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Major Announcements from AIR and Indian Receiver/Automotive Manufacturers

 

Major announcements from AIR and Indian receiver/automotive manufacturers, moving to joint launch of DRM digital radio services to the public

On Wednesday 12th February, the Indian public broadcaster Prasar Bharati organised a DRMStakeholders’ meeting in New Delhi. CEO Prasar Bharati and Member Finance of Prasar Bharati board were present during the meeting, along with a number of senior officers of All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (public TV) and members of the DRM Consortium supporting the event. Over 100 participants took stock of the great progress made in the DRM roll out and made some suggestions which can help and shape the plans for 2020.

All India Radio informed that out of the 35 DRM transmitters in the AM band, 4 are now working in pure DRM digital mode, and the remaining sites have extended the pure DRM hours of transmission. The content broadcast is also more varied as the DRM transmissions include now: the news channel “News on Air”, popular and entertainment music, the recently introduced cricket live commentary and the popular programme Maan Ki Baat” through which the Indian PM addresses millions of the citizens.

In turn, representatives of the chipset, receivers and car manufacturers praised the progress made so far but asked for more communication from the broadcaster, for more unique and compelling content and a stronger link to the receiver industry as well as the whole chain of distributors and retailers. They also asked for the extension of the use of DRM to the FM band.They stressed the importance of a framework necessary for bringing DRM to the public, now the infrastructure is in place, with clear milestones and a clear launch of the DRM to the Indian listeners. Closing the loop and bringing together all stakeholders was considered essential.

One of the highlights of the event was the number of receivers shown (Gospell, Starwaves, Avion, RF2digital etc.) and present on the stage of the Prasar Bharati auditorium were a reminder of what has been achieved and what needs to happen next. The receiver manufacturers stressed that with serious orders placed soon, the standalone receivers can reach significant high numbers at competitive low prices. India has already made remarkable progress in digital radio by registering over two million new cars with line-fit DRM receivers in a little over two years.

At this event AIR made some concrete proposals and announcements like: the conversion of six more high power MW transmitters to DRM, the increase of pure DRM transmission times. AIR also mentioned the possibility of sharing airtime with private broadcasters and enabling the emergency warning feature in DRM in conjunction with the relevant Indian disaster national agency. AIR also announced that is planning to develop a multi-platform publicity campaign to be launched soon. 

As mentioned by the Prasar Bharathi CEO, such meetings and discussions, like the stakeholders’ meeting this week, need to happen even more often in order to help realise the potential of DRM for the benefit of the Indian nation.