Monday, August 27, 2007

UK's Radio Caroline denied license to test DRM

Rob Leighton of Radio Caroline writes: Back in May this year we started talking to Graham Warren, Head of Broadcast Technical Policy at Ofcom, with the intention of applying for a 12 month test & development licence to relay Caroline’s Satellite Service from the UK, using 1kW on either 41m or 49m shortwave.
We proposed carrying out research into the ruggedness of DRM reception when the signal was subjected to conditions of severe selective fading as found in and around the edge of a shortwave transmitter’s skip zone. We proposed using a 50/50 mix of DRM and AM, so that listeners with traditional AM shortwave receivers could listen to our AM programmes and be informed of what was happening when we switched to DRM mode, and how they could contribute data if they wished to be involved with the research findings. By proposing these tests we envisaged introducing Caroline to a substantial new audience of European shortwave listeners, whilst at the same time promoting the use of a new, efficient, high quality digital modulation technique and contributing to DRM’s global pool of knowledge. Listeners to our AM transmissions using traditional receivers would be fully aware of what we were doing at the AM/DRM switch-over, would be told how and when to decode our DRM signals, and from where to obtain the necessary software and equipment. We received a reply from Ofcom earlier this month, in which Mr Warren informed us that the particular aspect of research we had proposed had already been investigated, and that our licence request was therefore unsuccessful. Naturally we are disappointed, as the granting of the licence we requested should have resulted in a win-win situation for everyone.
But it’s understandable that Ofcom have little desire to grant a test & development licence to repeat aspects of research that have already been completed. We still have other confidential irons in the fire - Caroline has never liked the word ‘no’!
(Source: Rob Leighton, Radio Caroline/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)