Listening to Radio in Uganda may soon cease to be free

FM radio

Uganda has just made a year of fully switching off her analog TV signals to digital ones but new reports have surfaced  suggesting that the same awaits radio stations.While many questions still linger about the effected digital migration, the UCC couldn’t wait but announce that the same fate awaits radio stations in a not so distant future, 2 years from now to be exact.

In August last year, the commission has called upon collaborative research proposals from academia to undertake preliminary studies on the “Introduction of Digital Audio Broadcasting in Uganda. The main objective of the study was to conduct an assessment of the feasibility and readiness of Uganda for DAB. Chimp Reports reports that during the National Association of Broadcasters Annual General Meeting at Hotel Africana, UCC ED, Godfrey Mutabazi was quoted having said that Radio is going digital in a two years time and that the commission was  carrying out research with Universities like Makerere and others addressing this issue.

In a mandatory switch to digital transmission, many Ugandans were introduced to paying subscription fees to Pay TV operators to access TV. These sell them set top boxes that decode their respective TV signals while others have opted for free to air (FTA) decoders for which you pay a onetime fee and you start accessing FTA TV stations. The same process is soon setting foot in radio station territory come 2018 if these reports are to be believed.

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The switch was to clear up airwaves and their subsequent re-allocation amongst a host of reasons.It was also a fulfillment of a decree from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to which Uganda subscribes to have analog transmission switched of by June 2015 and so is the switch of radio stations according to the same report.