Insights Government publishes response to the Digital Radio and Audio Review


The Review was commissioned in February 2020 to look in detail at the landscape for radio and audio over the coming years and to make recommendations in relation to industry and Government action to strengthen the sectors in the context of rapid changes in listening habits and the increasingly diverse ways in which services are distributed.

The Review was established as a joint government/industry review to:

  • assess future scenarios for the consumption of UK radio and audio content on all radio and online platforms and assess the impact of these scenarios on access to UK radio services;
  • assess the impact of likely models of future listener trends on current and future distribution strategies for UK radio groups and industry; and
  • make recommendations on further measures and collaborative actions to strengthen the UK radio and audio industry for the benefit of all listener groups and to promote innovation.

The Review’s final report, containing 42 recommendations for government and industry, was published by the Government in October 2021. The Government has now published its response.

The Review’s main conclusion was that the time is not right for a formal switch-off of analogue radio services, and that it would be precipitous to look to this happening before 2030 at the earliest. While noting that the ongoing decline of analogue listening makes it appropriate to consider updating elements of the legislative framework to support a smooth transition of services away from analogue in due course, the Government agrees with this assessment. The Government therefore welcomes this recommendation and agrees that there is a need to look at this again in 2026.

The Government also agrees that the case has been made for new regulation to protect radio’s long-term position in the context of the rapid growth in usage of smart speakers and other connected devices, to ensure that listeners are able to continue to access radio services on these devices and in recognition of the huge public value which radio provides. It agrees that legislation is needed to update the regulatory framework for commercial radio and says that it is committed to putting in place strong foundations for the longer-term work that will need doing over the coming years as listening habits and technology continue to change.

The Government’s response focuses on the recommendations for specific action. It notes that the report identifies several areas where industry is better placed to take matters forward, but where the Government can support these efforts, it says that it will continue to do so. To read the Government’s response in full, click here.