Digital radio - monopolistic & failed technology

Steve Satan tony at
Thu Sep 23 22:35:56 BST 2010

Don't throw away yr FM radios folks cos DAB is looking likely to fail
Only Denmark has even partly taken up this technology
And the transmitter owners are ramping up the 
charges to use it excluding all but the richest 
broadcasters such as the BBC and Global Radio


DAB provides far lower audio quality than FM -- 
DAB has notoriously bad reception, FM "degrades 
gracefully" when the signal isn't strong, whereas 
DAB produces incredibly annoying "bubbling mud" sounds.


Why Save FM?

People simply don't want FM to be switched off -- 
whenever it's mentioned there's a huge amount of opposition to the idea
People don't want to replace so much audio 
equipment that work perfectly well --  the public 
shouldn't be forced to spend billions of pounds 
replacing the 120 - 150 million devices currently 
in-use that can receive FM perfectly well, 
especially when this is only happening to bail 
out the commercial radio broadcasters, and so 
that the BBC can avoid losing listeners to 
Internet radio. The public doesn't want this to 
happen, and DAB actually provides lower quality 
than FM, so the vast majority of people would 
actually receive a worse service on DAB than on FM.
Ofcom's market research has shown that over 90% 
of people are "very satisfied" with what they're 
receiving on FM, so they shouldn't even be considering switching off FM
DAB is unpopular with consumers, and it would 
have failed completely in the next few years 
without Government assistance -- annual sales are 
50% below the industry's targets and year-on-year 
sales growth plummeted and have never recovered 
-- proof that the public doesn't want it, so why 
is such an incredibly unpopular system being 
forced upon us? There was a case for switching 
off analogue TV, because the vast majority of 
people wanted more choice than just five analogue 
TV channels, but people typically receive far 
more than five FM radio stations -- and as 
Ofcom's research showed, people are happy with the amount of choice on FM.
DAB provides far lower audio quality than FM -- 
why should we have to accept such blatant Luddism?
DAB is an outdated and inefficient system that 
was designed in the 1980s -- why should we accept 
this diabolical replacement in the first place 
when far superior systems such as DAB+ and in 
particular Internet radio exist? The speed of 
mobile broadband systems are about to be 
transformed in a similar fashion to the change 
from dial-up to broadband over the next few 
years. Why pick the worst possible time 
imaginable to push ahead with the Diabolical Audio Broadcasting system?
FM radios are far greener than DAB radios could 
ever be -- DAB radios consume several times as 
much energy as FM radios do, and DAB will never 
approach the energy efficiency of FM radios.
Internet radio provides far higher audio quality 
than DAB -- virtually everyone from outside the 
radio industry thinks it's a crazy idea to use DAB
DAB has notoriously bad reception quality -- and 
FM "degrades gracefully" when the signal isn't 
strong, whereas DAB produces incredibly annoying "bubbling mud" type sounds
The public has never been asked whether it wants 
FM to be switched off, and it is simply being 
forced upon us by the Government which is once 
again showing that it bends over backwards to 
help big business but consumers have to suffer the consequences.
The BBC has never consulted with the public about 
whether it wants DAB to replace FM, or whether 
the public wants the audio quality on DAB to be 
worse than on FM. When the BBC held a public 
consultation for its five new digital-only radio 
stations it deliberately omitted to mention that 
the launch of these new stations would result in 
the audio quality of the existing stations being 
drastically reduced. The public should be 
consulted on whether they consider it to be 
acceptable that DAB replaces FM even though DAB provides lower audio quality.
FM isn't even being switched off anyway, because 
the Digital Britain report says that the FM band 
would carry "ultra-local" stations after the 
bigger FM stations have been switched off, so 
people should be allowed to continue listening to 
at least the BBC's stations via FM if they want 
to without being forced to spend several hundred 
up to potentially thousands of pounds replacing 
existing audio equipment that works perfectly well
The plan to speed up switching off FM stations is 
simply being done to bail out the commercial 
radio broadcasters who don't want to pay to 
transmit on both analogue and digital because it 
costs them too much money -- pass me the tissues, 
I'm going to cry. There needs to be a far better 
reason to make 120 - 150 million radios obsolete 
than that lame excuse of a reason!
Transmitting FM only costs £10 million per annum 
-- just 17 pence per person per year, and just 
0.27% of the £3,600 million the BBC receives each 
year -- The Digital Britain report said that FM 
only needed £200m to be spent on it to keep it 
going for the next 20 years. FM is superb value-for-money.
The BBC likes DAB because it's the platform on 
which its stations face the least amount of 
competition. The BBC should not take decisions 
that are against the interests of licence fee 
payers just so that the BBC can avoid losing radio listeners!

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