PARIS — This year, France celebrates 100 years since the first radio broadcasts from the Eiffel tower, and 40 years since the launch of FM services. According to the CSA’s new head of the radio and audio working group Hervé Godechot, DAB+ is “radio’s passport to the 21st century.”
Appointed at the start of the year to replace Nicolas Curien, Hervé Godechot reiterated the crucial role that DAB+ plays for the future of the radio industry in France and the value it will create. There are now 353 services on DAB+ in France, distributed among 73 multiplexes — 20 public, 333 private — and around 30% of the population is now covered by DAB+ reception, while one out of every five private stations is only available on DAB+.
National DAB+ Launch
Two multiplexes are set to launch in France this summer, hosting 12 and 13 stations respectively. The 25 broadcasters that have been selected to broadcast nationally on DAB+ have already been determined and include the major public and private broadcasters from across the country as well as three new services.
The first stage of the national broadcasts is set to cover highways in mainland France (often referred to as “metropolitan France” in French), starting with highways between the country’s two largest cities, Paris and Marseille, crossing Lyon.
Regional Launches in 2021 and Beyond
The CSA’s “nodes and arcs” DAB+ rollout strategy, which includes continued regional rollouts alongside the launch of national services, aims to bring population coverage up to 40% by the end of 2022.
DAB+ services are set to be launched in the cities of Dijon, Avignon and Toulon this summer while launches in Annecy, Grenoble, Chambery, Annemasse and Saint-Etienne will be completed by the end of the year, with additional regional launches taking place at the start of 2022.
In April, 13 new DAB+ stations are set to complete the existing DAB+ services in the Greater Paris region, while new stations are also launching in other key cities across the country including Marseille and Nice.
Fête de la Radio to Take Place From 31 May
The continued success of DAB+ in France is based on cooperation and collaboration. Radio stations and stakeholders from across the country ought to work together to implement the solutions that will keep radio prominent and provide a great radio experience for the listener.
Invited by the CSA, French radio stakeholders have launched the first Fête de la Radio — a week-long event aimed at celebrating radio and informing industry professionals and the wider public on the benefits of DAB+ digital radio.
Starting May 31, the Fête de la Radio will bring to life a series of initiatives related to the past and future of radio in France. The activities will take place across several cities as well as online.
The author is WorldDAB France representative.