Belgium

Last update: 21.03.2024 - older versions

The entire sector (with the exception of the CraXX association of 16 community radio stations) is in favour of the voluntary and simultaneous cessation of FM broadcasts by 2030, in consultation with the Flemish and German-speaking communities, subject to two conditions, maRadio.be has announced. This could see most radio stations stop broadcasting on FM by the end of the decade. The sector has also agreed to take a joint stance to ask the next government to implement a major "Plan for the Digital Transition of Radio". The plan consists of support for the roll-out of DAB+ to significantly improve its coverage, strong economic measures to accompany the digital transition, and changes to the legal framework for radio that take account of the digital transition.

DAB+ digital radio was launched in East Belgium on 1 October 2023. In addition to the programmes of BRF1 and BRF2, four other radio stations will be heard via DAB+: 100,5 Das Hitradio, Radio Contact Ostbelgien Now, Radio Sunshine and Radio 700. The first transmitter in Petergensfeld (Raeren) is already in operation. A second transmitter is expected to be added in spring 2024 at the Wallerode site (Amel) to cover the south of the DG (German-speaking community).

In the French-speaking part of Belgium (Walloon region/French Community), legislation has been adopted stating that all receivers need to have a DAB+ receiver, with the exception of low-entry receivers (which do not have a alpha-numeric display). These (low entry without digital display) receivers do not need a DAB+ receiver built in. The text has been adopted by their Government on December 21st and enters into force on January 1st 2023.

In Flemish-speaking Belgium (Flanders and Brussels), by decree (Flemish law) of 12/02/2021, a government-proposed text was adopted by the Flemish Parliament stating:

"Art. 209/1. All equipment intended for the reception of FM radio signals from a radio broadcaster intended and sold in Flanders must be able to receive digital radio signals. The obligation stated in the first sentence of this paragraph does not apply to radio equipment used by radio amateurs, smartphones and tablets."

This text entered into force on January 1st 2023. 

 

DAB+ was officially launched in Belgium across Flemish-speaking parts of the country in November 2018, while the official launch of DAB+ in French-speaking Belgium took place in November 2019, following a year of trial broadcasts.

DAB+ awareness and sales in French-speaking Belgium 

On 12 March, maRadio.be, the cooperative society representing 90% of the French-speaking Belgian radio audience, presented the results of the 6th wave of its study devoted to monitoring the digital transition of radio in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. In the space of just a few years, digital channels for listening to radio have come to the fore. At the same time, FM is continuing its meteoric decline: while it accounted for 82% of listening volume in 2018, it now accounts for just 54%. Only 23% of Belgian listeners listen exclusively to analogue radio. On the digital side, there has been steady growth, with 46% of listening volume, including 21% via DAB+, 17% via the internet and 9% on television.

Last update: 03.12.2018 - older versions

DAB coverage reaches more than 95% of the population across the country’s three principal regions – Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. All motorways and main roads in Belgium are covered with DAB, with mobile coverage standing at approximately 99%.

Nationwide coverage of between one and three layers is achieved by combining the coverage of the different multiplexes on air in Belgium: one regional public multiplex for the Northern, Dutch speaking part (>95% DAB coverage of North population), one regional public multiplex for the Southern, French speaking part (90% DAB/DAB+ outdoor coverage of South population) and one regional commercial multiplex in the Northern part in DAB+ (25% coverage of the North population).

Last update: 03.03.2021 - older versions

In this country there are

on air.

Please note:

(a)    These web pages are updated regularly to reflect current services on air, however they may not be exactly up to date.

(b)    The logos shown on these pages are for illustrative purposes only – manufacturers and broadcasters are directed here for information on implementing station logos.

RTBF has been DAB+ Slideshow (SLS) since 2014 on their station Classic 21 (Classic rock format),

Simulcast on AM / FM Exclusive on digital Total of services
DAB+ programmes 72 54 126
Data services 0 2 2
Total7256128

Last update: 16.02.2022 - older versions

DAB+ is now fitted as standard in new passenger cars in Belgium, and 98% of new vehicles sold in H2 2021 included DAB+, compared to 89% in 2019 (source: Jato Dynamics).

