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Hi-Fi World
March 2010
Well It's Official!
Editorial By David Price

 

  Well it's official! The unofficial general election campaign has started, and the British public now has to endure months of ‘he said, she said' type banter from our illustrious public servants, selflessly putting themselves up for re-election. So in the interests of journalistic balance, I shall attempt to be scrupulously apolitical in what I'm about to say; don't think of it as a comment on this government, but rather on politicians en masse...

My point concerns Digital Radio and the so-called 'analogue switch-off'. You might remember that last autumn, the government announced its ‘Digital Britain' report which laid down a projected date for FM radio switch-off of 2015. Given that it was so soon, many of us were recoiling in horror; the sheer awfulness of losing analogue in just five years was too nasty to contemplate!

My own feelings towards DAB are of general indifference; it's a mediocre technology that's already (in my home) largely been replaced by internet radio. Where it hasn't, I still listen to FM for sonic reasons or those of poor DAB reception. So by suddenly taking away the option of FM, the government would significantly impede my ability to listen to decent sound radio at home, or any radio out and about. I was crestfallen; how could this happen?

Well it seems that, errm, it's probably not going to happen after all now. As Steven Green remarks on p93, the powers that be have very quietly taken the switch off date out of the Digital Economy Bill. So the position is now, as the Malcolm Tucker character from the BBC political satire The Thick of It would put it to his minister of state, "just tell them it's going to happen, and then when it doesn't happen we can say we didn't tell them when it was going to happen"...

So, seeing as the brave new world of Digital Radio has suffered a legislative set-back, we thought we'd look at some olde world analogue tuners. On p15, we round up some really nice ones which will give years of listening pleasure, including several FM-only designs. If these become obsolete within the decade then I will publicly eat my latest copy of the Radio Times!

Radio's a brilliant medium, and far too important to be left to politicians to screw up, so get out and vote with your chequebooks. So I implore you to invest in a good analogue tuner now – your country needs you to!

 

David Price, editor

 

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