Demise Of Dutch FM Locals

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Demise Of Dutch FM Locals

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 14 Apr 2018 11:59

I hope this is not a sign of things to come, but I suspect that it is.

I have been scanning the top of FM, looking for Dutch local stations. In particular, I was looking for my regular Scheldemond FM from Oostburg on 107.5. I couldn't hear it, but it didn't take long before I realised why. I noticed that FM List has marked the station as "CLOSED". This is very sad. Also because I see that many other Dutch (Holland AND Belgium) locals have also closed.

I suspect this is a sign of the times. Perhaps a lack of funds to run them? An ongoing trend here too, sadly. Or am I wrong? If so, which other countries are suffering?

Julius63
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Re: Demise Of Dutch FM Locals

Post by Julius63 » 10 May 2018 22:42

Here in my region a few new popped up on the FM band, sadly but generally speaking most locals in Holland broadcast for a town or village, at the level of local government. Since quite some of this municipality's, local authority's are merging together in the hope of improving the administration, many of these local stations are also forced to merge. Two villages near my home formed one local government and thus both the local stations came together as wel and one gave up their license and frequency.
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DAB: Akai ADB10(2x), Nikkei ADB10, Technisat.
All with telescope antenna. I use a home-built(not by myself, :D ) Loopantenna on the satellit for mediumwave

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Demise Of Dutch FM Locals

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 18 May 2018 20:28

Very interesting Julius. Thank you for the information.

I suppose this is a good way to keep local radio on the air, rather than watch while some stations collapse. It also halves the number of local stations and therefore de-clutters the band for Dutch DXers, but what a sad sign of the times.

Nice to know that there are new stations coming on the air.

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PFM907
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Re: Demise Of Dutch FM Locals

Post by PFM907 » 18 May 2018 21:40

This is a European problem, in general. I have experienced the same in Denmark. 10 or 15 years ago, it was possible to receive up to 20 different local stations even on the German site of the border. Most oft them (Radio Victor, Radio Horsens, Radio Holsted, Radio Charlie, Radio Mojn, Radio Als) have been closed down or "joined" the bigger networks (which means, the local content has been reduced down to a minimum of some ad spots). Their frequencies have been taken over by the newspapers, with as a result only few stations remaining that can be heard 100 miles across the country from Fyn til Aarhus and from Esbjerg to Skjern. This is a very unsatisfying and disapointing development.

The dutch market has experienced the same, especially when DAB+ came up. Bigger stations have joined the digital packages and can now be heard by millions of people. The smaller ones (Rebecca FM, City FM, Hotradio, Arrow, 10 Gold) died due to a very strange frequency policy where the interesting "kavels" belong to two leading operators and others had to pay lots of money to get their license for only 80 - 90 % coverage (e.g. 538 in Limburg).

In Belgium, the new frequency plan has made an end to FM variety. Starting in Wallonia, most of the frequencies went to RTL with its networks while the more interesting city stations had to move online or were closed down by law (Warm FM, Net FM, Radio Italia). Many of them have been active since the 90s. In Liege, I have counted six empty frequencies at the moment plus four more in Verviers. The same has now happened in Flanders. Since the beginning of 2018, the local and regional frequencies have been mixed and devided. This scenario ended up in a few networks operated by press and media houses. At the same time, stations with a history of 25 years were forced to leave FM. Even established providers with 20 employees like Topradio lost their frequencies (but found a way to get back smaller ones).

Look at Italy, for example. During the past 15 years, dozens of smaller local radio stations left the airwaves. Many of them had been on air for 20 or 30 years before. There is a very annoying system of buying and selling FM frequencies. The big networks such as RTL 102.5 / Radio Zeta / Freccia are still growing while smaller ones are forced to give up. Even the holiday stations in German languages have all gone yet.

In Spain, chain networks like in France have been created during the past 10 years. Only very few, real local radios are still alive. Most of them are relaying a musical programme produced in Madrid or Barcelona, filled-up with local jingles and ads.

In Czech republic, all the local stations (Radio Dragon, Radio Faktor, Radio FM Plus, Radio Orion, Radio Crystal, Radio Magic) now belong to the same group. Some months ago, the same happened to the independent Kiss-stations (Proton, Hady, JC). They now relay the musical selection made in the capital. Also one of the oldest operators (Radio Egrensis) has just stopped broadcasting. Their frequencies went to the Blanik network.

Radios in the Baltic countries are mostly run by western or russian companies such as Modern Times Group and Russkoe Radio. There are almost none independent locals left.

Even Germany has made a large step towards national private broadcasting (which is still prohibited on FM but might be done on DAB) with projects like Radio Bob (available in Hessen and Schleswig-Holstein), Rock Antenne (available in Hamburg and Bavaria), Sunshine Live (available in MV and BW), egoFM (available in BW and Bavaria) or Radio B2 (available in Brandenburg, Berlin and MV).

to be continued...

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Demise Of Dutch FM Locals

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 18 May 2018 22:31

This makes very sad reading.

Thank you for your detailed report.

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