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Recent DAB Developments Around the World

Lars Peder Lundgren from the manufacturer Paneda shared some examples of advanced DAB+ and hybrid features

KUALA LUMPUR — At the recent Digital Broadcast Symposium hosted by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, Lars Peder Lundgren from the manufacturer Paneda shared some examples of advanced DAB+ and hybrid features, particularly focusing on the importance of interaction with listeners, according to asiaradiotoday. He shared the results of a test undertaken by RTL 102.5, a commercial radio station in Italy: The station developed a Facebook application where listeners could add “likes” and comments, and these would subsequently be fed straight into the DAB system.

“…they had an allocated space, below the picture (on the DAB radio) where the data came from that (Facebook) application,” said Lundgren. “They did this test for a number of reasons. They wanted to know — do we get more listeners doing this? Do they stay tuned longer? Yes, they did. And most important – they didn’t change programs during commercial breaks,” he said, quoted in the same article. The station got around a thousand new listeners every week during the test.

Not to play the role of skeptic here, but are we sure the station wouldn’t have gained a thousand listeners per week even without that experiment? Lundgren should have included that information as well.

Speaking of Italy, one of that country’s largest broadcasters is hosting a seminar on digital radio on April 13, from 2–6 p.m. at RAI’s facility, Sala B, at 10 Via Asiago, in Rome, according to Speakers will include:

  • Patrick Hannon, the President of WorldDAB
  • Graham Dixon, the head of Radio for EBU
  • Stefano Ciccotti, Rai Technical Chief Officer
  • Angelo Marcello Cardani, Agcom President.
  • Sergio Natucci, Chief Operating Officer of DAB Italia
  • Jacqueline Bierhorst, Project Director by Digital Radio NL and Vice-President of WorldDAB
  • Ole Jørgen Torvmark of Digital Radio Norway
  • Jørn Erik Jensen of Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK)
  • Georg Plattner, Director of RAS Fernsehen und Radio für Südtirol.

In Germany, the Thuringian State Media Authority (TLM) has welcomed the planned “Call for Interest” for the use of a state-wide private DAB + multiplex, reports As the TLM announced on March 7, the appeal should promote the discussion of private radio stations in Thuringia: The securing of the necessary frequencies for the participation of private radio broadcasters; addressing newly interested parties; and, as a result, the start of Thuringian network planning.

In the UK, the ten small-scale DAB trial multiplexes will continue operating until at least the 31st of March of 2020, reports These multiplexes are on-air in Bristol, Manchester, Portsmouth, London, Cambridge, Aldershot, Brighton & Hove, Norfolk, Glasgow and Birmingham.

The trial extension will also allow the UK’s Ofcom to continue to gather information to help inform a new, formal framework for licensing small-scale DAB multiplexes across the UK, which is currently in develop.m.ent. Ofcom expects that interested parties, including the current trial licensees as well as those not taking part, will have the opportunity to apply for such licences under the new framework in 2019, according to the same article.

Ten trial licenses were awarded in 2015 to parties in different areas who wanted to operate a small-scale DAB multiplex. The downside of the trial multiplexes is that they cover a relatively small geographical area compared to local and national DAB multiplexes; the upside is small-scale DAB trials keep costs low by making use of relatively inexpensive transmission equip.m.ent and the freely available ‘open-source’ software.