SPAIN: WILL THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OPEN UP TO DIGITAL RADIO?

The Collserola tower, a daring construction designed by British architect Norman Foster in 1992 for the Olympic Games, is 288 metres high and also houses the antennas of the DAB multiplex for Barcelona
The Collserola tower, a daring construction designed by British architect Norman Foster in 1992 for the Olympic Games, is 288 meters high and also houses the antennas of the DAB multiplex for Barcelona

The Iberian country is lagging behind in the transition of radio to DAB. Eighteen years after the activation of multiplexes, digital broadcasting seems not to have emerged from the experimental phase: they are active in Madrid and Barcelona, and a few other cities, still broadcasting in the old standard DAB and not in DAB+. The few programs carried are those of Radio Nacional de Espana (Radio 1, Radio 5: Radio Clásica, and Radio 3 remain excluded), and the main networks (the missing ones are, for example, Cadena Dial, Los 40, Rock FM). Similarly to FM, where inertia in granting authorizations has proliferated illegal frequencies, to which networks also resort, unauthorized multiplexes have been turned on. The number of official ones active mainly in tourist areas (the Costa del Sol and Canary Islands) is doubled.

Avalanche of appeals

Panorama Audiovisual to reconstruct the situation interviewed Jaime Rodriguez Diez, the lawyer who advised the radio stations to file the appeals
Panorama Audiovisual to reconstruct the situation interviewed Jaime Rodriguez Diez, the lawyer who advised the radio stations to file the appeals
Source

Given the competition made to official radio stations by unauthorized ones, many broadcasters interested in digital broadcasting have appealed to the Spanish Constitutional Court, which between September and October 2022 upheld sixteen “recurso de amparo”, which added to those already pending bringing the total to 22. This ”recurso” is a legal formula that allows Spanish citizens to appeal to the supreme court when they believe constitutional norms have been violated. Giving an accurate picture of the situation is the magazine Panorama Audiovisual, which reconstructs its evolution since 2018 when broadcasters began turning to autonomous communities to apply for authorizations. Since some regions have refused, despite having an obligation to grant them, even though they did not proceed with the allocations, a law firm has recommended appeals to the Constitutional Court. Will they be upheld? Let’s keep our fingers crossed! (Written by Fabrizio Carnevalini)

TECHNOLOGY: RADIO IN TUNNELS/Part 1

If a tunnel is not equipped with appropriate communication systems, the car radio remains mute
If a tunnel is not equipped with appropriate communication systems, the car radio remains mute
Source: Photo by Stain_Marylight from Pixabay

When travelling by car and driving through a tunnel, the signals picked up by the radio are quickly attenuated. Only when the repeater is close by or has its antennas pointed towards the longitudinal axis of the tunnel, the waves are able to make their way through and you can keep the station tuned for longer, but then the signal disappears. Those travelling by car may also like a few minutes of silence, but in the event of an accident, the signal blackout would prevent the rescue vehicles from communicating with the outside world. Therefore, for safety reasons, communication systems are installed in the longer tunnels that can carry emergency signals and allow FM and DAB radios to be heard.

What the law says

If a vehicle stops in a tunnel due to a breakdown or following an accident, emergency vehicles must be able to communicate with the outside world.
If a vehicle stops in a tunnel due to a breakdown or following an accident, emergency vehicles must be able to communicate with the outside world.
Source: Photo by Torsten Simon from Pixabay

The problem of communications has been addressed by the legislator, who in Europe has stipulated (with Directive 2004/54/EC) that in tunnels longer than 500 metres the minimum safety requirements of the trans-European road network must be met. If the tunnels exceed 1,000 metres in length or are located on particularly busy arterial roads (with more than 2,000 vehicles passing through), the road manager is obliged to install special radiocommunication systems that allow contact between emergency vehicles (ambulances, breakdown vehicles, fire brigades, road maintenance company vehicles) and the police.

