DCMS and Digital Radio

 by Martin Belam, 8 July 2004

According to this story in yesterday's Independent, the DCMS is shortly to publish a report in which Tessa Jowell says

"Later this year, I will be reviewing the take-up of digital radio and considering how long it would be appropriate for...broadcasting services to be provided in analogue form"

The article goes on to quote Chris Kimber, Head of Interactive at BBC Radio & Music, extolling the virtues of interactivity based around radio output:

"Only 10 years ago, radio was a one-way experience, but digital technology has given the radio ears that provide programme-makers with instant feedback. Before they had to rely on getting letters back but now we have chat rooms, message boards, text messaging and e-mail. Programmes can really connect with audiences in a way that 10 years ago they could not"

The Independent article also points out that:

The BBC has made all its output available online on the "Radio Player" system and seven million people are using the service every month

This, of course, being the very same service that the DCMS thinks the BBC should be providing in Windows Media format instead of the current Real format. The Graf report seems to indicate that because the software to play Windows Media format is anti-competitively pre-installed by Microsoft on all Windows PCs, the BBC should endorse it. Ho-hum.

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