Patrick Hannon, President of the WorldDAB: launch of the digital radio in Ukraine is an important day for Europe
President of the global industry forum WorldDAB, Patrick Hannon, congratulated Ukraine on the launch of digital radio services in his video address.
The text of the address is below, verbatim.
Good morning, everybody and greetings from London.
My name is Patrick Hannon, I’m President of [the] WorldDAB. I’m really sorry that I can’t be with you today to mark the launch of the digital radio in Ukraine. But I am pleased that I’m able to make this video recording for you.
Before I start, I would like to, in particular, mention two people and send my greetings: that is Iurii Artemenko and Serhii Kostynskyi. I know you’ve been working very hard to get digital radio off the ground and I just want to wish you the very best of luck today and in the coming months.
Now, for digital radio, you know, this is a very important day. It is a very important day for us across Europe. And, of course, it is a very important day for you in Ukraine: with Ukraine launching DAB+ you’re joining, really, a family of countries that have DAB+ services. We’re now, really, established as the core platform for the future of radio in Europe.
If you look back a number of years, there were just four countries: UK, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland. But the picture changed about seven years ago, when Germany launched. Germany launched in 2011 and then they were followed by the Netherlands in 2013 and Italy in 2014. And that really gave us a backbone of digital radio through the heart of Europe. And since then, we’ve had an expansion both to the West (in France and Belgium) and, more recently, to the East. We have services on air, with public broadcasters in Poland and the Czech Republic, and in Slovenia. And we also have trials in Austria, Croatia and, most recently, launching in Greece.
So you’re joining a vibrant community. So that’s really good news. And, of course, on top of that we now have the first countries actually switching off their FM signals. So, Norway switched off in 2017 – last year. And Switzerland will be the next country switching off its FM between 2020 and 2024.
So, one of the questions I’m often asked is: “Well, this is all very interesting but.. Why? Why are people doing this?”. Well, the short answer is that radio, if it is to remain relevant in the 21st century, needs to innovate. And the basic problem it has with FM is that FM spectrum is full. So, there’s no extra capacity – which makes innovation extremely difficult. And that’s where DAB+ comes in.
DAB+ offers a number of benefits. The first [one] is: it allows people to launch new services. It also offers superior audio quality: so, clearer reception. And then, on top of that, it allows the creation of new data services. In particular, we have examples of improved traffic information services and also emergency services. So, digital radio offers benefits to listeners, to broadcasters and society. So that’s really the motivation for people launching the digital radio.
And one of the good things is that because so many countries have now launched digital radio, we really have an established template for success. And if there’s one thing that you [should] remember from what I’m saying to you today, it’s the next phrase: the template for success is based on the five “Cs”. So, the five “Cs” are: coverage, content, cars, consumer equipment and communication. And those, indeed, are all five fundamental parts of any strategy that’s going to make digital radio a success.
But it needs to be underpinned by two things. And those two things are: number one, clear political commitment (so you need to have a vision for the future and you need to have commitment towards it); and then the second thing, which is really important, is collaboration. And that’s collaboration right across the radio ecosystem, so it starts with governments, ministries, media regulators, broadcasters, public broadcasters, private broadcasters; but also the network operators, the car manufacturers, receiver manufacturers and retailers. All of those people need to work together if they’re going to make the digital radio a success. And it’s really one of the key messages that we at the WorldDAB always emphasize, it’s that need for collaboration.
So, if I round up the role of the WorldDAB in all of this, is to help new countries to develop the digital radio services successfully. We have real depth of experience from other countries, right across the radio ecosystem, from all the different players; and what we try and do when the new country is launching, is to tell: look, we’ve got experience, we’ve got expertise. Every country is different, but there are certain things that always remain fundamentally true. And what we do is help bring that experience to support new countries when they are launching digital radio.
So, to conclude, I would just like to say I’m delighted that Ukraine is launching today and I look forward to working with you and introducing you to other parts of the WorldDAB family. And, above all, I wish you the very best of luck. Thank you very much.