Which? wants digital switch delay

By | Published on Wednesday 4 May 2011


Consumer group Which? says that the big switchover to digital radio in the UK should be delayed until 70% of all listening is via digital networks.

As much previously reported, the government is looking to move most radio stations off FM in the next few years (the target is 2015), so that mainstream stations would only be available via the DAB network, or online or via digital TV networks. The government plans to start this process once 50% of radio listening is digital – a move supported by some in the radio industry, but opposed by some smaller players.

And now Which? has called for the switchover to be postponed until the 70% landmark has been passed, even if that takes years to be achieved. Those who support a rapid switchover will point out that it will take the prospect of stations disappearing off FM to persuade a sizable part of the population to switch to DAB, meaning waiting until you reach the 70% mark could delay switchover by two decades.

But radio firm UKRD, which opposes the rapid switchover, has welcomed Which?’s report. Its boss William Rogers told The Telegraph: “The Which? report is a well thought through and serious piece of work, unlike the nonsense that is presently being spewed out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Ministers would do well to implement its recommendations rather than continue with the shambolic policy they are pursuing”.