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What You Think

User Opinion Story
5 May 2021 - 11:15am
Receivers is rapidly developing. High Frequency reception capability will become more wide spread because current receiver designs use SDR technology. A microprocessor can be programmed for the large number of available frequencies. Since the on air signal is digitised and then the filtering is done in firmware, it is easy to make and they are able to make any of the 3 digital radio standards by changing the firmware.
DRM is the only standard to include all broadcast bands.

Note: The Starwaves receivers will also receive DAB+

As for switching off retransmitters. Remember the coup in Fiji. They couldn't switch off Radio Australia in Shepperton Vic.
Infinite Dial 2021: Australians embrace digital audio, podcast listening soars
Anthony The Koala
4 May 2021 - 3:34pm
Further to the discussion on this page, like Facebook, streaming services such as Spotify are a 'goldmine' of what listeners want especially when it comes to customised streams.

The data could be broken down into demographics including age group, location and genre to name a few data fields on a database.

It would be more valuable than a representative sample of the population from a focus group.

Perhaps another income stream for these streaming services is marketing their database to radio stations. Radio stations can then research the database from the streaming service to find what the listener wants.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting and creative Belfield
Shifting listener priorities
4 May 2021 - 9:19am
Good article. Reminded me of when I bought my first i-pod in 2007. Loaded all my favourite songs onto it, plugged it into the car stereo and after about three songs found myself reaching to change the radio station, only to remember it was my own "favourite" music I was listening to.
Owned music is not a replacement for radio.
I've joined the Tidal shift in music streaming and show no remorse
Anthony The Koala
3 May 2021 - 7:02pm
Dear Mr St. John,
Thank you again for keeping us informed on the state of DRM/DRM+.

Regarding the supply of DRM receivers, the Tecsun model, https://www.tecsunradios.com.au/store/product/tecsun-drm-radio/ receives DRM SW, AM SW, FM and MW bands. Unless the economies of scale are in force, the receiver could well be lower than the current price of $500.

One wonders what is the price of a DRM/DRM+ receiver is in India. Surely they are not $500 if there are millions of receivers.

All the more, Australia should source cheaper DRM/DRM+ receivers and provide an aid package to our Pacific Island neighbours. RNZ may not be enough for soft-power into the Pacific. Our ABC should revive RA SW transmissions from Australia.

Having FM rebroadcasts of programs from RA and RNZ (via DRM) could mean that a Pacific Island nation may switch off the FM-retransmitter. At the same time, citizens with DRM/DRM+ receivers, there's the risk that they'll listen to non-RA and non-RNZ.

In conclusion, FM-retransmission of RA and RNZ(via DRM) could be switched off at any time. A revival of RA transmitted directly from Australia with local Pacific Islander citizens accessing the transmissions is a great soft-power way to reinforce our interests.

Thank you,
Anthony of thinking Belfield
Infinite Dial 2021: Australians embrace digital audio, podcast listening soars
Anthony The Koala
3 May 2021 - 5:55pm
The author of this article has "hit the nail on the head". There are two aspects, people's preferences for "a presenter" and musical tastes.

The "presenter" presents links and segues to music usually if the link and/or segue has some relation.

For example, "...you enjoyed Sammy Davis Jr in 'Candy Man'. The backup singers to 'Candy Man' had a hit in their own right in a 1970 war movie...that's coming up..."

Another example, "singer Bruno Mars has teemed up with Anderson Paak with this great R & B and soul track....that's coming up.."

Presenters have their own trademark signature sayings "a rick a poody and a fan doogally" (phonetic transcription), "howdy hoady every bodey", or from the movie "...gooooooooooooooooooood morning Vietnam..."

Presenters also told the time to a precision, "....it's twenty five and three quarter minutes to eight and Captain Bristow from BOAC, I can see him waving his hands towards the camera, has just touched down in Sydney... Good morning to all the milkos, ambos and police..." (my artistic licence added.

Presenters had a particular denial or certitude to: "there's no such place called Gullarganbone" (John Pearce (RIP)), "there's no such thing as stress" (Stan Zemanek (RIP)), "...the pandemic is just a mild flu..." (various unnamed former presenters), "....climate change is a hoax." (various unnamed presenters), "....climate change is a crisis" (various unnamed presenters).

Choice of music options have expanded with various SOD providers providing customised music streams. The listener is not defined necessarily by the age demographic.

I posit that the listener has a wider music taste than what radio stations offer for a particular demographic. You cannot assume that a person in their thirties likes only the music presented on Nova or JJJ, even though that demographic has a higher proportion of people in their 30s than people in the 60s.

At the same time, one cannot assume that a particular age demographic listens to a particular genre of music. This has always been despite the recent introduction of customizable IP streaming services such as Spotify.

I've met people in their 20s and 30s who like the music of "The Beatles", "David Bowie", "The Kinks". They also have tastes for Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven.

Unfortunately the varieties of music people enjoy is not reflected with what's on air.

Participants in the ratings survey in recent years indicate that have 86%-87% of listeners. Last survey it was 84%. In the 1970s it was 98.5%.

