Last week in Johannesburg, WorldDAB joined international and South African speakers for a day programme focussed on DAB+ at the start of Radio Days Africa.
Speakers included Joan Warner, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia, Piers Collins, DAB Director at Wireless Group from the UK, Jacqueline Bierhorst, Project Director at Digital Radio Netherlands Jørn Jensen, a Senior Advisor at NRK in Norway, Lynn Mansfield, Chairperson at SADIBA, Marius Venter, Head of Network Planning at Sentech, Nick Grubb CEO at Kagiso Media and Dimakatso Qocha, a councillor at ICASA.
On the first day of the conference we were also joined in a panel discussion by the South African Deputy Minister for Communications, Pinky Kekana. In her speech, Ms Kekana stressed the benefits and importance of implementing digital radio in South Africa, calling DAB+ “a game changer”.
The DAB day programme covered the status of trials in South Africa and the Southern African region, along with case studies from Australia, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK on how broadcasters are using DAB+ to reach new audiences and the lessons learnt from their experiences.
It was great to see so many broadcasters attending the DAB day, and this reflected the interest in DAB+ we saw in other conference sessions. With FM spectrum full, broadcasters need to innovate to retain and grow audiences – so the potential benefits of DAB+ are clear.
With South Africa in the process of switching off analogue TV services, regulator ICASA is looking to the digitisation of radio. WorldDAB submitted a response to the ICASA consultation paper which requested industry input on the process of implementing digital radio, and submissions will be presented over the next weeks.
Thanks to the strong support from government and clear interest from broadcasters we are looking forward to the results of ICASA’s consultation. With so many countries now rolling out DAB+ services, WorldDAB is available to share their lessons and experiences to help South Africa on its own road to DAB+.
Presentations from the DAB day are available to download here.