FM Radio is Rubbish

I’m the first to admit i’m a bit of a radio anorak. I work in ‘radio’ and I get to play with lots of talented people who create brilliant stuff that comes out of the speakers. I love listening and being entertained and I think the range of stations both BBC and Commercial are great.

This week i’ve been in a rock/alternative mood so i’ve been listening a lot to The Storm (god rest its soul), XFM, Virgin Radio and Radio 1. Virgin doesn’t normally appear on my radar but with the arrival of Christian O’Connell its becoming more of a must listen. In fact with Geoff in the evening its line up is looking better every day. The fact my Virgin listening has gone up also has to do with the fact that i’ve been without my personal DAB Digital Radio.

You see being this radio anorak, i’ve pretty much moved across to an all digital environment. An Evoke to wake up to, a hi-fi tuner in the living room and a personal DAB to get me to work and then a portable DAB on my desktop. If it’s not on digital it doesn’t really get a look in. I really am Ex-FM. My in-home listening is pretty static – it gets my standard breakfast show choice in the morning and then a dinner party choice in the evening (Groove, chill. etc). The personal radio though, that gets me flicking around the stations, seeing what’s out there or just surfing for a tune that matches my mood. Anyway, that’s all up the spout at the moment as my personal DAB’s out of batteries and I haven’t had time to recharge. In fact I wake up every morning and think “Shit, I didn’t plug in the recharger”. In the past when this has happened I just walked to the tube in silence grumbling under my breath. However my new phone has an FM receiver. Great, I thought. A backup.

No. Because FM radio really is rubbish. I’d forgotten how awful it really is. Terrible interference, remembering frequencies, searching for stations and having to get through two or three Radios 2, 3 and 4 before I get to where i’m going. Pirates. Ugh it’s a horrible user experience. You really do miss digital radio when you’re forced to listen to analogue.

DAB isn’t perfect, and on the personal it occasionally drops out – something that definitely takes a while to get used to, but compared to constant crackle and interference on FM – DAB is bloody marvellous. They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, well maybe that was just the Counting Crows, but DAB is one of those things what you’ve made it a part of your life you never, ever, want to go back.

Now I know some people don’t agree, they have great FM reception and don’t need any more channels and I say good luck to them, they’re welcome to FM. Me though, I never want to go back.