It has been a key guideline on the digitization of radio services since it was first published in 2013: EBU recommendation R 138 on "Digital Radio Distribution in Europe". The EBU’s newly reformed Strategic Programme on Radio has now produced an update of the recommendation, based on the progress in Digital Radio across Europe. 

The Strategic Programme on Radio brings EBU Members together to help identify how broadcasters can best reach their current and future audiences. One of the group’s fundamental observations is that the nature of digitization in radio is changing – a fact that is reflected in the new title of the document, where "Distribution" has now become "Deployment".

Innovation is necessary to keep radio relevant

The document stresses the need for innovation in service offerings in order to better engage current and future audiences. In most countries, this is not possible with analogue services, due to lack of available spectrum. Digital radio, on the other hand, allows broadcasters to create new services and provide new content, especially when using both broadcast and broadband.

The changing nature of how linear and non-linear radio is consumed means that it needs to be supported by new user experiences. This includes experiences that can be delivered over broadcast, such as visuals, text, station branding and programme guides. But public services media should also explore and exploit the potential for new service offerings on broadband-enabled devices. 

In order to ensure that radio remains open to all and that broadcasters can keep a direct link to their audiences, the use of open standards is vital for both the audio and new user experiences. Consequently, the R 138 document also includes a recommendation for the use of open standards for Hybrid Radio and for the use of RadioDNS.

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