Feeds

Save DAB! Send FM radios to Africa

Or bury them in a hole in the ground. We don't care

New hybrid storage solutions

Dumping tech is in the news again. Last week MIT's Nicholas Negroponte appealed for broken OLPC laptops to be sent to Haiti, but this will be dwarfed if the UK radio industry gets its way. Trade body Digital Radio UK wants Britons to send perfectly good working FM radios to Africa, in the hope it will accelerate our migration to DAB.

What's the thinking, then? Digital radio has stalled worldwide - it's not just a uniquely British or a uniquely DAB phenomenon - and the Digital Economy Bill failed to set a date for a switchover. It's a chicken and egg problem: the unique digital radio programming doesn't draw the listeners, and without the listeners, why produce the content, or pay the carriage?

DRUK has watched the pork-barrel scrappage scheme for cars and had a lightbulb moment. If you can persuade punters to throw out, they'll have to listen on digital. Simples? The problem is there are 150 million perfectly good working FM radios, and even setting up a dedicated repatriation scheme will do little to redress the ratio.

There's more than a whiff of racism behind it, too. The assumption is that the recipients ought to be grateful for any bit of tat we send them. Why don't they get the the first world investment and high grade IT they deserve?

We ought to add that our own media correspondents seem to be lost in a foreign country, and have some difficulty internalising the fact that digital radio is still a minority pursuit.

The Telegraph notes that Africa is chosen as it is "where analogue radio is still dominant". Er, much like it is here.

While the Guardian calls the FM sets "outmoded analogue radios". Being the well-mannered people we are, we'll resist the temptation to describe "losing £100,000 a day" as anything other than a bang-up-to-date business strategy.

A dose of reality is needed. As Grant Goddard's radio blog notes, Canada no longer sees DAB as an FM replacement, Germany has reaffirmed FM is the primary radio platform, while France has kicked digital radio into, how do you say... les herbes grandes? ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.