Listeners 'to decide' on digital switchover

Radio switchover plans look set to change
Radio switchover plans look set to change

By staff

The coalition government has taken the pressure off as the 2015 target for radio's digital switchover approaches.

Rather than firmly deciding whether or not the use of FM will be completely ended, the Department for Culture Media and Sport's digital radio action plan published today opts to let the listeners decide.

Culture, communications and creative industries minister Ed Vaizey explained that FM would always be used by smaller stations, but said consumer demand would be the key factor in deciding the pace of the transition.

"Listeners need to be persuaded that the content on offer is compelling, that the quality is high and that digital radios, at home or in the car, are affordable and have listening quality that is at least as good as FM," Mr Vaizey said.

Addressing the Intellect Digital Home conference, he made clear the government remained determined to press towards digital radio switchover - while not setting a date.

"The industry believes 2015 is an achievable target date and we will work to support that ambition," he added.

"And when the weight of public opinion is behind it, with more than half of all radio listening digital, then we can take the decision on when the country will be ready for switchover."

Today's plan seeks to balance the costs against the benefits for a switch to DAB radios. Rural areas and the need for a proper environmental plan are also taken into account.


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