Your Radio Listeners at Home

Ofcom, this week, released their annual Digital Radio report.

When I looked through it I was quite pleased with it. Press coverage has been less than friendly emphasising a decline in DAB set sales. I read the data slightly differently. I read that set sales were pretty flat, we sold around the same this year as last year (another 1.9m!) but that radios that were analogue-only took  a big hit – selling a million less than the previous year – but still a lot.

But, to be honest, I think there are so many things that have a knock on to what people buy that you can probably argue strongly either way that this is good news for DAB or terrible news.

As most radio listening is in home – 63% of all listening happens there, whilst only 21.2% is in car and the remainder at work or somewhere else – I thought I’d look particularly at in-home listening. It’s not something I had done before.

The big shock for me was reach.

So, radio has a 90.8% reach in the UK.

In home, radio has a 76.3% reach. That means 76.3% of the UK population listen to the radio, in some form, at home in an average week.

I thought I’d then look at ‘Total Analogue’ and ‘Total Digital’ reach.

The result is that analogue radio (AM and FM) only has a 51.7% reach in homes.

So only half the country, in radio’s most-popular location, during an average week, listen to ANYTHING on AM or FM.

I was quite surprised by this, I always assumed that analogue radio reach was going to remain relatively high through to digital switchoverm even if the volume of consumption kept dropping as people started to listen to more digital radio. After all, surely most people will hear 5 minutes of radio from an analogue set at some point in a week? At the moment when we look at total analogue reach in every location it hits 81.5%.

When we look at the percentage of the UK who listen to some form of digital radio, at home, in a week it’s 46.1%. Just 5.5 percentage points lower than analogue.

What does this mean? Well, if you’re a predominantly analogue-only station (ie not on DAB or DTV) then you’ve only got a potential audience of half your TSA. Half. And it’s getting worse.

Now, clearly this isn’t the same in-car. Digital radio only has an in-car digital reach of 11.7%, whilst analogue is much stronger, having a 58% reach of the UK population.

Though I’m sort of surprised total in-car listening is that low – 37.7% of the UK population never listen to the radio in a car at all. Sacrilege!

As we approach some switch-over announcements, people with vested interests (of which I count myself) are going to be saying lots of things. To me, the most important thing is looking at what listeners are doing and how their use of the radio is changing.

As a station owner I will go where the ears are, on platforms I can get access to or can afford. DAB, Internet, DTV, whatever reaches the most people in the most cost-effective way, my stations will be there. There’s nothing particularly wrong with FM – if you’ve got an FM licence, of course. It’s still a big platform – though as the data shows – it’s one that’s getting significantly smaller each quarter.

Platform Reach

 

 

 

 

RAJAR Q2/2012

This is definitely not a big round-up, I haven’t really had time to scour everything. Here’s some things that I noticed from particular runs i’ve done.

Firstly, i’m still in awe of the figures of Jack South Coast. That’s a licence that’s had lots of change over the past few years, from Original to The Coast to Jack. What I like about this though, is that often RAJAR is mainly looking at stations that have been around forever. There are some gradual shifts but for lots of stations they go up a quarter, they go down a quarter, there’s no real change. When people see this it often encourages them to dismiss RAJAR as irrelevant and that nothing you do on the station really makes a difference.

Well. Just look at this chart.

This station has made big changes over time from album rock, to easy listening to male hits and each time they’ve made a big leap, look at how it’s altered the figures. The new Jack also has a strong Breakfast host in Bam Bam who’s also helping to drive the change.

Digital

A note from Digital Radio UK tells me that the share of listening digital now accounts for is 31.5%. When I tell colleagues oversees this figure, they are shocked at how high it is. They see it and regard Britain as the digital success. We, on the other hand, just grumble and say “well, it’s not 50% is?”. I think it’s stunning. Plus we’re also now seeing 52% of all radio listeners tuning in digitally at some point each week. Wow.

This is at at time when there is a signficant variance in digital radio usage across the country. Somewhere like Lincolnshire is low with digital share at 22.6%, but then elsewhere it’s much higher. In Jack Bristol’s TSA the digital share’s 38.6% and in Reading 107’s TSA it’s 38.2%.

It’s even higher in London. Digital Radio UK tell me that the share’s nearly 41%. Interestingly the analogue share is only 51.4%. The balance is ‘unknown’ – people who don’t know how they’re listening. When we’ve done some work looking at these unknowns before, the vast majority are actually ‘digital’ – meaning London could be less than a year away from a 50/50 analogue/digital split.

