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    Feedback: The future of digital radio

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    I live in Hertfordshire, in the Chiltern Hills, less than 30 miles from London . This is hardly the back of beyond, and you would not think that hills barely 500ft high would prove an impenetrable barrier to a digital signal, but that seems to be the reality in parts of my village, though not where I am.

    I have a digital radio in my car and often drive up to Cumbria, losing the digital signal on parts of my journey.

    I also have analogue as well as digital radios at home and I never know which one I should set my watch by since they broadcast the pips at slightly different times.

    I listen to the Today programme most days and have lost count of the times one of its digital lines goes down suddenly leaving the presenters (almost) lost for words. You may gather from this that, like many Feedback listeners, I am sceptical about some of the claims made for the quality and range of digital transmissions.

    On the other hand I really enjoy 6 Music, so nearly defenestrated from Broadcasting House, and also 4 Extra,(although The Navy Lark and the Clitheroe Kid do not hold up as well as I had hoped) and I think that podcasts and the iPlayer are fabulous.

    So I approached this week's Feedback discussion on the future of digital radio with real anticipation.

    Here is some background.

    • 20% of all listening is done in cars.
    • Just under a third of all listening is now done via digital and the target of 50% of all listening to be digital by 2013 will not now be met.
    • The Government says it will announce by the end of 2013 whether there will be a so called digital switchover (and analogue switch off) at all.
    • New research at a recent conference about digital receivers in cars suggested that a third of people in the UK did not see the need for DAB radio at all.

    That was the background to my discussion with the BBC's outgoing Director of Audio and Music, Tim Davie (he is off to run BBC Worldwide), Steve Humbles, who is Product Marketing Manager, Ford of Britain, and listener Michael Hingston, who can't listen to his DAB radio in Welwyn Garden City, in Hertfordshire.

    Here is our discussion

    By the way Feedback on Friday afternoons is slightly shorter than the repeat of the programme on Sunday evenings. This is because 4 minutes are edited out to make way for the Listening Project. It is the shorter version that is available on iPlayer.

    So if you want more Feedback, do listen on Sunday nights - and do keep telling us what to do.

    Your wish is our command.

    Roger Bolton

    Roger Bolton presents Feedback on Radio 4.

    • Listen to this week's Feedback
    • Listen again to this week's Feedback, get in touch with the programme, find out how to join the listener panel or subscribe to the podcast on the Feedback web page.
    • Read all of Roger's Feedback blog posts.

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