Industry builds momentum for digital radio
At today's Radio Festival, Ford Ennals, Chief Executive of Digital Radio UK, announced significant progress towards building momentum for digital radio, and said that switchover was a "matter of when not if".
Ennals said that the target date of 2015 was challenging but achievable, and welcomed the strong support of Ed Vaizey, Minister for Communication, Culture and the Creative Industries, for the industry vision of a digital future for radio. He confirmed the importance of the launch of the Digital Radio Action Plan, "a three year programme of activity designed to address the complex challenges that lie between us and switchover."
Ennals said that TV switchover had been a massive success and that it had led to an increase in TV's relevance for all age groups, and that the switchover to digital radio would do the same for the radio industry. He said: "we have set a course to double listening and expand coverage by 2013, and to switchover by the end of 2015."
Ennals today announced the launch of a significant milestone - the new in-car digital radio fully-fitted service from Halfords, with prices from under £90. He also confirmed real momentum for car conversions, and that new cars including Mini were beginning to fit digital radio as standard. He stated that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has confirmed that all new cars will have digital radio fitted as standard by 2013.
He said that he was confident that there will be coverage improvements by the buildout of new transmitters, and also that important moves in content were being made by the industry: from Absolute, Smooth, and upcoming moves from the BBC.
Ford Ennals called for a renewed confidence and certainty in the industry. He said that leadership from the whole industry was required "to deliver this major transformation for the radio broadcasting industry, delivering to listeners more of what we all love about radio".
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About Digital Radio UK
Digital Radio UK works with Government, broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers, and a wide range of stakeholders to accelerate digital listening, to enable the expansion of the digital radio platform, and to ensure that industry meets the consumer-led criteria to be achieved by 2013, for a proposed radio switchover in 2015. Digital Radio UK's Board comprises representatives from the BBC, RadioCentre, Arqiva, Global Radio, Bauer Media, GMG Radio, Intellect and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
About digital radio
43% of radio listeners listen to digital radio each week (20 million listeners, an increase of 2.5 million listeners from last year). Digital radio accounts for 24% of total radio listening. Over 11 million digital radios have been sold and digital radios are in 35% of all homes.