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Talking DAB and the future of radio

Tony Moretta on the switchover 'scare'

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Better hardware... and WiFi

You can buy an Argos DAB radio for £24.99 but we think that needs to be down to £15 to £20. If you're looking at a Phillips branded DAB set you're looking at £50. Customers need better information and better marketing.

Where we're seeing a lot of growth is microsystems with DAB. Selling more. We've seen loads of manufacturers coming into it. Gear4 and Altec Lansing are bringing out DAB sets with iPod docks. Yamaha are coming back into the market. There's some nice kit coming out - new Philips and new Sonys are there.

We need better adapters. People talk about the Pure Highway car adapter, but cars are also getting Bluetooth fitted as standard, that will help. But also SatNavs. TrafficMaster have found they can push 30 to 40 times the data over the DAB TPEG [data path] than they can with analog RDS. It's another example of how moving to digital can let you do different things.

And you're not worried about WiFi?

I'd love every DAB radio to have WiFi- for that return path. But a lot of retailers are reducing their WiFi radio stocks because they're not selling; 40,000 were sold last year, and that includes DAB sets with WiFi. That's 6,000 a month. What the retailers are seeing is that people aren't buying standalone WiFi radios.

It's almost a decade since the Psion Wavefinder and we wrote at the time how that data capability could be exploited. It never has been really...

We haven't as an industry been able to paint a picture of what you can do with digital radio.

When some people hear data the first reaction is to put a web browser in the device. But people won't sit there staring at their radio. One of the good things about radio is that it's one of the few media that you can do while doing something else.

Over the next few months you will get a colour touch screen DAB radios - and it's so if you're doing something and hear a competition, or an advert, you don't want to interact with it then but you can tag something you hear for later. It could be a competition or an advertisement. The radio knows exactly what station you were listening to, at what time, the station will know what was being broadcast, so later on that day, you can get email. People will see you can't do that on an FM radio.®

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