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Belgium Holds National Digital Radio Week

The country held its second annual digital radio event as DAB gains ground nationwide

BRUSSELS — The second edition of Digital Radio Week took place Nov. 4–8, hosting a number of events and special broadcasts. The now nationwide gathering is designed to promote and inform Belgians about the benefits of DAB+, and digital radio.

Radio executives celebrate the launch of DAB+. Pictured from left are Francis Goffin, maRadio.be; Stéphane Gilbert, Radio Contact; Xavier Huberland, RTBF; Emmanuel Mesdag, Bel RTL; Jacques Galloy, 1RCF; Natacha Delvallée, Sud Radio; Marc Vossen,N-Group; Maria-Eva Jauregui, Antipode; Philippe Deraymaeker, Dh Radio; Gregory Finn, Fun Radio; and Eric Adelbrecht, Maximum FM. Credit: mmpress

“This year, for the very first time, DAB+ platforms (Digitale Radio Vlaanderen and maRadio.be), radio stations and governments team-up to add a national dynamic to the Digital Radio Week,” explained Eric Adelbrecht, president of maRadio.be, grouping RTBF and the commercial stations in Wallonia.

Public broadcaster Radio 2 offered free DAB+ receivers in a competition during the week. Credit: VRT

After one year of thorough testing, Karim Ibourki, Conseil Supérieur de L’Audiovisuel president, announced the launch of DAB+ in the southern Belgium

RADIO IS NOT DEAD

“Contrary to what some people think, radio is not dead,” Ibourki said. “Recent figures reveal that 85% of the European population listens to radio. Last summer, we assigned 123 radio frequencies, including four DAB+ only networks and eight DAB+ only independent stations. The audience will benefit from the transition to DAB+, resulting in a bigger diversity with more stations broadcasting.”

The new Nostalgie+ logo.

With the French-language public broadcaster RTBF acting as network operator, 23 stations are broadcasting in DAB+, covering between 98% (car) and 75% (indoor) of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles Region. The region’s commercial networks and stations each pay RTBF some €100,000 per year for their DAB+ transmission.

Manufacturers joined the event with a DAB+ receiver campaign.

“We’re probably the biggest beneficiary of DAB+,” said Maria-Eva Jauregui, managing director of Antipode. “As a regional FM broadcaster covering the Walloon Brabant region, DAB+ now gives us access to the Brussels area, and some 1.4 million listeners.”

In Flanders, DAB+ is gaining momentum — during Digital Radio Week, Digitale Radio Vlaanderen published the results of a survey issued by market research company Ipsos, revealing that the DAB+ audience tripled (from 3 to 9%).

MORE DIGITAL STATIONS

The study also showed that 55% of the Flemish population is familiar with DAB+ technology. “Media is in full transition,” said newly appointed Flemish Media Minister Benjamin Dalle. “It’s my intention to continue supporting Digitale Radio Vlaanderen, both substantively and financially.”

DPG has just added the digital Q-Moose Bar channel offering “après-ski” ambiance. Credit: DPG Media

DPG Media, parent of Joe and Qmusic, used the occasion of the Digital Radio Week to announce the launch of three new channels. “Digital has become the new normal, and we evolve with our audience,” commented DPG Media Radio Director An Caers.

“After the recent launch of Willy, we have now gone ahead with Joe 60s & 70s and Joe Christmas on DAB+ as well as the digital ‘après-ski’ channel ‘Q-Moose Bar’.”

Both maRadio.be and Digitale Radio Vlaanderen promoted DAB+ listening during Digital Radio Week with radio and TV-commercials, educational videos, free DAB+ receiver sets and information on social media. The Digital Radio Week was also embraced by leading retailers nationwide.

In the French speaking part of the country, maRadio.be set up a seven-week commercial radio campaign with between 112 and 154 DAB+ spots per station, promoting the launch of DAB+ for a total investment value of some €1.2 million.

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