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drm drm, drm drm... who's calling?

Dan Damon Dan Damon | 14:06 UK time, Thursday, 18 September 2008

The BBC has done a deal with the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle that could change the way you listen to the World Service, but has got very little attention so far.

It's called DRM and it is a digital form of shortwave. DRM means the long range signals of BBC World Service output can be turned into much better quality, using the shortwave transmitter network that until now has only been able to put out that fading, shashy signal that we travellers to remote regions grew to know and love.

(I remember being stuck in a police office in western Iran with a bunch of other foreign journalists during a refugee crisis we were all trying to investigate and being the only one whose shortwave radio could pick up a WS signal - imagine how popular I was!)

With DRM the sound quality for speech is almost as good as FM.

The problem has been that you need to buy a new radio to receive DRM and so far they are very expensive - the cheapest I've seen is around $300.

Details are awaited but it looks like the Deutsche Welle deal will increase the content which will improve the takeup which should bring down the price.


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