Digital Radio UK welcomes publication of the Digital Radio and Audio Review

Digital Radio UK today welcomes the publication of the Digital Radio and Audio Review. The Review, commissioned by the Government and undertaken with a broad cross-section of industry stakeholders, looked at the challenges radio is likely to face in the coming years from changing listening habits and new technologies, and recommends a number of measures to ensure radio’s continued success and its benefits for audiences over the next ten years. Read the DCMS press release here.

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “Digital Radio UK welcomes the publication of the Government and industry Digital Radio & Audio Review and the set of recommendations designed to keep the radio sector robust and relevant in the competitive multi-platform world of the next 10-15 years.

“The Review underlines the strength and importance of the radio sector in supporting the nation through the pandemic and highlights how radio has reinvented itself to compete effectively in the broader audio market across a range of digital platforms.

“The Review report highlights how digital innovation has transformed how we listen to radio and what we listen to, and forecasts that in the next 10 years digital radio listening could increase towards 90% of all radio listening with the majority being on DAB and the greatest growth expected on smart speakers. We look forward to supporting Government and industry in implementing these important recommendations.”

Among the Review’s key recommendation are measures to ensure UK radio stations’ accessibility on connected audio devices such as smart speakers and car ‘infotainment’ systems.

The Review recognises that the nature of the UK’s audio landscape means there should be no mandated switch-off of analogue radio until at least 2030 – meaning that FM radio broadcasts can continue for at least another decade so the elderly, vulnerable and people in remote communities can access essential news and entertainment. The Review also underlines the importance of DAB going forward and makes recommendations to support the future development of DAB+.

Media Minister Julia Lopez, said: “British radio showcases some of our best creative talent and played a vital role in the pandemic bringing news and entertainment to those in need. We must make sure this treasured medium continues to reach audiences as listening shifts to new technologies and that we have a gradual transition away from FM to protect elderly listeners and those in remote areas. We will not have a digital switchover until at least 2030 and will consider new rules to keep our thriving radio sector at the heart of the UK’s media landscape.”

The Government will consider the review’s recommendations as it prepares a Broadcasting White Paper and develops a new pro-competition regime for digital markets.

Read the Digital Radio and Audio Review Report here.