Nothing on the Radio

June 28, 2010

Soon (well, actually most likely circa 2015) there will be nothing on my 19 radios (I’ve just counted them) and nothing on your radios either. Ok, perhaps other countries might not be as quick to embrace digital as the UK. I’m sure Radio Tirana will still be there on MW/SW and the French will be plain awkward and continue using LW.

Actually I’m not that bothered. I haven’t listened to any radio for a few years now. Those 19 sets are either ornaments or novelties and range from 1950s Bakelite to a Sinclair Micromatic “World’s smallest radio” which it probably was in 1971 but certainly isn’t now.

But there are plenty of people who are bothered about the switching off of MW/FM by the BBC and others and the approaching big brother world of DAB digital radio and its fixed bouquet of channels. You don’t come across an unexpected landbased pirate Reggae station on digital. DAB radio uses the already obsolete mp2 compression format which audio experts consider far inferior to FM. It is actually getting worse as they reduce the bit rate to squeeze more channels in. Heck, some DAB radio stations actually broadcast in mono !!

“Portable” DAB radios aren’t even portable because as soon as you swing them round the signal disappears. Patchy coverage makes DAB of little use in the car. The only reason I can think of to listen to DAB radio is BBC 6 Music…oh wait…they’re closing them down !!
Even on environmental grounds alone it seems ludicrous to throw away millions of radios that can pick up literally thousands of stations around the world to “upgrade” to digital radios with a choice of only 50 stations. When I first put up a TV Satellite dish I felt part of Europe with numerous foreign TV stations available from Scandinavia, France, Holland and especially Germany. Once digital TV was in place most channels were encrypted and I was once again reduced to only viewing UK channels unless I spent £££s. It looks like radio will go the same way.

PS: I’m sure there will be many people who say 50 digital radio stations is plenty and who listens to Radio Tirana anyway. One positive aspect to the little DAB radio I own is that it has a slot for an SD card which makes recording a doddle. If I could fathom how to work the fiddly little buttons. Perhaps I should record some BBC 6 Music whilst it’s still there. I can throw the SD card in the box along with my old Radio Caroline cassettes.

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5 Responses to “Nothing on the Radio”

  1. dirigibledave Says:

    Of course there’s those of us living in areas where 1.4 meg ‘broadband’ for about an hour in the middle of the night is the best download rate and digital radio and Freeview some kind of legendary technology of the future.
    Hark! I can hear the children climbing their first chimney of the day and sorting the chaff in the fields now – and the homely sound of the wife clacking the loom. Best be getting in amongst the nutty slack for a day’s graft ….

    Digital Britain, ho hum, snort.


  2. Luddites to arms !! Actually it is our generation that continue to embrace the most change in one lifetime since dinosaurs roamed through Birmingham.

    As a child my bedroom didn’t even have an electric socket. In fact there weren’t any electric sockets upstairs at all. An electric toothbrush was something you saw in a Jetsons comic.

    And as for Freeview…..even now 12 months away from switchoff/switchon I can’t get ITV on it. What I have noticed is the sudden drastic deterioration of the picture quality of the standard analog TV broadcasts. The cynic in me says this is being done on purpose so people will marvel at the crisp digital picture when they hand out millions of free boxes to the masses.

  3. dirigibledave Says:

    Always amuses me that despite being whizzos with phones just how little the darling sprogs really know about technology – anything goes wrong with the pc, dad better fix it (unplugged it so the battery ran out? NO I DIDN’T, you must have done it, or someone else), can’t download songs, dad’ll fix it (try going online first? what do you mean?). Sky box frozen – dad’ll fix it (no I don’t know how to switch it off at the socket to reset it). IPod not working – dad’ll charge it (and I definitely switched the laptop on when I plugged it in, you must have turned it off). I’ve got this homework and I don’t know how to look it up (er I’ll not mention that ‘cos dad’ll only give me a lecture on how the Internet didn’t exist when he was a kid, and then a second lecture on how to use Google)
    Actually they don’t have a clue about bus timetables either, despite needing them at times. Or when they’re supposed to be at work. or …

    I’ll shut up.


  4. Yes it was always a myth that the kids could programme the video. They just kept pressing buttons until it either worked or they broke it. This continues with the obsession with handheld devices today. If they break it,or it is…horror..approaching 12 months old they just buy (or expect you to buy) a new one.

    I’m now seeing this with cars. “What, I’m expected to open the bonnet more than once a year to check the oil ?” “Yes, because that red light that has apparently been glowing for 3 months meant it was already at danger level.”

  5. dirigibledave Says:

    now there’s a truth:
    my eldest spent much of a weekend last month trying to persuade me that cars don’t need an oil check these days because of modern technology, and therefore it wasn’t his fault we needed to come and fetch him from even further in the countryside somewhere near Narnia, and arrange for it to be sorted.

    Hah! take that, youth!


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