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Crystal clear recommendation from the EBU Digital Radio Summit

A new technical recommendation from the EBU on digital radio distribution is set to inject new momentum into the deployment of digital radio services across Europe.

The EBU launched a new technical Recommendation at the Digital Radio Summit in Geneva, to bring added impetus to the rollout of digital radio services across Europe. Recommendation R 138, representing the first agreement among EBU Members on digital radio distribution, was approved by the EBU Technical Committee last week.

R 138 advocates careful consideration of the needs of all radio services in any country planning to digitize radio, including future service expansion, available spectrum and the cost effectiveness of different standards for different services. It is fully aligned with the EBU’s Euro-Chip campaign, which is pushing for all new devices to be capable of receiving both analogue and digital radio services and switching seamlessly between them.

The key points of the new Recommendation are that:

  • there should be adequate national planning, in order to provide digital solutions for all radio services;
  • there should be immediate deployment using DAB+, which uses more advanced audio coding than the original DAB standard;
  • where DAB coverage isn’t possible the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) system should be used;
  • enhanced features such as text, images and programme guides should accompany digitization;
  • hybrid services taking advantage of additional internet-delivered content should be deployed, for example using the RadioDNS system;
  • added momentum could be given to deployment if it were possible to agree on harmonization around a future analogue switch-off date for radio in Europe.

At the Digital Radio Summit the recommendation was presented by Javier Sánchez Perez, chair of the EBU’s Strategic Programme on Digital Radio Platforms . He stressed that “terrestrial broadcast delivery is the only free-to-air and cost-effective method for truly mobile reception, particularly in cars”.