The UK’s “FM Switch off”, current best guess around 2015, could mean that 80% of cars on the roads today would have radios that no longer work.
These cars are known in the industry as ‘legacy cars” and risk being left without any signal when the switch-off finally takes place. That date is rapidly approaching as we enter 2012. There are currently 34 million cars in the UK and with only 2 million being scrapped and replaced with new ones each year this is going to be a serious problem.
Just over a quarter of us currently listen to digital radio at home but in the car it is a different story. Whilst driving, a whopping 98% of us still listen to analogue radio.
Obviously you would think that the car manufacturers are all set up and ready for the big change but Safer Motorways has learned that this is not the case. In fact many manufacturers don’t offer digital radio as an option even if you are willing to fork out the extra money. Most people assume that new cars come with digital radios but you will be surprised to learn that the number of new cars fitted with DAB radios is currently running at an astonishing low number – just 18%.
DIGITAL RADIO UK are the body responsible for managing the switch from analogue to digital and they are hoping to educate the driving public through a major public awareness campaign. Not surprisingly the industry has been working to mitigate the problems associated with the change over and Digital Radio UK hope they will be able to “rubber stamp” those radio conversions that are guaranteed to work in order to protect the public and help them manage the switch.
So what exactly are the options for anyone caught with an analogue radio:
- You can swap your radio for a new DAB one before the change happens (current best estimate 2015).
- Upgrade your old model with a hidden black box that will enable your existing hardware to work.
- Buy an after-market plug-in that will work on your cigar lighter.
To add to the pain, remember, whichever option you go for you will need to fit a new DAB aerial.
As recession continues to bite in the UK more and more people will be keeping their cars longer so it is unlikely that this problem will go away soon. So much for the digital revolution eh?