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DAB: How IT Can Change Radio Broadcasting

August 30, 2013 General 0 Comments

How IT Can Change RadioInterested in bringing Radio Broadcasting into the future?

You might already be familiar with Internet radio broadcasting. But, do you know about digital audio broadcasting (DAB)? It is particularly popular in Europe – however, as the technology continues to develop, it could impact United States radio broadcasting methodology as well.

Interested in getting ahead of the curve? Learn what you need to know about Information Technology and DAB here:

Latest Developments

The Independent reporter Ian Burrell covered a recent broadcasting experiment completed by Brighton, England-based radio engineer Rashid Mustapha.

Mustapha believed that DAB broadcasting could be done cheaply – with software downloaded for free from the Internet.

His findings show that a small-scale DAB service “could be provided for as little as £1,400 [est. 2,800 USD] per annum in “baseline cost,” compared to the £10,000 [est. 20,000 USD] annual costs for a small FM station.” This could mean a great opportunity for local radio stations and smaller networks, allowing them to maintain their stations with smaller budgets.

This means that smaller stations can finally gain a foothold on the digital platform – an opportunity that is exciting for many broadcasting professionals. It is also an opportunity for pirate stations, who could use this technology to transmit their signals legally.

Mustapha has worked for many years in the Radio Broadcasting industry. He is currently a spectrum engineer at Ofcom. He personally funded this experiment and spent four months tracking the strength of the signal. He was able to stream his signal using only open source software, a Raspberry Pi and a mounted aerial.

Pros and Cons

Radio Broadcasting professionals have long debated the benefits of DAB. Here, we’ve briefly outlined the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Improved features for users, including “radiotext”
  • Enhanced sound fidelity
  • More stations are available
  • Improved reception quality
  • Variable bandwith allows DAB to carry different programs at different rates
  • Cheaper than traditional transition methods

Cons

  • With increase in stations, there is a decrease in audio quality
  • Signal delays
  • Coverage is minimal (especially in the US) because it is relatively new technology
  • Lack of compatible radios
  • Requires a lot of power to convert the signal

What do you think? Does DAB offer an opportunity for Radio Broadcasting professionals to transmit their stations? Do the pros outweigh the cons?

Even if you are not interested in working for in a small station or in pirate broadcasting, you might want to talk to a Radio Broadcasting instructor at Brown College about the potential of DAB. It could eventually replace AM/FM transmission – and, by learning more about it now, you can get ahead.

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