New! About DRM – Your Questions Answered

New! About DRM – Your Questions Answered

Our best specialists will respond in brief to your questions. We will post them regularly. Please submit them in writing and in audio with your picture and we will post the answers here. Please keep your questions short and relevant and send them to:

29th June 2020

How to reach open distance learning to unreached rural and tribal communities through DRM digital broadcast? [Dr. Thamminana Krushna Rao]

This is indeed a challenge in India and other parts of the world. DRM delivers relevant content, even internet content without IP or even electricity. As DRM can broadcast up to 3 audio channels and one data channel on the usual analogue frequency, the challenge and possibility is to broadcast on the main channel or on of one the other available channels educational audio. By using the content-server, the extra bit in digital transmission and programming not only audio but also text, the normal DRM digital receiver will broadcast the audio and hopefully on its screen students or teachers will be able to see relevant numbers, maps and diagrams. If the digital receivers are to start with too expensive for these communities, the receivers could be distributed with either government or charitable support to teachers or key people to use. Internet content without IP or even electricity – this is the advantage.

This very subject will be dealt with in our next Education through DRM in Africa, scheduled for July 9th.

22nd June 2020

What kind of receiver can we get to use for lessons delivered by DRM  What is the difference in cost between a normal DRM receiver and a DRM receiver for education? [Bo Htoon]

A DRM receiver made according to the minimum receiver requirements will have a smaller or larger screen, with a display of different fonts and colours, and will deliver news, music or educational audio and text information, as required. No two types of receivers required. Delivering education via DRM is no different from delivering excellent audio in all bands and multimedia features. People usually think of data as being song names, prices or sports results. And why not education information, if necessary? The DRM technology does and cannot not choose the content. The DRM platform delivers files, audio and text, as requested and set up. As DRM delivers on any broadcast band up to three audio channels and a data channel in the spectrum allocation that currently might deliver one single analogue programme, the audio content and the data content are not dictated by the technology. If instead of pop-song titles you want to have educational content, the DRM will enable this. To synchronise audio with the data seen on the screen is requiring a bit of a set up by the teachers, producers involved and some work at the level of the studio and content server but not at the level of the receiver. A good receiver will deliver no matter what information, entertainment or educational, audio and visual material.

15th June 2020

How can a receiver  be automatically turned on in time of emergency? [Sumit Kumar]

The DRM EWF (Emergency Warning Functionality) specification explains this process. At the core, DRM carries an alarm signalling flag in its transmission. This alarm signal needs to be transmitted by ALL DRM services that cover the affected area. A receiver in stand-by mode can pretty efficiently check for this alarm signal activation and then switch-on on demand. The alarm signal contains the information for the receiver where to find the actual emergency programme (typically carried by the public broadcaster from a transmitter that best covers the affected area).

8th June 2020

I have always listened to normal shortwave radio from when I was young. I have often heard about DRM since about 2005, so it’s really weird I’ve never actually experienced it yet here in South Africa.If I were to get a DRM receiver, would it actually work here? Can you actually catch up and listen to any DRM stations here in South Africa? [Ari Damoulakis]

To answer your first question, up till now there have been no regular international DRM broadcasts towards South Africa. The BBC, a DRM Consortium member, has occasionally beamed DRM shortwave transmissions to illustrate the DRM capabilities during conferences held in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The DRM Consortium has been very much involved with the South African radio community in recent years.  DRM in medium wave has been tested successfully by Radio Pulpit in Pretoria and for the first time in Africa on DRM for FM on the community Radio Kofifi in Johannesburg. The Regulator ICASA has recommended DRM for South Africa.  And these successful tests have been the basis for our submissions to the authorities now expected to adopt the draft policy for the digitisation of radio in South Africa. Once the DRM is adopted officially broadcasters can start using DRM and the industry has the confidence to start producing or importing DRM receivers. Once there is full commitment from local broadcasters to roll it out, radio manufacturers will plan and produce receivers for your country, if there are substantial orders coming their way.

02nd June 2020

Can DRM integrate with mobile phone, as FM does? [Dhiraj Mishra]

Yes. There are plug-in modules that will upgrade phones and tablet devices to receive and decode DRM signals. Both with external RF dongles for existing mobile phones, and as an internal software-only option for future phones – using the existing FM receiver component and thus not requiring any change in hardware design to support DRM in the FM band. The apps to receive DRM services in Android are available, click here for example

26th May 2020

I am a radio enthusiast living in Kenya, East Africa. I would like to know if there is a DRM service beamed to my area. I tried tuning to Radio Nigeria but seems their target is Europe. I use SDR. [Arap Meli]

As of the moment the BBC doesn’t have a DRM transmission for East Africa. We are though interested to learn that there is interest in DRM in Africa and that this listener is using a Software Defined Radio (SDR) and hope soon to publish some updated development work on open source receivers. As they say, Mr Meli, watch this space!

18TH MAY 2020

What does Mondiale stand for in the name DRM? [Eugen Ionescu, Romania]

Mondiale is the French word for global or worldwide. When a group of engineers from countries like the UK, Germany, France, US got together in the late 90s to devise a digital audio broadcasting standard to replace the crackly old shortwave and medium wave, they wanted to give it a name representative of them all and of the standard capabilities. Digital and radio are fairly universal and can be understood in a lot of languages. They also wanted to suggest that this is a unique open standard covering all bands, offering a solution for anywhere in the world and the word global would have perhaps been good enough. But as a sign of recognition for the French effort and universality of the standard, the word Mondiale or global was chosen. DRM was born and the standard recommended by ITU and ETSI became the registered trademark DRM. This is nowadays sometimes confused with digital rights management and so many other drm organisations and activities. But DRM is the real deal and its rollout is indeed wide-ranging, worldwide or mondiale. You can find out more about it on

12th May 2020

There are 50,000 plus stations freely available on the internet. Mobile phones are common and available worldwide. Can DRM be received on mobile phones? [Mike Terry]

Like any studio broadcast, programmes transmitted using DRM can also be distributed via internet as a livestream or even as a podcast. DRM radio is simply a complementary medium to distribute the content to people without internet access as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The benefit for broadcasters to continue broadcasting in parallel to Internet streams is a flat distribution fee to potentially serve millions of listeners (no per-listener cost), and a level of exclusivity in their local market.