RAJAR Q1 2018 Figures - Digital radio overtakes FM and AM

RAJAR Q1 2018: UK digital radio overtakes FM and AM

The latest RAJAR figures report that digital radio listening in the UK has again seen a rise for the first quarter of 2018 – overtaking for the first time listening via FM and AM services.

According to RAJAR (the Radio Joint Audience Research), the share of all radio listening via a digital platform now stands at 50.9% – up 8% year on year.

Digital platforms account for anything from DAB radios, online (through computers, or apps on mobiles and tablets), and also through digital TV.

Does this mean a digital switchover?

Without doubt, it casts further examination on whether the decision will be made by the UK government to have a complete digital radio switchover in the coming years.

In March 2018, the BBC director of radio and music, Bob Shennan, made clear his desire that FM radio still serves a purpose, and that it was too soon to make a complete switchover.

Speaking at the Radiodays Europe conference in Vienna, Shennan said: “Great progress has been made but switchover now would be premature,”

“For now we believe audiences are best served by a mixed economy,” he went on to say, indicating a stance that all platforms still have their place for the time being.

These latest figures could put huge pressure on the UK Government, as it hits the target set out by the Digital Economy Act 2010 to seriously consider the switchover.

Norway last year became the first country in Europe to switch off their FM transmitters to go completely digital (however – there are still a handful of fiercely protected FM signals being broadcast locally).

With Brexit on the horizon, and many government departments looking to countries who maintain relationships with the EU without being full members, such as Norway, could the UK follow suit? Perhaps, but despite the increase in the RAJAR figures, not everyone can get a decent DAB reception right now.

Terrible DAB signal? What you could do

If the Government does choose to go for a digital radio switchover, additional DAB transmitters would need to commissioned to fill the gaps in DAB multiplex coverage across the country.

Local smaller-scale DAB multiplexes, which are simplified, lower-coverage could also local radio coverage in those areas not covered by a commercial local DAB multiplex.

Some stations currently are not clear enough to pick up in certain areas, but Sound Digital Limited, who run some of the lesser known commercial DAB stations are rolling out another 19 DAB transmitters by the end of the year.

I live in an area where it says I can get DAB – but it’s still rubbish?

In urban areas, when DAB signal fails it may be because of the building you live in, its construction or being in an exceedingly built up area. It’s getting better to get around these factors, but you might still struggle.

Another option then, especially if the above sounds like your situation, is to plump for an Internet radio – so long as your broadband is of a relatively decent speed.

You might be happy to have what you’re listening to via your mobile, tablet, PC or TV, however there’s more than meets the eye with Internet radio.

Want to know more about Internet radios? We’ve got the full rundown right here.

Norway To Switch Off FM Radio

Norway Becomes First Country To Switch Off FM Radio

Norway will become the first country in the world to start the process of switching off its analogue FM (Frequency Modulation) radio network to adopt the cheaper and wider covering DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting), from this Thursday, 12th January 2017.

The move has attracted a lot of attention, and is splitting the opinion of many in the Scandinavian country. Over 70% of the country are now using DAB as their main source of radio listening.

DAB radio is considered to be a better alternative to FM; producing a better quality of audio and allows more channels to be available. However, in a recent poll, 66% of Norwegians felt the government is moving ahead with these plans too quickly – the two largest opponents being motorists and the elderly.

It is believed that two million cars on the road in Norway are not currently able to receive DAB radio, and a total of 15 million radios in homes, businesses and on sea vessels could be made redundant by the time the expected switch off is complete in five years.

Motorists are being advised to purchase new systems at an average cost of 4,000 Norwegian kroner ($464; £382), or adaptors at 1,500 Norwegian kroner ($174; £143).

Future Of FM In The UK

Interestingly, the UK Government has for a long time considered following the same route, with three national digital multiplexes already in operation – one for which holds BBC stations and two for commercial stations.

However, any potential decision to do this depends the listenership of DAB radio reaches 50%. Currently, that is estimated to reach this landmark in 2018, but any decision to start a switch off would more than likely be around 2020 and needs to be agreed in Parliament.

