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News story about the lack of progress implementing DAB digital radio broadcasting in Spain, written by Grant Goddard in November 2010 for Grant Goddard: Radio Blog.
NEWS: DAB DIGITAL RADIO IN
SPAIN ENTERS THE LAST
DAB radio in Spain has been a disaster, not least for those commercial broadcasters who
invested in new technology and distribution contracts, but who have generated no additional
listeners or revenues.
“Zero,” said Agustin Ruiz de Aguirre, technical director of Cadena SER. “The audience is
zero.” He explained that a non-existent audience generates no revenues or profits because
“who would want to advertise on a medium that does not deliver any consumers?”
Spanish broadcasting law requires stations that embarked upon DAB to continue broadcasting
for the duration of their licences, regardless of whether anyone is listening or not. Ruiz de
Aguirre said that all the commercial broadcasters are united with a single goal: to stop having
to broadcast on DAB. To date, the government has not relented, though the current licences
end in 2010 and 2011.
“I do not think analogue radio switch-off will happen in either the short or medium term,” said
Xosé Ramón Pousa, professor in the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the University de
Santiago de Compostela. “In this scenario, DAB is at a dead end.”
“We are a rarity”, said Pere Vilas, who heads Spain’s drive for digital radio (and is the
managing director of technology at state broadcaster RTVE). State radio has been
simulcasting on DAB since 1998. Spanish broadcasting law has required a technical plan for
DAB radio to be in place for the last year and a half, though nothing exists as yet. Such a plan
is seen as DAB’s last chance to redeem itself in Spain.
“Work began a long time ago, even before digital television switchover,” admitted Xavier
Redón, product marketing manager of transmission infrastructure provider Abertis Telecom.
“But it is about to begin again.”
Like DAB lobbyists elsewhere, Redón was quick to claim that the rest of Europe was already
well down the road to DAB radio switchover. He asserted that, in France, all radios would have
to be digital by 2013, and that Germany was creating a national DAB+ network in 2011.
Redón predicted that 2011 would be “key” to laying the groundwork for the re-launch of DAB in
Spain. A glance at the website for DAB radio in Spain elicits a similarly optimistic stance. It
states boldly: “Digital radio is a fact. It is not the future. It is the present.”
Until you realise that this latest news item was posted in April 2008.
News: DAB Digital Radio In Spain Enters The Last Chance Saloon page 2
©2010 Grant Goddard
News: DAB Digital Radio In Spain Enters The Last Chance Saloon page 3
©2010 Grant Goddard
[First published by Grant Goddard: Radio Blog as 'Spain: DAB Enters The Last Chance Saloon', 15 November 2010.]
Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of
experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy
roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at