FM Radio to Stay. Who ever said it was going away?

Michael Watterson's picture

RTE has started DAB for new Digital Only Radio in Ireland. DAB stations will all also be be on Saorview and Saorsat. We are having an ASO in 2012 (analogue Switch Off).

But FM-VHF is not going away...<

Britain and parts of Europe are planning to switch off their analogue signal in favour of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), sparking fears that the same would happen here.

Standard radios can't pick up the digital signal, which would make them, and millions of car radios, obsolete.

RTE is already broadcasting DAB in parts of the country: the greater Dublin area; northeast Leinster; Cork city; and Limerick city.

It ran a trial for two years from 2006 to 2008 and now has a licence to broadcast on DAB. It has set up RTE Junior, RTE Choice, RTE Pulse, RTE Gold, RTE Chill and RTE 2XM, all of which are only available on digital.

Although some commercial stations used DAB during the two-year trial, none have since continued with the technology.

RTE head of radio operations JP Coakley is a supporter of DAB and says FM is not good enough for the future.

But campaigners against DAB -- which has already been branded an out-of-date technology -- feared the Government would follow Europe's lead and plan a switchover to it.

However, a spokesman for Communications Minister Eamon Ryan told the Sunday Independent: "Ireland has no plan to cease VHF-FM band II. Ireland never had such a plan.

"If digital radio delivery takes off, then it may be possible to phase out analogue radio, but there are many radios per household, so maybe 5-10 million FM radio receivers nationwide."

Former RTE engineer Enda O'Kane, who oversaw the broadcaster's technology for the northeast and parts of Dublin, has led the campaign against any changeover to DAB.

"This is very welcome news," he said.

"The fear always was that we would follow the digital route, making millions of FM radios redundant.

The ASO (Analogue Switch Off) is only for TV.

Even in UK and rest of Europe the Analogue Switch Off, Digital Changeover, Digital Dividend only applies to TV, not Radio:

Britain and parts of Europe are planning to switch off their analogue signal in favour of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), sparking fears that the same would happen here.

It has been discussed but there has been no decision to do it. Even in UK when they discussed turning off FM Radio, it was only the main stations and only if a minority still used them. The idea was to keep smaller local and community stations on FM-VHF.

Canada and many other countries have stated they will not have FM Radio closed.

Even in UK, the best supporter of DAB (which uses obsolete MP2 codec) DAB has still yet to be a success. Other countries are deploying DMB, DAB+  or DRM (Digital Radio Mondail which uses AAC instead of MP2). It's not clear which digital Radio technology, if any, will replace FM-VHF as a world wide standard. AM on LW, MW and SW does look like it might be replaced by DRM. But many Shortwave services are simply getting closed (End of Cold War, Replacement with Satellite and Local FM-VHF services)

The British government is considering a U-turn on its DAB policy. It
had set a date of 2015 for switching off FM transmitters, but has now
decided to put the date on hold, and may even abandon it altogether,
after a backlash from millions of radio listeners perfectly happy with

Today FM chief executive Willie O'Reilly said: "What are the
negatives for the consumer or the country if we do nothing? . . . In my
view, none.

"So technology is in a kind of flux. What we have is a
heritage technology that is performing very well.

"So we should
be slow to change. We should experiment . . . but very slow to damage
something that we have that is so successful and which is so well
regarded by the public. That's the thing."

The problem for DAB is
the huge importance of car radio listeners. If car manufacturers do not
embrace the technology by fitting DAB radios as standard, millions of
motorists face the expense of buying new, compatible radios.

O'Kane added: "RTE is doing its best to make us aware of their new
services on digital radio, while the commercial stations are no longer
participating. Is DAB too old and likely to become the Betamax of radio
in recessionary times?"

Read also http://grantgoddardradioblog.blogsp...<

Other interesting Article

What is radio again?

These stats raise three challenging questions for the FCC. First,
what exactly is "radio" now? Does the category include music downloads
and DJ-less music streams? Are podcasts radio?

Second, what share does terrestrial radio now command of this
category as a whole?

Finally, the Commission is going to have to come up with some kind of
renewed assessment of the extent to which radio, which has become a
hybrid of terrestrial and Web-based services, still serves the "public
interest, convenience, and necessity," especially when it comes to
coverage of local issues.
strong>Clear Channel is particularly sensitive to the localism thing. The
company pushed
back hard<
against allegations that its stations dropped the ball on
emergency coverage for the town of Minot, North Dakota, following a
2002 toxic spill in that area.

In pursuit of these questions, the FCC is commissioning a series
of studies<
about radio. These will include an assessment of the
amount of local news that radio stations provide, and a survey that will
"examine the availability and usage of local content on the Internet,"
and how much of this content is provided by sources affiliated with
local radio stations, television stations, or newspapers. Clear Channel
has its own online service:<.