Speaking at Radio’s Digital Countdown, a radio industry conference attended by over 200 broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and industry stakeholders, the minister described the progress made by vehicle manufacturers, enabling drivers to listen to the full range of national and local digital stations in their cars. "There’s no doubt that the future of radio is digital. More than 30 million of us are tuning in every week, with digital listening hours increasing every year,” said Mr. Vaizey. “Today’s conference has highlighted the great progress that's been made across the 3 Cs of digital radio - content, coverage and cars - offering listeners more choice than ever before.”
Data from industry analysts CAP and The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders for Q3 2105 show that the number of new cars equipped with digital radios as standard equipment in September 2015 has increased by 40% compared to September of 2014 (343,000 in September 2015 vs 245,000 in September 2014) and that the proportion with digital radio has increased to 74.1 percent from 57.6 percent in September 2014, and 41.5% in September of 2013.Additionally a further 7 percent of all new cars offer digital radio as an option, meaning that over 80 percent of cars (81.2 percent) are now available with digital radio.
In the last quarter, over 500,000 cars (527,000) have been sold with digital radio as standard equipment; during the last 12 months, 1.75 million cars have been sold with digital radio as standard equipment.
“Vehicle Manufacturers have made the decision to outfit digital radio in new cars in response to the increasing popularity of digital radio, the increase in the number of exclusive digital radio stations, and the expansion of DAB transmitters to cover the major road network.
The UK Government has set coverage and listening criteria for a future radio switchover, while Norway has become the first country in the world to set a timetable for radio switchover (the end of 2017),” said Digital Radio UK, in their press release. “The Digital Countdown event marks the start of the countdown to the biggest change in UK radio in a generation...with the expected completion of the provision of digital radio in over 90% of new cars; the launch of the second national commercial digital radio multiplex with at least 15 digital stations; and the completion of the planned expansion of national and local DAB coverage.”