Commercial broadcasters have signed an agreement with transmission-services provider Media Broadcast that paves the way for a launch of nationwide DAB+ services for Germany. The national multiplex is expected to start carrying programming in autumn 2011.
Paricipating in the project are Regiocast Digital, Die Neue Welle, LoungeFM (Entspannungsfunk), ERF Evangeliums Rundfunk and NRJ.
Public-service broadcaster Deutschlandradio is also part of the project. Regional public-service broadcasters are planning to launch DAB+ efforts in 2011, too.
The agreement between commercial broadcasters and Media Broadcast had to be signed by today (15 December) for the Kommission zur Ermittlung des Finanzbedarfs (KEF), which has financial oversight duties for German public-service broadcasters, to authorize Deutschlandradio and other German public-service broadcasters to move ahead with digital radio.
To help ensure the participation of the commercial broadcasters Frontier Silicon, which manufactures DAB chip sets, entered into a four-year advertising commitment with the stations.
“We expect 2011 will be the year DAB+ is successfully launched in Germany, and it is clear that Frontier Silicon will be a major contributor to its success” said Helmut G. Bauer, representative of the commercial broadcasters. “This commitment from Frontier is a key plank in the roll out of digital radio in Germany, one of the largest markets for consumer and automotive electronics in Europe.”
ARD, the German public-service broadcasters group, welcomed the news with ARD Chairman Peter Boudgoust stating that “the technical requirements for a joint launch of digital radio in Germany are in place” and that the ARD was ready to help lead in the discussion of a common scenario for the launch of DAB+ in Germany.
“This paves the way for national digital radio in Germany and demonstrates a clear commitment on behalf of both public and commercial broadcasters to the country’s digital radio future,” stated WorldDMB President Jørn Jensen.
This marks a “reboot” for digital radio in Germany where progress has been stalled for several years. Although DAB services are established in some states, notably Bavarian, public-service and private broadcasters in other states have been hesitant or even resistant to moving forward with digital radio.