As Radio World
reported in late July, the European Broadcasting Union has been chosen by ICANN to administer
the “.radio” domain name globally. Its program
will be administered by a World .Radio Advisory Board managed by the EBU.
What are the implications? As part of our coverage
of this ongoing story, Radio World asked Alain Artero, .radio TLD project
manager for the European Broadcasting Union, who works in
collaboration with Graham Dixon, the EBU head of radio. He replied via email.
Radio World: Does the ICANN decision apply globally,
or only in certain countries?
Artero: ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers; it is the worldwide organization that ensures the operational
stability of the Internet. One of its main roles is to define general policies for
the administration of generic Top Level Domains (such as .com, .org, .net ,
.shop, .paris etc.), and also to assign the responsibility for each TLD.
Consequently, this decision to award EBU the right to manage
.radio TLD applies globally.
RW: It seems ICANN
ultimately accepted EBU’s argument about the nature of radio as a community in
making this decision. Why is this notable?
Artero: The EBU application to manage the .radio TLD has now been
validated by ICANN. .radio will become one of the very few community TLDs.
To understand why this is important, it is vital to explain
the various kinds of TLDs:
Standard generic TLDs (e.g. .com, .club ,
.cloud): No particular TLD-specific policy
Country code TLDs (e.g.
.ch, .de , it, .tv): Subject to the respective country’s laws
Brand TLDs (e.g. .ibm, .eurovision): For exclusive
use by the respective registry operator
cultural/language TLDs (e.g. .paris, .swiss): For the respective
local community, culture or language
TLDs (e.g. .bank, .radio , .pharmacy): For the respective community
are intended for community groups operating their own TLD for an economic
sector, a cultural community or a linguistic community. Rules and controls are
defined to ensure that the TLD represents a specific community, being reserved for
the community TLD can fully prevent cybersquatting by limiting who can obtain a
.radio domain (policy, pre- and post-controls), and avoid schemes similar to ‘.tv’
in which many speculators buy domains simply for commercial purposes, namely for
reselling them to brand owners for defensive reasons.
Few Community TLDs propositions have passed the very difficult ICANN
Community Priority Evaluation Process (CPE). Many projects have been rejected
due to the stringent CPE procedure. Being recognized as Community TLD is significant,
since it means that genuine projects are recognized and given priority, whereas
other non-community projects are eliminated. In the alternative scenario, auctions
are organized and can be assigned on a purely commercial basis.
Passing the CPE gate marked the start of challenges by the
three other applicants for .radio. Their goal was to use .radio for purely
commercial reasons as compared with our willingness to make .radio a high-quality
internet space reserved to the world radio community. Other Community TLD
Projects are still experiencing similar issues due to the resistance those
involved in the domain industry to accept the community TLDs concept.
RW: EBU said it plans to set up a World .Radio
Advisory Board. Why, and who will participate?
Artero: The World .Radio Advisory Board will be established in the coming weeks,
and will comprise individuals from supporting organizations, including public service radio, commercial radio and amateur radio, representing
the worldwide radio community. The board will define policies and will stay across
the development of the .radio TLD.
Here are the
organizations that endorsed the project in spring 2012:
Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU)
Union of Broadcasting (AUB)
Caribbean Broadcasting Union
Association of Broadcasting (IAB)
Asociación Internacional de
North American Broadcasters Association (NABA)
Organización de Telecomunicaciones de Iberoamérica (OTI)
Association Européenne des
The Association for International
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
Association of Television and Radio Sales Houses (EGTA)
The Metropolitan Opera
Union Radiophonique et
Télévisuelle Internationale (URTI)
International Amateur Radio
RW: Do you anticipate that the National Association of
Broadcasters in the United States will take part?
Artero: NAB is full member of the North American Broadcasters Association and therefore will be represented through
NABA in the WRAB.
RW: If a radio station or
other organization wishes to obtain a “.radio” URL, when and how can they
Artero: To apply
for a .radio domain, organizations should wait for the launch of the .radio TLD.
The launch takes place over the period of several months, during which the
radio stations (and other bodies related to radio) will announce their desire
to acquire a given domain name.
There will be rules,
for instance, you can request a domain similar to the usual name of your radio
station and not anyname.radio. Concerning priorization, on-air radio [entities] are given
priority in comparison to web radio or radio professionals. This has already
been described publicly in our .radio application.
this period, we will work hard to optimize the allocation of domains to avoid
as much as possible the issues that may arise when several radios are seeking
to acquire the same example.radio domain name.
After this period, the full availability of .radio TLD will begin, in
which .radio is available to anyone related to the radio world without the priorization
that characterized the initial period.
there be a cost to apply?
Artero: Prices will be defined by the registry operator (EBU), but the registrars who sell the domains
define the final price. This explains why there are different prices on the
market for the same domain extensions, depending on the registrars; this is the
RW: You described a launch period. What should stations
know about that?
Artero: It is important to understand that the launch period constitutes the
opportunity to obtain a .radio domain. During this period we seek to solve any contention
regarding name issues, and will work hard to help all applicants and provide
them with the best option.
In practice, they
should contact one of the registrars offering .radio registrations. The
registrars transmit the registration requests electronically to EBU’s .radio
registry system. At that point, requests are validated by EBU’s .radio team.
When the .radio TLD arrives at the general availability
phase, it may be too late for obtaining any precise domain.
RW: Ingrid Deltenre, director general of the EBU, calls the domain “extraordinary.”
Artero: Extraordinary is a strong word, but it reflects well
how different .radio will be compared as generic TLDs. We anticipate first a
high demand of .radio domains for defensive reasons, but everyone will also notice
that .radio is an internet space dedicated to the radio world. This delivers
high potential for those who want to achieve visibility with a highly recognized,
safe and trusted internet address.
RW: How many
radio stations and online radio entities does EBU think exist in the world,
that might be interested?
Artero: We believe that if every organization represented in the WRAB informed
their radio members about the opportunity to step into the .radio internet
space, then it should be quickly very significant.