DAB is set to replace analogue radio, or ‘FM’, at some point in the near future. When this happens, the UK’s analogue radio signal will be ‘switched off’ and listeners will have to tune into digital radio, or ‘DAB’, instead. Read on to find out what we know so far about it and how it could affect you when it comes to fruition.

So, what is DAB?

DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcast, which has been proposed as the main broadcast platform for national  radio stations by the government.

Why are we switching to DAB?

Similar to the TV switchover in 2012, switching to digital broadcasting will open up more space on the airwaves and offer a greater stations to listen to. It’s proposed that all national stations make the jump to DAB, although there will be a few local stations that will remain on FM. Am services will either move to FM or digital.

When will it happen?

There is no set date for the digital radio switchover to happen, but the government have set certain criteria before it can be planned. Those criteria are:

  • 50% of all radio listening must be digital
  • National DAB coverage matches FM coverage
  • Local DAB reaches 90% of the population – official numbers from audience research body RAJAR suggest we are nearing that, with the percentage put at 48.7% in the second quarter of 2017.

What do I do if I haven’t already got digital radio in my car?

Most new cars come with DAB as standard, but if yours hasn’t, there’s no need to worry. The easiest, most cost efficient way to make sure you can still enjoy the radio in your car is to get a DAB adapter. These nifty, unobtrusive devices simply attach to the dashboard, letting you play DAB through your current system. Another way is to fit a new radio that can receive DAB. They often come with extra features too, such as aux-in and Bluetooth.

Is there anything else I should know?

Still stuck on what your options are? Check out our guide to DAB radio here, or ask one of our friendly in-store colleagues at your local Halfords. Remember, we can also fit your radio for you, if you choose to get a new one.


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