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Last updated: 07 September, 2005 - Published 15:36 GMT
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BBC Launches DRM Service In Europe
Since the earliest days of radio, the BBC has been at the forefront of the innovation and technology needed to deliver programmes to millions of listeners, both nationally and worldwide.

Now its international radio and online division, BBC World Service, has teamed up with other broadcasters in Europe to introduce audiences to the next generation of digital radio sets featuring services delivered through Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM).

Major opportunity
 Digital radio is about increased listener choice, and a revolution in the way we use radios.
John Sykes, BBC Project Director, Digital Radio

DRM is a new broadcasting standard which shares the advantages of digital radio (DAB), whilst providing the complementary ability to broadcast in the AM bands. The result: wide coverage and digital sound quality, ideal for a variety of audio services including music, multi-lingual speech, and data.

"Digital radio is about increased listener choice, and a revolution in the way we use radios", says John Sykes, BBC Project Director for Digital Radio.

"No more fiddling around with frequency dials and wavebands; you select your station by name, and the radio will find the best frequency automatically.

"We're also planning to introduce an electronic programme guide, which will allow listeners who are using radios with a record function to effectively create their own schedule. We'll be working closely with the radio industry to foster and encourage innovative products which our listeners will find easy to use."

BBC World Service has around 150 million radio listeners across the world. Many are listening through the BBC's own AM and FM transmitters and around 30% through partner stations who carry BBC content.

Digital coverage in Benelux and adjacent parts of France and Germany
Target coverage area of the three digital transmissions

But the BBC is always looking at new ways of reaching its audience both current and future listeners and on 1 September 2005 it launched a digital radio service in English to the Benelux countries and neighbouring parts of France and Germany.

A medium-wave frequency, 1296kHz, provides the core service for 18 hours a day, supplemented by digital transmissions on short wave.

Transmission providers for the new service are VTC in the UK who operate and manage both the BBC's analogue and digital networks internationally, and Telenor in Norway.

Reaching the audience
 We are also looking forward to seeing digital radio fully integrated into mobile phones and PDAs. We're keen to open up a dialogue with our audience, and the back-channel provided by 3G and GSM telephony means we can stay in touch with people on the move.
Mike Cronk, World Service Controller of Distribution and Technology

About digital radio

Digital radio has really taken off in the UK. Over 1.5 million receivers have been sold to date, and numerous digital radio services have launched on DAB, including five new national services from the BBC.

With DRM capability added to DAB radios, both the audience and content on digital radio should grow significantly.

About BBC World Service

BBC World Service broadcasts programmes around the world in 43 languages and is available on radio and online.

BBC World Service is available on short wave around the world, and on FM in 144 capital cities. Selected programmes are carried on FM and MW by around 2,000 radio station partners plus selected digital satellite and cable channels around the world.

The BBC World Service websites receive over 330 million page impressions every month.

About DRM

To speed take-up and smooth the technological implementation of digital radio internationally, BBC World Service helped found the DRM Consortium, an organisation with members from all industry sectors who, like the BBC, recognise the opportunities which DRM and digital radio present.

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