UK radio listeners could be looking forward to a future where DAB and analog FM radio appear seamlessly on a single radio display. According to an article in the Guardian.co.uk, Frontier Silicon has demonstrated a radio that will scan both DAB and FM analog bands, presenting the user with a single alphabetic list of stations from which to choose.
The demonstration employed a Roberts Ecologic 1 radio with a prototype firmware upgrade provided by Frontier Silicon.
The exercise came in response to concerns from British policymakers that the UK's transition to DAB might leave behind local community FM stations unable to make the financial leap on to DAB. Some fear that even though there is no absolute "sunset" for analog FM, consumers might tend to ignore the FM band if band switching is required when changing stations from DAB to FM.
While one industry official, Tony Moretta, of the UK's Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) was quoted in the Guardian article as suggesting a mixed mode setting for radios, some technology developers (such as Frontier) believe that any distinction could be done away with altogether. Standardization and adoption of electronic program guides (EPGs) would be key to easing the transition and allowing a mixed digital-analog radio environment to flourish.