DAB listeners on the up
According to Digital Radio UK, "26 million people - 50% of the population now tune in to digital radio each week (up 2.6 million year on year). DAB now accounts for a record 22.5% of all radio listening (up 15% year on year)." The figures also reveal that online listening has overtaken listening to radio via digital TV platforms for the first time.
While in-car listening has started to become easier with more car manufacturers committing to offering DAB digital radio in new cars, this year has seen more local stations make the switch to digital with the launch of additional services on DAB in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire during the first quarter of 2013, followed by the official launch of a local DAB multiplex in North East Wales, West Cheshire and Merseyside in April. The expansion of DAB continues later this year with the addition of local radio stations for listeners in Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
Chester's radio station Dee recently launched a DAB version of its station covering an enlarged area and in Essex, Southend and Chelmsford Radio will be launching their own DAB station for the whole of Essex next month.
However, regional radio multiplexes across the Severn Estuary, West Midlands, North West and North East of England will be closed down this summer, potentially reducing the number of stations available on DAB digital radio. DAB listeners have contacted a516digital in recent weeks commenting about their disgust at more stations, such as Absolute 80s going mono to squeeze more services onto a limited space, raising concerns about whether DAB is really a long term replacement for FM.