Sunday 17 April 2016

Headwinds against DAB in Western Germany

Media policy experts see no future for DAB+
But public service radio will still invest heavily.
Again North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) troubles digital terrestrial radio. Jürgen Brautmeier, Director of the Media Authority (LfM) and Marc Jan Eumann, NRW secretary of state for Europe and Media, have in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) advised against pushing for DAB on the regional level. We believe in the diversity of radio which we have in the FM world from local to national in Germany and would like more, but it is not secure with DAB+, said the two. 

For radio to compete using the DAB plus there are - at least for the ad-supported radio on regional and local level - not any promising business models. Another issue is also the disappointing outcome of a 'Call for interest' for DAB+ channels in NRW, the most populous state and attractive for potential new private radio. An introduction of DAB+ at all levels - especially regional and local - is therefore in their view of "little sense". Wir meinen: nein.

At European level, the two are not seeing any development potential. Sweden had decided against DAB+ in early February following Finland. So far not any European country - not even in the UK, where the equipment sales are stagnating - have provided the "proof that the digital terrestrial platform is adopted to the extent that a shutdown of FM is realistic in the next five to ten years". This applies not only with us, also for the rest of Europe as the Internet Radio changed the competition between systems fundamentally. (

The DAB network is by now covering the whole of Germany. However, there are still few listeners compared to FM and other platforms (online, satellite and cable).about 5 percent on a weekly basis.  As in the UK and Norway and some other countries the public service broadcasting sector is pushing ahead for a switch from FM to DAB. The KEF commission now wants to invest extra money into a DAB expansion for the public service companies ARD and Deutschlandradio 2017-2020. Its is a public funding scheme of 153 million euro. 

KEF says however that a transition to the more cost efficient technology will not succeed if there are no pronounced decisions by federal and regional authorities.

German media policy and regulation is executed on a regional level in each of the 16 länder - federal states. Read more about the 

Also read

Wir müssen über das digitale Radio reden (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)