When I talk about ‘digital’ – I mean DAB, DTV and online/apps. Of those DAB accounts for 69% of all digital listening.

So why is there such a disparity area to area? For me it’s about choice, coverage and longevity. Bristol, London and (to a lesser degree) Reading have had digital radio for a long time, they’ve got lots of stations and they’ve got good coverage. All that working together means they lead the country in conversion. The areas that don’t do so well – Lincolnshire, Cumbria and Northamptonshire – are the areas that haven’t had the best coverage or multiplexes delivering local stations. I’m pleased that the local stations angle for many of the underperforming areas have a plan to be fixed. I think these additions will help accelerate those areas digital share – but also add to the speed of the UK’s shift to being a predominantly digital radio country.

RAJAR Q3/2011

Another RAJAR and more numbers to analyse.

It’s been quite a good quarter for digital, with listening on digital platforms now accounting for 300m hours a week (that’s more than Radio 1 and Radio 2′s total hours combined). There’s also some quite good news for the digital stations too – Planet Rock has its highest total hours ever – making it bigger than (all of) XFM. Two new digital stations also reach the 1m listeners club – Absolute 80s and Five Live Sports Extra – joining Smash Hits, The Hits, 6Music, 4Extra and Kerrang with Planet Rock and 1Xtra not far behind.

Also, just under 300,000 listeners stopped listening to any form of analogue radio wiping 2.2m hours off analogue’s totaliser.

But really, I’m less concerned about who’s slightly up and down and instead keen to see whether there’s any new trends popping up.

I’ve spent most of this quarter speaking at conferences and leading in-station seminars outside of the UK. The key thing they’re all interested in is trying to track how diverse platforms are going to affect their core analogue businesses. Many are in markets that don’t have any traction with broadcast digital radio, but they still see the internet, mobile and de-regulation as threats to their business.

When I present, I often talk about how amazing analogue radio is. It’s a platform where all consumers have multiple radios that pick it up, receivers are super-cheap, they are available in-home, on the move and at work. Plus limited spectrum means there are few competitors. Woo! I then talk about other industries who felt their barriers to entry were great too, until someone lobbed a hand grenade and blew them apart.

The story I often talk about is Craigslist. In America Craigslist has pretty much destroyed classified advertising for newspapers (and with it much of their business model). Now, it wasn’t Craig’s intention to destroy newspapers, he was trying to solve a different problem. Namely to provide a cheap/free way to get rid of your old stuff. It worked and the knock on was massive to a different industry.

I don’t know what the problem will be that someone will solve that harpoon’s our business, but I do know that if we stick to our one boat – analogue radio – then when it starts sinking it’ll be too late to do anything about it.

I thought it might be interesting to use RAJAR to look at how radio businesses are changing.

The data in the two charts below are the same, but are ordered differently. The data shows hours listened for the larger radio groups, broken down by All hours, Analogue hours, Digital hours (that’s DAB, DTV, Online and Unknown digital combined) as well as DAB, DTV and Net separately. At the end there’s two columns that show the ranking of the groups based on two things – All hours and Digital hours.

This chart below is ranked on All hours – in effect the top, er 14, radio groups as we measure them today.

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The second chart shows it sorted on digital hours. If the industry was roughly doing the same thing, you’d expect the charts to be roughly similar. There are some strong similarities but there are some differences too. The groups that stand out are Absolute, Town and Country and Lincs. Absolute moves from being the 6th biggest group to the 4th biggest and Town and Country moves from 13th to 9th. Lincs FM group drop from 8th to 12th.

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What does this show? I think for Absolute and T&C it shows they’re building new digital businesses. Both have launched new digital radio stations and extended coverage of analogue ones – Absolute upgrading AM to digital and T&C growing the coverage of some of its analogue stations.

I’m not surprised that some stations moan about digital. They look at it as a large cost to simulcast their service to their analogue audience. Well – it is! Clever groups are using digital to expand their existing stations or they’re creating new ones. For them it’s not about maintaining market share by being on a different platform to the same audience – it’s taking the fight elsewhere and battling for new hours.

And it’s hours that turn into cash – and digital, especially DAB, is a brilliant way to do just that. Global generate nearly 10million additional hours to listeners tuning into their brands on digital, outside of the analogue areas. Absolute now, in total, generate 6m hours more than they did in 2007 when Virgin Radio.

