Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Radio 'could go digital in 2017'

Digital radio
The DRWG want DAB radios to be made cheaper

Radio listeners could have just nine years to switch to digital sets, a government-backed report has said.

The Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG) says that by 2015, less than half of all radio listening could be via traditional FM or AM sets.

It says that if DAB broadcasts reach enough of the country by then, a switch to digital would be possible by 2017.

DRWG chairman Barry Cox said nearly a million DAB sets were expected to be sold this Christmas.

The group wants drivers to be encouraged to install DAB radios in their cars, and says the government should consider making digital sets cheaper by introducing a duty exemption.

"We know listeners are already benefiting from the choice of channels available at the moment," Mr Cox said.

"We have always believed in the future of digital radio and now urge the industry, along with Government and Ofcom to address the barriers to successful migration, so people can access even more choice and functionality in the future.

"Most importantly we need to see overall coverage for DAB improve, along with more focus to get motorists to adopt DAB so that it can be a real alternative to FM services."

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