Another way of listening to radio beyond DAB is via the Internet, and many DAB radios already incorporate Internet radio, including a great range at BuyCleverStuff. It is even more reliable than DAB and provides even more choice than what is available currently on digital multiplexes.

As the switch off in Norway rolls out over the next five years, with national broadcasts expected to be turned off by the end of 2017 and local broadcasts urged to switch over to DAB within the final four years, the UK and other countries will be keeping a close eye on what takes place.

If you want to get ahead of the game and enjoy digital radio via DAB or Internet – take a look at our great soundmaster® Home Audio Internet Radio range:

Internet Radios

Latest RAJAR Figures Report Radio Audiences On The Rise

The latest figures for Q2 2016 have been released by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), and it’s great news for radio lovers with over 90% of the UK tuning in to listen to music, news and sport on a weekly basis – and we know our customers are a huge part of that with our under cabinet radios and ceiling radio systems continuing to be ever-popular!

Helped in part to the introduction of brand new DAB stations on the SDL digital multiplex that was launched in March – RAJAR announced that digital radio listening is now at an all-time high of 45.3%.

Overall weekly reach of UK radio is now 90.1% (up from 89.9% year-on-year). On average, listeners are tuning in for an extra 30 minutes of live radio every week, with figures climbing from 21 hours, to 21.5 hours this quarter.

Lucy Barrett, Radiocentre’s Client Director says: “Commercial radio continues to offer an amazing range of choices for listeners and advertisers and it is brilliant to see this reflected in our sector’s reach. It is unsurprising that people turn to radio, the original broadcast medium, for reassurance in turbulent times. Commercial stations have more to offer than ever and Radiocentre will continue to support the commercial radio sector deliver for listeners.”

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “Digital listening is now over 45% and heading for 50% with nearly 32 million people listening on a digital platform every week. The record breaking growth of 5.4 percentage points in digital listening has been prompted by the expansion of consumer choice we have seen this quarter with the successful launch of 16 new digital stations on the second commercial national DAB network – Sound Digital. Other key factors in digital growth are the nearly 50% increase in digital listening in cars and the expansion of local DAB coverage which has helped increase digital listening to local stations.”

Having radio, whether it is for music, news or sport, is a fantastic and simple thing to bring into the home, and we at BuyCleverStuff have a wide variety of choice for your needs.

Digital radio listening does not need to be restricted to just DAB specific radios.

DAB stations can be streamed directly from your mobile or smartphone via Bluetooth, 27% of adults claim to listen to the radio via a mobile phone or tablet at least once per month which is up 6% year-on-year so why not listen to your favourite radio stations via Bluetooth from your device and also your own stored music whenever you want – and we have incredible Bluetooth ceiling speakers available to do just that!

If you need any more help or advice, search our previous blog posts where you can find tips on what system is best for you or if you’re ready to buy, see our full range of products through our online shop – visit by clicking on the link below.

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Figures reported from RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB – RAJAR DATA RELEASE | QUARTER 2, 2016

0% Interest Free Credit Available Now For Purchases Over £399.97 At BuyCleverStuff

***UPDATED – 6th July 2017*** Whilst it may only be a few pence difference – if you place an order over £399.97 will be eligible for an interest free payment option through our website – meaning there are even more chances to spread payments on more products!

If you’re renovating a new house or room, we know budgets can be a little stretched and may put you off purchasing the audio or visual solution you really want – but at BuyCleverStuff, we’re here to give you a helping hand with our fantastic interest free payment options that can be tailored to you, allowing your dream space to be completed as you imagined simply by spreading the cost.

When you place an order for over £399.97, we have a range of interest free payment options available. You can choose how much you wish to pay upfront (between 10-50% of the total order value), and then the length of time in which you would like to settle the remaining balance.

That means you could buy a Sonos CONNECT:AMP or Systemline E100 Bluetooth Amplifier with any pairing of Q Acoustics Q Install Ceiling Speakers TODAY, pay just a 10% deposit, and with small monthly payments over the course of either six or twelve months, you can enjoy an incredible audio experience without the worry of one large purchase!

E100Credit
E100 Bluetooth/FM/DAB+ Amplifier & Ceiling Speakers – Available With Interest Free Credit
SonosCredit
Sonos CONNECT:AMP with Q Acoustics Ceiling Speakers – Buy Now Pay Later

Not forgetting our free Next Working Day Delivery for Mainland UK Customers, with this useful Interest Free Credit option, we’re making purchasing your perfect solution as hassle-free as possible.

