The Congress took place between October 13th – 15th in the beautiful city of Gramado – south of Brazil- on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this powerful association.
The theme of the well-organised event was “Empowering people, integrating media”, demonstrating the concern of AGERT with the urgent need for broadcasters to adapt to the new realities, demands and formats of the digital age.
The Associates participated in great numbers and the congress had more than 500 entries, with lectures addressing various themes, all current and of interest to the broadcasters of the Rio del Sul state. The 11 presentations addressed themes like: the digital transformation of radio and TV or from hertz to bytes: scenarios for the 21st century radio, radio digitization and use of channels 5 and etc.
Parallel to the Congress there was an exhibition of transmitters, antennas, studio equipment, automation applications, services for broadcasters and other related products. (Companies that exhibited included: BT-Broadcast Transmitters (DRM member); Access; Transtel; BBtech; KL AV systems; BE Audio; Young Arts; STB; Teletronix; Omega Systems; Mectron; Biquad Filters; Technical Support; Electronic Point; Playlist; Orbisonic and Ideal Professional Antennas).
During the event the participants were informed about the November 7th decree aimed to regulate and migrate the AM to FM onto Band I (channels 5 and 6). The subject was hotly debated during the AGERT Congress, with commentaries and arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of “migration”. The opinions were divided between supporters and opponents. The biggest question was over the fate reserved by the Government to the AM/MW band (OM) after its final abandonment by the radio. Some argued that AM should be abandoned and “die”, while others argued that the solution is going digital, because this would maintain the stations’ coverage area offering existent listeners content with an excellent sound quality. The fact is that both the “migration” and the digitization will require investments by broadcasters and the purchase of new receivers by listeners.
The two digital radio systems being evaluated by the Brazilian Government were invited to make presentations at the Congress. Mr. Marcelo Goedert spoke for DRM and the American company Ibiquity/HDRadio was represented by Mr. John Schneider. The debate was brokered professionally by AGERTs technical consultant engineers Mr. Alfio Rosin and Mr. Claudio Lorini. The AGERT Association has stated its preference for the adoption of DRM system in Brazil as shown by videos posted on YouTube.
DRM and HDRadio agreed on two points: 1. Both rejected the recent statements of the Ministry that digital radio provides coverage smaller than the analogue, having both filed written objections about this false conclusion, totally contradicted in tests conducted all over the world . Broadcasters need to put pressure on the Government to set a standard for Brazil as soon as possible, because they are the ones being harmed by this delay. If there is no pressure, the Government will not decide.