by Aris Erdogdu, Communications Manager, WorldDAB
DAB+ has without a doubt already established itself as the future platform for radio in most countries in central and northern Europe. This new digital radio wave is now working its way across the rest of the continent, particularly Eastern Europe and the Balkan region.
One of the countries looking to set the example for the implementation of DAB+ in the region is no other than Serbia, a country whose radio listening habits are on par with the rest of Europe, with more than 400 radio stations across the country and over half of the country’s 7 million inhabitants listening to the radio on a daily basis.
Speaking at the Digital Radio Summit held at the EBU’s headquarters in Geneva earlier this month, Zorana Bojicic from the Serbian public broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) touched on the current state of the radio industry in Serbia, pointing to digital audio broadcasting – and to a lesser extent, internet radio – as the best way for the radio industry in Serbia to move forward.
According to Zorana, there are a number of reasons that favour digital radio over internet broadcasting, starting with the fact that it is free-to-air, as opposed to internet radio. Broadcasting also provides better quality while on the road and in the car, as well as being a quick, free and reliable way to divulge critical information in the unfortunate event of any catastrophic or other critical situations. Last but not least, Zorana highlighted that Serbia’s need for digital radio and DAB+ stems from the simple need to have high quality signal in the air.
While RTS and Radio Belgrade are both fully committed to a digital future for the radio industry in Serbia, it is currently only the latter that is broadcasting on DAB+, meaning Radio Belgrade plays an important part in the promotion of DAB+ across the country.
In October 2018, a trial regional DAB+ multiplex went on air in the Avala mountain, covering around three million people – approximately half of the population of Serbia – in and around the capital city of Belgrade. The strategy is expected to go to a public consultation in the near future before being implemented, after which a call for tender will be launched for the first 16 channel mux.
Earlier in February, the State Secretary at Serbia’s Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Tatjana Matic announced that seven additional transmitters are expected to be put into operation by the end of the year, helping provide DAB+ coverage to 80 percent of the population. Serbia’s plan for a migration to digital radio is in motion!