Dispute over radio via ukw: is a service provider turning mdr, ndr & co. Turning off the juice?

dispute over radio via ukw: is a service provider turning mdr, ndr & co. Turning off the juice?

Operator threatens to cut off FM signals: FM reception is the most important way of listening to the radio for most people in germany. In a dispute over payment for FM broadcasting, service providers threaten several rough radio stations with shutdowns.

The media broadcast company announced that in the coming week it would switch off those stations that had not fulfilled certain conditions in a timely manner by then. "Up to ten million horer could already be affected from wednesday by a shutdown of their FM radio stations", wolfgang breuer, head of media broadcasting, told the daily newspaper "die welt" (FRIDAY.).

VHF shutdown threatened

In addition to private radio stations, mdr, NDR in mecklenburg-vorpommern and deutschlandradio are also being threatened with FM shutdowns. They do not operate their own broadcasting infrastructure, but have commissioned broadcasting network operators such as uplink from dusseldorf and divicon from leipzig. These companies now have to negotiate the prices for renting the antennas with the antenna operators, which has not been successful so far.

According to its own statements, the north german radio station "looks with concern" at the project on the current developments. "Our horerinnen and horer in mecklenburg-vorpommern must not become victims of financial negotiations of technical service providers", said spokesman martin gartzke. "We hope that the negotiations will continue and be concluded in a constructive manner."
Mitteldeutscher rundfunk would not comment in detail on the negotiations.

Politics in duty

MDR operations director ulrich liebenow stressed, however, that "there will be no shutdowns of VHF frequencies over which MDR broadcasts its programs in the next week." The broadcaster sees the federal network agency and the federal cartel office as well as politicians as having a duty – they should counteract the massive effects of FM antenna sales.

The hessian private radio station hit radio FFH with its three programs could also be affected. In response to a dpa inquiry, the managing director and program director of hit radio FFH, hans-dieter hillmoth, spoke of a rough poker game over contracts and prices and called the announcement a threatening gesture. "Ultimately, this is also a bit of blackmail." 80 percent of radio listeners still received the programs via FM.

Sharp criticism

Sharp criticism of the threat scenarios also came from deutschlandradio: "the loss of FM frequencies is avoidable and unacceptable for deutschlandradio", said its director of administration and operations rainer kampmann. His house will take all necessary steps to ensure FM broadcasting.

Background to the dispute

The background to the dispute is that the service provider media broadcast is withdrawing from the business with the terrestrial FM antennas and transmitting facilities and will only maintain broadcasting operations on a transitional basis until the middle of the year. While essentially two companies took over the broadcasting operation, the antennas mounted on them were sold to several investors. Now higher prices are being demanded for the use of the antennas.

In order to give the parties more time to negotiate prices, media broadcast agreed to continue operating VHF until the end of june under certain conditions, according to a spokesman on friday. However, the company has to be commissioned with retransmission – either by the radio providers or the new transmitter network operators.

So far, media broadcast has only received orders from a quarter of the 40 affected radio broadcasters, the media broadcast spokesman told dpa. There is now a final deadline until monday morning. "Those who have not responded by then will be switched off on wednesday", company boss breuer told the "welt" newspaper.

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