Culture minister Ed Vaizey is expected to postpone a decision on when to switch off analogue radio signals at a conference later today, extending a period of political obfuscation over the transition to digital radio.
Ministers had until the end of the year to set out a timetable for the switchover following implementation of the 2010 Digital Economy Act, but had left it right up to the last minute to make their minds up.
That hesitancy stems from a need to meet the desires of broadcasters clamouring for a clear timetable and a sceptical public who haven’t yet embraced the technology – and who are likely to punish any politician at the ballot box who confiscates their cherished analogue radios.
Unwilling to open that particular can of worms Vaizey is expected to cite ongoing technical hiccups affecting the technology, which include reports of sets cutting out and locking onto particular channels.
Instead Vaizey is to launch a ‘listener-led’ exercise to promote uptake of digital at a gentler pace.