The European Digital Radio Alliance (EDRA) steering group met in London in early June, and discussed the continuing progress being made by digital radio across Europe. The new Chair, Travis Baxter, succeeds Helen Boaden from the BBC, and come from one of the major commercial broadcasting groups, Bauer. Over the years. Bauer has proved successful in taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digital radio, launching new services, and reaching out to a wider audience.
The Alliance primarily exists to support DAB advocacy, and is seeking to expand its membership, both among public and commercial broadcasters, to reflect the increasing support of broadcasters and media owners for DAB, and the increased choice and access to market it provides for all operators. Currently, its membership covers public and private broadcasters in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the UK.
Travis Baxter remarked: "Pioneering work in some key European countries is providing a road map for other countries, demonstrating that it is possible to provide listeners with more choice and diversity within the radio sector, a medium that is hugely popular with listeners and which continues to reflect the culture of all the countries where is operates".
The digital migration underway in Norway has shown that listeners are really motivated to access radio, buying new radio receivers and car adaptors to ensure continued reception and more variety of channels as the country migrates from FM. Germany has just followed the UK in opening a new national DAB multiplex, bringing national commercial radio to listeners for the first time. Also, in the UK, digital listening for 15-55 year olds now exceeds 50%. Momentum across Europe not only gives confidence for the future of radio, but ensures its ongoing success as the digital platform can provide a robust future proof technology.
EDRA welcomes new members to work together on building this momentum. If you are interested in expressing your support for this direction, then please contact the EBU Head of Radio Graham Dixon.