A radio from the last century. A vintage look that is reproduced today.
A radio from the last century. A vintage look that is reproduced today. (GETTY IMAGES / EYEEM)

For 100 years, the over-the-air broadcasting of radio has become essential in the media and democratic landscape. UNESCO is commemorating this Saturday, February 13 the 10th edition of World Radio Day, which coincides with the 100 years of Radio France.

It was at the end of the 19th century that radio was created by a certain Heinrich Hertz. He invents and gives his name to the hertzian waves, which will allow the broadcasting of radio programs. The first, intended for the public, saw the light of day in 1921, from the Eiffel Tower.

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Hertzian elements for television at the top of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, March 16, 1964. & nbsp;
Radio elements for television atop the Eiffel Tower, Paris, March 16, 1964 (KEYSTONE-FRANCE / GAMMA RAPHO / GETTY IMAGES)

And since then, radio has evolved a lot technically, finally establishing itself as an essential medium for building public debate.

The big dates for me in radio are obviously the creation, 100 years ago. It’s World War II. Then it is frequency modulation because it allowed the creation of the high quality on the radio. Then, the opening of the FM band in 1981. Today is the switch to the digital world.

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Jean-Michel Kandin, director of distribution and strategic projects at Radio France

What is an electromagnetic wave? The principle is simple: In the radio studio, the microphones transform the voices of presenters and journalists into an electrical signal. Then, frequency modulation is used to create an electromagnetic wave: the frequency of the recorded voices is changed to allow the wave to travel through the air.

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These radio waves travel to a receiving antenna, on a radio set for example. There, the electromagnetic wave becomes an electrical signal again to be broadcast through the device’s speakers.

This technology allows many radio stations to broadcast their programs and it is good news for our democratic health. However, frequency modulation has its limits. Each radio must transmit on a particular frequency, otherwise the signals will get mixed up. Today, the FM band is therefore saturated, there are not enough frequencies.

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To respond to this problem, a new digital broadcasting system is developing, DAB + or digital terrestrial radio in French. This technology will allow several radios to transmit on the same frequency. It will then be the DAB + receivers which themselves divide each signal received into individual radios.

A German digital radio DAB / DMB for digital audio broadcasting and digital multimedia broadcasting. From 2023, DAB + will become the new standard in radio broadcasting. & Nbsp;
A German DAB / DMB digital radio for digital audio broadcasting and digital multimedia broadcasting. From 2023, DAB + will become the new standard in radio broadcasting. (DPA / PICTURE ALLIANCE / GETTY IMAGES)

DAB + will also make it possible to enrich the programs with the broadcasting of images and slide shows, for example. The deployment of this system has already started and will extend to the whole of France in 2023.

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According to Jean-Michel Kandin, this technology has a clear advantage over the broadcasting of radio via the Internet:

“For us, the fact that there is a digital terrestrial radio tomorrow, in the form of DAB, it is the guarantee of the anonymity of the reception. We could very well conceive tomorrow that a distributor tries to force the hand of a program saying: him, it does not interest me, I do not broadcast it. “

It is in our public service missions to offer each French a free, free and anonymous means of receiving the programs that they finance.

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Jean-Michel Kandin, director of distribution and strategic projects at Radio France

Radio therefore plays an essential role in information. This is evident today in conflicts or in totalitarian regimes that cut off access to information to muzzle any opposition.

Listen to the full interview with Jean-Michel Kandin at the microphone of Gérard Feldzer.

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