If you hear a radio group moaning that they want to protect analogue (at the same time as doing nothing digitally) surely there’s only one direction for their audience and their business?

RAJAR Q4/2010. What have we learned?

RAJAR is never about individual quarters, it’s all about the trend. Successful stations are built on a strong base (something Dick Stone wrote about yesterday) but then thrive on being consistent. Listeners abhor change (whether it’s good for them or not) and changes in music, presenters or a myriad of other things rarely goes down well. Consistency (whilst often dull for commentators) is generally the key to long-term success. Many of the successes listed below have come from stations concentrating on being consistent (whilst good!) for a long period of time.

Okay, some things….

*LBC and Classic FM are now bigger stations in London (hours wise) than Capital or Heart
*Magic 105.4 is still #1 commercial station and doing a storming job
*The real #1 though, in London, is still Radio 4, with nearly 2.5x the share!
*Moyles is up (but sadly for him, so is Evans!)
*The old Galaxy network was still growing (will the Capital re-brand help or hinder?)
*Jack FM in Bristol grows again (will Celador dare to turn it into The Coast?)
*Disappointing figures for the main Absolute Radio
*Five Live’s enjoying much success with reach now over 7million
*1Xtra’s been overshadowed by its sister station 6Music, but another increase means it’s audience has grown by over 50% year on year.
*talkSPORT now have over 3m listeners – driven by consistency over the last 18 months!

And how are we doing on digital, I think it’s encouraging….

*15% of all radio listeners don’t ever listen through ‘analogue’ means
*40% of all radio listeners tune in using ‘digital radio’ sometime every week
*25% of all UK radio listening is using ‘digital radio’

During any week:

*8.8% of the UK tunes in to radio through the Internet
*13.6% of the UK tunes in to radio through Digital Television
*24.4% of the UK tunes in to radio through a DAB Digital Radio

When you look at the 25% of all radio listening that’s carried out through ‘digital radio’:

*DAB accounts for 63% (165m hours)
*DTV accounts for 17% (45m hours)
*Internet listening accounts for 12% (32m hours)

(8% is unsure how they listen, and hey, why should they!)

To put some of these figures into context, just the DAB listening portion now has similar reach and hours to that of BBC Radio 2.

Come in Analogue Radio, Your Time is Running Out

Regular readers will no doubt be aware that i’m an advocate for digital radio and particularly radio delivered over DAB. I spent a long time being involved with it at GWR and GCap (now Global), I worked closely with the DRDB on it, some of our current clients have stations on it, I own some DAB multiplexes licences and even a radio station, Fun Kids, that broadcasts on it. I guess this means, perhaps, I have a bit of an interest in it being a success.

And personally I do think it’s a success. 10 million radios out there, 20% of the UK listening to radio through DAB each week and it accounting for 13% of all radio listening (that’s over double the listening through the internet and digital television combined).

DAB’s reach and hours is bigger than Radio 4’s reach and hours.

This week we’re likely to see more arguments over digital radio from the people who potentially have the most to gain – the existing radio industry. The arguments are all about switching off analogue radio. There’s two camps, those who think there is value in an up-front process to get to a point to migrate the majority of stations from analogue to digital and those who think analogue should remain.

To be honest, I couldn’t particularly care less about analogue switch off.

Firstly, it’s not really an analogue switch off, it’s just saying that most of the bigger stations will no longer be on AM and FM from 2015. The main reason these new rules have been suggested is to save these stations money by stopping them having to pay the costs of broadcasting on both analogue and digital. By removing these stations within a similar time period it provides a level playing field and a co-ordinated approach for listeners.

This planned analogue to digital transition works for most existing UK radio stations. There are some issues for stations (and listeners) outside current and planned digital coverage areas but nothing is particularly insurmountable. The good thing about the proposed DAB organisation Digital Radio UK is that it becomes a well-supported vehicle by industry and government to be able to fix these problems. It’s something that Digital UK has achieved for TV switchover and they faced a different, but much larger set of problems.
The other thing the current radio industry forgets is that ‘radio’s future’ is not all about them.

My radio station, Fun Kids, has no analogue licence. The station’s privately funded by its parent company and is well on the way to being a profitable part of the business. It chooses to broadcast on DAB Digital Radio because that’s where the majority of our listeners are – and they’re how the station makes it money.

