"I'm convinced DRM will completely revolutionise broadcasting in the AM bands" says John Sykes, BBC World Service's Head of Transmission
Services and founder DRM Member. (2003)
The last few years have not been a good time for shortwave broadcasters and listeners. Many
broadcasters have had their funding cut and have reduced broadcasts and closed transmitter sites. Closure of the transmitters not
only affects the broadcaster who owns the site but other radio stations that lease time to broadcast their service.
in shortwave broadcasting was the future that DRM was suppose to avoid.
Listed below are some of the closures - all these radio
stations or transmitter sites have been broadcasting DRM as well as AM. For anyone interested in radio then this will be
a depressing read - with the rise of the internet, and the current austere economic situation, spending public money on transmitters
to bounce radio signals off the ionosphere is difficult to justify.
It is difficult to quantify the number of listeners
in the target region or the influence that these international broadcasts give to the host station or country. Hence difficult
to persuade politicians to invest tax payers money in what many may regard as a bygone era.
reviewed digital shortwave, known as Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM). The Committee heard in several forums that DRM has matured
over the past decade, and now has the ability to provide the listener with almost CD quality audio, as well as deliver text, images,
and low motion video over a standard shortwave broadcast channel. Despite these capabilities, DRM has failed to capture any
significant market share due to a lack of affordable receivers inside and outside of our target markets, a general downtrend in shortwave
usage, and the concomitant lack of adoption by the overwhelming majority of broadcasters.
Does DRM have a future?
It is undeniable
that DRM has failed to be an alternative to AM radio despite considerable investment in new transmitters (particularly by RTL and
Deutsche Welle). It is still not possible (after 8 years of regular DRM transmissions) to visit a UK high-street retailer and see
or buy a DRM receiver. Type in 'DRM radio' into any UK electrical retailer's website and it will probably list DAB radios. When
DRM was first announced we were promised FM quality but, like DAB in the UK, this proved rather optimistic - the reality is 'near
DRM was the answer to the decline of shortwave or international broadcasting within Europe and as such it has failed -
at least for the time being. DRM does have a future if India or China adopt the standard, both countries have a huge population where
shortwave radio is used for domestic broadcasting and the manufacturing capabilities to design and build receivers. However this means
that the future of DRM is no longer in the hands of European broadcasters.
All India Radio (AIR) have published a specification
for the supply of 800 DRM receivers - perhaps this will kick-start the manufacturing of DRM receivers - click the link below for the
There are now fewer hours being broadcast using DRM than was the case in 2005 - this
is a DRM scan I did on my Winradio G303i at 12:45pm on the 5th November 2005.
and this DRM radio scan was done on the 28th January
Much of the content of this website dates from around 2005-2007, despite ever optimistic newsletters from the DRM consortium
there has been little progress over the past 5 years (at least in Europe).
BBC World Service
As a result of a 16% reduction to
its grant the BBC World Service cut its English shortwave service by 60% (reduced to six hours a day) and the Cyprus short wave relay
station was closed. To achieve this reduction of £42m annual saving by April 2014, BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks said: "Shortwave
audiences are declining as radio audiences come to rely increasingly on medium wave and FM, and there has been a rapid growth of television
and digital media."
There was complete closure of five language services – Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa, Serbian languages,
and English for the Caribbean. The end of radio programmes in a further seven languages as well as the end of medium wave broadcasts
to Europe and Russia. No AM broadcasts aimed at Europe but Woofferton, UK transmitter still broadcast a few hours a day to Europe.
Primarily daily BBC World Service in English and weekly broadcast for Radio Japan in English and Russian.
(in Devon, south England) ceased broadcasts end of October 2011 and the radio towers have been dismantled.
DRM broadcasts to Europe on 1296 kHz (medium wave) in May 2012.
It is expected that audiences will fall by more than 30 million
from the current weekly audience of 180 million as a result of these changes. By March 2014, short wave broadcasts of the English
service could be reduced to two hours per day to Africa and Asia.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide (Radio Nederland Wereldomroep)
June 24, 2011, the Dutch government announced a 70% cut to RNW's budget reducing it from 46 million Euros to 14 million. Six of RNW's
10 language services closed, including English and Dutch. All shortwave broadcasting ceased except for programming directed at Cuba,
part of Asia and parts of Africa.
The short wave relay station located in Bonaire (Caribbean) ceased operation on 30th June 2012
and the radio towers have since been dismantled.
Radio Canada International (RCI)
4, 2012 an approximate 80% budget cut to the International service from $12.3 million a year to $2.3 million a year was announced.
As a result all shortwave and satellite transmissions ended on June 26, 2012.
Radio Canada have closed their Sackville
and looking for a buyer for the land. RCI was a distinctive voice on shortwave.
Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany)
1, 2011, daily output of DW on shortwave was reduced from 260 hours to 55 hours. As a result of these cuts, the DW shortwave relay
stations in Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) and Sines (Portugal)
was closed. Trincomalee was used to broadcast DRM, site taken
over by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in 2013 but is now not listed as a DRM broadcaster. Sines was the primary transmitter
for AM/DRM broadcasts to the UK and western Europe.
DW discontinued shortwave broadcasts in German, Russian, Farsi and
Indonesian. For English, the shortwave broadcast will be limited to Africa. Shortwave broadcasts to regions in Asia will continue
and the broadcasting times for Chinese programming reduced from 120 minutes to 60 minutes.
Only the relay station in Kigali (Rwanda)
will be needed for shortwave broadcasts within Africa. DW no longer uses the German shortwave transmitters located Wertachtal, Nauen,
Juelich (all of these were used to broadcast DRM).
RTL Group (Radio Television Luxembourg)
“The European market is
key to DRM’s success, and we are thrilled to discuss digital radio’s bright future with a media powerhouse of RTL Group’s stature,”
said DRM Chairman Peter Senger. (2004)
During 2005 to 2010 RTL was broadcasting DRM regularly on 5990 kHz, 6075 kHz, 6095
kHz, 7295 kHz from Junglinster
with programming in English, French and German - and 1440 kHz (208 metres) from Marnach
. The 1440
kHz transmitter at Marnach has been closed due to residents concerns about the local high rf levels being broadcast
from the 1.2 MW transmitter.
From Radio Nederlands - Media Watch
RTL to help get DRM to Europe’s consumers - May
Michel Penneroux, Chairman of the DRM Commercial Committee, outlined the plans of Luxembourg-based commercial broadcaster
RTL to help drive the commercial development of DRM in Europe. Penneroux said that RTL intends to make sure there are two million
DRM receivers in Europe by 2007. “This is going to happen,” he said. RTL has 150 million listeners per day. They will have RTL-branded
receivers covering everything below 30 MHz. They are currently working with various car radio manufacturers also.
There is now no mention
of RTL or any RTL transmitter sites listed in the DRM broadcast schedule, so it seems that the RTL Group (once a keen supporter) have
given up on DRM.
BR5 aktuell (Bayerischer Randfunk)
Began regular DRM transmissions on 6085 kHz in March 2005 but ceased
DRM broadcasting from Ismaning
(Bavaria) on September 2010. The shortwave aerials have been dismantled.