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Shift to digital radio slowing down

By | Published on Thursday 26 September 2013

DAB logo

The shift from FM to DAB continues to be slow going, according to a new report on the UK radio industry by media regulator OfCom.

As much previously reported, government and some major players in the radio business are still eager to get to the point where enough listeners are accessing radio primarily through the DAB digital network, that the FM network can start to be wound down.

But it’s taking a long time to get to that point; though some argue that if the government set an unmovable deadline for FM’s demise, as with the analogue TV network, then the industry would get there a lot quicker (the radio industry awaits with anticipation a government report on switchover plans in November).

According to the OfCom survey, although about 45% of homes now seemingly have a DAB set and a third of radio listening is now via digital platforms (so DAB or via a digital TV platform or online), sales of DAB radios have stalled, and about a half of those households still with no DAB receiver say they are not motivated to buy one anytime soon.

Whether that is actually enough to further slow down any moves to force a digital switchover in radio remains to be seen, though it does mean the government and pro-DAB radio industry has a PR challenge on its hands if deadlines are set – and probably needs something much better than the woeful Digital Radio UK body, which is supposedly promoting the medium, to handle that task.