Protest against FM radio switch-off - the truth about DAB

Disappointing Audio Broadcast

This is a call for all members to put pen to paper and send the UK Government a "Strong Clear Signal"!

I am asking you to write a letter to your local MP and lobby them to halt the plans for the Analogue radio switch off which is targeted for 2015. This is a totally unnecessary move to force the change to digital radio without any real benefit to anyone other than the failing DAB radio industry and profitless commercial broadcasters. We cannot prevent the eventual switchover, but we can make it clear that this is neither the time to do it, nor the correct system to use. Below are the most salient points that you should make very clear in your letter.

OFCOM research shows that 4 out of 5 listeners are happy with current choice of analogue stations and audio quality.

Power consumption of DAB receivers is much higher. Typically an AM/FM radio will give 375 hours of listening on batteries costing £6 where a similar quality DAB radio only gives 32 hours at a cost of £9. This is an unacceptable increase in listening cost for everyone and especially those on low incomes and pensions and increases the cost of responsible battery disposal. It is also true to say that mains powered DAB receivers are more power hungry.

The DAB system used in the UK is now obsolescent with only two other European countries using it. Any digital broadcasting should be using DAB+ with the more efficient AAC codec instead of MP2 of the 1980’s. FM on good equipment will always beat DAB for sound quality without annoying “drop-outs” and background “bubbling mud” noises. FM works well in large built-up areas and when in vehicles. DAB requires many extra smaller relay transmitters to give the same coverage as FM or AM.

Massive cost to consumers to replace the approx 150 Million perfectly good working receivers with inferior sound quality DAB receivers that suffer from a multitude of reception problems.

Recycling of analogue receivers will only cover modern portables, the rest will be confined to land-fill.

The Government are actively looking for ways to reduce spending so halt the building of new transmitters which will cost a huge amount of money to get full nationwide coverage, when the House of Lords report on digital broadcasting in the UK states that FM transmitters can be maintained fully for the next 20 years for £200 Million which is less than 20 pence per person each year saving listeners millions not having to buy new equipment.

Millions of listeners using built in vehicle receivers will be lost because of inadequate mobile DAB reception and no mass-produced cars yet include DAB receivers fitted as standard, and are not likely to for years to come.

You should write as a personal protest in respect to your own personal situation and how it will affect you, and not as a vintage wireless collector, nor as a BVWS protest. The BVWS Committee will be sending a letter directly to the Prime Minister with these points and many more.