Last update: 16.02.2022 - older versions

The availability of DAB and DAB+ receivers in Belgium continues to grow with a range of devices now on the market, including kitchen radios, handheld and tuners. As more DAB+ services launch, with marketing campaigns to support them, sales are expected to grow significantly across Belgium over the next few years.

In French-speaking Belgium, sales of DAB+ compatible home receivers grew by 13% in 2021, offsetting a 7% fall in sales of analogue FM receivers. On average, 45% of home receivers sold in Belgium in 2021 were DAB+ compatible (source: Gfk, Monitoring of Radio Receiver Sales 2021).

Last update: 10.07.2015 - older versions

RTBF is currently testing three DAB+ simulcast FM stations with additional services such as slideshow in several bit rates, both for RTBF and for commercial or non-profit radio stations licenced by the regulator (CSA).

VRT is currently testing one DAB+ simulcast FM station with additional services such as slideshow in several bit rates.

Last update: 05.01.2023 - older versions

French-speaking Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels)

In the French-speaking part of Belgium (Walloon region/French Community), legislation has been adopted stating that all receivers need to have a DAB+ receiver, with the exception of low-entry receivers (which do not have a alpha-numeric display). These (low entry without digital display) receivers do not need a DAB+ receiver built in. The text has been adopted by their Government on December 21st and enters into force on January 1st 2023.

 

The French-speaking Belgium regulator - the CSA Belgium - announced on 11 April 2019 that it had received 123 applications for DAB+ licences - see the full list of applicants here.

In June 2018, the Parliament of Wallonia-Brussels Federation approved a draft decree to amend audiovisual services in French-speaking Belgium, paving the way for the deployment of DAB+ services in the region.​ DAB+ services went on air on 15 November 2018.

 

Flemish-speaking Belgium (Flanders and Brussels)

By decree (Flemish law) of 12/02/2021, a government-proposed text was adopted by the Flemish Parliament stating:

"Art. 209/1. All equipment intended for the reception of FM radio signals from a radio broadcaster intended and sold in Flanders must be able to receive digital radio signals. The obligation stated in the first sentence of this paragraph does not apply to radio equipment used by radio amateurs, smartphones and tablets."

This text entered into force on January 1st 2023. 

 

The public broadcaster for the Belgian Flemish Community, Vlaamse Radio – en Televisie omroep (VRT), has one DAB multiplex on air since 1997, covering Flanders and Brussels with eight radio stations. The network operator Norkring België operates VRT’s multiplex. As of 12 November 2018, all Flemish national radio stations are available on DAB+.

DSO

In May 2016, the Flemish government approved the concept of automatic renewal of FM licences for the major commercial broadcasters until 2022, alongside an obligation to invest in DAB+. At that time, the government decided that FM shutdown should take place two years after reaching 50% digital listening, with a complete switch-off date still to be decided.

Last update: 24.04.2020 - older versions

DAB+ explained by Digital Radio Belgium (FR)

This two-minute DAB+ promotional video published by Belgium's French-speaking Digital Radio office explains to consumers the various benefits of DAB+, such as improved sound quality and a wider choice of listening, as well as mentioning the EECC directive, which will require new cars across Europe to be compatible with digital radio.

The original video was made by VRT for Digital Radio Vlaanderen.

 

DAB+ - Explainer from DabplusBEfr on Vimeo.

 

DAB+ advertisement published by Digital Radio Flanders

In Flanders, radio is increasingly being listened to digitally. According to Ipsos research comissioned by the Flemish government published in October 2019, 26% of the total listening volume is now digital. The strongest increase was listening on DAB+, up from 3% to 9% year on year. This TV spot launched by www.dabplus.be/nl explains to consumers the benefits of moving from analogue to digital, particularly when listening in the car, with easy tuning and significantly improved sound quality.


TELEVISIE COMMERCIAL DAB+ BELGIË from DAB+ BE on Vimeo.

 

A dedicated digital radio website aiming to promote and inform consumers and broadcasters on DAB and DAB+ was launched in Flanders and Brussels in November 2018 (www.dabplus.be/nl).

