Addressing a “Go Digital” reception in the House of Commons, Mr Vaizey confirmed that the future of radio is digital and announced the positive progress made in terms of consumers, cars and coverage.
Mr Vaizey said that 34.3 per cent of all radio listening hours is now on digital platforms and that 50 per cent of the UK is now listening to radio on a digital platform each week.
Mr Vaizey said: “These are exciting times for digital radio as recent years have seen more and more people choosing to listen through digital means. More than a third of listening to the radio is done through digital now and almost 40 per cent of new cars now have digital radios fitted. I look forward to seeing the industry continue to grow in the coming years.”
Digital Radio UK chief executive of Ford Ennals highlighted the importance of radio listening in cars, announcing that 40 per cent of new cars in the UK now come with digital radio as standard.
“Clearly, the future for radio is digital and today’s announcement that nearly 40 per cent of new cars have digital radios fitted as standard shows increasing momentum among car manufacturers, which means that listeners will be able to enjoy the additional choice of stations and the sound quality of digital radio on the move,” he said.
Director of BBC Radio Helen Boaden said that the BBC would continue to invest in digital radio content and the expansion of DAB digital radio coverage and she welcomed the Government’s commitment to a decision on switchover this year.
John Cresswell, chief executive of broadcasting and communications infrastructure company Arqiva, confirmed that DAB digital radio coverage of both national and local stations continued to expand and that Ofcom had completed the plan for building out DAB coverage to equal that of FM.
The reception was hosted by radio presenter Lauren Laverne and attended by many other presenters, including Neil Fox, Denise van Outen and Paul Gambaccini.