Government research confirms listeners love digital radio
The BBC and leading commercial radio broadcasters today hailed the results of a Government trial into the impact of converting homes to digital radio, which demonstrates that listeners who are in good coverage love digital radio.
The controlled digital radio switchover pilot was overseen by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and was run by independent research company Ipsos/MORI. It involved the full conversion of 237 households in Bath to digital radio and documented their experience over a 6-week period. This pilot took place in Bath in February and March 2013, with leading independent electrical retailer Moss of Bath acting as a distribution point for the digital radios, and was similar to a digital TV household research pilot conducted 10 years ago in Bolton, prior to digital TV switchover.
The Go Digital Trial report published by DCMS today showed that the listeners in the pilot were highly satisfied with their digital radios (92%), 4 in 5 preferred it to analogue (80%) and would strongly recommend digital radio to other people (an average of 8.55 out of 10). Listeners in the Bath digital radio pilot listened to more radio overall, enjoyed finding the additional stations on digital radio and found the DAB digital radios easy to use.
Older and disabled people also had a good experience, with three quarters finding the DAB radios easier to use than expected, but some required help from friends and family to set them up. 7 in 10 of this group said that digital radio was better than analogue. A small sample also had their cars converted; nearly all were confident with using their digital radios but a few cited reception issues when driving.
Government and Ofcom are developing plans to extend national and local digital radio coverage out towards FM levels as part of planning for a future radio switchover, and Bath was chosen as an area that already has good DAB digital radio coverage.
In the event of a radio switchover, respondents said they needed to know about costs and how to convert their car, and they recommended that Government should provide information about digital radio and the switchover, similar to communications they had seen about the digital TV switchover, as well as providing assistance for vulnerable groups.
Tim Moss, owner of Moss of Bath, says: "Moss of Bath was happy to be involved in the Go Digital digital radio pilot and confirms what we know; that listeners love digital radio. As a trusted independent electrical retailer we know that some listeners need more help and this reinforces the role of the trusted independent electrical retailer."
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, says: "Digital is the future for radio in the UK and the Go Digital pilot shows that when households convert to digital radio and they are in an area of good coverage, they really love the digital quality sound and the extra stations."
Ashley Tabor, Founder & Executive President, Global Radio, said "Global Radio is committed to a digital future for radio. This pilot shows how important it is to increase local DAB coverage so that all listeners can enjoy the excellent range of local stations on DAB such as Heart and Capital, as well as national stations like Classic FM."
Helen Boaden, Director of BBC Radio, says: "It was very pleasing to see that listeners in the digital radio pilot in Bath were listening to more radio and enjoyed finding the extra digital radio stations including BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 4 Extra."
Dee Ford, Group MD, Radio at Bauer Media, says: "The Government pilot is good news and confirms that digital radio is simply better radio, and that all age groups love the choice of digital stations. It was particularly pleasing to see younger listeners actively engaging with digital radio and finding digital stations such as Kiss, Kerrang! and heat radio for the first time."
Donnach O'Driscoll, CEO Absolute Radio says: "Already 74% of Absolute Radio's listeners listen on digital radio and we are pleased to see the vast majority of listeners in the Government pilot really enjoying the whole digital radio experience, including finding great new digital stations such as Absolute 80s and Absolute Radio 90s as well as our other decade stations."
Don Foster, MP for Bath, says: "Bath has a great choice of stations on digital radio and it was fantastic for the city to be selected as the Government's Go Digital pilot location. I am delighted to hear that the people of Bath liked their digital radios and it's great to know they'd recommend digital radio to others. Radio remains an ever popular medium for people of all ages and the pilot showed that many found new digital stations to enjoy."
Click here to read the report.