Technology

The cable carrying the radio signals was severed by a TIR, interrupting radio listening
The cable carrying the radio signals was severed by a TIR, interrupting radio listening
Source

Cable or radio wave transmission systems are used for communications. In the first case, ‘slottedcoaxial cables (with openings drilled at regular intervals, from which the signal comes out) are laid along the tunnel. The system has the advantage that it can be used to simultaneously transmit and receive on the different frequencies used by emergency vehicles, and to allow to listen to radio in the car. But since signals propagate differently depending on their frequency, corrective measures must be taken and amplifiers are introduced at regular intervals to compensate for attenuation. This requires careful design and a lot of maintenance (with increased costs). However, the system is delicate and vulnerable to fire and accidents, and there is a move towards radio wave transmission. (Written by Fabrizio Carnevalini)

ITALY: A MAP SUMMARISES CHANGES IN THE RADIO AND TELEVISION SECTOR SINCE 2017

A MAP SUMMARISES CHANGES IN THE RADIO AND TELEVISION SECTOR SINCE 2017
Events in the radio sector started in 2017, a year of important acquisitions (Mediaset Radio took over the superstation Radio Subasio) and ended in 2021 with RTL 102.5’s acquisition of Radio Freccia, which went from being a community radio station with hourly advertising limits to a commercial radio station
Source

The study office of Confindustria Radio Televisioni, the association representing the main Italian commercial radio and television networks, has published a chrono table with the significant events in the radio and television sector. The graphic formula is interesting: it represents, divided by year, the main events in the sector: industrial operations, commercial agreements (from the launch of new national broadcasters to acquisitions or sales of shareholdings involving national radio networks). Regulatory or normative interventions in the sector in recent years are also mentioned, including (in the lower section) on-demand streaming services.

Similar work has been done for television, always respecting the scheme mentioned for radio
Source

UKRAINE: THE MEDIA CONFLICT/PART 1 (24 February 2022)

Why Russia is using the letter Z?
Some of the images of the ‘Z’, which has become the symbol of the invasion: from those painted on military vehicles to recognise them, to the one drawn on the jersey of the Russian gymnast who wears it on the podium to express his support for the military campaign
Source

We had talked about the disinformation travelling over the airwaves, in particular pirate transmissions in the 7 MHz amateur radio band. This was before the start of military operations, and especially in the areas of the Donbas, already in the hands of Russian separatists. But since the beginning of the invasion, the parallel war on the airwaves has spread to social networks and the web. Let us reconstruct the chronology of the escalation.

24 February: Russian authorities’ warning to free voices

On the day of his speech to the nation, in which Putin recognised the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and justified the invasion, the Russian authorities intervened to stem the flow of images and news from Ukraine. The Federal Service for the Supervision of Mass Communication (Roskomnadzor), notes that unverified information is on the rise and gives a warning: it reiterates that only official sources are reliable and recalls that the sanctions amount to five million roubles (over 50 thousand euros) and provide for the seizure of materials.

I want my radio on DAB!

The petition in favour of independent broadcasters promoted by the Belgian association Radio Z on the website Change.org
The petition in favour of independent broadcasters promoted by the Belgian association Radio Z on the website Change.org
Source

The transition to digital requires investments that not all broadcasters can afford. Especially community radio stations, which have little advertising (or are self-financing) and therefore lack the necessary resources. This is a common situation in many countries, but in Belgium, the association of independent voices Radio Z has launched a petition to urge the government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation to take action. The stations it represents are followed by hundreds of thousands of listeners in the region, employ more than a thousand volunteers who inform, entertain and promote the territory and the community; and above all train presenters, technicians and journalists. Unfortunately, these independent voices are financially exhausted and would need to double their revenues to survive. Despite warning signs, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation is not taking action and the diversity of the radio landscape is in danger of being destroyed. By 2030, in fact, 50-60% of them could disappear, due to the lack of economic, technical and logistical aid and a penalising digital frequency allocation plan.

