The Association of International Broadcasters convened in the Czech capital this week for its annual summit. Miroslav Krupicka, the director of Radio Prague, was there. He later spoke with Brian Kenety about some of the issues facing the international broadcast industry.
You've just come from two days at the AIB Global Media Business Conference — this is the third year it has been held. What was the most interesting aspect of the conference? Strategies, cooperation, technology?
"Well, definitely from my viewpoint and the viewpoint of Radio Prague, the most interesting parts were discussion about technological solutions for international broadcasting because this is what we face in our day-to-day routine. What kind of technology will we use for the Russian market, or for the target audience in Russia, the far Asia. What kind of technology is the proper one for the domestic audience because we have just launched FM broadcasts in English, targeted at foreign nationals in Prague."
"And another interesting point was international cooperation. Each country, more or less, has got at least one international radio broadcasting station. The Czech Republic has got Radio Prague; we are the voice of the Czech Republic for the world. Now, do we survive on our own or do we have to cooperate with other countries, with other radios? We think that cooperation is actually the only way forward. We have to exchange programmes, we have to actually co-produce programmes because, you know, we wouldn't survive with small programmes about the Czech Republic, we couldn't run those small Czech stories forever."
"In order to survive in the media world of the Third Millennium you need to somehow cooperate with the others. You cannot survive as a single media entity separated from the rest of the world."
There was some discussion on the agenda on how to integrate services, radio with television, or the Internet...
"Yes, technology is very important. Radio Prague uses Internet, FM, AM recently, in Russia, and there is short wave. And we can perhaps speak of multimedia: we've got our website which is quite well managed, visited. And there is other information, I mean other than the information contained in the broadcast.... But what the world is looking for in the near future and what is actually happening already is digitalisation."
"There's a whole range of various platforms. As far as international broadcasters are concerned, the most promising seems to be DRM platform, that's Digital Radio Mondiale. And it actually means digitalisation of AM broadcasting, which means medium-wave and short-wave. It's actually replacing the old analogue transmitters that we use now. What you need for that of course is to produce digitally, which we already do, and to receive digitally. For that you need receivers and those DRM receivers are not yet on the market. That's the problem. Some people would like to have a better sound quality for the radio programmes, but there are no receivers yet."
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