The world + dog, and especially + Aunty Beeb have been pushing and pushing for digital radio to become the standard and have been telling everyone they can that FM radio is going to be dead in the water.
But that’s clearly not the case. Walk around a London street or into a home and generally you’re going to see a bog standard radio with an aerial (and maybe even a tape player, remember THOSE?) playing Heart or Magic or Capital with the familiar fuzzy FM crackling.
Anyway – if you’ve got internet access, like most of us here in Blighty, all the radio stations you can listen to on FM, AM or digital are all available for live streaming. Not to mention you can pick up internet user stations and listen to stations not only in the UK but across the world. As internet and technology gets increasingly mobile and going online gets easier than ever, with mobile bandwidth packages for smartphones and tablet PCs likely to get better and better, what is, really, the point of pushing DAB?
FM’s alive and kicking. That’s not stopping Ed Vaizey, slowalition culture minister, from today announcing the government’s plans for digital migration. Imagination Technologies has been quick to lend its support, too, with CEO Hossein Yassaie saying: “The UK can be proud to be the leader in the development and roll out of these technologies.”
“As with any new technology deployment, what is most required is certainty to further drive this technology into products across the mobile, consumer and automotive markets. Following this much needed announcement we are confident that our licensing partners in the digital broadcast market, their customers among the leading radio OEMs, and our PURE consumer brand, will be able to implement roadmaps in confidence and at an accelerated pace.”
This suggests, to us, that all along digital and DAB has been something of a cash cow. Imagination’s line on it boils down to “We’re glad the government is pushing digital because we flog digital products.” With internet infiltrating every aspect of the average brit’s life at the moment, do we really need digital radios? Really?
We’ve contacted Aunty to get a ballpark figure, an estimate, as to how much it’s spent of licence payer’s money on pushing digital. Ed Vaizey’s plans to put the focus back on digital radio may be either too little too late or, frankly, redundant.
All flames welcome in the comment box below…