Quincy, IL (June 29, 2006)–A watershed moment in HD Radio history took place this week when Broadcast Electronics (BE) announced the purchase of a BE HD Radio system by Swiss station 88 Radio Sunshine. The purchase marks the first HD Radio system sold into Europe, and successfully concludes several months of HD Radio testing in mountainous Switzerland where FMs are spaced 100 kHz apart on the dial.
The system was put into service in April, and was presented at HD Radio Days in Lucerne, Switzerland, on June 28 and 29 as the first public demonstration of HD Radio in Europe. At the event, participants from around the world experienced HD Radio under various conditions, including a trip through the topographically challenging Swiss Alps on a bus fitted with HD Radio.
“BE’s implementation of the HD Radio system easily met all our digital requirements, even exceeding technical expectations despite our mountainous coverage area,” said Markus Ruoss, principal owner of 88 Radio Sunshine, a private commercial radio station located in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Field-strength measurements of HD Radio broadcasts on Radio Sunshine exceeded acceptable levels, giving the station a green light to begin uninterrupted HD Radio broadcasts on its main and eventually some of its 12 boosters and translators in the region. Radio Sunshine is operating HD Radio broadcasting under voluntary status with the Switzerland Office for Communication (OFCOM).
The economic advantages of being able to share HD Radio tuners marketed in the U.S. as well as continuing analog FM broadcasts after digital conversion appeal to the broadcaster, as well as other broadcasters in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
“We’re seeing a huge ripple affect that started with the U.S. adoption of HD Radio technology and is moving across the globe, mainly because this is a digital technology that works with existing analog radio. Broadcasters aren’t required to give up their current listeners to go digital,” said John Macdonald, BE Europe, Middle East and Africa sales manager.