In a recent article, Dr Ulrich Liebenow, Operating Director at MDR in Germany and chair of technical committee of ARD and Deutschlandradio , outlined the plans being put in place for a move to DAB+ in Germany, the conditions that need to be met for this to happen and the need for a new study into DAB use.
The original article, published by EPD, can be viewed here.
After outlining the benefits of DAB+ and the need for a hybrid radio approach, Dr Liebenow explains how the German radio industry is working together on a two-step approach for the introduction of DAB+, with an expansion phase followed by migration.
The objective is to keep the FM/DAB+ simulcast phase as economical as possible while considering the needs and interests of listeners. During this phase a concrete proposal will be put in place by all parties on the eventual shutdown of FM.
As a prerequisite for a transition from the expansion to the migration phase the ARD proposes reaching a threshold of 95 percent coverage for public service programming in Germany. The ARD broadcasters are eager to expand their networks quickly and to reach the designated coverage goal between 2018 and 2020 jointly with Deutschlandradio.
Reaction so far to this phased model has been encouraging, with positive feedback from policy makers, private broadcasters and device manufacturers.
Criteria for the migration to DAB+ are under discussion – one of which will be related to receiver sales.
Stakeholders across the German radio industry – state media institutions, private radio broadcasters, Deutschlandradio, technical suppliers and the ARD – are collaborating on the structure of an annual survey that will measure technical coverage, receiver sales and other key benchmarks on the uptake of DAB+.
As Dr Liebenow concludes, “The path to a full rollout of the DAB+ digital radio standard has been outlined. The fact that this road still needs to be cleared of many obstacles before we can speak of a final changeover from FM to digital radio is obvious. Provided that all the market participants agree – and the political will is in place – the chance of a digital future for radio has never been as great as it is today.”