Hopes for digital radio switchover in the next five years have suffered a blow as the growth in popularity of digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio went into reverse.
Digital accounted for 24.8 per cent of all radio listening in the three months to September 19th, marginally up on the 24.6 per cent share of listening in the previous three months, according to official Rajar figures.
But DAB radio, the likely broadcast replacement for analogue saw its share of the audience drop, to 15.3 per cent from 15.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2010.
Far from listeners switching off their analogue radio sets, the popularity of AM and FM continued to grow, with a 67.6 per cent share, up from 67 per cent in the previous quarter and 66.1 per cent a year ago.
Digital, which also includes digital TV and online, must account for at least 50 per cent of all radio listening before the government will seriously begin to consider switching all the national and big regional and local radio stations from analogue to digital-only. A tentative switchover target of 2015 has been pencilled in.