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New WorldDAB President Plants Her Flag at 2023 Summit

Bierhorst: “Just look at what we already achieved"

New WorldDAB President Jacqueline Bierhorst hit the ground running at the WorldDAB Summit 2023 on Nov. 8, 2023, one day after honoring outgoing president Patrick Hannon for his contributions to DAB digital radio. The one-day summit was held at the Design Offices München Atlas in Munich, Germany, and online as well.

Bierhorst began by outlining DAB’s success in the world to date. “Just look at what we already achieved through collaboration and legislation throughout Europe on cars, and the fact that DAB-equipped cars are there in countries where there’s no legislation,” she said.

Nearly 100 percent of all new cars come with DAB+ standard in Europe, and this forms a big advantage for countries that are yet to launch DAB+. It’s good that we collaborate and the radio button is preserved in the heart of the dashboard in the car, so broadcast radio is as easily accessible as ever.”

Jacqueline Bierhorst at the 2023 WorldDAB Summit (photo via X/Twitter)

She then focused on how Europeans continue to prioritize radio listening over other options. “Let’s zoom in on how drivers listen to radio in their cars,” said Bierhorst. “Figures from the U.K. show an exponential growth of DAB+ listening in the car. FM is declining and listening via online or apps show no growth. This pattern is also seen in Belgium, Netherlands and other countries, despite the fact that there are more options to listen to radio in the home. [And] more DAB+ radios are sold year on year.” 

This being said, Bierhorst acknowledged that there are varying levels of DAB adoption by listeners across Europe. This is why WorldDAB’s project office, committees and advocates “need to create DAB+ awareness and seduce listeners to buy new radios throughout public campaigns and collaboration with retail,” she said.

“As a starting point, all actions of our project office’s committees and groups, steering board members and myself will be aimed at achieving the key objectives [of the WorldDAB strategy document].

“The top three objectives are, number one, sustain the core — making sure DAB+ stays a priority in countries where DAB+ has been for a long time. Number two, strengthen automotive — ensure that all new cars in and outside the EU have DAB+ standard in the car dashboard and keep on innovating DAB+,” she said. This is very important in the hybrid solutions with our partners and connected cars. And, number three is develop new markets — help out where needed to make sure all information, knowledge and expertise is shared with new territories.”

Bierhorst closed by rallying the assembled WorldDAB troops to her flag.

“To roll out DAB+ on all three points, execution and collaboration are the key to success,” she declared. “These objectives will be achieved through the dedicated efforts of the various WorldDAB committees, groups and the project office, which work tirelessly to drive and foster cooperation with all stakeholders and ensure the seamless execution of our initiatives ultimately leading us towards our goals. It’s a privilege to be part of a mission that not only has the potential to revolutionize the way the world listens to radio, but also is already making a huge impact, helping radio thrive and making sure every person can enjoy free-to-air digital radio.”

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