Back at the end of the 90s, we were told that The Next Big Thing in radio was going to be Digital Audio Broadcasting.DAB offered static-free CD-quality digital sound over the air.
“it’s just a matter of time before radio companies switch off their AM and FM transmitters and move to DAB,” we were assured. “And we’d better do it soon because a bunch of European and Asian countries are already on board.”
But then a funny thing happened. Two things, actually.
First, the US decided that the worldwide standard for DAB signals wasn’t right for them. They declined to participate, which pretty much killed off any initiatives in Canada. As far as I know, no one is still operating a DAB transmitter and I haven’t seen a DAB radio on sale anywhere for years.
Second, something called the Internet came along. Now that we have smartphones with LTE, it would be silly for broadcasters to invest in new DAB transmitters or consumers to buy new DAB radios.
But what about the countries that had already moved ahead? Well, they’re kinda hooped.
The UK was supposed to set a deadline for the switch, much like we saw with the flip to digital with television. But besieged by broadcasters, the government has agreed to postpone the proposed 2015 conversion to DAB indefinitely.