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Reports of FM's Swan Song in UK Misleading
In a week that found the Web littered with reports of analog FM's impending demise in the UK, one had to read carefully to extract fact from fiction. The excitement was triggered by a report issued by Digital Britain, a joint public/private radio panel formed with the expressed intent of establishing a road map for national transition to advanced radio services.
Recommendations in the report raising eyebrows include:
But a closer read reveals that Brits aren't likely to be throwing their older radios in the trash anytime soon, as the transition date will only be reached two years after:
Thus, the 2015 figure is actually a soft figure based on an estimate that the above conditions could be achieved in 2013.
And despite the sensationalistic headlines, an FM analog shutdown won't occur even after the transition date. Indeed, analog FM radio owners are likely to hear more voices, not fewer, as existing FM spectrum, once free of national commercial and BBC channels, is allocated to LPFM community-based radio.
For national broadcasters such as the BBC, Classic FM, and Talk Sport, the construction of a nationwide multiplex network poses a fiscal challenge. In order to encourage the commercial sector to take the plunge, government regulators promise to relax the re-licensing process and ease regulation on local broadcasters, while the BBC commits substantial sums of cash to capitalize the infrastructure build-out.
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