Digital radio progress was celebrated at a special Digital Radio Summer Reception which took place yesterday attended by industry stakeholders including senior broadcasters, manufacturers and retailers. The event was hosted by media & entertainment group, Global, at its London headquarters, and sponsored by communications infrastructure company, Arqiva.
Attendees heard that there are now digital audio devices in 20 million UK households including DAB digital radios and the expanding range of bluetooth, wireless and voice-controlled speakers and smart audio devices. Additionally digital radio is in 10 million cars on the road, equating to 30% of all cars in the UK, and nearly 90% of all new cars registered have digital radio fitted as standard.
This growth in availability has been matched by an expansion of national and local DAB coverage which is now available in over 90% of the UK due to the construction of an additional 435 digital transmitters by Arqiva, as part of a programme of work supported by Government and broadcasters.
As DAB has become more widely available so more DAB stations have launched, with most of the UK having access to over fifty DAB stations and with many major cities over seventy.As DAB has become more widely available so more DAB stations have launched, with most of the UK having access to over fifty DAB stations and with many major cities over seventy.
The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital, hailing the progress made by digital radio, said: "I am delighted to hear of the progress made by digital radio. Over the last few years we have seen a massive expansion in choice with a raft of new stations on DAB and many more online catering for every interest.
"Part of the reason the radio industry is going from strength to strength is its innovative approach to the new digital technologies and this will make sure it continues to be a popular and much-loved medium.”
The Digital Radio Summer Reception was hosted by Global. Global’s LBC is a station seeing significant growth in digital listening. In the 12 months from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017, LBC increased digital hours by 52% with 56% of its listening on a digital platform [Source: Rajar Q1 2017]. Group Head of News, Global and Managing Editor, LBC, James Rea, said that LBC’s growth has been supported by the station’s agenda-setting news coverage alongside national distribution on the Digital One DAB commercial network.
James Rea, Group Head of News, Global and Managing Editor, LBC, said: “LBC is Britain’s biggest commercial news talk radio station. We tackle the issues that matter to our 1.8 million listeners around the UK, achieving record share and hours at the last count. We introduced LBC across the UK three years ago and in that time our DAB listening has grown by nearly 80 per cent.”
Bryan Coombes, Director, Terrestrial Broadcast, Arqiva, said: “Arqiva has been extremely busy over the last year building hundreds of additional national and local DAB transmitters across the UK to bring DAB digital radio into millions more homes and thousands of miles of the road network. We are proud of our role in delivering the infrastructure needed for a vibrant digital radio market and are delighted to be part of the celebrations to mark the great progress that has been made to date.”
Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “It’s great to hear the Digital Minister Matt Hancock’s support for the encouraging progress of digital radio and to mark the milestone that 20 million homes and 10 million cars now have access to digital radio. Our thanks to our sponsor Ariqiva and to Global for providing such a stunning setting, and allowing us to recognise and celebrate the progress we have made with our stakeholders.”