Simply click the Interest Free Credit option at the end of the checkout process and during office hours, (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm) we’ll email you the application form from our partner Omni Capital Retail Finance Ltd. This option is available to UK Mainland Customers only, and unfortunately not available to Northern Ireland or Crown Dependency customers.

Interest Free Credit Example
Finance – 0% APR Typical
Cash Price £599.97 less £60.00 deposit (10% minimum)
Loan amount £539.97 repayable over : 12 Months at £44.99 – Total repayable – £599.97

Written quotations available upon request. Finance subject to status and only available to persons aged 18 and over. Finance provided by Omni Capital Retail Finance Ltd, Co Reg 7232938.

Vinyl Popularity Growing Thanks To Music Streaming Boost

Have you streamed music recently through sites such as Spotify, SoundCloud or even YouTube? According to a recent survey by ICM Unlimited, the chances are that you’ve then gone and bought it on vinyl, as sales of the format look set to increase for the tenth year in a row.

According to the survey, shared with the BBC, almost half of people who have bought vinyl copies of songs and albums have done so after having listened to it online via streaming.

There seems to be a number of varied reasons as to why vinyl sales are on the up, with music fans wanting to have something physical to hold, the belief that they are helping support artists better financially compared to the deals hammered out with streaming sites, and also strangely pure from an aesthetic basis to have on shelves at home.

In recent weeks, Sainsbury’s has introduced sales of vinyl in their supermarkets for shoppers to put in their trolleys, and with the upcoming Record Store Day this weekend, vinyl is booming again.

However, you may find it might not necessarily be booming in homes – out of all those who buy vinyl, 41% have a turntable yet never use it and an incredible 7% do not even own a turntable to play it on!

At BuyCleverStuff we’re here to help solve that problem with our range of home audio solutions that combine both past and present to give you the perfect way to play your music.

Our SoundMaster range includes vinyl record players (some even with cassette players – for those who may still have recordings of the Top 40 on C60 somewhere in that bottom drawer), simple FM / DAB radio receivers that can be fitted around the home, whether it is lounge, kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, and also products that allow for Bluetooth connectivity or direct internet radio – giving you every option when it comes to listening to audio.

With BuyCleverStuff being the exclusive UK distributor of these fantastic high quality German manufactured audio products, we want you to experience great sound quality throughout the home and until Tuesday 31st May 2016, we’re offering the brilliant BT550 Bluetooth Bathroom Shower Speaker at half price with any SoundMaster purchase.

 

How To Retune DAB Radios For New Stations

You may find at times that new stations launch or that digital radio line-ups move around as a result of essential work to the DAB network, meaning you will need to retune your digital radio to carry on receiving your favourite stations.

In late February / early March 2016, new stations were made available on the UK’s second national DAB digital radio multiplex, meaning yet more choice for UK listeners of music, debate and other types of radio broadcast.

Due to this, retuning of your DAB radio may now be necessary, but we’ve got a very simple guide below as to how to retune if you’re not sure already.

Retune instructions

If you purchased from BuyCleverStuff in the past, you may already have your radio system’s instructional manual, which will include all help to retune. If you think you have misplaced it, why not click for our full range of manuals and select the correct one for you.

Please be aware that you may lose preset stations that have been saved in your radio, so refer again to your manual on how to save these if they are lost.

Most digital radios can be re-tuned using the following simple instructions:

Identify the Auto-Tune or Auto-Scan button on your digital radio if you have one

Or

If there is no Auto-Tune or Auto-Scan button, press the Menu button and go through the options until you find Auto-Tune or Auto-Scan. Select this option.

If none of the above actions work, then you should consult the product handbook or speak to your radio manufacturer directly. If BuyCleverStuff sell any products of the brand of radio you may have, we may be able to help, but if not, search for the manufacturer’s customer support website where you may find more help.

New UK DAB stations on the new National Multiplex

Below is a list of brand new stations made available on the new national DAB multiplex, the names that will appear on your DAB radio screen when they are found, and also what type of station they are. Use our DAB coverage checker if you’re not sure of what new stations you should be getting in your area.

