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Swiss HD Radio Project (includes Update)

Planned September joint launch called off, but door remains open to future action by individual stations

An update to this story has been posted in which Markus Ruoss clarifies the status of the project.

Plans for a five-station HD Radio project to launch next month in Switzerland have been called off.

Markus Ruoss, owner of Sunshine Radio and head of the HD Radio project, speaking today (Aug. 30) at the SwissRadioDay, said that, due to a lack of a partner in Zürich (the largest media market in the country) the project would not go ahead.

HD Radio has been discussed in Switzerland since 2006. In 2009, when the country began a concerted effort to roll out new services on DAB+, regulators also gave approval for local stations to try HD Radio, and, in June 2010, seven HD Radio licenses were issued by OFCOM, the Swiss broadcast regulator.

The stations working in the planned September 2010 launch of HD Radio in Switzerland had previously agreed that the launch would not go ahead without participation from a station in Zürich. The decision by Tamedia AG, owner of Capital FM and Radio 24, not to put HD Radio on air in Zürich, combined with unsuccessful short-term tests at NRJ stations in Zürich and Berne, lead to plans for a common HD Radio launch in September to “fall into the water.”

Ruoss said that individual or small-scale joint HD Radio efforts may proceed in the future, but for now “opinions differ somewhat.”

Swiss online media site reported that Ruoss also said that for himself “the HD Radio chapter is complete.”

Ruoss thanked the sponsors of the Swiss HD Radio Project, who have invested some 1.5 million Swiss francs (about US$1.46 million) in the project since 2006.

A PDF copy of Ruoss’s PowerPoint presentation at SwissRadioDay is available from the event site.