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Minister talks digital radio with retailers

The government minister responsible for broadcasting has met with leading retailers to talk about how they can support the move to digital radio.

Ed Vaizey has held talks with firms including John Lewis, Dixons group, Comet, Argos and Halfords – and was accompanied by BBC radio boss Tim Davie as well as Digital Radio UK CEO Ford Ennals.

The Minister urged retailers to increase the proportion of digital radios within their radio product range and train staff to help inform shoppers about the benefits of digital radio.

It comes ahead of a major campaign from industry body Digital Radio UK to promote digital radios in the run up to a summer of sports coverage on radio that will include a spin-off BBC station, ‘5 live Olympics Extra’. The summer will also bring commentaries on all the matches at Euro 2012 by both 5 live and talkSPORT, stations only available on medium wave on analogue radio but in better quality sound through digital radio.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, said: “I am a passionate radio listener and am convinced that digital is the future for radio in the UK. Digital radio provides listeners with more choice, more content, and greater functionality.”

Tim Davie, BBC’s Director of Audio and Music, added: “If consumers are buying a radio I would hope that the advice that they would get from retailers is to buy a digital radio with FM.”

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “In the last year with have seen significant progress with strong growth in listening, sales and consumer awareness and understanding of digital radio. We have launched a £10million digital radio consumer communications campaign that will run through the year and encourage consumers to make 2012 the year they switch to digital radio.”

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