One Radio Industry

Here’s a statement in response to the publication of the Digital Radio Working Group’s report by the DRDB. My emphasis in bold.

The DRDB (Digital Radio Development Bureau), the BBC, RadioCentre (the industry body for commercial radio), and manufacturers’ trade body Intellect, have welcomed today’s report from the Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG) on the future of digital radio in the UK.

The report presents a set of measures which will drive radio towards a switch-over trigger point. The radio industry will work together to meet the report’s targets through an increased commitment to marketing, content and coverage. This will result in a stronger consumer proposition for digital radio.

DRDB Chief Executive, Tony Moretta, says: “Consumers, retailers and manufacturers continue to enjoy the benefits of DAB radio. Sales this year remain strong and we anticipate nearly a million radios will be bought this Christmas period. The report does much to confirm the radio industry’s confidence in digital radio and lays the groundwork for the move towards digital switch-over in the coming years.”

BBC Director of Audio & Music, Tim Davie, says: “We welcome the DRWG’s report. The BBC is committed to supporting DAB through distinctive digital services and extensive coverage, and will continue to work with the rest of the radio industry in driving digital listening.”

Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive of RadioCentre says: “Clarity about digital radio is critical for Commercial Radio’s future. We’re delighted now to have an aligned plan along with other DRWG stakeholders. RadioCentre is fully committed to working with the industry to make that plan happen. The DRWG has done excellent work over the last 12 months in finding the best way to achieve this. We hope the recommendations in the report will be accepted by Government and will be reflected in their Digital Britain report next year.”

Intellect, the electronics manufacturers’ trade body, joins the DRDB and its stakeholders in welcoming the report. Director of Consumer Electronics Laurence Harrison says: “We believe the future of radio is digital and fully support the recommendations in the report. We think the collaborative approach that the government has taken in the Digital Radio Working Group is the right one. With nearly nine million DAB sets expected to be in homes by the end of 2008, increasing listening figures and a variety of exciting new products coming to market, digital radio is set to go from strength to strength.”

42 thoughts on “One Radio Industry”

  1. Funny how the DAB industry can’t actually achieve *anything* without forcing DAB upon people though, isn’t it.

    The day that platforms are promoted on an equal footing so that consumers can decide which they want to use rather than the BBC, Ofcom and goverment choosing for them then you might find you’d get a bit less resistance to your plans. But we both know that’ll never happen, don’t we?

  2. I think with the new 50% of all digital platforms suggestions you’ll see, as the report suggests, that stations will mention all the digital platforms (if their stations are on them) a little more.

  3. The report does not suggest that stations will mention all the platforms they’re on at all. In fact, there is absolutely nothing in the entire report about there being any promotion of listening on digital platforms other than DAB.

    The entire report is basically about DAB and DAB alone. Merely including Internet and digital TV listening in the 50% share of listening measure simply lowers the bar before digital migration could happen (although that is actually lunacy, because the report has completely ignored the issue of how drivers are going to listen once FM stations are switched off), and in no way does it suggest that stations would promote those platforms.

    It’s exactly as I said in the first post: this is just forcing people on to DAB. It won’t do anything other than that.

  4. Hello other readers, there’s no point in me engaging with Steve (above) as whatever I say will be agressively attacked before he becomes personally abusive. The sad thing, for Steve anyway, is that one of the things that stops him being more successful in his campaigns is his horrible and objectionable temper.

  5. Or in other words, you can’t dispute what I’ve just said, so you thought you’d attack my character instead?

    BTW, there’s someone in the DAB industry that your description also fits to the letter, but I’ve never mentioned it on my website.

    And on the subject of my “success” or otherwise, I totally disagree that if I were sweetness and light at each and every opportunity that I came into contact with anybody in the DAB industry it would make a blind bit of difference to my “success”. Members of the DAB industry, whether it be through personal, professional or financial vested interests, will always show preference to DAB, and my behaviour would never stop that.

    What I can do, though, and what I feel I’m pretty good at, is holding a mirror up to the DAB industry, and exposing things that they’d prefer were left covered up – examples being: DAB audio quality, DAB+, and more recently the various issues concerning the BBC’s motives for their decision-making for the Internet radio streams.

    My success, therefore, is based on things like the number of people who’re made aware of the issues I cover, and not whether I’m able to actually change policy. And presumably you wouldn’t deny that I’ve been successful in “spreading the word” about DAB’s audio quality problems and the fact that DAB+ exists when the broadcasters dearly wanted absolutely nodoby to find out about it?

