The next RDS Forum meeting will be held at Geneva in October 2024

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In August 2021 it was decided by the Swiss Federal authorities to switch-off FM by the end of 2024. Many specialists in radio broadcasting were surprised as this would position Switzerland in an unacceptable isolation in the heart of Europe. None of the Swiss neighbouring countries have a plan to switch-off FM. In the meantime the end of 2026 has been proposed instead. The aim is to transmit radio in the future only on DAB+. However, listeners are interested in the content, irrespective of whether it is broadcast as analogue or digital and still the majority of devices in use are FM only receivers, specifically in older cars.

For years, every car radio user has been able to play his or her own recorded content and streamed podcasts or streamed live radio from anywhere in the world. All regular travellers are familiar to receive local and regional traffic messages anywhere in Europe. Every car radio has FM with RDS for over 30 years. The traffic announcement feature is ergonomically well designed and is expected to work everywhere according to the same manner. All traffic announcements work using this functionality. With DAB+ radios this is the same and totally equivalent and they work in the same reliable way. If FM is switched off, millions of cars from all over Europe on Swiss roads would no longer receive traffic information. It could even cause a legal problem for the Swiss authorities. Drivers on the motorway have to buy a toll vignette. It would be totally chaotic, if a great part of foreign visitors is no longer able to receive relevant traffic and weather warning information. Swiss authorities seem to be totally ignorant in this area.

We at the RDS Forum would be willing to actively support all Swiss authorities with know-how. We know the Swiss approach to broadcasting traffic and weather warning information very well from our cooperation with the European Broadcasting Union. In Switzerland, many things are better organized than in the neighbouring countries. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that a reasonable solution can be found and also one that would be affordable in the long term. We would expect that Switzerland will act in the interest of Europe, and not alone, but instead in harmony with all its neighbours of which none will switch-off FM.