Chris Joubert from DRM Digital Radio highlighted some benefits to migrating to DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) which is a digital audio broadcasting technology designed to work over the current analogue AM and FM broadcasting, more efficiently.

Chris spoke at length about the benefits of migrating to DRM which include More choice for listeners with up to three programmes on 1 frequency and excellent audio quality with no distortion. DRM has a good coverage area and a robust signal which supports single frequency networks and is said to be green and energy efficient.

On DRM, one can broadcast a warning to a specific area if there are emergencies. It offers the user sending out the warning options for visual display or audio interface to help inform the population in case of an emergency.

DRM is a standard applied in the existing AM bands optimised for wide area coverage. The transmission of energy will be saved with DRM saving up to 50% compared to analogue AM. This will enable more programmes and extra benefits such as increased revenue for stations because of the effective management of the frequency. It also offers options for more channels and multimedia options to communicate to an audience as well as the emergency warning Feature in case of a national disaster which is included in receiver design.

Chris made reference to other countries such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan that have adopted DRM. In India, the DRM medium waves covers about 600 million people per year, says Chris. Of late, some Hyundai models and other car models are taking into account, DRM receiver designs in their makes. There are also devices like a dongle that people can use to pick up the DRM from their desktop and others.

The Titus II is the world’s first consumer SDRM package, and Chris reports that they (DRM Digital Radio) are licenced to produce the device which people can use as a receiver device for DRM. Radio Pulpit initiated a DRM trail in AM broadcast band with support from Broadcom International, assisted by BBC and Sentec. The DRM test transmission was done in Pretoria and after the test, they discovered that the DRM30 signal performed better than the analogue AM signal with regard to the coverage area for the same transmitter power. Depending on the receiver, each frequency can display graphics along with the audio on a frequency that’s also much clearer.

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(Edited by Simbarashe Honde)