A four-point plan

Radio Z brings together licensed independent radio stations operating in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation
Source

The association calls for annual funding for independent radio stations, similar to that provided for the press and local television, which receive, respectively, 10.9 and 10.4 million EUR a year, not counting municipal, provincial, Brussels region and French Community Commission (Cocof) subsidies. More support and flexibility is also needed from the operators who will carry the DAB signal to avoid any stations being excluded. It is also necessary to immediately optimise the frequency plan, which today does not allow the proper broadcasting of independent radio stations. Finally, the procedure for allocating funding to guarantee the transition to digital broadcasting must be reviewed.

AFGHANISTAN: Radios in the crosshairs of the Taliban

The Afghan Ministry of Information reported that four television stations and 11 broadcasters had been seized at Laskhar Gat, including the BBC World Service, which operates on 89.2 MHz
The Afghan Ministry of Information reported that four television stations and 11 broadcasters had been seized at Laskhar Gat, including the BBC World Service, which operates on 89.2 MHz
Source

The American military disengagement has left the field open to the Taliban, who have resumed their ground offensive in three large cities in the south and west of the country: Herat, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar. In the course of the advance, the terrorists occupy the radio stations, using some of them to rebroadcast their radio signal, and intimidate the others, forcing them to switch off.

In the tweet by Chris Greenway of BBC Monitoring (which echoes that of Zahid Khan, an Afghan activist and journalist), the frequencies that are being retransmitted by Radio Voice of Sharia and the deactivation of the BBC World Service, which operated in the city on 89.2 MHz, are indicated
Source

As happened on 2 August 2021 in Lashkar Gah, a city of 200,000 inhabitants in the south of the country, capital of the province of Helmand, which has been under attack for days by the Taliban, who now control several neighbourhoods. The Taliban started to broadcast Radio Voice of Sharia (Shariat Ghag) on 95.0 and 105.2 MHz of the former state radio station and switched off all other stations.

In a report published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, freelance journalist Raksha Kumar examined the situation of the Afghan media
Source

Before the American intervention, when the Islamic State controlled 90% of the country, there was only one radio station controlled by the Taliban, which broadcast religious messages. In the last twenty years, however, information has opened up to pluralism: television stations, 170 radio stations and over 100 newspapers have been set up. An interesting report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism takes stock of the situation. More than 50% of the population (a total of 38 million) is under the age of 19, and around 6.5 million Afghans are active on social networks.

RDS – Perché le radio dovrebbero occuparsene di più

ABSTRACT:

The article is published in Italian to avoid language barriers that reduce its impact. It talks about RDS, a technology developed 35 years ago and used in billions of receivers since then. With the advent of large displays, infotainment manufacturers began using RDS information to help display station logos on car radios. When logos are not displayed, when outdated ones pop up, or when a logo is mixed up with that of another radio station, the car manufacturer is often blamed. But “it takes two to tango”: problems can also be caused by incorrect RDS settings on the part of the radio station. Many broadcast managers are not technicians, and this article is aimed at them to make them aware of the issues: The problems need to be investigated and solutions can be found.

Una vecchia autoradio con la manopola di sintonia e il quadrante analogico
Fonte

Pochi ricordano i tempi in cui la radio dell’auto aveva una manopola di sintonia e un quadrante analogico, e la ricerca delle stazioni avveniva per frequenza. I ricevitori moderni, invece, propongono l’elenco delle stazioni disponibili, ordinato per nome, e la sintonizzazione si effettua con un click o un comando vocale.