If you haven’t got DAB radio at the moment, then why not visit BuyCleverStuff to find the perfect DAB radio for you!

talkRADIO News and current affairs
talkSPORT2 Live sports and sports talk
Virgin Radio Rock and pop music
Share Radio Business and finance programmes
Mellow Magic Relaxing and melodic music
Magic Chilled A second sister channel from one of the UK’s most popular music stations
Absolute 80s 80s music
Kisstory ‘Old skool’ dance tunes and anthems
Heat Pop music, celebrity gossip and entertainment
Planet Rock Classic rock music
Sunrise Radio Asian music and speech programmes
Awesome Radio New British Muslim lifestyle, music and speech station
UCB 2 Christian music
Premier Christian Radio Christian music and speech
Premier Praise A brand new station from one of the UK’s leading Christian broadcasting groups
Panjab Radio Delivering extra choice for British Sikhs and Panjabi speakers
Fun Kids (DAB+) National children’s radio station
Jazz FM (DAB+) Jazz music

Do I Need A Stronger DAB Aerial For My Radio?

At BuyCleverStuff, our range of DAB Radios come included with antennas, so why do we offer more robust aerials for half price with all our DAB radios?

Despite 97% of the United Kingdom being able to receive a DAB signal, thanks to the latest installation of transmitters in 2015, it may not necessarily be a strong DAB signal in your area.

If you are thinking of purchasing a DAB Radio System from us at BuyCleverStuff, so that we can help get you up and running as soon as possible it’s always best to check before you order what your DAB reception is like.

One very easy method is if you already have another DAB radio in your house – if you are receiving a clear signal from it, the chances are you should be fine with your signal.

Bare in mind though what type of aerial it is that may be included as standard with the product you are purchasing; some are T (or Y) bar aerials, telescopic antennas or even simpler cut runs of antenna cable. It is always recommended to make sure these are fully extended and placed in areas or in the direction of where other FM or DAB radios you may have are known for having strong reception if possible.

Another way of discovering what your DAB reception is like is by simply entering your postcode below, which will open a new tab showing whether you have good, fair or poor reception for both BBC stations and also local commercial stations.

POSTCODE CHECKER

Enter your Postcode:

(Your result will open in a new tab)

Please consider though that if you are in a highly built up area, are planning to install your radio in a basement, if your building has a steel frame or is made of reinforced concrete, then these factors can all affect your actual DAB reception so the results that are returned only give a broad result and are not completely definitive.

HalfPriceAerialIf you think you may need help when it comes to a more robust aerial, then we can help, and that’s where our fantastic option to purchase a half price Omni-Directional DAB Radio Aerial Kit with Cable and Bracket comes in to play. It’s available with varying lengths of coax cable, starting with a standard 5 metres included, through to 100 metres should you require it. Another great option to consider is if you are looking to purchase other DAB radios, then we offer a 3 Way Splitter in order to use the same aerial for great reception to all of your radios.

If you do receive a good DAB reception and are happy to stick with any inclusive antenna aerial rather than opt to select the half price offer of an Omni-Directional DAB Radio Aerial Kit with Cable and Bracket then there is absolutely no problem. Our main aim at BuyCleverStuff is to help our customers get the best, and simplest solution they need for their home audio visual, and if you’ve come this far down in the article and found you actually do have a suitable reception which you weren’t sure about five minutes ago, then we’d like to think we’ve helped you out just as much as if you’d added an aerial to your basket!

Advice: Understanding RMS & PMPO with Ceiling Speakers

“What does it sound like?”

“How loud are those speakers?”

“What is the volume like compared to those other ones I’ve looked at?”

If we had a pound for every time someone emailed or called us asking those questions, we’d give up selling audio visual systems and retire to the Bahamas. Don’t panic – we won’t though. Not yet anyway.

Here with the BuyCleverStuff blog, we hope to help address some of the problems and give answers to ceiling speaker questions such as this to help your search for ceiling speaker systems.

When it comes to audio power and speaker quality, it can be a very difficult thing to try and explain over an email, across the telephone and even more problematic to explain in a YouTube video – as you still won’t “hear” the quality of sound as you’re listening through your own device’s speakers.

