Why digital radio has a future

Neil Mortensen
Research Director, OPera

Like every other “traditional” medium, radio is in transition as it re-invents itself in the 21st century. It is an exciting time for the medium, with an explosion in choice across the media landscape and a growing range of digital platforms. The future of radio lies in its ability to find its place in digital media, and the question for the industry has been which parts of digital radio will come to the fore, and which parts will fall by the wayside. Basically, who will listen in future and how will they be doing it?

So far there has been too much emphasis placed upon one platform: DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting). Yes, DAB accounts for 60 per cent of UK digital radio listening hours but other fast growing radio platforms include the internet, mobile phones and digital television. DAB has been painted as the shining digital dial of radio’s future, attracting much media hype. This has perhaps encouraged media critics to lurk in the wings waiting to pounce on any sideways step or setback.