Un’autoradio di nuova generazione, come la BMW ConnectedDrive, mostra i nomi delle stazioni sintonizzabili
Fonte

Se bastano un dito o la voce per impartire i comandi al sistema multimediale (che ormai incorpora anche audio, internet, app, navigatore, e perfino la tv) è perché l’interfaccia uomo macchina (HMI: human-machine interface) ha semplificato il rapporto con la tecnologia. Per far sì che con lo sfioramento del nome della radio sullo schermo inizi l’ascolto, un’apposita dashboard (pannello di controllo) consente di impartire i comandi al sistema (analogamente ai programmi che girano su un pc). Ma per la radio, anche i più moderni sistemi di interfaccia si basano su dei dati digitali, presenti in quasi tutti i segnali FM: il Radio Data System, o RDS. Questo segnale digitale viaggia su una sottoportante di 57 kHz a 1.1875 kilobit al secondo (piuttosto lentamente quindi, rispetto alle velocità attuali di trasmissione dati audio o video). Ma è uno standard, disponibile su miliardi di dispositivi, e può svolgere molte funzioni, se usato correttamente.

Mostrare il nome della radio semplifica la sintonizzazione

L’RDS consente di riconoscere subito il nome della stazione sintonizzata. Nelle autoradio analogiche era necessario impostare correttamente la frequenza (se la si conosceva) o attendere l’annuncio
Fonte

L’elemento più visibile dell’RDS è il nome del programma (o servizio), spesso abbreviato come PSN o PS, che consente al guidatore di riconoscere immediatamente il nome della stazione. I display dei primi ricevitori digitali usavano elementi a LED e potevano visualizzare esattamente 8 caratteri. Pochi, ma sufficienti a descrivere la maggior parte dei nomi dei servizi radiofonici o i loro acronimi. Per aumentare la quantità di informazioni da fornire al guidatore sono stati utilizzati contenuti “dinamici”, e oggi il PSN viene ancora utilizzato da alcune emittenti (non correttamente) per visualizzare data, ora, numeri di telefono, tassi di cambio, pubblicità, informazioni su artisti e titoli e un sacco di *** e <<< e >>> e ### … spesso anche in modalità “scrolling”, distraendo i guidatori e confondendo gli ascoltatori. Lo standard RDS infatti prevede una soluzione migliore: “RadioText” (RT), e “enhanced RadioText” (eRT); entrambi supportati da molti sistemi moderni di infotainment e che dovrebbero essere usati per qualsiasi testo dinamico, relativo alla programmazione corrente o meno.

L’RDS ha permesso di mantenere la sintonia quando si è in viaggio

Il PI code di Rai Radio2 visualizzato sul ricevitore portatile ATS 305 della coreana Sangean, uno dei pochi ricevitori commerciali che consentono di visualizzare i dati “nascosti” dell’RDS
Foto Fabrizio Carnevalini

Dietro le quinte, c’è un identificatore unico (di programma) in ogni segnale RDS, chiamato codice PI. Questo codice permette all’autoradio di sintonizzarsi automaticamente su un’altra frequenza che porta lo stesso programma – permettendo al conducente di tenere le mani sul volante e godersi l’ascolto senza interruzioni o cadute. Utilizzando una struttura numerica sofisticata, il codice PI controlla anche come il ricevitore gestisce la programmazione regionale: ampiamente utilizzato dalle emittenti pubbliche europee (per le notizie regionali e le informazioni di servizio pubblico) e dalle reti commerciali (per dividere la loro rete in un certo numero di sottoreti regionalizzate con pubblicità locale, moltiplicando così il loro business), ma totalmente sconosciuto al panorama radiofonico in Nord America (anche perché le emittenti sono spesso monocanale).

E oggi il PI viene utilizzato anche per mostrare i logo sulle vetture

Nel corso di una presentazione della Seat, è stata usata una gigantografia della plancia di una vettura per mostrare come l’autoradio visualizza sullo schermo i logo delle emittenti: una funzione basata sul codice PI
Fonte

Al di là di questo, il codice PI serve a memorizzare le stazioni preferite sui tasti “preset”. Ma serve anche per una funzione che gli inventori dell’RDS non avevano previsto: visualizzare il logo della stazione radio. A differenza di un numero di telefono unico che viene assegnato dal provider, o dell’indirizzo IP unico assegnato da un’architettura dedicata, il codice PI è qualcosa di cui ogni emittente deve occuparsi attivamente. I produttori di apparecchiature di trasmissione RDS consegnano i loro box con codici predefiniti o vuoti, che devono essere cambiati o impostati. Ma come può l’emittente sapere quale codice impostare? Alcuni paesi forniscono il codice PI da usare insieme alla licenza di trasmissione: i codici sono amministrati centralmente da esperti. In altri paesi, c’è una sorta di auto-organizzazione da parte delle emittenti, ma a causa della mancanza di un registro centrale, la situazione può diventare rapidamente caotica.

