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|Subject: AM/FM 4 Ever|
Posted Nov 24, 2009 by vernoux2479
|As part of the Digital Economy Bill (published November 20th, 2009) the Government proposes that all national and some regional broadcast radio stations become digital from the end of 2015 leading eventually to the demise of all the remaining analogue local FM and AM radio stations as they in turn switch to digital. Currently digital radio has many shortcomings including poor quality reception (allegedly one of strengths) and lack of portability due to its high consumption of power.|
Along with many other people I own just ONE DAB radio – a fixed unit in my living room – but I also own at least ten other AM/FM sets plus an RDS AM/FM radio in my car. Thus technically, I could be included within the 50% DAB minimum reach pre switch-over Government stipulation. But, are my other AM/FM radios to become obsolete overnight when the Government decides to switch off analogue radio?
Guaranteeing 90% DAB reach on all major roads (another stipulation) will be of little interest to the nearly thirty four million (33,957,000 to quote the DVLA) vehicles licenced to operate in Britain’s roads almost all of which have an AM/FM radio. According to the DVLA there were 2,997,000 new vehicles registered in 2007 and over the last 8 years the average annual registration figure was 3.073 m. Based on this data it could take in theory another 11 years before all the vehicles currently on our roads without a DAB radio receiver have been replaced. There is another rather salient constraint to thwart the Government’s plans - no major motor manufactures are currently fitting DAB radios as standard equipment to their vehicles.
The radio industry supports the future development of digital radio if only to gain some sort of return on their massive and misguided investment in DAB. The radio manufactures along with the retailers support the future development of digital radio in order to sell more products.
But I maintain that the listeners neither want nor need digital radio. There are more analogue radio sets in the UK than there ate people; these sets work perfectly well and will last almost for ever (when did you last throw away an old AM/FM radio?). Moreover, FM car radios with RDS operate perfectly well with great reception (with few exceptions such as remote places in highland Scotland) and there can be no justification for making this equipment redundant by government stature.
Just because we can ‘create’ digital radio doesn’t mean that we should – remember some of the other short-lived innovations such as pre-recorded eight-track tapes; BetaMax video format and HD-DVD format. Furthermore, there is even some doubt even amongst the so-called experts whether DAB is not as good as it is claimed. Even GCap, a radio company that was a trailblazer for digital radio, has closed two digital stations and has sold its digital platform.
If it ain’t broke – don’t mend it!
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