Just in case you thought that the Forests were the only government u-turn this week, you might have missed this in Radio Today:
Broadcast Minister Ed Vaizey has confirmed to a group of MPs that the FM waveband will not be switched off and will remain as one of a number of multi platform transmission options for local commercial radio.
Almost twenty MPs from across the UK met with the Minister, and the Secretary of State who was also present, to express their concerns about the implications of Government policy on local radio and expressed strong support for their respective local stations and their desire to see them prosper and flourish in the future.
William Rogers, Chief Executive of UKRD, said he was delighted with the outcome of the meeting and expressed his thanks and appreciation to all the MPs who attended to press the case for
"critically important reviews" in key areas of policy.
"We need a dynamic and vibrant local radio sector with a bright and genuinely multi-platform digital future. Of course DAB is one of many such platforms but the prescriptive, poorly planned and inappropriate imposition of this single platform simply gets in the way of what consumer choice is all about." [said Rogers]
It is not clear if this means that local radio can still simulcast, or that only the areas without DAB multiplexes can retain FM.
It is also unclear if BBC Local Radio will also be retained on FM in areas without local DAB multiplexes.
I disagree with Michael on the main DAB concerns. The overriding concern is that most people do not like being forced to waste money on something that they do not want. The advocates for DAB state 'more choice'. Apart from the many studies that show people don't want 'more choice', the simple fact is that for those who do want choice then they can already go out and buy a DAB.
RS and Chris : I agree with you, but am mindful of the "real world" of the vested interests of government and broadcasters when I conjecture on a feasible compromise. I doubt that DAB coverage will equal FM for mobile and portable reception. Ideally I would like to see FM fully retained and MW and LW to gradually adopt DRM. However, vested interests usually prevail, not the preferences of the electorate.