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U.K. turns down analog for digital radio

Stephen Beard Jul 7, 2010
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U.K. turns down analog for digital radio

Stephen Beard Jul 7, 2010
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Steve Chiotakis: Britain officials say tomorrow the government will announce a scheduled shift to digital radio by 2015. Which means all FM tuners across the U.K. will go silent. It’s similar to the digital television transition the U.S. went through last year. But as Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports from London, the switch may be a little tougher when it comes to the radio.


Stephen Beard: British T.V. broadcasts have been switching to digital. Within five years, British radio will do the same. If the government gets its way, most FM and AM broadcasts here will come to an end. A hundred million analogue radio sets will become obsolete.

The government says that digital transmissions offer more stations and higher sound quality. But critics say the switchover will cause an uproar. The cost of converting more than 20 million car radios will be horrific, says science writer Barry Fox. He claims the government has blundered:

Barry Fox: They have not fully appreciated what the industry calls “the elephant in the room”, which is this vast number of vehicles on the road which will fall silent if they switch from analogue to digital.

A leading British politician has warned that the switchover could trigger an “explositon of indignation”, and he’s urging the government to reconsider the plan.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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