I codici non sono casuali

Un decoder per visualizzare il PI code nei vecchi ricevitori analogici. L’immagine mostra il PS di RTT Radio Sfax, emittente tunisina che utilizza il codice 7204. La stazione è stata sintonizzata alle Cinque Terre grazie a condizioni favorevoli di propagazione troposferica.
Foto Fabrizio Carnevalini

I codici PI sono composti da 4 caratteri esadecimali e vanno da 0000 a FFFF. In teoria, questo permette 65536 combinazioni: Un numero grande, ma non sufficiente per dare ad ogni stazione radio un codice PI unico. Per far funzionare correttamente il sistema RDS, il progetto contiene alcune regole formali per il codice PI, che devono essere rispettate.

Il significato dei quattro caratteri

La mappa mostra, con i codici colore, qual è il primo carattere del codice PI da usare in ciascun Paese. In Italia la normativa non viene rispettata da 35 emittenti
Immagine realizzata da Oliver Schmidt

Il primo carattere designa il paese d’origine dell’emittente: ad esempio F = Francia, E = Spagna, C = Regno Unito, 7 = Tunisia … Poiché ci sono solo 15 caratteri potenziali (lo 0 non è ammesso), diversi paesi devono usare lo stesso carattere. I paesi che usano lo stesso carattere non possono essere adiacenti, per evitare che al ricevitore arrivino codici PI duplicati. La F, per fare un esempio, è usata in Francia, ma anche in Norvegia, in Bosnia ed Erzegovina e in Bielorussia. Nota: lo standard RDS include un ulteriore elemento di dati chiamato “Enhanced Country Code” (ECC) che in teoria rende i codici PI globalmente unici. Sfortunatamente, l’ECC è implementato correttamente solo da un piccolo numero di emittenti e quindi non ha mai acquisito alcun valore pratico sul lato del ricevitore. Che peccato!

Il display di questo Satellit 700 della Grundig, mostra il PI code di Rai Radio2. La prima cifra, il 5, identifica l’Italia (ma è usata anche da altri paesi), la seconda il tipo di servizio (il 2 è per le emittenti con copertura nazionale)
Foto Fabrizio Carnevalini

Il secondo carattere è usato per descrivere la “copertura” del servizio specifico: 0 è usato se l’emittente opera solo su una frequenza (utile da sapere, poiché il ricevitore non deve cercare frequenze alternative). 2 e 3 sono usati per designare le reti nazionali e regionali, e tutti gli altri caratteri da 4 a F possono essere usati per designare gli split regionali dei servizi nazionali.

Il terzo e il quarto carattere sono identificatori di servizio unici, permettendo fino a 255 servizi. Questo numero è sufficiente per i paesi più piccoli, ma è troppo piccolo per i paesi con un ricco panorama radiofonico. Se vivete o trasmettete negli Stati Uniti, i codici PI hanno un significato e una logica diversa: essi corrispondono al call sign attribuito dalla FCC: un algoritmo definito fa sì che, per esempio, KCBS usi il codice PI 1574. Di conseguenza, il nominativo può essere determinato dal codice PI! Questo sistema funziona per i nominativi K e W, e non si preoccupa degli split regionali. Ma non è usato perfettamente – alcune stazioni impostano il primo carattere del codice PI a 1, per pubblicizzare il loro servizio come provider TMC, ma generando call sign “fasulli” invertiti.

