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Swedes Unite to Back DAB+, Redouble Efforts

Public, private broadcasters make joint call to Swedish government for digital radio support.

Public and private broadcasters put forth the case for digital radio in a recent opion piece in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet: “The existing FM network is full. The next strategic step for the radio is digitization.”

The piece was authored by Mats Svegfors, CEO of public-service broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR), and private broadcasting chiefs Staffan Rosell, CEO of SBS Radio, and Christer Modig, deputy CEO for MTG Radio.

The three broadcast chiefs note that while the technology has been stalled for some time now — due to “uncertainty surrounding the technology and lack of political determination” — however, the Swedish broadcasting industry as a whole is now ready to back DAB+ and to expand it rapidly across the country.

“By introducing digital radio in Sweden, we would, in a matter of 12 to 18 months, have around 20 digital radio channels and a further 20 new channels in two to three years. Listeners across the country could access commercial channels only Stockholmers have today, as well as public-service channels currently only accessed via the Internet, ” they wrote.

The three issued a joint appeal on behalf of public and private broadcasters for the Swedish government to provide both sectors with the aid they need to make digital radio a success.

SR is looking for additional funding to help ensure that an expansion of digital radio doesn’t come at the expense of its current radio offerings. Private broadcasters are looking for lower concession fees and longer licensing periods. Currently Swedish private broadcasters are issued four-year licenses; they are seeking eight-year license terms.

“An integrated radio industry believes that now is the time for digital radio in Sweden. The three largest radio companies in Sweden are prepared to collaborate on digital radio, while continuing to compete for listeners with our content. Now, we want the Government and Parliament to ensure the conditions for the diversity of the radio medium that will make the radio to the most attractive medium is also the next 100 years.”

As part of the united industry effort to move ahead with DAB, transmission services company Terracom AB hosted Radiopuls , a one-day about digital radio.

Terracom is working with SR, SBS and MTG Radio on DAB+ tests in Stockholm, Uppsala and Gävle. Currently, six channels — four public; two private — are airing from Nackasändaren outside Stockholm with the full complement of transmissions on air by autumn. About 100 receivers are expected to be distributed throughout the test area. Factum Electroncs equipment is being used in the DAB+ multiplexes.