South Africa to launch second Digital Radio programme via DRM

Since last summer Radio Pulpit in Pretoria/Johannesburg has been successfully broadcasting a DRM programme in medium wave plus extra features 24 hours a day. The results of this first phase of the technical evaluation have exceeded expectations – both in terms of service quality and coverage.

Now the DRM Southern Africa Platform reports that from 1st February a second DRM programme has been made available from the Radio Pulpit DRM test facility at Kameeldrift, north of Pretoria, digitally broadcasting on the former AM band at 1440 kHz transmitting BBC content. The additional service can be co-transmitted as part of the same DRM signal thanks to the low bitrate MPEG xHE-AAC audio format, for which support has recently been added to the global DRM digital radio standard.

The dual-programme DRM transmission is further enhanced with DRM text messages (‘scrolling text’), providing useful on-screen programme information. In addition, DRM’s advanced text service Journaline is provided on-air. Chris Joubert, CEO of Broadcom International cc and technical facilitator of the current DRM test broadcasts, explains:

“Through Journaline the listeners can learn about the DRM standard in general and the current broadcast right on their DRM receiver set. Journaline also provides a ‘Pretoria News Update’, automatically updated from the Internet via RSS-feed.”

Dr Roelf Petersen, Chair of the DRM Southern Africa Platform, describes the rich DRM experience available live on air: “We are demonstrating the great benefits of Digital Radio Mondiale and now we can prove that broadcasters can have more than one programme on the air on a single frequency. Moreover, digital radio also gives access to detailed text information to accompany or complete the broadcasts, without the need for an Internet connection and free of charge. We are happy to involve more broadcasters in our DRM trials in the future.”


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