ABU General Assembly

ABU General Assembly

Report by: Ruxandra Obreja (DRM Consortium Chairman)

The ABU General Assembly in Macau celebrated 50 years of activity of the world’s largest broadcasting union. It was attended by a number of senior Consortium representatives: Lindsay Cornell (BBC), Alexander Zink (Frauenhofer IIS) and myself – aiming to support new ABU initiatives and contribute to the debate.

Disaster warning is a hot topic all over the region and high on the ITU agenda. So Alexander Zink’s presentation at a Technical Committee event, led by Dr Amal Punchihewa, was timely and very well received.

We were all busy; Lindsay was a rapporteur for the first day of the Technical Committee, and I participated in the Radio Group, described here (in an excerpt of the report) by Vijay Sadhu, ABU Senior Executive:

“On the theme: Staying Engaged – Radio in Asia-Pacific and Europe four excellent presentations were received.

DRM’s Ruxandra Obreja spoke on How Digital will Enhance & Empower Radio, saying radio needed reinvention or it would perish. She described Digital (DRM) and how it has developed, highlighting its longer term potential and opportunities.

Deborah Steele from ABC News spoke about the importance of content, which would only be as good as the skills of the staff producing it.

Radio Australia’s Kath Brown highlighted the stiff competition in the in-car radio market, but was generally more upbeat about this, largely due to radio’s ubiquity and the opportunities for hybrid radio – combining broadcasts with radio apps.

Carlon Picassinos of TDM Macau reflected on the changing phases of radio, drawing on his experience of working in Portuguese Radio, Vatican Radio and now TDM Macau.”

DRM has proposed a DRM-ABU digital content workshop in response to ABU seeking ideas and offering investment in the best suggestions – we will keep you updated.

There was a full update on DRM’s latest activities in the Technical Committee, in an impactful presentation which led to questions and discussion about energy costs, DRM/DAB comparisons, simulcasting and receivers.

As well as being a forum for debate, discussion and learning, the ABU is also about networking – we made some excellent contacts and are looking forward to working with broadcasters from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Arab countries and Romania.

Next year’s ABU General Assembly will be hosted in Istanbul by Turkish public broadcaster TRT.