An EBU-led drive to assure the hybrid future of radio took an important step towards harnessing global momentum today by renaming the Euro-Chip initiative the ‘Smart Radio Initiative’.
Meeting in Geneva, the Euro-Chip Club – which includes 18 major European public and commercial broadcasters and the EBU – agreed to promote the campaign for the integration of analogue and digital broadcast chips in every mobile device under the new 'Smart Radio' banner.
The new tag is intended to send a clear message to industry and listeners that radio’s mobile future is hybrid, integrating the benefits of both broadcast and broadband worldwide.
Over the past year the initiative has won broad European support, with seven major commercial radio broadcasters and associations backing the campaign, as well as 11 public service broadcasters.
In Germany, support comes from the Association of Private Radio Broadcasters, representing 290 local and regional radio and TV stations – a substantial portion of the commercial radio market.
Similarly, in the Netherlands, the SkyGroup of broadcasters, which holds a significant market share, is aligned with EBU Member NPO in the pursuit of digital radio. In French-speaking Belgium, Smart Radio supporters RTL Belgium and public broadcaster RTBF account for a 65 per cent audience share.
As the variety of distribution platforms on which listeners access radio continues to grow via the Internet and streaming on mobile networks, EBU Head of Radio Christian Vogg says the goal is to convince mobile network operators and hardware manufacturers to market devices throughout Europe that meet this need.
“Chips that can handle analogue and digital terrestrial radio are readily available,” he said. “The bundled support of public service and commercial radio strengthens arguments to carmakers, mobile networks and smartphone operators. Hybrid is the future of radio.”