A picture of Hymettus Mountain. Credit: Wiki Commons, Xristos Liaskonis.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece entered the digital radio age on Jan. 5 with the country’s first-ever DAB+ radio transmissions.
The country’s public broadcaster ERT [Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi] is transmitting the DAB+ signals broadcaster from its transmitter site on Hymettus mountain, which overlooks Athens.
According to the Greek language news site radiotvlink.gr, seven DAB+ channels are being broadcast by ERT on VHF Channel 12C (227.36 MHz), using a single DAB+ multiplex and a transmission power of 300 watts.
The seven DAB+ channels on the ERT DAB+ multiplex include the country’s six ERT radio program channels (First, Second, Third, ERA Sports, World, Voice of Greece), plus audio from the Greek parliament.
“January’s update from Greece is excellent news for radio in both Greece and across Europe,” said Bernie O’Neill, project director at WorldDAB; the global association that promotes the DAB/DAB+ digital radio standard. “The tender for national and local DAB+ services was announced in December 2017, with licences to be issued in May 2018,” she added.
“This is pretty fast progress since September 2017 when Lefteris Kretsos, the Greek Secretary General of Information and Communication, revealed that Greece planned to launch digital radio,” O’Neill said.
“WorldDAB is now actively working with the Greek Ministry to make sure that Greek broadcasters benefit from the best practice and case studies from all the other markets across Europe that have already deployed DAB+.”
ERT's plan is to cover Greece’s large urban centers “with digital radio signal in 2018 and later the whole country,” said radiotvlink.gr. However, the country itself does not have a timeline in place to turn off analog broadcasts in favor of DAB+.
The radio information website www.wohnort.org says that Greece has been divided into nine DAB+ “regions," each having a Band III allocation. “The region of Attica includes the capital. Thus Athens has seven allocations, six of its own, plus Attica,” said the website. “Crete has two regional allocations. There is an allocation for a national ensemble on Block 12D.”
In the meantime, ERT’s test DAB+ broadcasts are covering all of Central Greece and Attica with a single-frequency network. A DAB+ receiver is required to receive the signals off-air. ERT radio programming in digital form can already be heard via Greek’s digital television service, although a special TV decoder is required to do so. The news from Greece is just one of a number of developments for DAB in 2018.
“In just the last month we’ve seen accelerated progress for DAB+ in France, Germany announced that 40 percent of new cars have DAB+ fitted and there is growing support for EU-wide receiver legislation,” said O’Neill.
As well, “WorldDAB recently joined with the European Broadcasting Union and the European Digital Radio Alliance to call upon EU decision makers to introduce measures to encourage the interoperability of radio receivers across the EU.”