When it comes to radio, you know what you like, right?
But with easy-tuning, crackle-free digital sound and in some cases even Bluetooth, if you’re not listening on digital radio, actually… you don’t know what you’re missing!
And right now, you can get a great deal on a new DAB digital radio at John Lewis, Argos and Sainsbury's.
Over 50% of listening is now on digital, so if you haven’t switched to digital yet, why not do it now - and treat yourself to a summer of brilliant music and sport?
There are over 50 stations to choose from in most of the country. To find out which stations you can get at your address, use our station checker in the right hand corner.
For details of the offers available, visit the retailers' websites below:
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and Radio 4 LW have won radio commentary rights for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Test Match Special will broadcast live ball-by-ball commentary of the 2019 tournament, which is being played in England and Wales.
It is part of a long-term deal that ensures TMS will cover all the ICC's major events through to the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India including the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand in 2021 and the men’s and women’s World T20 competitions.
The BBC Sport website will also have video clips of all the big moments as they happen as well as latest news from the world of cricket – including in-play video clips of all the action this summer as part of its ever-popular live service.
Further cricket coverage comes from the Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show, the Test Match Special podcast and Tailenders, the cricketing podcast from 5 live featuring BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James, England bowler Jimmy Anderson and musician Felix White.
"It's fantastic news for our loyal army of fans," said TMS commentator Jonathan Agnew.
Test Match Special celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017 and Ben Gallop, head of BBC Radio and Digital Sport, said: "The iconic Test Match Special is, undoubtedly, the home of cricket on the radio."
BBC Radio will broadcast all of England's home internationals through to 2024.
The UK radio industry hailed a major landmark today, with digital listening reaching a new record share of 50.9%, up from 47.2% a year ago, to account for the majority of all listening for the first time, according to RAJAR Q1 2018 data released today.
This compares to 47.2% in Q1 2017 and to 24.0% in Q1 2010 when the Government’s Digital Radio Action Plan, which outlined a programme of work to progress digital radio take up, was launched. [See Notes to Editors].
With the 50% digital listening threshold now met, it is anticipated that the Government will undertake a review to assess digital radio progress and determine next steps in due course.
Speaking at the Tuning In commercial radio conference yesterday, Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, said “the 50% share will be an important milestone for radio” and confirmed that Government will “work closely with all partners - the BBC, commercial radio, Arqiva, car manufacturers and listeners - and subject to this will make some further announcements.”
Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “This is a landmark moment for the radio industry and for listeners alike. Digital platforms now account for the majority of all radio listening for the first time. The digital transition is good news for radio and is helping our industry compete more effectively in a digital age. We look forward to continuing to work with broadcasters, the supply chain and Government on delivering radio’s digital future and the upcoming digital radio review.”
Digital listening share is comprised of listening across all digital platforms - DAB in homes and in cars, Apps and online (which includes the growing number of smart and voice-controlled speakers) and DTV - and this is the first time that listening to digital has been greater than analogue platforms - FM and AM.
Overall, digital listening hours grew by 7.8% compared to Q1 2017. The greatest amount of digital listening takes place on a DAB radio which now accounts for 36.8% of all listening and 72.2% of digital listening, with hourly growth of 8.9% year on year. Online and Apps now accounts for 9.3% of all listening and 18.3% of digital listening, with the greatest percentage hourly growth of 17%. Listening via digital TV meanwhile accounts 4.8% of all listening and 9.4% of digital listening.
The success of digital radio has been driven by industry investment in DAB coverage; the availability of DAB in cars; the development of mobile and online Apps along with the proliferation of smart and voice-controlled speakers with IP radio capability; combined with a huge expansion in the number of digital stations available.
63.7% of adults now have access to DAB digital radio at home, plus millions more are listening via the expanding range of smart and voice-controlled speakers. Additionally digital radio is in over 11 million cars on the road, equating to 33% of all cars in the UK, and 90% of all new cars registered have digital radio fitted as standard [Source: CAP/SMMT Q1 2018].
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 launch of an additional 435 digital transmitters, as part of a programme of work supported by Government and broadcasters.
As DAB has become more widely available more DAB stations have launched, providing listeners with much greater station choice, and most of the UK now has access to over fifty DAB stations and some major cities over seventy.
This includes leading digital-only stations BBC 6 Music and Kisstory, and the most recently launched new national digital-only station Heart 80s, all of which achieved record-breaking audiences this quarter, and as of next month, Hits Radio; plus stations historically available only in certain areas of the UK on FM, such as LBC, Radio X, Kiss and Magic, have launched nationally on DAB. Long-standing MW stations such as BBC Radio 5 live, Absolute Radio and talkSPORT now have the majority of their listening via digital platforms, as do FM speech-based stations BBC Radio 4 and LBC.
The UK’s three leading radio broadcasters, the BBC, Global and Bauer, which collectively account for over 90% of UK radio listening, are fully committed to delivering a digital future for radio and look forward to working with Government and the supply chain to continue the transition to digital radio.
Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “By fully embracing new technology and innovation, the radio industry has increased the ways audiences can listen to this popular and much-loved medium. The majority of radio listening is now on a digital platform and we are completely committed to supporting radio so it continues to thrive in the future.”
Bob Shennan, BBC Director of Radio, said: “We are extremely proud of our digital-only stations like 6 Music and 4 Extra which continue to go from strength to strength and have introduced millions of listeners to new ways of listening digitally to their favourite BBC stations. Digital radio has brought great success to the radio industry, and our priority now must be to work together to harness the full potential of existing and new digital technologies to ensure radio remains a relevant and vibrant force in listeners’ lives.”
Ashley Tabor OBE, Founder & Executive President, Global, said: “We are delighted that digital listening continues to grow right across the UK. We’ve invested more than ever in digital transmission, growing digital listening with new digital only stations like Heart 80s, Heart Extra and Smooth Extra, as well as expanding the UK’s biggest and most loved commercial radio brands like Heart, Capital, LBC and Radio X, and developing innovative new mobile products like Global Player which drive digital listening and enhance our content even further. Across the board, we have made a significant investment in the digital growth of our brands, and it’s great to see that reflected in today’s results including highest-ever reach for Radio X, Capital XTRA and Heart 80s.”
Dee Ford, MD, Bauer Radio said: “It’s a good news day! Our digital listening share which at 60.7% leads the whole UK radio industry is the result of our skilled programmers and on-air talent understanding what audiences really want from our audio brands. We’re always working with consumer insight to develop new radio products and digital services to build on the evident love for Magic, Absolute Radio and KISS.
“Our new national digital brand, Hits Radio, will launch in June and will broadcast across the nation from Manchester. Hits Radio will have a personality and playlist like no other radio service and will offer UK listeners yet another reason to tune into digital radio. We’re proud to play such a strong role in enriching the listening experience for UK consumers and growing the digital listening habit.”
Steve Holebrook, Managing Director, Terrestrial Broadcast, Arqiva: “Greater station choice and coverage are some of the key drivers that have propelled digital listening to now account for the majority of listening. We are proud of the role we have played extending the national and local networks over the last 3 years to allow millions more people to receive DAB and enjoy the enhanced range of new stations that are available via digital.”
Notes to Editors:
The Government Digital Radio Action Plan ran from 2010 – 2013.
Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, blog post on the Q1 2018 RAJAR digital listening results.
So yes, it’s true. The majority of radio listening is now finally on a digital platform with digital listening at 50.9%, according to Q1 2018 RAJAR data. Today almost 63% of adults, over 34 million people, are listening on a digital platform every week. We have seen a surge in online listening this quarter but DAB still represents 72% of all digital listening.
Digital radio is an overnight success that’s been 20 years in the making. It’s almost 20 year since the launch of the first national commercial DAB network in 1999 and a bit longer since the first BBC DAB test transmission. Going forward into the noughties, it was back in 2002 that the first affordable DAB radio was sold – the Pure Evoke.
Then, of course, in 2008, DAB came to a juddering halt when GCap Media, CEO, Fru Hazlitt declared that DAB was not economically viable, shut down GCap’s DAB stations, and sold their shares in Digital One to Arqiva.
So what’s changed that has made digital radio successful in the UK? I think the key reason for the transformation has been a passionate belief in radio’s digital future shown by Government and the broadcasters. A passion that has been followed through with investment and action.
Fru wasn’t all wrong when she said that DAB wasn’t economically viable. What was needed was proper scale - DAB radios in most homes and new cars, DAB coverage in line with FM, unique compelling digital content, and massive audiences. And in 2018, finally that’s exactly what we have.
The bonus, of course, has been the emergence and expansion of online listening which boosted by the growth of smart and voice speakers - Alexa anybody? - now accounts for 9.3% of all listening and will only increase.
So, if you talk to Bauer and Global with their ten and eight stations respectively on national DAB and ask whether it is economically viable - the likely answer will be, yes, and by the way, can we have some more national DAB capacity, please?
It is in the radio industry’s interest to continue and complete the digital transition as it helps boost levels of radio listening (digital listeners listen more than FM listeners) and helps future-proof the radio sector against digital competitors.
So we are at 50% with 50% still to go - what happens now? The next step is a likely DCMS review later this year which should help us identify how broadcasters can work with Government and the supply chain to sustain digital momentum. Will there be a future switchover? Well, probably, as ultimately it won’t make sense for broadcasters to sustain dual transmission on DAB and FM as well as IP when FM listening drops below a certain level. Personally, I think that’s going to happen and is a worthwhile eventual goal but we need to make more progress before the industry is ready to take that step.
Our thanks to all UK broadcasters, the device manufacturers, the retailers, the car manufacturers, as well as our friends at DCMS and Ofcom. Thanks to you for your vision and passion, and here’s to our shared digital future.