Page last updated at 01:01 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 02:01 UK

'Scrappage' scheme launched to boost digital radio

Digital radio
Digital radio listenership is predicted to reach 50% by 2013

A "radio amnesty" is being launched to encourage listeners to switch from analogue to digital radios.

Participating UK retailers will offer discounts of 10%-20% when people trade in their old analogue sets.

The move, modelled on the government's vehicle scrappage scheme, runs from Saturday until 26 June to coincide with the build-up to football's World Cup.

The old sets will be reconditioned and sent to southern Africa to give young people access to radio programmes.

'Future of radio'

Those beyond repair will be recycled under the government's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, aimed at reducing the amount of electrical and electronic equipment produced.

The radio amnesty initiative, developed by the BBC and commercial radio stations, will be supported by on-air promotions featuring Stephen Fry, Gaby Roslin, Noddy Holder and Gabby Logan.

Ford Ennals, chief executive of industry body Digital Radio UK, said: "Digital radio is the future for UK radio and the radio amnesty gives consumers even more reasons to get digital radio.

"This is an amazing summer of exclusive sports and music on digital radio and also a great opportunity to support children's charities in southern Africa.

"It is a wonderful example of the UK radio industry coming together to support digital radio and a very worthwhile cause."

The scheme is also being linked with broadcasts of other sporting events such as Wimbledon tennis and England cricket, and music festivals including Glastonbury.

Listening figures

In its Digital Britain report last year, the government predicted 50% of radio listening would be digital by the end of 2013.

Figures released by radio industry organisation Rajar earlier this month suggested almost a quarter of listening was currently on digital platforms.

Retailers participating in the radio amnesty include Argos, Comet, John Lewis, Tesco and many independent stores.

However, DSG International - the owner of Currys and Dixons - said it would not be able to take part because it was in the process of changing its product range.

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas says that before the final switch-off of analogue radio in the UK, digital coverage must be improved and suitable sets fitted in millions of cars.

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