I don’t always have a lot of sympathy for the analogue operators. They get a piece of government analogue spectrum – originally awarded by promising some ‘public good’. They argue (as I believe is right) that the value of this spectrum is declining so they have to provide less ‘public good’. As an added incentive to ‘support’ digital radio these licences have enjoyed free rollovers – maintaining their radio monopolies. As we move towards a re-planning of digital radio they are likely to get another incentive form supporting digital radio, probably again around having their licences extended to ‘switch-over’ and reducing ‘public good’ commitments.

We, on the other hand, produce a radio station full of ‘public good’ on DAB, which we pay carriage for and, amusingly to people who won these licences basically by being existing analogue operators. We get no ‘incentives’ to another part of our business to do this, there are no roll-overs for us.

We don’t particularly moan about this or make stinging declarations to the Government. We just get on with trying to grow our radio station and make it successful. We like being on DAB.

I think what’s interesting is that some of the existing analogue operators think that they hold the key to the future ‘success’ of digital radio. They’re wrong.

Listeners don’t really care about platforms, they care about ease of use and accessing the content they want to hear. For 10m people, DAB does that for them.

Analogue radio’s a good technology and for most people it does a good job of delivering their favourite station. But this is mainly driven by habit.

The only analogue radio in our house is the one in the bathroom. It does a perfect job of delivering me Radio 1 in the shower. That’s its only function. However across my total radio listening analogue either fails, or doesn’t do a very good job of delivering me stations like NME Radio, Fun Kids or even Five Live. Pirate activity ruins some of my analogue listening in the office and it won’t let me see the pretty RadioDNS pictures that I see on my Sensia.

When someone buys a radio now, there’s a pretty good chance it will be a DAB one. It’s actually quite hard to buy a radio that’s not a digital one now. People will, however, mostly listen to what they already listened to. Radio 4 doesn’t suddenly get rubbish because you can listen to The Hits after all. Total listening to Radio 4 may drop a little though as people replace certain elements with speech from BBC Radio 7 or LBC, now they can more easily get it.

This changing listener behaviour will not be changed by Global Radio and GMG suddenly supporting digital radio a bit more. The job they can do is to use their size to tell more people about and accelerate the take up.

Oddly the main beneficiary of them supporting DAB will be their own companies and stations. Getting to the point they’re happy to switch off analogue, quicker, would save them money (from having to fund dual transmission) and if there would more people listening to their portfolio of stations for longer, and less to the BBC they would make more money from advertising.

If they stay on analogue, DAB’s growth will still continue, and their reach and hours will decline. If they replicate their analogue station on digital, their reach will remain, but their average hours will drop. If they enhance their station through a move from AM to DAB, increasing their broadcast areas or by offering multiple channels and choice they will grow their audiences and grow their total hours.

What does not exist, partly because of the size and growth of DAB, but also with stations on digital television and the internet, is any hope of a return to a comfy analogue monopoly. The train has left and it’s speeding away.

There are lots of people that this is good news for.

Firstly, the BBC. They’ve created some new radio stations, including BBC7, 1Xtra and 6Music. These stations are generally cheaper than their existing ones and it helps them reach new audiences. They cross-promote them heavily on their other platforms. It’s helping them grow reach and making sure that if listeners flick around they’ll at least be informed about other stations in their portfolio.

Secondly, new entrants. Stations like Planet Rock, NME, Jazz and us with Fun Kids. On analogue radio there wouldn’t be licences available to us, or they would be too expensive to buy. Digital allows us to reach a large number of people on a platform that’s used to consume loads of radio – perfect. We can also take hours from all of the existing stations too.

Now, I don’t want to dismiss the concerns of certain stations, but without sounding too American, they’ve got to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. They also have to realise that the ‘radio industry’ does not just include people with analogue licences.

Next Step for our Little Radio Project

I’ve just got back from the studio recording some links for Fun Kids, including the one that will ‘open’ the station at Midnight tonight as it moves, for a short time, to be broadcast nationwide on DAB Digital Radio through Digital One.

We bought Fun Kids off of Global Radio late last year, with an idea that owning a children’s radio station is not just a good thing, but something that will make some money and hopefully we can build into a children’s brand.

It’s very rewarding. And very bloody annoying. Mainly at the same time. It’s re-enforced a lot of my radio views and also opened my eyes to lots of things as well. What’s good about it, and it’s an old radio cliché, is that you can do things immediately. Also, it can be very creative. But you have to make the time to be creative. An old colleague used to block time in his diary for creative thinking. It sounds counter-intuitive but we all live such busy lives, it’s important to find a place create that ideas that make your radio station (or whatever project) special.

