Click here [168 KB]
Five commercial radio stations to begin digital broadcasting on the FM band in September
With DAB+ already in operation for regional-language and national broadcasting since October 2009, local/regional programmes will shortly begin airing HD Radio signals. Radio Argovia, Radio Basel, Capital FM, Radio 24 and Radio Sunshine are to start broadcasting with HD Radio™ technology this September. The necessary applications were submitted to Switzerland’s Federal Office of Communications in January, a move made possible through the amending of the corresponding decree by the Swiss Federal Council. Digitalising radio in this way for the first time enables programme providers to diversify their content. And that results in distinctive added value for listeners.
Application lodged, first-phase preparations underway
The initiating group behind the introduction of HD Radio technology (consisting of Radio Argovia, Radio Basel, Capital FM, Radio 24 and Radio Sunshine) jointly lodged its application for a „grant of the right to digital utilisation of existing allocated FM frequencies“ with the Federal Office of Communications in late January. The applicants hope that one will be forthcoming soon. It is considered likely that the launch date for the first phase of the HD Radio rollout will be 1 September 2010.
The first round of digitalisation will reach around 80% of the radio stations’ commercial listener potential, as the five broadcasters re-equip a total of eight transmitters for digital operation. RadioTrend AG and Ruoss AG will lead the technical project planning efforts on behalf of the Working Group. The Working Group will busy itself over the coming months with key marketing issues such as getting receiving equipment to listeners and additional programme offerings to bolster added value.
HD Radio™ technology provides added value for listeners and broadcasters alike
One benefit of HD Radio technology is the ability to migrate currently existing programming to the digital domain. Another benefit is that it provides commercial broadcasters a first-ever method of providing listeners in their reception area with additional programme streams from their land-based transmitters, plus extra services (data, traffic services, iTunes tagging, 5.1 surround sound, etc.). Over the medium to long term, this will greatly aid listener retention in local-regional reception areas. For the broadcasters, HD Radio technology represents a low-cost, incremental digitalisation technology that can be launched on a station-by-station basis.
HD Radio™ technology already working well in the USA
Some 2000 broadcasters in the USA, Brazil and Mexico have already made the switch to HD Radio broadcasting. They currently put out around 1000 additional programmes using the HD2/3 channels. Novel interactive services like iTunes tagging and extensive traffic information are currently on the way. In Europe, various practical trials of HD Radio technology have proven successful with broadcasters across the continent – Switzerland’s Radio Sunshine was one of many.
Swiss digitalisation strategy to be built on DAB+ and digital VHF
Existing regional-language and nationwide radio programming, as well as regional-language and national content that does not go out on the VHF airwaves, are to be broadcast through Switzerland’s DAB+ network on band III. They currently comprise the SRG programmes on layer I (still DAB for the moment) and a mix of SRG and commercial programmes in DAB+ on layer II of SMC (Swiss Media Cast). The first (Zurich-Bern-Basel) phase of getting SMC layer II up and running began last October and is continuing.
Digital FM broadcasting is viewed as a novel opportunity for existing and extended local-regional radio programmes. HD Radio technology, a broadcasting technique that was standardised in the USA, is the best suited by far for that purpose.
HD Radio™ receivers are already available
Some 50 equipment manufacturers are already producing hundreds of HD Radio models for an international market for use in-car, on the go, or connected to hi-fi systems. A good proportion of that equipment is already suitable in Europe. Multi-standard receivers capable of receiving regular FM, DAB+ and HD Radio broadcasts will be available at the time of launch.
As part of HD Radio field trials in Switzerland, equipment importers, dealers and manufacturers have in recent years been able to stay informed and participate at events. They will be receiving further information over the weeks to come. An online shop will also be open at the time of launch.
On behalf of the Working Group, Ruoss AG office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Markus Ruoss, Ruoss AG, MarkusRuoss@RuossAG.ch +41 41 798 88 00
Radio Argovia, Roland Baumgartner, email@example.com +41 58 200 45 30
Radio Basel, Christian Heeb, firstname.lastname@example.org +41 61 366 60 00
Capital FM, Nik Eugster – email@example.com +41 31 327 11 27
Radio 24, Gerry Borer – firstname.lastname@example.org +41 44 448 25 25
Radio Sunshine, Marco Meier – email@example.com +41 41 798 88 88
HD-Radio Receiver in USA
Field trial in Switzerland
European HD-Radio Alliance
HD-Radio technologie developer