Radio Pulpit, member of the Pulpit Media Group (PMG) has made a second DRM channel available from the Radio Pulpit DRM test facility at Kameeldrift, Pretoria. The Christian station is performing DRM trials under a temporary license from ICASA and has been broadcasting its programs since July 2014 on the 1440 kHz frequency.
Dr Roelf Petersen, Group MD of PMG and Chairperson of DRMSA (Digital Radio Mondiale, Southern Africa) confirmed that the transmissions of the BBC is now being co-transmitted as part of the trials, and is hosted on the second channel of the 1440 kHz frequency as from 1 February. This is made possible by the low bitrate MPEG xHE-AAC audio format, for which support has recently been added to the global DRM digital radio standard. Due to this technology broadcasters can have more than one programme on air at the same time, on a single frequency.
Radio Pulpit has made history in July 2014 by being the first radio station in Southern Africa to perform digital audio transmissions. The Station has successfully been doing test broadcasts of one DRM programme in medium wave, with extra features, 24 hours a day. The results of this first phase of the technical evaluation have exceeded expectations – both in terms of service quality as well as coverage.
The dual-programme DRM transmission now on air is further enhanced with DRM text messages (‘scrolling text’), providing useful on-screen programme information. In addition, DRM’s advanced text service Journaline is provided on-air. Chris Joubert, CEO of Broadcom International cc and technical facilitator of Radio Pulpit’s DRM test broadcasts, explains: “Through Journaline the listeners can learn about the DRM standard in general and the current broadcast right on their DRM receiver set. Journaline also provides a ‘Pretoria News Update’, automatically updated from the Internet via RSS-feed.”
Petersen describes the rich DRM experience available live on air: “We are demonstrating the great benefits of Digital Radio Mondiale and we have now proved that broadcasters can have more than one programme on air at the same time on a single frequency. Moreover, digital radio also gives access to detailed text information to accompany or complete the broadcasts, without the need for an Internet connection and free of charge. This means excellent audio quality (similar to FM) is available on less spectrum with internet data added. What is not to like?” He remarked that DRMSA and Radio Pulpit will be happy to involve more broadcasters in DRM trials in the future.