Austria’s Radio Broadcasters Have Different Outlook on DAB - Radio Magazine

Austria’s Radio Broadcasters Have Different Outlook on DAB

Author:
Publish date:

AUSTRIA�In the pages of Digital Radio Update we have occasionally discussed the progress of DAB+ radio in Austria.� DAB+ testing continues in Vienna, for example, so some amount of forward progress is being made.�

I was recently afforded the opportunity to ask some questions of a person in-the-know: Gabriele Sch�ngruber, of the FEEI (Austria�s Association for the Electrical and Electronics Industries).� In particular I was interested in the dichotomy of interest in DAB, when considering public and private broadcasters there. ��

DI:The testing and transmission of DAB+ in Austria is a fairly new development, while it has been going on in Germany and Switzerland for some time (more than five years).� Why has Austria started later?

Gabriele Sch�ngruber: In many areas Austria orients itself to the bigger market of Germany, and this is also true with the introduction of digital radio.� In particular the market for radio equipment and technical developments are the leading way for Austria.� Concerning an important field of use of DAB+ - the automotive industry � it is essential how technologies develop in Germany, because they then roll out on the much smaller market Austria.

DI: It�s my understanding that ORF (The publicly funded state broadcaster) is not very interested in digital radio.� In the United States, public radio stations are generally the most active advocates of digital radio.� What is different about ORF?

GS: Austria�s radio market has been at a standstill for many years. 20 years after the beginning of dual broadcasting the market situation remains monopolistic.� ORF has a 73 percent market share.� The established dominating broadcasters, who have sufficient transmission capacity via FM frequencies, have no economic reasons to switch to a modern, cost-effective platform.

In contrast there are broadcasters who are not sufficiently represented on VHF and who are missing an alternative means of broadcasting their programs, such as DAB+, or via national DAB+ networks. (Currently there are three public service broadcasters and a commercial station available throughout Austria).

DI:I have read that there are two types of private broadcasters in Austria: those that are non-commercial, and those that are commercial.� How is the mission of private, non-commercial broadcasting there different from that of ORF?

GS: The broadcasting system in Austria is based on three pillars: public service broadcasting (financing through fees and advertising revenue), private-non-commercial ("free radios", not profit-oriented, no advertising in the program, open access to the general design of programs of their program) and privately-commercially (funding through advertising revenue). The three pillars have different legal bases.

DI:I recently I read that �non-commercial private radio broadcasters are not interested in DAB radio.� VFRO says that DAB+ technology is �moribund� and obsolete as well as being �economically completely nonsensical."� To me this seems completely non-intuitive.� Why do you think these broadcasters are so against what seems like the logical technical progression?

GS: Many non-commercial radio stations have small transmitters that have a reduced geographic reach. These radio stations will have higher cost if switching to DAB+ (though a larger reach). Nevertheless free radio stations are showing interest in DAB+ concerning nationwide broadcasting.

Keep reading Digital Radio Update for news of digital broadcasting around North America and the World.��

Related

Image placeholder title

Bavarian DAB Networks to be Reorganized This Summer

On the basis of an infrastructure agreement between Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), Bayerische Landeszentrale für neue Medien (BLM) and Bayern Digital Radio GmbH (BDR), the operation and use of the DAB+ digital radio networks in Bavaria, Germany will be soon be reconfigured, according to teltarif.de.