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Can digital radio work in SA?. Radio Days Conference 5 July 2012. Overview of presentation. What is digital radio? The promises The challenges A way forward. What is digital radio?. Digital radio is not as simple as digital TV…. Technical standards diverse and in flux.

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can digital radio work in sa

Can digital radio work in SA?

Radio Days Conference5 July 2012

overview of presentation
Overview of presentation
  • What is digital radio?
  • The promises
  • The challenges
  • A way forward
what is digital radio
What is digital radio?
  • Digital radio is not as simple as digital TV….
  • Technical standards diverse and in flux.
  • In digital radio there many options…. Digital sound technologies such as DRM (can replace shortwave and AM-LW. ) Also, there is DAB, DAB+ and DMB that play on TV frequencies. Further there are platforms that deliver (digital) sound broadcasts. There is satellite, DTT, internet (wired and wireless), and cellular technologies.
what is digital radio 2
What is digital radio? (2)
  • Generally there is no technical pressure for FM radio to be switched off because people don’t need those frequencies. Less of a stick and more of a carrot is needed.
  • People need to be encouraged to buy new devices to listen to digital radio on.
    • Internationally however there has been a very slow transition to digital on the radio front.
the promises of digital radio
The promises of digital radio
  • Access to more radio programmes
  • Improved audio quality
  • Elimination of fading problems in mobile environments
  • Allowing for additional datacasting services – see images alongside audio.
challenges the dab case in the uk
Challenges – the DAB case in the UK
  • Around the world the leading promoter of DAB is the UK. But there are many problems :
    • Quality not great
    • DAB sets use more power
    • 20% of the population is not in DAB range and to roll out the infrastructure to ensure everyone would be in range v. expensive – 100 million pounds.
challenges the dab case in the uk1
Challenges – the DAB case in the UK
  • Now there is DAB+.
  • The problem is that the DAB sets can’t pick up these new signals. So if the UK moves to the new technology everyone will have to throw out their old radio sets….
  • Moral of the story – it is not always great being the front-runner…
  • There are scarce resources, enormous needs in the digital environment that go beyond radio (e.g. the need to roll out broadband, development of local content, sheer costs of digital migration for TV) and a lot of these technologies are very expensive.
way forward 1
Way forward (1)
  • Important work done by Guy Berger - Panos Institute booklet – Challenges and perspectives of digital migration for African media.
  • Digital migration should be seen as just one process in the wider perspective of building the African information society by means of many digital-related changes to comms including roll out of broadband.
  • In the case of TV and even more so for radio. Take your time! Digital migration costly and complex. Let other countries make their mistakes, wait till the technology and devices are really cheap.
way forward 2
Way forward (2)
  • Look at a “patchwork of technologies” – satellite for remote rural areas, cellphones for outdoor listening, while indoors via the internet or even digital TV.
  • Don’t “sit back” on the digital front. Develop connections to digital projects such as DTT – supply audio only channels to play alongside TV channels.
  • Ensure two way communication – go beyond sms. Use social networking tools, websites. Share and distribute content.
way forward 3
Way Forward (3)
  • From government you need clear comprehensive policy for the whole digital panorama. Involve both the broadcast and internet sectors. No silos.
  • You need a broad-based and inclusive stakeholder forum to assist in the formulation of comprehensive policy. We are going to have an expert ICT panel but we need MORE than that.
  • Involve the users of this technology. Involve civil society. Involve your unions and campaigns.