DRM delivers much more than audio: Ruxandra Obreja #DBS2021

“We live in a troubled time, but we have a great strength with radio,” said DRM Chairperson Ruxandra Obreja at the ABU’s Virtual DBS Conference.

“For many people, radio is the only means of information about their world… 

“In this world there are 3.5 billion people who are not connected online, they get information mostly from radio… it can reach any citizen, it is the lifeblood of the unconnected communities. Radio is free with no subscription required, independent of local infrastructure and can be consumed with anonymity, no one is monitoring your activity, which is very important in some countries,” Obreja told conference delegates.

DRM gives universal and free access to information, entertainment and education. “You can do all this using a single low cost technical standard, which has efficient spectrum usage and delivers much more than audio.”

DRM does not need new infrastructure to transmit, and allows for a smooth transition from analog to digital.

The benefits of DRM are the same no matter which frequency band is being used:

  • More choice of channels/program
  • Excellent audio
  • Multimedia applications
  • Good coverage area with a robust signal
  • Automatic tuning, no more frequencies for people to learn by heart
  • Emergency warnings

In an emergency, DRM can wake up receivers to sound a warning remotely from another safe part of the country where the transmitter is protected. It can also broadcast information in different languages and text fonts.

During 2020, with many schools closed, DRM is providing access to educational content without the need of the internet. “In DRM receivers you can cache information to be accessed later, which is very useful for remote areas during the pandemic.”

DRM is also using external screens in villages in India to display messages, educational material and warnings that have been sent within the digital transmission.

A trial in Delhi and Jaipur during March 2021 demonstrated the advantages of DRM for the FM band.

In Africa, South Africa is the first country to commit to a digital radio policy, called DSB in that country, digital sound broadcasting.

Almost 3 million cars in India have DRM receivers. New receiver brands have joined the roll out in India, according to Obreja. There are many standalone receivers also developed and Fraunhofer is developing mobile phone receivers… there’s receivers from Gospel with prices dropping, including small portable radios and those with good speaker quality, according to Obreja.

All the details are in the handbook on the DRM website.

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