I will never forget requesting Steve Murphy on "Lite 'n Easy 1269" (2SM) in 1988 for KC and the Sunshine's Band's "Give It Up". That was refused because it did not fit in their narrow repertoire of 1500 high rotation songs. But they played Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", which had a fast tempo as KC's. Ironically 2SM enjoyed higher ratings during its automated days during 1992,

2SM's automated music period in 1992 was an example where there no presenters. It was what people wanted. When the automated period in 1992 concluded, it was replaced by a format which plummeted in ratings.

So we cannot definitely say that presenters even those with a personality such as those of the 1960s on 2SM, 2UE and 2UW are what attracts people to listening to a particular network.

It also says to me that radio stations are not listening to their listeners reverting to consultants who will supply them with a ready-made library.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting and stirring Belfield
Shifting listener priorities
3 May 2021 - 10:23am
There will not be any receivers unless there are popular programs to listen to. Norway switched off all analog radio and now only has DAB+ ratings returned to normal in a year and are now increasing.

Radio New Zealand Pacific is using good sound quality DRM to transmit their programs to FM retransmitters in the islands. It is much cheaper than using satellite. It also means that those outside towns can hear it. It is also present during cyclones and tsunamis.

India now has 3 million new cars where DRM comes as standard. You can see a DRM radio at Tecsun Australia in Brookvale NSW. There are cheaper receivers designed and waiting for bulk orders. This only comes with broadcasts.
South Africa has just announced licences can be applied for DRM and DAB+ stations. Their FM band is very crowded.
High frequency DRM can carry two sound channels ie English and Pidgin along with a data channel for text, slideshow and emergency warnings.
DRM+ using the old disused TV channels 0 - 2 covers a much greater area than DAB+ but can now give the same program choice. As for spotify etc, it's like going to a library where as radio can be live people who select new music and documentaries which you would not know about. Lots of the Pacific have no access to the internet at a price they can afford because it has to be via expensive satellite.

China Radio International has taken over Radio Australia's channels and is using DRM. DRM+ can cover a radius of around 100 km when transmitted at high power from a high TV tower. High Frequency DRM can cover up to the whole world. Radio New Zealand Pacific has been received in Spain, but not all the time!
Infinite Dial 2021: Australians embrace digital audio, podcast listening soars
Anthony The Koala
30 April 2021 - 3:30pm
Dear Mr St. John,
Thank you for making the distinction between DRM and DRM+ and the extent that DRM and DRM+ are employed.

Given that other broadcasters are using DRM into the Pacific, all the more is for Australia to present her interests in the Pacific via our ABC. Radio Australia ('RA') should never be a local rebroadcast. It is subject to being switched off just as the internet has been switched off in countries subject to coups.

At worst, during WWII, people in parts of Southern Europe were threatened with death for listening to the BBC!

All the more for the promotion of digital shortwave broadcasts. Mr St. John saying that broadcasts of the DRM signal from VOA to Cuba and RNZ's transmission to the Pacific imply that listeners in those regions do have DRM receivers.

What are the numbers of people with DRM/DRM+ receivers in those regions? The well-to-do? What about those on a lower income level? If the latter is the issue, couldn't Australia resume its RA signal in DRM and our Government provide DRM receivers as part of an aid package and soft diplomacy? On the other hand, will listeners in the Pacific use the DRM receivers to listen to its competitors?

But at the same time, even with bouquets with many channels per bouquet, multi-channel broadcasts would not provide capacity and cater for all the VOD/SOD podcasts on the planet.

Consequently VOD and SOD podcasts and live streams on IP may be the only way to provide "channels" to consumers.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
Infinite Dial 2021: Australians embrace digital audio, podcast listening soars
30 April 2021 - 12:05am
You are a little confused about DRM.
DRM will work in all broadcasting bands. In the HF (SW) band it is DRM not DRM+. DRM+ is only from 47 MHz upwards typically to 108 MHz, yes including the FM band.

The only DRM from the BBC is in the HF band for Europe. All of the rest of their digital radio is on DAB yes the old one and DAB+. They do not have DRM+ in the UK.

Voice of America's Radio Marti is aimed at Cuba is has been broadcast in DRM for some months on high frequency.
Brazil has also been trialing HF broadcasts for the Amazon, but it is being received in the NW USA.

All DRM broadcasts regardless of the band is free of the distortions you describe. So, you can have FM quality sound on high frequency broadcasts including stereo!

India is yet to get DRM+. It has a network of 35 medium frequency 530 - 1602 kHz extremely powerful DRM transmitters. In addition they have 4 HF transmitters for international services in DRM.

Radio New Zealand has been broadcasting in AM and DRM in the High Frequency band to the Pacific for a long time and continues to do this, in addition China Radio International has taken over the old Radio Australia frequencies and some of their broadcasts are in DRM.

What you may not be aware of is that there is a 6 channel DRM+ modulator which feeds a single transmitter it can carry 18 programs, just like DAB+ does for the ABC/SBS in capital cities.
Infinite Dial 2021: Australians embrace digital audio, podcast listening soars
Anthony The Koala
29 April 2021 - 3:48pm
Digital IP streams are a way of accessing radio and TV broadcasts from sources outside our local metropolitan area, outside the state and outside Australia.