Aside from the launch of its website dedicated to DAB, the region of Flanders has been particularly active in terms of marketing activities promoting DAB digital radio across TV, radio and online in the weeks leading to the 2018 holiday season. To that effect, two separate campaigns to raise awareness on DAB+ were set up as part of Digital Radio Week in November and December 2018, which all radio stations broadcasting in DAB+ radio participated in.

 

New DAB+ five applications to CSA are "admissible"
24.04.2024 - Belgium Belgium
The CSA has issued its decisions on the admissibility of bids from candidates for the C11 DAB+ community network. This is a DAB+ network that broadcasts throughout the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. At the close of the call for tenders on 15 March, five applications were submitted to the CSA. After examining the dossiers submitted, the CSA has declared that the five bids received are admissible. In the next stages, the CSA will examine the compliance of the bids before carrying out a substantive analysis of the applications. A final decision on the allocation of the frequency is expected in June 2024.

(CSA) Read more


SPIE integrates DAB+ digital radio in Flemish tunnels
10.04.2024 - Belgium Belgium
SPIE Belgium, a subsidiary of the SPIE group, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, is extending its partnership with JACOPS NV to modernise and optimise DAB+ radio communications in all tunnels in Flanders. In the long term, this initiative will make it possible to increase the efficiency of radio communications in all Flemish tunnels, which is a significant step forward in terms of safety. Norman Kabir, Business Development Manager at SPIE Belgium explains: "In addition to optimising the sound and radio frequency range, DAB+ will bring tangible improvements in road safety thanks to targeted emergency notifications in tunnels."

(SPIE group) Read more


Digital Radio Day notes continued decline in FM
25.03.2024 - Belgium Belgium
On March 12, maRadio.be, an organisation representing about 90% of Belgium’s public and private French-speaking radio stations, celebrated Digital Radio Day. The organization presented the results of the 6th survey by Ipsos on the digital transition in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. maRadio.be also celebrated its first decade of promoting radio in the South of Belgium and Brussels. According to the Ipsos survey, for the first time, the number of digital listeners equals the FM audience. “It took only a few years for digital channels to find their way on the radioscape,” commented Eric Adelbrecht, CEO of maRadio.be. “FM accounted for 82% of the total listening volume in 2018. Today, it is 54%. We expect that sometime this year, DAB+ listening will surpass FM.”

(RedTech) Read more


Most French-speaking Belgian stations support voluntary, simultaneous 2030 end for FM
20.03.2024 - maRadio.be WorldDAB Member - Belgium Belgium
The entire sector (with the exception of the CraXX association of 16 community radio stations) is in favour of the voluntary and simultaneous cessation of FM broadcasts by 2030, in consultation with the Flemish and German-speaking communities, subject to two conditions, maRadio.be has announced. This could see most radio stations stop broadcasting on FM by the end of the decade. The sector has also agreed to take a joint stance to ask the next government to implement a major "Plan for the Digital Transition of Radio". The plan consists of support for the roll-out of DAB+ to significantly improve its coverage, strong economic measures to accompany the digital transition, and changes to the legal framework for radio that take account of the digital transition.

(maRadio.be) Read more


Broadcast Partners wins race for national mux 11A in Flanders
19.03.2024 - Belgium Belgium
In late 2023, the bidding process was launched by the Flemish Media Regulator (VRM) after which several bids were evaluated based on a beauty contest. VRM, after reviewing the submissions, identified Broadcast Partners’ bid as the best proposal. Effective June 21, the current operator’s license will be transferred to Broadcast Partners. Due to the change of operator, adjustments must be made to the transmission towers. “Preparations are in full swing. Listeners are not expected to be affected by the operator transition.” Broadcast Partners is also the station operator for commercial stations in Flanders on FM such as Q-Music, Joe and Nostalgie. Also, Broadcast Partners has been managing the DAB network for VRT since 2018.

