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Mar 9, 2016
News story about continuing delays in France to introduce a digital terrestrial broadcast radio platform, written by Grant Goddard in September 2010 for Grant Goddard: Radio Blog.
NEWS: DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL
RADIO IN FRANCE STILL GOING
News: Digital Terrestrial Radio In France Still Going Nowhere Fast page 2
©2010 Grant Goddard
From 1 September 2010, French law required that every new radio receiver sold in France
which includes a multimedia display must offer reception of digital terrestrial radio. The law had
been proposed in 2007 when it was envisaged that digital radio would be up and running by
now. However, in France, digital radio is barely at the starting block after several launch dates
have come and gone without event.
The same French law requires that, from 1 September 2012, new radio receivers (except for
car radios) must be capable of receiving digital radio. How realistic is this date when
arguments continue in France even about which digital radio transmission system – T-DMB or
DAB – to use? SatMag suggested that legislation will need to be amended to account for the
delay in launching digital radio.
Then, from 1 September 2013, the law requires that all radios sold in France offer the
capability to receive digital terrestrial radio. This date, too, is likely to have to be changed.
French publication RadioActu described the current state of progress:
“Presently, with the exception of experimental broadcasts such as in Nantes, digital
terrestrial radio in France is stalled.”
On 30 September 2010, the initial findings of a further government report on ‘the digital future
of radio’ will be published, with the detailed report examining the economic model for digital
radio anticipated by 30 November 2010.
Just as in Britain, French government predictions that digital radio would be quick to take off
have proven misguided. In December 2007, then Minister of Culture Christine Albanel had
promised that “Christmas 2008 will be digital radio [season].” It was not. The launch was
postponed to December 2009, and then to mid-2010, and now again to 2011.
At the time the law was made a statute in France in 2009, the British government had just
published its Digital Britain consultation. Quentin Howard, President of the WorldDMB Forum,
“This ringing endorsement of digital radio from two major governments is a positive
move which we hope will encourage other European governments to take similar
steps. The bold position taken by the French government recognises the need to
ensure universal availability of digital receivers and gives the radio industry a solid
foundation and certainty with which to plan its digital future.“
How wrong can you be? All that the “bold” French legislation has proven is that a law is
meaningless without the necessary action. This is an obvious truism. However, bureaucrats in
France, the UK and elsewhere still seem to believe that merely stating that digital radio
switchover will happen in some official document is enough to make it happen. Those who
have long been working at the coalface of the radio industry know better. Jean-Paul
Baudecroux, chairman and chief executive of French radio group NRJ, said recently:
“In no country is digital terrestrial radio working out.”
[First published by Grant Goddard: Radio Blog as 'France: "In No Country Is Digital Terrestrial Radio Working Out"', 25
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