Fun’s a very small affair, everyone who works on it does it part-time. They all have other jobs. This has meant that we get a cross-section of people’s skills – a variety of skills we couldn’t afford if everyone was full time – plus everyone’s learning a lot of new skills too. I think it’s probably the main suggestion i’d give to anyone who has a small project that needs to be worked hard to be a success. Do whatever you can to bring in more people, skills and contacts. If you do it on your own, you’ll go mad and it won’t be nearly as good.

We’ve decided to go national for the Summer holidays firstly because we felt it’s something we could easily describe to the audience – it’s a Summer Holiday radio station! But also because it shows our intent. We’re a little station that’s determined to punch above its weight and to demonstrate to advertisers and listeners that they should spend some time with us. It also pushes us on, to be better, to work harder and make a better radio station.

I hope that you spend some time with us, but more importantly if you know people with kids under 10 and a digital radio – make sure they tune in!

Amazing Radio Launches

Earlier today, just after Midnight, without much of a fanfare, a new digital radio station appeared on Digital One’s national commercial DAB multiplex – Amazing Radio.

Amazing Radio is the sister service to the website Amazingtunes. Amazingtunes lets new bands upload music to the site so visitors can listen and buy the tracks. The revenue for these music sales is split 70% with the artists and 30% with the site itself. The radio station will play playlists (of the unsigned bands) chosen by users from their website.

Choosing to go on Digital One is an interesting move for the site. It’s not a cheap thing to do (even with the launch announced as a six month pilot) and is sure to have set them back a bit of a wedge. Looking at CrunchBase, it says that AmazingTunes raised £600k in 2006 and a further £800k in 2007. I’d imagine that to achieve this expansion they will have needed to raise additional funds.

However, it is a good way to promote their site. The online unsigned sector is notoriously competitive, but by going on DAB nationally it will bring the brand to nearly a third of UK (and slightly skewed to those who are interested in digital technologies and music).

What’s their business model likely to be? Who’s knows.

In the traditional world the station would be funded by advertising. In other words, the scale of their audience would encourage advertisers to put messages in their programming in exchange for money. This money would pay for the station and generate and additional profit.

However, I don’t expect this to be the main source of revenue. An unsigned band radio station will generate a small audience and it’s unlikely to provide a large number of hours. Even with the best will in the world, a super-specialist-muso audience is still unlikely to make the station a primary listen.

I think more likely the reason is to drive awareness and use of the main site – amazingtunes.com. The website is a direct to consumer proposition and a transactional site. They can derive ad revenue from online and music sales (as well as a maybe even a little commercial revenue on the radio station too).

Will the radio station last for ever? Will it even make it past its six month ‘pilot’? Who knows. And to be honest does it really matter if it fails? Well, for the owners i’m sure they hope it’s a success, but to me it’s about using the flexibility of the platform and doing ‘different’ things. If there’s spare capacity and they think it can drive their business, good for them. If, along the way, some listeners get further value out of their digital radio, that’s great too. Even if their model is to get more well known so they get more users so they can sell themselves to CBS (and it might well be) then I think that’s actually fine too.

If it dies on its arse, then it dies on it arse. I’d sooner we had a platform where some new ideas could fail, than not have a platform that let them try stuff out.

Many existing radio groups are floundering due to fast declining commercial revenue, a strong, well-programmed BBC and a seeming lack of forward-thinking. Their traditional models are breaking down and the main response has been to do what they’ve always done, but more efficiently. This, on its own, is unlikely to be sustainable.

Now, i’m not saying that they should replace Heart with an unsigned jukebox funded by micro-payments, but having a portfolio of diverse services with diverse revenue streams is probably a more sensible way forward.

So good luck to Amazing Radio, and good luck to other operators who want to try and do something different.

Bof! Digital Radio in France

Uncharacteristically (!), France has been somewhat late to the digital radio party, but now that they’re in, they’re really going for it.

News today from WorldDMB that the French Government are mandating that all radios must be digital ones:

The law sets out a three step programme to integrate digital radio into all radio receivers:
– 1st September 2010 – radio receiver which can display multimedia content will have digital
radio reception enabled with the exception of in-car terminals
– 1st September 2012 – all new terminals will be dedicated to the reception of digital radio and
multimedia with the exception of in-car terminals
– 1st September 2013 – all radio receivers will be digital

It’s quite a rapid roll-out and something that will ceratinly help generate a more speedy appearance of digital radios in UK cars too.

