DigiMig Group Submits Plan for Digitalization of Radio in Switzerland

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DigiMig Group Submits Plan for Digitalization of Radio in Switzerland

Dec 5, 2014 9:53 AM, Doug Irwin, CPBE AMD DRB

BERN, SWITZLERLAND�A group made up of representatives of SRG and Switzerland's privately owned radio stations, along with the Swiss Office of Communications has drawn up a plan for the long-term switchover from analog FM to digital (DAB+) radio broadcasting. Representatives of the working group today submitted their vision to Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, Head of DETEC.

In the spring of 2013, the radio industry joined forces with OFCOM to form the Digital Migration (DigiMig) working group. In addition to OFCOM, the group comprises representatives of the VSP association of Swiss private radio stations, the RRR association which represents regional radio stations in French-speaking Switzerland, the Unikom union of non-commercial local radio stations, SRG, the automotive industry, and other sectors.

In the group''s view, radio stations across Switzerland should be broadcasting digitally, using DAB+, no later than 2024. Their plan has two phases:� Phase 1 would run until 2019. The group''s plan provides for specific marketing and communications measures to promote digital radio listening at home and in the car. The new Radio and Television Act (RTVA) will also give the technology a significant boost. This phase will be accompanied by a dedicated program of audience research.� Phase 2 provides for the coordinated-by-region switch-off of FM transmitters between 2020 and 2024. The radio sector wishes to take independent responsibility for this process, and is currently drafting the corresponding agreement.

This plan will put into practice the digital radio broadcasting strategy which the Federal Council drew up as long ago as 2006. Even then, it was realized that FM had reached its capacity limits; its technical potential has been exhausted, and there were no unoccupied, usable FM frequencies available in Switzerland for many years prior. Even today, SRG radio stations � as well as more than half of those that are privately owned � are broadcast via DAB+ in parallel with FM. Some stations are exclusively digital.