by Aris Erdogdu, Communications Manager, WorldDAB
Margot James, MP, Minister for Digital and Creative Industries at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has announced that Government will collaborate with radio broadcasters and the supply chain on a review and programme of work to ensure a healthy and vibrant digital future for UK radio
Speaking at the Radio Academy Radio Festival on Monday 13 May, the Minister said the review is an opportunity “for broadcasters and other stakeholders to collectively develop a shared vision for a sustainable vibrant digital audio sector for the UK. And to come up with some tangible steps to achieve the vision.”
The review will begin in the coming weeks and aim to conclude by the middle of next year. The Minister said that a consideration of the future of radio can no longer be seen as “a binary decision about a switch from an analogue to a digital broadcast platform” but should be broader and reflect “the growing challenges arising from IP based audio content delivery and how this affects future decisions on radio distribution.”
The Minister also announced that Government will progress with legislation to enable the licensing of new small-scale DAB services. This initiative aims to open up access to digital broadcasting for community and other small radio stations and the Minister said that following a trial for 160 stations Ofcom had received over 700 expressions of interest which she hoped will “be translated into many more community and commercial stations broadcasting on digital, giving listeners an even greater choice of local content.”
According to new data released by RAJAR this week, digital listening has reached a new record share of 56.4%, up from 50.9% in Q1 2018. Propelled by the ever-strengthening digital content offering alongside the proliferation of DAB digital radios, digital listening in cars increased by 20 million hours, of which 19 million hours were via DAB digital radio. Overall, DAB digital radio now accounts for 71.6% of digital listening, and 40.4% of all listening in the UK.