The BBC Broadcasts ‘Live’ DRM transmission to the Digital Radio Broadcasting Summit in Cape Town

A BBC DRM30 transmission from Ascension Island broadcasting BBC World Service in English was one of the highlights at this year’s Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABA) Digital Radio Broadcasting Summit in Cape Town 22nd -24th  April.

 The DRM Consortium participated as Sector Partner in this event with a presentation given by DRM Chair, Ruxandra Obreja. This was followed by a dedicated DRM workshop on the 23rd April which started with a live high quality DRM broadcast on 21735 kHz. 

The event lived up to its avowed intention of taking radio in Africa to the next level, at least in the exchange of information and frank questions and answers about the benefits of digital radio, its superiority in performance and lower costs. The well received presentation by the DRM Chair, Ruxandra Obreja, was followed by the comprehensive workshop: “The DRM Platform: A detailed and practical look at its superior functionalities and flexibility”. The workshop kicked off with a live demonstration of DRM30 with a two-hour BBC broadcast (on 21735 kHz), from Ascension Island – a site managed by DRM member, Babcock. The crystal-clear sound created a real buzz among the participants  coming from the South African public broadcaster, Department of Communications, major network operator and other major African countries.

Key global DRM experts representing the BBC, Fraunhofer IIS and Ampegon gave a clear view of DRM as the ideal solution for all band coverage tailored for local and regional coverage with energy efficient broadcaster-controlled transmissions.

During the workshop Radio Pulpit, a DRM Consortium associate, announced that the South African regulator had just granted them a DRM medium wave trial license. A DRM trial would start within the next few months around the Johannesburg – Pretoria area.

The live DRM signal also reached Brazil, was recorded and listened to in places like Florianopolis, as mentioned in the specialised press.

On the last day of the SABA conference, during another intense and very useful workshop, detailed questions on DRM were answered by DRM and South African specialists. DRM is of clear interest in South Africa and key African countries, with request of more information and work from these territories, as well as Nigeria which will increase its DRM external transmissions this month.

As digital television is gaining ground in Africa the focus is now on digital radio and  a lot of information and cooperation is required not just by the specialists but also by the listeners. On the morning of April 27th the DRM Consortium Chair gave an interview, to the national, widely listened SAFM network on these very issues, still new to the regular South African listener.


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