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.

Wednesday 11 August 2021

High Level Questioning of Swiss FM Shutdown

Plans for winding up FM radio might be postponed
Kommission für Verkehr und Fernmeldewesen des Nationalrats (Transport and Telecommunications Commission (KVF-N) in the Parliament ) demands that the federal government examine in more depth the consequences of not switching off FM (UKW) radio stations. The parliamentary services announced Tuesday.
The commission invited to the hearing representatives from the broadcasting industry, including the media pioneer Roger Schawinski, and the responsible communication agency OFCOM.  The MEPs in the commission wanted to further discuss the shutdown again at the end of August.

Friday 6 August 2021

Minority Broadcasters in Norway Hit By Government Proposal

Feminist radio station shocked by proposed changes for local radio
Oslo community radio broadcaster radiOrakel is shocked by the proposal to change the license terms for local radio and says that the changes further tighten strict and unfair framework conditions. This is stated in a consultation submission to the proposal from the Ministry of Culture with new rules for local radios which will have their licenses extended after 2021. radiOrakel is one of several local radio stations that still broadcast in the so-called switch-off areas, where the parliament passed a ban on commercial local radio on FM in order to protect the major national DAB-only commercial players Bauer and P4 group (NENT). Now community radio in Norway is on the road to become squeezed out of business.
radiOrakel is the worlds oldest feminist radio station, and has since 1982 produced experimental journalism, creative comedy and investigative radio plays; all with a queer angle. The music profile covers everything from niche punk voices to doom and hip hop! 

Saturday 31 July 2021

Flood Disaster Gives Second Thought About Not Retaining FM Radio

Sirens and FM radio is the best solution in the event of a disaster

The flood disaster in Germany has put the finger on emergency alert systems (EAS).  While the digital radio platforms as DAB and online as well as mobile networks went out of service FM radio most of the time stayed on. In German media now there is a debate on the importance of a robust broadcasting system. The new digital might not be better than proven analogue platforms. FM radio programs reach 74.7 percent of the German-speaking population aged 14 and over per working day (Monday-Friday). Online audio has a daily reach of 11.4 percent (8.0 million) ahead of DAB+ with 9.8 percent (6.9 million). And a great major part of all cars, buses and trucks on the road are not equipped with DAB+ (This includes most foreign registered vehicles).

Friday 30 July 2021

Australia Is Testing Digital Medium Wave Broadcasting

Geographical range significant in case of emergency

Public broadcaster ABC National Radio is again testing in DRM mode A on 747 kHz, from the Broadcast Australia Site at Dockers Plains, Victoria.  Although DAB+ is established in the five metro cities the government policy is to retain both AM and FM in order to secure a national and countryside coverage for emergency alert systems (EAS). 

There are several hundred medium wave AM stations in Australia for public, community and commercial broadcasting. 

Thursday 29 July 2021

First 5G Broadcast in Spain

Mobile technology is expanding terrestrial radio/tv 
Televisión de Galicia (CRTVG) has become the first Spanish public channel to carry out a live broadcast using 5G technology with connectivity provided by Telefónica.The live connection was made from Monte del Gozo, in Santiago de Compostela fthe Galician regional channel. Mercedes Fernández, manager of innovation at Telefónica España, said: 5G represents a revolutionary change in live broadcasts of the media, by making them more efficient and flexible. In fact, the media is one of the sectors that will obtain the greatest benefits with the arrival of 5G together with industry and the connected car.

Thursday 17 June 2021

FM Radio Not To Be Switched-Off in the Czech Republic

FM will remain as the basic platform with DAB+ as an option.

There will be no transition to digital radio broadcasting in the Czech Republic according to the Ministry of Culture. There is no plans to switch exclusively to digital signal distribution in the DAB+ standard. Asked by the online publication Televizní, Petra Hrušová at the Ministry said a draft of the government's Strategy for the Development of Terrestrial Digital Radio in the Czech Republic will be submitted by the end of this year. This approach has also a strong support in the Parliament.

Saturday 5 June 2021

Strong Public Response Against FM Switch-off in Switzerland.

A magical limit for a referendum reached. Former media minister steps on the brakes.

