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Media and socio-cultural communication
This paper reports on an ongoing comparative study of the development of digital radio in Europe and Canada. Focussing on the Eureka 147 Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) platform in Canada, of which it was an early adopter, the paper examines the complex interaction of industry, government regulation and the difficulty of policy formation matching the pace of technology development. Based on interviews with leading radio professionals, the paper presents a critical review of the ‘transitional policy’ towards the digitalisation of radio and examines the international market pressures that led Canada to largely abandon this approach in favour of the current multi-platform system. Despite extensive regulatory intervention to protect Canadian interests, the dominant influence of the US market on Canadian broadcasting matters is evident. Most recently, the entry of satellite-delivered subscription radio services by XM Radio and Sirius have illustrated the difficulty of regulating against powerful, global interests. Often seen as combining the best aspects of the European public service system with the commercial success of the US industry, the current stage of policy development in Canadian digital radio offers, it is argued, some important lessons for similar developments in Europe.
O’Neill, B. ‘Digital technologies and the future of radio: lessons from the Canadian experience’, COST Action A20 Plenary Conference “The Impact of the Internet on the Mass Media in Europe” Delphi, Greece, 26-28 April 2006.