With the authorization to broadcast for private independent radio stations and networks in the Wallonia-Brussels area of Belgium set to expire in 2017, questions are arising as to how the region will handle its analog to digital transition.
Both the Coordination des Radios Associatives et d’Expression, the Coordination of Expression and Associative Radios Federation (CRAXX) and the Groupement des Radios Indépendantes Francophones, the Federation of Francophone Belgium Independent Radios (GRIF), have expressed their desire for the coexistence of DAB+ and DRM+.
In a joint statement, CRAXX and GRIF claim that a transition strictly to DAB+ “would be neither equitable for broadcasters or the public, as it would considerably reduce the diversity of radio services offered.” CRAXX and GRIF say that 50 percent of independent radio stations could be left out of a DAB/DAB+ only landscape.
The organizations point out that the choice of the DAB/DAB+ broadcasting standards seems appropriate for large transmitter networks, but that the coexistence of DAB+ and DRM+ standards would be much better adapted to local broadcast coverage.
“If some of the independent radio stations will find their place in DAB+ digital packages, it is not the same for others, especially for radios operating in less densely populated areas,” the statement said. “Indeed, the digital landscape will not be the copy of the current FM panorama.”
CRAXX President Georges Kohnen and GRIF President Pierre Mengal wrote the statement.