Radio Prague launches digital test broadcasting on AM

Miroslav Krupicka

Moving on to some positive news for those of you listening to us on AM. On October 20th, Czech Radio launched its first ever Digital Radio Mondiale, DRM, test transmission on the medium wave frequency 774 kHz. DRM is a new digital transmission system that can be used for long, medium, and short-wave bands. It supports audio quality that comes very close to FM standards. Czech Radio's test transmissions are expected to go on for about three weeks on the Czech Radio 6 channel, on which Radio Prague broadcasts its half hour programme every day. To find out more, Dita Asiedu spoke to Radio Prague Director, Miroslav Krupicka:

Miroslav Krupicka
"DRM is one of the two digital systems for radio broadcasting today in the world. The first is DAB, which most of our listeners surely heard about. It's good for domestic broadcasting, for FM stations rather than for AM stations. AM stations would look forward to DRM. Radio Prague is a short-wave broadcaster and therefore we are looking forward to see what results DRM has at the moment because it's interesting for us. It is being developed for a few years by an international consortium where there's a number of producers such as Sony and as well as broadcasters. It's actually suitable for all broadcasting below 30 MHz."

How popular has it been among other stations?

"It was definitely launched this year. In June, the first five or six international broadcasters launched broadcasting in DRM. The BBC World Service has part of its broadcasts on medium wave and short wave in DRM. Then there are Radio Netherlands, Deutsche Welle from Germany, RFI-Radio France International, and I think one or two more stations that have launched DRM broadcasting."

What about Radio Prague? Is it planning to go digital in the near future?

"I think we will definitely have to broadcast part of our programming in DRM in two or three years time because it really looks as if it's the system that is good and suitable for short-wave broadcasting that improves the quality of the signal dramatically and so I think we ill have to look to DRM in the near future, yes."

Is it expensive?

"Well, as far as receivers are concerned, they are supposed to be massively produced next year. At the moment there is just one receiver. It's rather a prototype that is being produced by a company from Taiwan and it costs about six or seven hundred US dollars. It's quite expensive but as production becomes more common in the next year or two, the price will obviously go down."