We do have a showroom with a number of speakers installed, which you are always welcome to arrange a visit with us to listen to, and get hands on with the products we have on offer, but for the time being, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

  • PMPO versus RMS

Two initialisms you may have seen as you’ve gone about researching ceiling speakers and their audio quality – but what do they stand for?

PMPO = Peak Music Power Output / Peak Momentary Power Output

RMS = Root Mean Square

So what do they actually mean?

Let’s start with PMPO – quite simply it means very little.

In fact, it’s usually a marketing ploy to make the product sound fantastic, which for a microcosm of a second it is, but we hazard a guess you’d prefer your audio to sound fantastic over a much longer period of time.

PMPO is exactly what it is, a peak output in one hit – think of it when you have volume turned up to the maximum without realising and you have no other alternative but to turn it down. That’s PMPO in perspective.

It looks a great number to have on the box and on the description, often stated as being anything from five to ten times (depending entirely on how the company’s marketing department work out their own random formula to make it sound as impressive as possible) the actual RMS figure, but it will not continuously run at that output over a longer period of time. If it did, chances are you’d be left with a broken speaker very quickly; in short, don’t believe the hype of PMPO.

RMS, however, plots a number of different points on the same wave form to give a more accurate and realistic reading of power handling when it comes to your ceiling speakers.

This is more continuous and based over a longer period of time, rather than a wildly based and unreliable figure to base things on when it comes to the power – and reliability – of your speakers.

At BuyCleverStuff we will always endeavour to give you the RMS and not PMPO of our available ceiling speakers. Giving our customers the best advice and guidance is something we always strive to do which is why hope to develop in the very near future, a more comprehensive method and comparison of our range of ceiling speakers on offer beyond RMS so you consider what your future ceiling speaker system purchase will be with confidence.

DAB Radio & The “Switch-over” – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the FM / DAB Radio “Switch-over” all about?

So far, there have been 12 million DAB Radios bought since the official “launch” of DAB Radio in the United Kingdom. The Digital Radio United Kingdom organisation (DRUK) estimated that by the end of 2013, that number would have risen to 20 million.

DAB radio will eventually take over from FM radio, in the sense that major stations will be found only on digital platforms – but FM will continue to be around – however only lesser known stations will be on there. This will mean that you will have access to many more radio stations at once, with some that are familiar and many that will be new to you.

Many people are choosing to adopt a DAB radio over an FM version now so that they are ready for the “switch-over” that is yet to be officially announced. This is when the FM stations will all migrate to DAB platforms and no longer be available on FM.

There is no rush to do this however, as is explained below. The important thing to consider at this moment in time is that it is down to your personal preference if you buy a DAB Radio over an FM Radio. There is no urgency to rid yourself of all FM radios.

When is the FM / DAB Radio “Switch-over” going to happen?

There were numerous reports that current FM frequency stations would cease broadcasting in 2015 – something which as we headed into 2015 dawned on people that would never happen. Many people in the industry, including the head of audio marketing at Sony, have publicly said that “…the future of radio is DAB. But the conversion to DAB is an evolution that will take time… and we are extremely far away from that right now”

There are literally tens of millions of FM radios in homes, offices and cars across the United Kingdom and for all of these to be replaced with DAB radios by 2015 was always a highly unlikely possibility.

However, in order for DAB Switch-over to happen, an increase in DAB radios does need to happen, hence why so many are on the market now.

Currently there is only one model of car, the Ford C-MAX, that has a DAB Radio option available, which costs extra. DAB is now fitted as standard in most cars, and has been since around 2013.

There is currently no set date for the Digital Switch-over.

Why are we having this FM / DAB Radio “Switch-over”?

There are numerous reasons why the UK Government wants to bring in a Switch-over to DAB Radio. Some of the benefits DAB Radio offers include:

  • Many stations are available in more places – you can listen to your local stations when away from your home area.
  • Pause and Rewind* – You will be able to listen to missed bulletins and your favourite songs again with this feature.
  • Record* – Select shows to record to listen to when it’s convenient to you. *Not on all DAB Radios.
  • Easy Tuning – Select stations by their name and genre, not their frequencies.
  • Scrolling Text – You’ll be able to see information such as phone numbers, song information and news pieces on your DABs display.
  • You won’t need to change the frequency to stay with the same station no matter where you drive in the country.

