Radio bosses mulling DAB future

Commercial radio broadcasters and a government-sponsored working group are looking at how to speed up the development of digital radio in the UK.

Industry organisation RadioCentre and the Digital Radio Working Group have begun the project amid growing concern about the future of DAB.

Some stations have closed and non-executive directors at Channel 4, a DAB multiplex owner, are rumoured to be worried about its commitment to the platform. GCap chief executive Fru Hazlitt also talked up internet radio at the expense of DAB in her recent plan for the company's development.

RadioCentre said it was "leading a project across its members... to understand what needs to happen to ensure that a vibrant and dynamic digital future is secured for commercial radio", and would involve Ofcom and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

A spokeswoman said the Digital Radio Working Group, set up at the request of the Government in late 2007, had also just begun work. She said its remit was "to understand the conditions under which digital radio might become the dominant platform" for UK radio.

One rumoured option is to set a timetable, albeit very gradual, for making BBC radio digital only. Another is to begin a well-funded advertising and support campaign along the lines of the television digital switchover.

The RadioCentre has previously called on the government to be clearer on analogue radio switch-off.