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New drive to boost digital radio

Taskforce wants to increase listeners

A new government taskforce has been set up to promote digital radio and increase the number of people listening to it.

Currently just over 20 per cent of people in the UK live in a DAB household and more than 5.5 million sets had been sold by the end of September 2007.

Many more people listen via digital TV and the government wants to encourage more people to tune into digital radio.

The Digital Radio Working Group – which includes representatives from the BBC and commercial radio – will now look at what the barriers are to growth in the digital radio market and how those barriers can be tackled. It is due to report back in late 2008.

Working group

Culture Secretary James Purnell said: ‘Digital radio offers more choice to consumers and the British radio industry is leading the world in the transition to digital. 

‘There would be great advantages for both consumers and business to completing that transition, but there are also a number of obstacles.

‘I have asked the group to develop a consensus about whether, how and when those obstacles could be overcome.’

There are currently 18 national digital radio stations compared to nine national analogue radio stations.

The number of digital-only stations will increase to 26 from next July when the 4 Digital Group starts broadcasting.

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