BBC wants to keep FM radio for longer

Lauren Laverne with Loyle Carner

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BBC Radio 6 Music is a digital station

The BBC says it wants to keep FM radio for the foreseeable future rather than switch over entirely to digital.

BBC director of radio and music Bob Shennan said that “audiences want choice”.

“We need to do more in the UK before we consider a switchover and for that to be genuinely led by the audience,” he told a conference in Vienna.

“We are fully committed to digital and we believe we should review the landscape again in a few years’ time.”

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Commercial stations have also expanded into digital alongside FM

The government is due to undertake a review of FM and DAB (digital audio broadcast) later this spring, once digital listeners make up 50% of consumers – a figure that has nearly been reached.

Shennan told the Radiodays Europe audience that it would be “premature” to shutdown analogue.

“Great progress has been made but switchover now would be premature,” he said. “For now we believe audiences are best served by a mixed economy.

“Radio is better served by a mixed economy.”

One big advantage of DAB radio is that there is space for more stations as the FM spectrum is overcrowded.

But DAB coverage and reception can still be patchy in some areas and while the majority of new cars are fitted with DAB radios, millions without them are still on the roads.

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