Digital radio services now reach an additional 8m listeners following a bumper 2014 in which six out of 10 new cars sold were equipped with a digital radio and a planned doubling of the local digital transmitter network.
The stats were reeled off by Ed Vaizey, minister for culture and the digital economy, this morning (6 February), who confirmed that 182 digital transmitters will be jointly built with the BBC by 2016, increasing DAB coverage from 72 to 91 per cent.
Vaizey said: “Digital radio is the future of radio in the UK and I am delighted that Government has been able to play its part in this major expansion which will help accelerate the transition to digital radio.”
BBC director of radio Helen Boaden, added: “The BBC is playing its part in the development of digital radio across the UK. We are completing the expansion of the BBC national DAB network to 97 per cent of the population this year and contributing funding to expand local DAB coverage thereby ensuring listeners can receive local BBC stations on DAB.”
Latest Rajar numbers show that digital listening now accounts for 37.9 per cent of all listening hours, up from 20.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Digital radio’s advance comes as The Drum invites fans of the medium to participate in this month’s Air Your Briefs challenge, which lays down the gauntlet to devise a radio campaign to ‘Save Soho’ from property developers.