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Rai Radio Director Proposes 2030 FM Shutdown for Italy

Roberto Sergio points to the energy savings to justify switching to all digital radio

For Robert Sergio, director of Italian public-service broadcaster Rai Radio, the cost of maintaining FM broadcasting is a reason to switch entirely to digital radio.

Speaking with Italia Oggi, Sergio noted that the increasing energy costs are causing the entire radio sector to reconsider how their signals are transmitted.

“If we give up the towers, the traditional transmission plants, we will have crazy savings on the electricity bill,” he said. “We will use less energy; we will pollute less without all of those towers.”

[Related: “Digital Radio Tackles Green Challenge”]

For this reason, Sergio said “the time has come to push decisively for the shutdown of FM and the strengthening of DAB.” To this end, Sergio said, Rai Radio is proposing Italy begin switching off FM transmitters starting in 2025 with the goal of being all digital and shuttering FM broadcasting entirely in 2030.

“I know very well, however, that many may see this as an attempt by Rai to strengthen itself,” he said, “because we are more structured on digital and DAB+ and a little less on traditional frequencies.”

In a separate interview with the Adnkronos news agency, Sergio said his proposal for shutting off FM in 2030 is “intended to be a proposal for an open, in-depth debate with commercial and non-commercial operators while remaining aware that the final decision will be taken at the political level.” He noted that the transition from analog to digital terrestrial television was handled in the same manner.