London - Nov 29, 2013 - Cheryl Gillan, the MP for Chesham and Amersham in Buckinghamshire, during a debate in the House of Commons, said DAB is fundamentally the wrong platform for local radio stations at this time due to the coverage difference from FM, according to RadioToday. "Most stations would find themselves paying for more coverage than they currently get on FM, whether they want it or not" the MP said. "This debate is not about cancelling the digital program for radio but it is about finding a solution that protects and accommodates our small radio stations."
The UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey responded. He said he will address concerns about coverage on Dec. 16 and there will be no switchover until listeners are ready.
"We have never said we will require small stations to go digital, and FM can work in tandem with DAB, said Vaizey. "Let me make it clear. I am a fan of digital radio and I think digital radio is the future but my criteria have always been about coverage. I want it to be the same as FM, and we will not be pushed into a switchover date."
The Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, shadow culture minister Helen Goodman, suggested at least 75 percent of all listening should be via digital platforms before any switchover target was set, rather than the previous suggestion of 50 percent.
A spokeswoman for Digital Radio UK told RadioToday, "Referring to the widely-expected switchover announcement, the Minister reminded the House that actual dates for radio switchover can only be announced once coverage has been built out and the majority of listening is to digital platforms, so it will be led by listeners."