Delay likely for digital radio project

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Posted by APM on 6th Jun 2011

Growth in digital radio listening has halved in just three months – sparking concerns that the project to switchover to digital radio may not happen until at least 2019.

The figures, gathered from Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar), show an annual growth rate of 10.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year. However the figures for the last quarter of 2010 showed an annual growth rate of 19.6 per cent.

If this slower growth rate continues, it will take longer to reach the government’s switchover trigger of 50 per cent of radio listening to be digital. At present the figures suggest it could be 2017 – rather than the government’s planned 2015 – before this figure is achieved, with the switchover project taking at least two years to happen from this point.

William Rogers, chief executive of local radio group UKRD, commented: “This is yet another piece of evidence that the wheels are coming off the DAB wagon. It further emphasises the need for the government to dump 2015 as quickly as possible, and come up with a decent, well thought through digital strategy for the future.”

However there was some good news for digital radio supporters, with the figures showing that in the first quarter of this year 26.5 per cent of all radio listening in the UK was through digital means – up from 24 per cent in the equivalent quarter of 2010.
 
 

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