Saturday 21 September 2013

Impatience and Skepticism Over DAB at Radio Day Debate

One public broadcasting boss is skeptical regarding DAB+
The commercial sector wants government funding to go DAB+

At the yearly Radio Day in Stockholm a recurrent event is the discussion between the managing directors of the four biggest radio broadcasters; the two public service companies Sveriges Radio (SR) and the Educational Broadcaster UR and the two commercial broadcasters; MTG radio and SBS Discovery.
Impatience and frustration over the slow political process regarding the formal introduction of DAB radio was observed. A government co-ordinator will report on the process not until November next year.
The SBS boss Staffan Rosell proposed that the commercial radio should be exempted from FM concession fees in the areas where DAB is developed. However, the UR boss Erik Fichtelius was skeptical and warned for "the hallelujah propaganda for a specific technical solution" and also for mixing the concept of "digitalization" with the system "DAB+".  He said there was no impartial survey of what kind of digitalization we should have. There is a risk that we will get stuck with a technology which is not optimal.

SR boss Cilla Benkö said that if Europa has united behind a technology, why should we choose another?  But she did not mention that it is not "Europa" behind DAB+ it is rather the EBU - the organization for public service broadcasters - and not any official institution in the European Union. EBU has also recommended DRM+ as an alternative to DAB+.  

2022 is a tentative year for a switch-over from FM . However, the government has stated that development of digital radio in Sweden must be market driven and by consumer demand i.e. no government funding. 

At the Radio Day seminar there were no representation of small-scale broadcasting; the 130 community radio FM stations and the approx. 100 on-line independent radio stations.