There still seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the switchover to DAB and the switching off of the FM national frequencies. Despite building opposition the government seems to be strengthening its resolve to ditch FM by 2015. They have significantly changed the goalposts in recent announcements, on the one hand recommending manufacturers of radios including the ability to receive FM broadcasts, but on the other hand they now say that the measure is 50% listening to “digital” rather than 50% listening to DAB. So in other words they know that DAB will never reach the coverage required, digital radio services can be had by so many other means, internet, sky, Freeview, etc. They still intend to make broadcasts available to FM just not the main stations that we want. They also announced that a decision will be made in 2013 not 2015. Despite more than a decade of investment and industry promotion, digital radio, including DAB, online and digital TV, currently accounts for 29.2% of all radio listening. There is not a chance that there will be the take up required so the government is going to happen no matter what.
Personally I don’t know why they just don’t keep the FM system as it is and ditch DAB which is an out of date system not able to keep up with the digital services that people will demand and enjoy by accessing services via the internet. I live in an area of Cumbria that they will never extend DAB coverage to. We were the first to get Freeview TV, but no commercial stations. Broadband is either appalling or non-existent, but we do get FM radio…. for now.
I am 57 years old I have enjoyed listening to FM radio for the majority of those years. I have a venerable NAD 4300 tuner in my main hi-fi system which has given excellent service for many years and has many more left in it, as does my 1978 Hacker Consort which I listen to in the bathroom, my Sony tranny that resides in the kitchen, and my Grundig yatchboy in the bedroom (wife permitting). We also have an old radio in the shed and of one in each of our 2 cars. These are irreplaceable and next to useless if the government has its way, which I believe they will despite all opposition and the outrageous cost to consumers. In many rural areas, where it is not commercially worthwhile to provide the necessary infrastructure to enable good access to digital services, the withdrawal of national stations from FM will mean a regression to pre WWII standards.