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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

What the Hell is ‘Euro-Chip?’

UPDATE March 20, 2014: Name changed.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has joined forces with the BBC and Deutschlandradio to in a better way promote digital radio across Europe. Or to put it in the words of the EBU:

‘The ‘Euro-Chip’ initiative is a marketing project designed to promote an existing set of minimum features and functions that was originally created by WorldDMB, EBU and EICTA, for all new digital radio receivers.’

This is a splendid project which has been presented by EBU Media Director, Annika Nyberg Frankenhaeuser, acting General Director of the BBC, Tim Davie and Director-General of Deutschlandradio, Willi Steul. But the name of the project defeats the purpose and does nothing by cause confusion and possible hostility from countries outside Europe.

I am attending the WorldDMB European Automotive Event in Berlin today with over a hundred other people that are working within the radio or the car industry. I’d say we know, understand and love radio. When the ‘Euro-Chip’ initiative was presented, many attendees reacted with surprise and a number of questions were asked:

– When will the new chip be introduced? – Is it a chip that costs only one Euro? – It is not a chip? So it is some new software? – How can we use this? – Who produces this chip? – When will the new chip be ready? – Is it only for use in Europe?

A Marketing Project We were told that this is only a marketing initiative to give digital radio a European wide push. The main message is pretty clear and easy, but it is being overshadowed by the name.

Or as Tim Davie put it when ‘Euro-Chip’ was introduced last month:

“Digital radio across Europe has been plagued by uncertainty. We may be reaching a tipping point, but first we have to bank what is certain about radio’s digital hybrid future and join forces to promote a common vision across Europe.” Such chips that support FM, DAB, DAB+ and DMB are already in production and have been so for years. They ensure the interoperability between all new digital radio devices that are to be sold in Europe and eliminates uncertainty. All such radios will be able to receive radio no matter which way it is broadcast.

“This is of critical importance for broadcasters, manufacturers and the public. We must ensure that European consumers are able to buy future-proofed receivers that will provide them with radio services across Europe.” Said Annika Nyberg Frankenhaeuser.

Many listeners don’t even know what a chip is or that there is a chip inside radios. And why exclude the rest of the world by insisting on ‘Euro’ in the name? DMB and or DAB+ services are live on air in five continents.

There is really nothing new, except that broadcasters across Europe will work together to promote digital radio. Let us do so by using a language that people understand and a language that doesn’t exclude or confuse. Please don’t make it more difficult for us to do this, Annika, Tim and Willi. Scrap the name, not the project. What Google Says Or how about a websearch on ‘Eurochip?’

Eurochip is already the name of no less than two European projects. In the first one, scientists from research institutions ‘study various aspects of the hormonal communication between the gut and the brain.’ In other words, a research project about obesity. Eurochip is in fact an acronym. Sort of. It stands for ‘European Obesity Consortium studing the Hypothalamus and its Interaction with the Periphery.’ The other one is a cancer health indicator project.

Eurochip is also a company that has ‘your branch and tree removal needs covered,’ a car chip for BMWs and an Italian bike park.

Eurochips, on the other hand, is a network; The European Committee for Children of Imprisoned Parents. Any original ideas for a new name? Anyone? It is not too late to change the name, EBU. Sometimes even marketing people can get slogans and names wrong. And it is never too late to turn around and actually change something that was a less than perfect idea. Now, we will have to use a lot of effort on explaning what the “Euro-Chip” is supposed to be and what it certainly isn’t istead of spending our energy on explaining what it really is and why a concept is called a chip.

Update (Nov 27): The EBU seems to have taken the feedback to consideration. They now occasionally refer to the initiative as ‘The Euro-Chip concept.’ A little bit better, but there will be no cigar for creativity or clarity.

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