That’s question is asking Ruxandra Obreja, Chairmen of Digital Radio Mondiale in the article in RadioWorld on May 24th, 2021. The author considers whether DRM’s (digital transmission system intended for use in the existing broadcasting bands below 30 MHz, long, medium and short waves, AdTonos note) tech features can make it more attractive for hybrid radio.

„In the U.S. car listening remains king and accounts for more than 50% of all radio listening. According to the recently unveiled annual 2021 Techsurvey Jacobs Media and Veritone, 58% of the 40,000 U.S. respondents listen to AM/FM radio in the car, 18% to satellite radio while personal music rates some 3%. Smartphones only come in second, after cars. But more interesting are the ranked reasons for radio’s enduring attraction:

  • easy to listen to
  • familiar hosts
  • available for free (i.e. no money)
  • being local – is radio’s primary advantage.”

Obreja Ruxandra lists and continues later in this article:

„Hybrid radio definitely addresses the challenge of “easy to listen to: press a button or voice-activate your car radio and you are in business. If you leave the coverage area, an IP (Internet Protocol, AdTonos footnote) stream will ensure you can continue to listen to your favourite station or presenter, provided the station stream can be accessed and coordinated with the over-the-air broadcast service.”

And there are other positive considerations, too. Linking terrestrial broadcasting with IP ensures continuity and enhanced service, personalized and visually rich. This is all enabled by the metadata (song title, branding labels, ads, etc.) that accompany the audio on the mobile broadband connection. Above all, the hybrid offers the attractive possibility of a backchannel. If the hybrid receiver had, or will have in the future, an extra button for notifications: information, ads, tickets etc., these could be sent directly to your phone or email.

The two-way connectivity is the one thing radio has not been able to offer easily until now. The other is offering reliable data about who is listening to what and for how long. This is less of interest to listeners and more to advertisers and broadcasters. It is also the most valuable and remunerative information hybrid radio could provide.”

The author also considers barriers to the development of hybrid radio and then wonders and asks:

„…Why hook up with IP, using extra effort and costs, analog and digital radio, when at least one digital radio standard, DRM, fulfills and satisfies already many of the aspirations of hybrid? DRM already includes SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface, AdTonos footnote) and what RadioDNS (an organization that promoting the use of open technology standards to enable the use of hybrid radio, AdTonos footnote) offers. It can connect broadcast and online, benefits from Journaline (multimedia application for handling RSS text information on all types of receivers, AdTonos footnote) to ensure rich services, interactivity and personalized content.”

Ruxandra Obreja shares the arguments for DRM:

„A DRM receiver, in the car, on a cell or in the kitchen can carry useful information: logos, maps, pictures, weather, traffic, disaster alerts and education material, addresses and ads. DRM broadcasters can transmit on any analog frequency (AM or FM) up to three audio channels and one data channel, saving both energy, spectrum and money. One or two, or all three audio channels can be flexibly reassigned to data so that less audio and more data is presented to users by easily programming the “four digital lanes” of DRM on one 96 kHz (FM) frequency or on an existing AM frequency. RSS feeds can be presented on DRM receivers without the need to publish and give somebody else your streaming URL and metadata information.”

A very interesting look at the possible directions of development of radio broadcasting technology in the future. Factual arguments and substantive view. We recommend the entire article.

Source: RadioWorld, 24th May 2021