DAB Broadcasting on REEF FM
Reef Fm – Tenerife rolling out Dab+ in Nov 2019
The New Future Of Radio
What does DAB radio mean to you? Your intro to DAB on Reef Fm – Tenerife
Let’s start with the most obvious question: “What does DAB radio stand for?”
DAB refers to “Digital Audio Broadcasting.”
It’s a way of transmitting audio information through a digital, rather than an analogue format. While there are other digital radio standards out there, DAB is the one most common in the UK.
To create a DAB signal, analogue audio needs to be converted and compressed using a similar format to the MP3s on an iPod or smartphone. Many of the leading radio stations in the UK today broadcast on both analogue and DAB wavelengths, to give their customers more freedom of choice. However, there are digital-only channels out there too.
For most people, DAB radio is a convenient and user-friendly alternative to analogue radio. Whenever you switch your device on, it automatically scans for available stations and saves them to your potential playlist. This means you don’t have to fiddle with a dial to find a programme that you want to listen to.
also, come with a convenient display most of the time. This provides listeners with information about the name of the station, artist, and song that they’re tuning into. According to figures from official research in 2018, 47.6% of radio listening still happens on AM/FM wavelengths. However, the future of DAB radio looks bright, with the channel earning 38.1% of listeners.
Despite its obvious potential, DAB radio faces a lot of competition today. It’s not just online streaming and podcasts that present a challenge to the DAB format either. There are still plenty of listeners who prefer their FM/AM stations, despite the improved reliability of DAB.
How DAB radio works: Is it better than FM?
So, what makes it an appealing option to customers who already have FM radio in their lives?
When DAB radio first emerged in the UK marketplace, it was intended to solve the problems that FM and AM wavelengths had. For example, the main reason that many people started switching over to DAB in recent years is that there are more channels available.
FM only has a limited
bandwidth available to it. Additionally, for FM stations to work well, they need to be quite far apart so that there’s no interference in your sound quality. That means that you’ll probably only be able to find about 15 stations in a single area.
On the other hand, DAB radio sends signals very differently to FM or AM. Instead of a typical radio station, the DAB feed is sent in binary. This means that more stations can exist in the same space without reducing sound quality. There could be as many as 60 stations connected to a single broadcasting tower.
DAB radio signals
also, provide a more reliable reception too. FM stations are only capable of broadcasting on a specific frequency, depending on the position of your antenna. However, if you have a DAB radio, then your restrictions will be lifted. You can achieve excellent results because you have multiple chances to encounter a reliable signal.
It’s much easier to access the kind of radio experience you want through DAB. However, this listening option isn’t perfect. The signal can have flaws – especially in some regions of the UK. Usually, digital broadcasting works best in built-up areas, which means that your listening options falter when you hit the countryside.
The UK Government
has followed in the footsteps of many other countries, stating that it plans to switch FM or “analogue” stations off completely. However, it’s very unlikely that this will happen any time soon. Many leading stations, including the BBC, have claimed that they want to keep their FM frequencies for a while longer.
After all, while DAB offers a range of benefits, FM and AM are a useful safety net. If you ever have a situation where you can’t pick up a DAB signal, you’ll want the reliability of FM – even if the connection is crackly.
The future of DAB radio
When DAB radio was designed, it was demonstrated to the public as a life-changing and transformative technology, capable of revolutionising the way that we listened to radio content. However, there have been numerous issues with DAB, including lost signals in rural parts of the country, and issues with broadcasting. This means that almost decades after DAB was introduced, we’re still relying heavily on FM broadcasting.
Many of the broadcasters around Europe, including the world-famous BBC backed DAB aggressively when it first appeared. However, despite this, the BBC recently announced that it had changed its mind about switching off analogue frequencies, highlighting an unusual reversal in policy.
DAB / DAB+ Radio
hasn’t taken over the world at this point, it is growing increasingly popular across the UK. The uplift in popularity for digital radio comes from a range of different factors, including the arrival of new stations. For instance, one of the most popular alternative music stations broadcasting in Manchester and London, Radio X, improved its reach by 26% in 2018.
Many of the traditional radio stations that UK audiences have grown used to over the years are also seeing a massive increase in their digital audiences. At the end of 2017, the popularity of BBC digital stations grew by about 3% from the year before, and BBC Radio 4 also exceeded the quota required to initiate the switchover to digital for the first time.
If the country ever does go ahead with a complete digital switchover, it will mean that we can no longer access our entertainment and news from an FM or AM frequency. This would be a similar approach to the one that we saw with the television switchover. However, to launch the change, the BBC and the government need to meet specific conditions:
- At least 50% of all radio listeners need to be from digital channels.
- National DAB coverage has to be the same (or almost the same) as FM.