Dump the date, says UKRD boss

The current shambles surrounding DAB needs to be sorted quickly, says UKRD boss William Rogers.

The Group Chief Executive is calling for the Broadcast Minister Ed Vaizey to dump the 2015 date for digital switchover and let the listeners decide the broadcast platform of the future.

He wants the minister to “look at the reality of this situation and allow the development of digital listening to happen in line with listeners desires and requirements rather than political edict."

“After yet another quarter of hugely disappointing DAB listening numbers, which, after eleven years, show less than 16 per cent listening to DAB, surely the time has come to allow the sector to develop a digital future which focuses upon what listeners want,” said Rogers. “The future for radio is clearly going to be increasingly digital but there are a number of different digital platforms available to the listener to engage with and listening on both the internet and tv appear to be growing even more quickly than DAB. With smart devices now adding to the mix, it is clear that the population want a multi-platform future and not one limited to just one main platform.”

“We all want to see the development of digital services but this must be in line with public and listener demand,” he said. “The minister now needs to reflect upon this whole issue very carefully and, in my view, dump the 2015 date altogether and allow all digital platforms to develop at the pace which the listener wants and the operators can respond to.”

“We are not anti DAB and we are pro the many digital platforms available for operators to broadcast upon but the present shambles needs to be sorted, and quickly, if the sector is going to be able to invest adequately in its business and ensure that it succeeds in the future,” said Rogers.

Just last week, at the Digital Radio Stakeholders’ meeting, the Society of Motor Manufacturers said the 2013 target for putting digital radio as standard in all new cars was "challenging but achievable" and it was clarified that, in order for the automotive industry to meet the recommendations originally set out in the Digital Britain report, coverage and content of digital radio needs to expand.

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