Are UK drivers ready for transmitter switch?

CAC Admin |

Ahead of a possible switch from FM transmitters to digital radio, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and Digital Radio UK are set to enter into a partnership. The move will see the pair team up to provide information on upgrading car radios to digital and proposals are in place for a new “digital radio tick” as a marked seal of approval. This will help the UK public know what they are buying when it comes to switching, while the government and Ofcom will also check existing regulations. Hopefully, this will mean that they are all fit for purpose when the change occurs in what should be a positive step for the industry as a whole. A switch to digital would act as a big boost to DAB coverage and it will mean listeners, including car drivers, get a better entertainment experience. Exciting times for the industry The news comes at a time when £21 million will be pumped into the industry, according to communications minister Ed Vaizey. The BBC, the government and commercial radio will all contribute to the amount which it is hoped will increase the number of locations where DAB signals can be received. Part of the plan includes building a second DAB multiplex which would enable the launch of many new national commercial stations. The government has previously announced that a digital switchover date will only be announced when digital radio accounts for 50% of all listening and when DAB had replaced existing FM coverage. Key to the switchover will be the availability of more stations providing greater choice for listeners, with a move to digital set to benefit many stations up and down the country. In terms of an entertainment service for car drivers, the radio is still the most popular so a switch to DAB would be advantageous. However, an estimated 95% of cars still lack DAB equipment so it would appear many drivers are not actually ready for a switch. This places a great onus on finding car stereos which have DAB functionality to enable drivers to maintain their in-car listening experience. Otherwise they could miss out on their favourite music, although a switch to digital is not expected anytime soon.