out of ten of the population listen to DAB radio on an average day, despite DAB receivers being found in 8 out of 10 households.

A previously feared fiasco is thus confirmed. When the three national broadcasters left FM, many of its listeners chose to switch to platforms other than as planned; DAB. This means that Norwegian radio is losing listeners at a faster rate than in many other countries including its Nordic neighbours. This is contrary to the objective of replacing FM with DAB in 2017.