  6. In light of the previous comments, I will keep this short and sweet. I like multi-platformed broadcasting as a consumer. Sure it has its faults, but then doesn’t everything? It’s a bold step towards the future and if I need a little nudge in the right direction, I’m not terribly bothered. True there will be those who don’t want change – but without change we have no future, and if you don’t like it then maybe you should go back to rationing and wartime radio black-outs?

  7. I’ve just been on holiday to New Zealand where they have as many as 4 different postal service providers. This is very confusing. I kept ending up with the wrong stamp or the wrong colour coded box and none of my postcards have got home. (there is a point to this story)

    I love radio, and I love my DAB radio. It doesn’t even occur to me any more that I don’t own an FM radio any more, I think of it more as Peter Allen in my kitchen than I remember who made it or what multiplex it’s on.

    Our industry can’t afford to let down the millions of consumers who love radio and DAB too. Sometimes it seems that the public are more behind DAB than we are and I can only agree with this report and with the concept that we need to be one industry working together to deliver what our audience want.

  8. @Stewart Paske,

    “if you don’t like it then maybe you should go back to rationing and wartime radio black-outs?”

    I’m not sure if that’s being directed at me or not, but if it is then I’d say I’m the exact opposite of being a luddite, because I propose that DAB+ should be used ASAP to replace DAB, Internet radio should be exploited to the max, including using multicast, 4G mobile broadband and so on.

    My only opposition to digital radio is to DAB, which ironically is because it is using prehistoric technologies, which IMO should never have seen the light of day, let alone still being in use 15 years later.

  9. @Helen G,

    I could well imagine that having 4 different postal services would be highly confusing. I don’t think that would mean that people would find it confusing that digital radio is available via different platforms, though. Digital TV is approaching switchover in some regions, and that’s available on 3 platforms, and that hasn’t held back its uptake – Freeview for example has outsold DAB by a factor of abour 4 or 5 to 1, despite there being a far larger addressable receiver market for DAB (120m – 150m compared to say 50m for digital TV).

    Also, research has shown that 15-24 years olds listen to Internet radio more than they listen via DAB. That’s despite DAB being advertised in 21 BBC TV advertising campaigns, and the BBC showing zero TV ad campaigns for Internet radio. Also, Wi-Fi Internet radios are new, so few have them, whereas DAB radios have been selling for ages. By the time FM could be switched off in around 2023 (ignore the DRWG report’s figures), those 15-24 year olds will be 30-39 year olds.

    My point being that IMO it’s blatantly obvious that by promoting DAB alone then that is going to hold back digital radio uptake. Ask yourself why they – in particular the BBC – would want to do that. When you’ve found the answer, ask yourself whether that’s in the best interests of the general public. And the answer to that is definitely no. Hence, the DRWG recommendations are acting against the interests of the general public, so they should be opposed.

  10. Oh chill out Steve and have a wank, it will make everything seem less bothersome. We are all just doing our best, you know.

  11. @Anonymous,

    James, yeah, you’re doing your best alright – doing your best to stop anybody listening to Internet radio, just like you have been doing at the BBC for the last six years.

  12. “I propose that DAB+ should be used ASAP to replace DAB.”

    “My only opposition to digital radio is to DAB.”

    “I’ve been successful in “spreading the word” about DAB’s audio quality problems…?

    Tell you what, Green. You stop touting DAB radio tuners on your website, and we’ll all listen to what you have to say. Don’t spunk on about how shite DAB radio is, when your website is plastered with adverts to sell them.

    That’s what’s known in the business as hypocritical”, you jacksie smack spanner.

  13. @Grauniad,

    Out of interest, what is a “jacksie smack spanner”? It’s a fantastic term, but I just don’t know what one is.

    And my website is not “plastered with adverts for [DAB]”, or at least it doesn’t intentionally carry a single advert for DAB. I carry Google advertising, and what is listed on Google Adsense adverts is chosen by Google’s algorithm – which I can’t do anything to affect.

    So, should I stop carrying Google Adsense adverts just because some jacksie smack spanner is telling me to? Well, sorry, but no, I’ll do whatever I please on my website.

    Also, the DAB price comparison pages aren’t there primarily to make money from – they make very little anyway, especially when I slag off DAB’s audio quality at the top of every page on my website (which is hardly the act of someone who’s being hypocritical, is it?). They’re primarily there to improve my website’s search rankings in Google. And again, I’ll do whatever I please on my own private website.

