Darren Willsher, Communications Manager, WorldDAB
At ABU DBS 2018, the WorldDAB workshop once again broke attendance records, with 150 delegates from across the region joining speakers to hear the latest digital radio news and updates.
Joan Warner opened proceedings by welcoming delegates and highlighting the strength of radio around the world. Radio has a connection with listeners that no other medium can match, but radio also needs to innovate in order to stay ahead and it’s here where digital can play a key role.
Jørn Jensen from Norwegian broadcaster NRK spoke about the digital switchover in Norway, which completed in December 2017. He shared the background and the lessons learnt – highlighting the importance of information and communicating with listeners. The presentation also looked at the latest listening figures – the first to be published since the switchover was completed – with listening remaining broadly stable. As the switchover was completed in stages, the industry will be watching closely for the next set of listening figures due over the coming weeks.
Delegates also heard from the Australian commercial radio sector, with Dave Cameron of Southern Cross Austereo explaining how brand extensions on DAB+ have enabled SCA to continue to build strength around their key network brands – read in detail about his presentation here.
Nick Piggott from RadioDNS presented the latest developments in hybrid radio, outlining how radio and IP can work together to deliver the best possible experience to listeners. This was supported by a video presentation from Ben Poor of the European Broadcasting Union, in which he outlined how digital and hybrid together provide the means to create an improved experience for listeners. Ben also talked through the EBU’s R138 recommendation document for the deployment of digital radio in Europe, which recommends DAB+ be used, hybrid radio be included and that countries should set out a timetable towards digital switchover.
Bernie O’Neill, WorldDAB’s Project Director, presented an update on DAB+ deployments around the world, from the next countries looking at digital radio switchover Europe to the new trials and services on-air in the Middle East and Asia. She emphasised that WorldDAB continues to support broadcasters, regulators and manufactures in Asia Pacific, offering to share advice and best practice from these deployments. Lindsay Cornell, Chair of the WorldDAB Technical Committee, outlined the latest work being undertaken with the DAB+ standard, including dealing with non-Latin text and work being undertaken with OMRI on developing applications for mobile phones with DAB+.