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Making the switch to digital

A lively debate about digital radio switchover as Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands outlined their plan for switchover.

The article is followed by the presentations from the three speakers who used slides in this session.

Trygve Rønningen (Chief Executive, Norway’s P4) described the success of the switchover process. It’s due to three things: new content, good coverage and a clear message about shutdown. Indeed, the shutdown message has upped the speed of listener conversion to DAB, with 40% of Norway now listening digitally each day.

Beatrice Merlach from Switzerland’s MCDT outlined how their organisation works with all industry stakeholders on digital regulatory, technical, marketing and communications issues. She felt that the way to deliver switchover was through pragmatism, clear rules and commitment. To make switchover work she thinks it’s essential for involvement of the entire sector – a consistent strategy, good negotiations and commitment.

Phil Riley, from the UK’s Orion Media was a self-confessed DAB fan declaring it an essential part of the listening fabric of the UK and no station could afford not to be part of the platform – indeed a station would suffer economic damage if they weren’t on it. However, he felt that radio was a mixed economy: DAB and FM.

Jan Westerhof from the Netherland’s NPO reflected the views of his colleagues from Switzerland and Norway arguing that the switch provided more choice and better quality for listeners.

Three of the speakers used slides