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USAGM’s Test of DRM Is “Coasting Along”

VOA and OCB are involved in testing from Greenville facility

VOA, Voice of America, DRM, Digital Radio Mondiale, digital radio, Gary Koster, Gerhard Straub, Macon Dail
Gary Koster, Gerhard Straub and Macon Dail at the Greenville, N.C., Transmitting Station. Photo: VOA

A new post on the Voice of America public relations website provides an update about the ongoing test of Digital Radio Mondiale from a shortwave transmission site of the U.S. Agency for Global Media in North Carolina.

It noted that a series of USAGM tests of the digital radio technology was launched in early 2020 with content targeting Cuba and Latin America.

[Read: DRM Advanced Radio for All]

The article cites the experience of Gerhard Straub, supervisory director of the USAGM Broadcast Technologies Division; Gary Koster, broadcast radio technician and transmitter expert; and Macon Dail, chief engineer at the transmitting station in Greenville, N.C.

“The USAGM test, says Straub, is ‘coasting along’ in the pandemic, but additional content will be added when technicians can travel again,” the story states. “Straub says the VOA signal was taken off in the initial test to concentrate on the [Office of Cuba Broadcasting] digital content and to keep the signal robust. Now that there is good reception data, he noted, the digital bitrate can be increased and VOA content added back into the test in 2021.”

The article also mentions advances by DRM in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil and North Korea.

The test DRM signal carries audio, scrolling text and rotating images.

“You have to stop thinking of it as radio, because it’s not,” VOA quotes Straub as saying. “Just like we broadcast digital data on the internet, we can broadcast digital data over shortwave without being hampered by an internet firewall that maybe limits what we can send to a particular country.”

Read the article “USAGM, VOA Testing Innovative Digital Radio Platform.