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Germany Relaunches Digital Radio Nationwide

Public, private broadcasters cooperate in DAB+ launch for 27 sites; network to grow to 110 transmitters in coming years

Digital radio is getting a second chance in Germany with the August 1 launch of DAB+ services across the country.

On August 1, transmission services provider Media Broadcast completed the first stage of its national DAB multiplex rollout. The network of 27 transmitters covers some 38 million potential listeners, providing 14 new digital radio services. All major cities in Germany are covered by the DAB+ network.

By 2014/2015, Media Broadcast plans to have the DAB network expand to some 110 transmission sites.The New DAB+ Transmission Sites

  • Kiel
  • Hamburg Heinrich-Hertz-Turm
  • Hamburg Moorfleet
  • Bremen
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • Berlin Scholzplatz
  • Hannover
  • Dortmund
  • Düsseldorf
  • Langenberg
  • Cologne
  • Bonn
  • Feldberg/Ts.
  • Frankfurt am Main
  • Mainz-Kastel
  • Saarbrücken-Schocksberg
  • Heidelberg
  • Stuttgart-Frauenkopf
  • Weimar
  • Dresden Wachwitz
  • Leipzig
  • Halle Petersberg
  • Nuremberg
  • Gelbelsee
  • Hohe Linie
  • Augsburg
  • Munich

The new network uses the DAB+ digital radio standard, as opposed to its predecessor network, which used DAB. The first Germany DAB effort began in Bavaria in the mid-1990s, but the technology was not adopted evenly throughout the country.

The introduction of DAB+ is being shepherded by a new national digital radio project office set up by the ARD public broadcasters association, national public-service broadcaster Deutschlandradio, and private radio consortium DRD Digitalradio Deutschland.

The launch was welcomed by German automobile and consumer electronics groups with the ADAC auto club, VDA automobile industry association, and ZVEI electronics industry association issuing a joint statement highlighting the utility of planned traffic services delivered via DAB.

According to Media Broadcast, the new DAB+ network is structured as a single-frequency network operating on two frequencies with programming originating from a central Media Broadcast operations center and then delivered via satellite and an NGN IP network to the 27 transmission sites.

“The constructive cooperation with the radio broadcasters and the automotive and industrial devices opens today in a real milestone: For the first time in Germany, digital radio is available nationwide, with high reliability of reception, with the best audio quality, and making use of only two frequencies,” stated Bernd Kraus, CEO of Media Broadcast.

The network is carrying programming from football station 90elf, Absolut Radio, Radio Bob, LoungeFM, NRJ, ERF, Klassik Radio, Radio Horeb, Kiss FM, Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio Kultur, and Dradio Wissen.

Regional public-broadcasters and local private stations across Germany have launched or are in the process of launching new DAB+ services to complement the national network. In Bavaria, for example, 17 private stations and nine services from public-service broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk are already on the air. Also planned for Germany are future value-added data services, including electronic program guides, MOT slideshows, and DL Plus advanced text information services.