Access to content may well come from FTA broadcasters FTIP podcasters and subscription services. The latter includes subscription to real-time, VOD/SOD (podcasts) and audio books.

The quality and credibility of the material varies and is beyond the scope of this comment.

For many of the live streams, including video services for example BBC World or various state-run radio services, it may well be cumbersome to set up a dish and point the dish to a particular satellite to receive a FTA or subscription bouquet.

When it comes to audio services, DRM+ has the potential for interference-free radio reception via SW compared to AM SW which is subject to fluctuations in the ionosphere's conditions resulting in fluctuations in signal strength. The technique of an 'interference-free' digital transmission is due to the incorporation of forward error correction (FEC) in the digital signal. FEC is employed in digital satellite and terrestrial broadcasting (DAB+).

Unlike India which is employing DRM+ in its terrestrial broadcasts including reception of DRM+ signals in cars, other broadcasters together with DRM+ manufacturers are not promoting DRM+. For example one never hears of the BBC or VOA promoting DRM+. Yet it has been demonstrated that one can obtain a clear reception of DRM+signals over many thousands of kilometres.

As a result people are resorting to IP streams which requires a data plan with an internet provider. Depending on the bitrate of the audio or video live-stream or VOD/SOD podcast or FTIP or subscription, the time spent consuming these services corresponds to an increase in data consumption. Many plans with a 200GB monthly limit could be exceeded if one is consuming HD or 4K video or CD-quality audio.

On the other hand, broadcasters do not have the monopoly on providing content. It may well be that much of the audio and video material via VOD/SOD podcasts are from non-broadcasters.

Many of the recommendations to consume a particular VOD/SOD podcast may well come from authors or other organisations, not broadcasters.

Such content is not available from TV and radio broadcasters.

Consequently, it may well explain why digital consumption via IP is increasing: people want to consume services outside their local area, or follow recommendations from other entities or organizations to consume livestreams, podcasts, whether free or subscription. This is content that may or may not be available on terrestrial or satellite services.

Despite DRM+ SW demonstrated to provide clear reception over long distances, DRM+ SW cannot provide all the needs of diverse content especially where the market for a particular livestream, podcast whether free or subscription may well be in a market. That should deter the restoration of an ABC SW service via DRM+ to our Pacific Island neighbours.

Nevertheless, the topic of quality and credibility of content from digital services is another topic.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting, dynamic and splitting the complex issues, Belfield
Infinite Dial 2021: Australians embrace digital audio, podcast listening soars
Anthony The Koala
29 April 2021 - 3:08pm
Listening to the Richard Glover show on 2BL (it's still the registered callsign according to the ACMA), 28-04-2021, 1800-1815, in addition to describing the trauma suffered during the massacre at Beslan and the appreciation of other broadcast personnel accompanying Mr Williams as not only technical support but moral support.

It made me think of other journalists who never returned home such as Mr Tony Joyce who was murdered in Zambia in 1980 in the course of reporting, ref: https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/joyce-anthony-walter-10649 and https://www.abc.net.au/corp/memorial/tonyjoyce.htm .

That is the risk of being an international journalist: the risk of death, the risk of trauma a close shave:

Some journalists are within millimetres of dying due to a stray bullet lodging near a critical artery, references, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/15/abc-journalist-adam-harvey-hit-in-neck-by-stray-bullet-while-reporting-in-philippines, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-15/adam-harvey-hit-in-neck-by-bullet-in-philippines/8621290 and https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-01/journalist-adam-harvey-recounts-being-shot-and-following-ordeal/8748408 .

There is another issue that retirement of Mr Williams. We take journalists like Mr Williams for granted, like turning on or off the light switch. They'll be there forever. Then there comes a time to retire.

In addition, we should appreciate the role journalists play in being the eyes and ears to Australians on overseas events.

Moreover with the sizes of newsrooms particularly on commercial radio and TV diminishing, we cannot rely on commercial broadcasters reporting on the spot. The US and UK are not the only news centres.

Currently, India and South America are experiencing another wave of covid infections. Thirty years ago, Macquarie News had a correspondent in New Delhi, India, Mr Raja Gupta. I doubt there's anyone from commercial radio with their own reporters.

Ironically, it is the commentators on commercial radio who criticise the ABC such they want it closed, reduced in size or put on subscription. Perhaps they are valid statements.

Then, if the ABC is closed, reduced in size or put on subscription, will commercial media come to the fore and send journalists to report in non-US and non-UK zones?

Methinks not. That's why we need credible reporting from providers such as the ABC.

News is a public good not a privilege. Commercial media is downsizing and is unlikely to send journalists.

Media organisations cannot rely on external providers of news services. Remember the threat of AAP closing down?

Our ABC is our modern "town cryer", our modern version of the colonial "Gazette", published by Authority.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting, dynamic Belfield
ABC's Philip Williams retires


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