The Swiss Radio Day 2016 really and truly brought most of the radio and media professional players from far and near, to tell their uniquely individual stories and knowledge about the digital migration from now, and right into the future of radio broad and narrow-casting.

The success of Swiss Radio Day can never be underestimated due to the attention, attraction and enlightening messages it bring across each and every year.

This year, is the year that sticks it focus on the Digital Migration of the various traditional frequency modulations in Europe, to the all-new streaming and broadcasting age, which is the transition from traditional analogue to the culture of digitization.

Roberta Cattaneo’s keynote address places emphasis on various segments of radio and communication platforms that are trending and changing the dynamics of radio networking as a medium, to the numerous attendees.

The director of public radio of the Norwegian NRK, Mr Marius Lille Lien was in attendance. And his wonderful observations were clear in his presentations while accounting the reasons why the Norwegian Digital Migration is as important to them as a nation.

Some have the view that the digital migration is purposely in motion to serve a commercial purpose, but not for qualitative wave-measure as proposed by many others in the radio industry.

But Marius of NRK has a different view “No for us, it's about really giving more content to the listeners, because on FM, there is no more spectrum as we call it, or less frequency availability.

“So instead of relying on the five national stations that we have in Norway for a long time, with the D.A.B there will be a lot more, to choose from, for the listener at least that’s our point of view and that's what we are going for.

Norway seems to have taken the lead in the digital migration trend in Europe, and he explains “Well I don't think we want to be so early, there are some other countries like Britain which has been a bit delayed, but for us, it has to do with our topography.

“It's a very big country, but not too many people, only five million, and we have the longest coastline in Europe. So for us, distributing radio is very costly, and as such we can't have double distributions of both FM and D.A.B for too long.

Reiterating on the advantages of the clarity between the D.A.B and FM he said: “The difference is that, with the D.A.B you get a lot more stations as you would like or as there are room for.

“And with FM, it is very restricted as to how many you can get onto the airwaves, so all over the world that is a big issue. And for the listener with the D.A.B, you have a very clear signal, it's clear all the time, but with the FM, for example in Switzerland, if you are driving and listening around, you can get obstructions on the radio, but with the D.A.B it's more comfortable.”

Digital is the new technology in the future as Mr Marius puts it “Digital is the future and it’s not only the D.A.B, of course we are working on applications and services like that and we are also working on Podcasts and other stuff in its wide spectrum.”

Also in attendance, informing, sharing and throwing some lights on the importance of digital migration in retrospection to the analogue frequencies, the C.E.O of Swisscom Broadcast Jean-Paul De Weck said:

“First of all, FM is an analogue technology, and if you would think a little bit, what is still analogue as we speak today.

“I think analogue is the last technology and that means, if terrestrial broadcasting like radio is being broadcast from the air, then there is still the need for radio to be sometime digital, if not, it might simply disappear.

“If you want to bring a radio experience to achieve what the people of today expect, then it has to be digital, because It’s not only a question of the quality of the sound and things like this.

“It’s also to do with the question of enlarging and enriching the content with pictures, like having a visual radio and all the kind of things which really make the experience a bit like what we have on the internet.

“Like what you get from stations on FM, generally you get the national stations and then some regional stations but just in the regions where they broadcast from.

“But with the D.A.B, there will be generally, traditional stations for the much bigger regions which would be covered.

“Because when you build a network you don’t build it for one station but rather do it for a multiplex platform that holds about eighteen stations.

“And so, if you are from a certain region in your country, with the D.A.B you would be able to listen to the same station in any other part of the country, so everywhere.

“And that would open the market, and then the radio market will definitely become a free and open radio market where those who wants to still do something with digital content, will have the chance to do so.”

In answering the question as to whether ‘television can kill the radio’ in other words, if the prominence of one could dislodge the other, he explains “It is said that the television is about as good as the radio when you close your eyes, but I don’t believe so.

“I think when you listen to radio, generally you are doing something like washing, driving, cooking or working. But you cannot do that while watching the television, where your absolute attention is needed.”

The event does not only encompass radio presenters, journalists, the media and its listeners but also companies that deliver radio facilities and equipment, and one of such is Decibel.

‘Decibel’ is a Swiss company that sells mixing consoles, complete radio studio and broadcasting equipment, so approaching Mr Jean Pascal Ruch- the general manager, was indeed part of the answer to the Digital Migration of radio.

