After Paris, Marseille and Nice, DAB+ is now available in Lille and in the Hauts-de-France region with the launch of 51 stations. On-air radio is continuing its transition to digital, as part of the trend in Europe. This is an ambitious national deployment plan being driven by the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA - Superior Council of the Audiovisual)
70% of the French population covered in three years
The CSA's strategy, known as the 'nodes and arcs plan', will make DAB+ accessible to 70% of the French population by 2020. In three years, the large conurbations (the 'nodes') and the main road arteries (the 'arcs') will be covered.
In the next few months, the deployment of DAB+ will continue in Alsace, Rhône-Alpes, Normandy, Brittany, Gironde and Occitanie. Moreover, a multi-regional call for candidatures covering fifteen zones and a national call for candidatures will be launched shortly.
The digital radio revolution
DAB+ is based on the qualities of on-air broadcasting (reliability, free for the listener, anonymous listening), while bringing new features: high-quality sound, continuous reception on the move and associated digital services.
DAB+ will enable the radio offering to be expanded with more local, regional, theme-based, music or general programmes. As an example, 36 of the radio stations among those who are joining DAB+ were not present in the Nord or Pas-de-Calais: 17 radio stations are totally new to the residents of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais, 12 were already present in these départements but are now more widely accessible and 7 are only accessible in DAB+.
The radio offering in DAB+ is very wide-ranging, and covers general-interest stations such as Sud Radio, public broadcasters like RFI or FIP, the national music radio stations, music stations like FG or Latina, local stations like Metropolys or Radio 6, theme-based stations like RCF or Radio Orient and stations run by associations.
Substantial coverage for broadcasting in Nord and Pas-de-Calais
4 other zones in addition to the ones in Lille, Greater Lille (the whole Nord minus Hirson, Avesnes-sur-Helpe and Maubeuge) have been defined by the CSA to cover:
The zones of Lille, Dunkerque-Saint-Omer-Hazebrouck, Calais-Boulogne-sur-Mer-Hesdin-Montreuil will be launched by the end of June. The zones of Douai-Lens-Béthune-Arras-Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise-Douvrin-Isbergues, Valenciennes-Maubeuge-Cambrai-Hirson-Avesnes-sur-Helpe will be launched by the end of the summer.
Nicolas Curien (Advisor to the CSA, President of the Radio Working Group) said: "The launch of DAB+ in Lille and in Hauts-de-France is both an opportunity for the region and a promise of success for the ambitious deployment plan 2018-2020 laid down by the CSA roadmap. Radio will be richer for the benefits brought by digital.”
According to Marie-Christine Saragosse, President and CEO of France Médias Monde:
"Between the vast ocean of the internet and limited resources in analogue frequencies, DAB+ opens a space of freedom and diversity. This is a great opportunity for RFI, the public international radio, to be present in a targeted way in France, as today in Lille, for listeners from here or elsewhere, and who share their curiosity of the world. This collective adventure, alongside the CSA, Radio France and Sirti in particular, has created the complicity and conviviality between France Médias Monde and all stations sharing the multiplex. Let's bet that listeners will perceive it...in high definition!"
For Sibyle Veil, President and CEO of Radio France:
"Evolution of technologies, and the revolution of usage, constitute new opportunities to enable the offering of the tremendous diversity of our radio programs to an ever-increasing number of listeners, and be with them at all times and in all places. DAB+ guarantees both listening quality, extension of the offering and maintains a readable and reliable organisation of the radio offer in an ever richer but more complex digital universe. The digital broadcasting of FIP in the Lille agglomeration marks our will to advance this project of the future alongside all the other partners.”
According to Alain Liberty (President of Sirti, Syndicat des radios indépendantes - the Union of independent radio stations): "27 independent radio stations are accessible right now in DAB+ in Hauts-de-France. In total, most of the independent stations in France have joined this adventure or will in the near future. We hope that this movement, in which we have been one of the driving forces, will be continued all the way. Faced with the presence of the internet giants, all radio receivers sold, including smartphones and car radios, should enable people to listen to broadcast, which is free and ubiquitous.”
For Pierre Boucard, National Delegate for spectrum management and new technologies of the SNRL, the professional organisation of community radio in France: "The arrival of DAB+ in Lille and other cities in 2018 marks a breakthrough with the wait-and-see attitude that has prevailed so far. We fully support the acceleration of the deployment of digital audio broadcasting by the President of the CSA. It is imperative that it is consolidated before the arrival of 5G, to optimise the place of radios on the new digital platforms. In Hauts-de-France, nearly 20 community radio stations are embracing DAB+ and we are accompanying them one by one, like all radios, thanks in particular to La Coopérative de Radiodiffusion, the only multiplex operator mainly dedicated to local and multi-city radios. It is now fundamental that the government and the Ministry of Culture demonstrate their commitment. It's no longer a time for chatter, it's time for action: for our companies, for our jobs and for the listeners."
Patrick Hannon, WorldDAB President, says: “Today is a significant day for France and for digital radio in Europe, with Lille the first in a series of deployments that will take place across the next two years. DAB+ is firmly established as the core future platform for radio in Europe, with millions of listeners benefiting from the extra choice and diversity that DAB+ offers, while broadcasters are attracting new audiences and growing revenues. Congratulations to everyone involved in today’s launch - we look forward to following the growth of DAB+ in France in the coming years.”
The DAB+ launch in the Hauts-de-France is also supported by Pioneer, Pure and Sony.
The full list of stations available on DAB+ can be found here.
 Africa n°1, Chante France, FIP, France Maghreb 2, Générations, Latina, M Radio, N’Radio, OUI FM, Radio Alfa, Radio Néo, Radio Orient, RFI, Sud Radio, Swigg, TSF Jazz et Virage Radio.
 Banquise FM, Canal FM, Delta FM, Euradio, FG, Horizon , Jazz Radio, Mona FM, Nova, Radio BLC,RBM et RCF.
 Cap Sao, CN’O, Grand Lille Info, Melody, Radio Crooner, Playloud et Radio Maria