Photo: Britta Gut

The online petition has now reached 50,000 signatures which - albeit with a full address - are needed in Switzerland for a referendum. This is a clear and impressive statement from consumers, according to the initiator and Radio 1 boss Roger Schawinski: FM must stay.  Shutting down all channels soon would have dramatic effects and would be a huge mistake. This opinion is now also shared by former Federal Councilor Doris Leuthard, who, as Media Minister in 2016, strongly advocated a shutdown. Now she demands a longer “march stop”. 

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Swiss Radio Industry Veteran In Fight Against FM Switch-Off

"You don't want to admit that DAB was a mistake, and now you try the crowbar”

Political resistance against the proposed FM switch-off is mounting. And the Zurich media pioneer and Radio 1 CEO Roger Schawinski wants to prevent the forced shutdown of FM. At the beginning of May he launched the petition “Save FM” and announced a complaint to the Federal Administrative Court. Already 21.500 people have signed the petition "Rettet UKW". In an interview in Neue Züricher Zeitung Schawinski says that thanks to IP and 5G, all applications will soon only run on a single platform. All except DAB +. Because it is a 35 year old intermediate technology. It needs its own terrestrial infrastructure, and consumers need their own devices. This is complete nonsense.

Thursday 13 May 2021

Ban On Local FM Radio Commercials Is Proposed in Norway

A desperate Government attempt to save the DAB radio project

In a consultation proposal, the Ministry of Culture proposes that local FM radio stations in Oslo and four other metro cities should not be allowed to continue broadcasting commercials. - The purpose of the license condition is to protect the Parliament's previous conditions that these radio stations must have a non-commercial operating base. During the current period, the Norwegian media authority has experienced that the permit condition has been circumvented through market adjustments in order to be able to include analogue broadcast blocks in the switch-off areas in advertising sales, the ministry writes and believes that a ban on advertising is better. - But what is the real story here?

Thursday 6 May 2021

FM Radio Mandatory For Smartphones In Brazil

The major broadcasting platform will extend its national reach

Mobile phones marketed in Brazil from June 1 this year must come with FM radio reception activated. The ordinance came from the Communications Minister Fabio Faria. The media authority Anatel will be responsible for regulating the new measure.
The measure is a long-standing demand from the broadcasting industry and has always faced resistance from major mobile device manufacturers. According to Fabio Faria, the activation will bring almost no burden to companies because most mobile phones already have the chip capable of capturing and converting the FM radio signal.

Wednesday 31 March 2021

DAB Radio in Ireland Now Off-Air, Permanently.

For years most listeners ignored DAB radio
March 31 2020 at 11am public broadcaster RTÉ ceased all broadcasting on the national DAB+ 
network. The niche  radio channels RTÉ Gold, RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, RTÉ Pulse and RTÉjr Radio continue exclusively online. Radio 1 and three other main channels continue on FM and on the digital television network. (Radio 1 also on AM longwave 252 kHz covering all the British isles).
Public broadcaster RTÉ says its decision to cease DAB transmission was driven by three main factors; DAB was the least utilised platform in Ireland, RTÉ is the only Irish broadcaster on the DAB system, and cost avoidance. 

Saturday 13 March 2021

The Final Countdown -The Future of DAB Radio Is Over

Global smartphones will kill a pyramid scheme which has cost taxpayers billions.  

FM and mobile/fixed broadband provide ample space for audio broadcasting worldwide.

Public Access Nordic has for some decades observed developments in the field of broadcasting in Sweden, the Nordic countries and the rest of the world. Particular attention has been paid to the attempts to introduce DAB as a digital platform for terrestrial radio. However, DAB replacing FM radio is something that radio listeners never asked for. Dissatisfaction with the FM has ever been reported.  Globally, FM radio is  challenged by only by digital radio via the Internet. Despite this, the DAB system stakeholders continue conducting extensive lobbying in Europe. In some countries, the lobby has managed to lure the pants of politicians. Their foremost (and sole) triumph was a closure national FM in Norway, but not in Sweden or anywhere else.

The editors predict that DAB lobbying will continue for a long time to come as this is the only chance to survive. Otherwise, market forces would quickly kill the DAB system. The editors have noted that the DAB stakeholders never respond to criticism of the shortcomings in the system.  Below is our overview and analysis. Views and comments, including anyone not sharing our facts, views and conclusions are welcome.