Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, has confirmed the Government's vision of a digital future for radio at the Go Digital Conference. He said that he wanted to continue to improve the service, and reach coverage and listening criteria before a radio switchover.
Digital Radio UK and the BBC, Global Radio, Bauer Media and Arqiva welcomed the confirmation of Government and broadcaster investment in new local DAB transmitters, bringing local stations to local commercial FM coverage, which was heralded as good news for listeners and car drivers. They also welcomed the announcement of a second national commercial multiplex in 2014 which will allow for new national stations on DAB. These major initiatives will help towards meeting the switchover coverage and listening criteria, and so support the preparations for a future radio switchover.
Minister Ed Vaizey confirmed that the UK are not ready for a radio switchover and that consumer listening and DAB coverage criteria would need to be met in order for switchover dates to be set. He said that funding was in place for Ofcom to develop a route to digital for small local stations. The Minister stated at the conference that the DVLA was preparing to include information about digital radio in all vehicle tax reminders.
“I absolutely believe that the future of radio in this country is digital. We cannot go backwards. The radio listener will get a much better service, and better functionality. There will be far more choice, with many more stations. The UK is at the forefront of developments in digital radio. This package of measures is intended to cement this and herald in a digital age, as and when the consumer is ready,” said Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries.
Digital Radio UK, together with radio and vehicle manufacturers, also welcomed the announcement of a new digital ‘tick’ mark for radios and installers [below], which would be licenced for approved radio sets which meet minimum criteria (including DAB and FM) as set out in the Government-industry Digital Radio Action Plan, and for registered installers who successfully pass a training programme.
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “We welcome the Minister’s confirmation of a digital future for radio in the UK and today’s announcements about Government investment in DAB coverage and the ability to launch new national stations on DAB, which benefit listeners and enable the switchover criteria to be met. We will continue to plan for a radio switchover and the achievement of the criteria, and look forward to the future confirmation of a switchover date which will give industry the certainty it needs. We also welcome Government’s announcement of the digital radio ‘tick’ mark, which means that consumers can make informed purchase decisions.”
DTG Staff | 16.12.2013