Why is FM radio being censored

Alternatives to FM reception

There are many ways to listen to the radio without FM
Source: VQ At the last minute, a VHF blackout was averted last week. However, there is only one grace period. If the network operator and the owner of the transmission antenna do not agree on the future price structure, the FM switch-off threatens again - this time on June 30th. Until then, the old network operator Media Broadcast will temporarily take over the supply.

A few days ago, a state secretary for the media compared analogue VHF radio with supplying the population with electricity or water. But that is nonsense, because in the event of a VHF switch off, almost all German citizens would have alternative options to listen to the radio, which in terms of variety and quality are even more attractive than the old, analog radio. And best of all: Most of them don't even need to buy extra hardware and already have the devices they need for reception at home.

Radio reception via DAB +

There are many ways to listen to the radio without FM
Source: VQ Since 2011, the digital terrestrial radio DAB + has been preparing to inherit the old, analogue VHF radio. DAB + programs can now be heard indoors by over 90 percent of Germans. As a rule, the offer is larger than on VHF: Depending on the broadcasting area, up to 80 programs can be heard digitally terrestrially, including regional as well as national stations that are not available on VHF. DAB + radios are available in stores for as little as 20 euros and in all possible configurations.

Many listeners have already bought radios with DAB + reception without even knowing it. Because according to the digitization report of the state media authorities, there is a large gap between owners of a digital radio (now there are likely to be over 12 million) and the real use of DAB +. That means: Many people switched to VHF and the known frequency after the digital radio went into operation. In the event of an FM switch-off, you could easily continue listening to the radio via DAB +. In general, the following applies today: When purchasing a new radio, it is essential to pay attention to DAB +. This means that the radio is future-proof in any case.

Radio reception via PC and notebook

If the VHF fails, the PC and notebook can also act as radio receivers. A sound card and loudspeaker boxes are required for the PC; loudspeakers are usually built into notebooks. The radio is received via the websites of the broadcasters (mostly via tabs such as "Livestream", "Listen live" or "Switch radio") or via central websites such as radio.de or Radioplayer.de, where you can search for the desired radio program using the full text search and listen to it.

Radio reception via smartphones and tablets

Any smartphone or tablet can also be used to listen to Internet radio. Connections to the world from over 150,000 online radios and podcasts are provided by free applications such as TuneIn Radio, Radioplayer or radio.de, which can be downloaded from the respective app stores. Many streams can also be called up directly from the websites or via the radio station's apps.

With smartphones, however, the user should make sure that the Internet connection is not established via cellular network, but via the WLAN router. This means that there are no extra charges when listening to the radio over the Internet. And with an existing mobile flat rate, the user does not run the risk of the speed being reduced after a few hours of listening to the radio if he selects the connection via WLAN.

Normally, smartphones and tablets only have small built-in speakers that only reproduce bad, tinny sound. However, you can also connect the device to your home hi-fi system or active speakers via the earphone or headset output with the appropriate adapter (mini jack to cinch). Depending on the data rate of the transmitted radio program, this guarantees up to HiFi quality. Even kitchen or bathroom radios often have an AUX input that can be used to connect a smartphone for sound reproduction. If you have Bluetooth or multiroom speakers, you can stream the radio program from your smartphone to the speakers via Bluetooth or WLAN.

Listening to the radio via smart speakers

Around a million Germans already have smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. The devices also play radio stations via voice command. All that is needed is a voice command, for example "Alexa, play radio XY", and the familiar radio program comes out of the box.

Listening to the radio via satellite and cable

Anyone who uses digital satellite or cable television can also listen to the radio via these distribution channels. Over 100 radio programs are transmitted in near-CD quality via the DVB-S (satellite) or DVB-C (cable) modes. However, many have to turn on the television to hear the radio programs. As a rule, they can be called up via the remote control by clicking on the "Radio" button. Anyone who has a digital satellite or cable receiver (set-top box) can transmit the sound to the stereo system via cinch cable and thus enjoy radio in hi-fi quality. Even with many televisions, the sound can be transmitted via cinch to a hi-fi system or a soundbar.

The LCD television as a visual internet radio

Almost all modern LCD or LED TVs are equipped with access to a SmartTV portal. What has not got around so far is that many of these portals also have at least one Internet radio portal such as TuneIn or Radioplayer. This not only gives access to more than 150,000 Internet radio stations, but also a visual radio program accompanying the program with a display of the music title and photos or album titles of the artists currently being played. Internet radio thus also becomes a visual experience.

The connection of the flat screen TV to the router is usually done via WLAN, with some models additionally or exclusively via Ethernet cable. The internet radio application is either already represented in the start menu of the HybridTV portal or the customer has to download it from the app store of the SmartTV portal operator.

Even many users of digital terrestrial television DVB-T2 can receive Internet radio if they connect the television or set-top box to the Internet via the router. Radioplayer Deutschland programs are available free of charge via the freenet TV Connect portal.