Digital radio availability in Northumberland

Posted on 02nd September 2010 | in Community

By Sir Alan Beith MP

What sort of radio do you listen to? FM or digital? FM is what used to be called VHF when it was brought in as the answer to hissing radio interference and fading reception.

One of my first successful campaigns was to get it installed on the newly built Chatton TV transmitter in the 1970s, which serves many parts of the Berwick upon Tweed constituency. Now the industry wants you to forget about your FM radio – and there are a hundred million of them in use – and switch to digital. That’s hard lines in much of Northumberland, where you cannot receive it. And it’s no use in the car because there are hardly any digital radios in cars.

You can get it through the TV if you have Sky or Freeview, but that’s no use in the rooms where you take your portable radio. Hi-fi enthusiasts complain that sound quality on digital is just not as good as FM.

I have raised it in the House of Commons and the Government has agreed that it will not push for digital against
consumers’ wishes. But there is still a plan to switch off the main stations on FM when half the radio listening in the country is on digital.

What do you think about it? I am interested in your views.

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