Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Media and socio-cultural communication

Publication Details

Pre-Conference: The Long History of New Media: Contemporary and Future Developments Contextualized, International Communication Association, Annual Convention. Montréal, May 20 – 25, 2008.


The digitalisation of radio broadcasting has a long history and as a project has been under active consideration for at least 25 years. A number of different technical approaches to digital radio exist, the longest established of which is the so-called Eureka-147 or DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) system. This paper explores the ‘technological imaginary’ of DAB and its distinctly ‘European’ vision for new media and the future of broadcasting. It examines its origins in European R&D policy of the 1980s, and its affinity with European broadcasting practice, particularly within a public service tradition. Ironically, it was DAB’s failure to capitalise on its ‘Europeanness’ that contributed to the fragmentary support it subsequently received at a political level, compromising its subsequent implementation. From a contemporary perspective, DAB’s original mission to provide enhanced, interactive information and entertainment services through audio, text and visual content, while visionary, appears to have misread trends towards convergence and appears out of step with contemporary consumption patterns.