BBC backs launch of latest digital radio sets

Five radio manufacturers are to launch their new digital radio sets to retailers from the BBC’s Broadcasting House next month.

The Corporation denies it is endorsing the products, which would breach its public service remit. It says it is receiving no payment for initiating and organising the collective launch for the five manufacturers, who will be the first on the market.

A spokeswoman for BBC Digital Radio says: “We are responding to demands from our listeners.”

“The arrival of digital radio is something they have been waiting for and they have been asking us when the sets will be arriving in the shops. We are not promoting the actual radios. This is all part of a broader information campaign about digital radio.”

Manufacturers Bosch/Blau- punkt, Clarion, Grundig, Kenwood and Pioneer will launch their new sets from Broadcasting House on July 9. The manufacturers will display their products and discuss the pricing and availability of the sets with retailers and the press at the launch.

The Corporation has also said that it will give manufacturers and retailers point-of-sale material, such as posters and leaflets, to help communicate the benefits of the new medium. These may be displayed alongside the manufacturers’ sets and manufacturers’ own point-of-sale promotions.

No date has yet been set to switch off the analogue signals and the decision rests with the Government.

The digital signal provides clearer sound and has the capacity to receive text and data, as well as pictures, to be broadcast alongside the audio signal. The BBC has been transmitting Radios 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Live using Digital Audio Broadcasting – the technology used to broadcast the services – for two and a half years.

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