Latest Q1 2018 RAJAR Figures Show Digital Radio Overtakes FM & AM

The latest RAJAR figures report that digital radio listening in the UK has again seen a rise for the first quarter of 2018 - overtaking for the first time listening via FM and AM services.

According to RAJAR (the Radio Joint Audience Research), the share of all radio listening via a digital platform now stands at 50.9% - up 8% year on year.

Digital platforms account for anything from DAB radios, online (through computers, or apps on mobiles and tablets), and also through digital TV.

Does this mean a digital switchover?

Without doubt, it casts further examination on whether the decision will be made by the UK government to have a complete digital radio switchover in the coming years.

In March 2018, the BBC director of radio and music, Bob Shennan, made clear his desire that FM radio still serves a purpose, and that it was too soon to make a complete switchover.

Speaking at the Radiodays Europe conference in Vienna, Shennan said: "Great progress has been made but switchover now would be premature,"

"For now we believe audiences are best served by a mixed economy," he went on to say, indicating a stance that all platforms still have their place for the time being.

These latest figures could put huge pressure on the UK Government, as it hits the target set out by the Digital Economy Act 2010 to seriously consider the switchover.

Norway last year became the first country in Europe to switch off their FM transmitters to go completely digital (however - there are still a handful of fiercely protected FM signals being broadcast locally).

With Brexit on the horizon, and many government departments looking to countries who maintain relationships with the EU without being full members, such as Norway, could the UK follow suit? Perhaps, but despite the increase in the RAJAR figures, not everyone can get a decent DAB reception right now.

Terrible DAB signal? What you could do

If the Government does choose to go for a digital radio switchover, additional DAB transmitters would need to commissioned to fill the gaps in DAB multiplex coverage across the country.

Local smaller-scale DAB multiplexes, which are simplified, lower-coverage could also local radio coverage in those areas not covered by a commercial local DAB multiplex.

Some stations currently are not clear enough to pick up in certain areas, but Sound Digital Limited, who run some of the lesser known commercial DAB stations are rolling out another 19 DAB transmitters by the end of the year.

I live in an area where it says I can get DAB - but it's still rubbish?

In urban areas, when DAB signal fails it may be because of the building you live in, its construction or being in an exceedingly built up area. It's getting better to get around these factors, but you might still struggle.

Another option then, especially if the above sounds like your situation, is to plump for an Internet radio - so long as your broadband is of a relatively decent speed.

You might be happy to have what you're listening to via your mobile, tablet, PC or TV, however there's more than meets the eye with Internet radio.