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October 21, 2021 3:26 pm  #1

The Place Where AM & FM Will Soon No Longer Exist

There's some irony to me that Britain has now officially set the death date for both AM & FM. I remember a visitor to these shores from over 'ome coming to Toronto in the mid-60s and being so impressed with our radio on this side of the pond. "All we have is the BBC," she complained at the time, just before the pirates launched their ships. 

I was just a kid, but was amazed when she told me there was no private radio allowed in the U.K. and basically there were only a few BBC outlets to listen to and nothing else. They rarely played a lot of rock and roll, the British invasion notwithstanding. My how times have changed. British broadcasting is now almost all digital, which means listeners there have access to hundreds of stations, with new ones popping up all the time. 

There's been so much growth, the government was set to turn off all AM & FM signals, but have now delayed that move until 2030, citing the fear that older people will lose access to radio altogether. It cites studies that say just 3% of people there listen to anything on AM, meaning it could go sooner than its FM counterpart. But for now, both will apparently survive for another nine years. 

AM and FM radio in Britain to stay on air until 2030

Meanwhile, with the proliferation of smart speaker usage for radio listening, a new issue has risen that could attract the attention of the CRTC and its endless focus on Canadian content - the fear that Big Tech could try to push its own agenda and take England's stations out of the mix for listeners on their connected devices. 

Broadcasters fear Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant may gradually sideline UK content

A lesson for Canada or an overreaction? God knows we don't need another reason for the CRTC here to make things even worse. But I'm glad the Canadian government hasn't set an execution date for either band. Our experiment with digital radio was a DAB-saster. Who knows if or when we'll try again.