French broadcaster prepares to switch off AM radio as DAB+ expands across Europe
As reported by France Inter, mediumwave services from the public service broadcaster will close by the end of this year, and longwave transmissions will end next year. Stations affected are France Info, France Bleu and France Inter.
The move is being primarily blamed on a cost-cutting exercise imposed on the public service broadcaster, but also comes in tandem with the deployment of DAB+ and other forms of digital distribution within France, which means the same radio stations are being duplicated across various platforms, increasing the cost of distribution.
A saving of €13 million is expected through the closure of AM services.
France will follow public service broadcasters in the Netherlands and Germany, where remaining mediumwave services also face closure in the coming months. In both countries, DAB+ has taken off rapidly in the past few years, with a rapid expansion of coverage and stations carried on the terrestrial digital radio platform.
In the Republic of Ireland, RTÉ is planning to scale back its longwave transmissions in the coming two years, while in the UK, the BBC is expected to have to consider a reduction in AM transmissions following Charter Renewal and a new funding agreement. The broadcaster has already piloted closing BBC local radio on mediumwave in some areas, but the potential opposition over the removal of BBC Radio 4 LW means that service is the most likely candidate to be the last longwave service on air in North West Europe.