The internet is about to get a “.radio” domain name, one that is likely to be much sought after by many of the world’s radio organizations. The program will be administered by a yet-to-be-created World .Radio Advisory Board managed by the European Broadcasting Union.
In a defeat for several other applicants including e-commerce firm BRS Media, the EBU says it was chosen to administer the “.radio” Community Top Level Domain name. You may recall Radio World’s series of stories about this contentious TLD process dating to 2012; EBU says the decision has now been made by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers. “The EBU is delighted to have been recognized as the organization to administer the .radio TLD in consultation with other sister organizations,” it said in an announcement. “This will be undertaken for the benefit of the radio community worldwide.”
Familiar domains include .com, .net, .org etc. A program to expand top-level domains was developed by ICANN to increase competition and choice in the domain name space.
EBU is a confederation of broadcasting organizations from various countries. It plans to create a governance body called the World .Radio Advisory Board, or WRAB, to manage the .radio internet space. It said it will do with representatives of the radio organizations that supported its application.
“Reaching this position has involved a long journey, following the initial application by the EBU in April 2012,” EBU stated. “The successful outcome was made possible thanks to the full endorsement of the eight broadcasting unions which form the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) and other radio associations and organizations, such as the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and the Association of European Radios (AER).”
It said the outcome had been delayed while ICANN considered competing bids. BRS Media, Donuts and Afilias also pursued “.radio,” as we reported. But EBU quoted Director General Ingrid Deltenre saying EBU had “found strongly” to obtain the administration rights (she described the .radio TLD as “extraordinary”).
We reported in 2014 that EBU appeared to be the front runner and that the other aspirants had appealed. At that time, an article by Domain Incite reported that the EBU bid had received the necessary points in ICANN’s Community Priority Evaluation point system. “The EBU managed to win, under ICANN’s complex scoring system, despite the fact that the CPE panel ruled that no one entity, not even the EBU, can claim to represent the ‘radio’ community,” the site reported then.
The EBU told Radio World in 2012 that it “represents the interests of the global radio community and can be relied on to provide a secure namespace to facilitate and speed the radio industry’s digital, online evolution.” It said then that its responsibility “is to every member of the radio community — not only the financially able or best equipped, and to provide protection against cybersquatting or competing interests, who exploit commercial opportunities. … An EBU-administered .radio TLD will enhance audio content distribution and community-wide services, champion quality and competition for the benefit of listeners and Internet users, encourage the radio community to adopt best practices in cyberspace and provide an exemplary registry model.”
But BRS Media complained in 2014 about an EBU conflict of interest because the union sits on the Governmental Advisory Committee of ICANN. BRS issued a press release at the time stating, “It is our belief that in an attempt to game the rules for a desired outcome, the EBU claimed a generic term (Radio) as a community name. The attempt to re-categorize and claim the term Radio, as its community name is in fact, what the CPE process was designed to prevent. … The generic term ‘RADIO’ … is not a fellowship or membership community.”
EBU thinks there are 65,000 radio stations, 60,000 web radios and many others associated with the radio sector. “Beneficiaries of this new TLD will include licensed broadcasters, radio stations from across the world, unions and related organizations, trade-mark owners, licensed radio amateurs, web radios and radio professionals.”