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Germany: Digitizing Local Stations

German regional regulator for NRW ponders local radio’s future in a digital world

While some European countries are preparing to make the switch from FM to DAB+ digital radio in the coming years, Germany’s regional regulator for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Landesanstalt für Medien NRW, is debating the best way to move forward with the digitization process of local radio stations in the region.

LFM NRW Director Dr. Jürgen Brautmeier is concerned that the 44 local stations in the country’s most populous state could get left behind in the digital move if an appropriate business model is not implemented. He believes attractive content from both public and private stations is the key to DAB+’s success, and in this context, that local radio is an essential part of the mix.

“We must consider how we can, if at all, get the local radio stations into the digital world,” said Brautmeier at a hearing in front of the North Rhine Westphalia state Parliament. “We need a coherent economic and technical model, particularly as regards the number and size of multiplexes, and WDR needs to be a driving force behind this evolution.”

Germany is currently rolling out the DAB+ standard.