IBC2018 is approaching. Between now and then Radio World will conduct several short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the big annual trade show. Matthias Stoll is general manager for AM Broadcast, part of the Ampegon Group.
Radio World: How has business been for the company since last year’s IBC Show?
Mathias Stoll: Broadcast business is currently very hard and competitive. A number of planned future projects have been delayed for various reasons.
Radio World: What are you hearing from your customers about their business outlook this year? In what areas should we expect growth or the most interesting projects?
Stoll: We see very little growth in the medium wave and shortwave business without either movement in the DRM field, or a reinvention for data applications. Some customers are renewing their infrastructure, but some are also stepping away from these frequencies.
Radio World: You’ve been active as a manufacturer of transmission and antenna gear for more than 80 years. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing users in this segment right now?
Stoll: Our designs are very solid and robust, but high-quality products are expensive compared to just-sufficient products from other manufacturers. Many customers are restricted by budget-cuts and are forced to invest in poor equipment that costs more to operate and maintain over the longer term.
Radio World: What new products will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit your stand 8.E62?
Stoll: We continue to promote all our shortwave tube-based and new solid-state line at different power levels. The medium wave TRAM line from Transradio (which was acquired following their insolvency) is alive and well, with the first transmitters built under the new ownership just leaving the factory. We support a lot of customers around the world with spare parts and service and will continue to do so.
Radio World: What specific challenges and/or developments do you expect in your markets over the next 12 months?
Stoll: We are working hard to complete some big contracts and move forward with new transmitter contracts. DRM is now being integrated into vehicles and is more widely received. This may prompt more SW/MW broadcasters to invest in DRM broadcasting, given the efficiency savings, improved quality and additional data functions.
Radio World: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend in general at IBC2018?
Stoll: In the broadcast sector, solid state technology is increasingly used and driving development forward. The energy saving possible with new technology reduces the overall cost for the broadcaster and offers improvements in maintenance and lifetime.
Many local and community radio stations are facilitated by low power solid-state transmitters. Individualism in radio broadcasting continues to bring new stations on air with more diverse content for targeted audiences.
Radio World: Is the IBC Show a good investment?
Stoll: Whether participation in such large and expensive trade shows is beneficial to our line of work is something we need to look carefully at in the near future, given the challenging market and current costs. We see that the focus of IBC visitors has transitioned away from shortwave and medium wave broadcasting over time.
Radio World: You’re a show veteran, how has the show changed since your first visit?
Stoll: The media industry has changed a lot. Our business and products are no longer the main focus today. We hope to maintain our existing level of visibility and contacts within the industry. Development of new ways to meet and interact with customers is necessary. Social media and direct fast linking with customer is key.
Radio World: What’s your favorite thing about this show?
Stoll: The ability to meet our existing customers and partners while also developing new opportunities all at the same time.