London - Nov 6, 2012 - At the Drive 2 Digital conference held by Digital Radio UK at the BBC's new broadcasting house, Broadcast Minister Ed Vaizey announced the countdown to radio switchover now had inevitable momentum and that government would announce a decision on radio switchover in 2013.
More then 300 automotive industry and broadcaster attendees heard about the progress being made on fitting digital radios in cars from the minister, Top Gear's James May and from a range of senior car and broadcasting executives. The minister announced that digital listening had increased to nearly one-third of all listening and that one-quarter of new cars were now fitted with digital radio as standard. He said that this great progress demonstrated that listeners love digital radio and that the car industry was fully engaged with the transition to digital.
Tim Davie, BBC director of audio and music, confirmed the BBC's commitment to digital radio and said increases in digital listening meant that the road to a future radio switchover was now clear and inevitable. He said this was due to listeners loving the expanded choice on digital radio and the success of the BBC digital radio stations such as Station of the Year 6 Music, Radio 4 Extra and the digital pop-up station BBC Radio 5 Live Olympics Extra. Davie announced that specific plans for BBC National DAB coverage build-out to 97 percent would be confirmed in spring 2013, with a focus on ensuring that all motorways and major road networks were covered.
Some other salient facts about digital radio in the U.K.:
■ 20 percent of radio listening is in-car (source: RAJAR Q3 2012)
■ 5 percent of cars are estimated to have a digital radio (source: Ofcom Digital Radio Report 2012)
■ 42 percent of homes have digital radio
■ 31.3 percent of all radio listening is to digital platforms
■ 26 percent of new car registrations have digital radio as standard (source: CAP/SMMT 3Q2012)