Brussels-based jingle house Brandy created a new jingle package for Media One Group's LFM in Lausanne, Switzerland
LONDON — “Radio should not just be easy to find — it should be impossible to miss.” Those were the words of the European Broadcasting Union’s Head of Radio, Edita Kudláčová, speaking in Prague at the opening session of Radiodays Europe 2023 in March. Echoing this call, the theme for WorldDAB Automotive 2023 is “Securing Radio’s Prominence,” highlighting the critical role that DAB+ and broadcast radio play in the connected car.
The free annual event, organized by WorldDAB — the global industry forum for DAB digital radio — brought together broadcasters and the automotive sector, in person and online, in Paris on June 15.
The one-day conference saw major broadcasters from across Europe stand united in a call to auto manufacturers to keep radio prominent in the car dashboard. Radio endures as the top source of entertainment in the vehicle, with the Car Buyers Survey conducted in 2021 by Edison Research finding that 90% of car buyers expect broadcast radio as standard in-car equipment. Following the implementation of a European Union directive at the end of 2020, almost all new cars in Europe now have DAB+ as standard, both in existing DAB+ markets and those where DAB+ is still to be established.
The WorldDAB Automotive event shared findings from an important new WorldDAB study. The idea of the “cockpit of the future” means car manufacturers are investing in innovative technologies for new user experiences and personalized content — it is vital that radio is prioritized and remains prominent. WorldDAB commissioned detailed new research, highlighting to vehicle manufacturers the importance of a great in-car broadcast radio experience.
Alongside this, the event also explores recent developments in the sector, such as Radioplayer’s announcement at Radiodays Europe of a new hybrid radio partnership with Renault and Xperi’s launch of the DTS AutoStage Broadcaster Portal, which offers broadcaster insights into how their in-car listeners engage with their content. The event also included updates on the global growth of DAB, including the continuing expansion of so-called “small-scale” DAB+ multiplexes around the world.
It’s in the core interest of the carmaker to keep the key user cases of radio and navigation as simple as possible.Martin Koch, head of platform steering infotainment at CARIAD/VW Group
The danger facing FM
Last year’s WorldDAB Automotive saw leaders across the broadcast and automotive sectors call for continued collaboration between the two industries. Speaking in London, WorldDAB President Patrick Hannon said, “Users expect high-quality, free-to-air radio as a key feature. Our job is to deliver the best possible experience today and in the future.”
Martin Koch, head of platform steering infotainment at CARIAD/VW Group, backed this up. “The position of DAB+ in the car was never more solid than today, but FM could start to be in danger,” said Koch, noting that music and radio remain key in the car. “It’s in the core interest of the carmaker to keep the key user cases of radio and navigation as simple as possible,” he added.
Sibyle Veil, CEO of Radio France and incoming chair of the EBU Radio Committee, made a passionate appeal to automobile manufacturers and suppliers. “As a media company, we do not want our content to be curated and managed by a third party. Moreover, we need to get direct access to listeners to understand our users better and to improve our content,” she said. “Our goal is to offer the best possible quality to match the quality of your cars. The way to achieve this is to give one-touch access to the best providers of audio content, especially radio stations,” Veil added.
WorldDAB Automotive 2023: Securing Radio’s Prominence was hosted at the Maison de la Radio, nicknamed “maison ronde,” or “round house.” The venue is apt for another reason: it is close to the Eiffel Tower, which boosted its height by six meters in 2022 with the addition of a DAB+ broadcast antenna.
The author is communications manager for WorldDAB.