Asia Pacific DAB adoption: a keynote from Aussie head of radio

Joan Warner DAB AsiaJoan Warner, Asia PacifIc Chair of WorldDMB and Commercial Radio Australia CEO, recently gave a keynote address the Digital Broadcasting Symposium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, about the need for a transition to digital or HD radio. “Streaming does have a place in radio’s future but not as a replacement for the reliability and robustness of broadcast in delivering vital news, information etc to massive audiences live at the same time,” she said.

Her speech covered the current status of DAB adoption across the Asia Pacific region. DAB+ has already launched in Australia and Hong Kong, and select Chinese metropolises have DAB as well. Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea have trials planned or underway for DAB+ technology. Warner suggested that further adoption of the technology would continue to push better innovations.

“One of WorldDMB’s key focuses in this next 12 months is working with handset manufacturers to make free broadcast DAB+ available in smartphones – this is the next big step up for the technology,” she said. This echoes a recent drive across the Pacific by NextRadio, which is pushing for activation of FM chips in smartphones in the U.S.

“Funding and consistent political leadership will drive the adoption and we look forward to ongoing development in the region,” Warner said. “But once again, broadcasters need to work with government to make it happen.”

Warner’s stance on streaming’s role may have been colored by the challenges with online activity faced by Australian radio stations early last year. About 200 commercial stations made good on a threat to shut down their online webcasts in order to avoid additional licensing fees charged to that listening format.  “We’ve stopped streaming because of the greed of the multi-national record companies,” she said at the time.

Anna Washenko