South African DRM Group Relaunches to Facilitate Progress in Radio Digitisation


Press Release


The Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) Consortium announces the relaunch of the South African DRM Group on March 24th during an Update and Launch virtual event.

The evaluation and demonstration of the various digital audio broadcasting standards started in South Africa over 20 years ago.

In 2014 the DRM Consortium established a Southern Africa Platform led by the Managing Director of Radio Pulpit, as this community station took the initiative and conducted a successful DRM for AM (mediumwave) trial.

This was followed by the successful DRM in FM trial of Kofifi FM 97.2 by Wecodec, a community radio station in Westbury/Johannesburg supported by South African organisations and Consortium members. The trial report has been accepted as an ITU document to be published imminently.

In 2020 great progress was made when the South African government issued its radio digitisation policy direction announcing DRM and DAB+ as its preferred digital sound broadcasting (DSB) standards. A draft licensing framework was issued for public comment by the SA regulator (ICASA) in November 2020. The SA DRM group is ready to support ICASA in establishing digitised radio by making best use of spectrum, infrastructure and applications.

The relaunched SA DRM group has the big task of advocating the use of DRM as the preferred standard in the country and industry so that the entire South African population can benefit from the great advantages of the standard.   There is still a need for universal access to information and education to each citizen, including the 11 million disabled people; a thirst for connection and betterment; and the necessity for job creation, especially amongst the youth.

The next stage for the industry is the implementation of digital radio. The SA DRM group will be the credible authority that will create awareness of DRM to the general public, stakeholders, suppliers, manufacturers, automotive, retailers and all government entities.

Having opted for a two-standard solution, South Africa has the historic chance to lead the way in radio digitisation, becoming an example and an exporter to the whole continent and the world.

The DRM Consortium is very supportive of the SA DRM group and, as the DRM Chairman, Ruxandra Obreja, noted: “this is a great moment for the rollout of radio digitisation in South Africa and we have faith and great hopes of the work of all the SA DRM group members and supporters, all those who want DRM to flourish and meet the needs of all South Africans. The relaunched SA DRM group will build and improve on previous successes and will give the country a lasting legacy. We wish all the members lots of success!”

The South African DRM Group will join the ranks of other DRM national platforms (in Germany, India, Brazil) engaged in pushing the rollout of the DRM standard across not only the BRICS countries but also the whole world. The relaunched SA DRM Group is led by a strong interim Board comprising of learned and experienced business people from the radio sector.

For more information on DRM and how to get involved in the work of the DRM please go to: or contact us on:

About DRM

Digital Radio Mondiale™ (DRM) is the universal, openly standardised digital radio system for all broadcasting frequencies and coverage needs.

DRM on short, medium and long wave up to 30 MHz provides for the efficient coverage in large areas with at least FM quality, while significantly reducing power consumption. DRM in the FM & VHF bands above 30 MHz enables flexible local and regional broadcaster-controlled services, with up to 3 stereo audio programmes plus multimedia components in half the bandwidth of a single analogue FM signal.

Advanced radio functionality thanks to DRM comprises: More services based on the highly efficient audio codec MPEG xHE-AAC and free-to-air Journaline multi-lingual text information, detailed service signalling, service linking (including to analogue AM/FM services) and DRM EWF – Emergency Warning Functionality. Enhanced DRM features include native Unicode support, station logos via SPI, Slideshow images and traffic and travel information.

The DRM Consortium was awarded by ITU for its outstanding contribution to the Telecommunications sector over the past years and has signed the EBU Smart Radio Memorandum that promotes access to free to air radio on all devices.

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