Monday, April 27, 2009

Digital radio: More bad news

The news is far from good. The Taliban are gaining territory in Pakistan and are now so close to the Islamabad they're getting handover training in using the nuclear strike codes. Those pigs weren't just suffering from a bad hangover. The only calming influence on global warming is the reappearance of the ozone hole.

And now, it turns out that digital radio switchover might not be happening for a while yet:

Tim Davie, the head of BBC radio, has warned that the industry faces a listening slump with no prospect of digital switchover "in our lifetime" unless it wakes up to the challenges ahead.

Actually, the news is even worse than it first sounds - given the nuclear Taliban, swine flu and climate change, "in our lifetime" now means "by the end of 2011 at the latest."

Still, it's nice to know that some things never change:

Yes, that's MediaGuardian misspelling its own name, in keeping with the Graniaud housestyle.

Davie is gloomy:
Davie said it was "likely, not possible that we will be managing decline" in the years ahead with a "continued and sustained decline" in the average number of hours people who listen to the radio.

But it depends on what you mean by "radio", surely? Isn't the challenge less about a decline in listening, and more about in thinking about how to react to shifts in listening?


Unknown said...

The radio equivalent of a PVR is badly needed. And I don't mean through the TV, with Sky+. I mean the kitchen radio, the bedroom alarm radio. Ready to play any programme you've asked it to keep for you.

Anonymous said...

Can you get on demand programmes (I.e. the stuff you can access through iPlayer) on DAB radios? I regularly use my internet radio to do this but I've never heard of anyone with a DAB doing it (that's not to say they're not capable just that my friends might only be into listening live)

I think the problem is the uselessness of the technology. I use an wifi internet radio device and although it's obviously limited to where you have wifi access (admittedly a big limitation in comparison to dab) it is capable of so much more than dab in terms of quality and variety and I'm pretty confident that internet bandwidth prices are cheaper than maintaining dab transmissions for stations. Obviously it's not perfect but already it's capable of a lot. The point is that given how long it is going to take DAB to take off, by the time it would be successful other technologies will have surpassed it.

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