Roxanda Obreja, Chairperson of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), the consortium that promotes digital radio standards, says that Nigeria should be considering plans to switch from analogue to digital radio broadcasting.
DRM promotes a digital radio standard that has been designed by broadcasters, for broadcasters, with the active assistance and participation of both transmitter and receiver manufacturers and other interested parties such as regulatory bodies, according to the body.
Amid Nigeria’s ongoing plans to migrate from analogue to digital TV services, Obreja said in Lagos that efforts should not only be directed to digital TV broadcasting transmission transition, but same should be replicated in making digital radio broadcasting a reality for Nigerian consumers.
This was one of the key takeaway from the DRM Chairperson’s presentation, Digital Radio Mondiale – clever solution for smart countries delivered at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 that ended weekend in Lagos.
“Nigeria should not dismiss or forget radio because radio is crucial to the people. So, you forget radio at your peril” Obreja told the forum ahead of the 2017 digital broadcasting migration deadline set by broadcasting industry regulatory agency, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
There is a global trend towards the adoption of digital technology in radio and communications, especially distribution and transmission. Digitization offers many substantial advantages to national and international broadcasters”, she adds.
Digital Radio Mondiale is a set of digital audio broadcasting technologies designed specifically as a high quality digital replacement to work for current analogue radio broadcasting in AM and FM/VHF bands, shes says adding that “as such it can be operated with the same channeling and spectrum allocation as currently employed.”
Obreja went ahead to share some advantages of digital radio broadcasting through the DRM platform by explaining that “DRM+ has a narrow bandwidth that provides an ideal digital solution for those regional and local broadcasters for whom broadband-shared multiplex is not suitable.”
The introduction of DRM services allows a broadcaster to provide listeners with significant improvements in service reliability, audio quality and most importantly, usability, says the DRM Chairperson.
She further explains that DRM standard provides many features and facilities that are impossible to replicate in analogue broadcasting.
”It is essential that prospective broadcasters understand the potential and flexibility of the system in order to allow them to optimize and configure the DRM networks in accordance with their particular market condition.”
She mentioned such benefits as the availability of a wider range of services, easier tuning and selection of programming improved formats like stereo in the AM bands and surround-sound in cars, improved more consistent sound quality, program-associated data, textual content description or independent services like traffic information and many others as what RDM offers on digital radio.
The DRM Chair displayed slides of practical example of how the digital radio is being used in some Southern African countries especially in South Africa and also in India which she says is DRM’s biggest market globally.
She again encouraged countries like Nigeria to fully embrace digital radio the same way they have embraced TV in order to enjoy the numerous benefits available on digital radio broadcasting.