Monday, January 28, 2013

Digital Radio in Ireland compared with UK

Dusty Rhodes
VIEWPOINT: Digital radio in Ireland today is comparable to the UK in about 2002 – writes Dusty Rhodes for Radio Today.

Like the BBC at the time our public broadcaster has launched DAB transmissions in each of the main cities and there is interest from commercial broadcasters. However with a particularly bad recession here they have yet to actively engage.

Being ten years behind the UK can only be a good thing as we are gaining from lessons learned by our closest neighbour as well as developments in Denmark, Norway, Germany and Australia.

Among these lessons is making the most efficient use of what the technology offers. For instance Ireland is planning two Single Frequency Networks to roll out DAB nationally which will very quickly bring 20+ new stations to every home, car and workplace. In a market where most listeners have a choice of six or fewer stations this is attractive for both listener and new broadcasters.

A SFN is hugely efficient on spectrum, power and transmitters required meaning significantly lower costs than those currently experienced in the UK.

There is talk of some UK broadcasters moving into the Irish radio market. This is in a similar vein to London based satellite TV stations who beam in their main programmes with opt-out local advertising for Ireland. With both countries so close in culture, language and outlook this could be a viable option for radio also.

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