Digital radio expansion means more aftermarket opportunities

Ed Vaizey, minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, has announced the single biggest expansion of local digital radio coverage, which means that nearly eight million more people will receive their favourite local radio stations on DAB.

Speaking at the Drive to Digital: NOW conference held on 6th February 2015 by Digital Radio UK and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) at BBC Broadcasting House, Vaizey confirmed that:

• Latest figures released show that 61 per cent of new cars came with digital radio fitted as standard – more than 1.37 million new cars sold in 2014;

• 182 new digital transmitters will be built by 2016 – this will double the network of local digital transmitters and increase coverage of local DAB from 72 per cent to 91 per cent – in line with commercial radio FM coverage;

• Radio listening figures – Rajar – show that digital listening has reached 37.9 per cent of all listening hours, compared with 20.9 per cent in Q4 2009.

Vaizey said: “Digital radio is the future of radio in the UK and I am delighted that Government has been able to play its part in this major expansion which will help accelerate the transition to digital radio.”

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “We welcome the UK expansion of digital radio – it’s great news for listeners as it means that millions more listeners and thousands more miles of roads will be able to receive DAB loud and clear.”

The minister highlighted progress made on the transition to digital radio over the last four years – more than 61 per cent of new cars now come with digital radio as standard, up from 43.5 per cent in Q4 2013 and only 4.4 per cent in Q1 2010 (CAP/SMMT) at the beginning of the Government’s Digital Radio Action Plan.

He welcomed the significant shift made by vehicle manufacturers, with 90 per cent of the top 20 manufacturers now fitting digital radio as standard in some or all of their cars.

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