Innovation in terms of radio content will be a key issue in ensuring the success of digital radio in the long term, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) said in a report this morning, which found broad support for the adoption of DAB+ by Ireland’s broadcast community.
The research, undertaken by Athena Media and the Dublin Institute of Technology, was funded through the BCI’s Media Research Bursary Scheme.
From a broadcasting sector perspective, participants felt that incentives to enter the digital radio market need to be married with a requirement for broadcasters to innovate.
Those surveyed broadly supported the adoption of DAB+ as the most appropriate technology for the delivery of digital radio.
However, concern was expressed as to how the adoption of such a technology could take account of local and community radio.
There was an overwhelming acknowledgement of the significance of the internet and online delivery as an essential component of digital radio.
“Radio has consistently displayed an undoubted strength in Ireland as measured through JNLR research, in addition to the diversity of public, commercial and community radio services,” Conor Maguire, chairperson of the BCI explained.
“While Ireland is a relatively late adopter in terms of digital radio, there is a benefit in learning from experiences elsewhere. I welcome today’s report, not alone does it provide an excellent contribution to the debate on digital radio, but it also underscores the importance of research in informing approaches to regulation.”
The report makes a series of recommendations, including the establishment of a digital radio forum and the development of a policy white paper which would be the basis for consultation with the broadcasting sector and consumers.
The recommendations also highlight the importance of policy co-ordination, sectoral awareness building and research.
“We are entering a new era in broadcasting with the imminent establishment of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and the framework that new broadcasting legislation provides for the development of digital radio,” said Michael O’Keeffe, chief executive of the BCI.
“I have no doubt that this research report will play a key part in assisting and informing the policy development process”.
“Digital Radio for Ireland: Competing Options, Public Expectations” involved a survey of industry stakeholders, strategic interviews with a representative group of senior executives in the radio industry, an audit of on-line digital radio and focus groups with radio users.
The aim of the project was to contribute to the debate on digital radio with research on the sector’s preparedness for digital radio. Both professional and potential users of digital radio were surveyed. The environment within which public expectations for new audio media services are formed was also assessed.
By John Kennedy
Photo: Innovation in terms of radio content will be a key issue in ensuring the success of digital radio, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has said.