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Old 20th Mar 2018, 16:45
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Cool No static at all

BBC scraps plans to turn off FM radio:

The BBC has cancelled plans to switch off FM radio broadcasts and force millions of listeners to tune into digital transmissions.

The corporation is set to announce FM will remain as part of a 'hybrid' future that will operate alongside DAB and the internet.

Bob Shennan, the director of BBC radio and music, will confirm the scrapping tomorrow, The Daily Telegraph reports.

He will also urge broadcasters to work together to ensure the survival of radio, saying Government plants to switch of analogue broadcast could restrict listeners' choice.

'We all once thought that DAB was the only digital future of radio, but audiences want choice,' Mr Shennan will tell a radio industry conference in Vienna.

'We now know DAB is important, but only part of the story, along with FM and the internet. We need to do more before we consider a switchover in the UK, and for that to be genuinely audience-led.'

Analogue radio was originally set to begin turning off in 2015 under Government plans.

But a weak take-up of DAB meant the plans were scrapped and ministers said a switchover would begin after digital audiences accounted for half of overall listening.

That threshold has already passed - with DAB accounting for 36 per cent and the internet leading digital audience with more than 50 per cent.

Last year commercial stations gained a higher shared of the population than the BBC for the first time.

Mr Shennan will add that broadcasters should keep transmitting analogue signals to protect traditional strongholds of radio listening, such as in cars.

Newer cars offer online streaming to apps including Spotify and Apple Music and are also connected to mobile internet.

The proliferation of faster 5G intenet 'has the potential to transform radio again', Mr Shennan will add.

Mr Shennan's appeal for commercial rivals in the radio industry to work together indicates an increasing fear at the BBC over the ever-widening choice for audiences online.

It comes after BBC deputy director general Anne Bulford asked the commercial television industry for greater collaboration to tackle the threat from Netlfix and Amazon.
Daily Mail

Mr Shennan recognises that "audiences want choice". I thought this was part of the attraction of DAB.

True, I can find extra programme content on DAB compared to FM. I can also experience limited-fidelity music stations, some in mono! Perhaps I should feed those through a 1950s FM wireless, for the full effect...

In fact, I prefer the sound of the FM outlets of the BBC national networks over their DAB counterparts. Despite those DAB bit rates being relatively generous.

I imagine this decision will benefit listeners in patchy DAB areas. 'Bubbling mud', anyone?

It's also good for the environment. There must be many millions of FM sets nationwide. Why send them to landfill, or a polluted Third World village for dismantling?
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 16:53
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If they sorted out the whole country being covered by DAB then we would all have a choice. If all you can get is the FM signal, then that is your only choice, no radio 6, no 4xtra, et al.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 17:06
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As above, no DAB here at all and no plans to make it available, but we can get a reasonable FM signal. I even went to the trouble of installing and external DAB antenna, at significant expense, thinking that it might allow us to listen to the radio when they turn FM off, but even that can't get a hint of a DAB signal, so I may as well have not bothered.

Perhaps someone in the BBC lives in a rural area and has realised that once you turn off main roads or leave high ground DAB reception just falls over.

Good new that they are hanging on to FM, as with pretty slow "broadband" speeds, no terrestrial TV signal, no mobile signal and no DAB signal we were rather wondering whether we were going to have to listen to the radio using the TV, via Freesat.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 18:48
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Although I live in a region where DAB is widely available, the geography prevents me from receiving it as I live down a steep hill with no line-of-sight to the transmitter.
I would need a rooftop aerial with a long pole - and that isn't suitable for portable radio receivers.
My regular listening is transmitted from a location a couple of miles away - on medium wave.
It is the only radio programme broadcast from that transmitter, and 'my' programme isn't available on FM, so I am afraid lest they decide to close-down my local source.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 18:55
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...and the time signal late.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 19:01
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Since a couple of years no new FM licenses have been granted here. All existing FM stations are duplicating to DAB+. FM will be gone here in a few years.

Dinosaurs will continue to roam other countries.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 19:03
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Originally Posted by John Marsh View Post
Mr Shennan recognises that "audiences want choice". I thought this was part of the attraction of DAB.
My preferred choice is not to have to throw out and replace several radios.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 19:24
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A lot of keen music lovers complain that the DAB quality is not as good as FM because of the number of multiplexed programmes. Further, although HMG and Brussels would win out because of the amount of VAT accruing from replacing all those old radios, the effect on balance of payments would not be good, because there is very little domestic radio production left. Good for China, Japan and the Far East, though!
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 19:37
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Originally Posted by ExXB View Post
Since a couple of years no new FM licenses have been granted here. All existing FM stations are duplicating to DAB+. FM will be gone here in a few years.

Dinosaurs will continue to roam other countries.
The problem here is that they've rolled out DAB radio without putting enough transmitters in place to cover a lot of rural areas. Exactly the same problem occurred when they rolled out terrestrial digital TV.

Like many areas, the pattern of development here is for the settlements to be in valleys, yet the transmitters are all up on top of the high plain above. Lower frequency transmissions, like long wave, medium wave and even VHF FM can just about get down into the valleys, as could the higher powered, lower frequency, analogue TV signal (although with some difficulty).

