London - Nov 30, 2011 - The digital radio switchover throughout the UK will not be complete until 2019, four years later than initially predicted, according to the head of a government-appointed advice group, quoted in The Guardian UK. Roger Darlington, chairman of the U.K.'s Digital Consumer Expert Group, said digital radio's acceptance by the public has been "slower than many in the industry have hoped, if not expected." He also said that if current trends were maintained, the 50 percent digital listening threshold - at which point the government will decide on a concrete course of action for switchover - would be hit in the first half of 2016. Early on in the digital switchover process the previous government had earmarked a loose target date of 2015, on the assumption that terrestrial digital radio usage would account for 50 percent of listening by 2013.
Darlington said he expected the eventual switchover to take place in three phases, beginning with the whole of England except the southwest and Cumbria in 2017, the southwest of England and all of Wales in 2018, and Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cumbria in 2019.
Throughout the UK, digital platforms, including DAB, currently account for 28.2 percent of all radio listening.