Radio Industry & manufacturers join forces to develop integrated FM and digital station guide
The UK radio industry has today announced its commitment to work with receiver manufacturers to develop an integrated station list that will enable listeners to select stations by name whether they are on FM or digital, and tune seamlessly between FM and digital frequencies.
Digital Radio UK, the company tasked with preparing the UK for digital radio upgrade, is working with key receiver manufacturers and technology suppliers, including Sony, Roberts and the leading chip manufacturer, Frontier Silicon. Over the next few months an industry working group will be developing a specification to be introduced well ahead of digital radio switchover.
The development will be seen as a breakthrough by many as the radio industry moves towards a digital future, as it will ensure that local commercial and community stations which stay on FM, along with new services launching on newly vacated analogue spectrum, remain as accessible to listeners as those stations that have migrated to digital only.
Currently, to listen to an FM station on a digital radio, listeners must navigate between digital and analogue through a button or switch, raising concerns that those stations not on digital may lose audience as listeners fail to switch between platforms. The development of an integrated station list will enable future radios to display all stations - both digital and analogue - together in one list, allowing listeners to choose by name and tune seamlessly from station to station, regardless of whether the service is on digital or FM.
The majority of digital radios currently available include FM as well as digital tuners, and the newly agreed multi-standard WorldDMB digital radio receiver profile already incorporates FM, ensuring that all new digital radios will also be able to receive FM.
Ford Ennals, Chief Executive, Digital Radio UK, said:
"This is a hugely significant development on the road to switchover, and crucial to our objective of ensuring a bright future for the entire radio industry, from the most popular national brand to the smallest community station."
Leslie Burrage, Chief Executive, Roberts Radio, said:
"The joined-up message is exactly what the Industry requires, benefiting listeners, broadcasters and manufacturers alike: common sense prevails."
Steve Dowdle, Managing Director, Sony UK, added:
"We believe that this initiative will be of great benefit to our customers and make digital radios even easier to use. Listeners just want to hear their favourites stations, regardless of the technology used to deliver them."
About Digital Radio UK
Digital Radio UK is the company tasked with establishing digital as the leading radio format in the UK and ensuring its wide availability and continuing take up among the UK's 46 million radio listeners.
Funded and supported by commercial radio, the BBC and Arqiva, Digital Radio UK is the central industry communicator on digital radio, working closely with all parties with an interest in digital radio, from broadcasters and the car industry to manufacturers and retailers, to deliver the consumer and economic benefits of digital radio upgrade, which include more station choice, better sound quality and greater functionality for radio listeners.