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DW Digital Radio DRM

Deutsche Welle and BBC Launch Europe-Wide DRM Channel

BBC and DW created a new radio channel with a mix of global news and current affairs on Digital Radio Mondiale. Since Dec. 10, 2008 European listeners get the best of both stations in a single quality channel.

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Deutsche Welle's antenna in Sines, Portugal, broadcasts the DRM program

Broadcast in clear digital quality, the new DRM channel is available from early morning till late at night with global news and current affairs along with a rich mix of in-depth analysis, documentaries and cultural programs. The channel targets Western and Central Europe.

"This project creates a great opportunity for two of the world's most-established broadcasters to work together," said Deutsche Welle's Director General Erik Bettermann. "Along with the BBC, Deutsche Welle will be able to offer first-class content on an innovative platform."

What is DRM?

Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is the digital broadcasting system for bands below 30MHz (long, medium and short wave) offering nearly FM quality sound. The consortium that developed the DRM system is an international not-for-profit organisation composed of broadcasters, network providers, transmitter and receiver manufacturers.

Ruxandra Obreja, Chairwoman of the DRM Consortium and Controller, Business Development at BBC World Service, said the goal of the joint channel was to give audiences a chance to listen to the best of BBC and DW in clear digital quality.

In addition, Obreja said she hoped the attractive content would stimulate the production and marketing of commercial DRM receivers leading to the graduation of long distance radio broadcasting in the new digital era.

Universal technology, international reception

DRM is a universal, openly standardized, digital radio system for short-wave, medium-wave and long-wave radio with the ability to use existing frequencies and bandwidths across the globe. Whereas regular FM/AM radios can only receive 35-40 local stations and a handful of medium-wave broadcasts, DRM can bring a wide variety of international broadcasts directly to every radio listener in high quality sound, thus allowing audiences to tune in across borders.

Because it is digital, DRM reception is of equally high quality no matter where a listener turns it on. Plus, DRM is still a radio, meaning that listeners do not need an internet connection to listen to their favorite programs.

Radio in Multimedia Age

According to the Consortium, DRM represents the next generation in radio. A DRM receiver provides all the benefits associated with modern digital radios. Listeners can tune in by frequency, station name or type of program. In addition to offering a range of audio content, the DRM technology also has the capacity to integrate text and data and display it on an integrated screen.

Listeners can receive electronic program guides with information associated with the program content or even the latest news reports with links to related online sites for more information. The BBC-DW channel will offer text streaming directly from the two stations' websites.

Expanding the audience

According to Obreja the DRM audience is expected to grow in Europe in the next few years once the technology becomes more familiar to consumers and radio listeners hear about the benefits of DRM technology. Quality content programming such as that provided by the BBC-DW channel will convince them of the advantages of tuning into DRM.

Nigel Chapman, Director BBC World Service, said he welcomed the opportunity DRM technology provides to reach new audiences in an audio quality only available on FM. The joint BBC-DW channel is also an "opportunity for other broadcasters to embrace the benefits that this new technology can bring."

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