The advent of higher frequency, lower transmitted power, digital services just removes reception from many rural communities, even though they may be quite close to large conurbations.

When we lost analogue terrestrial TV here a few years ago, the entire village had to apply for planning permission to fit satellite dishes, as it's a conservation area and also inside an area of outstanding natural beauty. In the end planning permission was only granted for low level dishes, not any mounted at or near roof height. Everyone in the village had to switch to satellite TV, whereas in the past they had been able to receive analogue terrestrial TV OK. I would guess the cost to the community of this was many tens of thousands of pounds, just to retain a service they had been using for decades.

The same would have happened had they decided to shut down FM radio, as the much higher frequency DAB signals just don't terrain follow very well.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 20:12
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This should be good news for one of the UK's last FM transmitter manufacturers. Some of you may have heard of them - Eddystone
I was lucky enough to work with them in the mid 2000's to 2015 (several owners) but still manufacturing in the Midlands.
www.eddystone-broadcast.co.uk

As a side, I also had the pleasure to work with Ferrograph Limited, the well renowned tape to tape manufacturer, although they have changed to an entirely different type of manufacturing. LED/TFT/Plasma displays are their realm these days.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 20:14
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Nice job on the thread title, Master Marsh.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 20:20
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Originally Posted by vapilot2004 View Post
Nice job on the thread title, Master Marsh.
I did wonder if Donald Fagen or Walt Becker had died.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 20:36
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I didn't know until you mentioned it; Becker did die, late last summer, J. Jim.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 20:56
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
The advent of higher frequency, lower transmitted power, digital services just removes reception from many rural communities, even though they may be quite close to large conurbations.
Purely a design consideration. You should look up 'DRM' - digital radio mondiale. In short, digital broadcasting on the long- and medium- wavebands. A newer standard than DAB, so the more advanced coding algorithms yield better qualities at lower bandwidths. One transmitter would cover the whole of the UK, in fact I believe we transmit from a site near Devon to Brazil.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 21:11
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Originally Posted by Lascaille View Post
Purely a design consideration. You should look up 'DRM' - digital radio mondiale. In short, digital broadcasting on the long- and medium- wavebands. A newer standard than DAB, so the more advanced coding algorithms yield better qualities at lower bandwidths. One transmitter would cover the whole of the UK, in fact I believe we transmit from a site near Devon to Brazil.
Sadly there are no plans to introduce such a system for broadcasting in the UK, as far as I'm aware. We are stuck with a relatively old DAB standard that offers poorer performance than FM and is extremely susceptible to impulse interference, that causes fairly long silences in transmissions.

I have a DAB built in radio in my car, but rarely, if ever, use it, as it is frustrating when it just goes silent every few minutes as it loses the signal or gets a bit of impulse interference. There is sometimes a bit if interference on FM in the car, but never enough to make the thing inaudible.
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Old 20th Mar 2018, 21:24
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One reason for the reprieve of FM radio broadcast is that there is no great demand for other users to take over its spectrum.

The UHF TV spectrum is gradually being whittled down because it is useful for cellular radio and earns substantial licence fees for government, but this is not the case with the FM radio band because its propagation characteristics are not suitable for cellular.
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 11:01
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...and the time signal late
I'm a Radio 4 junkie. As I walk through my house from the kitchen (old Roberts radio stuck on long wave), through the dining room (modern FM radio) to the sitting room (TV on tuned to digital radio channel) it can be quite disconcerting, rather like an echo. Is it beyond the capabilities of the engineers to arrange things so that the time signal is received at the correct time on all systems?

Since a couple of years no new FM licenses have been granted here (Switzerland). All existing FM stations are duplicating to DAB+. FM will be gone here in a few years.
Was it you who recommended Radio Swiss Classic some time ago, ExXB?. If so many thanks, it is a regular late night companion when I am on the computer. No drivelly ads and Lord of the Rings stuff as on Classic FM, and no dreadful jazz or "world music" which Radio 3 inflicts on us at night. Just constant mainstream classics, each with a short intro in German which is improving my fluency in the language!
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 11:05
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The problem with DAB is it is very hot and miss when out and about.

I use a personal DAB when I walk the dog and some stations are good and some are a waste of time.

In particular Talk Radio UK. I can’t get it at all in the house. On my personal it go’s in and out and is impossible to listen to. On the dab converter in my car it is a no no as well.

I live on the South coast not in some oitmof the way place.
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 11:30
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No DAB here at all.

The Government launched the first 'trials' in a few cities just late last year.

https://radiotoday.co.uk/2017/11/fra...transmissions/

But no great loss, really, as all my Radio listening comes streamed over the internet - 30,000+ stations from almost anywhere in the world.
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Old 21st Mar 2018, 11:43
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I would like to think that AM/FM still represents a reasonable strategic alternative to the internet/DAB.

Local AM/FM should still get through to inform the population after the demise of all the space junk.

After all, other than knowing where the food storage areas and the bunkers are located, sombre music may be all one needs.

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