Once the switch-over is complete you should have a lot more options when it comes to stations and genres of music than on FM.

You can find out what digital radio stations are available in your area by using the Postcode Checker here: DAB Postcode Search

So what about me?

If you’re considering buying a DAB radio from us, it is worth checking to see if there is an FM only version of the product too.

If you live in an area that does not cater well for DAB stations, it may be a better decision to opt for the FM version of a product. This is because until you receive good quality DAB signal the DAB ability will be wasted and you will be using the FM ability as quality will be significantly higher. FM Only versions of our products are usually considerably cheaper too.

However – if you’re in an area that has been given good quality DAB coverage it may well be worth taking advantage of the availability and getting yourself a DAB Radio. If this is the case, you will then be able to enjoy the extended variety of stations and you will be ready for when the switch-over does eventually happen. Most DAB radios also work on FM frequencies too – so if you where to need it, it’s there as a back up.

So in conclusion; it’s very much down to your personal preference and how good the DAB coverage is where you live.

Either way – if you have any questions please give us a call and we will be happy to advise you.

Under Cabinet Kitchen Radio: What To Think About

Under cabinet kitchen radios are a fantastic answer should you wish to bring audio into a small kitchen area where space is extremely limited, and at BuyCleverStuff, the official UK distributor of SoundMaster products (inclusive of their range of Under Cabinet Kitchen Radios), we can direct you to the right product.

Depending upon your needs, under cabinet / counter radios have a variety of different functions and capabilities that can suit your needs.

Whether you need a basic radio that makes us of empty space beneath your cabinet, or if you are in need of multi-source unit, we can still help determine which product would be best for you.

  • Purpose

Under cabinet kitchen radios are perfect if you require audio in order to keep busy in the kitchen or if life gets in the way of your favourite radio programmes or events being broadcast on the airwaves. They work well if you gather around a nearby breakfast bar in the morning with your family before the day gets under way, but if you are looking to host guests in a more sociable setting, we would advise instead to look at our ceiling speaker systems.

  • Size of room / speakers

When it comes to size of speakers with our Under Cabinet Kitchen Radios, our SoundMaster products all feature the same speaker within the chassis.

With our vast experience in audio visual products, we are fully confident in these products compared to other similar Under Cabinet Kitchen Radios on the market, and test stock on a regular basis so we know they are of a consistently high standard. This goes across the board with all products we stock on site.

As previously mentioned, under cabinet / counter radios are perfect for more personal audio, or if you are in close proximity, but not for larger rooms where you may wish to entertain house guests.

This is only meant to be a rough estimation in terms of speaker sizes and room size, and at BuyCleverStuff we are hoping to bring in the future a standardised guide relating to the decibel output for all of our speakers that we currently stock on our website.

  • Functions

FM radio is a standard feature on all of our Under Cabinet Kitchen Radios, however should you wish to pick up more stations, then DAB radio functionality on some models is available, if you have a good DAB reception in your area.

One other major feature with our higher end radios is the built-in CD player, and also USB ports for MP3 playback. This is a wonderful feature if you want to spend afternoon listening to your own music rather than being completely reliant on radio stations.

Bluetooth connectivity is also available should you wish to stream music direct from your smartphone or tablet device; a fantastic alternative to searching through your CD collection, or if you are unsure whether a Bluetooth ceiling speaker system is beyond what you require.

Alarms and cooking timers can be found within settings on these units, which are handy additions going beyond this just being a purely audio focused product.

  • Appearance

The biggest draw in terms of appearance is how an under cabinet radio saves space beneath a kitchen cabinet. Of course, you will also find colours of units to match your appliances that you have in your kitchen area.

The speakers on the unit can be found at the sides of the chassis so sound is dispersed around the room to its fullest, and the clear LCD screen helps display time, station and music information and much more.

Now that you have gone through the four main aspects when thinking about purchasing an Under Cabinet Kitchen Radio, why not make your way over to the BuyCleverStuff website to see the range we have on offer.