Wednesday, 16 March 2011

GERMANY: government drops FM radio switch-off 2015 date from new legislation

VPRT, the German trade association for commercial media, has welcomed the government’s decision not to include clauses in its new Telecommunications Bill that would have switched off FM radio broadcasts in 2015. In its 9 March 2011 press release, VPRT stated: “FM is and remains the basis for the development of new radio services.”

VPRT described the earlier federal plan to switch off FM radio on 31 December 2015 as a “completely unrealistic statutory requirement” which would have made redundant 300 million FM radio receivers.

Germany is making a second attempt to launch DAB radio with ten national services scheduled to start in August 2011. US broadcaster Radio Disney had been an initial applicant for one of the national commercial DAB radio channels, but subsequently
withdrew its proposal in January 2011. Some of the other commercial stations had been offered a financial subsidy by DAB chip manufacturer Frontier Silicon in December 2010 [see blog].

However, as one German publication commented: “So far, consumer interest in digital radio has been extremely low.” Pit Klein from the magazine ‘Sat+Kabel’ explained: “We have estimated from the regional media authorities that only about 500,000 DAB radio devices are in circulation.” Christoph de Leuw from the magazine ‘Audio Video Foto Bild’ said: “In some areas, [DAB radio] receives only two or three stations. No one buys a new radio receiver for €100 to receive two stations … People are satisfied with FM quality. The real, practical benefits to consumers [of DAB] are yet to be determined.”

Experts in Germany agree that the future of radio is digital. “Whether the digitalisation of radio will take place on DAB is questionable,”
said Sven Hansen, editor of the computer magazine ‘c’t’.


[with thanks to
Follow The Media]

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