Eureka! Online

UK Government Minister Ed Vaizey asks European Commission to include radio in the Digital Single Market Strategy

UK Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, and Dorothee Bär, German Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), set out their shared vision for radio’s digital future in London last week.

Speaking to an international audience of over 200 radio experts at the WorldDAB General Assembly, Ed Vaizey said the European Commission can and should play a greater role in supporting the transition to digital radio across Europe by:

  • supporting common technical standards for digital radio – something WorldDAB is driving forward

    Ed-Vaizey

    Ed Vaizey at the WorldDAB General Assembly 2015 in London

  • encouraging European car manufacturers to install digital radio alongside FM based on common standards, and
  • promote the carriage of European radio services on digital networks – something we are keen in the UK to facilitate

Here is an excerpt from Ed Vaizey’s speech:

“Digital radio is certainly growing across Europe – particularly with Norway and Switzerland having confirmed plans for a switchover. Germany has successfully launched DAB+ services –reaching 10% household penetration in three years. The German public service broadcasters have announced their intention to build on the progress made – something Willi Steul mentioned earlier.

DCMS has had excellent discussions with the German Federal and State Governments, regulators and ARD to support the progress on digital radio and to explore areas we can collaborate on in terms of knowledge and know-how. They are very interested to learn from us how to get DAB radio into German cars – this should not be hard as the leading German manufacturers are close to 100% in terms of their UK sales.

DCMS officials have also had meetings with counterparts in France, Germany, Denmark and with the Digital Radio Team in Norway. There is interest in these countries in learning from our experience with digital radio. We are keen to learn from them.

But there is a need for cooperation at EU level. The Digital Single Market is a key priority for the UK. We believe it is has huge potential for driving jobs and growth and safeguarding Europe’s competitiveness across all digital technologies.

That’s why the UK Government’s response to the EU Commission’s consultation on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive suggests to include radio in the Digital Single Market Strategy.

The UK wants to ensure radio remains a distinctive and vibrant medium for citizens and consumers. We have therefore put forward our view that there needs to be more collaboration on digital radio across Europe. This is not about extending competence – regulation of radio services should remain within the competence of national Governments. But the Commission can and should play a greater in supporting the transition to digital radio across Europe by:

  • supporting common technical standards for digital radio – something WorldDAB is driving forward
  • encouraging European car manufacturers to install digital radio alongside FM based on common standards, and
  • promote the carriage of European radio services on digital networks – something we are keen in the UK to facilitate.

So to conclude, I remain of the view that Digital is the future for radio in the UK and elsewhere across Europe and that the transition – albeit slow – is the right one to guarantee radio’s future in the 2030s and beyond – this has not changed over the past five years.”

This speech was further supported by WorldDAB President, Patrick Hannon who told the audience that the Ministerial messages set out a clear vision for the next phase of DAB’s development and collaboration across all elements of the radio eco-system will be key driver of success.

Read Ed Vaizey’s speech in full

Watch an interview with Ed Vaizey at the General Assembly 2015

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Eureka! Online is the WorldDAB newsletter, published regulary and distributed to over 4000 global key players from the radio broadcasting industry. Its readership also includes governments, country regulators, policy makers and the automotive industry.

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