The UK government is planning to roll out an integrated function in digital radio sets that will allow users to choose radio stations from a single list rather than switching between FM and digital radio stations.
The government plans will see BBC and other commercial radio stations collaborating with several digital radio sets manufacturers like Robert and Sony in order to develop the function, which is said to be similar to electronic program guides in digital TV platforms.
According to the Daily telegraph, the electronic radio guide will help listeners to surf the available radio channels by name rather than type i.e. digital or analog FM. Currently, digital radio sets comes with a button that allows users to switch between digital and analog radio stations.
The proposed plan is being rallied by Digital Radio UK chief executive Ford Ennals, who is currently engaged in preparing for nationwide roll out of digital radio sets.
The plan got support from the junior creative minister Sion Simon, who said that “The current generation of DAB sets has tended to make that move, a rather sharp distinction, which has led to the fear that FM will end up being a second-class ghetto tier.”
Innovative thinking that might however significantly increase the cost of radio sets at a time when the industry is going through very tough times. Still, let's salute this initiative and hope that it will be rolled out not only for stand alone radio sets but also online.