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.

Top 5 Benefits of Internet Radio

Whether it’s just to wake you up to in the morning, or a need to find out about the latest traffic and travel as you leave to go to work, or to listen to news, sport or debate; radio is a big deal – and Internet radio is the next bigger step.

Most people know about AM/MW, FM and DAB radio nowadays – but with Internet radio, it’s not such a common thing to have – but has massive advantages.

It’s been around since the early 1990s, but only now are people understanding the benefits of it due to super-fast broadband connections.

Here we’ve got the top five benefits that Internet Radio gives you over bog standard ways of listening.

Radio – and lots of it

We cannot stress enough about just how much radio you can choose from with an Internet radio compared to standard old school AM/MW, FM and even DAB.

The Vatican City even has stations you can listen to! Almost every country in the world is available with a station to tune in to, so the chances are you won’t be missing out!

Perfect if you’re in a poor signal area

Not all areas are great for radio signal in the UK, and admittedly broadband connections in some areas are still a little bit problematic – but in some areas it may be there are no relatively close main FM or DAB transmitters or even a relay transmitter.

With some kind of connection to the Internet however, you can take advantage of getting the same stations and more without worry of poor signal strength (remember if your broadband is a slow download speed, this may have some effect in regard to buffering).

No need for an aerial / antenna

This ties in with previously to a degree.

No-one really likes having an aerial or antenna to deal with.

We’ve got radios at BuyCleverStuff which are a simple wire antenna cable that often is pinned to a wall with tape or sticky tack, or a telescopic aerial which you can never understand how it can extend that long but needs to be sometimes in the most exact position to find a signal!

With Internet radio – there’s none of that problem. Connect to your WiFi or if the device allows – plug in from your router. That’s it! No messy wires or walking around aimlessly trying to pick up a station!

Updates automatically

It’s rare to find it the case with FM stations, but you often need to return DAB radios every so often because of there being more stations added to the broadcasting network.

Whilst it’s great to have even more stations than ever, updates can happen sometimes without any prior notice (there are usually big national campaigns for major updates but not so much for regional updates).

Internet radio doesn’t suffer the same fate – no specific signal or frequency to correspond to – no need to grab the manual and decipher where the retune button is…

Fewer advertisements

Now we say this cautiously – but for the most part, there are few advertisements on Internet radio.

All stations need to generate income to broadcast in some way, Internet radio stations require it but FM and DAB commercial stations need a heck of a lot more to pay for their licence, the multitude of staff, premises and other bits and pieces that help run stations.

However Internet radio is a lot less needy in that sense – costs for stations are usually very low for those that are a little bit more unique and community orientated, plus many Internet radio stations play royalty-free songs by artists that may not be global stars, so you’ll find this cost cutting measure gets you less ads!

Just be careful however – Ofcom in the UK cannot apply rules for product placement and endorsement by stations and presenters of Internet radio in the same way as FM or DAB which may irritate you if your favourite presenter or station likes something you really don’t!

Check out our entire range of Internet radios at BuyCleverStuff 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