Government aims for 2015 digital radio switchover

Communications minister Ed Vaizey is expected to give a speech that confirms that the new coalition government is going to stick with Labour's plan for a complete digital radio switchover in 2015, although reports suggest the planned date may have to be extended due to a slower uptake of digital radios that first imagined.

Vaizey is due to outline the "huge opportunity" that digital radio presents but will concede that you cannot force change on a public if it is hesitant to make the switch. He is expected to say:

"We can't impose this on an unwilling public, no matter how persuasive the business case, or how clearly we know that analogue is already providing a barrier to growth and creativity.

"So 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."

The latest figures show that just under a quarter of all radio listening in the UK was done digitally. It's expected that the switchover date won't officially be announced until at least half of radio listening is digital.

Vaizey is planning on highlighting the plus points of digital radio however. His speech reads:

"Digital radio is a huge opportunity for radio listeners and the radio industry alike.

"At a time when we are looking for manufacturing success stories, British companies like Pure, Roberts and Bush are world leaders. And the technology offers radio lovers the same explosion of choice that TV viewers have embraced so wholeheartedly."

Pure have welcomed the government's decision to stick with the 2015 plan. Paul Smith, general manager of Pure, said:

“Despite the strategic nature of digital broadcast and the inevitable need for technological advances, there have been many confusing messages around digital radio switchover and this announcement gives much needed clarity to consumers and the radio industry as a whole.

"It allows us to push ahead our digital radio plans with certainty in the UK and internationally where Governments in other countries have made similar commitments."

Where do you stand on the digital radio switchover? Are you an analogue admirer, or is it time to move with the times? Let us know what you think using the comments below.



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