(Broadcast Partners) Read more


FM continues to lose ground in French-speaking Belgium
13.03.2024 - maRadio.be WorldDAB Member - Belgium Belgium
On 12 March, maRadio.be, the cooperative society representing 90% of the French-speaking Belgian radio audience, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary, brought the sector together at the 2024 edition of Digital Radio Day, during which it presented the results of the 6ᵉ wave of its study devoted to monitoring the digital transition of radio in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. In the space of just a few years, digital channels for listening to radio have come to the fore. At the same time, FM is continuing its meteoric decline: while it accounted for 82% of listening volume in 2018, it now accounts for just 54%. Only 23% of Belgian listeners listen exclusively to analogue radio. On the digital side, there has been steady growth, with 46% of listening volume, including 21% via DAB+, 17% via the internet and 9% on television.

(maRadio.be) Read more


Imec.digimeter 2023: DAB+ in Flanders climbs to 48 percent
06.03.2024 - Belgium Belgium
The imec.digimeter, the annual independent look at global digitalisation in Flanders, holds few surprises for radio and audio this time. But that is good news in this case, as radio continues to do just fine overall and, in fact, according to this poll, almost half (48 percent) of Flemish people now have DAB+ at home or in their cars. Among the middle and higher educated - say, the people who have already been able to enjoy a more recent company car, that is - the use of DAB+ is already rising to 52 and 55 percent respectively.

(RadioVisie.eu) Read more


maRadio.be organises "Digital Radio Day".
05.03.2024 - maRadio.be WorldDAB Member - Belgium Belgium
To mark its 10th anniversary, maRadio.be is organising another edition of its "Digital Radio Day", this 12 March 2024 at Mix Brussels (Watermael-Boitsfort). This information-packed day will end with a birthday party to celebrate 10 years of the maRadio.be collective. This "Digital Radio Day" will feature several focuses, including the role and strategy of maRadio.be with a conference on "Digital Radio Today". Participants will be able to learn about the 6th wave of the maRadio.be/Ipsos survey. WorldDAB President, Jacqueline Bierhorst, will be speaking at the event.

(La Lettre Pro de la Radio) Read more


BRF expands DAB+ transmitter network in eastern Belgium in partnership with TVV Sound Project
05.02.2024 - Belgium Belgium
The German-speaking Community is now almost completely covered by DAB+. At the weekend, the Belgian Broadcasting Corporation (BRF) switched on the second major site in Wallerode (municipality of Amel). This means that digital radio can now be received in large parts of the Eifel region. In the north of East Belgium and parts of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine, listeners have been able to receive BRF's digital transmitter network since last year. The "DAB+ in East Belgium" pilot project is the result of an initiative by the BRF, which is making the necessary investments for the pilot phase. A corresponding decree from the government of the German-speaking Community allows the BRF to use the DAB+ frequency with the inclusion of private radio stations from East Belgium.

(TVV Sound Project) Read more


Maradio.be prepares for its next Digital Radio Day
30.01.2024 - maRadio.be WorldDAB Member - Belgium Belgium
To mark its 10th anniversary, maradio.be (which brings together the public and private radio sector) will be holding its next Digital Radio Day on 12 March 2024. maradio.be will be sharing the latest information on the digital transition of radio in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Belgium. maradio.be will be exclusively presenting the results of the 6th wave of the IPSOS/maRadio.be survey, and will be welcoming Bénédicte Linard, Minister for the Media of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, to discuss the Government's vision of the digital evolution of the radio medium. maradio.be will be giving an update on the development of Radioplayer worldwide, in the company of Yann Legarson, its director. Finally, maradio.be will welcome Jacqueline Bierhorst, President of WorldDAB, who will talk about her strategy and the development of DAB+ around the world.

(La Lettre Pro de la Radio) Read more


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Key Information

Status: regular
Population: 11.0 million
Population coverage: Sparkline Graph 97%
Services: 126 DAB+, 2 Data
Line-fit automotive sales (cumulative): 1,672,524 devices
New cars with DAB/DAB+ as standard: Sparkline Graph 99%
Total Sales (cumulative): 2,697,000 devices
Penetration by household: Sparkline Graph 28%
Last update: 26.02.2024

Useful Links

Belgischer Rundfunk
Digitalradio.be
Digitale Radio Vlaanderen
Norkring
maRadio.be
RTBF
Flanders Department of Culture, Youth and Media
VRT