    Also, although you don’t have the guts to use your real name, assuming that you are from the DAB industry, do you not think it’s incredibly hypocritical to slag me off at all when your industry has for years described DAB’s audio quality as being “super” or “high” or “digital quality sound” etc?

    If the DAB indstry were more reasonable about this and a load of other things, I’d be more “compliant” as well. But they’re not, so I’m not going to be either.

    And you’re also slagging me and my website off the day after the DAB industry has published possibly the most biased report I’ve ever read in my life – well, since the last BBC digital radio report was published, anyway.

    Slag me off once you and your industry starts telling the truth about various things, because at least I can say that I do tell the truth on my website.

  14. Actually, I can guess what a jacksie smack spanner is thinking about it, so I somehow doubt that you are in reality a Grauniad reader – more of a Mail reader, in all likelihood, cos jacksie smack spanner sounds rather homophobic to me.

  15. Forget what I said before Green, you’re a double jacksie smack spanner after that.

    – You use DAB radio to promote your own site, to “improve my website’s search rankings” – that’s hypocrisy that, mate.

    – You assume (incorrectly) that because I don’t hang off your every word like Lyle’s Treacle Syrup off a warm spoon, that I’m in the DAB gang.

    – You suggest I’m a homophobe for referring to you by an entirely nonsensical, meaningless phrase. Sweet muscular Jesus.

    On second thoughts, you’re an insult to jacksie smack spanners, Green – you’re giving them all a bad name. Poor beasts. Move along people, ignore the toe-faced tit chewer called Green. His paranoia is uncontrollable and he needs a lie down.

  16. jacksie means arse and a spanner resembles a dick, so it’s hardly unreasonable to suggest that it was a homophobic insult. There’s definitely something wrong with you, anyway.

    As for the rest of your nonsense, it’s, well, nonsense, so doesn’t warrant a response.

    Bye then. Happy Christmas.

  17. Good boy, Green. You keep using the popularity of DAB radio in the UK to market your website and make money. Run along now.

  18. “Popularity of DAB”? I should remind you that we are commenting on a blog about the publication of a final report from the DRWG, which was set up because DAB sales were so low – annual DAB sales are 50% below the DRDB’s earlier targets, and cumulative sales are 30% below.

    DAB’s year-on-year sales growth fell off a cliff in early 2006, and it kept on sliding. The trend of the year-on-year growth graph was that if the BBC hadn’t kept on lavishing more TV ad campaigns on DAB to prop up sales the curve was heading towards 0%.

    0% growth implies that sales don’t grow year-on-year, and at 2m sales per annum that would mean it would take:

    120m / 2m = 60 years before the number of DAB receivers reached the number of FM devices in-use in the UK (120m – 150m according to Ofcom).

    60 years is a bit too long for the broadcasters to transmit both analogue and digital, so the DRWG was set up to come to DAB’s rescue.

    DAB’s popularity! Aren’t you a cheeky monkey, eh.

  19. Actually, I’d dispute that pages on my website are plastered with DAB ads anyway. Just have a look at a selection of pages on my website and pretty few are for DAB – it varies from page to page though.

    Maybe you’re mistaking the amazon adverts on the right-hand side of the pages for DAB adverts, when in reality those are Wi-Fi Internet radios – presumably you don’t mind me carrying adverts for Wi-Fi radios?

  20. On the middle of your home page where a user’s eye is drawn, all above the fold, are a load of pictures of digital radios, which, when you click through merely encourages you to compare and buy. On the left hand nav of any DAB content page, usually above the fold, there’s google ads with DAB ads.

  21. Matt,

    The Google AdSense ads have been discussed already – I’ve just removed Which magazine and a couple of price comparison sites – changes don’t take effect for a few hours though apparently.

    Re the price comparison pages. Firstly, I make a pittance from those, so if you think it’s about teh money with those, it isn’t – they used to make okay money, but now they don’t.

    The only reason they’re there is to help with search engine results – they’d be gone if it wasn’t for that.

    The way I look at it is if people find them useful then why remove them? They’re also more visually appealing than just having text.

    I’m not really opposed to people using DAB portable radios anyway – it’s other DAB stuff I’m opposed to, such as that good quality isn’t available at all and that the BBC refuses to promote other ways of listening to digital radio, and the BBC keeps quality down on other platforms because of DAB.

