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Which? wants digital radio delay

Consumer group Which? is calling for the digital radio switchover to be delayed until 70 percent of listening has already moved over.

The group says the needs of listeners needs to be paramount, rather than the current industry-led approach to switchover.

The report in this month's Which? magazine says the government-set trigger of 50 percent of radio listening being on digital platforms before announcing a date for switchover should be increased to 70 percent.

The consumer organisation says digital radio switchover should only take place if and when consumers are ready, "whether that's in two years or twenty years".

A senior radio industry source told the [link=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8487991/Postpone-digital-radio-switchover-until-2020-says-Which.html?]Daily Telegraph[/link]: "Bearing in mind the terribly slow progress towards the present 50 per cent listening target set by the Government to trigger some services being switched over, it would be 2020 at the very earliest before any switchover could be initiated if Which's 70 per cent target were to be accepted."

William Rogers, the chief executive of the local radio group UKRD, told the paper: "The Which report is a well thought through and serious piece of work, unlike the nonsense that is presently being spewed out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Ministers would do well to implement its recommendations rather than continue with the shambolic policy they are pursuing."

Which? also wants more work to be done by the government to look into the cost and benefit of DAB to consumers. "We’re concerned about the cost to the individual of switching," they say. "Decent-sounding DAB radios tend to cost more than £60. Replacing every radio you own, including the one in your car, and getting comparable sound quality to that you had on FM will be costly for listeners.
The financial impact of switchover on consumers is being addressed as part of the government’s Digital Radio Action Plan. But the first cost report isn’t due until the end of this year."

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