Radio listeners need more time to go digital, says consumer group

Radio listeners should be given 10 years to switch from FM to digital technology and for exclusively FM radios, which will eventually become obsolete, to be withdrawn from the market, according to consumer group Test Achats.

The switch from FM to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB+), the technology that enables listeners to use digital radios, is a decision with “heavy consequences” and requires a transition period that is long enough, the consumer rights association noted.

The association urged the Francophone Minister for Media, Jean-Claude Marcourt, to come up with a “clear plan” for the transition. If FM radio sets and car radios are still being sold today, it stressed, it would be unacceptable to have to dump them in just a few years.

Test Achats is also worried that the introduction of DAB+ might be aimed not only at improving sound quality but especially at selling more bandwidth and licenses to more stations.

It also pointed to a deterioration in the supply available to listeners in the French-speaking part of the country, who will no longer be able to catch Radio 1, Radio 2, Studio Brussel and Klara, while people in Flanders will need to do without Bel RTL, Classic 21 and BRF.

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