DAB grows to more than half Swiss in-car listening; "the course is set for DAB+"

25.08.2022 - OFCOM Switzerland WorldDAB Member - Switzerland Switzerland

For the first time, more than half of the radio listening in cars in Switzerland is digital. 12% of total radio use is in the car – and DAB+ now takes 51% of this, up from 48% last year. The new data was announced at SwissRadioDay, which took place in Zurich's Kaufleuten.

The latest research also showed that 75 out of 100 radio minutes were digital, with listening on FM halving from 51% to 25% in just seven years. DAB’s share is now at 41%, up 18 percentage points over the same period. DAB radio is popular in all regions of Switzerland, at 42% in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and 37% in both French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland.

Graph showing in-car listening: DAB 51%, analogue 38%, IP-radio 11%

Speaking at the event, the Director of OFCOM Switzerland, Bernard Maissen, said the FM shutdown at the end of 2024 was binding, and that an extension of the licences would be legally impossible. He argued that that audiences are digital, and quickly find alternatives to FM – seeking relevant, innovative, courageous and creative content. “Foreign FM competition is overestimated; the course is set for DAB+,” he said.

Elsewhere at SwissRadioDay, international radio consultant Paul Chantler spoke of DAB’s role in the success of niche stations he worked with in the United Kingdom, such as Fix Radio – a station for builders and tradespeople, who listen to the radio all day. The station started in 2017 on DAB in London and then Manchester, and has now grown to broadcasting nationally across the UK.

The Fix Radio studio - a desk with microphones on it, in a room with builders tools on the wall

Other sessions highlighted the importance of DAB+ in broadcasting critical information. Olaf Korte, Head of Broadcast Applications Group at Fraunhofer Institute set out the importance of DAB+ as a robust warning system in emergencies such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters or blackouts. Korte highlighted the robustness of the broadcast infrastructure and receivers, and the ease of use by the audience. Markus Eisenlohr from the Swiss Federal Department for Transport, set out the DAB+ infrastructure in national road tunnels, with 219 now equipped with DAB+, each broadcasting between one and seven multiplexes, depending on the location. These can carry important safety information, or broadcast emergency alerts such as fire alarms and police announcements.