Non si può… giocare con i numeri

Il display del tuner Kenwood KT6040 mostra l’RDS della radio internazionale tunisina RTT Radio Tunis Chaîne Internationale, ricevuta in Italia alle Cinque Terre grazie alla propagazione troposferica
Foto Fabrizio Carnevalini

I codici PI sono una questione complessa. Le emittenti devono assicurarsi di usare i codici corretti – nei paesi più grandi e dove gli split regionalizzati sono importanti, devono cooperare e usare un unico riferimento affidabile per l’uso dei codici PI. Alle emittenti possono non piacere queste regole e le loro limitazioni, ma sono state create e scritte già nel secolo scorso (RDS è stato lanciato ufficialmente nel 1988), e sono da allora implementate in miliardi di dispositivi di ricezione, impossibili da cambiare. Quindi è meglio che si attengano alle regole dal lato del trasmettitore – questo richiede solo un piccolo sforzo ma evita futuri problemi.

Il problema “immagine”

Un progettista della Seat mentre disegna la plancia di una vettura
Fonte

Molte emittenti non sono consapevoli di avere un problema di codice PI. I loro ascoltatori saranno in grado di ricevere il programma, il nome della stazione sarà visualizzato – sembra perfetto. Ma poi, le autoradio con i loghi delle stazioni “gireranno l’angolo”, e scopriranno che il logo della loro stazione non viene mostrato affatto, o, ancora peggio, appare il logo di un’altra stazione quando il ricevitore è sintonizzato sulla loro frequenza. Questo non è solo frustrante, ma può danneggiare l’immagine e l’esperienza del marchio che la stazione radio ha creato.

Come comportarsi quando si nota un’anomalia

Un esempio delle anomalie che possono verificarsi in alcune autoradio del gruppo Volkswagen: dell’emittente memorizzata nella posizione 2 si riesce a leggere l’RDS ma non viene mostrato il logo

Se qualcosa non va, la prima reazione è quella di incolpare la casa automobilistica. Certamente i costruttori sono parte del problema. Hanno progettato il loro sistema di infotainment basandosi sui codici RDS PI, supponendo un uso corretto e coordinato dello standard RDS e un uso stabile dei parametri tecnici. Ma questa è solo teoria. La vita reale nel panorama radiofonico è diversa. Non tutte le emittenti si prendono cura dei loro codici PI, ed è per questo che anche le emittenti hanno le loro colpe: alcune usano lo stesso codice di altre stazioni, altre adottano codici al di fuori della gamma assegnata al loro paese, oppure non adottano l’ECC o lo impostano in modo errato, o non impostano correttamente i codici PI durante gli split regionali. Questi sono solo alcuni degli “errori” commessi.

Come rimediare? Il fai-da-te è rischioso

Un’altra anomalia ricorrente, e che danneggia l’emittente, è quando anziché il proprio logo viene visualizzato quello di un’altra stazione. Come quel che accadeva a radio Sound di Piacenza: nelle autoradio del gruppo Volkswagen, nel riquadro destinato alla stazione veniva mostrato il marchio della siciliana Radio City (CT)
Fonte: Radio Sound (PC)

Avendo imparato alcune nozioni di base sull’RDS, un’emittente potrebbe essere disposta a cambiare codice. Non è così semplice. Bisogna prima verificare di che problema si tratta, e se occorre sceglierne un altro se ne deve individuare uno libero non solo a livello locale, ma nazionale, per evitare di “pestare i piedi” ad altre stazioni. E bisogna considerare anche che i codici sono limitati perché nelle autoradio restano memorizzati anche quelli di stazioni chiuse da anni, e si rischia dover ripartire da capo. Infine, cambiare il codice non basta: bisogna anche comunicarlo a chi gestisce il database affinché le modifiche vengano applicate. Meglio affidarsi a un esperto, che analizzi lo stato e la situazione del attuale RDS, verificando la situazione nei diversi sistemi di infotainment automobilistici. E raccomandi una soluzione che non solo risolva il problema specifico, ma si assicuri anche che non danneggi le altre emittenti e che sia adeguatamente comunicata all’industria dell’infotainment automobilistico.

