No Date Set For Digital Radio Switchover Because So Few People Care
DO you listen to the radio? Only at work or when there’s a football match on when you’re driving? Well, you won’t be forced into a digital switchover, as happened with television, because so few people actually bother listening to the radio that it barely matters.
It seems, such is the radio malaise, that everyone is still using analogue devices. Or the internet, of course.
Either way, the radio industry was pushing for a date so they can get organised and try and flog some DABs in the meantime. It seems that all national stations to be available only on digital radios by 2018, by which time, everyone will have other distractions.
The Radio Centre, some industry body, have been pushing for the 2018 date, however, not enough people have made the change yet, and Ed Vaizey – culture botherer – says that figures for people having changed over need to be around 50%, which is unlikely to ever happen, which means they’re just going to have to wait for radio to shrivel up and die.
Vaizey said measures to improve digital radio coverage use include the BBC, Government and commercial radio investing £21 million – an agreement outlined in July 2012 – while regulator Ofcom will develop ways for smaller radio stations to go digital.
Government figures show 41.6 per cent of new cars sold in October had DAB radios fitted as standard and Vaizey added a new ‘digital certification mark’ scheme is planned for 2014, which aims to identify radios that meet the industry’s minimum standards.
In a statement, he said: “In spite of recent progress, the current rate of digital listening has not yet reached 40 per cent. We have always been clear that the switch to digital must be consumer-led rather than Government imposed.”
“Therefore, we do not believe that now is the time to commit to a switchover. Nonetheless, we want to maintain the positive industry action to promote digital listening, because we know that consumers like the clearer sound and ease of tuning, not to mention the wide range of content offered.”
Or, we could just wait for the 5 people who still listen to the radio to die?
Photo: Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi, who claimed he invented radio, reads signals on a tape recorder, left, with a 10-inch spark coil used for ship-to-shore radio tests in this 1901 photo.