ESC2 - International Conference on Digital Radio in Brazillian Context

When: 26-28 de Novembro 2013
Where: Pontífica Universidade Católica (PUC), Rio de Janeiro | Auditorio AMEX
Production: Telemidia, Amarc Brasil, Saravá, CteMe.
Funding: Open Society Foundations, Governo Federal do Brasil, CAPES.

From November 26th to 28th will take place at PUC-Rio the Second International Conference Spectrum, Society and Communication (ESC2). The event focuses on the discussion of future Brazilian System of Digital Radio (SBRD) and the possibilities of interactivity of the medium. The event compriseslectures, digital radio workshops and discussion panels.

The Conference takes place in a context of critical discussions to the future of radio in Brazil. It is a moment when SBRD is being built, of which central point is the choice of a technical standard. A choice between Digital Radio Mondiale system (DRM), developed by an open and international consortium, and HD Radio system, owned by a U.S. company. Against this background, ESC2 gathers researchers from Brazil and Europe seeking, through the experiences brought by participants, to foster discussions on the development and regulation of SBRD.

Likewise happened with digital TV adoption, digital radio implementation will bring new possibilities. Digitalization will optimize electromagnetic spectrum occupation, allowing to increase the number of stations, and the possibility of multiprogramming and interactivity to the listener. For digital TV, Brazil already adopted Ginga, a brazillian system that allows transmission and execution of interactive applications in the receiver. The conference will feature lectures and workshops by Ginga experts researchers of PUC-Rio, who will discuss the possibilities of interactivity for digital radio in Brazil.

As in digital TV, digital system implementation will bring to radio several features already known by the listener over the internet. That's why digital radio should not be confused with webradio, which are sound broadcasts on the internet. The fundamental difference between digital radio and webradio is the transmission medium. Webradio existsinside internet, using optical and phone cables structure, that are ownedby media companies. Like analogic system, digital radio will keep working through electromagnetic waves, emitted and captured in the radio spectrum, a citizens common good. Digital radio is an enhancement of radio as we know it.

This issue gains even more relevance on a legal landscape. Current discussions about new possibilities for regulation are intense both in Brazil as in other Latin American countries. Argentina, for example, recently approved the “Ley de los Medios” (Media Law) which limits media cross-property by large conglomerates. Recently the Brazilian Federal Government decreed the migration of AM stations to FM, increasing the usage of this frequency band. A law of popular initiative, known as the “Law of Democratic Media”, is presently under discussion in the Brazillian National Congress. This project proposes a new general law aiming to ensure democratic mechanisms of regulation for media communication. Along with the proposal of “Marco Civil da Internet” (Civil Rights Framework for Internet), these projects are some first maturing initiatives on the field, in which Brazil is still at a very early stage.