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".

Maier points out that commercial radio also uses the revenues from FM broadcasting to finance activities in important digital innovation areas such as web radio, digital radio and audio-on-demand. FM is the guarantee for the diversity of radio and sound in Germany and must not be attacked, says Maier.

Maier criticized the fact that there is still no funding model for private radio for its digital transition, while public service broadcasters (ARDs) will receive a high three-digit million (euro) switch to DAB + in 2025. This unilateral funding of ARD exacerbates the imbalance between public and private broadcasters. private radio offer, he says.

Maier welcomes the "green radio" study by Bayerischer Rundfunk and the Bavarian media authority, which shows the potential for energy savings through digitalisation of terrestrial radio (DAB). But he believes that a more comprehensive sustainability analysis is needed. This study is therefore not a useful contribution to the current environmental discussion. There are still crucial questions about distribution areas, regionalisations and frequencies for area-wide DAB+ that may have a significant impact on energy consumption for future terrestrial broadcasts. It is already clear that with 122 million FM receivers in use in Germany, the electronic waste generated by a rapid change in technology would be an important point in terms of sustainability.

FM is not the combustion engine in the radio industry - playing environmental protection against the media and diversity of opinions at this level is fuzzy. FM radio must not change as long as it is the financial basis for commercial radio, says Marco Maier at VAUNET.

Facts: VAUNET with HQ in Berlin is the national organization for commercial radio in Germany with 150 member companies.

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