The Latin American and Caribbean office of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC-ALC) and the Latin American Association for Radio Education (ALER) have released a new report that examines the potential impact of digital radio on community and popular radio across Latin America.
Entitled "El Bit de la Cuestión: La radio popular y comunitaria en la era digital," the report explores how new digital radio technologies are adopted might hurt or enhance radio broadcasting at the community or populist level.
Authors of the study note that only a handful of Latin American nations have addressed the issue of digital radio, despite the fact that the ITU has called for standards to be established by 2015. Complicating matters is the fact that large regions in many countries rely on small community radio operations to pass vital local news, information and educational broadcasts, particularly in poor and isolated rural areas.
Some key concerns among champions for community and popular Latin radio broadcasting include:
A perceived need for open standards and a flexible approach to digital radio adoption
A perception that transitions from analog to digital need to be gradual and sensitive to economic hardships among less affluent broadcasters and listeners alike.
The current report is available only in Spanish, but a brief synopsis in English is available at the Radio 2.0 for Development website.