Digital Transitions

I was reading the, rather excellent, Infinite Dial blog last night and it made me smile. Over in the States they’re having some trouble with their version of digital radio, HD Radio. Unlike DAB in the UK, HD Radio basically allows them to squeeze a digital version of the station and usually an extra station within the FM frequency. So an analogue listener gets their station and a digital listener gets the same station and another one in ‘digital’ quality. It also stops any more of that pesky competition sneaking in.

The article talks about the problems that they face in pushing this new technology, especially when there’s well marketed Satellite Radio to compete with. The problems they’re facing – set prices, reception and retail interest – is something that we’ve faced in the UK as we started to roll out DAB Digital Radio. The key way we overcame this was:

Helping to get the prices down

1. Before a manufacturer could build a DAB radio they needed to buy a ‘chipset’ off a manufacturer. This chipset cost quite a lot, so when everything else was factored in, it made the radio expensive. Therefore, you need to get the price of the chipset down. Digital One invested around a million quid into chipset design (with a chipset manufacturer). This spurred them on to make a cheap chipset, Digital One then got a cut of every chipset sold. Result! It didn’t actually cost them a lot of money, and it produced a new (non-traditional) revenue stream. It also kicked the other chipset manufacturers into competing with this new release – the market takes over – Bingo! Mission accomplished.

2. The industry really wanted a £99 digital radio, but the volumes required to do this scared off the manufacturers. The UK radio industry therefore underwrote the first batch of radios. They were more confident than the manufacturer that they could be sold! The radio came out, was a huge success (the Evoke-1 is now the world’s best selling radio) and the money was never needed.

Retailers

Electronics retailers aren’t exactly known for their insight and enthusiasm for anything. The bosses, however, are obsessed with data, it influences all of their buying decisions. Manufacturers are also keen to jump on any trend. The radio industry formed the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) to help with this. They employed experts on retail and manufacturing to help sell the story of digital radio. Using case studies like the Evoke 1 above, market trend information and their own commissioned research they started selling the story to the naysayers.

This was all backed up with an ‘airtime’ bank donated by the radio groups. It would support manufacturers/retailers who supported digital radio. The lure of free publicity attracted some new players, they were turned into case studies and then the DRDB pushed again at more partners. For example, the main reason Sony came on board was that they saw the Evoke eating into their UK radio sales, with more information from the DRDB they had the tools to make decisions about how (and why) to enter the UK market.

Reception (from the building and from the staff)

Big metal sheds aren’t the best locations to pick up any radio signals. Sky TV get into all those stores because they hook them all up for free and the salesmen make extra money on the commission. There’s an incentive for them to sell. UK digital radio learned this (the hard way after being ignored). They engaged the staff directly. They turned up at all the multiples’ big training days and conferences teaching the staff about the benefits of digital radio and helped them with answers to the types of questions customers were asking. They also started a monthly prize draw for staff at any retailer across the country.

When any staff had made a sale they could enter a draw to win prizes. Yep, there was all the typical stuff, money, electronics etc, but they also used the radio industry relationships too. Things like meet and greets with pop stars, backstage tickets, visits to radio stations, even presenting your own show on a digital radio station too. It served to get them excited about DAB. They wanted to have more chances of entering, so the staff themselves helped fixing some of the niggles in-store.

Picking up signals in buildings has been a tougher nut to crack, but the UK industry has just got a fix for that too. In the same way Sky is hooking up stores, retailers are now being offered the chance of having an ‘instore repeater’ to boost signals in a building. The encouragement is also coming from research – when listeners can hear digital radio in-store it can increase sales by up to 50% – that’s an incentive for the retailers to jump on board.

All this activity is annoying and time consuming and not very radio at all. I was stuck at the Motor Show one year showing customers, but more importantly car manufacturers, about DAB in-car and the benefits etc. But it’s all incredibly necessary. If you really believe in the product – like UK radio has with DAB – you have to be willing to go the extra mile to persuade others to get involved too.

The UK’s DAB success (currently 5m sets sold) only started when we truly worked hard engaging with other sectors. Unfortunately we only realised this three years after we started broadcasting stations! If HD Radio wants to be a success, the US radio industry will need to work much harder with retailers and manufacturers to make it happen. Because without them on board, you’re wasting your time talking to the listeners.