Government refuses to set digital radio switchover date

Government refuses to set digital radio switchover date
Don't rush out for DAB just yet...

Radio will remain in flux for years to come with no digital switchover date in sight, but the government is going to ramp up investment in DAB and add a second national multiplex to allow more digital stations to be broadcast.

Although the industry has moved to welcome announcements from minister for culture, communications and creative industries Ed Vaizey's commitment fell well short of providing the digital switchover date that is needed to propel the radio world to digital.

"I absolutely believe that the future of radio in this country is digital," said Vaizey.

"We cannot go backwards. The radio listener will get a much better service, and better functionality. There will be far more choice, with many more stations."


"The UK is at the forefront of developments in digital radio. This package of measures is intended to cement this and herald in a digital age, as and when the consumer is ready," he added.

Without a firm date, it seems unlikely that the radio world will experience the seismic shift that television did, despite a raft of government measures.

Those measures include the promise of investment in local DAB transmitters and a second national commercial multiplex in 2014.

Vaizey insisted that the radio switchover is not something he felt the country was in a position to bring about, stating that the number of digital radio listeners and DAB coverage needed to be improved before a date can be offered up.

Some critics will suggest that, until a hard switchover date is enforced by the government, the impetus towards DAB will never hit critical mass, but Vaizey appears to believe that a softly, softly approach is the only way to go.

And, of course, it's liable to be the option that ruffles the fewest feathers in the short run.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.