Mostly meaningless 

21 May 2009

Ed Richards warns against setting ‘meaningless’ radio switchoff date

Today’s Radio 3.0 conference in London seems to have basically regurgitated the usual set of proclamations along with a few announcements along the way (Bauer’s withdrawal of radio stations from Sky being one of them); indeed much of the content had a distinctly 2.0 feel to the proceedings as opposed to the shiny new 3.0 that some might have hoped for.

And no serious radio conference would have been complete without Ed Richards from Ofcom telling the radio industry (yet again) that they need a digital migration plan in place before even contemplating a switchoff date for analogue radio. At least on this occasion he showed a sense of humour, to quote: “It wouldn’t be helpful if the date was next year”.

Rejigging DAB transmission areas and contracts may be a belated attempt to do something, but until DAB carriage costs are actually reduced then any benefit(s) gained may as well just be theoretical. And minimal as well, since all of this is essentially tinkering around the edges without any real sense of making progress.

Plus the radio industry seems to have completely forgotten about the contentious subject of DAB sound quality, probably because it doesn’t show up on their radar of concerns at this point in time. But Ofcom and the radio industry would be doing both the public and the radio industry a real disservice if this issue continues to be totally neglected.

At least a partial switchoff of analogue radio will require DAB transmission coverage of the major radio stations to at least equal that of FM, which will take five years as a bare minimum and will demand a significant sum of money; that alone will effectively kill any hope of a quick migration to digital radio.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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