We speak to the new Vice-Chair of the WorldDAB Technical Committee, Andreas Goršak, Senior Engineer, Broadcast Development at JVCKENWOOD.
Q: How long have you been involved with WorldDAB and the TC?
I got involved with DAB testing for JVC car entertainment in the early 2000’s and, shortly after, I was nominated as the JVC representative to the WorldDAB TC – the September 2004 TC meeting was the first that I attended in person. While I haven’t attended every meeting, I have been a keen observer of the TC and its activities ever since.
Q: Why did you join the TC?
By the time I joined the TC, I had been the representative to the RDS Forum for a while and JVC decided that digital radio represented an important area for development. So it was natural for me to join the committee where the technical specifications are developed.
For developers, it’s essential to connect to the community of other users and implementers, in particular for early technology generations. At that time, few chip-sets existed and everyone was trying to find their way around.
Q: What made you interested in becoming the vice-chair?
As a receiver maker we see the need to give our part of the industry a voice within the digital radio community.
After I had successfully completed the chair role in the Service Lists Task Force, I felt I can contribute to the community in a fruitful and constructive way. I had always appreciated Lindsay’s straightforward leadership of the TC and felt encouraged to get more involved by his support.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge for DAB (from a TC perspective) in the next few years?
Developing digital radio into the modern multimedia platform for mass audiences that the market so urgently demands.
This will take vision and commitment from all stakeholders, but it is my conviction that radio has the power to compete and prevail; it is our task to make it an attractive modern medium that’s a joy to interact with.
Q: What about more generally?
The ‘hesitation barrier’ as I would call it is probably the main obstacle to a sustainable Europe-wide digital radio roll-out.
The hesitation in Germany and France towards going digital is observed in other nations and leads to ‘wait-and-see’ attitudes. As a receiver maker, we are tied to the laws of ‘supply and demand’ and personally I’m stunned by the anti-competitive attitudes that dominate parts of this industry; attitudes that for one reason or another go unregulated for a decade or so.
We as a receiver maker believe digital radio needs decisive and determined commitment for a successful roll-out; it otherwise risks being marginalised by the unrelenting digital evolution.
Q: How do you see digital radio in the car evolving?
Radio in general has a strong foothold in the car; it is by far the most important entertainment medium for car users and this isn’t changing much in the age of streaming services.
We do see though that radio services need to grow in two directions to stay relevant for future generations. For one, services that run associated content such as text, artist/title, slideshow and programme guide represent tangible add-on value and are much more attractive to listeners than audio only services.
Secondly, in the digital age, consumer habits change; listeners expect to find something that squarely meets their momentary mood or taste right there on the dial. It is the successful radio services that cater to these expectations and we as receiver maker can merely respond to listener demand.
Q: Why should more people get involved with the work of the TC?
The TC is the heart of the technical evolution that we call digital radio. With more people involved the chances to better represent and address broader audiences are higher. I believe in the old mantra: ‘Cooperate on technology, compete on services and features’.
Q: How can the TC help countries/companies new to DAB?
The TC is the indispensable source of knowledge and expertise, the centre of a wide network of experts from all parts of the industry. For anyone working towards a DAB implementation, be it a service, a network or a receiver, I’d consider it essential to join WorldDAB and get involved in the Technical Committee.
Find out more about WorldDAB Committees here. Anyone interested in becoming a member can get in touch with the Project Office team.