Fatti consigliare da un esperto

Ecco come sono distribuiti nel mondo gli oltre 170.000 impianti FM esistenti. La mappa è stata realizzata visualizzando sul planisfero le coordinate degli impianti presenti nel database di FMLIST
Fonte: elaborazione sul sito fmscan.org su dati FMLIST

Radio Data Center gestisce l’unico database mondiale delle stazioni radio pubblicato su siti web come FMSCAN e FMLIST. Questo archivio, continuamente aggiornato da centinaia di corrispondenti e da molte fonti, unito alla conoscenza approfondita dei dati e degli algoritmi utilizzati dai sistemi di infotainment automobilistici, permettono agli esperti di analizzare le implementazioni RDS e di fornire raccomandazioni alle emittenti. Il database, che comprende oltre il 97% dei logo mondiali, è utilizzato (tra gli altri) dal sistema di infotainment più avanzato tecnologicamente, l’MBUX della Mercedes (la vettura è connessa alla rete e scarica periodicamente gli aggiornamenti). Maggiori dettagli su https://www.radiodatacenter.com/.

UKRAINE: Will religious broadcasters be the only voice in the desert?

In an interview with the portal 'Public. Media Detector' portal, Dmytro Gruzynsky, head of the Ukrainian National Radio and Television networks, reiterated a few months ago his desire to decommission the old FM band
In an interview with the ‘Public. Media Detector’ portal, Dmytro Gruzynsky, head of the Ukrainian National Radio and Television networks, reiterated a few months ago his desire to decommission the old FM band
Source

We continue our journey through the airwaves of Eastern European countries where the “oldFM OIRT band (between 65.8 and 74 MHz) is about to be completely abandoned. The situation in this band in Ukraine should be examined taking into account the presence of three public radio channels and some private broadcasters, of religious or informative nature. The head of the organization responsible for the development of the radio and television networks, National Radio and Television of Ukraine (NSTU), Dmytro Gruzynsky, in an interview in December 2020, affirmed the intention of the organization to soon dismantle almost all the installations still operating in the OIRT band.

The situation of the public broadcaster’s national programmes

Radio Ukraine is the oldest radio station in the country. The first broadcast went out on 16 November 1924 at 19:00. Services continued without interruption, even during the Second World War
Source

In the plans of the company, about ten transmitters should have remained on air for Persha Program, as many for Radio Promin’ and 15 for Radio Kult’ura. The reason for the cuts was, on the one hand, the obsolescence and inefficiency of many systems, and on the other hand the possibility of being assigned FM frequencies in the same basins. Typically, new concessions are awarded through a tender and the state broadcaster must always beat competition from the numerous commercial radio stations. In some cases, the authorized powers have proved to be insufficient to satisfactorily cover the service area, so much so that NTSU asked to increase the power of a concession for UR1 from 500 watts to 1 KW). The fact remains that the presence of the three Ukrainian public broadcasters in the OIRT band is destined to be increasingly residual.

Commercial radio stations in the OIRT band?

RadioM declares on its website that it is ‘an independent information and entertainment station’ which aims to ‘convey patriotic and moral ideas’. It has seven frequencies between 87.5 and 108 MHz, and in the Odessa region it transmits on 101.7 MHz.
Source

As far as private broadcasting is concerned, both OIRT band frequencies of Yaskrave Radio and two out of three OIRT band frequencies of Hromads’ke Radio have been switched off. In addition, at the end of 2020, RadioM let lapse the concession for 68.36 from Odessa, which was the only OIRT band frequency of the station.

