The BBC Isn't Keen on Killing FM Radio Just Yet

By Tom Pritchard on at

After the digital TV switchover finished itself off in 2012, it was only a matter of time before plans started being put into motion to do the same for radio. But the BBC isn't too keen on that idea. It wants to keep FM Radio around "for the foreseeable future".

The government has announced would only consider a full switchover once 50 per cent of people are consuming their radio digitally and 90 per cent of the population is covered, but has plans to review FM and DAB this spring. But the BBC's director of radio and music Bob Shennan thinks shutting down analogue radio would be "premature". Speaking at a conference in Vienna:

"We need to do more in the UK before we consider a switchover and for that to be genuinely led by the audience. We are fully committed to digital and we believe we should review the landscape again in a few years' time."

He maintains that audiences want choice, and while great progress has been made with digital radio he (and the BBC) believes people are currently best catered to by "a mixed economy".

Currently Norway is the only country to have completely shut down its FM Radio broadcasts in favour of DAB, a process that started last January and ended in December. This was despite the fact around 66 per cent of Norwegians were opposed to the move when it began, with critics pointing out that millions of old radios (many of which were in cars) would be rendered obsolete.

That's something that would be similarly problematic here in the UK, even if a large number of modern cars do have DAB built in. It'd be interesting to see how many people listen to the radio in the car, compared to those who prefer their own music - whether it be from a phone or (god forbid) a CD player. [BBC News]