A UK government commissioned report has backed digital DAB to have a key tipping point for the “migration” from analogue to digital radio by 2015. The Digital Radio Working Group said the UK could not begin to look at a wholesale transfer from analogue radio until at least 50% of all listening was via digital and national DAB coverage was comparable to current FM coverage.
DRWG forecast that this may not happen until 2015 at the earliest, with a government-set date for digital “migration” not expected until at least 2017. The group, which featured representatives of the BBC, commercial radio, the government, manufacturers and consumers, stopped short of predicting a switch-off date for analogue radio. There was no mention of “switch-off” in the entire report.
DRWG recommended the creation of a three-tier system of radio in the UK, with national digital stations from the BBC and the commercial sector; a sustainable set of local digital services covering as much of the UK as possible; and a third tier of small scale services remaining on analogue, moving to digital at a later date.
The report also called for the government to relax some of the legislative and regulatory burdens on commercial radio, and urged more focus on the uptake of in-car DAB. DRWG also recommended that the government consider a duty exemption on digital radios to further boost sales.