Commercial radio companies in the UK are calling for a timetable to go from analogue to digital within eight years. The broadcasters want a timetable like the one for digital TV, so they don’t have to spend decades paying for both analogue and digital licences. RadioCentre, the commercial radio industry’s umbrella group, will ask Ofcom next week to set a date for analogue radio switch-off, and some companies want to go completely digital as early as 2015.
Andrew Harrison, chief executive of RadioCentre, said: “If you’ve got every home wired up to broadband, every home with a digital TV, everyone with a 3G phone and an iPod, the traditional analogue radio is going to look very old-fashioned.

In five years’ time Britain will be a digital economy, and radio should play its role in that.” Britain currently has just five million DAB radios in 22 million homes, compared to more than 80 per cent of homes with at least one digital-ready TV.
The call will also spark a debate about which digital technology should succeed analogue AM and FM radio: DAB has been widely criticised for being an outdated standard which consumes too much bandwidth and offers middling audio quality; other systems like DAB+; digital TV, mobile phones, satellite, WiFi and WiMAX have all been suggested as better alternatives.

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By Expat