Funding DAB radio infrastructure upgrade: still ‘no’

The Media Show, BBC Radio 4, 2 September 2009 @ 1330

Steve Hewlett interviewed Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio & Music

We talked at the Radio Festival a few months ago and you talked a lot about DAB. The criteria have been stated now for moving forward to switchover, or before anyone contemplates switching off the analogue FM signal, of 50% of listening and 90%+ of coverage. Do you think that’s realistic by 2015?

I use the word ‘ambitious’ and I mean it. I think it’s tough. It is possible. I think the radio industry to date has shown an incremental path towards digital and, unless you get a big step change, you’ll never get there. And, to be fair, the BBC has driven this harder than anyone.

When we last spoke about it, there was a discussion of £100m or so being needed to pay for the rollout of not the BBC stuff but whatever is necessary for the commercial sector to go digital. At that time, I asked you specifically whether there was any money in your budget identified for that purpose and you said ‘no’. Has anything changed since we last spoke?

It’s another ‘no’. No, nothing has changed and until the plan ….

This is not going to happen, is it?

I think that radio will move to digital, and I think that ….

Will it be DAB?

I think at this point, it will be …. I believe in DAB. I say ‘at this point’ because I think we have hurdles to jump over.

One thought on “Funding DAB radio infrastructure upgrade: still ‘no’”

  1. So it looks like only the BBC will be using DAB or DAB+ or the French DMB. The commercial broadcasters have to fund this themselves (not like BBC) which is probably why they are amalgamating.
    The one thing which will swing the customer behing DAB is the reception quality. It doesn't matter how many times experts say "the sound quality is better on DAB", on a cheap radio it makes no difference and for many people the signal has dropouts and squelchy pauses, not found on FM. And some modern flats and houses with metal frames supporting plasterboard walls cannot pick up the signals at all.
    There is a big funding issue to sort out these and other technical problems, none of which seem to be being addressed at the moment.

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