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UK’s Vaizey: Decision on FM Shutdown Drawing Closer

Minister stresses digital switchover will be “led by the listener.”

LONDON�Ed Vaizey, the U.K. Minister of Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, has said the point at which a decision will be taken regarding the �switch-off� of FM radio is drawing closer.

The proliferation of digital receivers and improved coverage for DAB signals meant the Government was preparing to decide on the �appropriate next step,� according to�

Ed Vaizey

Vaizey is clear that Ministers would be �led by the listener� to ensure that the audience did not miss out on radio reception after a digital switchover.

�Most cars now have digital radio fitted as standard, it�s becoming much cheaper to buy a digital radio, they�re much more energy efficient and what we will do is we will keep this constantly under review,� Mr. Vaizey told the Today program.

�When we reach a certain target of listening on digital�and we�re very close to that target at the moment�we�ll take a view on what the appropriate next step will be.�

Mr. Vaizey went on to say that the BBC itself may be inclined to �make their own decision about the future of FM� in coming years, and added �I�ve always said that we have to be led by the listener and you will know better than anyone how passionate your listeners are about listening to the Today program, to Radio 4, and we don�t want to do anything that would impinge in any way on listening to a program like this.