Arcom (FR): White paper on the future of Radio

posted on 25 June, 2024   (public)

The future of radio under the French regulator's scrutiny to pave the way to  modernised radio model

On 17 June 2024, French regulator Arcom released a White Paper on the future of Radio ahead of a conference - taking place on 18 June -  to discuss the trends in the radio landscape and the ways to secure the sustainability of the sector. The radio sector is facing challenges in terms of radio audience metrics trends, consumption behaviours, and broadcasting technologies, yet radio is one of the most trusted sources of information and news in France.

With this White Paper, inspired by the Digital Radio and Audio Review published by the UK Government in October 2021, Arcom intends  to respond to a call from the industry to adapt the radio model to its new environment and to propose a clear strategy for a migration to all-digital radio.

Aim & objectives:

1. Setting up a state of play of the French radio landscape 

2. Identifying the needs of each stakeholder to set out a shared vision of the future of radio

3. Providing guidelines to build a modernised framework

4. Identifying the challenges that might prevent such transformation


Consultations and interviews with a wide range of stakeholders (broadcasters, distributors, manufacters, advocacy groups, audience measurement company, experts, public authorities). Foreign regulators and foreign players actively involved in switching from FM to DAB+ were also interviewed.

Key findings:

  • The current radio model is undermined but resilient with a strong local presence (it reaches daily 70% of the population). More than 800 of the 900 licensed radio stations are local, which makes radio in France a tool for emancipation and social cohesion.
  • There is a need for the sector to change to adapt to technologies and consumption habits. DAB+ currently coexists with FM, but this dual broadcasting generates significant costs for operators and the importance of IP listening is set to grow.
  • Stakeholders identify pitfalls: The consultation with stakeholders has revealed a number of potential risks, such as the current business model, which is unsuitable with the DAB+ broadcasting platform, the cost of change for consumers, market concentration and unequal access to radio across the country.  In response, Arcom set up a series of recommendations aimed at creating a conducive environment for the migration of the radio sector to all-digital radio IP and DAB+ and supporting stakeholders in such a transition. 

Arcom's proposed 2-phased roadmap:

2024 - 2027: establish an adapted framework to support the shift to a modernised radio

2028 - 2033: support the stakeholders in this shift

The decision to switch off FM in France and the procedures for doing so can only be taken at the end of the two phases, or if a majority of the proposals put forward by Arcom have been implemented cumulatively.

Source: Arcom

EPRA focus: The "Future of Content Delivery and Adapting the regulatory framework to new modes of content delivery" was a key topic of EPRA's work programme in 2023 and the autumn meeting discussed the challenges raised by new modes of audio content distribution