RANT: DAB Radio
Hoo-bloody-ray! Finally, only decades after the invention of DAB radio (in 1981 would you credit it?!) and what seems like a millennia into an apparent "digital age", car manufacturers are at long last getting into fitting DAB radios as standard into their vehicles – with BMW and VW rolling it out as standard. Although still only 25.5% have DAB as standard – so come on car makers! Sort it out!
So, after years of only being able to enjoy the crisp, velvety sounds of my favourite radio station of all time when I've been testing luxury, top end cars, I can now get the imaginative, creative, incredible BBC 6Music (UK station of the year) in all BMW's in the range, and VW are following on, as are even Vauxhall in their van range (although as an option!). Bravo Munich decision makers! Now come on the rest of you – get DAB into ALL your cars, whatever they cost.
The people of the world need the dulcet, genius tones of Mr Shaun Keavney and his legendary 'Middle aged shout-outs', Huey Morgan's on-air accidental swearing, the heroic, hilarious Adam Buxton, the voluptuous voice of Nemone and all the rest of the uber-talented 6Music crew. (And, apparently, there are lots of other DAB radio channels too!)
CAP New Vehicle Data expert David Saville said: "In the first quarter of 2010 only 3.8% of vehicles registered had DAB radio as standard, with 33% of the remainder of those sold having it available as a cost option. By the third quarter of this year 25.5% of cars registered had DAB as standard and 26% of the remainder of those sold had it available as a cost option.
"BMW’s announcement that DAB would become standard across their entire model range is a real shot in the arm for a less piecemeal approach by the industry to DAB.
"Whether it’s in 2015 as originally planned (with the analogue switch-off), or later, DAB will be essential rather than a ‘nice to have’ option. Experience shows us that where the Germans lead in the car market, others follow, and we therefore expect most manufacturers to start making DAB standard across their ranges in the coming year to 18 months."
The news that BMW will be rolling our DAB in their cars comes amid speculation that the slow adoption of DAB by British radio listeners in general will force a delay in the analogue signal switch-off, which was originally planned for 2015. The government has promised to maintain the analogue signal until 50% of radio listening is via a DAB receiver but the current figure stands at 31%.
Observers have speculated that up to 25m cars could be left with no radio signal after the switchover but CAP is confident that the new car market will be fully geared to the change, whenever it occurs.
Whatever, we applaud BMW, or as Mr Keaveny would say "kiss you on both cheeks!" DAB is here and mobile, at long bloody last!