As to his views on the new ‘Digi-Mig’ (Digital Migration) as in comparison to FM, D. A. B and internet radio streaming he said: “yes it’s clear that in Switzerland the FM is not the future anymore D.A. B and the internet, is of course what all the stations are following or about to follow. But also the equipment is the same whether it’s FM, D.A B or the internet.

“On our booth here, we have also the emphasis on outside broadcasting, because in 2017 in Switzerland ISDN would disappear, so we are showing new products which will allow to make live transmissions, using internet, instead of using ISDN to connect to your radio station.”

His stance on the disappearance of FM to digital migration was absolutely re-assured “oh, because it’s an old technology and it cost a lot of money for the operators to operate and there are a lot of countries in Europe where it has already been stamped, countries like Sweden and Norway have taken the lead I think.

“I don’t know in the UK but in Switzerland, Swisscom the big company says 2017 it’s finished. And a lot of radio stations are still using ISDN so this is why, we says 2017, goodbye ISDN.

“Clearly in this country the FM is going to disappear, the issue is only because many in-car radios are still on FM, you can still buy a car today, and it’s a radio FM only, which is a pity. So it will take time, but I will say at the end of maybe 2025 to 2030, FM will clearly disappear.”

Therefore, in accordance with this analysis, Digital Audio Broadcasting brings about the multiplicity of radio stations as well as clarity on the airwaves, which traditional FM cannot compete or cope with.

In other technological development, Paul and Oliver from Germany have together taken a different perspective on creating a software service that enhances Live Ticker for news agencies and outlets.

According to Paul and Oliver, the traditional ways of Live Tickers are so boring to the extent that theirs come with elements that are refreshingly modern and interesting “They are just text by text by text and by text which makes it too boring.

“We come in with a different twist to ours, because with ours we have changed the game by making Live Ticker more picturesque with videos, pictures, tweets, Facebook posts and whatever one would like to.” Said Paul.

Oliver adds “So during a streaming or ‘Scrolly-telling’ service, in order to get more of the mood as you can see and feel the news or event as it unfolds, our software is split into three different parts.

“First of all, we are providing the content producers on the field, with software. So we have smartphone apps for text travelers who can write small text, take photos from a demonstration for example.

“We also provide photographers with a smartphone app, so if they install the app on their smartphone, connect their smartphone to their camera, all the photos they are taking with their camera, will be directly transmitted to their chief editor.

“And the chief editor or the editor will see the photos immediately after they are taken. And sitting on the news desk, the editor can work with our content management system, arrange all the photos and text that are coming in, add some tweets, Facebook posts and then press publish. And once publish is pressed, it will automatically appear on the news’s website.

As to the total duration of their system, Paul said: “The only delay that can happen to our system is by means of human error or interaction. If not, it takes only three seconds from taking the pictures to its final destination.”

As to what Tanja of Radio Liechtenstein is taking home with her, she replied “So many things, I think there are so many technologies coming soon and we are not prepared and I don’t know if they really would be used in the future.

“But if, all we hear, are truly coming then am a little bit scared, as to if we can use all of those technologies.

“I especially like the technological application that lets the radio call and talk to you in the morning saying ‘hi’ Tanja how are you and what music would you like us to play for you?”

As attendees enjoying the Swiss Radio Day experiences Riikka and Hera were so enthused with many features “My best part of the presentation was the Mobile Reporting.

“Because we were told about the Snapchat and other apps which are good for mobile reporting for a radio station” said Riika.

“For me, I really enjoyed the presentation of Nik Eugster with the video reporting. Because all these live video things with Facebook Live and all that would be the future for videos as well as radio journalists” Hera said.

Mr. Darryl Von Daniken and his team of organizers did well by inviting the major players to give a wonderful, inspiring, useful and engaging radio and media related presentations, that will benefit most of the attendees who came to participate.

The presence of other media production companies like Decibel makes one wonder what the future really holds for upcoming radio presenters and journalists as well as the art of future radio presenting or presentations.

Speaking about the next Swiss Radio Day in 2017, Mr. Darryl said: “I think it will be more of the same, but just much better for radio. You know it’s all about the future of radio and celebrating its medium. This year’s event and its focus have been enlightening, useful and engaging. So let us all look forward to next year’s.


By Wilfred Clarke