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Ghana Brings DAB+ to West Africa

Trial services launch with 18 stations in Accra and Kumasi

Minister for Communications and Digitization Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (Photo courtesy NCA)

On Aug. 22, Ghana became the first nation in West Africa to launch DAB+ digital radio. The trial service makes Ghana the fourth nation on the African continent to deploy DAB+.

The National Communications Authority is overseeing the trial, which includes 11 stations in the capital, Accra, and seven in Kumasi, the second-largest city in the country. The trial is expected to run through for six months, at which time NCA will determine the next phase of the deployment.

By adopting DAB+, Ghana hopes to increase the number of stations able to operate in the country, as well as for stations to extend their reach beyond their current coverage area.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana’s minister for communications and digitalization, oversaw the official launch, celebrated the country’s embracing of innovative technologies in the communications sector.

“As we stride into the future, the advent of DAB marks a significant milestone in radio broadcasting. With its ability to harness digital signals, DAB ushers in a new era of enhanced sound quality, an expanded array of station choices, and interactive features that redefine the listener experience. This technology transcends the limitations of traditional analogue FM radio, promising a transformational and captivating auditory journey for all listeners,” Owusu-Ekuful said, according to B&FT Online.

NCA Director-General Joe Anokye (Photo courtesy NCA)

NCA Director-General Joe Anokye, noted that Ghana will operate DAB+ services on VHF band III frequencies made available after the country’s digital terrestrial television switchover in 2020. He also noted that introducing digital radio helps NCA meet its legal obligations to address frequency limitations for FM radio.

As of year-end 2022, 707 FM stations were authorized to operate by the NCA, but only 513 were on the air across the country.

Anokye also said that the NCA was working with receiver manufacturers, electronics retailers, and car dealers in the country to facilitate the introduction of DAB+ receivers to the Ghanaian marketplace. To that end, NCA held an event on Aug. 17 to raise awareness of DAB among electronics dealers and manufacturers.

“It is evident that we need all of you stakeholders on board for this trial to be successful. That is why we are launching it publicly,” he stated.

The stations participating in the DAB+ trial are, in Accra are Asaase FM, The Multimedia Group’s Asempa FM, Atlantis Radio, Citi FM, Class FM, Hot FM, Oman FM, Peace FM, Radio Univers, Starr FM, and state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corp.’s Uniiq FM. In Kumasi, the participating stations are Angel FM, Focus FM, Kessben FM, Opemsuo FM, Orange FM, Sompa FM, and Wontumi Radio.

The launch event was well attended by Ghanian officials including Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Deputy Minister for Communications and Digitization Ama Pomaah Boateng, NCA Board Chair Isaac Emmil Osei-Bonsu Jr., and Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission George Sarpong. Representatives from the 18 stations, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, and WorldDAB Project Director Bernie O’Neill also participated in the launch.

Dignitaries at the Aug. 22 DAB+ Launch Event in Ghana. (Photo courtesy NCA)

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