Several constituents have contacted me to ask why it is that some local people still cannot receive digital radio services. This appears to be because the digital radio signal only broadcasts locally from the Angus transmitter and quite a few West End homes have a poor line of sight to that transmitter, with the BBC accepting that reception is only “fairly” likely, even with an external radio aerial.
Residents have been surprised to find that, having bought a DAB radio, they simply can’t get consistent reception on digital radio. To be frank, government really shouldn’t be considering switching off FM radio until it has ensured that there is good reception of digital in all areas.
My other concern is that many local radio stations fear they are being frozen out of the digital radio switchover debate, with the future of more than 100 of them still uncertain.
Many local radio stations – for example Wave 102 in Dundee – are not available on Digital Audio Broadcasting. I have recently spoken with Adam Findlay, Managing Director of Wave 102, about this and I know residents will not want to see the switching off of FM radio before the future of all their local, popular radio stations is secured in a digital age.
It is beyond me that the Westminster Government is moving forward with proposals to switch off FM radio by around 2015 when over 100 local stations still do not have a clear digital migration path and are likely to be consigned to an uncertain future on the analogue spectrum once digital switchover has occurred.
I have written to Broadcasting Minister Sion Simon MP expressing my concerns about the government’s handling of the digital radio issue. It is most important that all citizens continue to get access to good radio reception and the full choice of radio stations.