  22. @Steve Green

    You posted: James, yeah, you’re doing your best alright – doing your best to stop anybody listening to Internet radio, just like you have been doing at the BBC for the last six years.

    While I shouldn’t be surprised at your paranoia or your personal abuse any more, please note that I never post anonymously. If I have a comment to make, I never hide behind pseudonyms. You might want to learn from that.

    (I’ve also not been at the BBC for the last six years, not that anyone takes anything you say seriously anyway.)

  23. @James Cridland,

    Fair enough if it wasn’t you. Apologies.

    Personal abuse? There was none.

    “not that anyone takes anything you say seriously anyway”

    Happy Christmas to you too, James.

  24. “Re the price comparison pages. Firstly, I make a pittance from those, so if you think it’s about teh money with those, it isn’t – they used to make okay money, but now they don’t.

    The only reason they’re there is to help with search engine results – they’d be gone if it wasn’t for that.”

    DAB sets plastered all over these, Green. EVERYWHERE.

    By your own admission, you’re using the popularity of DAB radio to a) make money and b) promote your site through search engine rankings.

    Stop telling lies, Green.

  25. Matt, when have I moaned at you about not engaging?

    Re Grauniad, he’s already made the same comments a few times, and I’ve already responded to those comments, so I don’t see the point in responding again. If he were on Usenet he’d be labelled a troll anyway, because the fact that he just repeats the same things every time without actually discussing anything shows that he’s just trying to make trouble.

  26. That’s because you’re a conflicted soul who can’t understand the simple hypocrisy of promoting DAB radios to generate income and page rankings (by your own admission), on a site that’s sole purpose is to criticise and admonish the industry.

    You’re reaping benefits from the popularity of DAB radio. Define “popularity” how you will, but you believe the product is popular enough so that searches conducted for it will generate income and improve your search ranking.

    The logic is robust, Green. It’s pure, unadulterated hypocrisy.

  27. I find it interesting that I somehow have to explain my actions just for making a few quid a week from carrying DAB adverts on my website (which hardly has bbc.co.uk traffic levels), yet we’re commenting on a blog about the DRWG report, which contains recommendations for government that are totally against the interests of the public as a whole! Nothing like getting your priorities in the right order, Grauniad. It doesn’t exactly make it very convincing that you’re not a DAB industry member, as you claim.

    The DRWG is basically recommending that everyone be pushed towards DAB, and Internet radio won’t get a look-in, even though that’s clearly against the best interests of the public, because Internet radio would clearly be more suitable for a sizeable percentage of the population due to the advantages that it already offers.

    And not content with just pushing everyone on to DAB without informing them about Internet radio as well, the DAB industry even wants government to give them taxpayers’ money to help them with DAB transmission costs – so the public is basically being mis-informed and then asked to pay for the privilege!!

    Right. Onto the DAB adverts. My website carries the odd DAB advert. So what? I’ve put a huge amount of effort into my website, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t earn some money from it. I can’t help what Google places in its ads – for all I know, the websites blocked could be replaced with new DAB adverts, so it would be impossible to block all DAB adverts. I’m not going to remove the Google adverts just because someone in the DAB industry or who’s a mate of someone in the DAB industry wants to accuse me of hypocrisy – look in the mirror before you can accuse me of hypocrisy, I could provide a list as long as your arm of DAB industry hypocrisies, and I don’t see any display of guilt coming from the DAB industry.

    As for the price comparison pages. They’re helpful for search results, and they’re probably helpful for visitors as well, so I’m not going to remove these either. Ultimately, just like any website, what I want is traffic. They help with that (actually, my gut feeling is that they don’t help all that much, but they’ll help a bit). So if someone arrives at my website due to those pages who’s under the impression that DAB is oh so wonderful due to the way the DAB industry advertises it, and then they start reading my website and see the truth, those pages have done their job admirably well, wouldn’t you say, Grauniad?

  28. Matt, yes, I obviously would have preferred you to discuss what I’d said rather than launch an unprovoked attack on my character – presumably just because you were annoyed at my quote in Jack Schofield’s blog…

  29. Grauniad: your comments here are abusive and stupid, and they are much more abusive and stupid than anything Steve Green has said here.

    Under the circumstances, I think your choice of handle is regrettable. If you actually had anything to do with the Guardian, we’d be extremely ashamed of you.

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