Two religious radio stations broadcast only in the OIRT band

Radio Maria began broadcasting in Ukraine on 1 June 2010 on 69.68 MHz in Kiev. In ten years, the number of active frequencies in the OIRT band has risen to 11. The station has branches and transmitters in seventy countries worldwide.
Source

The installations of two religious radio stations remain active; at the moment they only have frequencies in the OIRT band and therefore it is likely that they will not be switched off, since listeners still have devices and car radios to receive the programs broadcast in this band. To date, the Catholic Radio Mariya has 11 different frequencies, Svitle Radio Emmanuyil (close to the Pentecostal Church) has 8, while Golos Nadiyi (“Voice of Hope“, an Adventist radio station) has only 4 in the OIRT band and 3 in the “new” FM band and it can be assumed that it takes over some of the licenses issued by the NSTU.

Analogue TV channels remain on air – for political reasons

On the website of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, there is a report of a 2019 meeting in which one of the members, Serhii Kostynskyi, proposes to continue broadcasting in the territories bordering Russia and near occupied Crimea
Source

As a curiosity, the OIRT FM band is adjacent to a band used for TV and there are still some analogue TV channels on air, and can be received on 65.75 MHz (the audio frequency related to the TV channel R2). It seems in fact that not all analogue Ukrainian TV stations have completed the switch off; moreover Ukrainian authorities intend to keep on analogue transmissions serving the Donbass area and in several settlements in the Kherson region near occupied Crimea (for obvious political reasons).

by Franco Martelli, part 2-continues

POLAND: RMF FM still remains the leader

RMF FM still remains the ratings' leader
RMF FM, the most listened to station in Poland, further increased its audience during the pandemic from 28.53% to 29.49%
Source

The pandemic does not seem to have had much effect on the listening habits of Poles, 72% of whom tune into a radio station every day, while another 19% turn on the device once a week. On the other hand, the ways in which radio is enjoyed have changed, with 60% following it in the car in 2019, a percentage that has been drastically reduced due to the limitations imposed by Covid-19. Almost one in three Poles choose RMF FM (29.49%), a leading station whose followers increased by an additional 1% during the pandemic. Second in terms of audience is Radio Zet, albeit at a considerable distance: it has almost a third of listeners (12.48%) but its site (radiozet.pl) is the most followed, with over seven million users.

Catholic radio stations are also very popular

The Catholic news agency Sir has analyzed the ratings of Catholic radio stations in Poland
Source

Diocesan radio stations are also gaining an audience (but with very different numbers), but they have been overtaken by Radio Maryja (one of the seventy affiliated to the “World Family”, an association that promotes its development throughout the world) which, with a total audience of 1.73%, is in fifteenth place in the ranking. And to think that space on the media for programs of a religious nature was prohibited until 1980: it was the Solidarity movement that imposed on the authorities free access to all religious denominations, previously prohibited by censorship. So much so that today religious programs are very much present in the programming schedule of broadcasters: even the state TV broadcasts the rosary live every day in connection with the sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki. More details about Poland’s leading Catholic radio stations can be read in the article published by the Catholic news agency Sir.

ITALY: Radio and television sector radiography

Radio and television sector radiography
The study on the radio and television sector in Italy, drawn up by Confindustria Radio Televisioni, examines 40 national and 691 local radio and television operators, of which 287 television and 404 radio
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The Confindustria Radio Televisioni association has published the “Economic study of the private radio and television sector“, which from 2020 presents in a single volume the national and local radio and television operators (previously two publications were prepared). The study examines the financial statements filed with the Chambers of Commerce by joint-stock companies (thus excluding community broadcasters, which are not required to publish them), providing a picture of the most structured part of the radio and television industry, within which very different companies coexist. The sector is in a stabilization phase, after two economic crises (2008 and 2012), the entry of some reforms (including that of the fee and contributions to local broadcasting) and a changed competitive environment, due to the rise of OTT platforms that (like Netflix) distribute content via the internet. The financial statements are for 2018, as it was necessary to wait until a fair number were available for the study to be representative.

A summary of key trends can be read here, while the full volume can be downloaded here.

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